Appliances make life easy, but they can also pose a dangerous threat to your home and family. These items run on electricity and improper care could start a fire, blow a fuse and more. Fortunately, by changing a few habits, you can rest easy knowing that your home security devices, refrigerator or television won’t cause an emergency. Here’s how:

Spread Out Your Plugs

Socket overload is a real threat, especially in rooms where you have a lot of appliances – which seems to be most rooms these days. Arrange your furniture so that one outlet doesn’t have to provide electricity for a majority of your appliances. Ideally, every outlet should only have one item plugged in it. However, if you need to plug in more devices, use a power strip. These devices have their own fuse so if the outlet shorts, your appliances will be safe, and so will you!

Check For Frays

Your power cords and plugs can fray over time, exposing bare wires that pose an electrical threat. Whether your pet chewed up the wire or you ran over it with a vacuum one too many times, worn cords can be dangerous. Keep a schedule of when you last examined the cords in your house – consider checking at the same time you test the batteries on your smoke detector.

You can fix frays by wrapping the damaged or worn area with electrical tape, which is available at hardware stores. However, if a fray is bad or an outlet is damaged, call your electrician to fix it.

Don’t Place Wires Near Heat

Never let appliance cords hang over heat sources, such as a toaster, stove or radiator. The heat can melt the plastic wire coating and metal is dangerous to place near a toaster that is being used. If you have to rearrange your kitchen for safer cord placement, then do so. A smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector should be located on every floor of your home, but you should definitely place one in the kitchen. Should an appliance melt a cord, the smoke detector will sound the alarm.

Connect to Device First

Some appliances have a detachable power cord. When using these items, attach the cord to the device before plugging it into the wall. This prevents an electric shock caused by a wall charge traveling into the appliance before the cord is plugged in. Unplug the cord from the wall, then the appliance, when you are done using it.

Don’t Pull Cords

Unplug an appliance by gripping the plug and pulling it from the wall. Never pull on the cord because you could damage it.

Separate Appliances From Liquid

Keep your electrical appliances far away from liquid. Do not place bowls or cups on top of televisions or microwaves, as a spill could cause the device to short circuit. Furthermore, avoid bringing appliances into the bathroom as much as possible and never use them near running water. When you blow dry your hair near the sink, be sure the faucet is off and that there is no water nearby.

Unplug When Not in Use

Unplug your devices when you are not using them. If your appliances are in hard-to-reach places, plug them into a power strip and turn that off before going to bed. The switch should be easy to access. Your home security system can remain plugged in at all times because you want it to protect your home 24/7. Simply plug this device into its own outlet.

Follow Directions

Follow the manufacturer instructions when you wash an appliance (such as blender) with water. These directions will prevent you from electrocuting yourself on accident. Furthermore, always check that the item is unplugged before washing it.