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Shock Factor: Protecting Yourself from Electrical Charges

Keep the fireworks up in the air – and out of your home. Day to day use of electrical appliances sometimes causes a jolt similar to static electricity. While it’s not always an immediate cause for concern, sparks can signify problems with or damage to your electrical system.

Electric shock is not electrocution, which can seriously harm or kill a person. When a person is shocked, an electrical charge can cause discomfort, pain and sometimes serious injury, but not death. That’s why it’s important to know what the typical offenders are and how to avoid them.

The most common cause of shocks in the home are due to:

  • Faulty Appliances/Damaged or Frayed Cords. Electrical currents become unstable if there is damaged circuitry, frayed wiring, or defective cords. Whether it’s cord related or a defect in the device, this unstable electricity can ruin your appliance and give you a nasty shock.
  • Dated outlets. Some outlets are just old. Two-prong outlets, while a thing of the past, still exist in a lot of older homes. Three-prong outlets have a ground wire that acts as an additional safety barrier in the case of an unstable electrical current. For more on prongs, click HERE.
  • Bad box, bad wiring. Outlets and switches receive their currents through an electrical box, further connected to wiring. The chance of receiving a shock increases if the box is old, damaged or if has loose wires.
  • Keep electrical appliances away from water! While this seems like common sense, it’s important to remember the following:
    • Dry your hands before touching an outlet/switch.
    • Make sure you have covers on your outlets, especially if children are around.
    • Keep outlets, switches, and appliances away from water.
    • Never touch hot/live wire, or any hot circuit.

Most importantly, if you feel that there may be a problem with your wiring, outlets or cords, or if you suspect damage to your electrical box, contact a Mister Sparky professional! Doing it yourself could lead to a hot shock or worse!