Thanksgiving Kitchen Safety
Here are a few items to be conscientious of that may help you to be safer this Thanksgiving and to have a smoother transition from multiple food helpings to your post-meal nap:
Appliances that are utilized to provide heat draw a sizable amount of electricity. For example, typical roaster ovens draw 10-12 amps, hot plates draw 8-12 amps, and Crockpots draw 2-6 amps. Kitchen 120-volt circuits are required by the National Electrical Code® (NEC®) to be 20 amp rated so it would only take a couple of these appliances to overload the maximum circuit ampacity. The NEC also requires that each residential kitchen has at least two 20-amp 120-volt circuits. One suggestion is to determine which kitchen plugs are on what circuit, and split the appliances up accordingly.
Extension cords and multi-outlet splitters are never a good idea in the kitchen. Aside from electrical hazards, they also provide tripping hazards and can hang off of counters where a child may be able to grab ahold and pull an appliance down on themselves. In reality, some will still be willing to take those risks. At minimum, how extension cords and multi-outlet splitters are utilized should be considered. These items are easier to overload than electrical circuit wiring and do not offer overcurrent protection to trip and tell you they are overloaded, like an electrical circuit does. A standard light duty extension cord is typically rated around 13 amps. Plugged into a 20-amp circuit, that extension cord could be well overloaded without the circuit ever tripping, which would add another dimension of safety concerns to the equation – fire.
Ground-fault circuit-interrupter (GFCI) protection should always be utilized for any appliances operated or placed on kitchen countertops. The NEC requires that any kitchen receptacles that are installed to serve the countertop have GFCI protection. That may not be the case for an adjacent room or area where an extension cord could get routed to the kitchen. Not having the necessary GFCI protection is another reason to not utilize that extension cord. GFCI receptacles should also be tested to ensure they are working properly before each use.
Thanksgiving in our home is a routine that I love. Minimizing risk when it comes to electrical safety is necessary to allow us to focus on spending time with one another without interruption or injury.