Misguided nails are commone causes of electrical firesHave you ever seen sparks when you plugged something into one of your electrical outlets?  This past weekend, my 7-year old nephew saw sparks when I plugged in his electrical cord for his Ipad, and got a little worried thinking the house was going to catch on fire.  We spent the next hour on google learning more about why the sparks happen and whether or not it could lead to a fire.  Finally, after having me plug in other things around the house and not seeing sparks, he was a little more at ease, but this morning I was curious to know how common electrical fires are in the home and I thought I would share my findings.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), there were over 47,700 home structural fires in 2011 resulting in 418 civilian deaths and over 1500 injuries. Property damages were more than $1.4 billion dollars.

Faulty and old circuit breakers and electrical outlets, overloaded outlets, damaged electrical cords and misguided nails and screws into wiring are common causes of electrical fires. Here are a few safety tips from the NFPA for us all to remember:

  • Have all electrical work performed by a qualified electrician
  • Only plug one heat producing appliance (ie: toaster, space heater, coffee pot) into a receptacle at a time
  • Do not plug major appliances such as refrigerator, dryers or air conditioners into extension cords
  • Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on each light fixture

Also, call a qualified electrician or your landlord if you have:

  • Frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers
  • Any tingling feeling when you touch an electrical appliance
  • A discolored or warm wall outlet
  • A burning or rubbery smell coming from an appliance
  • Sparks coming from an outlet

Fires disasters can still occur even if you take all the precautions, so if you or someone you know experiences a fire loss in your home, PHC Restoration is just a phone call away. Give us a call at 919-834-6523.

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