ESF was recently featured in a USA Today article about the essential tips homeowners should know before starting a project. Read the article here.

“”Each year, electrical malfunctions account for over 32,00 home fires, 430 fatalities, 1,070 injuries and $1.3 billion in direct property damage,” said Daniel Majano, program manager of the Electrical Safety Foundation.

Keep unused cords neatly and safely stored

Damaged electrical cords are a common source of electrical fires, according to Majano. Avoid damage to unused cords by keeping them stored away. They can also get damaged if they are stored in walkways or damp locations. Cords that are not properly put away can also become a tripping hazard.

Majano said that you should contact an electrician if you notice any of these signs of electrical degradation:

  • Frequent tripping of circuit breakers or blowing of fuses
  • Dimming of lights when other devices are turned on
  • Buzzing sound from switches or outlets
  • Discolored outlets
  • Appliances that seem underpowered

 

Additionally, keep your eye on devices that use lithium-ion batteries. From toothbrushes to laptops, many devices and appliances use these batteries. They can degrade and become a fire hazard. “Common signs of battery damage are changes in battery color, a sweet electrical smell, noises, leaking or smoke coming from the battery, or changes in the battery or device shape,” Majano said. He recommended contacting Call2Recycle to dispose of lithium-ion batteries rather than disposing of them in your trash.

Majano also recommended that homes be inspected by an electrician if they are over 40 years old or if you’re installing new appliances or new technology, such as a charging port for an electric vehicle.

One of the most common electrical hazards caused by homeowner behavior is overloading the household electrical system. “You can reduce your electrical load by using energy-efficient appliances and LED light bulbs,” Majano said. “You can also have a qualified electrician install new circuits for high-energy use devices.”

What’s next?

Your home is filled with electrical components and the potential for electrical hazards. That’s why all homeowners should incorporate electrical safety measures into their households. “Many electrocutions and home fires can be prevented simply by understanding basic electrical safety principles and adhering to safe practices,” Majano said.”