The thought of a fire in your Fox Valley home can be quite frightening. One common cause of house fires is issues with the electrical system in your home. While it can be scary to think that a simple spark from an electrical wire could be enough to set your home ablaze, the good news is that electrical fires are largely preventable. By making a few simple changes around your home, you can have peace of mind knowing that an electrical fire is much less likely. From your friends at Black-Haak, here are some simple action steps you can take to help keep your home safe.
Schedule an Electrical Inspection
One of the easiest steps to reduce the risk of an electrical fire in your home is to schedule an electrical inspection with the pros at Black-Haak. During an electrical inspection, an electrician will check all of the parts of the electrical system in your home that could potentially cause a problem. This includes the electrical panel, all of the switches and outlets, and any accessible electrical wiring. It’s a good idea to schedule an electrical inspection at least once every five years.
Use Extension Cords Carefully
Extension cords make it easier and more convenient to power everyday electronic devices. Safe use of extension cords is imperative to help reduce the risk of an electrical fire in your home. Make sure that you don’t overload the extension cord by paying attention to the gauge of the extension cord. Also, avoid routing an extension cord under rugs, furniture, or any other obstructions. Finally, if you need to use an extension cord for an extended period of time, consider having Black-Haak install a new outlet so that you no longer need the extension cord.
Be Careful With Electrical Outlets
Ideally, the best way to use the electrical outlets in your home is to have no more than one device plugged into each outlet. However, an outlet splitter is a viable option if you have multiple devices you need to use in the same location. When using an outlet splitter, be careful not to overload the outlet by plugging in too many devices. Overloading the capacity of an outlet can cause the wires that feed that outlet to overheat and cause a fire within the walls of your home. To understand the load capacity of an outlet, look for the load rating on the circuit breaker that controls the outlet. Then, when you’re plugging in devices, make sure none of those devices, together or individually, use more than the specified rating on the breaker.
Use and Act on Your Senses
Electrical issues can present themselves in many different ways. If you use your senses, you can often detect these issues before they cause an electrical fire. Use your sense of hearing to listen for popping, cracking, buzzing, sizzling, or sparking sounds from any part of the electrical system in your home. Use your sense of smell to detect burning or melting smells. You can use your sense of sight to look for any sparks coming from outlets or any burn marks on outlets or wiring. You can also use your sense of touch to feel for warm wires or outlets that indicate an overloaded circuit.
Unplug What’s Not Necessary
Another great way to take care of the electrical system in your home is to unplug unused electronic devices. Many electronic devices have what’s known as “vampire draw.” This is when a device continues to draw power when it’s switched off. If a circuit is close to being overloaded, this vampire draw could put the circuit over its limit. Furthermore, if there is a problem with the device plugged in, leaving it plugged in could cause it to continue to malfunction and potentially cause electrical issues in your home. An added benefit of unplugging unused devices is that it can slightly lower your electricity use.
Use Space Heaters Sparingly
Although space heaters are convenient, they can also be dangerous. These high-draw devices often come close to the maximum load rating of an individual electrical circuit in your home. This can cause wires in your walls to overheat and lead to a fire. The cord on the space heater can also overheat, especially if you route it under a rug or piece of furniture. When using a space heater, make sure that you only have it on when you’re in the room with it. If you are having trouble with cold spots in your home, try finding a permanent solution instead of using a space heater long-term.
Use Up-to-Date Electrical Devices
While the concept of using electricity hasn’t changed much in the last century, the ways in which electricity is delivered throughout home have changed quite a bit. If the electrical infrastructure in your home is out of date, it’s a good idea to make the investment and let Black-Haak bring the system up to date and up to code. One tell-tale sign of an outdated electrical system is outlets that only have two ports instead of three. This indicates that the electrical system isn’t grounded, which can put you and your home in danger. Another sign of an outdated system is a breaker panel that uses screw-in fuses instead of circuit breakers. Fuse boxes fell out of favor in the 1960s, so if you find a fuse box like this, you’re likely dealing with an electrical system that’s over 60 years old.
Keep the Correct Fire Extinguisher on Hand
If an electrical fire does occur, it’s important that you have the correct fire extinguisher on hand so that you can get the fire under control before it spreads throughout your home. Whatever you do, do not put water on an electrical fire. Since water conducts electricity, you could be electrocuted if you try this method. Water could also cause an electrical fire to spread. Instead of using water, make sure to use an ABC-type fire extinguisher. C-class fires are those involving energized electrical devices. This type of fire extinguisher smothers the flames using a special powder instead of using a liquid that could make the situation worse.
Delivering Quality and Safe Results
At Black-Haak, our number one priority is safety. We understand our customers depend on us to provide reliable and safe results, and that’s why our attention to detail is so extreme. You can count on us to safely install generators, repair electrical panels, replace electrical wiring, install switches and outlets, install EV chargers, and much more. We also repair furnaces, replace air conditioners, install water heaters, clean drain lines, repair sinks, install geothermal systems, and perform a variety of other home maintenance and repair services. For over 60 years, we’ve been working hard to earn the trust of our customers with our commitment to excellent service. That’s why we’re able to regularly earn five-star customer reviews. It’s also why we’re rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau. To learn more about keeping your home safe, contact us at Black-Haak today.