Duquesne Light Company wants you to safely enjoy all the benefits electricity brings to your home and business. Most issues that can occur are easily preventable. We encourage you to follow these important tips.
Repair outlets that have loose fitting plugs, which can overheat and lead to fire. Replace any missing or broken wall plates. Make sure there are safety covers on all unused outlets that are accessible to children.
Keep electrical cords in good condition - not frayed or cracked. Make sure cords are not placed across areas where people walk. Cords should never be nailed or stapled to the wall, baseboard or to another object. Do not place cords under carpets or rugs or place any furniture on them.
Circuit Breakers and Fuses
Use the correct current rating for circuit breakers and fuses. If you do not know the correct size, have an electrician identify and label the size to be used. Always replace a fuse with the same size fuse.
Water and Electricity
Keep all appliances away from any contact with water. If a plugged-in appliance falls into water, never reach in to pull it out - even if it's turned off. First turn off the power source at the panel board and then unplug the appliance. If you have an appliance that has been wet, don't use it until it has been checked by a qualified repair person.
Unplug any appliance that repeatedly blows a fuse, trips a circuit breaker, or has given off a shock. Have it repaired or replaced.
Entertainment and Computer Equipment
Check to see that the equipment is in good condition and working properly; look for cracks or damage in wiring, plugs, and connectors. Use a surge protector bearing the seal of a nationally recognized certification agency.
Appliance and Outlet Safety Plugs
Use a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) in all areas near water. Many new appliances and outlets in newer homes are equipped with plugs that have GFCIs designed to improve safety when electricity is used in and around wet places. GFCIs provide protection against electric shock hazards by monitoring the flow of electric current. If an imbalance in the flow occurs, the GFCI will stop the current to avoid danger. GFCIs are required in the bathrooms, kitchens and garages of new homes, as well as on some basement and outdoor outlets. If your home is not equipped with GFCIs, they can be added as temporary plug-in adapters. Contact a licensed electrician for more information.
Electrical Fire Precautions
Keep anything that could burn away from light bulbs, portable heaters, or toasters. Turn off heating and cooking appliances before leaving home. Don't overload outlets.
Electrical extension cords can be an added convenience. But if not used properly, they can lead to house fires or electrical shock.
- Use extension cords only as a temporary connection.
- Use cords that are approved by Underwriters Laboratory and carry the UL trademark.
- Make sure the extension cord plug fits your outlet. Never force a plug into an outlet if it doesn't fit.
- Check to see that cords are not overloaded with too many appliances.
- Check the cord's amperage rating (indicated as "A" or "amps") and make sure that the total rating of appliances plugged into the cord is not more than the cord can safely carry.
- Never remove the ground pin, or third prong, to make a three-prong fit a two-prong conductor.
- Make sure extension cords have safety closures to help prevent young children from shock hazards and mouth burn injuries.
- Use a heavy-duty, grounded, three-wire cord for power tools.
- Discard cords that are frayed, have cracked insulation or damaged plugs.
- Grasp the plug, not the cord, to remove cords from outlets.
Space heaters are meant to supply supplemental heat. When using an electric space heater, remember to keep anything flammable, such as curtains, bedding, clothing, furniture, and rugs, at least 3 feet from the heater. Be certain that your space heater is UL-approved and plugged into an outlet that is not overloaded with other appliances. Do not use in rooms where children are unsupervised and remember to turn off and unplug space heaters when not in use.
Emergency Generator Safety
Purchasing and using an emergency generator is a personal choice based on the need for having uninterrupted service. While generators can be useful during a power outage, extreme caution must be used in setting up and using a generator. Improper installation could damage the generator and present a serious danger to you and others.
Following are important points to remember when using a generator.
- Consult a licensed electrician to choose a generator that is the right size for your needs. Be certain that it meets national and local electrical code requirements.
- If the generator is to be connected directly to your home's circuits or wiring, the unit must be installed by a qualified, licensed electrician and have a special transfer switch to ensure that electricity produced by the generator does not backfeed into the Company's electric lines.
- Never connect the generator to any live electrical outlets.
- Avoid contact with bare wires and terminals.
- Use a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) in any damp or highly conductive area.