Electrical fires are unfortunately common in American homes. According to Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), an estimated 51,000 residential fires involving electrical failure and malfunction occur each year. On an annual average, these destructive fires are responsible for 500 civilian deaths, 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in damage to property.
Common Causes of Electrical House Fires
Most electrical fires in homes are sparked off by incorrectly installed wiring (often DIY wiring), overloaded circuits, and misuse of extension cords. While it is always safer and more efficient to have any electrical work carried out by a certified electrical contractor, there are many things you can do at home to prevent fires.
Know How to Set Up New Appliances
If you are attempting to set up a new appliance by yourself without help from a professional electrician, you should double-check all your connections. Be sure to refer to the instruction manual completely and thoroughly. Certain electrical appliances require a voltage regulator, and should not be plugged directly into any socket. You should make sure that you know these specific requirements ahead of time.
Use Extension Cords Safely
Extension cords are one of the most common causes of electric house fires. This kind of electrical fire is both the most common and most easily preventable. In order to avoid electric fires from extension cords, make sure that the capacity of the extension cord matches that of the appliance(s) that you are using. The total wattage of all devices connected should never exceed the extension cord capacity.
While using extension cords, you should also make sure that it is not cracked or broken. Older extension cords can begin to come apart, exposing wires. Exposed metal wires anywhere can lead to electrical fires.
Address Wiring Problems
Make sure you address complications related to electrical wiring as soon you find them. Time can take a toll even on the best electrical wiring. So it’s important to get wiring checked regularly. You can tell when a wiring system is defective by lights fluctuating or dimming. In the United States, homes built before 1970 are especially susceptible. It’s always a good idea to have a licensed electrician to check your home’s wiring and make any necessary repairs.
By keeping the above-mentioned things in mind, you can prevent electrical fires in your home and steer clear of property damage and potential loss of life.