Electrical Hazard statistics can be scary and you need to temper them by understanding that living in the U.S. is one of the safest places on earth. Statistically speaking, our homes are secure, comfortable, and safe; but that does not reduce our responsibility to care for the health and safety of our families. The information below is vital to understanding how to mitigate electrical hazards in your home, even if you feel reasonably secure now.
Every year, there are more than 350,000 residential fires, leading to about 13,000 injuries and 2,600 deaths; 36% of these are from fires caused by electrical hazards. Another 4,000 injuries and 400 deaths are caused by these electrical hazards directly.
There are 142 million homes in the US. The number of residential fires isn’t even 1 percent of American homes. But the fact remains that 350,000 families are devastated by fire every year and that is a lot of suffering. Removing and reducing electrical hazards in your home makes it safer for your family.
Here are the five most common electrical hazards and methods to mitigate each one.
Smoke detectors are readily available and can be found in hardware, home improvement, and even big box store like Walmart and Target. If your home has smoke detectors, hit the red button to check them each month and replace the batteries annually.
Detectors are designed to emit a short beep at intervals when the battery is dangerously low; don’t ignore the warning. If your home does not have smoke detectors, add them: install one per story and one in each bedroom.
This leads to two dangerous scenarios: overheating the extension cord and overloading the household circuit. First, consider extension cords a temporary solution instead of a permanent fix. If your extension cords are warm or hot to the touch, it is dangerously overloaded. Second, consider calling an electrician to add an outlet or a new circuit to accommodate the additional electrical load.
The circuit breaker is designed to close the circuit as soon as a short circuit is detected, but considering the risks, electrical engineers designed Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets and switches to be used in areas water might meet electricity. GFCI will trigger the minimum of electricity in a ground fault (about 1/10 the amount that triggers heart arrhythmia) and can trip at incredible speeds (up to 25 milliseconds).2
Building codes requiring GFCI were introduced in 1971, so they are common in kitchens, bathrooms, workshops, and around pools. If your home does not have GFCI outlets or switches in these areas, contact an electrician and have them installed.
Cords should be secured and out of sight as much as possible to hide them from curious eyes. Tape cords to secure them when necessary. Any unused outlet should have plastic inserts to prevent children from coming in contact with electric current. Consider tamper-resistant outlets that are designed to prevent items other than electrical plugs from being inserted.
Remember: changing outlets and switches are not a DIY project; any project that brings someone in touch with the electricity in your home should be handled by a professional electrician to ensure the work is completed safely.
With our four decades of experience as a Residential Electrician Contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help answer your Electrical Hazards questions.
We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Electricians at 281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair, Home Generator installation, and electrical installation needs.