Growing up, most of us were taught that electrical safety is important, but electrical hazards are still the cause of hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries each year.
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), home electrical hazards cause around 51,000 fires each year, more than 500 deaths, more than 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property damage.
Electricity has become so central to our lives that we often forget hazards are all around us — especially in our homes!
Here are five of the biggest electrical hazards we at Arnold Electrical Services recommend you look out for:
- Faulty wiring
Old or poorly installed wiring is the biggest electrical danger lurking in many homes. According to the National Fire Protection Association, faulty wiring is the cause of 69% of all electrical fires.
The ESFI recommends that the best thing you can do to prevent this hazard is to ask a qualified electrician to inspect your home. Especially if your home is over 30 years old, have noticed dim or flickering lights, or have heard sizzling and buzzing sounds near lights or appliances.
While you could attempt a DIY approach, it’s important to be aware that residential wiring is not as simple as some YouTube videos might make it seem. You need to have a thorough understanding of how your electrical system works or else you could cause more damage and expense in the long run.
Our experienced electricians at Arnold Electrical Services would be happy to inspect your home to ensure your wiring meets the safety standards in the National Electrical Code (NEC).
- Overloaded circuits
This hazard is easier to pinpoint and prevent.
Circuits can be overloaded when electricity is being used by too many appliances, often through power strips.
Power strips only provide more outlets — not more power. If you’re using extension cords for appliances such as a dishwasher, fridge, or space heater, you may be overloading your circuit.
Signs of an overloaded circuit include:
- Scorched outlets
- Flickering lights
- Burning smell
- Slow appliances
If you heavily depend on power strips or extension cords, consider having one of our electricians install additional circuits or outlets for your home.
One thing that electricians at Arnold Electrical Services will make sure of is to not install an outlet near a water source.
Most people know that water and electricity can be a lethal combination, but it’s easy to forget when you’re rushing in the mornings and you turn off a switch with still-wet hands.
One way you can avoid this situation is by asking an electrician to install a switch in the bathroom that can automatically shut the lights on and off.
Water can still get near outlets, however, which is just as dangerous. Another preventative is installing electrical outlets with a self-closing flap. Not only do these outlets prevent water from entering the outlet with a sudden splash, but they also prevent children from sticking small objects into them.
Tip: In the case of an electrical fire, avoid using water! Because water is such a great conductor for fire, it will only cause the flames to spread. Instead, use a fire extinguisher or fire blanket!
Most of us need to have our chargers near our beds so that we can scroll through social media one last time before sleeping or to hear our alarm loud and clear in the morning.
But how many of us keep our chargers on our bed? Or, even worse, beneath a blanket or pillow?
Chargers near flammable material are the perfect example of an electrical hazard we often don’t think (or may not even know) about.
The heat from a charger and the insulation from a blanket or pillow may cause a fire if combined long enough. You’re at an even greater risk if your charger is frayed.
While the convenience of having your charger so close may be tempting, it’s not worth the risk of waking up to a fire overnight!
- Space heaters
Similar to chargers, space heaters are another serious electrical hazard to be cautious of. The Customer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that from 2008 to 2010, portable electric heaters caused around 1,200 fires per year.
They can cause a fire if left near flammable material like:
Not only that, but space heaters are high-wattage that are known to cause overloading on circuits. If you plan to use one, make sure you never connect it to an extension cord or power strip. Only connect it to a wall outlet.
If the plug, cord, or outlet feels hot, disconnect your heater and have an electrician check the wall outlet!
Whether you’re looking for an electrician for a full inspection or just have questions on electrical safety, we at Arnold Electrical Services are happy to be put to the test! Call us to increase the electrical safety in your home today!