Every year, home electrical fires account for approximately 51,000 fires according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI). The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) cites electrical distribution and lighting equipment as the third leading cause of home fires after cooking and heating equipment and arson.
Interestingly, electrical distribution equipment accounts for six percent of all home fires but is responsible for 13 percent of all civilian fire deaths and 7 percent of all fire-related civilian injuries. All told, home electrical fires cause almost 500 fatalities, 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion of property damage annually.
Electrical fire remains a threat no matter where you live, and Rockford, Illinois is no exception. Rockford homeowners are just as susceptible to lethal fires caused by electrical failure or malfunction. The good news is that these fires are very preventable, especially if you know their most common causes. Read on for five tips that will help you keep your home safe from electrical fire.
Have Your Electrical System Professionally Inspected
The no. 1 cause of home electrical fires is faulty electrical distribution or lighting equipment, which start half of all electrical fires. Things like faulty outlets, light fixtures, and light switches are the top culprits. An inspection by an electrician can prevent these flaws from causing more serious problems.
According to Coldwell Banker, the average Illinois home is 38 years old. The more time that passes after your home’s construction, the more that can go wrong with your electrical work. Have a professional do an inspection to ensure your electrical system is up to par.
Check Electrical Components and Appliances
The second leading cause of electrical fires is “other equipment.” The two most common types of equipment involved in ignition are fans (six percent) and washers and dryers (six percent). You know what a difference an overhead fan can make in a Rockford summer when the average temperature in July is 85 degrees.
The problem is that many Rockford residents, just like homeowners everywhere, try to install ceiling fans on their own and end up creating a fire hazard. The risk is not worth it – have a professional electrician install your overhead fans. Also be sure to check the electrical connections on your washer and dryer for fraying.
Keep Heat-Generating Electrical Equipment Away from Flammable Material
Always keep combustible materials like clothing, rugs, curtains, and blankets at least three feet away from electrical equipment that generates heat. That includes irons, space heaters, and hair dryers. Remarkably, space heaters cause four percent of all electrical fires.
Be Careful with Extension Cords
Most electricians recommend that you use extension cords only temporarily and don’t overload them. Never use extension cords for space heaters or air conditioners and take care not to overload a single outlet. If you find that you frequently need power strips or extension cords, consider having an electrician install additional outlets for safer access to electricity.
Consider Having an AFCI Installed
According to the NFPA, short circuit arcs are involved in the ignition of 26 percent of electrical fires. Arcing generates a tremendous amount of heat at the point of the arc, and the burning particles can easily set fire to nearby material, such as home frames or insulation. You can minimize the risk of arc-related fires by having an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) installed. An AFCI detects arc faults and then de-energizes the circuit to prevent fire.
Don’t let a careless electrical hazard claim your home or someone you love in a fire. With these five steps and the help of an electrician, you can ensure the safety of your Rockford home and family from a devastating electrical fire.
Learn more about Axberg’s electrical services, or call us today at (815) 444-0979 to arrange a consultation.
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