House fires are a sobering reality for families who have lost everything due to faulty electrical wiring. If you're an Avondale, Arizona, homeowner looking to prevent a devastating loss, here are some home electrical safety tips to keep in mind.
There's a time and place to use extension cords, and it's certainly not year-round. Extension cords are great for temporary use, such as during the holidays, but they should never be used as a permanent solution for powering electrical devices. Your home only has so many outlets for a reason, and using too many extension cords in a single outlet is a disaster waiting to happen.
When using extension cords, be sure to keep them away from water or heat, and never use cords that are cracked or frayed. You should also use the right kind of extension cord for the job, as there are special designs rated for appliances, outdoors, and other uses.
Along those same lines, never overload an electrical outlet with too many plugs. Instead, use an approved power strip or surge protector. A power strip with an on/off switch is a good investment anyway because it allows you to tackle energy vampires, which are electronics that suck up energy even when they're powered down.
TVs, laptops, cell phone chargers, and other electronics are often left plugged in for convenience sake, but they continue to draw power even when they're turned off. Flipping the switch on a power strip when you're finished using the item is a great way to save money on energy bills.
When you purchase a new appliance, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions in regards to plugging in the appliance. In addition, you should never cut off the third prong of an electrical cord. Three-prong plugs are designed that way to ensure proper grounding for appliances, electronics, power tools, and other items. Removing the third prong could be hazardous.
Every cord has a wattage rating to avoid potential overloads. If you familiarize yourself with your cords' wattage ratings, you can add up wattage ratings from products operating on the same cord. This trick is great when you're using extension cords temporarily and need to ensure that you're not overloading a cord. Many house fires that occur during the holidays result from too many electrical decorations overloading an extension cord or power outlet.
Electrical hazard warning signs can give you a heads up when there's something wrong, but only if you pay attention and heed their warnings. Surging, dim, or flickering lights indicate an electrical issue, as do frequently blown fuses, tripped breakers, hot outlets, and burning smells coming from electrical sources. If you notice any of these issues, contact Mr. Sunshine Electric immediately to have an electrician come out and investigate. In some cases, you may need to have your wiring updated or have additional wiring added.
When electrical fires ignite, they're usually small enough in the beginning stage that they can be easily extinguished if you know what you're doing. A fire extinguisher or fire blanket can suffocate the smallest electrical fires, but this requires quick thinking and luck that you're in the right place at the right time.
If an electrical fire occurs, cut off the power source at the breaker and use a class-A extinguisher or fire blanket. In the event that you can't cut the power, use a class C-rated fire extinguisher on the fire itself. If in doubt, throw baking soda on a small electrical fire. Only use water as a last resort if the power source has been cut off. Even if you manage to put the fire out, call 911 immediately as smoldering objects can still reignite.
Being prepared for the worst-case scenario is key when discussing home electrical safety and preventing house fires. For even more peace of mind, contact Mr. Sunshine Electric at 602-910-6267 to schedule an electrical safety inspection with a professional electrician.