More than 50,000 home electrical fires occur each year, resulting in nearly 1,500 injuries and 500 deaths, and more than a billion dollars in property damage, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI). Electrical fires often start when signs of a possible problem are overlooked. Below are some electrical safety tips every homeowner should know to minimize the risk of residential electrical issues.
Know Your Home’s Age
Electrical systems used in older homes weren’t designed to handle today’s electrical demands with things like home entertainment systems, computers, and home security systems. If you have an older home with an electrical system that hasn’t been updated, it’s a good idea to schedule a general inspection to assess the overall condition of your home’s wiring and circuits.
Look for Signs of Bad//Faulty Wiring
Bad wiring is one of the leading causes of home electrical fires. Wiring that’s somehow damaged or worn is more likely to trigger a fire as power flows through it. Look for the following signs of faulty wiring:
- Breakers and fuses frequently going out
- Flickering or dimming lights
- Discolored outlets or switches
- Burning smell
- Outlets/switches that produce shocks when touched
Use Child-Proof Outlets
More than 2,000 children are in emergency rooms due to electrical burns or shocks each year. Young children often put small things into electrical outlets, at least the ones they can easily reach.
Minimize the risk of electrical shock if you have younger kids by taking the time to insert child-proof outlets. While they appear similar to standard outlets, child-proof outlets have spring-loaded receptacle cover plates that provide protection against electrical contacts.
Know How to Turn Off the Power
If you are noticing things like warm outlets or seeing signs of a wiring problem, you may need to quickly turn off your home’s electricity. It also helps to know how to do this if you are doing any home improvements that will involve electrical connections.
To shut off power for your entire home, flip the switch at the top of your main electrical panel. Shut off the branch circuit breakers (the ones below the top switch) to only cut off electricity for certain rooms.
If you have an older fuse box in your home, pull out the fuse block or pull the main disconnect. For individual rooms, you would unscrew certain fuses.
Watch for Constantly Tripping Breakers
Circuit breakers control the flow of electricity throughout various parts off your home and prevent too much power from being sent to anyone's source. If your circuit breaker is frequently tripping, it means you are overloading certain outlets. Resolve the issue by:
- Re-configuring appliances
- Removing some plugs from overloaded outlets
- Reducing the high-demand electrical usage as much as possible
Note: If your circuit breakers keep tripping even after making these adjustments, you should call an electrician for electrical repair services.
If you’re seeing signs of bad wiring or other potential electrical safety issues, the trained electricians at AAA Service are here to help. We’ll evaluate your electrical system and make recommendations on how to correct any potentially hazardous conditions. Contact AAA Service today to schedule a home electrical inspection.