An electrical fire is the worst kind of electrical emergency. Preventing electrical fires with an annual electrical inspection is a great idea. An electrical inspection will either give your home a “clean bill of health” or identify risks.
Preventing Electrical Fires at Home
Home fires are heartbreaking. Here are several methods for preventing electrical fires:
1. Don’t Use Damaged Power Cords
If a device has a cracked, frayed, or loosened power cord, have it repaired or toss it. But don’t plug it in again.
2. Extension Cords Are Not Permanent
Any time you use an extension cord, it should be for a specific project with a measurable timeframe. If you’re using an extension cord to power appliances or electronics, contact your local electrician to discuss safer options.
3. Heed Warning Signs
There are indicators you’ve got an electrical problem or risk. If you ignore those warning signs, you’re putting your home and family at risk. Some warning signs are:
- Burn marks/discolorations around a socket, outlet, light switch/fixture
- Burning smell from appliance or plugged-into outlet
- Flickering light
- Frequent circuit-breaker trips
- Hot/warm-to-the-touch appliance, outlet, power cord
- Shock when you plug-in electronic/appliance
- Sparks when you plug-in electronic/appliance
4. Never Cut Off or Remove the Third Prong
If you have ungrounded outlets (2-prong receptacles) in your Tucson or Phoenix home, you need to request an electrical upgrade for safety reasons. But never, ever remove or cut off that third prong on a plug-in. It’s there for preventing electrical fires from power surges or malfunctions.
5. Read Appliance Directions and Follow Them
Before you toss your new washing machine’s instruction manual in a drawer, read it. There may be valid warnings for preventing electrical fires. There may also be information about registering online for product recalls or dangers that are revealed months or years later.
6. Stop Vampires
An energy vampire is any plugged-in appliance that continues to use power from an electrical outlet, even when idle or turned off. It’s understandable if you can’t unplug an intricately pre-programmed electronic (like your television) every time it’s not in use. But your toaster, gaming device, blender, hairdryer, charging plugs, and more can be unplugged.
Make a list of plugged-in appliances in every room. Ask yourself:
- Does it charge something using batteries?
- Does it have a continuous display (LED clock, for example)?
- Does it have an external power source (i.e., power adapter)?
- Does it use a remote control?
If you answered yes to any question, that appliance is an energy vampire. Heat-producing appliances especially (like toasters and curling irons) can overheat when plugged in for long periods of time.
7. Update Your Wiring
Good old houses are wonderful in design and aesthetics. But some historical elements should be updated, especially old wiring.
If you see behind-the-scenes electrical wires running through porcelain tubes, it’s called “knob-and-tube” wiring. These should be replaced with grounded wires. And if your home has aluminum wiring, replace it with safer materials, like copper. An upgrade will safely increase your home’s amperage to accommodate the demands of today’s electronic devices. Ask your insurance professional if a wiring upgrade can lower your premiums.
Your Safety Is Our Priority
Despite your best efforts at preventing electrical fires, they can occur. Keep fire extinguishers in at-risk areas like the kitchen, garage, etc. Inspect all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they’re working properly.
To learn more about electrical safety in Arizona, contact Turn It On Electric.