Every year, thousands of fires happen because of electrical failure or malfunction. These fires can cause serious injury or death, along with massive property damage. This is why electrical safety should be a priority for every homeowner.
What can you do to keep your home safe from electrical fires? Much of the risk can be controlled just by following a few basic rules. Here are a few tips that will help you prevent the most common dangers.
1. Extension cords – Many homeowners use extension cords as permanent fixtures, but they should only be used temporarily. It is encouraged to install a new power outlet if you find that your current ones aren’t enough. Also, make sure that the cord cannot be stepped on, and is in good condition.
2. Overloading – Never overload electrical outlets by plugging in too many devices at once. This is a serious hazard; there should only be one high wattage appliance plugged in at a time for each outlet. You should also unplug appliances when they are not in use, TASCO, Inc. advises.
3. Breaker control – The breaker is your home’s first line of defense, so it should always be kept in good condition. Have it inspected regularly, and ensure that all circuits are labeled; use a branch circuit identifier if necessary.
4. Water proximity – Avoid placing cords and electrical appliances near the sink or other sources of water. Many homeowners are electrocuted because of silly accidents like dropping hair dryers into the tub.
5. Child safety – Do you have small children? If so, make sure that all outlets are tamper-resistant. You don’t want them getting injured by sticking their fingers, toys, or anything else they can find into the socket.
There are also some warning signs that you must watch out for, as they indicate problems with your electrical system. Dim or flickering lights, switches that are hot to the touch, and a curious burning smell are common examples.
If you think that something’s wrong with your home’s wiring, don’t hesitate to contact a licensed electrician. A prompt inspection could mean the difference between preventing a fire and losing much of your home.