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How To Prevent Electrical Fires: 6 Electrical Hazards To Correct in Your Home


Today, electrical devices are used for just about every aspect of our day-to-day lives. With so many electrical components inside our homes, it’s important to recognize electrical fire hazards that may exist so you can prevent a catastrophic fire event.

Read on to discover the most common electrical fire hazards and how you can prevent them from damaging your home in the first place!

1. Faulty Electrical Outlets

One of the most common causes of electrical fires is faulty electrical outlets that are not properly grounded. As outlets and switches age, so does the wiring behind them, which can become loose over time and break. If they do break, they can easily catch flame and cause a fire.

Solution: Repair or Replace Loose Outlets

As soon as you suspect that your home may have loose or outdated electrical outlets, contact a trusted electrician to have them repaired or replaced.

All that might be required is a simple tightening of a loose wire nut to improve the connection. In more serious instances, however, it’s best to replace the receptacle entirely.

2. Outdated Electrical Wiring

Homes more than 20 years old are particularly susceptible to electrical fires caused by outdated wiring. Older homes can’t handle the increased power demands that today’s electrical appliances place on their systems. As a result, the wiring can overheat and cause fires to start inside your walls.

Solution: Repair or Replace Old Wiring

Have an electrician evaluate your home to identify any old, damaged wiring.

Be sure that your chosen electrician adheres to the National Electrical Code to ensure that any wiring or rewiring performed follows the most up-to-date safety guidelines.

3. Overusing Extension Cords

Overusing extension cords can be extremely dangerous. Plugging multiple devices into one cord can overheat the unit, causing it to spark and catch surrounding objects on fire.

Solution: Pay Attention to Your Appliances

Be mindful of fire safety hazards related to your appliances by:

  • Inspecting cords for excessive heat or exposed wires
  • Listening for strange noises
  • Watching for improper operation
  • Buying appliances that use quality materials and follow approved safety standards

4. Dangerously Old Appliances

The older your home appliances, the more likely they have frayed cords or faulty wiring that is more susceptible to catching fire.

Older appliances also frequently rely on highly flammable insulation, making them even more of a risk for your home. They also may not be up to today’s electrical standards for appropriate wattage usage, material quality, or safety guidelines.

Solution: Avoid Overusing Extension Cords

Never use extension cords for lighting purposes or as a permanent solution to compensate for insufficient outlets. Replace any cords that have visible signs of damage or fraying, and don’t plug too many devices into one extension cord simultaneously, as this could overheat the system.

If you use extension cords, ensure that they are the heavy-duty type, and refrain from placing them under rugs or in areas where they can present a tripping hazard.

5. Hot Light Fixtures

Another common cause of home electrical fires is when cloth or paper objects are carelessly draped over lamps, lightbulbs, or fixtures. As the bulb heats up, it can easily ignite these materials, leading to a widespread fire throughout the home.

Homeowners can also inadvertently cause an electrical fire by installing a bulb with a wattage too high for the fixture.

Solution: Keep Lamps Away From Paper and Cloth

When decorating, refrain from placing any paper or cloth materials over your lampshades, light fixtures, or bulbs. Keep your light fixtures far away from any curtains, rugs, bedding, and other materials that can easily ignite.

6. Poor Portable Heater Placement

During the winter, it’s popular for Cincinnati homeowners to achieve zoned comfort with a portable heater. However, placing these heaters next to curtains, rugs, couches, cushions, and other flammable materials can place you at increased risk for an electrical fire.

Solution: Schedule an Electrical Safety Inspection

One of the best electrical fire prevention tips our team can provide is to schedule an electrical safety inspection or whole-house electrical tune-up with a knowledgeable electrician. HELP offers our customers the opportunity to keep their Cincinnati homes safe while saving on their electrical needs through the HELP Club Membership program.

Through this program, members enjoy:

  • Whole-house electrical safety inspections
  • Priority scheduling
  • Priority installations
  • Electrical repair discounts
  • And much more!

If you’re looking to prevent electrical fires in your home, trust the team at HELP Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Drains to provide the thorough electrical safety inspections you need for the peace of mind you deserve.

Schedule your electrical safety inspection online today!

Posted in: Electrical

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