Electrical Safety Tips for the Garage

[fa icon="calendar"] July 09, 2014 / by Home Services Expert

garage-electrical-safetyIf your garage is like many others, it's more than just a place to park your car. It could be your hobby haven. It could be a place where you perform myriad household repairs with assorted power tools. And, if you have room for a refrigerator, it could be where you store overflow food and beverages from your kitchen refrigerator.

With all this activity going on – and with tools and extension cords moving on and off hooks and in and out of electrical outlets – it's easy to see why so many accidents take place in garages.

This is why it makes good sense to take stock of your garage, check some potential trouble spots and make corrections: to prevent accidents before they occur.

In essence, this is why Experts In Your Home has launched this second series of articles on electrical safety tips. In it, we take you room by room through your home and bring the most common electrical safety concerns to your attention.

Checklist for electrical safety in the garage:

  • Test all the ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) at least once a month. (And if they're not installed, they should be.) These potentially lifesaving outlets cut off the flow of electricity when they detect a problem, which will reduce your risk of electrical shock. However – and this is a big however – large appliances such as a refrigerator or freezer – should not be plugged into a GFCI receptacle. Doing so could cause the breaker to trip and – you guessed it – cause everything inside to spoil. Ensure that these appliances have dedicated 20 amp appliance circuits to appropriately handle the electrical load they demand. This is an important and somewhat complex job, so call a licensed electrician to handle it for you.
  • Test the circuit breakers that lead to your garage by flipping them on and off three times. While you're in front of your electrical panel, make sure that none of the circuits are overloaded. (For help with this electrical safety issue, see an article on our blog titled, “DIY Electrical Repair: How to Handle an Overloaded Circuit.”) If your electrical panel is not clearly marked, room by room, or you're not certain which breakers are connected to your garage, call Experts In Your Home for assistance.
  • Inspect the cords of all your tools and appliances and the condition of all your extension cords. They should be in pristine condition, with no cracks, contorted sections, protruding wires or other signs of damage.
  • While you're focused on cords, ensure that your extension cords are matched for the tool or job you use them for. Extension cords are classified for indoor or outdoor use and should be used appropriately. And they should never be used to supply power to tools on a permanent basis. (we addressed this in a previous article titled, “Extension Cord Safety Tips When Doing Electrical Repairs.”)
  • Ensure that your garage door opener is hard-wired (just like a refrigerator or freezer) and not plugged into an extension cord.
  • Use a special-made, hand-held lamp to shed light on cars, appliances and projects. Sturdy and usually encased in rubber or plastic, these lamps will ensure your safety. Don't cut corners and use an ordinary house lamp.
  • Refrain from stacking boxes or other items against outlets. Keep them unobstructed to prevent accidents and to make it easier for a licensed electrician to access them, if need be.

Working with anything electrical can be a frightening task, that's why it's important to make sure you take all necessary safety precautions. We hope these electrical safety tips were helpful. Next time you need a local electrician in Chico or the surrounding area contact Experts In Your Home.

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