October is National Fire Prevention Month, which means there’s no better time to address the hazards of an electrical fire—including common causes and prevention techniques that can keep you, your family, and your belongings safe.
Electrical Fire Causes
While of course, some electrical fires are unavoidable—such as undetected pest damage to wires—the most common cause of electrical fire is faulty outlets or appliances. When an appliance becomes old and outdated, there is a risk of the wiring becoming frayed or the receptacles and switches showing signs of wear. Any time electricity is exposed, the risk of heat being introduced to a combustible material increases, therefore posing a severe fire hazard.
Easy Electrical Fire Prevention Techniques
When it comes to preventing electrical fires, some key (and simple) rules to follow include:
- Don’t run cords under rugs– frequent stepping on electrical cords can cause the wire casing to wear down and expose electricity and heat.
- Don’t cover lamps with cloth– while a sheer scarf may create an ambient light in a space, it also traps heat from your lightbulb and poses a potential combustion hazard with the paper lampshade.
- Don’t overload your outlets- while power strips can be convenient and safe in some instances, putting too many plugs into one outlet could draw too much energy and introduce heat.
Ensuring Safe Electrical Installation and Maintenance for Fire Prevention
According to the National Fire Protection Association, the two best things homeowners can do to prevent fire are safe electrical installation and proper electrical maintenance. Electricity is dangerous. The wiring in your home should never be altered by anyone who isn’t a professionally trained electrician.
Of course, it’s important that the initial installation of wiring be completed with all the proper safety measures in mind. But one thing that few people consider is that electrical maintenance must be addressed with the same level of care—especially if your home is over 20 years old.
If the electrical system in a home becomes too outdated, newer appliances that require higher levels of energy could pose problems by drawing too much from the source and overloading the circuit. It’s important to have your electrical system examined periodically to ensure that your home can safely handle the amount of energy you’re using.
This one should be familiar to everyone: smoke detectors. While of course preventing fires in the first place is the best course of action, even the most cautious and prepared home can still experience a fire. That’s why it’s important to stick to the guidelines for installing adequate smoke detectors in your home. Make sure you have smoke detectors in each of these areas:
- At least one on every floor of the home, including the basement
- In every bedroom
- In every hallway
- Near potential fire-risk areas, such as the kitchen or fireplace
It is also recommended that at least one of your smoke detectors is hardwired—meaning it draws its energy from the home’s wiring. This is a service that Mister Sparky Electric gladly offers. We can assess the adequacy of your current smoke detector setup and offer recommendations for the placement and type of smoke detector that’s most appropriate for your home’s unique layout. And of course, our skilled technicians can install hardwired smoke detectors to keep your family safe. Give us a call to schedule your appointment!