Preventing Home Fires Due to Electrical Causes
Every year home fires across the nation cause death, injury and property damage. While cooking fires are the number one cause of house fires, electrical fires originating from the electrical system and lighting systems are the fourth leading cause of home fires. Contact a Mister Sparky electrician in Huntsville, AL for electrical installation or electrical repair. The following are preventable measures that can save lives, prevent injuries and potentially reduce or prevent property damage in your home:
- The first step in ensuring your family’s protection is to install and maintain functional smoke alarms. Almost two-thirds of deaths in residential fire resulted in homes with either no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Furthermore, smoke alarms should be replaced every ten years, including hard wired smoke alarms. A Mister Sparky electrician in Huntsville, AL can provide the replacement or the installation you require. However, if a detector less than ten years old chirps after replacing the battery, or if the alarm doesn’t sound when providing the recommended monthly testing of the fire alarm system, replace it.
- The majority of electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical outlets and outdated appliances. Following these are faulty appliance cords, and switches. Never use an appliance with a worn or frayed cord which can start a fire. A Mister Sparky electrician in Huntsville, AL can provide the electrical services you require.
- Running extension cords under rugs can cause a fire. If you routinely use extension cords for powering appliances and electronics, your home’s electrical system is in need of updating with additional outlets. A Mister Sparky electrician in Huntsville, AL can provide the electric repair service and/or upgrades that you require.
- Removing the grounding prong from a cord so it can be used in an outdated two-prong electrical outlet can cause a fire. Furthermore, two-prong outlets are a sign that your home’s electrical system is also potentially outdated. Removing the prong and outdated wiring and/or the presence of a fuse box are a red flag of potentially increased odds of a house fire. Contact our licensed electricians for an electrical inspection to determine if you require the installation of new wiring. A Mister Sparky electrician in Huntsville, AL can provide the electrical services you require to bring your home up to code.
- Lighting and light bulbs are an additional cause of electrical fires. Using a higher wattage than the fixtures is rated for is a leading cause of electrical fire. Always check the maximum recommended bulb wattage before installing a new bulb.
- According to the NFPA, nearly half of home electrical fires are caused by arc faults. An arc (similar to an electrical short) can set fire to nearby combustible materials. Arcs often happen in an appliance or extension cords that are damaged, frayed or cracked. To prevent arc faults, have Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) installed in your home. AFCIs are able to detect certain types of dangerous arcing conditions. They are very similar in appearance to conventional circuit breakers and fit into the home’s electrical panel in the same way. Not only do they protect against overloads and short circuits, but they can also electronically sense arcing.
The AFCI should not be confused with a GFCI. While the AFCI is located in the electrical panel, a GFCI is an outlet typical installed anywhere that water is a risk, for example outdoors or next to sinks. When an AFCI breaker trips, contact a Mister Sparky electrician in Huntsville, AL to determine the cause and repair it. The GFCI is discussed further later on.
- An additional cause of residential fire is placing combustible materials such as cloth or paper over a lampshade. The material can heat up and ignite, causing a fire.
- Outdated wiring in the home is a common cause of electrical fires. Due to the increased number of electrical appliances and electronics in today’s homes, a home over twenty years old may not have the wiring capacity to handle the increased electrical demand. A Mister Sparky licensed electrician in Huntsville, AL can provide the professional electrical services you require.
- Space heaters are a major cause of electrical fires and death in the home. A common cause of a fire started by a space heater is locating it too close to combustible surfaces such as curtains, beds, clothing, upholstered furniture and rugs. If you use space heaters allow a minimum of 4 ft. clear space around the appliance. Read the owner’s manual, it may require a greater distance.
- Breakers should “trip” when circuits are overloaded by the demand for too much electricity. However, outdated breaker boxes may have worn connectors, allowing an overload and an electrical fire.
Intentionally installing circuit breakers with a higher amperage than is intended for the circuit presents a severe fire hazard. For example, if you increase a 15 amp circuit breaker to a 20 amp breaker to avoid blowing fuses, you can be placing your family and home at a serious risk of fire. Tripped breakers indicate the need for an electrician in Huntsville, AL.
A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is an outlet designed to prevent shock. GFCI panels have “Reset” and “Test” buttons in the middle. GFCIs are required in potentially wet locations, such as the kitchen, bathrooms and outdoor locations. If you don’t have them in your home, contact an electrician in Huntsville, AL.
Mister Sparky licensed electricians provide reliable and professional electrical services. Our electricians’ commitment to quality services ensures you receive the finest services available. Contact a Mister Sparky electrician in Huntsville, AL today to schedule an installation or electrical repair services. Mister Sparky is a member of the BBB with an A+ rating, and serves the North Alabama region.