Electrical malfunction is the third leading cause of home fires in the United States, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. The good news is that most electrical fires are easily preventable as long as you take the following safety measures.
Over 25,000 are reported annually, causing death or injury to more than 1,300 people. Electrical fires are more difficult and dangerous to put out, and typically result in greater damage costs. During the winter, risk of electrical fire goes up due to our increased use of electronic appliances.
Inspect home electrical wiring
Electrical wiring doesn’t last forever. If you live in an older home, have a trusted electrician perform a safety inspection to ensure that your wiring is still up to code and capable of performing to the standards of today’s appliances.
Examine electronic equipment for damage
Old or broken plugs and cords increase the risk of malfunction that causes most electrical fires. If you discover any damaged wiring when inspecting your appliances, make sure to replace it. For appliances you don’t use very often – such as space heaters or holiday lights – you should inspect them each time they’re used.
Don’t overload electrical outlets
One of the primary causes of home electrical fires is overloading your electrical sockets by plugging too many different appliances into one single outlet or power strip. We recommend purchasing power strips equipped with internal overload protection as backup. This extra safety feature detects when the strip is being overloaded and automatically cuts the power.
Beware of proximity to flammable objects
Any electrical appliance placed too close to a flammable object can start a fire. Don’t leave heated appliances such as hair straighteners, clothing irons, or heated blankets unattended while on, and be smart about where you place larger items such as space heaters or even lamps. Never run an electric cable underneath a rug where it can overheat and start a fire.
Hire professional help to fix faulty wiring
Never try to fix a problem with faulty wiring on your own. You could put yourself, your family, and your home at risk. Signs of faulty wiring include: sockets that spark when you plug something in; appliances that repeatedly blow the fuse; light switches, outlets, cords, or fuse boxes that are hot to the touch; flickering lamps; and any sizzling or buzzing sounds behind outlets or walls.
If you suspect you may have a faulty wiring problem, don’t wait for the problem to get worse—schedule an inspection with one of Bonfe’s professional electricians.