Electricity is a vital component of any home. Unfortunately, it can be a home’s most dangerous hazard as well. Silent, odorless, and capable of moving at lightning fast speed, electricity can harm any object in its path.
With the safety and well-being of you and your loved ones on the line, it pays to learn all about your Orange County home and the potential electrical hazards that may be lurking inside. From incorrect wiring and overloaded circuits to frayed electrical cords and worn-out appliances, here’s a closer look at the top five electrical hazards found in any home today.
1. Damaged or Frayed Electrical Cords
Each year, more and more electronics permeate throughout our homes. In fact, the average home now has over two dozen electrical cords running to and fro. Aside from the obvious risk of tripping, electrical cords can become extremely dangerous when damaged or frayed. Damaged or frayed electrical cords are responsible for thousands of fires each year as an exposed wire will ignite a carpet or floor in no time at all.
While cords can become damaged for a number of reasons, cords that run underneath carpets and rugs are particularly susceptible. The constant friction caused by a cord rubbing against carpet can result in the deterioration of the cord’s rubber coating, leaving the wire exposed.
Electrical cords can also be damaged from furniture, foot traffic, and normal wear and tear. Many times, the damage won’t be noticeable, which is especially true if it’s hidden under carpet. Frayed electrical cords are a primary source of home fires, so they are a major electrical hazard to be mindful of.
2. Electrical Appliances
Malfunctioning appliances are another major electrical hazard found in today’s homes. Most homeowners own dozens of electrical gadgets and appliances, all of which are capable of malfunctioning at any time. Televisions, computers, toasters, coffeemakers, and any electrical appliance can spark and cause a devastating fire.
Therefore, every appliance in your Orange County home that plugs into an outlet should be used with common sense and treated with care. For example, you should never leave a plastic container or piece of paper near a hot appliance and you should check appliances periodically for defective parts, corroded wires, and anything else that doesn’t look quite right.
It’s also a wise idea to unplug electrical appliances when they’re not being used. Lastly, remember to use heating pads, electric blankets, and space heaters with caution; and of course, make sure to keep any plugged in appliance far away from water.
3. Electrical Outlets
Electrical outlets can be dangerous for a number of reasons. Not only can children stick things in them, but they can also spark a fire if the electricity demanded by an appliance exceeds its capacity.
Therefore, three-hole grounded outlets should be found in every home and safety plugs should be used for any outlets that go unused. Outlets located in bathrooms or the exterior of the home should also have a ground fault interrupter, or GFI.
4. Old or Faulty Wiring
Many homes built prior to 20 years ago have wiring that simply wasn’t designed or constructed to safely support the rising electrical demands of today’s homeowners. HDTVs, computers, gaming systems, microwaves, and cell phone chargers all pose a significant strain on circuitry that wasn’t made to support them.
In addition to suffering from capacity overload, older electrical wiring can also deteriorate over time. The rubberized material that covers older electrical wires is prone to drying out and crumbling, which can lead to exposed wires and fire hazards. Today’s electrical wires, on the other hand, are covered with a much more durable PVC material.
Rodents are also known to chew on electrical wires and damage them, so it’s important to have your Orange County home’s electrical periodically checked to ensure they are not being damaged in any way. If you run across older or damaged wiring in your home, it’s important to take great care and contact a licensed professional electrician as soon as possible.
5. Water and Electricity
Everyone knows water and electricity aren’t a good combination, but this common sense fact is forgotten each and every day. Water is a conductor of electricity and capable of causing severe shock and even death when touched by an electric current.
It may seem obvious, but since hundreds of people are injured from exposure to water and electricity in their homes every year, it’s worth pointing out a few basic facts.
For starters, you should never operate an electrical device in or around water. You should also never touch an electrical switch or plug when your hands are wet, or place an electrical device above the bathtub, sink, or anywhere else it can fall into water.
If you live in a newer home, you’ll be happy to know today’s building codes require GFCI outlets to be used around water sources. GFCI outlets turn off the current when a circuit issue is identified. If you live in an older home, be sure to update the outlets in your home’s kitchen and bathrooms for added protection.
As you can see, unforeseen electrical hazards can exist in any home. Whether you live in an older home or newer construction, you should contact an experienced electrician in your area to learn all about your home’s wiring and electrical hazards in order to maintain the safety of you and your loved ones.
For questions regarding the electrical hazards in your Orange County, CA home, contact Dial One Sonshine today at (714) 252-7460 and get the peace of mind you deserve!