Out of sight, out of mind. Such is the case with the wires inside of our homes. Most people do not give a lot of thought to those wires and boxes that deliver us the energy to power nearly everything we do. This attitude has been the cause of many a house fire. That may sound a little extreme, but it really isn’t. According to the U.S. Government, there were 20,600 house fires in 2016 that resulted from an electrical malfunction. There are several other categories that may be relevant here, including “appliances” (9,800 fires) and “other equipment” (2,900 fires). The bottom line is that house fires happen all the time, and electrical issues are one of the most frequent causes.
Let’s begin this little introduction with a list of common warning signs. One of the most obvious signs is a circuit breaker that won’t stop going off. You turn it back on, it cuts back off. If this happens more than once, don’t turn it back on. Remember that your circuit breakers exist to prevent the kind of electrical overload that can burn your house down. They are shutting off your power for a reason.
A less subtle sign is a feeling of warmth coming from your electrical outlets and/or a slight burning smell. If you smell a burning smell, even a slight one, coming from your electrical outlet or the appliance plugged into it, immediately unplug and check the cord. If you see sections of the cord that appear melted or burnt, you most certainly need to call an electrical professional.
Sparks are another telltale sign. A home electrical system should never throw sparks under any circumstances, so this problem is pretty obvious. Another obvious problem is that of lights frequently dimming or flickering. Any of these warning signs, if observed, should be checked out by a licensed professional, like Mr. Electric, as soon as possible.
An electrical inspector will check your wiring, your breakers, and all other aspects of your system. But remember, a good inspection company can also provide certain services as well. For instance, you can have your home child-proofed to reduce the chances of an electrical accident. The employment of a skilled professional is essential because of the need to stay current with various codes and regulations. Even if you have the skills, it is highly unlikely that you have the regulatory knowledge that a professional electrician will have.
It is always worthwhile to try and find the good in a bad situation. As such, you can use these electrical repairs as a way to customize your home more effectively to meet your needs. For instance, you might want to install a ceiling fan or two. You might want to move an electrical outlet so as to avoid the need for extension cords. Either way, you can use the situation as an opportunity to look at the electrical layout of your home and make small improvements.
There are also several extra safety tricks that you can use to minimize your chances of losing your house to an electrical fire. One of the most sensible precautions is to have all your standard wall outlets replaced with GFCI outlets. While you may not know what these are, you have surely seen them before. These are the outlets with the little “test” and “reset” buttons on them. These are simply outlets that are equipped with circuit breakers so that they will cut themselves off in response to a certain level of power. It may not seem like much, but it represents one more barrier between you and that house fire.
You also might consider the use of a house-wide surge protector. Everyone is familiar with the little surge protectors that we use with our electronics, but you might not be aware that you can have a big surge protector installed at the box. This is important because your electrical box is the place where the electrical current from the lines first enters your home. As such, it should be your first line of defense in the event of an accident or malfunction.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a tragedy will never happen to you. These things happen every day, and you can be a victim if you don’t take the proper precautions. You might save not only your property but also your life.