Equipment common to most home offices include laptops, desktop computers, printers, fax machines, smart phones and sizable monitors for video conferencing purposes. All of these digital appliances require large amounts of electricity, with desktop computers using the most wattage. We take it for granted that our home office will continue to hum away every day, powered by our energy and Internet providers. But what happens when we take for granted the rules of electrical safety while working in our home office?
How many outlets are in your home office right now? Are they filled with plug-ins from your computer, printer or other digital appliance? Are you using a cheap extension cord to make up for a lack of outlets? If so, your remote work office may be an electrical disaster waiting to happen.
3 Warning Signs of Impending Electrical Overload
If your home office lights seem to dim for a second when you turn on several office appliances simultaneously, this could indicate voltage drop due to overloaded outlets, defective wiring or insufficient wiring leading to your home office.
Buzzing or Humming Sounds
That faint buzzing sound you hear may not be hornets flying outside of your office’s window screen. Instead, it could be outlets or switches slowly stressing under an electrical overload. Get down on the floor and put your ear up to an outlet you suspect is buzzing to verify it is the outlet making a humming noise. If it is, unplug everything and call Electrical Pros for immediate assistance.
Circuit Breaker Tripping
Tripping a circuit breaker when you power up is never a good sign. Reasons for a circuit breaker trip include ground fault, overload or short circuit. A ground fault is particularly dangerous if it happens near a bathroom, kitchen or other area with high moisture levels. Only a certified electrician should investigate reasons for circuit breaker trips due to the risk of fire and shock.
Tips for Improving Electrical Safety While Working in Your Remote Home Office
- At the first sign of wear and tear on electrical cords, replace them with new cords. Plugging in equipment with frayed or cracked power cords may result in shock, sparking or fire.
- Never allow electrical cords to lay over door entrances or in high traffic areas. They’ll likely get stepped on or someone will trip over them and hurt themselves. Instead, call the Electrical Pros for affordable installation of extra outlets in your home office.
- Never run power cords under rugs or mats. Not only does this invite overheating and increases the risk of fire but cords can’t cool down as quickly as they should.
- Extension cords should not be considered a permanent solution to lack of electrical outlets. They are designed as a temporary resolution when using something for a short time. Outdoor extension cords should not be considered a permanent fix, either. The thickness of outdoor extension cords serves only one purpose: to protect wires from inclement weather.
- When operating multiple computers at one time in your home office, it’s always best to use one outlet to plug in one computer or other device. In addition to overloading circuits, cramming an outlet by using multi-prong adapters may diminish the power you need to complete a work task or have a video conference with clients or coworkers. Our electricians can determine how many more outlets you need according to the number of devices you use in your remote workspace.
What Happens When Your Electricity Goes Out and You’ve Got Work To Do?
Early in the pandemic, remote workers discovered the biggest downside of having a home office: severe weather. Blizzards, raging thunderstorms, floods and wind events can cause widespread power outages that last for days. But what if you’ve got projects due and your boss isn’t a patient person?
Backup (standby) generators have saved many remote workers from spending hours stressing over important projects and having no idea when their electric company will restore power. A backup generator kicks in when your home’s electricity is shut off due to bad weather, circuit overloads or transformer blow-ups. Larger standby generators powered by strong motors can run for as long as three weeks, depending on how much power your home needs. Fuel options for backup generators include propane, diesel or gas lines that can be hooked up to the generator.
Contact the Electric Pros today for rules of electrical safety while working from home and how we can help with your home office upgrades, generator installation or any of your home’s electrical needs.