An electrical fire is a real threat to you and your family’s safety. According to the National Fire Protection Association, over 369,000 home fires caused over 2,700 deaths and over 12,000 injuries in 2013.
While electrical problems cause only about 6.1 percent of residential fires, 12.9 percent are caused by heating elements and 49.4 percent are caused by cooking, both of which can be tied to inattention to electrical safety.
Follow these guidelines to lower the risk of an electrical fire in your home during the upcoming winter season.
Schedule a Professional Inspection
While an inspection is definitely recommended for older homes, all residences can benefit from professional verification that all connections are accurately secured and appropriately fitted depending on their purpose. Make sure your wiring is up to local building code and schedule a complete re-wiring if your electrical system is over 100 years old or your electrician recommends it.
Operate Heating Equipment Safely
Using space heaters increases the risk of fire in your home, especially if they are positioned close to flammable items like bedding or clothing. Make sure the space heater you use is placed on an even surface, free of all furniture surrounding the unit. Keep children and pets away from the heater to prevent them from getting burned or knocking it over.
Install Additional Outlets When Necessary
Do not load too much voltage into one outlet. Don’t connect too many high-voltage items to extension cords, or sparks can start a fire. If you require regular electrical service in one area with limited outlets, contact a skilled electrician too install additional connections.
Never alter a three-pronged appliance to fit into an outlet with only two inserts. Make sure ground fault circuit interrupters are installed in outlets in bathrooms, kitchens and outdoor patios — wherever the outlet’s connections may make contact with moisture.
Make Sure Smoke Alarms Are Properly Functioning
Check the function of your smoke alarms on a regular basis. Replace the batteries routinely and test each unit. If you have recently finished your lower level, ensure the placement of smoke alarms comply with local building code.
Note the Signs of Electrical Problems
Don’t ignore the warning signs of a problem in your home’s electrical system. If light switches shock you or spark when you turn them on, talk to your local electrician about the issue. Fuses that continually blow may signal the need for professional service as well. Putting off a repair could end in a disaster — don’t delay in addressing any risks of electrical fire.
Contact Stanger Electric to schedule residential electrical inspections or electric system updates, and to find out how to prevent electrical fires.