Over the past few years, electricity has been the second-highest cause of house fires. Electrical fires are surprisingly common and lead to several losses, including lives and expensive property damages. Without proper precautions, electrical fires can have devastating consequences.
Fortunately, it does not take much to practice some simple precautions, which can keep you, your family, and your property safe.
Avoid Overloading Circuits
Nearly every house has fuses or breakers installed to cut off the electricity supply if the power surges past the rated amperage. However, it is best to take further precautions and not overload one circuit with all the heavy appliances.
Kitchens are most prone to burnout as they usually have the highest number of power-consuming appliances. As a rule of thumb, avoid connecting more than one heating appliance, including hair dryers, water heaters, straighteners, irons, etc., to one circuit.
It is essential to avoid using power strips or extension cords for heavy appliances and plug them directly into the wall sockets. The extension cords often have thinner wires and offer more resistance to electricity. This can often lead them to heat up significantly and even melt or even start an electrical fire.
Frequently Inspect Cords
Electrical cords often suffer from cracking and fraying with repeated plugging and unplugging. It is important to check the cords frequently to ensure they are not damaged. If you notice a damaged cord, consider replacing it before using the appliance again. If it is a small appliance, you can replace the cord yourself. Refer to the instruction manual for large appliances or call for a licensed electrician to get the job done.
Check Manufacturer Recommendations for Lighting
It might sound like common sense, but forgetting to read the maximum power rating label is not uncommon. Every lamp and bulb holder comes with a maximum wattage marked on it. Please make sure to identify and use lamps below the maximum rating. Going over the stated limits can cause wires to heat up and catch fire.
Incandescent bulbs can get hot when used for significant periods. It is best to keep them away from other objects by either maintaining a good distance or using proper lamp shades. There have been multiple reports of items near bulbs catching fire.
Do Not Ignore Tripping Circuit Breakers
Resetting a circuit breaker is not a difficult task. But it is important to understand why the breaker tripped in the first place.
Breakers can trip due to circuit overload. A heavy appliance connected to the circuit can draw more current than normal, causing the breaker to trip. Usually, the breaker will stop tripping once the appliance is removed.
But if the breaker is repeatedly tripping, it could be a more serious issue, such as a shorting in the wiring. It is best to have the issue diagnosed by a certified electrician. A short circuit can cause the wiring to overheat and is considered the most common cause of electrical fires.
Install Ground-Fault Interrupters
Electricity tries to find the shortest path to the ground. A ground fault is an unwanted connection between a live supply line and the ground. These faults are more common than you would expect. If the electrical system comes in contact with water, electricity will follow the water trail to the ground.
In case of a ground fault, wires draw abnormally high amounts of currents, overheating, and even catching fire. Ground-fault interrupters will cut off the electricity supply whenever they detect a ground fault to prevent the circuit from overheating.
Switch Off During Inspections
One of the simplest (yet forgettable) rules is to turn the switch off whenever you inspect, replace, or repair any electrical equipment. If the appliance is connected to a socket, remember to pull the plug before moving the appliance.
If you are working on power outlets or anything linked to a live wire without a switch, you should switch off the breaker for the designated area. This will curtail the hazard of electrocution.
Do Not Attempt DIY Electrical Work
If you are not an electrician, avoid the temptation to save a few bucks and do electrical jobs yourself. You might end up incurring severe losses. It is best to rely on a trustworthy licensed electrician to do the electrical work.
It is also important to have regular inspections of the electrical system done, especially if you are considering a remodel or your house is more than forty years old.
Last Few Words
Electricity plays an integral role in our lives. But it also comes with significant risks. It is important to follow safety precautions to prevent any undesirable damages. By following the steps above, you can minimize the risk of electrical fires and keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
We at Golden Electrical Service have numerous teams of licensed electricians who have years of experience troubleshooting and providing electrical solutions to households and commercial buildings. Our teams of experts are well versed with all kinds of electrical systems and will be glad to assist you with all kinds of troubleshooting, installation, and upgrades. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.