Each year, it is estimated that there are around 51,000 electrical fires across the United States. Unfortunately, these fires can cause not only serious damage to property but injury and death as well. Many electrical fires and related incidents are also completely preventable with some common-sense safety precautions. If you're a new homeowner, there are some important electrical safety tips you should keep in mind to keep yourself, your home, and your loved ones safe.
Avoid Overloading Outlets
Overloading an outlet is one of the most common ways to cause an electrical fire, so it's important to be aware of your home's amperage capacities. Often times, overloading happens when multiple devices are plugged into a single outlet using extension cords or other adapters. This is very common around the holiday season, when homeowners may have multiple strings of lights or other decorations plugged in.
Be on the lookout for signs of an overloaded outlet, such as lights that are flickering on and off.
Keep an A-B-C Fire Extinguisher
In the event of an electrical fire in your home, having the right fire extinguisher available to you could make all the difference. Ideally, you should keep at least one A-B-C fire extinguisher on each floor of your home. These fire extinguishers are safe and effective to use on electrical fires. Check regularly to make sure your home's fire extinguishers are properly charged, and replace them as needed.
Cover Outlets Around Little Ones
If you have small children in your home, make sure to protect them from electrical shock by keeping outlets covered when not in use. You can usually cover some outlets with basic furniture rearrangement, but there are also plastic outlet covers you can insert into each outlet to prevent small children's fingers from entering.
Test GFCIs Regularly
All bathrooms and kitchen spaces in your home should be equipped with ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), which will automatically shut off if a shock hazard is present. If you don't have GFCIs in these spaces (this is more common in older homes), have them installed by an experienced electrician. From there, be sure to test these devices regularly using the "test" and "reset" buttons on the outlets themselves.
Looking for more tips on keeping your home safe from electrical fires? An electrical inspection is a great place to start. An experienced company offering residential electrical solutions can come to your home and make sure it is clear of any common electrical dangers.
To learn more, reach out to a residential electrical service.