According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than 25,000 are reported every year, resulting in death or injury in over 1,300 people. Home electrical fires cost more than nonelectrical fires. Surprisingly, the majority of house fires can be easily prevented by following these steps:
1. Overloaded Electrical Outlet
This happens when too many appliances are plugged into the same outlet, extension cord or power strip, and is the most common cause of electrical fires. Power strips that are equipped with internal overload protection are the best ones because they shut off as soon as they are overloaded.
2. Run an Electrical Inspection
Hire a reputable electrician to inspect the wiring in your home. It is recommended to rewire old homes, because electrical wiring wears out over time, making your home more susceptible to fires. If your home is wired with aluminum, consider rewiring in copper, since aluminum is more prone to cause electrical fires.
3. Keep an Eye on Heating Appliances
This doesn’t just apply to space heaters; hair dryers and irons, lamps and pressing irons fall under this category, too. When turned on, these appliances can start a fire when they make contact with flammable materials, such as fabrics and pressurized cans. This also applies to cables, as they may start fires if overheated and in contact with rugs or carpets.
4. Repair Broken Pugs and Electrical Cords
Cords that are worn out and have broken parts can overheat and start a fire unpredictably. If any of your appliances show signs of wear and tear, replace them immediately. Contrary to popular belief, replacement cords for appliances can be bought at any hardware store.
5. Look Out for Signs of Problems
Signs of electrical problems include flickering lights, breakers that shut off, outlets that make buzzing sounds, a hot fuse box, and any plugs that spark when something is being plugged in. All these may cause a fire eventually.
6. Purchase Surge Protectors
A power surge increases the amount of electricity flowing through an outlet, resulting in an electricity overload. Surge protectors are common on power strips, and protect everything plugged into an outlet.
7. Check Insulated Tools Before Use
If the insulation layer of a hand tool breaks, it no longer works properly. Actually, it becomes an electrical conductor, making the tool a safety hazard for those using it. If you see the insulation layer is damaged, replace it right away.