Simple tips to prevent electrical fires in your home
Our homes are a place of happiness and safety, a place to sit and relax with those who matter most to us. When something threatens that safety, it’s important to address it immediately to protect both ourselves and those we love. This is especially the case for electrical issues in our homes. Not only can these issues appear out of nowhere, they can cause dangerous fires that can seriously injure those living inside the home.
Electrical Fire Statistics
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, electrical fires are responsible for:
- 51,000 fires each year
- Around 500 deaths
- More than 1,400 injuries
- $1.3 billion in property damage
If you’re looking to prevent an electrical fire, we’re here to help. Let’s go over the top four tips to avoid electrical fires.
Common Causes of Electrical Fires
When most electrical fires start, there are a few common causes. Below we’ve listed a few of those, so you might be able to prevent a fire in your own home.
- Electrical malfunctions or shorts
- Old appliances that require a lot of electricity
- Space heaters
- Overloading electrical outlets with multiple appliances
Keep your family safe from electrical fires in four easy steps
If you’re looking to prevent an electrical fire, we’re here to help. Let’s go over the top four things you can do to avoid electrical fires.
#1. Watch for shorts
Think about it: what do you think causes the most fires? The answer may surprise you — it's an electrical malfunction. Electrical malfunction can refer to any number of things from a short in a wall outlet to a current gone awry. One of the best ways to spot an issue like this is to keep an eye out for anything strange happening with your electric devices. Are your lights flickering at odd intervals? Is there a buzzing coming from all of your switches? If so, it may be a sign of a worrisome electrical problem. If you notice something behaving strangely, do not touch it and stop using it immediately.
#2. Check your appliance use
It’s not uncommon to have dozens of appliances running at once. Electricity is safe to use. However, you should be careful about the types of appliances you’re using. For instance, if an appliance is old it might demand a lot of electricity and start sparking. If this happens, stop using the device immediately and either throw it out or have it checked out by a professional. Another common appliance that causes electrical fires is a space heater. The combination of having metal coils and the heat emitted by the space heater makes a perfect storm for a fire if left unmonitored. Make sure to replace any old space heaters immediately and keep them away from any fabric in the home.
#3 Never overload
If you’re tripping over an extension cord that’s filled with ten different plugs, you’re putting yourself at risk for an electrical fire. Generally, there should be no more than two items plugged in per outlet. If you’re plugging in a major appliance like a dryer or an oven, you should try to plug in only one per outlet since they use so much electricity. If your outlet is damaged due to an overload, do not touch it or attempt to unplug since this could cause a shock. Contact a professional to solve this issue.
#4. Contact a trained electrician
There’s a lot that you can DIY, but electrical work isn’t on that list. Before you try to make any repairs, contact a licensed electrician. There may be live current running through an area you don’t expect, so cutting into a wall or using pliers may cause an electric shock. Furthermore, don’t wait to get a repair done. The longer you let an issue go on, the higher the likelihood is that you could have an electrical fire.