How to Prevent Electrical Fires in Your Home
Gadgets and gizmos and appliances aplenty. Our homes and offices are filled with potential electrical safety hazards, but if we’re smart about the way we use our electrical devices and appliances, we can prevent electrical fires in the home.
Check Your Wiring
Poor wiring increases the chance of fire, so it’s a good idea to avoid DIY electrical work, unless you really know what you’re doing..
But something you can DIY? Check the condition of your wiring.
- Worn, cracked, or corroded electrical wires
- Frayed cords
- Pinched wire insulation (If a piece of furniture sits on an extension cord, for example)
- Overheated wires
- Appliances that have been damaged
- Wire that has been chewed by rodents
If you find any of the above, get rid of the cords and plug.
Also, be sure to avoid pulling on the cord when you unplug from a wall. This can wear a cord out, and increase the risk of electrical shock or fire. Be sure you use multi-outlet extenders sparingly so you don’t overload any circuits. And don’t run electrical cords underneath carpets.
Be Careful Around Water
Make sure the outlets found in your bathrooms and kitchens are installed away from the water source in the room. Don’t run your hair dryer in the bathtub or on a wet floor. Never handle electrical appliances with wet hands (this includes hair dryers) and keep appliances away from sinks.
If you encounter an electrical fire, don’t pour water on it. This will fuel the fire and could electrocute you. Instead, use a fire extinguisher.
Be Safe About Your Appliances
Take a moment to read the manufacturer instructions so you know how to safely operate your appliance. When you plan to clean your small appliances, like your coffee maker or toaster, disconnect them from the outlet. Don’t continue using defective appliances. And when you go on vacation, unplug your small appliances. Give your computer and TV enough space so that there’s proper ventilation and to prevent overheating.
Signs of Inadequate Electrical Wiring
Pay attention to the way your appliances work. If you’re constantly tripping a circuit breaker and you have to unplug an appliance before plugging in another to avoid that, you have inadequate wiring. If your small appliances take extra long to heat up, you could have inadequate wiring. If your lights dim when you turn on another appliance, you should talk to an electrician.
Teach Your Children
Some of the above advice may be second nature to you by now, but make sure your children know how to be safe around electrical appliances and outlets in your home as well. Remind them that electricity and water don’t mix, and to avoid using appliances in wet places or with wet hands. Teach your children not to put anything into an electrical outlet, except for a plug. If your children are small, put safety caps in the holes. Make sure your children know what a frayed cord looks like, and tell them to not touch it if they see one — but to get an adult. Teach your children not to put foil or metal in the microwave, and supervise their kitchen activity until you’re satisfied they remember the rules of safety.
At New Life Restoration, we are very familiar with the extensive damage caused by electrical fires. Make sure you brush up on your knowledge, and share it with those who live with you, to prevent electrical fires in your home.