Every year, tens of thousands of families experience a house fire at their property. While some of these are caused by the chimney and others are caused by candles, many are due to poor electrical safety. Electrical fires can start in a split second and rapidly escalate due to flammable material in the home. How can you make your home safer?

Be Vigilant for Signs of Electrical Safety Problems

Every homeowner needs to know the key signs that too many things are plugged in or an active electrical safety hazard. Some of the signs that you have an overloaded electrical system include:

  • A burning smell near outlets or switches
  • Fuses that blow frequently
  • Wall plates that are warm to the touch
  • Discolored outlets or switch plates
  • Lights that flicker or dim randomly 
  • Buzzing sounds coming from outlets or switches

Don’t DIY Electrical Work

A crucial part of electrical safety is trusting professionals to make your electrical repairs. Electricity is hazardous, and only electricians have the training necessary to perform both simple and complicated electrical work with ease. Whether you need to add more outlets to your home or need to complete an extensive re-wiring project, working with an electrician can make the difference.

Child Proof All of Your Electrical Outlets

Toddlers and young children often don’t understand the consequences of playing with electrical outlets, which means it’s up to you to protect them. As part of your electrical safety plans, you should use tamper-resistant outlet plugs or covers so that your child cannot quickly try to place objects or their fingers into electrical outlets. Does your child try to pull out cords frequently? Install plug covers or move furniture in front of them so that they can’t easily be pulled.

Give Major Appliances Their Own Electrical Outlets

All major appliances should be grounded for your safety and avoid damage to the devices. Because they have three prongs, you should only plug them into outlets with three prongs. Never plug a major appliance into a power strip or extension cord. If you do not have enough outlets for your washing machine, space heaters, dryer, refrigerator, and microwave to all have their own; you should work with an electrician to install more.

Use Extension Cords Properly for Safety

Extension cords are a significant hazard for electrical safety, and they alone cause over 3,000 home fires every year. Only use extension cords as they are designed to be used. Never use them as a permanent solution to outlet issues. Do not plug extension cords into one another or run extension cords through floorboards, underneath carpeting, or past doorways. All of these can increase the chance of tripping over them or a fire starting.

Gorge Quality Home Inspections offers inspection services to home buyers and sellers in the Columbia River Gorge area. Contact us to request an appointment.