Be Smart & Safe

Electricity is an important part of our everyday lives but it can also be very dangerous. We’ve provided some important safety information to help give you peace of mind.

Electrical Safety Tips

Indoor Safety

  • Always unplug appliances before you clean them.
  • Don’t overload outlets with cords.
  • Have your circuits and wiring checked if your fuses or circuit breakers blow often.
  • Unplug small appliances when you’re done using them and move them to the back of your counters.
  • Use all three prongs of your electric plugs and replace worn cords immediately. Never force a plug into an outlet or tack cords to walls or floors.
  • Never stick anything other than an electrical plug into an outlet. Teach kids the same. Use outlet covers when kids are too young to understand.
  • Keep appliances away from water and sinks.
  • Only use appliances that are approved by Underwriters Laboratories (UL should be on the label).
  • Give your appliances room to breathe all the way around the unit. Don’t use them in cabinets or too close to walls.
  • Level your appliances so they don’t tip. Too much movement can cause stress on electrical connections – especially with clothes washers and dryers.
  • Be careful not to knock over space heaters or keep them near combustibles.
  • Keep electric blankets in good condition and watch for breaks in the wiring, plugs or connectors. Look for charred spots. Don’t place other bedding on top of an electrical blanket and don’t let pets sleep on them to avoid overheating.
  • Don’t run cords under carpets or furniture, which can overheat and cause a fire.
  • Never unplug anything by pulling the cord. Use the base of the plug to remove it from the outlet.

Outdoor Safety:

  • Outdoor outlets should be on a circuit protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFI).
  • Don’t fly kites near power lines.
  • Don’t climb trees near power lines.
  • Keep television and radio antennas away from power lines.
  • If you have overhead power lines, be cautious of the drop line from the utility pole to your house. Don’t touch it or let other wires touch it.
  • Overhead powers lines are NOT insulated, so don’t touch them!
  • Don’t let kids play near pad-mounted transformers.
  • Before digging, call 811 to have your underground power lines located.
  • Never touch a downed power line or try to remove it if it hits a car. Call the electric company immediately.

If an accident occurs:

  • If a power line is down, don’t touch it. Call your electric company and warn others. If a power line falls on your car while you are in it, stay inside unless it catches fire. If it catches fire, jump clear of the car and power line without touching metal and the ground at the same time.
  • When someone receives an electric shock, their breathing and heartbeat could stop. Shocks can also burn skin, nerves, tissue and muscles inside the body. Do not touch the person or attempt to move them. Turn off the main power source and call 911. If the person is not breathing or the person’s heart has stopped, make sure that he/she is not connected to the source of electric shock and perform CPR.

Energy Efficiency Tips

Heating & Cooling

  • Have a professional check your heating and cooling system once a year. Just like cars, your unit needs a tune-up to run efficiently. You can also clean and replace your filters monthly to lengthen the life of your system.
  • Insulate leaks or separations at the joint of your unit. You can use mastic, butyl tape, foil tape, or other heat-approved tapes. Insulate duct work as well.
  • Keep furniture and drapes away from heating vents and radiator valves so air can flow freely. Close vents in rooms that are not in use and keep the door shut to prevent heating/cooling of an extra room.
  • Keep your thermostat as low as is comfortable in the winter. Use blankets and extra layers to keep warm. Every degree over 68 adds three percent more energy usage to your utility bill.
  • Use the sunlight to heat your house. Keep blinds and curtains open in the day and closed at night.
  • Purchase a programmable thermostat and program it to turn off when you leave and to come on right before you get home.
  • Buy a humidifier. It takes a higher temperature to feel comfortable when the air is dry, which is normally in the winter months.
  • As with your heating system, you should have regular maintenance performed by professionals. Also, it is advised to change your filters monthly.
  • Insulate leaks or separations at the joint of your unit. You can use mastic, butyl tape, foil tape, or other heat-approved tapes. Insulate duct work as well.
  • Keep furniture and drapes away from heating vents and radiator valves so air can flow freely. Close vents in rooms that are not in use and keep the door shut to prevent heating/cooling of an extra room.
  • Purchase a programmable thermostat and program it to turn off when you’re not home and to come on right before you get home.
  • In mild temperatures, open your windows.
  • Keep blinds and curtains closed when the sun is brightest.
  • Use ceiling fans and stand-alone fans to keep cool.
  • Caulk and weather-strip leaks in your house. If properly sealed, you can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling. Seal anywhere you feel a draft, including areas where plumbing, ductwork, or electrical wiring go through exterior walls. Also check attics, basements, and crawlspaces.
  • Install storm doors and windows for an additional layer of insulation.
  • Insulate attics, basements, living areas, and crawlspaces. Your local home improvement store can help you decide which type – fiberglass, cellulose, rigid foam board, spray foam – is best for your home. If you can only do one place in your home, make it the attic!


