Many people stick to calling for residential electrical services when they need something like new light fixtures installed or other larger-scale electrical upgrades. Problem is, outside of upgrades, renovations, and obvious electrical issues like exposed, damaged wiring, it can be easy to fail to recognize potential electrical hazards.
In Utah alone, 26% of the reported fires in 2016 were structural fires. While perhaps a couple of these structural fires were not due to electrical malfunctions, issues with the electrical system are a common cause of house fires.
As your local electricians in SLC—with offices in St. George and Hurricane—we have some tips to help you avoid electrical malfunctions in your home.
1. USE EXTENSION CORDS TEMPORARILY
Extension cords are meant to provide temporary power to an area. For instance, say you are ironing something, and there are no nearby, convenient outlets. An extension cord is a helpful tool in this situation. The problem is when electrical cords are used long term.
With long term usage of extension cords, one of the first issues is that the cord becomes a trip hazard. As these cords are usually strung across a room to provide power, it is easy for a family member to trip on. Not only can a trip and fall lead to injury, but the force of the extension cord being yanked can cause the electricity to spark and cause a fire.
2. AVOID FORCING A THREE-PRONG PLUG INTO A TWO-PRONG OUTLET
You may be thinking, “How can someone force a three-prong plug into a two-prong outlet?” Well, some people remove the ground from three-prong appliances, which is not recommended and can lead to an electrical fire. The grounding pin is there to prevent the device from electrocuting you as well as stopping electrical fires.
There are adapters that allow you to plug a three-pronged device into it, and it has a two-prong conversion. However, this solution is not a safe one. These adapters don’t provide any grounding protection, which means you still run similar risks as if you had removed the grounding pin on the plug.
3. CHECK YOUR SMOKE DETECTOR
Your smoke detectors are one of your frontline defenses if an electrical fire starts. The sooner you know that there is a problem, the sooner you can respond appropriately, so it is critical that you check your smoke detectors regularly. Yet, many homeowners have removed the batteries from their smoke detectors or don’t even have any detectors available.
If you aren’t sure how to best check your smoke detectors, or you are unsure if you have the optimal setup, you can have an electrical inspection done by our electricians. You can also have our electricians install smart smoke detectors so that you can more easily protect your home.
4. KEEP WIRING SAFELY TUCKED AWAY
Exposed wiring can present a serious hazard. All it would take is someone accidentally jarring the wires by getting hooked on them, and you can potentially have all the electrical energy traveling through the wire loose and trigger a fire.
Basements and attics can often have exposed wiring, but if you have areas where plates should cover the wiring, missing outlet and switch faces, or other areas with exposed wiring, you need to have the wiring properly covered as soon as possible.
Should there be any exposed or damaged wiring in your home, it’s time to call for our wiring services. Our team of electricians can safely and quickly repair your wiring and perform any upgrades that you authorize.
5. INSTALL GFCI OUTLETS IN MOISTURE-PRONE ROOMS
In rooms where water and high moisture is often present, you should have GFCI outlets installed. This specialized type of outlet will shut off when water makes contact or if there is an electrical surge. That way, you are protected from being electrocuted.
If you don’t have GFCI outlets in your kitchen, laundry room, and bathrooms at least, you should have them installed by our electricians. Also, if you do have GFCI outlets, be sure to test them once a quarter to ensure that the ground fault interrupter is working properly.
6. REFRAIN FROM STAPLING OR NAILING ELECTRICAL CORDS
Cable management is a great way to ensure that cords aren’t tripped over and that your rooms stay neat and tidy. However, you should definitely refrain from ever nailing or stapling your electrical cords.
It is far too easy to puncture your electrical cord or damage the insulating casing around the wires. And while the damage won’t stop your cord from working in most cases, it can allow the traveling electrical current to escape and make contact with flammable material.
7. DON’T IGNORE SUSPICIOUS BURNING SMELLS OR SPARKING
Lastly, don’t ignore if you smell an unidentified burning smell, or see electrical sparking. It seems like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by how many people ignore these warning signs.
At this point, there can be something critically wrong with your electrical services. You may need to call emergency services to address the fire if you find the burning smell, and it is an electrical fire. If you see unexplained sparks, avoid using the power and contact us for assistance.
HEDGEHOG ELECTRIC CAN PERFORM ELECTRICAL INSPECTIONS
If you have concerns about your home’s electrical system, or it has been a long time since it was last inspected, you can bring in HedgeHog Electric electricians to do an electrical inspection. With our thorough inspection, our electricians will review your entire electrical system and provide you with a report of their finds and recommendations at the end.
To have our electricians perform an electrical inspection or other electrical services, feel free to contact us today to set up your appointment.