According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), home electrical fires account for an average 51,000 fires, 500 deaths, 1,400 injuries and $1.3 billion in property damage each year. Many of these fires can be avoided if home owners follow some simple safety precautions. Read the following common causes of electrical fires, so you know how to avoid them in your home:
1. Using high wattage appliances in outlets that don’t support that wattage
Before plugging an appliance into an outlet or extension cord, make sure that it doesn’t exceed the permissible wattage. In addition, use only light bulbs with the correct wattage for your lamps or light fixtures. Modern light fixtures usually specify the maximum allowed wattage.
2. Outdated wiring and breaker boxes in the home
If outlets spark or make a buzz sound when you plug something in, your home wiring may have faults. Hire an experienced electrician to inspect the wiring and breaker boxes and replace them. If you have aluminum wiring, replace them with copper wiring, which is a lot safer. Aluminum wires do not meet the demands of modern appliances.
3. Plugging too many appliances into one extension cord
Too many appliances may cause them to overheat and cause sparks that can start a fire. Use extension cords only temporarily and plug major appliances directly into outlets (but not too many at once). Alternatively, use power strips with internal overload protection that shut off automatically when they are overloaded.
4. Using old and overused appliances
Older appliances use more power than most outlets can support, which can cause them to overheat and start a fire. In addition, be aware of any cords that look worn or tattered. Running cords under rugs can also start a fire.
5. Placing coiled space heaters near flammable objects
Keep space heaters away from materials such as paper, sheets, draperies, rugs or towels. If you have coiled space heaters, place them at least 3 feet away from objects that can easily ignite. Better yet, use heaters that don’t have visible electrical coils.
While indoor electrical safety is highly important, outdoor safety should not be ignored, either. Check out our Outdoor Electrical Safety Tips for more information. If you need help with fire, flood or mold remediation, the PuroClean team is ready to come to your property’s rescue.