One of the leading causes of residential fires in the United States is electrical fires. According to the U.S. Fire Administration or USFA, between 2014 to 2016, about 24,000 home electrical fires occurred each year which have claimed an estimated average of 850 injuries, 310 deaths, and $871 million property losses.
While electricity has become a necessity in today’s modern lifestyle, it is essential that every homeowner keeps in mind that abuse and mishandling can have dangerous consequences. Many residential electrical fires are caused by faulty installations, misuse of extension cords, inadequate wiring, and overloaded circuits. More importantly, the majority of these electrical fires are both avoidable and preventable.
Steven and electrical repair contractor from www.electricianatlanta.net recommends that homeowners to make electrical safety a top priority to mitigate the risks of electrical fires. Below are simple tips you can take to protect your family and home from the dangers of electrical fires:
The first step towards preventing electrical fires is for homeowners to be aware of potential electrical hazards around the home. Some of the common electrical fire hazards at home include the following:
- Old or outdated outlets, cords, and appliances
- Portable heaters
- Light bulbs with wattages that are too high for the lighting fixture
- Overcharging and the use of faulty charging devices
- Overloaded circuits
- Do not plug in too many devices in one outlet to prevent overloading.
- Remember that extension cords are not intended for permanent wiring, use them only as a temporary solution. Contact a licensed electrician for additional installation if you need more outlets at home.
- It’s always best to avoid cutting corners by attempting to do electrical works at home on your own. You can ensure your safety when you hire a qualified electrician to perform repairs, installations, and other electrical works in your home.
- Keep electrical cords away from water and heat sources. Avoid running them beneath rugs, carpets, and furniture.
- Do not force a three-prong plug into a two-prong outlet.
- If your switch or outlets feel warm to touch have a qualified electrician address them right away.
- Conduct a routine inspection to the cords, outlets, and appliances in your home. Replace worn or damaged cords immediately. Loose or broken outlets and plugs are hazards too as they can cause power arcing, and must be addressed properly. If you have defective or malfunctioning appliances, have them checked by a professional as soon as possible.
- Keep heat-producing appliances, such as kettles, irons, hair dryers, and toasters, unplugged when they are not in use.
- Read and follow the directions from the instructional manuals that come with your appliances to ensure proper handling and to prevent electrical malfunction.
- Pay attention to any signs of trouble you notice around the home such as burning smells, charred wires, electrical sparks when you plug in a device in an outlet, and flickering lights.
- Install GFCIs or Ground-fault circuit interrupters in outlets in your homes that are near damp areas such as the kitchen, bathroom, laundry, and the swimming pool.
- Do not let children play with electrical appliances or near electrical outlets. Do not leave appliances and electrical tools on unattended if you have young children or pets around.