I found these great tips on ESFI.org* – Electrical Safety Foundation International. Keep in mind May is electrical safety month!
All electrical work in your home should be performed by a licensed electrician in accordance with local and national codes. Have your home electrical system inspected by a qualified professional if:
* Your home is 40 years old or older;
* You purchase a previously-owned home;
* Your home has undergone a major renovation; or
* You have added major new appliances in the last 10 years.
Consider having your circuit breakers replaced with arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs), which provide enhanced electrical fire protection by detecting dangerous arcing conditions.
Make sure all electrical panel circuits are properly labeled. Always replace fuses or circuit breakers with the correct size and amperage.
Use ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)-protected outlets in areas where electricity is near a water source, like in the kitchen and bathroom.
Every month, use the TEST buttons to check that GFCIs, AFCIs, and smoke alarms are working properly.
Routinely check cords, outlets, switches, and appliance for signs of damage. Do not use damaged electrial devices.
Do not overload outlets with too many devices or appliances.
Do not use extension cords on a permanent basis, and never use them with major appliances.
Never run electrical cords under rugs or carpets. Do not pinch cords under furniture or in windows/doors.
Always use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture.
Look and listen for warning signs of an electrical problem. Contact ARC Electric Company is you observe any of the issues below.
* Frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers;
* A tingling feeling or slight shock when you touch an appliance
* Outlets and/or switches that are warm or make crackling, sizzling or buzzing noises; or
* Flickering or dimming lights.