Skip to main content

Read this electrical safety checklist before your next at-home project

So you’re starting a DIY flooring project. Or maybe you’re about to launch some major remodeling in your kitchen or living room – which requires you to open walls and floors. Before embarking on any new DIY project that involves electrical work or major renovations like opening walls or redoing flooring, you should consider going over an electrical safety checklist like this one.

Electrical wiring can be dangerous for inexperienced homeowners. When planning your new kitchen reno or even just moving around your furniture, you could run into some electrical cord problems that may cause hazards down the road. 

Here is what you should look out for before starting your next renovation project.

Electrical outlet safety

Electrical outlets are a common cause of house fires. Improper care, aged wiring, and poor planning have contributed to the failure of electrical outlets time and again. It’s best to schedule routine checkups each year to inspect the condition of your home. You can do these inspections yourself or hire a professional to come in and do it for you. 

Remember, when performing this checklist yourself, you should contact a professional as soon as possible if anything seems off.

home electrical work by electrician
Etaphop photo/Shutterstock

Cords and plugs

  • Check all cords and plugs for frays or exposed wire. Replace immediately if spotted.
  • Do not use extension cords as a permanent source. If need be, contact an electrician to see if it’s possible to add another outlet in the space you need.
  • Don’t overload one outlet with multiple cords or sources of heat and energy as this will create a power surge and may cause a fire.
  • Make sure all major appliances like refrigerators, stoves, washers, and dryers are plugged directly into wall outlets and not extension cords or surge protectors.
  • When working in the basement or looking for long-term cords, opt for water-resistant cords. Do your best to keep cords off of the ground in basements, kitchens, and bathrooms.
  • Make sure that plugs fit snuggly into your outlets. If they don’t, the outlet may need to be replaced.


  • Only use lightbulbs that suit the recommended wattage of your lamp or light source.
  • Make sure all lamps or floodlights are on level ground. For example, when renovating a room, your spotlights should be on the ground and level to prevent falling over.


  • Schedule regular cleanings of your kitchen exhaust fan to prevent buildup.
  • Do not use extension cords with space heaters.
  • Make sure you are not using a space heater in the bathroom.
  • Unplug small appliances like toasters, coffee makers, hairdryers, etc., when not in use.
  • Ensure that you clean your oven every six months and be sure to remove any combustibles or plastics within a two-foot radius of the appliance.
  • Clean the debris from the back of your fridge to prevent a fire hazard.

Other considerations

  • Check all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly.
  • Make sure your electrical box is easy to access and has a clear path leading to it.
  • Make sure all of your circuits are properly labeled and easy to read.

Can an electrical outlet cause a fire?

The short answer is yes. Outlets typically don’t catch fire on their own, however. It’s most common for outlet fires to start due to bad cords or faulty wiring. This is why it is crucial to inspect your cords often to ensure there is no damage to them.

exposed power outlet during home construction
Lisa F. Young / Shutterstock

Warning signs

Here are some of the warning signs to look out for during a home DIY project or in general as your home and electrical systems begin to age.

  • You feel a tingling sensation when you touch light switches or outlets.
  • You regularly experience blowing a fuse. 
  • An appliance begins to smell odd, like burning rubber or smoke.
  • Any of your appliances have been submerged or have set in water. (Throw away any waterlogged appliances immediately).
  • You notice flickering lights or outlets that begin to spark.

If you experience any of these signs, you should contact your landlord or a licensed electrician as soon as possible.

When to get a professional

Suppose you notice any of the above warning signs regarding your electrical system or you are planning a larger remodel. In that case, you should contact a licensed electrician to go over your reno plans with you. Experts will be able to offer the best advice for your renovation plans to ensure the safety of your home. Additionally, they will let you know if any electrical work will need to be done in order for your remodeling dreams to become a reality.

Editors' Recommendations

Amelia Wilson
Amelia Wilson (author pen name Amelia J. Wilson) is a content writer in Greenwood, IN. She often enjoys topics on…
7 summer home improvement projects to hop on right now
These home improvement projects will help you get your house in order this summer
Exterior of light-colored house.

Summer is the season for DIY projects. But before you embark on your next wish list task, it’s a good idea to hop on some quick home maintenance projects. It’s easy to get too relaxed or lean into the need to have some fun as the warm weather arrives. You might think that you can put off these maintenance projects until next year. However, tackling them before starting something new will help ensure your property is in tip-top shape before the seasons change once again.

Below are seven of the best summer home improvement projects homeowners should evaluate and fix up if necessary.

Read more
Buying a forever home? This site shows how future flooding could affect your neighborhood
This research shows the real impact of being cut off from rising sea levels
best netflix ocean documentary woman

Buying a new home is one of the biggest decisions you'll make in your life. It can be stressful, and in addition to all the considerations like schools, location, neighborhood, and home type, you also need to plan for emergencies. For those looking to buy on one of the coasts, flooding can be one of those risks you need to think about when finding your forever home. But not just flooding of your home; what will happen if that flooding results in your home being displaced from essential services like grocery stores, hospitals, and schools? It's not something we think about every day, but for some, that possibility is closer than you may think.

A group of researchers from the University of Maryland and University of Canterbury showed that "targeted, effective, and timely climate change adaptation planning relies on estimates of how many people may be forced from their homes by sea-level rise and when this displacement will start to occur." Simply put, they measured the possible isolation driven by sea level rise due to climate change.

Read more
New research says your smart home devices are teeming with bacteria
A new study by Vivint proves your smart home devices may have more bacteria than your kitchen sink
Woman using a smart home device in the kitchen with a toaster

Smart home devices have transformed the way many homeowners interact with their spaces, particularly since the pandemic, when many were trying to eliminate viral and bacterial contamination in their homes. But what if our smart home devices aren’t as clean as we hoped? A new study from Vivint brings light to research that proves our smart home devices may be teeming with bacteria. Here’s what you need to know.

What was Vivint’s study?
Vivint aimed to examine the number of bacteria and other living microorganisms that call our smart devices their home. To do so, Vivint looked for four types of bacteria that could be living on the devices. Then, Vivint used CFUs — colony-forming units — to determine the "number of these living microorganisms on a given surface." Vivint said it then "analyzed how many CFUs of each type of germ had amassed on a number of home security components." With this process, the study produced alarming results for many homeowners who may have colonies of bacteria literally at their fingertips.

Read more