With winter comes a host of electrical problems that can cripple your electrical circuits and damage your home appliances. The most devastating electrical nightmare that can befall your home is an electrical fire, which can cause extensive damage and set you back thousands of dollars.
Understanding the risks of electrical fires and how you can avoid them this winter will help make your home safer. Here is a look at practical ways to prevent household electrical fires.
Have your wiring inspected
Electrical wiring is not designed to last forever, and it usually deteriorates with time, increasing the risk of short circuits which result in fires. To be on the safe side, have a certified electrician inspect your home wiring this winter to repair any faulty wiring—especially in electrical outlets.
Replacing outdated or worn out wiring will not only increase safety, but it also makes your electrical system more efficient and capable of coping with the growing electrical demands in your home.
Frayed, tattered or exposed wiring on appliances or faulty wiring should be fixed with new wiring immediately to prevent shorts that can cause electrical fires. Giveaways of shorts and faulty wiring include flickering lights, outlets that spark or buzz when an appliance is plugged in or circuit breakers that keep tripping.
If you live in an older home, talk to an electrician about upgrading the wiring to meet modern standards and to ensure it can cope with the demands of modern appliances.
Avoid overburdening electrical outlets
Plugging in too many appliances into the same power strip or extension cord can easily lead to overloading, which can cause an electrical fire. It is important to follow manufacturer guidelines and limits when stringing electrical cords together and to watch out for signs of overloading such as buzzing or sparks from your outlets or extension cords.
In addition, upgrade your older power strips with modern ones that have overload protection and have an electrician (like those at Sierra Electrical) add more electrical outlets in convenient locations should you find that you have a growing number of new appliances. As a precaution, replace damaged cords on your power strips and avoid hiding cables under rugs and carpets.
If you experience any household electrical problems such as a heating fuse box, a malfunctioning switch or damaged outlet, don't try to save a few bucks by attempting to make repairs yourself. You can easily make the problem worse or even harm yourself in the process, so it is best to call in a certified electrician to make the necessary repairs.