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Posted by on Feb 6, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Kitchen Electrical Safety: The Essentials

Electrical appliances and wiring faults are often associated with home fires that can lead to serious injuries and sometimes even death. This is why it’s critical for homeowners to identify possible electrical safety issues before they occur. Kitchens are especially vulnerable, as their electric power is used to generate heat in multiple ways. Having more kitchen appliances working simultaneously may overload the circuit if it’s not gauged for that power rating. Here are the most relevant kitchen electric safety tips, precautions and instructions. 

Unplug all countertop appliances

When not in use, all countertop appliances should be unplugged and placed away from the sink and stove. An appliance that is left unattended or subjected to splashes may overheat or short-circuit, leading to injuries and in some cases even fire. Using non-RCD protected sockets in kitchen may pose an even greater risk of shock if an appliance is accidentally knocked into the sink.

To avoid accidents like these, it’s best to fit all sockets and switches away from the sink. In case of larger appliances such as fridges, dishwashers and washing machines that are usually fitted under worktops, their sockets are often difficult to reach. These are best controlled by a switched fuse connection unit mounted above the worktop, where it’s easily accessible.

Don’t use three-prong adapters for two-slot outlets

A ground plug adapter, sometimes called a pigtail adapter, is a convenient accessory that makes it possible to plug a three-pronged cord with a grounding connection, into a two-slot outlet that lacks a grounding node. However, doing so not only negates the warranty of your appliance, but also poses a risk of the user becoming a ground loop.

Make sure your hands are dry

Use a paper towel to dry your hands before using any countertop electric appliance or manipulating switches.  Working in the kitchen, it’s easy to get your hands wet in between the food preparation. However, the mix of water, wiring and electricity can be extremely dangerous. Having a steady supply of kitchen towels nearby will make sure you never skip drying your hands before switching from washing the vegetables to using an appliance.

Don’t plug more appliances into the same outlet

Using more than one appliance from the same outlet may overload the outlet, the wiring and if you’re lucky, only the GFCI or a circuit breaker will react. This is why it’s important to have a sufficient number of grounded outlets in your kitchen. Unfortunately, older homes were often designed with fewer outlets, with fewer appliances on mind. If you are renovating, genuine pros, as this electrician servicing Castle Hill, can rewire your kitchen with an adequate number of protected outlets, as well as install smoke alarms should it come to the worst.

Test all RCD receptacles

RCD-protected sockets are those wired through the RCD (Residual Current Device), which breaks the circuit if the current flows through an unintended path, such as through a water or a person. An RCD, sometimes called GFCI, is the first line of defence, as it detects currents too weak for circuit breakers to react, but enough to cause injury or death. However, it’s important to make sure these outlets are functioning properly. This instructional video will show you how to test your kitchen GFCI outlets.

Extension cords are temporary

Despite their convenience, extension cords and power boards shouldn’t be used as permanent power supply for countertop appliances. They may be used in emergencies, when you need to multitask several operations, but on daily basis, all appliances need to be used with grounded receptacles directly.

A large number of accidental reported fires caused by electricity are due to people misusing kitchen appliances. Aside from the malfunctioning product posing a threat itself, it can overload the outlet and wiring. Finally, a combination of water, hot and slippery surfaces and electricity potentially creates a dangerous environment, so make sure you follow these tips and stay safe.

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