Electrical fires pose one of the more disastrous dangers involved within the home environment. Fires caused by faulty or malfunctioning wiring can quickly get out of control and can be very difficult to extinguisher as they often start behind walls. A bad electrical fire can even cause you to lose an entire home. Taking simple steps to learn how to prevent an electrical fire from happening will help keep your home and your family safe from this potential threat...
Avoid overloading electrical circuits
This is one of the most important steps you can take to reduce the risk of an electrical fire (and is also one of the most effective). Each circuit in your home is only designed to deliver so much electricity at one point, and stressing these circuits by drawing too much power can cause the wires to deteriorate and spark. You can avoid over loading your circuits by minimising the amount of electrical equipment you plug into each outlet.
Have an old home? Older houses have fewer circuits, as plug-in appliances and equipment were not as numerous when the home was first built. A costly, but effective measure to reduce stress on each circuit is to have an electrician run new wiring and install a new circuit breaker on your electrical panel.
Replace/remove frayed wiring
Frayed wiring, either in an appliance power cord or in your homes wiring poses a major risk of an electrical fire. Appliance wiring in various gauges can be purchased from hardware stores, and replacing frayed wiring on small appliances and electronics is a job well within reach.
While electrical tape can be used to provide temporary protection against melting or arcing of exposed conductors, it should not be used a as a permanent solution.
Replace all old wiring
Electrical wiring only has a lifespan of about 30-40 years, so homes that are older than that may be relying on deteriorated wiring. In addition, older wiring set ups were not typically designed to handle today's large electrical loads.
Having an electrician replace all or most of your homes wiring is a very expensive upgrade, but will provide a virtual guarantee against electrical fires for decades.
(Portable Appliance Testing is the term used to describe the examination of electrical appliances and equipment to ensure that they are safe to use in the home or business).
All electrical products, such as extension cords, batteries, plug-ins and surge protectors should include the PAT Tested logo (see right) to ensure that they meet the regulation for electrical safety.
Some products such as extension cords and batteries are often counterfeited using cheap copper which poses a great fire risk.
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