frayed electrical cord

Frayed Electrical Cords: Dangers and How To Avoid Them

Fire Restoration

The use of electrical appliances is an everyday occurrence in the workplace and at home. We use them daily to complete activities. However, property owners need to be aware of the dangers that frayed electrical cords of office equipment can pose to people who work with them. Frayed cables can pose a severe risk of electrocution to employees. OSHA reported that between 2002 and 2012, there were 1,764 electrocutions from faulty appliances in the workplace. It can be scary to look at damaged electrical cords and wonder what hazards they can pose.

This article will discuss the various ways to tell if cables are fraying in your property. We will also be sharing with you what to do to protect yourself and your property from the electrical hazards that can come from electrical cord damage and what you should do to ensure the safety of you and everyone involved.

frayed electrical cord

What Are The Signs I Should Look For?

There are many signs you might notice when wires are beginning to deteriorate. If you have surge protectors, power strips, extension cords, or other electrical equipment that people frequently trip over, you should check for damage. The re-occurrence of blown fuses is also a sign that there is something wrong with the wiring. Be wary of harsh smells, similar to smoke, that linger in a room or near an appliance, power strip, or plug. A warm or discolored wall surrounding your outlets, as well as a flickering or dimming of lights, could signify that your power cords are not in pristine condition. Lastly, if you experience a slight tingle as you unplug or plug in an appliance or power strip the wire might be damaged.

There are a few easy ways to decrease the likelihood of this type of damage from damaged cords in your home or business. First, make sure you inspect all electrical appliances carefully. Ensure that they have tamper-resistant plugs and 3-prong grounded plugs if applicable. It is also a good idea to get rid of damaged electrical cords immediately because fraying can rapidly spread from one section of an electrical cord to another, making it increasingly dangerous and potentially harmful to keep the tattered cable in use. It is also incredibly important to inspect extension cords and power strips frequently, as fraying may occur when they are coiled and uncoiled repeatedly over time. It is very important that you do not ignore any of these signs.

sparking surge protector

What’s The Worst That Can Happen?

A frayed electrical cord hazard puts anyone who uses it at risk because frayed wires will expose electricity in dangerous ways. When exposed wires are touched, electric shock can occur. The frayed cord should be repaired by a professional as it may not always trip a breaker, and could potentially start a fire.

Another danger posed by fraying electrical cords is damage to insulation that protects against shocks or electrocution, which is the most obvious hazard of exposed power cords. When the cord’s protective rubber or plastic covering wears away, it exposes the wires beneath to moisture and frays them as well. This makes them more prone to short-circuiting, which can then lead to a shock.

If the frayed cords are plugged directly into electrical outlets, it can be hazardous if someone touches both the frayed area and another part of the metal appliance that is still intact. By touching both, they complete the circuit and could suffer a shock.

Damaged electrical items can also present a hazard in homes. When a person touches an exposed electric cord, there is a potential electric shock hazard. In addition to the shock hazard. The fraying of cables may also lead to a fire. A frayed electrical cord can smolder and produce deadly carbon monoxide. The damaged cable may also cause the insulation surrounding it to melt, which gives off toxic fumes and a fire hazard.

overheating plug

What Can You Do To Prevent This From Happening?

Over time, it is only natural that wear-and-tear will impact electrical cords. But there are some steps you can take to help protect your family and property from injuries and costly damage. Replace your damaged, old, or worn-out appliances and their cords immediately. If you notice a wire is frayed, stop using it and dispose of it right away.  Keep children and pets away from electrical cables. If you see children or pets playing with an electrical wire, remove them from the area immediately and inspect the cord for signs of damage.

Indeed, being so vigilant about the wires and cords around your home can seem like a chore. But keep in mind that performing these tasks is far less expensive (financially and emotionally) than rebuilding your home.

frayed electrical cord

What Should You Do If Frayed Electrical Cords Do Lead To An Electrical Fire?

If you see the signs of an eroded electrical wire, the best course of action is to cut off power to that circuit. If your home is equipped with a fuse box or a circuit breaker panel, locate the switch and turn it off. Outlets may be wired directly from one another, so turning off the power to just one outlet might not be enough. To protect yourself and your family, you may need to turn off the power to the entire room.

If a fire of any type strikes your home or business, the safety of you and everyone within the building is the priority. Once the safety of every person and pet is assured, call 911 so the fire department can dispatch emergency responders to extinguish the fire. Only after the emergency is quelled should you worry about rebuilding.
Fire damage is devastating, but the restoration professionals at PuroClean are here to help. Our technicians are certified and trained in fire and smoke damage restoration techniques to help restore the damaged property and replace all materials that we could not salvage.

Last edited on 27th of October 2021