According to The National Fire Protection Association, fire departments across the United States responded to an estimated 47,820 home structural fires between 2007 through 2011. These were fires caused by electrical malfunction or failure and exclude other causes. These fires caused approximately 1.5 billion dollars in property damage, 1518 injuries and 455 deaths.
Electricity is one of those conveniences that is all too often taken for granted. Most of us do not even think about flipping the light switch, it is like second nature. The statistics however are all too real and electrical safety in the home is often overlooked.
The local Mesa AZ electricians at Dolce Electric Company are committed to home electrical safety and we hope that you will take the time to review our recommended home electrical safety tips and avoid becoming another statistic.
Electrical Safety Tips To Improve The Safety In Your Home
Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters
- Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters or AFCI’s are a special kind of circuit breaker that detect sudden bursts of electrical current much faster than normal circuit breakers. Dolce Electric Company strongly recommends installing AFCI’s because they are designed to protect against fires.
- Use extension cords on a temporary basis only and avoid placing them under carpeting or across doorways. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that approximately 3,300 residential electrical fire are caused each year by extension cords.
- Avoid using extension cords for major appliances like washers, dryers, stoves, air conditioners and refrigerators. These should all be plugged directly into the wall outlet.
- Repair or replace damaged or loose cords that are attached to appliances and devices.
- Check for GFCI outlets in the bathrooms, kitchen, garage, laundry area and outdoors. They should be tested frequently by pushing the test button. If your home does not have GFCI protection in these areas Dolce Electric Company strongly recommends upgrading for your safety.
- Place lamps on sturdy surfaces and away from things that can burn. Do not exceed the manufactures recommended light bulb size.
- Do not oversize light bulbs. Replacing a 60 watt light bulb with a 100 watt light bulb might seem like a simple solution to get additional light but it will also generate excessive heat. This is especially dangerous when done on ceiling fixtures because heat rises and can actually bake the insulation of the wires above. The danger is further compounded because any other material in close proximity has also been exposed to this heat, which makes it more likely to ignite if these wire short out. Look into LED Lighting and CFL bulb replacements if you need additional light from a specific fixture.
- Avoid plugging more than one heat-producing appliance (like a toaster or coffee pot) into the same electrical outlet. These appliances require more electrical power than non-heat producing appliances and combined they can cause the outlet to become overloaded.
- Replace electrical outlets that have black or burning streaks on the face. This is a sign that a poor connection is being made at the outlet and excessive heat is being produced.
- Repair electrical outlets that are not working, this often suggests a loose wire.
- If you are experiencing frequent problems with circuit breakers tripping, fuses blowing or lights unexpectedly dimming or flickering, have the problem corrected by a qualified electrician as soon as possible. It will need to be addressed sooner or later but remains a possible fire hazard until it gets corrected.
- If you have small children use tamper resistant outlets to avoid accidental electrocution.
If you have a question about any of these electrical safety tips give us a call. Dolce Electric Company schedules an in-office electrician Mesa AZ homeowners can call free of charge to discuss any electrical safety issue regarding the electricity in your home.