Fredericksburg, Va. Electricity plays many roles in our lives, from powering baby monitors, cell phones and lighting, to running HVAC systems and appliances. When we flip a switch, we expect most systems or devices to do their jobs.

May is National Electrical Safety Month, and Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) reminds you that now is a great time to look around your home and check for potential safety hazards.

“Remember, every electrical device has a purpose and a service lifespan,” said John Medved, Director of Safety, Compliance and Security Services at REC. “While we can extend their operations with maintenance and care, they are not designed to last or work forever.”

REC recommends the following periodic inspections:

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) 

Outdoor outlets or those in potentially damp locations in a kitchen, bathroom or laundry room often include GFCI features. They are designed to sense abnormal current flows, breaking the circuit to prevent potential electric shocks from devices plugged into the outlets.

The average GFCI outlet is designed to last about 10 years, but in areas prone to electrical storms or power surges, they can wear out in five years or less. Check them frequently by pressing the red test button. Make sure you hit the black reset button when you are done. Contact a licensed electrician to replace any failing GFCI outlets.