How to Prevent electrical fires in this winter?
How to Prevent electrical fires in this winter?
Need some help on your electrical safety, or want to know the leading electrical fire risks to be found during the cold months here in Middle East Countries ? Electroshope got solution for you!
THE BIGGEST RISKS LIE IN HOME HEATING
Pulled right from the NFPA: “heating equipment was involved in an estimated 54,030 reported U.S. home structure fires.” That was through the years of 2011-2015. The statistic is awkward, and as you might expect you should be very attentive of your HVAC and alternative heat sources.
To prevent HVAC equipment risks be sure your furnace, boiler, or whatever heating system is serviced commonly. Many fires that ignite in an HVAC system occur because it hasn’t been cleaned and the electrical components haven’t been inspected in a while.
Avoid space heater risks by setting the space heater away from any flammable surfaces or materials. Additionally be sure to power the space heater with suitable outlet support (a dedicated circuit, ideally) and never leave a space heater unattended. Those things eat up tons of wattage—many of them run hotter than your oven!
IF YOU’RE USING A GENERATOR, USE IT RIGHT
For many of us, a home generator is all that stands between us and a days-long power outage during the winter months. It doesn’t usually get as frigid around here as other places, but when we get it, we get it heavy! Generators are an awesome way to keep power, but they come with their own risks; namely, they’re at risk of sparking a flame if they’re under-maintained or the fuel in the generator is old. If your generator has been sitting idle for half a year, get it inspected before you try to use it!
BE CAREFUL WHEN COOKING
There’s nothing like hot food after being out in a winter day. But before you get to cooking, be sure your kitchen is equipped safely! GFCIs should be in use in all kitchen spaces within a certain range of water sources, and additionally, ranges, ovens, microwaves, and refrigerators should be on dedicated circuits to avoid overloads that can lead to an electrical fire. Outside of electrical issues, be sure to stay in the kitchen when cooking. A sizable portion of kitchen fires reported were found to be due to appliances being left alone..
AGED FAULTY APPLIANCES
Most electrical fires are caused by defective electrical outlets and old, outdated appliances. Other fires are started by faults in appliance cords, receptacles and switches. Never use an appliance with a worn or frayed cord which can send heat onto combustible surfaces like floors, curtains, and rugs that can start a fire.
Running cords under rugs is another cause of electrical fires. Removing the grounding plug from a cord so it can be used in a two-prong electrical outlet can also cause a fire. The reason appliances have the extra prong is so they can be only used in outlets that can handle the extra amount of electricity that these appliances draw.
Many older homes are really minimal in their ability to safely provide enough power to operate all the electrical things we use in modern life. There just isn’t enough power available to the home or there aren’t enough individual circuits. In years past only one circuit was designed into kitchens, and that isn’t enough to properly operate a microwave, refrigerator, toaster, electric grill, mixer, toaster oven, etc. The result is that the circuit breaker or fuse is always tripping. The same is true in bathrooms; the bathroom circuit commonly supplies bedrooms as well, but add in a curling iron and a hair dryer along with the bedroom TV and electric blanket and that circuit is often overloaded as well.
Every time a circuit trips or a fuse blows it is an indication that the circuit is overloaded, but most people will simply reset the breaker and do it again. The inevitable result is that the circuit breaker is slowly damaged to the point it doesn’t work properly anymore and the panel itself can be damaged as well. As an electrician, I’ve seen house panels that have the massive bus bars inside, carrying the entire power for the whole home, half melted from repeated overloads and this is a recipe for disaster – it most certainly is one way that home fires start.
If you are commonly tripping a breaker or having to replace blown fuses, have additional circuits installed as necessary. It can be expensive but it’s better than burning the house down.
In addition to electrical overloads is overloading a light fixture with lamps that are too large. According to the NFPA, the largest source of electrical fires are lamps and light fixtures. Such fixtures are designed to withstand only the heat from the rated size light bulbs – do not overload the fixture with bulbs that are too large. While it is quite acceptable to use a 100 watt equivalent CFL bulb to replace a 40 watt incandescent bulb as an energy saving measure in your home, the key is that the CFL is only using a few watts of energy and isn’t nearly as hot. It won’t overload either the thermal insulation or the electrical wiring of the fixture. It isn’t the same as screwing in a 100 watt bulb into a 40 watt light.
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