Electricity is a fundamental part of our daily lives, but we often overlook the potential hazards that may arise from its misuse. As we commemorate National Electrical Safety Month in May, let’s take a moment to recognize the significance of prioritizing safety when handling electrical appliances in our homes, workplaces, and everyday activities.
Electrical Safety in American History
In 1882, Thomas Edison introduced the first commercial electrical power system – sparking rapid technological advances in our country and around the world. Not long after his discoveries, we realized the importance of minimizing risks to those working on electrical systems. Fast forward 15 years to 1897, and the National Electrical Code (NEC) was implemented to make electrical safety rules standard across the country. The NEC is updated every three years to include new recommendations based on new information and technologies. Though the NEC isn’t federally enforced, most jurisdictions adopt the policies outlined in the code. As technology became more integral to our world, the need for more safeguards became even more important. In 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created by Congress to ensure a safe work environment through education and training. After OSHA was formed, the Standard for Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplaces was created to update electrical safety standards.
We’ve come a long way since 1882, but there are always ways that we can continue to improve the safety and comfort of our nation’s electrical workers.
Electrical Safety Tips
At Exact Solar, we prioritize the safety of our employees and customers regarding electrical systems. We strictly follow all necessary safety protocols and go beyond to ensure everyone’s well-being. Educating our communities on electrical safety is a shared responsibility. To help you stay safe when handling electrical appliances and equipment, here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Never let electrical appliances come into contact with wet surfaces. Water is an excellent conductor of electricity and if you’re not careful, you can become electricity’s path to the ground if you are touching water that touches electricity.
- Always unplug appliances after you’re finished using them. Power fluctuations can result in fatal electrical fires in homes, you can avoid this hazard by keeping them unplugged when not in use. This is especially important when you’re leaving the house for long periods of time.
- Do not overload your outlets. Avoid plugging too many high-ampere appliances into a single outlet, limit the use of extension cords, upgrade the electrical system, and know the correct amperage of fuses and circuit breakers in the house to prevent fire risks.
- Don’t DIY! Always use a licensed electrician for home and workplace electrical needs. Electricians who are qualified know their job well and ensure that their work is in compliance with the latest safety regulations. Hiring an expert will extend the system’s lifetime and prevent future problems – ensuring your long-term peace of mind.
- Be sure to use the correct wattage in all your fixtures and appliances. Using the wrong wattage can result in the fixture overheating and causing a fire. You can easily find the wattage on most modern devices and appliances, so there’s no need to guess. Don’t go over the manufacturer’s recommended wattage, and you’ll be safe!
- Always read the instructions to ensure you’re using electrical appliances correctly. Understanding home appliance safety improves the performance of your device and your safety. If you experience any electrical shock while using an appliance, it is best to stop using it immediately and seek the assistance of a qualified electrician.
- Ensure that your home has smoke detectors inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), smoke detectors should be tested at least once a month and batteries should be replaced at least once or twice a year.
- Educate yourself and your family on the importance of electrical safety. Knowing the risk and warnings of electrical issues can save lives, as well as keep your property safe. There are numerous online resources available to assist in educating our communities. A great place to start is the National Fire Protection Association website here.
Safety for Solar Energy Systems
While it’s important to focus on safety around electricity in general, it’s especially relevant for those who have or are considering installing solar energy systems. Solar panels generate electricity, which means there are some specific safety considerations to keep in mind.
To ensure your safety when around solar energy systems, consider the following tips:
- It is highly recommended to enlist the services of a reputable professional, like Exact Solar, when installing solar panels. These skilled experts possess the necessary knowledge and expertise to ensure that the wiring is installed in strict accordance with code requirements, thereby reducing the potential for any electrical hazards to arise. By entrusting this task to a qualified professional, you can rest assured that your solar panel installation will be completed safely and efficiently.
- Before you perform any maintenance or repairs on solar panels, it is essential to take the necessary precautions to ensure everyone’s safety. One crucial step that your professional solar installer will take during service is deactivating the panels to avoid the risk of electrocution. By doing so, you can protect yourself and others around you from any potential harm. Therefore, following proper protocol and guidelines when handling solar panels is crucial to prevent accidents and maintain a safe working environment.
- Maintaining the cleanliness of solar panels is essential for their optimal performance and plays a significant role in ensuring safety. When panels become covered in debris, their efficiency decreases, leading to many problems. For instance, if panels are not producing enough energy, it can cause a strain on the system, leading to overheating and, ultimately, fires. Therefore, it is imperative to keep solar panels clean and free of debris to reduce the risk of potential hazards.
- To safeguard against potential electrical shock and minimize the possibility of damage due to lightning strikes, it is crucial to ensure that your solar panels are appropriately grounded. Proper grounding is a fundamental element of any solar panel setup, and it is imperative that this critical step is not overlooked. By taking the necessary precautions to ground your solar panels properly, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that you are doing everything possible to ensure the safety and longevity of your system.
- Regularly inspecting your solar panels and wiring is necessary to identify any signs of damage or wear. This proactive measure is essential in identifying potential problems early on, which can prevent more substantial issues from developing in the future. Consequently, conducting regular checks on your solar panels and wiring is essential to maintaining their longevity and functionality.
- It is crucial to follow local regulations and guidelines for the safe installation and use of solar panels on your property. This involves acquiring the required permits and ensuring that your solar energy system fully adheres to all local safety codes and regulations. These measures will guarantee the safety and reliability of your solar panel installation while reducing any possible risks or hazards that may occur during installation. Seeking advice and support from a professional solar panel installer or local authorities is also recommended. At Exact Solar, we aim to provide our customers with a hassle-free experience. With our 18 years of experience in the solar industry, our team of experts will handle every aspect of your installation, from obtaining necessary permits to ensuring that your system meets all local safety codes and regulations. By selecting Exact Solar, you can rest easy knowing that industry experts have installed your system, and we will be here to support you throughout its lifespan.
Solar energy is a great way to save money and reduce your carbon footprint. However, it’s crucial to prioritize safety at all times. By following the tips provided and remaining vigilant, you can enjoy the benefits of solar energy without putting yourself or your home at risk. During Electrical Safety Month, awareness of potential hazards associated with solar energy systems is imperative. If you’re considering switching to solar or need assistance with your current system, contact Exact Solar – your trusted local solar experts. We’re here to support you on your solar journey!