How to Prevent Electrical Shock in the Kitchen: 7 Simple Tips

how to prevent electrical shock kitchen electrician wiring outlets

Every year, an estimated 30,000 non-fatal electrical shock incidents occur in the US. Of these, 20% involve children, especially toddlers and adolescents. Moreover, 5% of all electrical injuries account for burn unit admissions. 

Electrical problems also cause thousands of home fires in the US each year. In 2018, for instance, 6.8% of all residential fires were due to electrical malfunctions. That translates to about 25,800 home fires caused by faulty electrical components. 

That should be enough reason for you to learn how to prevent electrical shock incidents at home. Many of the strategies to avert electrical injuries can also help keep house fires at bay. 

To that end, we've come up with this list of tips to help reduce the risks of electric shock in the kitchen. Check them out, and be sure to master these safety practices ASAP. 

1. Never Handle Cords and Plugs With Wet Hands 

Electricity and water don't mix because the former can travel through the latter. It can do so thanks to the ions of the dissolved salts and metals in water. These tiny particles make the water an electrolyte. In the above situation, the water doesn't have a net charge yet. If you add electric voltage to the equation, though, that's when things can get wiry. This addition can spark the creation of a current within the liquid. 

Now, keep in mind that the adult human body, on average, is 50% to 60% water, which is why it's a good conductor of electricity. So, if you touch a plug with wet hands, there's a risk that a current will flow onto your hands. If this happens, you're likely to receive an electrical shock. 

So, for your safety, always dry your hands before you unplug appliances. Do this not only when handling kitchen appliances, but all other electronic devices. 

To help keep things safer in the kitchen (and the bathroom), you may want to get some microfiber hand towels. These are exceptional dryers, as one inch of such fabrics has about 200,000 microfibers. That makes them a fantastic way to dry your hands (and your dishes too). 

2. Disconnect Appliances by the Plug Itself 

Whenever you disconnect appliances, pull them out by the plug and not by yanking on their cord. If you tug on the cable a little too harshly, it can damage the wires inside. Worse, it can split or crack the rubber coating of the cords, which can then expose the live wires. 

3. Install Electrical Wall Outlet Covers 

Electrical wall outlet covers, also known as "plates" or "boxes," conceal sockets. Some are slidable, others are like mini doors, and many "click" or "clamp" on to the wall plate itself. Either way, their goal is to keep fingers (especially those of inquisitive kids) safe. 

As such, these electric shock prevention devices are a must in homes with babies and toddlers. In kitchens, they can also help keep moisture and debris from seeping into the holes of wall outlets. 

4. Move Electrical Appliances as Far From Water Sources as Possible 

One way on how to prevent electric shock injuries in the kitchen is to use appliances as far from the sink as you can. If possible, use small devices on a countertop on the opposite side of the sink. 

This helps prevent accidental spillage on your electronics, which can pose electrical hazards. You also want to avoid excessive liquid spills, as this can damage smaller appliances. 

5. Bigger Appliances Should Have a Dedicated Outlet 

Electric ranges, dishwashers, and refrigerators often need to have a dedicated outlet. In such cases, there should be no other appliance plugged into the same outlet as they are. 

Otherwise, there's a risk of a power surge, which can then cause an electrical shock. This occurrence may also trip your circuit breaker. 

Worse, plugging in one too many electronics in the same outlet can lead to circuit overload. This, in turn, can put your entire home at risk of an electrical fire. 

No matter how small an appliance is, don't take the risk of plugging it in the same outlet as a bigger appliance. If your kitchen has too few outlets, consider hiring an electrician to install extra ones. 

6. Use Extension Cords Sparingly 

Speaking of sharing wall outlets, avoid using extension cords on a permanent basis. In addition, you should use only one appliance for each extension cord. This can help keep electrical overloads at bay, which can cause not only shock injuries but fires too. 

Relying too much on extension cords also often indicates that you have too few outlets. In this case, it's also best to consider hiring a licensed electrician. They can install more outlets not only in your kitchen but also throughout your home. 

7. Have Your Home's Electrical System Inspected 

Old wirings are some of the most common culprits behind electrical shocks and fires. The thing is, this is an issue in many older homes in the US. 

For starters, 50% of owner-occupied homes in the country have been around before 1980. Many of these properties still rely on the original electrical system. 

So, if you have an older home and you've never had it rewired, now's the best time to have an electrician check it out. This way, the pro can assess how safe your current electrical system is. If it's too outdated, then you may need to have it replaced. 

Prevent Electrical Shock Injuries and Fires With These Tips 

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to prevent electrical shock injuries and fires at home. It can be something as easy as to dry your hands before handling plugs. However, it's best to also hire an electrician, especially if you live in an old home or you use a lot of extension cords. 

Looking for more useful safety guides like this to help keep your home or business safe and secure? Feel free to check out our other property management, electronics, and home improvement blog posts. Then and don't forget to save our site on your bookmarks bar!

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