Safely Lighting Your Home

When we think about the lighting in our homes, we tend to focus on the convenience. But beyond turning the night into time we can use, lighting can also have a significant impact on the safety of local homes, reminds Rick Coons, CEO at Indiana Electric Cooperatives.

“Safety is a key consideration when it comes to home lighting,” says Coons. “That’s in terms of both what lighting can do for us and in how we work with it.”

Indiana Electric Cooperatives offers several tips about using lighting safely in your home:

  • Make sure that all lamps, lights, and nightlights you buy have been tested by an independent safety organization such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Check plugs and wires for damage before plugging them in.
  • Don’t throw old fluorescent bulbs in the trash. They should be taken to your community’s hazardous waste site. Some store will take old bulbs.
  • If a fluorescent light breaks in your home, open the windows to ventilate the room. After 15 minutes, scoop up the shattered glass with a thin piece of cardboard or tape. Place all the trash in a sealed container.
  • Teach children that nightlights and small lamps are not toys. Playing with or touching them could cause burns, fire, or even electrocution. Be especially careful with nightlights that look like toys.
  • When plugging nightlights in, be sure not to twist or bend the prongs.
  • If lamp cords become frayed, replace the entire lamp. Don’t try to rewire the lamp, because a mistake could cause a fire or electrical shock.
  • Avoid the use of extension cords in the home, and prevent damage and overheating by never running them under rugs or carpeting.
  • Be careful when replacing light bulbs, as they can get hot quickly.

Indiana Electric Cooperatives adds that the right choices about lighting can make your home a safer place:

  • As we age, our sight declines. Improved lighting can help to prevent trips and falls while reducing irritating glare.
  • Installing lighting above work areas such as kitchen counters and workbenches makes activities safer.
  • More light in bathtub and shower areas can call attention to slippery spots.
  • Stairs should be well-lit, with switches at both the bottom and the top.

“If a lamp or any other electrical device becomes broken, don’t try to repair it on your own,” Coons notes. “It’s much safer to take it to a pro or simply replace it.”