Keeping your home's electrical system running safely and efficiently is incredibly important, yet most homeowners don't give it much thought on a daily basis. However, there are small, easy things you can do regularly that make a big difference in preventing hazards and costly repairs down the road. In this article, I'll share 7 little-known tips to help you keep your home's electrical system operating safely.

1. Check Your Electrical Panel Regularly

The electrical panel, or breaker box, is the hub that connects your utility's electricity to the wiring throughout your house. You should be checking it regularly—about once a month—for problems like:

Regular inspections take just a few minutes but are crucial to identifying issues before they become serious electrical hazards.

2. Test Your GFCIs Monthly

GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) are special outlets found in bathrooms, kitchens, basements, garages, and outdoors. They detect abnormal electricity flows and quickly break the circuit to prevent shocks and electrocutions.

Test each GFCI outlet once a month by pressing the "test" button to confirm they're working properly. Reset the outlet when you're done. This takes only seconds and is an extremely important safeguard.

Replace any failing GFCIs immediately, as they may no longer protect you from fatal shocks. Also have GFCIs installed in any outlets near water that don't yet have them.

3. Check for Hazards Around Electrical Panels & Major Appliances

Electrical panels and major appliances like water heaters, AC units, and refrigerators all pose increased electrical risks. Make sure there is:

Taking a few minutes to scan for hazards around electrical hot spots can help prevent fires, equipment failures, and electrocutions.

4. Look for Damage to Electrical Cords & Outlets

Damaged cords and outlets cause countless home fires and accidents yearly. So it's vital that you periodically inspect them for:

Make cord inspections part of your routine when dusting or vacuuming. It takes little time but protects your home from electrical calamity.

5. Don't Overload Your Electrical Circuits & Extension Cords

It's tempting to plug in several appliances on one circuit, daisy-chain extension cords, or overload outlets with too many plugs. But overloading circuits and cords is a major cause of electrical fires and blackouts.

Use power strips instead of extension cords for temporary needs, and only plug in 1 high-wattage appliance per outlet to avoid overloads.

If fuses blow or breakers frequently trip when using specific outlets, it's imperative you call an electrician to inspect for wiring issues before continuing to use them. Resist the urge to merely replace fuses or reset tripped breakers—that's ignoring a serious hazard that will only get worse!

6. Upgrade Older Electrical Equipment

Electrical technology and safety standards have advanced tremendously over the decades. If your home still has very old fuse boxes, wiring, switches, and outlets, consider upgrading them to modern, safer versions.

Some signs you need an upgrade include:

Upgrading old infrastructure not only makes your electrical system safer, but gives you opportunity to add more modern conveniences like extra lighting, outlets, and high-tech appliances.

7. Hire a Licensed Electrician for Major Electrical Work

As a homeowner, it's wise to handle minor electrical repairs yourself like changing light switches or outlets. But larger jobs like new circuits, panels, wiring, and service upgrades are best left to licensed electrician professionals.

They have years of specialized training and knowledge of electrical codes needed to safely install and repair home electrical systems. Attempting major DIY electrical projects puts you and your home at serious risk of fires, injuries, or even fatal electrocutions. Always vet electricians thoroughly and get multiple bids to ensure you hire a reputable pro.

While these projects will require a professional payment, it's a small price to pay for long-term electrical safety.

By implementing these 7 easy electrical safety tips regularly, you can protect your home from electrical hazards, greatly reduce risks of fires or shocks, and give yourself peace of mind knowing your family's safety comes first. Be vigilant, take preventative action, and your home's electrical system will provide reliable power safely for many years to come.