The science of electricity led to the development of a very practical and convenient home lighting device—the light bulb. Ever since, light bulbs have been lighting up our nights and allowing us to work, read, and see for longer periods of time. They are such an integral part of our everyday lives that it is all too easy to forget important safety precautions.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, light fixtures and light bulbs are all among the leading causes of electrical fires.
“Lighting is in every room in most households,” said Erin Hollinshead, executive director of the Energy Education Council and its Safe Electricity program. “If you understand a little bit about safe lighting, you could make every room in your house safer.”
Safe Electricity has the following safe lighting reminders to help you and your family stay safe:
- Closets and storage areas are especially dangerous for light bulbs. Light bulbs could easily start a fire when clothing, boxes, and other stored goods are in contact with them. Keep everything 12 inches away from surface mounted lighting and 6 inches from other types of lighting. Do not use uncovered light bulbs.
- Use only bulbs that match the wattage of a lamp or outlet. A bulb with a higher wattage than is specified is a fire hazard.
- Lamp cords should be kept in good working condition. Damaged, worn, cracked, or frayed cords and power plugs with the third grounding pin removed should be repaired or replaced.
- Do not place lamp cords under rugs or in high-traffic areas, and do not tack them to a wall.
- Turn off the lights before you switch out a bulb.
- Secure light bulbs tightly in their sockets.
- Lights that flicker or light switches that are discolored or hot to the touch should be immediately shut off. Have a qualified professional replace them.
- Be especially careful using halogen light bulbs. They run hotter than any other type of light bulb.
- Consider using LEDs or CFLs. They do not give off as much heat and last much longer than incandescent bulbs, so you will not have to replace them as often.
For more tips on electrical safety around the home, visit SafeElectricity.org.