BE AWARE OF ELECTRICAL FIRES
“FAULTY ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS’ WARNING SIGNS”
According to Electrical Safety Foundation International, electrical malfunctions cause more than 50,000 building fires each year. The most of them can be prevented. Only you can prevent electrical fires, or greatly lower the risk by keeping an eye out for these Faulty Electrical Systems’ Warning Signs of trouble.
All electricians will tell you that faulty Electrical System is the most potentially lethal, workplace hazard. It can cause fires, electrocutions, and serious injuries.
Most authorities conduct an inspection only when a system is modified during a renovation or an addition. However, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends having a pro look things over every 10 years. Beyond that, be aware of these potential sources and causes of electrical fires. To protect your own home, working place or vicinity, start by checking your fuse box or breaker panel for the date of your last inspection.
Obvious Faulty Electrical Systems’ Warning Signs
- Too Many Extension Cords
Running an extension cord creates additional points where cords can kink, short out or get pinched, leading to tripped breakers, damaged outlets or even a fire.
~Use extension cords sparingly and for short periods of time. If you consistently need more outlets, have an electrician install them.
- Dimming Or Flickering Lights
Because light fixtures typically draw only a small amount of power, the issue is with energy hogs like major appliances or space heaters that are wired to the same circuit.
“Appliances that heat or cool tend to draw a lot of power”
~Consult an electrician about moving lights to different circuits or installing dedicated lines for major appliances.
- Weird Odors
A new appliance may produce an off-odor the first few times it’s powered up. But if you detect an odd smell (mostly odor of burning plastic) coming from an outlet, fuse box or breaker panel, turn off and unplug anything connected to it.
~Don’t use it again until you’ve had a qualified electrician check it out.
This is a sign of severe problem. A sparking appliance may mean that the fixture itself is damaged, in which case you should call an appliance repair person.
~He can test the appliance and usually the outlet that powers it as well.
- Hot Outlets or Switch Plates
Even when an appliance is meant to produce heat, the outlet that powers it should never become hot.
~If the outlet is uncomfortably hot, turn off whatever is plugged in and try it in another outlet. Consult an electrician.
- Frequently Blown Fuses or Tripped Breakers
Circuit breakers and fuses are designed to fail as a way to prevent overloading. If using a single outlet causes you to blow the same fuse repeatedly, the circuit is probably overloaded.
~Call in a pro to discuss upgrading the circuit or adding a new line.
When things are working properly, electricity sound nothing. But loose prongs, outlets or fraying wire can all cause the current to jump, producing a buzzing sound in the process.
~If you’re sure a sound is originating at an outlet, stop using it and call an electrician.
- The wrong outlets
Because water is an excellent conductor of electricity, the areas where water is used frequently such as kitchens and bathrooms require special shock-resistant outlets called ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).
~GFCIs add an extra layer of shock protection around water.
Silent Faulty Electrical Systems’ Warning Signs
These warning signs aren’t loud, but they are serious and are quiet clues for having a major electrical problem.
Many electrical appliances generate heat during operation. However, the outlet itself should never get hot.
~If you notice heat at an outlet, immediately unplug any cords and do not use the outlet until you can troubleshoot the issue.
- Switch Cover Plates
Switch Cover Plates should be treated in the same way as outlets with one exception: Dimmer switches commonly get warm to the touch, since they dissipate the excess electrical energy to create the dimming effect. However, even dimmer switch cover plates should never be uncomfortably hot to the touch.
- Scorch marks around connections:
This is a very bad sign. The wiring is definitely unsafe.
~Report it immediately.
- Equipment behaves erratically, turning itself on and off
This is a wiring problem, for sure. A power connection may be compromised, meaning the wiring is unsafe and still has power going through it.
- Old or sloppy looking wiring:
Electricians will also tell you in very clear language what they think of people who wire up these death traps or don’t fix them.
If you touch a metal object connected to a mechanical system and receive a shock, it’s a strong sign that your electrical system is not properly grounded.
If you plug a cord into an outlet and notice that the insides of the outlet are moving around, it’s time to pop open that outlet and get it squared away. A loose outlet will eventually shake its wires free, and that leads to shorts, sparks and potential fire hazards.
