U.S. fire departments responded to 45,210 home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction between 2010 and 2014, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). These fires resulted in 420 deaths, 1,370 injuries, and $1.4 billion in direct property damage each year. Many home electrical fires, however, can be prevented if you’re able to recognize and address a few common warning signs.
Tripping Circuit Breakers
If you are constantly forced to reset your circuit breakers, it could be a sign that the circuits are overloaded. A qualified licensed electrician can help you assess the load on your circuits and make recommended improvements.
Over time, the connections between electrical wires and switches or outlets can loosen. Check to make sure that all outlet covers and switch plates are in good condition and that the wires inside are secure. Replace any missing, cracked, or broken plates promptly.
Excessive Heat or Scorch Marks
All outlets and switches should be cool to the touch. Warm spots or scorch marks are strong indications of an unsafe wiring condition.
If the ceiling lights dim when you turn on a microwave or vacuum cleaner, you may be overloading the circuits or the wiring. To be on the safe side, have the wiring and circuit breaker checked to that section of your home.
Mice and rats love to chew on electrical wiring. If you spot droppings or other signs of rodent activity, do a thorough check of all the wiring in the area to make sure it is not damaged.
Buzzing, Crackling or Popping
If you hear crackling, sizzling, or buzzing noises coming from outlets, switches, or appliances, you could have a serious problem. Turn off electricity to the affected area and call a licensed electrician right away.
Working with electricity is best left to professional licensed electricians. If you notice any of these warning signs, pick up the phone and call us!
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