Be Cautious of These Common Household Electrical Hazards

A closeup of a frayed electrical wire extended off of a handheld applianceHousehold electricity keeps your home comfortable, your gadgets alive, and makes life simpler, but these currents can also be dangerous and potentially fatal if not properly maintained. It’s important to treat powered appliances and receptacles around your home with respect, as doing so will reduce the likelihood of injury or property damage. Let’s take a look at how to recognize some of the common household electrical hazards and what you can do to increase your home’s safety.

What Are Some Common Household Electrical Hazards?

Most of the dangerous household electrical hazards arise from poor maintenance or gradual wear and tear and can be difficult to suss out. Nonetheless, it’s your responsibility as a homeowner to prevent household fires or electrical shocks by keeping an eye out for these common hazards:

  • Fusebox and Circuit Breakers: Burn marks, audible buzzing, or the smell of burning plastic can be a sign of several problems – from a loose or poorly insulated wire to an electrical overload. If combustible objects are nearby, this can quickly ignite a fire.
  • Arc Faults: Arc faults are intensely hot sparks that usually occur in frayed or cracked appliance or extension cords. According to Industrial Safety & Hygiene News, arc faults account for 30,000 household fires each year.
  • Service Entrance Lines: Lines carrying the deadliest voltage are those directing electricity from your municipal’s electrical grid to your home. A common misconception is that power lines are insulated; electrocution can result from a kite getting tangled or a ladder touching the lines.

You should especially be wary of your electrical system if you live in an older home. Temperature fluctuations and normal wear and tear over the years can compromise your wiring and drastically increase the risk of fire.

How Can I Increase My Household’s Electrical Safety?

Equipment can be installed to increase home safety, such as smart sensors that monitor your electrical systems, tamper-resistant outlet covers, or electrical circuit interrupters that reduce the risk of fires caused by arc faults. However, there are some simple steps you can take as a homeowner to avoid shocks and house fires:

  • Electrical Cords: Extension cords are only a temporary solution and should never be used long term. They also should be capable of handling the electrical load of the equipment they’re powering. Also, regularly check cords to ensure they are not damaged or frayed.
  • Receptacles and Switches: Make sure all switch and receptacle covers are securely fastened and there are no signs of exposed wiring. If you notice sparks emanating from a receptacle or any reoccurring buzzing or static sounds, contact an electrician to inspect your electrical system.
  • Electrical Tools and Appliances: Light fixtures come with a wattage rating, and you should never install a bulb that exceeds that number. Also, unplug any appliance that starts to spark and have it serviced by a technician, and always keep electrical appliances clear of water.

Other safety precautions should be handled by an electrician, such as replacing two-pronged outlets with three-pronged outlets and replacing any compromised electrical wiring.

Being aware of these common household electrical hazards and properly handling them is important, but ensuring you have the right insurance to cover you in the case of a mishap is just as vital. Since electrical hazards are so difficult to uncover, having the appropriate protections to cover any injuries or property damage will ensure you and your family are financially safe. At TJ Woods Insurance, our agents will pair you with the most suitable homeowners insurance to ensure you’re protected from all hazards – electrical or otherwise. If you’re looking to protect your home and family, contact us today.