While technology has come a long way over the years, it also places increased demands on our household electrical systems – which sadly haven’t kept up with all the innovation. Too many homes are lagging too far behind when it comes to what their system can handle – and the results – sometimes – can be costly. The most common consequence – and perhaps the most dangerous – is the threat of electrical fire.
Doing your part is important, but knowing how to do your part is the best place to start. Here are some tips to help keep your home safe from electrical fires.
Always go to the source
Your electrical outlets are some of the most important aspects of your home. But like any critical component, they can become worn and damaged over time. When that wear and tear occurs, it can be dangerous, primarily because your devices all have contact with the outlet – thus the risk for sparking increases. If you have outlets that seem damaged, warm or spark on occasion, you need to call an electrician immediately and have them replaced.
Another thing to look out for is consistently tripping your breaker. Especially if there’s sparks involved, you could have a significant underlying electrical issue in your house. That being said – tripped breakers usually occur in the kitchen – where several heat-producing appliances are hogging up the same breaker. It could simply just be that you’re overloading your system, so you might want to try to spread out some of your appliances across multiple circuits so you avoid tripping your breaker.
Cut that cord
One of the most common mistakes we encounter in houses are people relying on extension cords and power strips. Both should be used sparingly and/or temporarily. Now – there are exceptions to this rule. Entertainment areas, computer work stations – those are places where it’s unavoidable. But you should keep up on them and when you get the first sign of disrepair, they should be replaced immediately.
If it gets hot, be careful
Heat-producing appliances are probably the most common causes of fire, period – not just electrical fires. And that shouldn’t come as a surprise at all. They produce heat, after all.
Be sure to always, always follow a manufacturer’s safety manual when it comes to things like dryers and space heaters – especially if they’re older. Always clean out your lint tray in the dryer – and always be sure to clean it once a year. Keep your space heaters away from paper, carpets and the like.
And as always, it’s a good idea to call a local pro and have them simply do an audit of your home. That way, you’ll know what things need to be upgraded, where potential dangers might exist and also what you can do to make sure your home is safer. Good luck!