Watch Out for These Common Household Electrical Hazards!
Electrical safety has come a long way in the last several decades, with circuit breakers replacing old-fashioned fuses and technology like AFCIs and GFCIs being implemented to reduce the risk of fires and electrocution. But even though the electrical systems in today’s homes are designed to be as safe as possible, there are still plenty of hazards to keep an eye out for. The trouble is, some of them seem fairly innocuous. Here are a few of the most common (and deceptive) household electrical hazards homeowners should be aware of - and how to avoid them.
Power Strip Overloads
Overloaded power strips are one of the leading causes of electrical fires in homes today. An overload occurs when the voltage of the appliances or devices plugged into the power strip exceeds its maximum current load. When this happens, the power strip can overheat and start a fire or, at best, trip the circuit breaker.
Homeowners can minimize this risk by only plugging as many devices into the strip as there are plugs - they should never daisy-chain multiple power strips or use any extension cords, adaptors, or splitters to fit more devices. It’s also important to be mindful of the appliances plugged into power strips. One should always plug high-current appliances like fridges, microwaves, and space heaters directly into the wall.
Shoddy or Outdated Wiring
As dangerous as overloaded circuits are, faulty wiring is even worse. Faulty wiring can come in many forms - a loose connection, an improperly installed outlet, damaged insulation from a stray nail or gnawing rodent, or simply outdated wiring.
Poor or outdated wiring can present electrocution risks, but the main risk is an electrical fire. This is because faulty wiring can get excessively hot or produce an arcing effect (when the electrical current jumps a gap between two conductive surfaces), which is more than enough to start a fire. Signs of faulty wiring include flickering lights, frequently tripped breakers, and if outlets or switches are emitting smoke, strange noises, or are hot to the touch.
Incorrect Lightbulb Wattage
Another common electrical hazard that’s easy to overlook is using the wrong wattage lightbulb in a light fixture or lamp. Every modern light fixture has a wattage rating printed somewhere on it, usually near the socket. Using a bulb with a lower wattage than the fixture is rated for isn’t ideal, but it’s not likely to cause any problems.
Using a bulb with a higher wattage than the fixture’s rating is where the trouble starts. The high-wattage bulb will overload the fixture’s wiring (often referred to as overlamping), which can produce enough heat to permanently damage the fixture, explode the lightbulb, melt the light socket and wiring insulation, or start a fire. Luckily, this hazard can be avoided by only using bulbs with an equal or lesser wattage than the fixture is rated for.
About All Services
All Services has handled the electrical and HVAC needs of their community for over 15 years. As an award-winning local business, they put their customers’ safety and comfort above all else and guarantee 100% satisfaction on every job. Call the licensed pros at All Services today for superior electrical services in Crown Point, IN!