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Good-Practice Guidelines for Electronics

A family using electronic devices

Larry DiFoggio, President and Electrical Consultant of DiFoggio Electric, the full-service electrical contracting company that, in large part, has kept Boston running for over 40 years, wishes he could do what he and his colleagues usually do right now: fix things. It’s unsettling to be grappling with something that is real but unseen. “That’s my biggest problem,” says DiFoggio. “I can’t fix things like this. I can fix anything else, but I can’t fix illness.” Still, as a veteran on Boston’s electrical front, he is eager to help homeowners in the best way he knows how—by sharing safety tips with regard to electronics for families holed up at home.

1) Power down computers, cell phones, iPads, TVs and other electronic devices and let them rest and recharge. As so many people are working from home and students are learning—and playing—online, this is DiFoggio’s number-one safety tip. “They have the potential of overheating and causing a fire,” he says. “Nothing is so important that you have to be on these things all day long.”

2) Take cell phones and iPads out of their cases to recharge them, and don’t charge them all at once. By staggering when they charge, you’ll ensure that you always have one or two devices fired up in the event of a larger power outage. Also, don’t let your children leave their devices under blankets or pillows.

3) Address your smoke detectors if you haven’t already. Now is a good time to cross this off your to-do list.

4) Since you are home and have the time to do it, take a visual tour of your house. Make sure you don’t have too many things plugged in. Walk around your attic and basement to make sure nothing looks amiss. “Even as a layperson, if something doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t,” says DiFoggio. If you see anything suspicious, “such as an outlet that has black coming out of it,” call your local electrician. It should be looked at.

QUICK CIRCUIT-BREAKER FIX: With so many people at home at once, if there are too many things plugged in (i.e. a hair dryer running in the bathroom, a vacuum in the living room), it’s likely you may have overloaded the system and, as a result, tripped the circuit breaker. Should this happen, go to the basement and find the panel, advises DiFoggio. If it’s not apparent which breaker is off, shut off each breaker and return to the original position, one at a time, to reset the mechanism. If you’ve cleared the fault, the problem should be fixed.

 Photo by monkeybusinessimages

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