Home Electrical Fires: Prevention Tips

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were more than 47,000 homes that caught on fire in 2011 as a result of some sort of malfunction of failure of the electrical system. As a result, over 400 people died, over 1,500 people were injured and roughly $1.4 billion was caused in property damage. Therefore, it is crucial that you know what to do in order to prevent home electrical fires. 

The Basics of Preventing Electrical Fires in the Home

Check your home constantly for electrical fire hazards, such as overloaded outlets, phones and laptops charging on a hair or bed, and electrical cords that are pinched. Electrical safety can and should be practiced by everyone in the home. Here are a few tips:

  • Unplug items in overloaded outlets – The easiest way to start an electrical fire in the home is by having too many things plugged into a single outlet or one circuit. This overloads them, causing too much electrical current to flow through the wires that can cause a fire.

  • Use extension cords correctly – Extension cords have long been known to be a fire hazard, especially when they are working with irons, space heaters and toasters. Remember, extension cords are not for permanent use. They are designed to be used temporarily. These cords can easily be pinched by pieces of furniture and cause a fire over time.

  • Use the right wattage of light bulbs in fixtures and lamps – When you use a light bulb that has wattage that is too high for a particular fixture or lamp, it can result in the overloading of the fixture itself as well as the wiring. Eventually, this could cause an electrical fire.

Every 10 Years: Tune Up Electrical Systems and Replace Smoke Alarms

Fire officials suggest that homeowners have an electrician examine their home electrical system roughly every 10 years. As times change and years go by, there will likely be the need for an upgrade. This will likely include additional outlets throughout the home. If you're constantly using a single outlet for multiple items, you definitely need that upgrade. A simple upgrade and a routine safety check by an electrician can ensure that your home is electrically safe, so that fires can be prevented and bigger issues are stopped before they even have a chance to become a problem.

Smoke alarms tend to have a life expectancy of around a decade. In order to continue protecting you, your family and your home, you need to make sure to replace these when they reach this age. The age of the detector should be on the piece itself; look for the manufacture date. If your alarm is interconnected and hard-wired, consult an electrician to replace it.

If you need your fire alarm system replaced or you would like to have one installed for increased safety in the home, contact a professional like Eastern Fire Protection.