Appliance electrical fires can and do happen. Electrical failures are a common cause of house fires, and unfortunately, that means most of your appliances are susceptible to causing fires. From 2010-2014, U.S. fire departments have responded to a yearly average of 45,210 electrical home fires. These electrical fires result in an annual average of 420 deaths, 1,370 injuries, and $1.4 billion in property damage. Your safety should never be at stake, especially in the comforts of your own home. The good news is that almost all electrical fires can be easily prevented.
How You Can Enjoy Your Home and Appliances Safely
Appliance electrical fires not only put your safety at risk, it often results in a greater loss of money and expensive repairs. Most electrical fires are caused by faulty wiring, old electrical panels, or malfunctioning lighting. Routine inspections and maintenance from a licensed electrician can greatly reduce your risk of an appliance electrical fire. Monitoring your appliances and how you use them can also help to keep you and your household safe. Most appliance electrical fires can be prevented, here are nine ways how.
- Inspect your home’s wiring. A good rule of thumb is to judge your home’s electrical wiring based on your home’s age. Any homes that are 10 years old and up are due for an electrical inspection. Old and outdated wiring is not just an electrical nuisance, but a major house fire hazard.
- Replace any old wiring. Old wiring not only falls behind to meet your home’s electrical demands, it’s more susceptible to damages, such as frayed, worn out, or tattered wires. If you suspect you have some damaged wiring somewhere inside your house, it’s important to have an electrician replace the wiring immediately.
- Check your plugs. Just like the wires and cords inside your home, the plugs to your appliances are also susceptible to damage. Make sure to check throughout your house for any broken plugs. Just like damaged wiring, a damaged plug can cause a spark and overheat your outlets which can result in an appliance electrical fire. Be careful handling broken plugs, as they can cause electrical shocks.
- Don’t overload your home’s outlets. Each outlet inside your home is designed to provide and handle only so much electricity. Overwhelming an electrical outlet is an easy way to start a spark and cause an appliance electrical fire.
- Keep flammable materials away. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and your electrical outlets are no exception. Using electrical appliances generates heat, and placing flammable objects such as a blanket or cleaning supplies nearby an appliance or outlet can cause an appliance electrical fire.
- Use surge protectors. Power surges are a common occurrence, and they are caused when the flow of electricity is interrupted and starts again. The problem with power surges is that although some surges can be completely harmless to your house and electronics, other surges are large enough to cause a spark which can start a fire. Investing in a few surge protectors protects your electronics and helps to prevent an appliance electrical fire from happening.
- Monitor your appliances. Sometimes the electrical issue is not caused by your wiring or electrical panel, but a specific appliance that’s likely due to being replaced. Appliances that have a high electrical demand can blow a fuse, trip a circuit or cause a spark. If you’re often making trips to the basement, it could be the result of a faulty appliance. If you suspect an electrical appliance is in need of a repair or replacement, have an electrician look at it immediately.
- Check your electrical panel. Your home’s electrical wiring isn’t the only culprit for electrical fires. Old and outdated electrical panels are another appliance electrical fire hazard. You can determine the age of your electrical panel by looking for the label on the door itself, looking through the manual, or checking your home records from when you first purchased the house. The problem isn’t just age, but the number of amps. Older homes were built with electrical panels that provide a limited amount of electrical power. Most modern homes, however, have a much higher electrical demand that older electrical panels can’t provide.
- Avoid counterfeit electrical products. Be wary of purchasing any power strips, extension cords, night lights, batteries, and even circuit breakers for unbelievably low prices. They’re being sold at a low price for a reason, usually because they’re counterfeit. Counterfeit electrical products might be nice to your wallet, but not to your home, as they can be extremely dangerous. Make sure to buy your electrical products by reputable retailers, especially those who can take something back if it doesn’t work. If you’re unsure if something is safe to buy, check for the Underwriters Laboratories seal.
Appliance Electrical Fires: Your Safety Should Never Be At Stake
Any electrical appliance can pose a safety hazard, but that doesn’t mean you live to experience it personally. Almost all appliance electrical fires can be prevented with some cautionary maintenance and care. If you are experiencing an electrical problem, however, contact a licensed electrician immediately. A professional electrician is properly trained to not only safely repair an electrical problem, but to ensure your house is safe from an appliance electrical fire. Don’t wait until you see smoke, protect your house today.
Call Wave Electric Company to schedule your electrical inspection today.