Let me see if I can get your attention right out of the blocks. According to the ESFI (Electrical Safety Foundation International) in the average year over 51,000 fires are started due to some form of electrical malfunction. If you want to dig deeper into the facts they provide you can click here.
Let’s take it a step further, according to the last census there are about 126 million households in the United States. That means your chances of an electrical mishap are about one in 2,500. If it sounds like I’m trying to instill a little fear in you, you would be correct. I work with and around electricity daily and it still scares me. So as usual, the question becomes what should you do?
First, open your circuit breaker panel and look for the brand name of the panel on the interior of the door. If it says Stablock, FPC, or Federal Pacific you are at a greater risk for fire. Those brands lost their Underwriters Laboratory ratings years ago. (UL labs are the people that govern what is safe and what is not when it comes to electricity.) What can happen in the event the circuit gets over loaded is the breakers in those types of panels often do not trip, but rather they melt fusing them in place. If the over load on the circuit continues the heat increases to a point that fire begins. These types of fires often go undetected until they are completely out of control due to them starting inside a wall cavity. Also another tell tale sign of a dangerous panel is if the breakers are all different colors, blue green, yellow, red. This is a very old style of circuit breaker panel that can cause safety issues.
What else can you do as a layman to ensure that the electrical system in your home is safe you ask? Don’t plug too many things into power strips, do not use extension cords that are frayed or damaged in anyway. Make sure that the light bulbs you are using are not too large for the fixtures. Also please make sure things like holiday lights or string lights of any kind are not damaged. Otherwise please for the sake of your life do not mess with the electrical system in your home. Please leave it to the professionals.
The pros are where we come in. We have several certified electricians on staff that can come and conduct a safety inspection of the electrical system in your home. I have used this analogy in the past, the AC system in your home is like your lungs, the sewer system is similar to your intestines and your nerves are your home’s wires. Our safety inspection includes things like inspection of all interior and exterior panels, checking circuit breakers, looking for any wiring that may have signs of deterioration along with checking all outlets and switches for proper function. Don’t forget that we can help with any of your lighting needs as well.
Okay my friends while I can’t promise you a life without fires I can tell you having your electrical system inspected annually can knock those aforementioned odds of having a fire way down. Until we meet again I really think careless electricians should be called shock absorbers! Groan for effect……
House Whisperer out!!
For Immediate Emergency Assistance Call 1-800-475-1504