According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical fires account for 13 percent of home fires. Although houses with old electrical wiring are at high risk, even a recently built home can have an electrical fire. This is because electrical fires have many causes besides old wiring. This type of fire often occurs during the holiday season when home circuits are burdened with holiday lighting. Avoid electrical fires by using the following safety tips.
Replace old, damaged or frayed electrical cords. The electrical spark from a damaged cord is very hot and can easily ignite flammable materials.
Old or damaged extension cords should be replaced. Never place them across doorways where they can be damaged by repeated foot traffic. Don't place them underneath carpeting where they can't be seen. Extension cords should never be used for major appliances which draw too much electrical current for them. Rather than having multiple extension cords crisscrossing your home, have extra circuits and outlets installed by a qualified electrician.
Using multi-outlet strips and plug adapters means that home circuits may be powering too many electrical devices. Plug only one high wattage appliance per electrical outlet. If you have small children, use outlet protectors.
Light Fixtures and Lamps
Never use a light bulb with a wattage that is higher than the rating of the light fixture or lamp. This is a common reason for many electrical fires. Light bulbs themselves are potential fire hazards because they get very hot and can start a fire if paper or cloth is draped over them.
The wiring circuits of homes over 30 or 40 years old may not have the capacity to power all the electrical devices in use today. In addition, the life span of electrical wiring is about 30 or 40 years. If you have a very old house, have an electrician inspect your home's electrical system.
Old circuit breakers can also be very hazardous because they may fail to protect your circuits from overloading. This sets the stage for electrical fires. Fires caused by overheated wiring are hidden behind your walls, which means they can spread extensively before they are detected.
If your electrical outlets or switches feel warm, if you experience frequent dimming or flickering of lights or if circuit breakers and fuses are constantly getting tripped or blown, contact a qualified electrician.
Unlike fire hazards such as stoves and fireplaces, electrical fire hazards are not as obvious and are often hidden. Take special care to protect your home from electrical fire hazards.
Protect your home from fire hazards. Call McInnis Insurance Services, Inc. for more information on home insurance.