Make Your Own Luck (with Electrical Fire Safety Tips)
October 13, 2017
This Friday the 13th, make your own luck with electrical safety tips for your home. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), there are an estimated 51,000 home electrical fires each year. This accounts for nearly 500 deaths, more than 1,400 injuries and 1.3 billion in property damage. To help combat this problem, it is important to pay attention to your home’s electrical system. Being mindful of small warning signs and taking immediate action when a problem arises will go a long way in keeping your household safe from electrical fires. The experts at Electric Today want to ensure our Tampa Bay neighbors have “good luck” with their electrical system, so we’ve compiled a list of tips recommended by the ESFI.
Install Smoke Detectors
Installing smoke detectors is a proven method for keeping a household safe. But in addition to proper installation, proper maintenance must be followed to ensure the units perform when needed.
Install AFCI Protection
Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) are circuit breakers that “break” the circuit connection when an electric arc is detected – helping to prevent electrical fires. These essential tools can distinguish between a harmless arc and a more potentially dangerous one. Since 2014, the National Electrical Code (NEC) has required them to protect most residential outlets – but older homes might need to be retrofitted.
Establish an Evacuation Plan in Case of Fire
It is imperative that every household establish and practice an emergency evacuation in the case of a fire. Homes with small children will want to make sure that systems are in place for easy access and quick exit.
Use Proper Light Bulbs
Make sure that new light bulbs match the recommended wattage on the light fixture. Placing a higher wattage into a fixture is a dangerous fire hazard. Look for compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs), which use less energy than the more common incandescents and last a lot longer.
Watch for Signs of Electrical Problems
Flickering lights and appliances, sizzling/bussing sounds coming from outlets and circuit breakers that trip repeatedly are common signs of electrical system problems. If you are experiencing any of these issues, it is imperative that you contact a qualified electrician to check them out.
Avoid Overloading Circuits
If you are using extension cords or have to unplug essential appliances to use others, you might need to have additional circuits installed. Outlets that are inundated with multiple adapters or power strips are also signs that an additional circuit might be needed.
When purchasing new large appliances, make sure that they have been approved by Underwriters Laboratories (or another reputable consumer lab). This will ensure that the design has been thoroughly tested and approved for consumer safety.
Regularly check appliance/electronics cords for cracks, fraying or kinks. This includes extension cords, outdoor tools, holiday lights and anything in your home that has an electrical cord. If a cord has been damaged, it is always best to have the item replaced.
Most modern homes are outfitted with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). These are mainly installed anywhere inside (or outside) the home where there are water fixtures. These essential devices shit off the connected power circuit when it detects a current flowing along an unintended path (such as water or a person). These devices can also prevent some electrical fires, (which can happen when a live wire touches a metal conduit for example).
If you have an older home, make sure that the electrical system has been inspected by a qualified electrician within the last 10 years. This will ensure that it meets the safety standards set by the NEC, which can help in reducing electrical problems – including fires.
Don’t wish for luck this Friday the 13th – be proactive and make your own with these essential electrical safety tips. Remember that the experts at Electric Today can help you with any of your electrical system problems. If you are experiencing any of the electrical issues referenced above, or need an electrical inspection, contact us today! Call 813-653-4221 to schedule an appointment with a qualified electrician.