Summer doesn’t begin until June 20, but the best time to check your home for electrical hazards is before temperatures reach triple digits. May is National Electrical Safety Month and the Better Business Bureau reminds consumers to be cautious with electrical wiring and equipment around your loved ones.

According to the American Burn Association, electrical hazards cause an average of 4,400 injuries and 400 electrocution deaths each year.

Whether your house is old or new, hiring a professional to conduct annually recommended full electrical inspections and to make any electrical repairs is crucial. As an added bonus, it could likewise make your home more energy efficient and decrease utility costs.

The BBB provides the following safety tips to protect your family this summer:

Watch that extension cord. A damaged cord can create a short circuit resulting in overheating and possibly a fire, so replace them when they become brittle or worn. Avoid running cords over flammable objects or rugs.

Handle high amperage equipment with care. Equipment like portable air conditioners should always be directly plugged into permanent wall receptacles for a proper current.

Make sure electrical equipment is properly grounded. Grounding allows an alternate path for electricity to follow to prevent an electrical hazard. Grounding also protects against electrical overloads and stabilizes voltage levels. Electrical grounds should always be performed by licensed professionals.

Check outdoor outlets before use. Verify that the receptacle is protected with a working ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). Check for proper function by pushing the test button on the receptacle or the breaker inside the electrical panel.

Safely distance electrical equipment. Place electrical equipment or lighting fixtures at least 5 feet away from any body of water.

Inspect electrical wiring around pools. All wiring within 20 feet of a swimming pool should have GFCI protection, including pool lights. Be sure overhead power lines don’t pass over the pool. Your pool should be at least 25 feet away from electrical lines in all directions.

Hire a professional. Should you require maintenance on any electrical outlets/cords or inspect electrical equipment, hire a trustworthy electrician by going to bbb.org. Never attempt to fix electrical issues yourself.

Check licensing before hiring an electrician. Visit the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation to verify the electrician is properly authorized to do the work. All BBB Accredited electricians are required to maintain proper licensing.

For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to bbb.org. To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, please call the BBB at 903-581-5704 or use BBB ScamTracker.

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