Top Tips for Avoiding Home Electrical Fires

April 18, 2022
Electrical Emergency Steps in Seattle, WA

Top Tips for Avoiding Home Electrical Fires

As a homeowner, there are many things that you have to worry about when it comes to your home. One of the most common is an electrical fire. By following the tips that we’re going to go over below, you can greatly reduce your risk of experiencing a home electrical fire.

Don’t Overload Outlets

In this day and age, we use a lot of technology that relies on electricity. Before you know it, you may be running out of potential outlets or plugging in things like your TV, streaming devices, laptops, phones, and more. It can be very easy to purchase an extension cord, power strip, or other multi-use devices that allows you to turn a single outlet into multiple outlets. While this might be a convenient feature, it can also be very dangerous. You should stick to the rule of not overloading any of your outlets beyond what the current receptacles are. If you’re in need of more outlets in your home, it’s best to call in an electrician so that they can properly wire up those outlets so that they’re not overloaded.

Be Mindful of Your Cords and Plugs

If you spend a lot of time plugging and unplugging some of your appliances, you may notice that their cords start to develop damage. If you see any signs of wiring fraying or ripping, it’s time to replace that cord. Most major appliances simply allow you to purchase a replacement cord instead of having to purchase an entirely new appliance. You should never be plugging in any cords or plugs that are worn out or damaged. This can increase their risk of overheating and causing a fire in your home.

Keep Flammable Materials Away

One of the easiest ways to have a fire spread quickly throughout your home is to have flammable objects near your outlets. All it takes is one spark of the outlet to set a rug or your bedding aflame. For this reason, you should be keeping any of your flammable materials a good distance away from your electrical outlets. In addition, you want to be very mindful of where you store any of your flammable liquids like lighter fluid or gasoline. These flammable liquids need to be kept a very safe distance away from any of the electrical outlets in your home to help prevent a fire from happening.

Get Unusual Signs Evaluated by a Professional

As a homeowner, it’s easy to pick up on the little things that you notice are different. You may be standing in your living room and notice that your lights are flickering, or you may be in your bathroom and hear a strange buzzing sound coming from your outlet. As soon as you pick up on any of these unusual signs, it’s time to get them checked out by an electrical professional. You never want to ignore issues like these, as they could be a sign of a potential fire hazard waiting to happen.

Get an Electrical Inspection

Probably the most effective way to avoid a residential fire is to have a professional perform an electrical inspection of your home. This inspection will help to identify if there are any known electrical issues with your home, such as a grounding issue or outdated wiring. An electrician is specifically trained to identify potential issues with home electrical systems.

Update Old Wiring

If you live in a fairly older home, it’s likely that it has outdated wiring. The most common types of outdated wiring include aluminum and knob-and-tube. These types of outdated wiring are well-known for starting home fires due to overheating. Additionally, many older homes only have one hundred amps coming in for the electrical service. While this covered our electrical needs 50 years ago, it doesn’t typically cover the electrical demand of today. If your home has 100-amp service, you may want to consider upgrading to 200-amp service so that you don’t overload your electrical circuits.

Don’t Remove the Grounding Prong

In most modern appliances, the plug has three different prongs on it. There are two small prongs and one big prong on the bottom, which is the grounding prong. This is necessary to help protect your home in the event of a power surge or other electrical malfunction. You never want to remove that grounding prong so that you can plug your appliance into a two-prong-only outlet. Rather, you should contact an electrician to have your outlets upgraded to take the grounding prong.

Have GFCI Outlets in Areas With Water Exposure

GFCI outlets are a newer technology that should be utilized in wetrooms throughout your home. You can tell GFCI outlets from the average outlet due to their initial appearance. GFCI outlets are square and have buttons for testing and resetting. These outlets are recommended for rooms where there’s going to be water as they will kill the power to the outlet as soon as it senses that there is an issue. This happens so quickly that it will prevent anyone in your home from being electrocuted or a fire from starting.

Make Sure Your Light Bulb Wattage Is Right

Another great tip to help reduce your risk of experiencing a home electrical fire is to be very mindful of the wattage on the light bulbs that you replaced in your home. You always want to double-check what the socket takes so that you can put in a light bulb that matches that wattage. If you put in a light bulb that has a higher wattage than what the socket calls for, it’s highly likely that the light bulb will actually overheat. When this happens, the heat produced in the bulb can actually melt the light socket and the insulation of the wires inside of it.

Use Surge Protectors

One very handy device that can help to reduce the risk of experiencing an electrical fire in your home is a surge protector. These simply plug into your existing outlets and help to create a surge-free outlet for any appliance that you have. When a power surge happens, the amount of electricity that flows through your circuit and the outlet becomes overloaded. This can cause your appliance to spark and create a fire. A surge protector will help to stop that power surge and prevent a potential fire in your home.

Have Smoke Detectors Installed

While following all of the tips above can help you greatly reduce your risk of ever experiencing a home electrical fire, nothing can eliminate your risk entirely. One of your best measures of defense against an electrical fire is to have smoke detectors throughout your home. These will alert you when there is a fire present so that you can respond quickly. Typically, the quicker you can respond to the electrical fire, the less damage it will do to your home.

Professional Electrician Services

Brennan Electric provides professional electrician services for the Seattle, WA area. We’re also here for all of your generator, smoke and carbon monoxide detector, and surge protection needs. Contact us today to get the professional help that you need with your home.

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