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How to Identify Electrical Fire Hazards at Home



Electrical fires are something to avoid at all costs. A fire that starts in your electrical work can tear through your home at exponential speed, putting possessions and lives at dire risk. Most home electrical systems are perfectly safe, but shoddy work and deteriorated wiring can prove deadly, so it’s of utmost importance to keep an eye out for signs that your electrical work is not performing properly. Read on to learn about red flags that indicate dangers in your electrical system.

Signs that Your Wiring is on the Fritz

Malfunctioning electrical work like short circuits and bad wiring are responsible for six percent of residential fires in the United States, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, or about 22,000 per year. Furthermore, electrical malfunctions often prove more dangerous than other types of fires. In fact, at 14 percent, they are the leading type of non-confined fires, or those that spread beyond the original object.

If you experience any of the following symptoms in your electrical work, have an electrician come inspect your house as soon as possible:

  • A breaker in your circuit box that trips repeatedly: If your circuit breaker trips occasionally, it probably just means you plugged in too many things at once, but the same breaker flipping over and over could be a sign of a more serious problem.
  • Sparks from the outlet: Sparks, buzzing or a burning odor coming from your outlets is a strong warning that you need to replace the outlets and update the wiring behind them.
  • Shocks from your electrical work: When you get a shock from touching an electrical appliance, it means electricity is traveling somewhere it shouldn’t, either through a ground fault or wiring malfunction.
  • The lights are flickering: Hopefully, the light is flickering on and off because it’s not screwed in properly, but it could also be a sign that the fixture or wiring elsewhere in the circuit has come loose. The same goes for other types of outlets that aren’t functioning properly.

Preventative Measures to Keep Your Family Safe

You can further protect yourself from fire by taking these preventative steps:

  • Make sure all your wiring is installed by a qualified electrician using modern materials and that it is up to code.
  • Upgrade your circuit box to include arc circuit interrupters that can shut down the power immediately in the event of an electric arc.
  • Ensure that you have ground fault circuit interrupters installed in any outlets that could potentially be exposed to water.
  • Throw away any cords, plugs, or appliances that are worn, frayed or otherwise malfunctioning.

    Never plug too many devices into a single outlet, power strip or circuit.

Expert Inspection of Your Electrical Work

If you need an inspection of your home electrical work to identify any potential risk factors, call an expert electrician right away.

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