Whether you rent or own your home, everyone should be aware of warning signs that indicate potential danger in your electrical system and unsafe practices.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical failures or malfunctions are present in an estimated average of 47,000 home structure fires per year in the United States, which result in 430 deaths, 1,280 injuries, and $1.5 billion in property damage. Based on figures from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, electrical injuries in general cause approximately 1,000 deaths per year in the U.S.
Make it a habit to look for the following warning signs of electrical safety hazards in your home on a regular basis:
- Outlets and light switches that are warm to the touch.
- Outlets that are loose, scorched or discolored.
- Wall or light switches that cause shocks upon contact.
- Strange smells (such as something burning or overheating).
- Smoke or sparks.
- Exposed wires.
- Lack of GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) on certain outlets (those near a water source or that could get wet).
- Lack of AFCIs (arc fault circuit interrupters); these help to prevent fires and are required in new builds.
- Faulty appliances.
- Evidence of frequent blown fuses or circuit breakers.
- Missing or broken wall plates.
- Delayed responses after switching lights on or off.
- Flickering lights.
Another item to pay attention to is overloading electrical outlets. If you have multiple electronics, appliances, and other items plugged into a single outlet using extension cords and large outlet strips, you risk overloading your electrical system and creating an electrical hazard.
If you notice electrical issues, make sure items are addressed immediately by a qualified electrician.
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Stay Safe Out There