Electricity has brought such convenience and progress to human society that almost every home in the world is powered by electric power. Electricity’s vital role in the modern world often leads many to neglect the severe dangers it can pose to life and property.
Per the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), almost 51,000 fires occur each year caused by electricity. The resulting deaths of these fires are numbered at 500, injuries at 1,400, and damage to property calculated to be more than $1.3 billion. These figures are enough proof that the risk of electrical fire isn’t a trivial matter.
Understanding the dos and don’ts of electrical safety is vital for preventing electrical fires at home. Hence, this article outlines the top five steps you can take to safeguard your home house and its members from the dangers of electrical fires.
Common Causes of Electrical Fires
The majority of domestic electrical fires are typically set off due to poorly installed wrong, which is often the work of DIY. Other notorious electrical fires at home agents are misuse of extension cords, new appliance setup, and overloaded circuits. Here is the list of some leading causes of electrical fires are:
- Old wiring
- Putting flammable material close to light fixtures
- Aging electrical appliances and outlets
- Using ungrounded plugs
Perhaps the most unfortunate aspect of fires resulting from electricity is that they are easily avoidable through easy tips like using a heavy duty extension cord or grounded power cords.
With the following five tips, you can take proactive steps to safeguard your home from the outbreak of electrical fires.
Promptly Fix Electrical Faults And Wiring
As earlier mentioned, faulty electrical wiring is one of the primary causes of electrical fires. So you want to check your circuit breaker box frequently to find out if any circuits trip regularly. Next, you want to replace old light fixtures and switches as soon as possible. Ensure that every light in your house is in good condition and no bulb is burned out. Also, you want to prevent accident contacts with any sockets that aren’t in use by covering them.
Electrical wiring is similar to other household items, such that time can take a toll on it, particularly those close to light switches and fixtures. Some of the signs that should alert you that wiring at home is faulty or old are light dimming or fluctuating at night. This is partly why all US homes constructed before 1970 are considered higher risk and should be renovated.
Leave Electrical Works to Certified Electrical Experts
The recent rise in DIY guides and walkthroughs means that more people prefer to tackle household problems themselves and, by doing so, save a few dollars. However, electrical works are not your everyday household problem, and you shouldn’t regard them as such. The sensitive nature of electricity and its potential to destroy life and property means that failing to install the most basic electrical components properly could bring severe consequences.
Hence, you want to trust the electrical works in your home only to experienced and certified electrical experts. Doing this will spare you the ever-present possibility of electric shocks. Apart from this, you don’t have to worry about hidden dangers or the risk of minor mistakes associated with amateur electrical jobs. Hence, considerably reducing the likelihood of sparks that could lead to electrical fires.
Update Inadequate Electrical Wiring And Systems
The transfer of electric current through wiring, plugs, switches, and appliances creates heat. When this heat goes out of hand, this can result in fires. To avoid uncontrollable or excessive heat, it’s vital to exercise extra precaution when using and to store your cords and plugs. The following are some of the essential precautions to keep in mind:
- Avoid passing your cables under beddings, carpets, and other flammable materials. Even doorways or other places that members of your home frequently walk are not advisable.
- Never join together two broken cords and dispose of damaged or frayed cords.
- You can prevent the build-up of excessive heat and shock by ensuring every plug in your house fits perfectly in outlets and sockets.
- Avoid overloading outlets with multi sockets and use extension cords with surge protection instead of outlets. If your outlets are not enough, contact a professional electrician to fix additional ones.
Replace Worn Out Appliances
Old appliances are often the cause of electrical fires due to faulty parts and frayed components like cords. In addition, old insulations used in such appliances are highly flammable. So simply repairing such appliances may not be the right option since it may not be enough to prevent them from catching fire down the line.
Apart from this, using older electrical devices and gadgets also increases the risks of such appliances not meeting the latest standards in terms of material quality, safety regulations, and wattage usage. Items such as fridges, stoves, and air conditioners that fall below the current electrical safety standards are at risk of starting electrical fires. Another crucial issue these appliances have is the dangers they pose when plugged in the same outlet with newer appliances. Therefore, you’re better off buying the latest appliances made to meet new safety standards.
Regularly Undergo Electrical Safety Inspection
To prevent most hazards associated with electricity, it’s always a great idea to undergo electrical safety inspections regularly. Failure to do so may put the lives of your family members at risk and destroy valuable possessions in the event of an electrical fire. Different factors such as age, appliance in use, and load can impact your home’s electrical circuit.
Therefore, before buying or selling a home, an electrical safety inspection is one of the first things to carry out. Or better still, regular inspections in your home will ensure peace of mind since you’ll take steps to avoid the possibility of fire outbreaks due to electrical faults. In performing this inspection, every licensed electrician must adhere to the National Electrical Code (NEC).
Electrical fires are hazardous types of combustion that can have disastrous consequences and are very difficult to put out. This is primarily due to how fast electrical fires can spread beyond control. That’s why prevention is the best approach when it comes to electrical fires. Fortunately, you can save yourself the trouble and financial cost of property damage, injuries, and other losses that accompany electrical fires not only by keeping these tips in mind. But also implementing them properly in your homes, offices, and anywhere they are applicable.