  • Install low-flow faucets and showerheads
  • Take showers instead of baths
  • Repair leaky faucets ASAP!
  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.
  • Let dishes soak in the sink.
  • Don’t water the cement – aim only for your lawn.
  • Use a hose with a shut-off nozzle.
  • Only run full loads of laundry or dishes.
  • Turn down the thermostat on your water heater. A setting of 120 degrees is suitable.
  • Insulate your water heater to prevent heat from escaping around the tank. You can also insulate the first six feet of hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater.
  • When the time is right, purchase a more energy-efficient water heater. Look for one with the Energy Star label.


  • Clean condenser coils every three months or less. Dust reduces the efficiency of the unit and increases energy consumption.
  • Check the seal on your refrigerator door. Close the door over a piece of paper and try to pull the paper out. If it comes out easily, you should have the seal replaced.
  • Keep the temperature in your refrigerator at 37 to 40 degrees and in your freezer at five degrees. Check the temperature by placing an appliance thermometer in a glass of water inside for 24 hours.
  • Cover liquids and wrap foods that are stored in the refrigerator to keep it from working too hard. Liquids and food release moisture that can cause the unit to be less efficient.
  • Wait for food to cool before placing it in the unit. The refrigerator will have to work harder to bring the food to the temperature inside.
  • Only keep the door open as long as necessary!
  • Use a microwave whenever possible. They only use a third to half of the energy that a conventional oven uses.
  • Make sure the seal on the oven door is tight. Try not to open the oven too much when baking. You lose 20 percent of the heat inside each time it is opened.
  • Use lids on pots and pans and cook at lower settings.
  • Use the burner size that best fits the pot you use. Heat and energy are wasted if you use a burner that is larger than the pot.
  • Keep the drip pans under coil burners clean. And don’t line them with aluminum foil, which reflects heat and can damage the elements.
  • Turn the oven off right before the food is finished cooking. Let the remaining heat finish the cooking.
  • If the flame for your pilot light and burner is yellow (it should be blue), the port needs to be unclogged or adjusted. You can use a pipe cleaner to clean it – just make sure it has cooled off!
  • A gas burner only uses 55 percent of the energy it produces and traditional electric ranges only use 65 percent. Get an induction cooktop, which uses 90 percent of the energy it produces.
  • Run your dishwasher with a full load. Running small loads wastes energy because you do it more often.
  • Let your dishes air dry.
  • Don’t worry about rinsing dishes unless food is burned on or dried on. You can scrape off large pieces of food left on dishes.
  • Next time you’re in the market for a dishwasher, buy one with the Energy Star label. They use 25 percent less energy than federal standards require.

About 90 percent of the energy used to run a washing machine goes to heating the water. To reduce the amount of energy used to wash clothing, use less water and use cold water. Here are some simple tips to reduce your utility bill and energy consumption when washing and drying laundry.

  • Wash clothes in cold water and use cold water detergents.
  • Wash and dry full loads to maximize your time and efficiency.
  • Next time you’re in the market for a washer, buy one that has the Energy Star label. They use 50 percent less energy than regular washers.
  • Dry heavy items like towels in separate loads from light-weight items like clothes.
  • Dry lighter items first.  They will give the dryer a chance to heat up, requiring less energy used to heat up the dryer for the next load of heavier laundry.
  • Finish drying clothes with the residual heat in the dryer by utilizing the cool-down cycle.
  • Don’t over-dry laundry. Use a moisture setting if your dryer has one.
  • Clean the lint trap to increase air circulation, and inspect it periodically to be sure nothing is blocking it. This also prevents fires.


  • LEDs are more expensive than regular incandescent bulbs; however, they use 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer.
  • LEDs emit very little heat. In comparison, incandescent bulbs release 90% of their energy as heat, and CFLs release about 80% of their energy as heat.
  • By 2027, widespread use of LEDs could save about 348 TWh (compared to no LED use) of electricity. This is the equivalent annual electrical output of 40 large electric power plants (1000 megawatts each), and a total savings of more than $30 billion at today’s electricity prices.
  • LED bulbs:
    • 40-watt incandescent = about 450 lumens
    • 60-watt incandescent = about 800 lumens
    • 75-watt incandescent = about 1100 lumens
    • 100-watt incandescent = about 1600 lumens

Please visit, Indiana Municipal Power Agency website.