4 Tips to Prevent Electrical Fires

fire damage cleanup north metro atlanta, fire damage restoration north metro atlantaPreventing a fire seems easy enough, right? We could sum up a fire prevention course in just a few quick tips: Don’t leave the stove on, unplug the curling irons, move the grill away from the house, and don’t leave the kitchen while cooking. Done. Check. Fire prevented. Of course, there are honest mistakes to each of these guidelines, but we all know what not to do. However, every once in a while, you’ll read a news article or see a Facebook post about an electrical fire. You get a little nervous as you think, “That was a rare case. It won’t happen to me.” Well, no one expects a disaster until it happens. For this reason, we’ve compiled some points that will help you understand the nature of electrical fires and offer suggestions for preventing them.

  1. Examine your Outlets

Ungrounded electrical outlets can be a cause of flying sparks and high electric charge. There’s an easy way to determine what type of outlets you have. Three-prong outlets have a third slot or “ground slot” to act as an escape route if a power surge were to occur. Two-prong outlets are considered unsafe because they are ungrounded. If your home does not have grounded outlets, you can call a professional for an upgrade. The switch costs about $80-150 per outlet. In newer homes, having grounded outlets is necessary to pass inspection.

  1. Check the Wiring

Faulty wiring is a leading cause of electrical wires. In homes over 20 years old, the wiring system is set up a little differently than modern standards. Since wiring is behind walls and hard to self-check, there are a few quick things to watch for:

  • Regular power outages and surges
  • Excessive heat when using appliances and electronics
  • Outlets that spark and shock frequently
  • Consistently overloaded circuit breakers

If any of these signs look familiar to you (maybe you could even add a few more to the list) than it is time to call an electrician and get your wiring inspected.

  1. Get the Right Light

Here’s a strict one: Don’t exceed the wattage limit in light fixtures. A light socket calls for 60 watts max? Great. 60 watts is the cap. Going above may initially sound like a problem-solver, but it can lead to scorching heat, a melted light socket, and damaged internal wires. It’s the perfect storm for an electrical fire.

  1. Use Heaters Appropriately

Without too much thought, a nice and cozy stream of air from a space heater can quickly turn into a blazing electrical fire. Placement is key when it comes to space heaters. Since the internal coils in these heaters can quickly ignite curtains, furniture, bedsheets, and clothing, it is wise to maintain a distance of a few feet with flammable items. Failure to do this may result in more heat than you bargained for. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy reported that over 25,000 residential fires began with space heaters. To avoid becoming a space heater statistic, tell your family about their dangers and how to use them safely.

  1. Know your Cords

Bad cords are an easy fix because they’re visible to the eye. Using cords correctly can prevent an electrical fire and subsequent fire damage. Here’s a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to cords:

  • Use extension cords as a temporary solution.
  • Don’t run electrical cords beneath the carpet.
  • Keep electrical sources far away from water.
  • Discard well-worn or frayed cords.

Unfortunately, even the most meticulous prevention cannot always stop an electrical fire. Accidents happen. The repercussions can be minor or severe, but there is always damage associated with fires. Fire damage experts in Atlanta can aid in the cleanup process—large or small. Without equipped professionals on your side, it may be difficult to judge the severity of the fire damage. Give Southeast Restoration a call if you have questions or are in need of our services.

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