Summer is the ideal time to consider maintenance for your home’s electrical system. After the long holiday season, with extended indoor activities, it is vital to make sure your electrical system is in good condition. Just like any other feature in your home, your wiring will age and wear; sometimes creating a potentially hazardous situation. The summer can be especially rough on a Tampa Bay home’s wiring, so running through a list of DIY safety tips and maintenance projects is essential in keeping it running efficiently. The professionals at Home Service Heroes want to remind their neighbors that the majority of electrical projects should be handled by a licensed electrician.
- According to the U.S. Consumer Safety Commission, there are nearly 400 electrocutions in the United States every year.
- 15% of electrocutions are related to consumer products.
- Wiring hazards accounted for nearly 14% of those deaths.
- Every year there are an estimated 360,900 residential building fires, which cause an estimated 2,495 deaths. The leading cause of the largest fires is an electrical malfunction.
- Electrical failure accounted for 89% of electrical fires in residential buildings from 2003-2005.
- Home Electrical Fires account for an estimated 51, 000 fires each year.
- Electrical distribution systems are the third leading cause of home structure fires.
According to the NFPA, 47,700 home fires in the U.S. are caused by electrical failure or malfunction every year.
- Consistently tripped breakers (or blown fuses) are an indication of electrical system problems.
- Flickering or dimming lights are warning signs of an overloaded circuit.
- A burning odor or a mild shock coming from an outlet are also signs of an overloaded circuit.
- Make sure that all the breakers or fuses in your breaker box are clearly labeled.
- Never plug two or more extension cords together.
- Always check an extension cord for damage before plugging it into an outlet.
- Only plug one major appliance (refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers) into a receptacle outlet at a time.
- All major appliances should be plugged directly into a receptacle outlet.
- An overreliance on extension cords indicates that there are not enough outlets in your home.
- Never use a three-prong plug in an outlet with only two slots.
- Never attempt to use an extension cord as permanent wiring.
- Never use an electrical cord outside that isn’t specifically designated for outdoor use. Indoor cords are not designed to withstand the elements.
- Extension cords should never be placed underneath rugs or in the path of a heavily trafficked area.
- If you have toddlers or young children, make sure that you replace all your easily accessed outlets with tamper-resistant receptacles.
- Only use the appropriate wattage bulb for a lighting fixture. An incorrect wattage might start a fire.
- Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) are required by the National Electrical Code in every room/area where there is a water fixture. Homes built before 1970 might not have GFCIs installed in outlets.
- Check your home’s outlets for GFCI protection. If the outlets do not contain a red rest button, they have not been replaced with GFCIs.
- Arc-Fault Interrupters (AFIs) protect against dangerous arc faults. AFCI Breakers should be installed in your home to combat arc faults caused by damaged, overheated, or stressed wiring.
- AFCIs should only be installed by licensed electricians.
- If your home is over 40 years old or has recently had a major addition, renovation or large appliance added it should be inspected by a licensed electrician.
*According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International
Home Service Heroes wishes you and your household a safe and worry-free summer. Reviewing our list of tips from the ESFI should help get you started. If you find that you need a professional electrician after your maintenance assessment, contact Home Service Heroes. Our licensed electricians can help with any issue – and have the equipment and expertise to get it fixed both quickly and efficiently. Call us at (813) 696-3398 to schedule an appointment today.