How Can I Prevent Electrical Fires
Electricity is everywhere in your house, from the kitchen cabinets to your bathroom walls. Electrical fires are common in residential buildings, and they account for a considerable percentage of fires annually. Unfortunately, electrical fires cause deaths, injuries, and costly property damages.
Electrical fires are more common in homes that were constructed several decades ago because of outdated electrical wiring systems. However, newer homes are not immune to electrical fires. The good news is that you can prevent electrical fires at home by taking preventative measures. Read through to learn ways to prevent electrical fires and keep your home safe. Some of the common causes of residential electrical fires may include:
- Poor maintenance of lighting fixtures
- Incorrectly installed wiring
- Damaged electrical appliances
- Improper or defective switches, outlets, and plugs
- Overloaded extension cords and circuits
- Faulty wiring
- Faulty or poorly maintained space heaters
Hire Qualified Electricians
You need to have at least one qualified electrician who can help keep your wiring system in perfect condition. Many electrical fires are caused by poor wiring or errors in installing or servicing electrical appliances. Please avoid doing any electrical work by yourself, unless you are an expert. It’s best to leave all the electrical work, no matter how small, to a professional electrician.
Don’t hire just any electrician. Ensure that the person you hire for electrical work is experienced, licensed, certified, and qualified. A licensed electrician can inspect and fix faulty switches and outlets and replace malfunctioning or outdated circuit breakers and fuses. The electrician can also ensure that all electrical modifications or installations in your home meet the standards and existing codes and inspect your home’s electrical system for needed repairs. Further, don’t forget to hire an electrician to inspect the property before moving into or purchasing a home.
Watch for Warning Signs
Your electrical system will typically send signals when there’s an issue. In a bid to keep your home safe and prevent electrical fires, homeowners in Seattle should learn warning signs of electrical problems. It’s wise to contact a qualified and certified electrician to inspect your home’s electrical system if you notice these issues:
- Discolored switch plates, cords, and outlets
- Dimming or flickering lights
- Tripped circuit breakers
- Repeatedly blown fuses
- Outlets and switches that are too hot to touch
- An unusual or acrid odor
Inspect Electrical Outlets
You can prevent electrical fires by ensuring that all electrical outlets are tight and fitted to the wall. A loose-fitting outlet, cord, or plug can cause fires or an electric shock. If you notice any missing or broken wall plates, call a qualified electrician to install a new wall plate over an outlet to avoid exposed electrical wiring. Remember to cover all unused outlets with a protective cover if you have pets or young kids who move around the house. It can prevent electrical injuries like electrocution.
Use Surge Protectors
Overloading outlets with several plugs can cause electrical fires. Therefore, you can prevent them by using power bars or surge protectors and placing them in your home’s electrical outlets. Ensure that you don’t plug more than three cords at a time to avoid overloading. Remember to buy power bars with internal overload protection for your home’s safety. Internal overload protection is essential in shutting down the power bar when it gets overloaded, preventing electrical fires.
Replace Damaged Plugs or Cords
Faulty wiring systems can cause electrical fires. A damaged cord leaves your home’s electrical system prone to several things, such as water, that could cause a series of issues that might end in an electrical fire. It would be best to call a well-trained electrician as soon as you notice anything frayed, worn out, or tattered. It’s not advisable to cut and patch electrical wires or replace the socket. An electrician can perform the replacement task professionally and protect your home from electrical fires.
Keep Electrical Cords Away From Water
Electrical cords that are placed near a water source like a sink or bathtub can be hazardous. Also, placing electrical cords under furniture, carpets or rugs can be risky because they could cause a fire when frayed and get into contact with the furniture or carpet. Ensure that you place electrical cords in low-traffic spots so that you don’t step on them often or damage them. You can also prevent an electrical fire by avoiding stapling or nailing electrical cords to floors or walls because you can interfere with the electrical current and cause electrical hazards.
Avoid Fixtures Exceeding Allowed Wattage
Some people use fixtures that exceed their socket’s wattage, which can be risky. If you do that, you overburden your sockets, and they fail to withstand the heavy appliance or equipment. Consequently, it could cause an electrical fire in minutes. You can keep your home safe from electrical fires by using the right light bulbs in fixtures. Check to ensure that bulbs in your home are correctly screwed in because improperly secured bulbs can overheat, causing a fire. Use appliances that match your home’s power supply. Make sure that all your electrical equipment matches your home’s socket wattage.
Avoid Old Sockets and Unsafe Appliances
Old and unsafe appliances that don’t meet the modern safety electrical standards are a culprit of electrical fires in homes, so it’s safer to buy appliances that meet modern safety standards. Also, ensure that you hire a professional electrician to replace old sockets for a stable electrical current in your home.
Disconnect Appliances When Not in Use
Try to disconnect small appliances, such as hair dryers, electric kettles, and toasters when they’re not in use. It can help to save electricity and reduce the risk of electrical fires caused by these appliances. Also, prevent electrical fires by unplugging all appliances, like the fridge and microwave, before cleaning them. Water should never come into contact with appliances that are plugged in if you want to prevent an electric fire.
Keep Portable Heaters at Safe Distance
Portable heaters can be hazardous. Keep them away from furniture, blankets, curtains, or carpets, and avoid leaving them on for a long time, especially if you are leaving the house or sleeping. It’s a good idea to inspect your space heater’s cord when you bring it out of storage to be sure that it hasn’t degraded while you weren’t using it.
Update Electrical Wiring Often
Update your electrical wiring at least once a decade to prevent electrical hazards. You can hire a professional electrician to recommend additional protection or to pinpoint areas of the electrical system that require upgrades. For instance, installing smoke detectors in your home is crucial in preventing electrical fires. Remember to replace smoke detectors at least every 10 years.
Electric fires cause injuries, deaths, and damage that can be devastating, leaving you in debt. Most electrical fires in homes can be attributed to negligence and using faulty or damaged appliances. You can use these tips to keep your home safe from electrical fires.
We have qualified, experienced, and certified electricians who will regularly inspect and maintain your home’s electrical system. You can also rely on us for other services, such as home generator systems, full-service changes, panel change-outs, and ground rod installation. Seattle residents can call Brennan Electric if they need help keeping their homes safe from electrical fires. Call us today to schedule an appointment with our experienced and qualified professionals!