Each year, tens of thousands of homeowners put themselves at risk by continuing to use their electricity, even with glaring hazards present. Of the 374,000 residential fires in the United States per year, nearly 48,000 of them are due to electrical failure. To protect your home and family, it is imperative that you keep a close eye on your electrical system and remedy hazards promptly. Learn to recognize dangerous electrical situations in your home with this quick rundown from the experts at Harrison Electric.
Haphazard outlet installation can result in loose, unstable electrical outlets around your home. You can easily recognize a loose outlet when you plug a cord into one of its sockets; if the outlet shifts—even just a little bit—your home could be in danger of an electrical fire. Other reasons your outlets may become loose include:
● Overuse. Repeated plugging and unplugging of cords can cause your outlets to wear over time. If you’ve ever had a loose outlet, you’ve probably noticed it’s one that you use frequently.
● Loose fasteners. Over time, the screws that hold your outlet in place may become loose, causing the outlet to wiggle when you attempt to plug or unplug cords. Typically, you can tighten the screws yourself, but if you’re unsure of how to do it, call a residential electrician.
● Oversized drywall cutout. If the rectangular hole that houses an outlet is too large, the outlet will undoubtedly wiggle, even immediately after installation. To create a more snug fit, you can purchase larger outlet covers, but they may not solve the issue completely. You may need to have an electrician take care of the issue as they frequently see this type of problem in new home construction.
Keep in mind that if you discover a loose outlet in your home, avoid using it until you have the issue repaired. A loose outlet is a glaring fire hazard, so have a residential electrician secure the outlet promptly.
Overloaded Outlets or Power Strips
With the plethora of electronic devices that require charging these days, it’s no wonder many people rely on power strips to meet their extra outlet demands. And while power strips might offer convenience, when you overload them, they present an electrical hazard. Similarly, if you overload your wall outlets, you can end up with overheating, sparking sockets, or even an electrical fire.
Your circuit breaker should trip and cut off power to an overloaded outlet, but sometimes, it doesn’t work correctly. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that annually, nearly 48,000 residential fires are due to electrical failure, and many times, overloaded outlets are the culprit. If you’re desperate for more outlets around your house, a certified residential electrician can retrofit your walls with additional outlets and can even conceal them, if you prefer.
Outdated wiring is susceptible to corrosion, oxidation, and deformation—all of which present a dangerous situation for your home and family. Plus, if your wiring hasn’t been upgraded in the last 20 years, chances are it’s not up to code. Wiring that doesn’t meet modern code is a glaring fire hazard because it’s not designed to handle the current load today’s average homeowner requires. If your circuit breakers trip frequently, your lights are dimmer than usual, or any of your outlets feel warm to the touch, these are all signs your wiring is outdated. Have an electrician perform an inspection and, if necessary, begin the rewiring process.
Unsafe Appliance Usage
Do you have an outlet in an unusual location? Perhaps right next to your sink or bathtub? It doesn’t seem logical, but sometimes, builders install outlet cutouts next to water sources. Sometimes, it’s necessary to have an outlet near a sink, but if you choose to use that outlet, caution is key. If the appliance becomes wet, turn off the power at the circuit breaker before unplugging the appliance to minimize the risk of shock.
To provide an extra layer of protection, consider having a residential electrician install GFCI outlets to reduce your risk of shock or electrocution. GFCI outlets automatically cut power supply when they detect an imbalance between incoming and outgoing current.
Need Electrical Service Upgrades? Contact Harrison Electric
If you have electrical hazards in your home, it is imperative that you upgrade your electrical system for your own safety. When you’re ready to update your old wiring, install new outlets, or even add safety measures like whole-house surge protection, we’re here to get the job done right. We’ve served thousands of homeowners throughout the Twin Cities metro, and we’d love to serve you, too. To learn more about electrical upgrades or to schedule your service appointment, give us a call at 763-544-3300, or you can message us on our contact page.