October is a month associated with many occasions such as Halloween and Fall. But did you know October is also National Fire Prevention Month? This special month is dedicated to educating people about fire prevention and safety by giving them the right tools and knowledge. The team at The Perfect Light believes the safety of our customers and their families is our top priority—so to kick off Fire Prevention Month, we’re going to tell you a little bit about the ways you can prevent electrical fires in your home!
Electrical Fire Facts
To give you an idea of the weight of the issue, here are some important facts about electrical fires!
- According to a report by the National Fire Protection Association, electrical failures are the second leading cause of U.S. home fires between 2012 and 2016.
- Fires caused by electrical failures accounted for the highest share of civilian deaths and direct property damage
- A phenomenon called “arcing” was the heat source causing 3/5ths of electrical home fires
Ways to Prevent Electrical Fires
Install GFCIs and AFCIs
GFCIS, ground fault circuit interrupters are important to have for general electrical safety. A GFCI essentially protects people from electrical shocks. It monitors the amount of power going into a plugged-in appliance. The moment the appliance meets excess moisture, the GFCI can detect the interruption in the current and cuts off the power. Be sure to integrate GFCI outlets in receptacles outdoors as well as in your kitchen and bathroom.
AFCI or arc fault circuit interrupters play a more direct role in preventing electrical fires. Arcing occurs when an electrical current jumps a gap or crack in frayed wiring. Electrical arcs can operate at several thousand degrees Celsius at their center and can easily cause fires. AFCIs detect any hazardous arcing and turn off the circuit to prevent potential fires caused by electrical arcs. AFCIs are installed into your breaker box, providing whole-home protection. For safe installation, call an electrician.
Remember to test your GFCIs and AFCIs every month!
Make sure all your outlets, whether indoors or outdoors, are secured snugly to the wall. Loose fitted plugs and outlets can be shock and fire hazards. If any outlet wall plates are missing or broken, be sure to replace them, because exposed wiring can be dangerous. Furthermore, consider having outlet covers to protect your outlets as well as your children from putting anything harmful in the sockets. For outdoor outlets, consider in-use protective covers which can protect sockets from moisture and water during rainier days.
Extension Cords are NOT for Permanent Use
One big mistake people make is using extension cords on a permanent basis. Extension cords are to be used temporarily and they should not be a replacement for an electrical outlet. It is best to plug an appliance directly into an outlet—if you find yourself plugging appliances into an extension cord often, it is best to hire an electrician to install additional wall outlets.
Make sure you aren’t using extension cords outdoors and if you are, they need to be “rated and tested for outdoor use.”
Pro tip: Don’t plug numerous appliances in an extension cord at the same time. Also, don’t run cords of any kind under rugs or carpet, especially if they are frayed or damaged. Replace any damaged cords.
Check for Faulty Wiring
Outdated or faulty wiring can cause electrical fires as well. If you live in an older home, it is possible that it may not have the wiring capacity to handle a variety of appliances and devices. Signs of possible faulty wiring could be:
- Flickering and buzzing lights
- Frayed or chewed wiring
- Smoke or burning smells
- Burnt outlets
If you think you have faulty wiring based on these signs, it is best to have an electrician come inspect your home.
Prevent Electrical Fires with The Perfect Light
We hope these tips for preventing electrical fires are helpful. If you want to learn more about how your wiring, light fixtures and outlets can be protected from potential hazards, get in touch with the pros at The Perfect Light. While our specialty is outdoor lighting our priorities are customer safety and satisfaction. Get in touch today by calling us at 972-304-3330 or by filling out a service request form on our website!