We tend to be good at remembering to check the expiration date of the foods stored in our fridge, but don’t always pay attention to the household electronics that surround us. Once the usefulness date is passed, some items can actually be hazardous. Here are the top five household electronics to keep an eye out for!
1. Power Strips
Although there is no written expiration date, power strips generally have a 1-2 year lifespan. Any power strip has a certain capacity and if you exceed it, your power strip goes bad and may cause serious problems. Cheap power strips can be overworked and use a lot of energy in the house and good-quality ones are only designed to last for a certain amount of joules, or energy. For a pro-tip, only buy surge protectors and power strips with a UL or OSHA rating. When they start to get discolored or hot to touch, buy a new one. Avoid a potential electric fire and replace them every couple of years to keep you and your electronics safe.
2. Power Outlet
Electrical outlets over time wear out and begin to lose their grip. Loose-fitting plugs can arc, which causes a high power discharge of electricity that can create a lot of heat. Because of this and many other causes, power outlets are the leading cause of electric fires in the home. Experts recommend changing them every 4-5 years; if your power sockets are hot to the touch or have started to get discolored, it’s time to buy new ones. Do not take these for granted!
3. Fire and Carbon Monoxide Alarms/Detectors
Older smoke/fire/CO detectors don’t work as well as newer ones. It’ s best to replace these every 10 years or so, even if the batteries are replaced. The National Fire Alarm Code requires smoke alarms to be replaced every 10 years and most homes have expired alarms. Most should have the expiration or manufacture date listed on them. If you move into a new home and are not sure where to find the expiration date, replace them just to be safe.
Batteries begin to expire as soon as they’re made. They contain acid which, after long periods of time, can corrode and start to leak and ruin other electronics. The crusty film that appears around the batteries is corrosion, and if you see it it’s sayonara. There is an expiration date printed on the batteries or the package itself. The shelf life differs between types, sizes, and how well they are stored. For old batteries, don’t throw them in the trash – take them to a household hazardous waste site. For storing, put them in a dry, room-temperature location, and be sure to check the date. If you live in humid conditions, proper practices will overall limit the amount of that buildup.
5. Kitchen Appliances
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) put together a list of the life expectancy for kitchen appliances around the home. Generally, a compactor lasts 6 years, a dishwasher 9 years, a disposer 12 years, a microwave oven 9 years, electric range oven 13 years and a refrigerator 13 years. This is important to know especially for new renovations or even when upgrading old kitchen appliances. Just like anything else in the house, kitchen appliances have an average life expectancy and will eventually reach its expiration date.
Ready for Your Home Energy Audit?
At Frontline Electrical Services we love helping our customers feel safe and secure in their homes. If you are in the Benicia or Fairfield, California area, contact us today at at (800) 945-0268 (here is a map to us) to have your home’s wiring checked or to receive your free home energy consult where our techs analyze your electricity usage and give you the information you need to make sure your home is the most energy-efficient it can be! Remember, if it’s electrical, we do it!