Most homeowners are well aware that frayed extension cords and overloaded circuits can cause house fires, but they seem to ignore the idea that there are other factors that can lead to similar incidents. These electrical fire hazards may be less obvious but they are equally dangerous.
According to the U.S. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), electrical failure is one of the top causes of house fires in the the United States. In 2006 alone, it has caused an estimated 52,500 house fires in American homes in which 340 people died, another 1,400 were injured and almost $2 billion in property were damaged.
To avoid home electrical fires, you should be able to detect not only the common signs of electrical hazards but the less obvious ones as well. These subtle electrical fire triggers can cause greater damage because they can go undetected until something happens. Here are some home electrical hazards you should be on the lookout for in your home. It needs a one-time inspection by a licensed electrician and you need to pay $200 to $300 for this, but this should be enough for the peace of mind that lasts. You can’t be more relaxed than in knowing that your entire family is safe.
The average life span of a typical electrical system is 30 to 40 years. There are an estimated 100 million homes in the US, and 30 percent of them are more than 50 years old. Older homes, which were set up for only 30 amps of power, might not be able to cope up with the modern day’s demand for electrical energy. The number of appliances modern homes are furnished with can possibly cause an electrical overload if these are placed in an old home. The electrical systems of old homes should be upgraded to make them compatible with the present day’s demand for electrical energy.
The most common indicators of insufficient electrical power include breaker trips and fuses that get busted repeatedly. Another indicator that really seems harmless is the overuse of extension cords. If these are routed all over, it indicates that your electrical system needs upgrading simply because you are exposing your home to the dangers of electrical fire.
Although it is not certain whether houses with aluminum wires still exist today, we can be sure that if they do, they are certainly a hazard to the entire community. Unlike copper, Aluminum wire can corrode and oxidize more easily, and they have a a potential to overheat.
An arc fault is power discharge that happens when the electricity veers off its path because of damaged wiring. It is one of the most common causes of electrical fires.
Fake Electrical Products
The onslaught of fake electrical products particularly in the flea market has added to the electrical fire prevention problem in many places around the world. The flea market is frequented by ordinary people and many of them are not aware that the items sold there at ridiculously low prices are counterfeit and sub-standard in quality. Those items are dangerous and it can put many people’s lives at risk.
Since some governments are not proactively doing something to stop peddlers of fake extension cords, circuit breakers and other electrical products, the best thing you can do to avoid becoming a victim of electrical fires is to buy electrical products only from trusted sources. For electrical faults that are too complex for you to handle, you must turn your main switch off and call qualified local electricians to fix it.
photo credit for featured image: choking sun (flickr.com)
Lori Palermo is a corporate consultant who is experienced in the areas of fund administration, corporate solutions, human resources, technology and small business. He likes to share his knowledge about business and human interests. .