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Presented by YOUR NAME Name of Your Local Electric Cooperative. Electrical Safety at Home. Home Power. How does your home use electricity?. Electricity plays an integral role in how our homes operate. By understanding the basics of how Electricity is distributed around your home,

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Electrical Safety at Home

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Presented by your name name of your local electric cooperative

Presented by YOUR NAME

Name of Your Local Electric Cooperative

Electrical Safetyat Home

Home power

Home Power

How does your home use electricity?

Electricity plays an integral role

in how our homes operate.

By understanding the basics of how

Electricity is distributed around your home,

you can help manage the demands

placed on your electrical system and keep it in

SAFE working condition.

Home power1

Home Power

How does your home use electricity?

Electrical safety at home

The Basics

The basics

The Basics

How does your electrical system work?

The electric meter, mounted outside, is where electricity enters your home.

It’s used to measure the amount of electricity your home uses.

CAUTION: Feel free to take your own readings, but tampering with an

electric meter is extremely dangerous – and illegal!

The service panel is the central distribution point for delivering electricity

to switches and outlets throughout the house.

Breakers shut off power to specific circuits or the entire system.

The entire electrical system is grounded to the earth with a wire and underground rod. This adds critical protection for anyone working on the system, plugged-in appliances, and the system itself.

The basics1

The Basics

What’s inside your service panel?

Service panels are equipped with either FUSES (older systems) or

CIRCUIT BREAKERS (modern systems) that protect the wires in each circuit from overheating and causing a fire.

Tripped Breaker?

It’s probably a result of too many appliances running on one circuit.

Unplug the appliances in the room

Find the tripped breaker in the service panel: it will have switched to OFF or be somewhere between ON and OFF

Switch it fully OFF, then ON. Power will be restored to the room.

Blown Fuse?

Unscrew the blown fuse and replace it with one of the same amperage rating. Never use a replacement with a higher amperage rating!

The basics2

The Basics

A little inside information…

Each circuit breaker contains a permanent metal strip that heats up and bends when electricity moves through it.

If a circuit is overloaded, the strip bends enough to

flip the switch and shut off power!

Types of circuits:

120-voltcircuits use one phase of electrical service to power standard appliances

240-voltcircuits use both phases of electrical service to power larger appliances. These outlets are rare, but check for one behind your clothes dryer.

The basics3

The Basics

Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs)

“Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter”may be a mouthful, but the new devices replace standard circuit breakers and provide enhanced protection against fire hazards known as arc faults – caused by damaged, overheated, or stressed electrical wiring or devices.

Without AFCIs, these hazards may be hidden until it’s too late.

Each year, home electrical fires take the lives of 480 people, injure more than 2,000, and destroy more than $868 million in property.

The absence of AFCIs in service panels is among the primary residential hazard associated with burns and fire-related injuries.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Electrical safety at home

Home Wiring

Home wiring

Home Wiring

What kind of wiring system is in my home?

of American homes are at

least 50 years old with potentially hazardous wiring.

Identify how your home is wired to address hazardous situations before it’s too late…

Home wiring1

Home Wiring

What kind of wiring system is in my home?

Knob and Tubing Wiring: 1800s – 1930s

This was designed as an open air system that used ceramic knobs to prevent wires from contacting a home’s wood framing and sparking a fire.

CAUTION: This system is considered unsafe by today’s standards.

The system is not grounded, and is susceptible to damage from aging and botched renovations.

Home wiring2

Home Wiring

What kind of wiring system is in my home?

Aluminum Wiring: 1960s – 1970s

As the price of copper soared in the 1960s, many homes were wired with aluminum instead.

CAUTION: Aluminum is highly responsive to temperature fluctuations, and is more likely to become loose over time as a result (a fire hazard).

Consider updating your system or other options if yours is one of the two million homes wired with aluminum between 1962 and 1972.

Home wiring3

Home Wiring

What kind of wiring system is in my home?

Grounded Electrical System: 1940s – present

In a complete circuit, electricity always seeks to return to its source. This is why there are at least two prongs to a plug: one sends electricity into the appliance, the other sends it back out to complete the circuit.

Grounded systems give electricity a third option (a third prong, for appliances). If an appliance short circuits, the current will travel through the ground wire—literally a wire near your service panel that leads to the ground—and not through an unsuspecting person who comes in contact with that shorted appliance .

If your home is not grounded, contact an electrician to upgrade your system.

Electrical safety at home

Electrical Outlets

Electrical outlets

Electrical Outlets

Does your home have grounded outlets?

Electrical outlets are where you most often interact with your home’s electrical system. Modern outlets have a round hole for the grounding conductor. (Remember grounding?) The circle slot is connected to the ground wire.

Do your outlets look like this?

They’re grounded – and safe!

Do your outlets look like this?

They’re not grounded, and pose a potential hazard.

Consult an electrician about updating your home.

Electrical outlets1

Electrical Outlets

Tamper-Resistant Outlets

Every year, 2,400 children are injured from inserting household objects into electrical outlets. Tamper-resistant outlets look like standard outlets, but have an internal, spring-loaded shutter mechanism that only opens when equal pressure is applied simultaneously to both shutters.

Household objects most commonly placed in outlets:


32 percent


12 percent


17 percent


5 percent

Other common items: jewelry, tools, plugs, pins

Electrical outlets2

Electrical Outlets

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters

Since the 1970s, ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) have saved thousands of lives and have helped cut the number of electrocutions in half.

  • Prevent deadly shock by quickly shutting off power to a circuit if the electricity flowing into the circuit differs by even a slight amount from that returning.

  • Should be used for any outlets near water

  • (kitchens, bathrooms, garages, outdoors).

  • Test once a month to be sure they’re working properly!

Electrical outlets3

Electrical Outlets

How to test your GFCIs

Testing your GFCIs is easy!

All you need is a nightlight or outlet tester:

Electrical safety at home




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