Learn What to Avoid and What Steps to Take to Prevent a Fire
Did you know that electrical issues cause around 51,000 house fires each year? In fact, faulty electrical systems are the third leading cause of home structural fires. The good news is that these fires are preventable.
Here are some of the most common causes of electrical fires for you to be aware of. Avoid these mishaps and take appropriate steps to mitigate obvious electrical issues and you will be well on your way to a safer home!
- Faulty Electrical Outlets: The majority of electrical fires are caused by faulty outlets used with older appliances. The best course of action if you have a home that is more than 30 years old is to have your outlets checked by a professional local electrician. You can also make sure never to plug in any appliance with a frayed or damaged cord, which can easily create excess heat that transfers to nearby combustible items such as curtains or carpeting.
- Inappropriate Wattage: Another common cause of electrical fire is using a bulb that is rated at a higher wattage than the lighting fixture you attach it to. The connection can overheat and catch fire. Make sure that you know the maximum wattage for the lamps and light fixtures in your home and don’t use bulbs that surpass those limits.
- Space Heaters: Space heaters have certainly gotten safer over the years in terms of how they are manufactured to operate. However, they remain a major cause of electrical fires. Coil space heaters are the main culprit here, as they become so hot that they can easily ignite. All space heaters, though—even those considered most safe—should be kept well away from anything flammable, such as bedding, curtains and furniture. If you must use a space heater, invest in one that is not coil heated and that has a safety feature for automatic shutoff if overheating occurs.
- Extension Cords: Extension cords should only be used as a temporary solution, never as a long-term power supply. If you don’t have the type of outlet you need for a certain plug or you don’t have an outlet near a location where you need it for use of a given appliance, call one of our Cleveland electricians to come out and give you a quote on updating or adding a panel. This is a relatively inexpensive fix that can protect you and your home.
- Outdated Electrical Panels: Breaker boxes trigger a shutoff when they get overloaded. If you notice this happening frequently, it’s time to get your electrical system checked out. That said, particularly in older homes where the connections are worn, the box may not respond properly and might not shut down when it should. This can cause a fire. If you have a home that was built 30 or more years ago, it doesn’t hurt to have a licensed professional electrician come out to give things a once over and offer a free estimate on any updates or repairs. The latest electrical panel technology is highly adept at preventing fires, so you may wish to consider an electrical panel upgrade.
Stack Heating, Cooling & Electric has been serving the greater Cleveland area since 1976. We value our customer relationships and look forward to working with you! Call us today to schedule a free consultation and estimate on your home heating, cooling or electrical needs.