Faulty wiring and electrical malfunctions cause over 115,000 house fires in the U.S. annually. If you’re wondering, “Is my home’s electrical system safe?” we’ll explain how to spot electrical problems before disaster strikes.
Common Electrical Hazards
The best way to prevent the risk of a house fire is to detect and address hazards early.
One of the easiest ways to spot an electrical hazard is by looking at the wiring throughout your home and checking for signs of any wear and tear, fraying, splits, cracks, or corrosion. In addition to replacing damaged wires, have your electrical circuits repaired to reduce the chance of a fire or electrical shock.
Grounding issues create another common electrical hazard, which can become a bigger problem if not addressed effectively. When an electrical outlet is ungrounded, it means that electricity can travel wherever it finds a conductor. Without the ground wire present, if something goes wrong with the outlet, there’s an increased chance that equipment will short out, cause shock, or start a fire.
Avoid overloading sockets with many extension cords if your home’s wiring system isn’t grounded.
New appliances and renovations increase the risk of accidents, especially in older homes. The wiring in your home’s electrical system should be replaced about every 60 years.
If you need electrical rewiring in the Charlottesville area, we’re happy to help you with your upgrade needs.
Warning Signs of Electrical Problems
If your home’s electrical system is showing signs of distress, it might be time to get an electric panel upgrade to meet your home’s energy needs. Warning signs of electrical issues include:
- Frequent breaker trips
- Flickering or buzzing lights
- Burning or discoloration
- Electric shock
As always, it is wise to have a new fire extinguisher in the home, especially if you notice electrical problems. Electrical fires require a specific fire extinguisher to most effectively put out the fire. If you experience any of these signs, unplug everything from your outlets, and call a licensed professional to advise you on the best solutions going forward.
Electrical Safety Tips
There are a few tips you can use to help keep your home safe from electrical issues. The most important safety rule to remember is that if you suspect an electrical problem, disconnect the power by turning off the circuit breaker in the electrical panel and unplugging equipment from the outlet. As a general rule, to help lower your energy bill, unplug appliances and devices when they’re not being used.
Another way to ensure your home’s electrical system is safe is by recognizing environmental hazards within dated equipment. When inspecting your home for electrical issues, it’s important to be aware of hazardous materials in or around your wiring system. For example, asbestos was often used in wiring insulation to help with insulation and temperature resistance. Over time, this insulation degrades and releases tiny fibers into the air. If you need to remove or change old insulated wires, rule out the chance that asbestos is present, as exposure can lead to different cancers and other respiratory illnesses.
When dealing with electricity, remember to stay away from water. Keep floors and surfaces dry and away from electrical units, especially in the bathroom and around a spa or pool. To reduce the risk of shock, never allow electrical cords or other forms of electricity near water or other liquids. For more tips, check out the home electrical safety checklist to help keep your family safe room-by-room.
Don’t take a chance on your family’s safety or yours! Let our experienced and licensed electricians install or repair your home’s electrical system needs. Charlottesville area residents can call Fitch Services at (434) 296-9980 for emergencies or use our contact form to help you with all of your electrical needs.