5 Tips for Home Electrical Safety
Do you know how at-risk your home electrical system is? This year is predicted to be a terrible fire year due to unusually high temperatures and a mild winter that left water stores wanting. In a drought there will be less access to water to fight all of the fires that are inevitably coming in this heat wave.
While house fires are not necessarily connected to the weather, it is still important to note that about 51,000 house fires every year are caused by electrical problems. Thankfully, these tips will help you be aware of potential threats and catch issues before they arise.
1. Check Faceplates
Faceplates is the official name for the covering around electrical switches and outlets. If they are hot to the touch, it’s important to take action quickly. A hot faceplate is a sign of an electrical issue. The problem could be an overloaded outlet or a loose wire. To reduce the risk of an electrical fire, you should turn off the power to that outlet via the circuit breaker box and call an experienced Idaho Falls electrician.
2. Tripping Circuit Breaker
A tripping circuit breaker is a sign of a potentially hazardous electrical problem. If a breaker trips every time you turn on a light switch or plug into an outlet, be suspicious. It is possible that the problem could be with the appliance or outlet itself. But, the first step is to look at the breaker and identify which section is causing the problem. If this is the first time the breaker has tripped, it could indicate a temporary overload and it is probably safe to reset the breaker. However, if the breaker refuses to reset or continues to trip, don’t keep trying. Call a qualified electrician to come look at it. Many of them have round the clock service for emergencies.
3. Flickering Lights
When you flip a light switch you expect the light to turn on instantly. That is because it should. If everything is working properly there should be no delay, flicker or failure. If you notice that you have a light that flickers it could be a sign that wiring has been affected. It could also be an issue with the fixture or bulb itself. Changing a lightbulb is a common household chore that can be done safely. But, if changing the bulb does not fix the problem it is time to call an electrician to test the switch and check the wiring.
4. Extension Cords
Extension cords are designed to be a temporary solution for when you need additional power for a tool or extra lights. However, extension cords are not designed to be used as a long-term solution because the cord can quickly deteriorate, which exposes wires and creates a fire risk. Placement of the extension cord is also important. Take care to never run an extension cord under a rug or through water or where it could be exposed to a lot of water. If you find yourself relying on extension cords frequently, consider contacting an electrician and having new outlets installed in the areas where you need them to mitigate the risk of a fire.
The best rule of thumb is that if a fixture or appliance is not in use–unplug it. It’s a simple task, but is often overlooked or simply forgotten. It is easy to get in the habit of having everything conveniently plugged in and ready to be used at the drop of a hat. However, this can increase potential electrical fire risk. Getting into the habit of unplugging whenever possible will also save you money from what is called phantom draining when you aren’t actually using the fixture but it is still draining bits of power. The reason this helps prevent fires and electrical damage is because it protects against power surges and overheating. The technology these days is wonderful and smart plugs are a great option to help with this particular step.
Electrical Inspections in Idaho Falls
The professional team at Arco Electric is willing and qualified to help you with all of your electrical residential needs. If you have any concerns about the electrical safety of your home, do not hesitate to contact them for an inspection. Depending on the age of your home it may be time for replacements anyway. Although it isn’t a common home maintenance item, outlets really only last for fifteen years. On the flip side, if you are building a new home, contact them for a thorough inspection or consultation for electrical work. The Idaho Falls electricians at Arco Electric are here to help.