Spring has finally arrived in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. At Hawaiian Pool Builders we understand how ready you are for your in-ground swimming pool to be open, and how ready you are to dive right in. With summer not too far off, it’s a smart idea to make sure all of your electrical sources are safe. Since May is electrical safety month, we want to review the basics of ensuring all your power is in good working condition.
Here are some safety tips for indoors:
• Check electric cords for fraying or cracking. Replace cords that may be damaged, and don’t overload electric outlets.
• Remember extension cords are intended to be temporary; they are not intended as permanent household wiring.
• Don’t run cords under carpets or rugs and don’t tack or nail cords to walls or floors.
• Keep electric appliances and tools away from water. Never reach for or unplug an appliance that has fallen into water; instead, turn the power off at the breaker before you unplug the appliance or remove it from the water.
• Never put anything other than an electrical plug in an outlet. Use outlet covers or caps to protect children.
• Keep your home’s electrical system in good repair. Contact a licensed electrical contractor if you have flickering lights, sparks, non-functioning outlets, or need wiring repairs or upgrades.
Outside of your home:
• Always keep yourself and your equipment at least 10 feet away from a power line. Electricity can jump to nearby objects.
• Before planting trees near a power line, conduct research or speak with a professional to ensure there’s enough space for it to grow. If you suspect that a tree is too close to power lines, report it to your local utility.
• Power lines are often unground, call your utility company before you dig.
• Install weatherproof electrical boxes or covers on outdoor outlets.
• If you own a generator, make sure it’s properly grounded, and positioned away from doors, windows and vents.
• Never use an indoor extension cord outside.
Around your pool:
• All outdoor receptacles should be covered to keep them dry. This is especially important around pools, spas and other summer water activities.
• Use a ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) for electrical devices used outside to help prevent electrocutions and electric shock injuries.
• Ensure that your pool and hot tub are up to your local code. If you have items that need repair, hire a professional electrician to do the work.
• Make sure all electrical equipment used for swimming pools, including the cleaning equipment, is grounded.
• Electrical devices and cords should be kept at least 10 feet away from water sources such as pools and spas. When possible, use battery operated electrical devices outside.
• Never handle electrical devices when you are wet – either from water activities or from perspiration.
• Make sure there are no power lines over a swimming pool.
• Do not swim during a thunderstorm.
Know the warning signs:
• Frequently blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers
• Dim or flickering lights, bulbs that wear out too fast
• Overheated plugs, cords or switches
• Shock or mild tingle – more than normal static electricity
• Loose outlets or unusually warm or faulty outlets or switches
With that in mind, watch for warning signs such as arcs, sparks or short circuits. Sizzling or buzzing sounds or a vague odor in the air could be signs of something burning. Firefighters can use thermal imaging technology to see excessive heat inside your walls.
We all know it’s dangerous to smoke inside, or in bed. Leaving candles burning when no one is home, or everyone has gone to bed for the night is also something we know to avoid. Sometimes it’s the lesser known fire hazards that can be more of a danger.
Here’s a list of a few things that are commonly overlooked:
• Laptops can get rather hot. Never leave one sitting on your bed, couch, blanket or another soft surface that doesn’t allow for proper airflow in and out of the cooling vents.
• Dryer lint may not seem like a legitimate danger, but this little ball of fluff can be quite a fire hazard if it’s not removed. Clean your vent and duct regularly; don’t leave the dryer running when you are away from home.
• Stacks of newspapers can catch on fire if they are too close to any source of electricity.
• Old appliances can be a disaster waiting to happen. Typically, they have bad and deteriorating insulation that could start a fire with just one spark. Inspect the cords and plugs to make sure they are still in good condition.
• Barbecue charcoal, even before you grill, can be a hazard. Never store in a closet and shut the door. If the coal is damp, it could ignite and start a fire. Always place your charcoal in a metal pail or garbage can and secure with a lid. Store it in a cool, dry place that has enough space to let heat escape should the coals self-ignite. ALWAYS wait 24 hours before discarding your used coals. Even when you think they are out, they may not be. Charcoal burns a very long time.
Other items we overlook can be as simple as the oily rag from your last garage project. With the rain and the warmer temperatures, you’ve probably worked on your lawn mower, changed the oil in your car, greased up your bike, etc. Hang them to dry and wash them properly. They can ignite themselves, and even more so when the summer heat gets here.
Matches and lighters start fires, we all know that. However, they can start fires when you don’t want them to also. Don’t place your lighter near the grill after you’ve started it, and by all means, keep your matches out of your ‘junk’ drawers.
By paying attention to these fire hazards your summer swimming season is off to a tremendous start. It only takes a day to review your power sources, ensuring electrical safety. When it comes to your in-ground swimming pool, please don’t hesitate to call our showroom to make an appointment for one of our professionals to come out and inspect your pool and/or spa.