The dos and don’ts of using electricity at home

Electricity is safe and reliable, and let’s face it, essential but also hazardous if used improperly. Although June is recognized as National Safety Month, these tips will keep you and your family safe all year round!

Here are some things you should and shouldn’t do in your home when working with electricity or using electrically powered devices.


  • Always shut off power before performing electrical work.
  • Shut off power at the circuit before performing any work on outlets, switches, light fixtures and other electrical equipment.
  • Install ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets in kitchen, bathrooms, outside and other potentially damp areas.
  • Use safety covers on unused outlets.
  • Children can suffer serious shock or burn injuries if they insert objects into outlets. If children are present, install safety covers on all unused outlets.
  • Check for frayed, cracked or otherwise damaged electrical cords.
  • Damaged cords may have exposed live wires that can be shock and fire hazards. Replace any damaged cords or replace equipment.
  • Unplug small appliances when not in use.


  • Use extension cords on a long-term basis.
  • Overload electrical circuits.
  • Overloaded electrical circuits are a major cause of residential fires. To prevent circuit overloads, make sure all major appliances are plugged into a single wall outlet, and avoid plugging a lot of devices into one outlet.
  • Use indoor extension cords outside. Use only weather-resistant extension cords marked for outdoor use.
  • Locate powered electrical cords under rugs or furniture.
  • Plug generators directly into an outlet or circuit panel.

Is your home wiring safe? Signs of trouble include flickering lights and frequently blown circuits. If you suspect unsafe wiring conditions or other electrical problems, hire a qualified electrician to inspect your home.

Critical safety reminder: Theft of gas and electricity is extremely dangerous. It can endanger residents, neighbors, and our employees. If you know of somebody tampering with a gas or electric meter or making an unauthorized connection, call 911 to report it.

It can be all too easy to overlook unsafe conditions that are right under your nose. For more electric safety tips, visit: https://nj.pseg.com/safetyandreliability/electricsafety/homeelectricsafetytips

PSE&G Editorial Team

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