With the onset of fall and winter, there is often an increase in electrical fires in the home. People tend to stay indoors more than any other time of the year. Since there is less natural light available, there is an increase in electrical consumption for lighting. However, today’s homes are filled with electronic devices that entertain and make the home more efficient. However, this increased demand can also lead to an electric fire. So, before you shut yourself and your family in for the next few months – take an assessment of the electrical issues that could result in a home fire.
Do a walk through of your entire house from attic to basement. Ensure that each electrical outlet is functional, grounded and secured properly to the wall. Plug a simple electric device such as a small lamp or hand vacuum into each outlet to determine if they are working. Mark any problematic outlets for repair.
Utilize a certified surge protector with ‘internal overload protection’ to plug more than two items into a wall unit. Even with this added protection, it is best to only plug in a maximum of three items at a time. The surge protector will prevent the devices from becoming damaged in the event of a power surge. It will also turn the power off and prevent an electrical fire if the system becomes heated.
Do a separate walk through of your home and examine the power cords of all electrical devices. Any items that have frayed or cracked cords should be unplugged and set aside. You can decide if it is worth the time, money and effort to replace the cord or if the appliance has outlived its usefulness and should instead be replaced.
Avoid the use of extension cords whenever possible. They pose a tripping hazard in the home and can also are the origin of many electric fires. If you find that you need to use an extension cord long-term, then it might be time to have a professional assess your home’s electrical wiring for modernizing and expansion.
Finally, use outlet covers if you have young children around the home, and keep electric cords away from carpets and water. Also, read manufacturers’ appliance manuals to ensure you are using the equipment appropriately.