Electrical hazards are one of the leading causes of home fires in the United States. Luckily, with Ting, plus regular electrical home maintenance, you can help reduce the chances of an electrical fire occurring in your home.
Spring has arrived!
Soon, birds will chirp, flowers will grow, and homeowners everywhere will grumble their way through spring cleaning. Although spring chores may not be the most enjoyable, they do present an opportunity to inspect for and correct potential electrical fire hazards throughout your home. While Ting is incredibly sophisticated in its ability to detect electrical hazards, and is statistically proven to prevent 75% of electrical fires, Ting alone cannot eliminate the risk of a fire in your home. So, as you tidy up this month, consider our top five tips for ensuring your home and family are better protected from electrical fires.
#1. Check your smoke alarms
While smoke alarms cannot prevent a fire, they are often the first line of defense in alerting you to one, so you can evacuate safely. According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) data, almost three of every five home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Since smoke alarms should be checked monthly, use spring cleaning as an opportunity to ensure yours work properly. Replace batteries as needed or at least once a year and replace the smoke alarm itself if it is older than 10 years. New alarms meet updated performance requirements and often have 10-year batteries – a win-win!
#2. Inspect your cords
As you pull furniture and appliances away from the walls for cleaning, take a minute to check electrical cords or outlet extenders that are usually out of sight. Make sure they fit snugly in the outlet and are not ‘sagging.’ Look for signs of wear and tear, such as frayed, crimped, or cracked wires, and replace damaged cords immediately. As you put things back, never run cords under rugs that could lead to overheating or under furniture that could cause damage.
#3. Reduce your load
Look for opportunities to lighten the load on circuits throughout your home by unplugging appliances you’re not using. Consider hiring an electrician to install extra outlets in places where you find heavy extension cord usage. This will reduce your reliance on extension cords – and fire risk. Always avoid daisy-chaining multiple extension cords together.
#4. Feel your outlets
One of the best ways to detect electrical fire risks within the home is through your senses. As you clean the baseboards, take a brief moment to safely feel outlet covers and the wall around them. While outlets currently in use may feel warm, they should never be uncomfortably hot, as this is an indication of a potential fire hazard behind your walls. If you come across a hot outlet or smell smoke near one, unplug any devices plugged into it and turn off the breaker if it has not already tripped, and contact an electrician.
#5. Clean your devices (Hint, don’t forget to look up!)
It’s not spring cleaning without, well, cleaning! When you pull out the refrigerator to clean the floor, take a minute to remove dust and debris from the coils on the back and check the cord for damage too. Also be sure to empty and clean your vacuum. Doing so with both appliances will increase their efficiency by reducing the amount of power required to operate them. Finally, inspect the dryer vent – if you’ve not vacuumed it out in a while, or don’t have the means to do it, hire a service to get that done. Lint builds up quickly and can ignite from a spark or very hot temperatures.
Commonly overlooked are the fixtures on the ceiling. In particular, make sure your ceiling fan has not developed a “wobble” as this can cause vibration that can loosen its wiring connections over time.
If at any point during your spring inspection you detect any electrical hazard, be sure to contact a licensed electrician. And as you check these items off the list, enjoy the comfort that comes with knowing your home is not only cleaner, but safer for you and your family.