Most of us take for granted how much we rely on the electricity running through our homes to go about our daily routines. But do you know what to do if something goes wrong? Before you get started on updating your home's electrical system, keep these tips in mind.
Having problems with fuses blowing or circuit breakers? Are your outlets or light switches warm to touch? Hearing sizzling noises or smelling something burning and can't figure out where it's coming from? If you've answered yes to any of these questions, call your local electrician immediately. Overusing an electrical circuit produces heat which could cause a fire or other damage to your home. According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 2007 and 2011, 74% of home fires were due to some sort of electrical failure or malfunction as a contributing factor to igniting the fire. Fires that ignite like this are more likely to spread beyond where the fire started, which could lead to fatal injuries, including death. If you suspect something is wrong, contact your electrician before a fire damages your belongings and injures your loved ones.
It is encouraged to have your homes electrical systems checked by a licensed electrician routinely. Electrical equipment installed in older homes may not be designed for the high electrical usage in our world today. Having your systems routinely checked allows for problems to be identified sooner and hopefully resolved before a fire damages your home.
Even if your home is fairly new, Electrical Safety First suggests owner occupied homes have their electrical systems examined once every 10 years. According to Underwriters Laboratories, the fires that occur in our homes today are more dangerous than those of the past due to the synthetic materials used to create our furniture. These materials increase the escalation time of the fire, reducing the time for you and your loved ones to escape safely. Schedule an appointment with your local electrician if you suspect something is wrong or if you've forgotten when the last time your home's electrical wiring was examined.
There are many different safety devices you can install in your home which can help prevent damage to your family and belongings. For example, a Ground Fault Interrupter helps protect against the dangers of shock. Another item you could install in your home is an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter which detects dangerous electrical arcing from occurring, and shuts down the circuit before a fire can ignite. The National Fire Protection Association outlines that Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters are required by the National Electrical Code in all bedrooms of homes constructed as of January 1, 2002. If your home was constructed before that, consult your local electrician for how you should proceed.
If you plan on purchasing these safety devices or any electrical equipment on your own, make sure you are buying from a reliable source and always buy electrical products that have identifying marks. Purchasing items that are counterfeit could result in malfunction which could cause a fire or serious injury.
Be careful when updating or maintaining your homes electrical systems, and always consult a professional for help!