Electrical fault is the leading cause of house fires. With these tips from House Logic and Angie’s List, you’ll be on the road to a simply safer home.
- Warning signs of an electrical fire:
- Persistent tripping of circuit breaker
- Singed or tarnished outlets
- Constant burning odor
- Old or faulty wiring
Overwhelming your outlets
You probably already know the dangers of plugging too many appliances into an outlet or power strip—but are you guilty? If your home is limited in placement of outlets, you may be forced to rely on certain sockets. It’s important to take the precautions necessary to protect the outlet from overloading.
Always purchase power strips and surge protectors from reputable retailers; there are many counterfeit products on the market that are extremely dangerous to use. Never purchase second-hand or the suspiciously low-priced. And be sure your products come equipped with internal overload protection—this ensure that the strip will power down when it detects an electrical overload.
Cord and wire damage
Fraying cords and faulty wiring are top causes for these kinds of fires. If you notice the protective layer encapsulating the cord has begun to wear, fray, or expose the wire beneath, replace immediately. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of inspecting your appliances for cord damage before you use them.
This one may seem obvious: don’t put an iron on the sofa, and don’t get into bed with your space heater. Of course, you knew that. So why is it less obvious to leave for work without turning off your flat iron, or forgetting to unplug an electric blanket?
Electrical safety starts with mindfulness. Fires can happen at almost any time—but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t be easily avoided. So be mindful when using appliances—and be more mindful of placement of flammable items, like drapes, carpet, clothing, or furniture.
Not all fires are equal
Maybe you’re MacGyver. Maybe you’re so independent you extinguish YOUR OWN blazes. In any case, you want to be prepared if you ever face an electrical fire. There are things to know.
Depending on the size of the blaze, identify if it is safe to unplug the device or appliance feeding the fire. And before you fetch that pail of water—DON’T!
Water is highly conductive; throwing water on an electrical blaze can lead to severe shock. If you suspect an electrical fire, reach for the extinguisher—but only if the fire is manageable.
Some fires are impervious to chemical compounds found in extinguishers. Ensure yours is rated A-B-C: this indicates the contents are for electrical fires, flammable liquids, and other incendiary objects.
For electrical inspections on your home or business, give Eric Krise a call: 856.769.0228.