What can homeowners do to ensure that they don’t cause fire hazards in the home? An easy search around your home can protect your family and your home. Here's what you should be looking out for.
1. Old or Defective Wiring/Appliances
Old wiring or appliances can be fatal if not checked up on. These items are more likely to falter and cause fires or electrocution, which is why monthly checks are recommended. Wires in your home tend to degrade and fray, especially in harsh climates where that may happen faster and more frequently. Loose wire connections in your outlets and appliances are worth being checked on by yourself or an experienced electrician.
2. Moist Wiring
Having receptacles or other appliances near water or outdoors are worth checking up on, especially if you live in humid conditions. Having electricity in any wet areas can increase the risk of electrocution and will damage the wiring or appliance itself. Be sure that appliances and receptacles are always placed a safe distance from water sources such as: baths, pools, and sinks. If you have outlets outdoors, always make sure they are weather proof to avoid rain or sprinklers damaging your appliances.
3. Incorrect Wiring
Having incorrect wiring poses the highest hazard to a homeowner. Having insufficient electrical service, no overload protection, and poorly finished wire connections can be dangerous to everyone in your home. You can usually tell when the electrical is incorrect because this results in flickering or dimming lights, electrical shocks or sparks, and high electricity bills. If you notice any of these things within your home, it is best to contact a professional electrician immediately.
4. Overloading Receptacles
It's easy to just plug two power strips into an outlet or put large appliances into a normal receptacle, but this can be dangerous. A standard receptacle is designed to emit a specified amount of power, so by plugging many power strips or large appliances into a single receptacle, you may be putting your home at risk. Overloading receptacles can be overseen but run the risk of starting an electrical fire if not monitored.
5. Incorrect Grounding
Grounding is important for all appliances and should be included in all homes. If grounding is not present in your home, or is done incorrectly, this can cause electrocution. Grounding helps the electricity find a path through your home, and if it cannot find an effective path then it will flow straight into your appliance or shock you when something is plugged in. Checking if a house is grounded can be simple, as all you have to do is check your electrical panel. Within your panel there should be a large copper wire running through your panel, this means that your house is grounded. If you noticed that your house is incorrectly grounded, then contact an electrician to come ground your house correctly.
Lightbulbs are an easy fix in any home. They can be easily replaced, but when swapping lightbulbs out, make sure it's the right wattage for your light fixture. When you go to replace the bulb, make sure the fixture is turned off and you have the right bulb, which can be checked by looking at your fixture and seeing the maximum wattage on a sticker. You always want your bulbs to be less than or equal to the wattage labeled on the sticker to ensure that no electrocution happens.
7. Unprotected Outlets
Monitoring children can help prevent many injuries and avoid electrical fires. By covering outlets it ensures that children won't stick their fingers or small objects into the openings. Objects being shoved into a receptacle can cause electrocution, burns, or shocks, so it's best to play it safe and get the proper protection.
8. Overheated Items
Having electrical appliances covered or close to curtains, rugs, and other flammables can be dangerous. If an appliance is covered, this can cause it to overheat and may even cause an electrical fire due to its overheating. In order to avoid overheating or fires, it's always best to keep your appliances in open spaces where they are still safe.
9. Pets and Rodents
Pets and rodents can be hard to monitor at all times, but always having the right protection will make it easier to walk away and check after a while. Keeping wires away from animals can ensure that they're safe and avoid electrocution. To avoid having wires chewed on, try to keep the wires in higher places or behind a piece of furniture that still has airflow to avoid overheating. Rodents can be trickier as they can be hard to check on, especially if they're in your walls or roof. Rodents tend to chew through wiring and insulation, which can be a fire risk and cause electrocution. Having a pest company come out and check your house is a great way to avoid electrical issues and keep your house clean from pests.