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Every home in Wilmington, NC, requires electricity to function. For most of us, electricity cooks our food, lights our homes, keeps us warm, and powers our appliances and machines. But like most tools, electricity can cause significant damage when things go wrong. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, an estimated 51,000 electrical fires cause $1.3 billion in property damage each year.
Common electrical hazards usually cause a significant portion of these fires. While some of them can be dealt with by most homeowners, most of the others will require the assistance of a professional electrical services. It is advisable not to mess around with your electrical system as the stakes are too high.
In this piece, we will discuss some of the most common electrical hazards at home and how they can be addressed.
A ground fault happens when the electricity follows an unplanned path into the ground. In a worst-case scenario, the electricity can go through a person to the ground, electrocuting them. Ground faults are usually caused by worn wire insulation, incorrect wiring, or damaged appliances. They are most dangerous in locations with a lot of moisture, like bathrooms and garages, as water exponentially increases the risk of electrocution.
You can minimize the risk of experiencing ground faults by installing ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) in high-risk areas like the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry rooms. They work by monitoring electricity input and output and turning off the power when they detect a fluctuation. Store your appliances away from water when they’re not in use, and make sure to wrap their cords up. If you notice any frayed wires in a room with a lot of moisture, contact professional electrical services immediately to have them fixed.
Like ground faults, arc faults are caused when electricity takes an unplanned path. The difference is that this time, the electricity arcs through the air, creating a region of intense heat and burning anything around it. Arc faults are usually caused by damaged, loose, or corroded terminals and wires. They can also be caused by:
- Human error and carelessness
- Excessive dust
- Failure to use an insulated tool
- Poorly installed or maintained circuit breakers and switches
- Liquids near electrical equipment
- Use of substandard parts
Protect yourself from arc faults by installing an arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFC), preferably on all the circuits in your house. You can also make sure that all your wires and terminals are in good shape by regularly having a professional electrical services inspect your electric system.
Old or Faulty Wiring
Aged, substandard wiring is the root of many electrical fires. Although electric wires can last 50-70 years, most professionals recommend inspecting and replacing them regularly. Not only does this ensure that all your wiring is healthy and damage-free, but it also ensures your system is up-to-date and can handle all your appliances. As the wires grow older, their insulation wears out, and they overheat easily, increasing the risk of hazards like arcs.
If the wiring in your home is more than ten years old, have a professional electrical services inspect it every year. They will determine if the wiring is good enough to continue operating or whether you need new wiring.
Plenty of homeowners tend to use a single outlet to power several appliances, usually in the living room. It’s not uncommon to find a TV, home-theatre system, computers, and other appliances all plugged into one outlet. Some people do this for convenience, while others have limited outlets. Whatever the case, you should put this practice to rest. Each electrical outlet can handle a set number of amperes, but when too many appliances are plugged into it, it starts using more amperes, increasing the risk of short circuits and fire.
Ideally, an electrical outlet should be limited to only one socket. Everything that isn’t in use should be removed to reduce phantom power use. If you use one outlet to run several appliances simultaneously, your chances of needing the help of professional electrical services, or worse, the firefighters, will be extremely high.
Unprotected outlets can be extremely dangerous, especially if you have small children. Infinitely curious, small kids will stick their fingers anywhere, even a dangerous unprotected outlet. Plastic covers and child-safe wall plates can help you minimize the risk of burns, shocks, or electrocution from unprotected outlets. You can also invest in tamper-resistant outlets to keep your children protected when appliances are plugged into outlets.
Contact an electrician services company to replace your outlet if it is broken, worn out, or has two prongs.
Using Light Bulbs with the Wrong Wattage
Although this seems like a relatively harmless issue, it can really cost you in the future. If you install a light bulb with the wrong wattage in a fixture, it will produce more heat than it can handle, potentially melting the wire and insulation. In a worst-case event using the wrong wattage bulb can cause arcing, increasing the risk of suffering burns, shock, or electrocution. If the heat damages wires in the wall or ceiling, it may cause fire and require extensive repairs by a professional electrical service provider.
To avoid having to call an electrical service in the future, make sure you only use bulbs that have a wattage rating that’s equal to or lower than the wattage listed on the fixture in question. For older fixtures that do not have a wattage rating, you can use a 60-watt bulb.
Faulty Appliances and Cords
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to keep an older appliance that still works. However, it should be retired if it has frayed, loose, or corroded cords. Trying to fix it with electrical tape won’t work either. Here are a few tips on how to prevent appliance cords from getting damaged:
- Pull cords out by the plug
- Keep cords away from water and heat sources
- Wrap cord are use
- Keep the cords away from pets
Electrical Services in Wilmington, NC
It takes diligence and proper care to keep your electric system working safely and effectively. An electrical services provider can help you stay on top of potential issues by regularly inspecting your home’s electrical system. Coupled with proper practices, regular maintenance will ensure your wiring is safe and poses no danger to your family.
Are you looking for an electrical services company? Mister Sparky of Wilmington is the leading electrical service company in Wilmington, NC. Whether you need an electrician to update your home, help you complete an addition, or repair a faulty circuit, we’re here to provide prompt and reliable services. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and learn more about our services.