Without electricity, life wouldn’t be what it is today. Electricity is at the heart of most of the comforts and conveniences that residents of Euless, TX, enjoy. It’s also one of the main hazards we face because failure to handle electricity safely can, at worst, cause disastrous property damage or fatal injuries.
Electrical hazards are among the most common and dangerous, so always keep an eye out for them and call an electrician if you have any concerns. According to a National Fire Protection Association report published in 2019, home fires involving an electrical malfunction or failure in 2012–2016 resulted in an estimated 440 civilian deaths, 1,250 civilian injuries, and $1.3 billion in direct property damage annually.
Safely handling the appliances, cords, and wires in your home keeps your property intact and your loved ones safe. So, here are some of the most critical electrical hazards to look out for, and have an electrician address them as soon you notice them.
1. Using Damaged Electrical Wires and Cords
The metal inside damaged electrical wires and cables can become dangerously exposed. This conductive material can cause injuries ranging from a minor shock to severe or fatal electrocution. Damaged electrical wires and cords can also cause electrical fires, even in minor cases such as a frayed phone charger. Call an electrician right away.
Fraying may occur due to wear and tear due to misuse or aging of electrical wires or cords. In some cases, an object such as the edge of a chair or table leg might puncture the insulation around the wire or cord. Moreover, out-of-sight wires and cords are susceptible to pest damage, such as chewing rats, and old wiring may corrode, melt or overheat.
2. Using Outdated Wiring
Electrical wiring deteriorates with age. Many homes constructed in the 60s and 70s have aluminum wiring, which is highly susceptible to electrical fires because its connections become increasingly loose over time. Most of your wiring is out of sight behind your walls, so here are a few signs that your home may have outdated wiring.
- Your circuit breaker trips regularly.
- Your home has outlets that feel warm to the touch.
- Your home has a burning smell.
- Your home has discolored switch plates.
- Your home lacks GFCI outlets as required by the National Electrical Code.
- Your home has only ungrounded two-pronged outlets.
- Your lights frequently go dim or flicker.
Call a certified electrician to inspect your home and provide a lasting solution if you notice one or more of these signs.
3. Using Indoor Extension Cords Outdoors
Extension cords vary in their intended use. An extension cord designed only for indoor use lacks the features necessary for safe outdoor use, so avoid using such a cord outside your Euless, TX, home. Additionally, plug equipment into an extension cord only after checking to ensure that the cord doesn’t exceed the power limit of the equipment.
4. Plugging Extension Cords Into Other Extension Cords or Standard Power Strips
The safest way to use extension cords is temporary. Even then, you should connect an extension only to a hard-wired power strip or wall outlet. An electrical fire may occur if you plug an extension cord into another extension cord or standard loose power strip. Likewise, plugging a standard power strip into an extension cord may cause an electrical fire.
5. Plugging High-Powered Appliances Into Power Strips
Using surge protectors and power strips with high-powered appliances or equipment is unsafe because it may cause an electrical fire. Power strips are meant for electronics such as AV equipment, computers, phones, and tablets. Keep in mind that even small appliances, such as blenders and toasters, may also exceed the safe power limit of a power strip.
6. Overloading Outlets
Using devices such as a multi-outlet converter to plug several appliances into a single outlet may overload it; that is, draw an excessive amount of power to the outlet. As a result, the risk of an electrical fire increases radically.
To make it worse, the electrical fire may occur behind the wall away from the access of a fire extinguisher. As a result, you can’t put out the fire immediately. So, instead of plugging too many appliances into a single outlet, hire an electrician to install additional outlets in convenient locations. It’s much safer.
7. Positioning Appliances and Outlets too Close to Water
Water is an electrical hazard because it conducts electricity. Consequently, handling plugged-in appliances, power outlets, and light switches with wet hands is extremely dangerous because you risk getting electrocuted. Keep yourself and other members of your household safe by having an electrician install GFCI outlets as recommended by the National Electrical Code.
GFCI outlets can save you or your loved ones from injury or death by cutting off the power supply before it causes severe or fatal electrocution. When you plug an appliance like a toaster into a GFCI outlet, a sensor in the outlet monitors the power supply. The GFCI outlet shuts it off in case of power variations occur due to contact with water.
8. Installing Light Bulbs with the Wrong Wattage
When the bulb wattage exceeds that of the light fixture holding it, the socket in the fixture can become extremely hot and melt. A fire may occur as a result. Incandescent bulbs are notorious for this kind of issue. Always make sure that the bulb wattage matches the wattage of the light fixture before installing it.
If you want to install custom lighting in your home and are unsure if the bulbs you want to install match your lighting fixtures, hire a certified electrician to inspect your fixtures and install the appropriate ones if need be. Doing so keeps your home safe and ensures you get the best results from your custom lighting.
Keep Yourself and Your Loved Ones Safe with Tioga Construction
Contact a certified electrician immediately if you notice any of the listed electrical hazards in your Euless, TX, home. Having a professional electrician inspect the hazard and make the necessary repairs will help make your home safer. Tioga Contractors prioritizes your safety first and foremost. Contact us for a free safety inspection and reliable electrical repairs and maintenance.
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