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Staying Safe With Electric Tools

Dec 13, 2007
Whether we like them or not (but most of us like them anyway), electric tools are a big thing in home maintenance. What is not to like about them, after all? They are convenient, small (they usually are, in comparison to their older counterparts), efficient, require little effort and, most importantly, they get the job done quickly. But electric tools, when used improperly, can pose a danger to you, your home and your family, too. This article will cover some tips and information that you can use to ensure the safety of your home and anyone who uses electric tools in your house.

Check the Numbers

Many people do not really bother with the fine print on the packaging or instruction manuals that come with all of today's tools because they just want to get it out of the box and start using it. Failing to read the instructions that came with your new electric tool could turn out to be a very costly mistake.

Aside, of course, from telling you things like how to properly use the electric tool and how to clean it, the instructions will also tell you the minimum amperage that the electric tool needs to operate and the maximum amperage that it can take. Give it too much, and you run the risk of frying your electric tool's circuitry. Give it too little, and it will probably overheat, if it even works at all. Basically, two factors will dictate how many amps your electric tool will get - the size of the conductor (the gage of the wire) and the length of your cord or cable. A longer cable decreases the amperage that your electric tool is getting because the energy has to travel a larger distance. Meanwhile, a smaller number on the gage of your cable or cord will increase the amperage that the electric tool will get. Find out where your workspace will be in relation to the nearest power socket and then ask for assistance at your nearest hardware store to find the right combination for you.

Keeping It Grounded

Grounding is a critical safety feature when it comes to dealing with electric tools. Grounding prevents overloaded circuits, consequently providing you with protection against sudden electricity surges and similar events.

Many older electric tools, if you will notice, come with a plug that has three prongs. Aside from the two flat prongs that we are all so used to, there's an additional round one between and slightly above them. That connects the plug to the ground that's supposed to be installed in your house's structure (thus, the third hole in every power socket that's supposed to accommodate the ground prong). However, should the three-prong plug prove to be too large or otherwise too unwieldy, many people either opt to remove the ground prong entirely or to use a three-prong to two-prong adapter. Naturally, doing so would circumvent the ground prong and consequently the safety that it ensures. Without it, your electric tool and whoever is using it (presumably you) is vulnerable to a sudden surge of electricity. Never remove the ground prong. If you find that it's impossible or difficult to work with the ground prong, grounded versions of the three-prong to two-prong adapter are available at all hardware stores.

Safety should always be a priority, especially when you're working with something like electric tools. Don't take any shortcuts because you just might end up putting your own safety at risk.
About the Author
Bent Andersen is a DIY kind of guy, who knows his way around most home repairs and tools. He maintains a small website about tools .
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