Any type of fire can be devastating, no matter what the cause. However, electrical fires are one of the top causes of house fires and can result in serious damage. Prevention is key, so knowing how to avoid these types of fire can increase your safety and security.You have enough to worry about after a fire. Calling the insurance company, finding temporary housing if needed, replacing damaged or destroyed items are some of the items on your list. Add one more important task: to clean and restore your premises. We’ll do our best to save and restore your possessions and get your home ready for your return as soon as poss
1. Faulty Wiring
Older homes, buildings or apartments have a greater likelihood of faulty wiring, which can put you at greater risk of fire. Warning signs that this may be the case include:
- Dimming or flickering lights when you use an appliance.
- Light switches, electrical wires or fuse boxes that are hot to the touch
- Sparks when you plug in an electric appliance
- Buzzing or crackling outlets
- Frequently tripping circuit breakers and fuses
If you notice any of these signs, call a licensed electrician to inspect the premises. If you’re renting the home, contact your landlord immediately to rectify the situation.
2. Electrical Inspection
This tip is especially true for older homes and buildings. Many older homes still have aluminum wiring, which is more prone to cause a fire. If you aren’t sure if your older home has been converted to copper wiring, hire an inspector to check. It would definitely decrease your chance of fires occurring to have the wiring replaced with copper.
Even if your dwelling is newer with copper wiring, you should have an electrical inspection about once a decade.
When you hire an electrical inspector, he/she will inspect the building’s wiring and determine the safety of the major components, like wiring and electrical panels. They will check to make sure your electrical system can handle your power needs. They will make recommendations for upgrades to prevent issues.
3. Electrical Outlets and Cords
All wall outlets should fit tight to the wall. If not, they can present a shock or fire hazard. Replace any outlets that don’t accommodate plugs with one blade larger than the other.
Check any electrical cords for fraying or cracking and replace as needed. They should not be placed under rugs, across doorways, or pinched under furniture. Keep them away from all sources of water, as well.
Regular extension cords should only be used as a temporary solution; surge protectors are safer. However, the surge protectors should include internal overload protection and be labeled and approved by an electrical testing laboratory.
4. Electrical Appliances and Tools
Major electrical appliances, like refrigerators, washers and dryers, ranges and the like, should be plugged directly into a power outlet. Do not use extension cords. Smaller appliances, like toasters, can openers, coffeemakers, etc., should be unplugged when not in use.
Always follow manufacturers’ instructions when using your electrical appliances and tools. You should repair or replace any power tool that causes an electric shock, overheats, smokes or sparks.
5. Light Fixtures
Pay attention to light fixture bulb maximum wattage requirements. Putting in a bulb with a wattage higher than the recommendation can lead to an electrical fire.
Another fire risk can occur if you place a flammable material over a lampshade or lightbulb. Materials like cloth, paper or plastic will heat up quickly and ignite.
You should also make sure the lamp or fixture is in proper working condition. A broken or cracked bulb housing can cause a fire.
6. Space Heaters
When the cold weather hits, people often supplement their central heating with space heaters. While these appliances have improved in recent years, they can still be a fire hazard if not used properly.
Space heaters are portable, and they can be a source of near-range warmth. However, sometimes people put them too close to combustible materials, like curtains, furniture and rugs. The coil type space heaters are especially hazardous because they become very hot. Contact with flammable material can ignite them instantly.
The radiator-type space heaters are safer because their heat is spread over their entire surface and aren’t as likely to catch flammable items on fire. However, it’s still wise to keep them as far away from these materials.
What if an Electrical Fire Breaks Out?
You can go a long way to prevent electrical fires by following these tips. But if a fire does occur, it can result in injury and loss of possessions. Cleaning up the premises after the fire is put out can be a nightmare, what with both the damage caused by the fire, as well as by the water used to exterminate it.Call St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration