Electricity has become an essential part of modern life. We use it in almost everything, including lighting, heating, cooling, and cooking. However, electrical appliances are often subjected to various types of faults while in operation.
Electrical malfunction or failures could lead to hazardous fires that can damage your property and endanger your family’s lives. The first step to avoiding such fires is to understand fault sources so that you can avoid them. Here are various tips that will help you prevent electrical fires in your house.
1. Avoid Using Faulty Outlets, Cords or Appliances
When you use switches and outlets for an extended period, they gradually begin to wear, wires become loose, and they could cause a fire over time. To prevent this, check all power outlets in your house often and ensure that they are tightly fitted into the wall. If you notice any missing fixtures, replace them to avoid exposing the wiring. If there are any outlets that you don’t use, cover them with protective covers.
Additionally, frayed or cracked power cords can easily cause a fire. Don’t nail the cables on the walls or other objects. It can interfere with electric current flow, causing a fire. Some people become too connected with their old appliances, like toasters or kettles. If the wiring is old, throw it out. Such items can quickly heat and start a fire when in contact with other combustible surfaces. Try not to place electric cords under the carpets or furniture.
Also, old equipment may contain highly flammable insulation. Others can’t match up with wattage usage increasing the risks of fire hazards. The best way to avoid this is by upgrading such appliances with newer models.
2. Only Use Extension Cords Temporarily
You shouldn’t use extension cords as permanent house wiring. Extension cords should only be a temporary solution. It’s safe to plug most appliances directly into a power outlet to avoid using extension cords for a prolonged period. In case you need any additional power source, have a qualified electrician install new outlets to support your power needs.
3. Replace Old Wiring
Older homes may contain aluminum, knob-tub wiring, or a 60-amp system. When used with newer appliances, the system may not meet the electric needs, increasing overheating chances. If your house is over 20-years old, have an electrician replace the system with new wiring materials like copper. A professional electrician may also suggest installing some additional protection in some parts of your house, like a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCIs).
4. Don’t Overload Circuits
When you plug in too many appliances into a single power source, it creates an excessive power load. If the power board or extension cord can’t manage the electric needs, it leads to a severe fire risk. A specific circuit should only provide a certain level of power to an outlet at a time, and if you go beyond the limit, it will spark and cause a fire.
Use power surge protectors in all outlets around the house or power bars with internal overload protection. When there is too much electricity flowing into an outlet, the overload protection will shut down the power bar to prevent a fire outbreak. Still, don’t plug more than three cords into a power bar.
5. Keep Space Heaters Away From Flammable Materials
People easily forget and place space heaters near combustible surfaces like couches, clothing, beds, or rugs. Doing so may lead to a fire outbreak. Watch out for the coil space heaters, particularly since the coil becomes extremely hot and can quickly ignite any nearby flammable object. Don’t leave the heaters on for an extended period, especially when you’re sleeping. Switch them off when you leave the house, too.
Additionally, if you must use space heaters, consider the radiator type that diffuses heat and is less likely to overheat or ignite other objects. Use an updated model with some safety features, choose an appropriate size for the room, and position it away from high-traffic areas.
6. Use Electrical Appliances Safely
It’s also crucial that you follow all the manufacturer’s instructions when using any electric appliance. Read through the instruction manuals and note any warnings or follow directions that will help prevent malfunctions. Don’t use the items for any function other than the one intended. Some manufacturers even offer users a chance to register to get notified in case of any recalls. Make sure to register your product in order to receive important information.
Additionally, don’t tamper with the electric plugs, for instance, by trying to remove the third prong to fit into a two-conductor outlet. Instead, have an electrician change all your outlets into three-prong ones. Note that the third prong is the ground, which protects you from fire outbreaks if electric appliances malfunction.
7. Install the Right Light Fixtures
Lamps, bulbs, and other light fixtures can also cause fire outbreaks. If a bulb has a very high wattage that the light fixture can’t handle, it will cause overheating. Therefore, it’s vital to check the minimum required wattage for any of your lamps. Never go beyond the recommended limit. Again, don’t place clothing or paper over a lamp. It might overheat and ignite such items. Also, make sure to screw the bulb in tightly to avoid any overheating due to loose connections.
8. Unplug Appliances When Not in Use
If you leave heat-producing appliances plugged in for an extended period, they can overheat and cause a fire. Hence, disconnect all small devices like a kettle, hairdryer, iron, or toaster once you finish using them.
9. Watch Out for Common Electric Fault Signs
Beware of various warning signs that indicate a possible electric problem so that you can contact a professional to fix the issue in time. If you begin to see burn marks on your socket, light fixtures, or switch, your appliances could be overheating.
Again, call an electrician if you notice a burning smell when you plug in an item, if your power outlets feel hot or when you get an electric shock after plugging in a device. Dim lights when using particular appliances or repeatedly blowing fuses are other signs of electrical faults.
Electric fires are hazardous since they can quickly spread and get out of control. While it can occur due to wiring issues or faulty appliances, some avoidable human mistakes can also cause electric fires. The above tips should help you prevent fire hazards in your house due to electrical faults. Although you might feel tempted to try and handle electric repairs on your own to save money, the DIY route can result in fire hazards and more costly repairs. Working with electricity is very dangerous, and only a professional can help maintain the required safety standard. Again, an experienced electrician can quickly troubleshoot a problem within your system and suggest the most appropriate solution.
If you need help with your electric system, reach out to Fahnestock Plumbing, HVAC & Electric. We have a team of qualified electricians with the right knowledge and experience to handle any electric task. Our company offers a wide range of services, including air conditioner and heating system repair, replacement and maintenance services. We also provide plumbing system installations and repair, geothermal systems installation, and maintenance services.
You can access our services if you reside in Benton, Andale, Towanda, Maize, and the surrounding areas. Call our friendly team today to book an appointment and enjoy our high-quality services.