Approximately 51,000 home electrical fires occur each year, resulting in 500 deaths, 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property damage, according to Electrical Safety Foundation International. Electrical distribution systems happen to be the third leading cause of U.S. home structure fires.
From performing electrical panel upgrades to replacing old appliances, here are some tips to prevent electrical fires in your home.
1. Don’t Overload Outlets
Having a million plugs snaking out of your extension cords is never a good idea. Each outlet’s circuits should convey a certain amount of electricity. When you overload your circuits with too many extension cords and power strips, you are increasing the risk of electrical fires. Your surge protectors should have an internal circuit breaker that cuts power if a problem is detected. It may be time to install new wiring and outlets.
2. Use GFCI Outlets Near Water
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlets, or GFCI for short, should be installed in kitchens, bathrooms, workshops with sinks and all outdoor outlets. These are sturdy outlets with three-pronged plug stations featuring two buttons marked “Test” and “Reset.” They will cut the power supply if moisture is detected.
3. Keep Flammable Objects Away from Outlets and Cords
Don’t put furniture, curtains, boxes or decorations too close to an outlet. If outlets get overloaded, they can generate heat, causing sparks and starting a fire. If you notice your outlets are warm, call a St. Louis electrician right away.
4. Unplug Small Devices When Not in Use
When you will be away from the house for vacation or other long periods of time, unplug small appliances like toasters. Don’t ever leave a space heater or electric blanket plugged in when you can’t be there to supervise. You can actually save money on electricity when you unplug small appliances as well as devices such as computers, printers and entertainment systems – even if they’re in the “off” position.
5. Replace Older Appliances
Older, energy inefficient and malfunctioning appliances can easily start an electrical fire. Replace any appliances that show these signs of wear and tear:
- Frayed electrical cords
- Sparks when turned on
- Lights flicker in the room when turned on
- Excessive heat emanating from the device
6. Don’t Use Space Heaters
If you can, refrain from using space heaters, and never leave one on when you leave the house. These are the top causes of house electrical fires. If you must use one, limit its use to one room – the room you will be in. It’s also a good idea to set them at half power instead of full, which won’t overload the circuit as much.
7. Schedule Regular Electrical Safety Inspections
To ensure your home is as safe as possible, schedule regular electrical safety inspections with your trusted Ballwin MO electricians. They can run checks on your electrical panel, wiring and other areas that you may not be aware of, making recommendations on what should be repaired or replaced for safety reasons.
Contact Braco Electrical and Contracting, St Chalres & O'fallon, MO
Our Chesterfield MO electricians can help you prevent electrical fires by ensuring your electrical panels are up to date and checking for other areas of vulnerability. To schedule your consultation, contact us at 636-294-8562.