In the comfort of our homes, it’s hard to imagine ourselves trying to put out a raging electrical fire when one seems so unlikely to start. But electrical fires are still very common occurrences in households across the nation, causing millions in property damage, injuries and loss of life. What’s worse is that many of these fires could have prevented by taking simple precautions.
What Not to Do
Without realizing it, you may be putting your home in danger of an electrical fire. But once you recognize what not to do, you can begin to take the steps needed to help prevent such a disaster from occuring.
- Plug Everything into One Outlet
Many electrical fires start because an outlet is overloaded with too much electricity flowing into it. It’s overburdened by multiple plugs and appliances all relying on the same outlet. Such outlets or power strips have so many cords sticking out from every which way that you can barely see the outlet or strip anymore.
- Continue Using Frayed or Damaged Cords
Electrical cords that are showing a lot of wear and tear can be a huge fire danger as well. Older cords that are tearing are prone to overheat, making it all too easy for these frayed cords to spark.
- Keep Flammable Materials Nearby
What will make matters worse is if flammable materials like cleaning supplies, rags and blankets are kept next to these hazardous cords. Homeowners that try to hide electrical cords or wiring by covering them up under a rug or behind furniture may be putting their home in danger if these overheating cords catch fire on the items that were meant to hide them.
- Never Schedule an Electrical Inspection
Assuming your home doesn’t need an annual electrical inspection can be a very bad move to make. Older homes especially need these inspections. Many may not be up-to-date with the latest electrical standards or might still use aluminium wiring instead of copper wiring that’s less prone to overheat and cause fires.
What You Should Do
Now that you have an idea of what you shouldn’t do, here are some things you should to do to help prevent electrical fires where you live.
- Put Less Strain on Outlets
First off, limit how many appliances or cords you plug into a certain power outlet. The problem may lie in not having enough outlets to begin with. Call an electrician to install new outlets before you start overloading the few outlets that you do have. Or buy power strips with surge protection to help prevent overloading. Just be careful that you don’t plug too much into these power strips either, especially if they don’t have surge protection.
- Replace Damaged Cords
Don’t let cords get to the point where they are more likely to spark. Replace any cords that are damaged or tearing. Replace any outlets too that are looking bad. Luckily, you can buy replacement cords for most appliances so that you don’t have to replace the entire appliance when its cord starts to wear thin.
- Keep a Safe Distance
Move flammable items to a reasonable distance away from outlets, especially those older outlets. Keep outlets uncovered when you can and check them from time to time if they are hidden behind furniture or other objects.
- Schedule an Inspection
Before your home wiring gets too damaged or outdated, have it inspected annually by trusted electrical professionals. Your home may need to be rewired to help prevent an electrical fire. But that’s something you’ll only know if you schedule an electrical inspection in the first place. Having that annual check can help discover any potential fire hazards that you might have missed.
Do your part as well to check outlets, wires and cords for any damage or overheating. Overheating can be a sign of a short circuit, perhaps from one of your appliances, damaged wires or faulty wiring. An electrician can help you pinpoint the cause during an inspection. Also, check that electrical fixtures and appliances are working properly. Flickering lights are known to sometimes spark, so get an electrician in your home quickly to find and fix the problem.
Following the above steps (and avoiding the ones above that) can help you to make your home less prone to electrical fires. But you can’t do it all on your own. Call or contact certified electricians near you to inspect your electrical wiring and outlets or to replace anything that could potentially cause a fire.
For residents in Delmarva, schedule your annual electrical maintenance, inspections, wiring installations and more with Megee Plumbing & Heating. We’ve been providing Delmarva with the best electrical service at affordable prices since 1936. Protect your home and get help to prevent electrical fires by calling Delmarva’s electrical service specialists at Megee Plumbing & Heating.