Statistics from the U.S. Fire Administration show that over 25,000 electrical fires happen annually. These fires also result in greater dollar loss per fire compared to nonelectrical fires. Even more startling is the fact that these fires are easily prevented through simple steps. With the holidays coming up soon, complete with Halloween inflatables, straw, cornstalks and soon enough…Christmas lights, we figured it would be a good time to share some helpful tips to keep out Lehigh Valley homeowners safe.
Avoid being a victim of electrical fires and keep these helpful tips in mind.
1. Have an Electrical Inspection
Wiring is not designed to last forever, so hiring an electrician is a good idea if you live in an older home. It’s especially important to know what kind of wiring runs through your house since aluminum wiring is more susceptible to electrical fires than copper wiring.
2. Don’t Overload Outlets
The electrical circuits in your home are designed to send power to each outlet, but there is a limit on how much each one can handle. While it’s tempting to simply plug in an extension cord, be aware of any outlets that may be overloaded. When plugging in multiple items to one outlet, be sure to always use a surge protector. And if your entertainment area needs to house a TV, several streaming devices, and a laptop, consider hiring an electrician to install additional sockets to help spread out the electrical burden and prevent a fire at home.
3. Keep Flammable Materials Away
Any fabric items such as bedding, towels, and rugs should be stored a good distance away from all electrical outlets. This is especially important to pay attention to when hot devices, including space heaters or irons, are plugged in. Also, pay attention to the storage location of any flammable liquids, including lighter fluid and gasoline. Even in a garage, these liquids need to be kept a safe distance away from outlets to help prevent a fire in your home.
4. Watch for Cord or Plug Damage
Keep an eye out for any cords or wiring that show signs of fraying or ripping. These can overheat more easily, and should be replaced as soon as possible. Plugs can also show signs of being worn out or damaged, making them more likely to overheat or spark.
In some instances, such as with a large appliance, you can often simply purchase a replacement cord. In other cases, like a lamp with a faulty plug, the safest option is to replace the entire unit.
5. Be Aware of Appliances
Additional kitchen appliances like instant pots and air fryers are all the rage right now, but be aware of when and where you are plugging them in. Be sure not to overload a kitchen outlet with too many appliances, and always unplug units when they are not being used. If your toaster, microwave, or other appliance emits sparks or begins smoking, stop use immediately, unplug it, and call an electrician to help prevent an electrical fire at home.
6. Pay Attention to Flickering
Unusual signs, including flickering lights or a strange buzzing from an outlet, can be a telltale sign of an electrical problem . Don’t ignore the issue, as this could be a sign of a potential fire hazard. Instead, discontinue using the light or outlet and call a professional electrician to take a look.
7. Install the Correct Number of Smoke Alarms
In the case of an electrical fire, having the correct number of smoke detectors installed in your home can make a huge difference. There should be a unit approximately every 21 feet in your home, including in every bedroom and outside of every sleeping area. Don’t forget to include alarms in areas such as the basement, garage, and attic as well.
It’s also a good idea to have a fire extinguisher on hand at all times. Since electrical fires cannot be put out with water, an extinguisher can help tackle smaller outbreaks.
If you need help with your homes electrical system, or if you are unsure about the safety of your home, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Source: 7 Smart Ways to Prevent Electrical Fires at Home, Angi’s List