According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were more than 45,000 house fires between 2010 and 2014 that were associated with electrical malfunction or failure on some level. Knowing this statistic is alarming, but it should spur you as a homeowner to do your part to ensure all electrical parts of your home are in safe working order. Beyond calling up an electrician for an occasional checkup, there are a few things you can check on your own. Here is a simple checklist to help you ensure your house is electrically safe.
1. Never ignore failing breakers or consistently blown fuses. If you are always dealing with these issues, it means there is a problem somewhere that needs professional attention. The problem could be something as small as a disruption in a wire leading to the electric panel, but even this could be a fire hazard.
2. Check for frayed wires on all electronics. Any electronic in your home that has a frayed electrical wire should be either repaired or thrown out. Frayed wires mean the current is open to leap from a cord to something else, which could cause a fire in a moment.
3. Replace light switches and outlets that don't work properly. You turn on a light switch and hear a sizzle or pop. Maybe you plug something into an outlet and there is no power. These issues with outlets and switches should be immediately addressed. These access points are directly in contact with electrical current, so if they are not working, it could mean there is an open current behind the receptacle or switch that could cause a fire.
4. Avoid long-term extension cord usage indoors and outdoors. Extension cords are a great convenience, but they should never be treated as a fix-all solution for lack of power outlets. Extension cords can be overloaded with electrical current and melt, sometimes generating a fire risk.
5. Take a peek at the hidden wiring throughout the house. Get up in the attic, down in the basement, or in the crawlspace with a flashlight and take a look at the wiring. If there are signs that the wiring is outdated or damaged, call up an electrical contractor for help with getting these wires replaced as soon as possible.
6. Ensure circuit interrupters are installed on outlets near water sources. Electricity and water combine to create a catastrophically dangerous situation since water is conducive and will carry the electricity. Make sure any outlet or light switch you have that is located around a sink or other plumbing fixture is equipped with a circuit interrupter.
For more information on electrical maintenance, contact a company like Kunselman Electric, Inc.