While you may have thought about how to hide computer wires or ways to get power to your desk the middle of the room, it's crucial for you to think through your electrical safety for your home office.
While you work from home, hazard inspections are left up to you.
Whether you're new to working from home or you've been operating from your residence for a while, check out our tips for at-home office electrical safety.
Work from Home Electrical Cable Safety
Every year, thousands of house fires are caused by electrical cord and appliance mismanagement. While electronics companies are developing better plug and cord safety measures for your devices, it's still essential to make sure your setup isn't a risk to your home.
Whenever you begin your electrical safety assessment, ask these key questions:
- Don't overload your outlets. Overloaded outlets could trip your breaker, which is an inconvenience at best. At worst, without a breaker, the circuit would overheat, causing a fire. Most standard outlets can handle 120 volts of power.
- Are you using a surge protector for your devices? A sudden power surge can damage essential work devices, like your computer. It's vital to give your electronics an extra layer of protection. A surge protector is also an easy way to manage how much power your appliances use. A simple flip of the switch cuts off the power electronics may use passively in standby mode.
- Are you tucking cables under rugs or carpet? Using a rug or carpet may seem like a good idea to hide cables or prevent tripping hazards, but it is NOT. This can cause cords to overheat and degrade quickly and cause a serious fire hazard.
- Are any of your power cables or extension cords damaged? If you are using any damaged cords, especially with exposed wiring, replace them immediately. An exposed wire can create a fire hazard.
- Do you have a space heater plugged in nearby? If you are using a space heater to keep your home office warm, make sure to keep it at least three feet away from flammable materials and any office papers you may have in your workspace.
4 Essential Items for Home Office safety
If you want to upgrade your home office's electrical safety, here are a few items you may want to look at purchasing to protect yourself and others from electrical hazards.
- An Underwriters Laboratories (UL) approved power strip with a surge protector: A power strip with surge protection is a multi-purpose tool. First, it allows you a way to quickly close the flow of electricity to your office devices, preventing phantom energy usage. Second, a surge protector can protect your devices from damage caused by sudden electrical surges.
- High-efficiency home office lighting: Investing in an led desk or office lamp can make a big difference in the amount of energy you use to light your home office. Plus, LEDs are a safer alternative, as they do not get as hot as incandescent lights; so pose less of a fire or burn hazard.
- Gaffer Tape: If you have to use an extension cord or have many cables running across the floor to power your office setup, you may be tempted to run power cords under a rug or carpet to prevent tripping hazards. Wires under the carpet can create a fire hazard due to overheating. Instead, use a breathable adhesive, like gaffer tape, to secure cables.
- Cable management: Whenever you are trying to set up your office, you may have a few dangling cables around your desk. You can remedy this with a cable-management tray, sleeve or clips. All are easy, affordable ways to consolidate cords and keep your workspace tidy.
Looking for more advice on how to keep your home safe from electrical hazards? Visit our blog for more tips and advice on electrical safety.