Messy or Tangled Wiring
Wires that run haphazardly, extreme disorganization or slapdash work excessively tangled lines, or junction boxes that look like birds’ nests, can be an indicator of poorly done or rushed electrical work.
If you see rodent droppings or nest material near your electrical wiring, check for any chew marks or damage of the wires.
Faulty Electrical Systems: Warning Signs in Your Home
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA),”Home fires involving electrical failure or malfunction caused an estimated average of 500 civilian deaths and 1,350 civilian injuries each year, as well as an estimated $1.5 billion in direct property damage a year.”
Unfortunately, many faulty wiring problems can be traced to installations performed by individuals who have little training in safely installing electrical infrastructure. They entice with a cheap price, but leave you with a potential life threatening hidden danger.
Don’t let your household be one of them. Keep your senses alert for these easy to spot these Faulty Electrical Systems’ Warning Signs.
- Keep Track of Circuit Breaker Trips
A home circuit breaker are designed to trip whenever the system is overloaded. However, if your circuit breaker trips frequently, multiple times a month or more ,that’s a sure fire sign that there is a deeper, potentially dangerous problem in electrical wiring or you are taxing that circuit with too many high-energy demanding appliances.
Look and Listen For Flickering, Buzzing or Dimming Lights
A symptom of out dated or damaged wiring is flickering, buzzing or dimming lights. If your lights buzz when they’re turned on or flicker/dim when you use multiple appliances, this is a definite sign that you’re home’s wiring requires a professional upgrade.
Look Out For Frayed or Chewed Wiring
Usually caused by rodents, pets and amateur handymen, any damaged wiring like this is a significant shock and fire hazard.
For any problems of this kind, you should contact a licensed electrical contractor to inspect and replace the damaged wiring.
- Search for Discoloration, Scorching and Smoke
If you notice any discoloration or scorch marks on your outlets, that is a sign that the wiring in your home has been damaged in some way and is releasing heat.
That heat is already damaging your home and has the potential to do much worse.
Feel For Warm or Vibrating Wall Outlets
Without touching any wiring directly feel your home’s electrical outlets for heat or vibrations. In the case of either, have an electrician check for and replace any loose or damaged wiring.
Smell for Burning and Odd Odors
Smell for any burning, smoky or odd odors at the point of outlets, as well as at your electrical panel mean that fire damage may have already begun and, if that’s the case, it’s imperative to have it fixed by an electrical professional immediately.
Important Tips to Avoid Electrical Fire
When you observe any of the Faulty Electrical Systems’ Warning Signs,
- Do NOT make contact with any suspect wiring or systems using that wiring, particularly if it’s a live electrical system.
- Notify your manager of any wiring issues ASAP.
- Repairs MUST be done by licensed commercial electricians.
- Do not touch or use affected equipment
- Switch off at the power source
- Never use any on board power switches on equipment with faulty wiring.
- Disconnect all potentially dangerous equipment.
- If there’s water near faulty wiring: Evacuate immediately. Get everyone out and let the professionals handle the problems.
Key Points for Employers to Remember
- Ensure that workers know how to use the electrical equipment safely.
- Check for Faulty Electrical Systems’ Warning Signs around the job.
- Make sure enough sockets are available.
- Check that socket outlets are not overloaded by using unfused adaptors as this can cause fires.
- Ensure there are no trailing cables that can cause people to trip or fall.
- Switch off and unplug appliances before cleaning or adjusting them.
- Ensure everyone looks for electrical wires, cables or equipment near where they are going to work
- When drilling into these locations, remember that electrical cables may be within walls, floors and ceilings etc.
- Make sure anyone working with electricity has sufficient skills, knowledge and experience to do so. Incorrectly wiring a plug can be dangerous and lead to fatal accidents or fires.
- Stop using equipment immediately if it appears to be faulty – have it checked by a competent person.
- Ensure any electrical equipment brought to work by workers, or any hired or borrowed, is suitable for use before using it and remains suitable by being maintained as necessary.
- Consider using a residual current device (RCD) between the electrical supply and the equipment, especially when working outdoors, or within a wet or confined place.
- Employers and workers should be aware of the dangers of working near or underneath overhead power lines. Electricity can flash over from them, even though machinery or equipment may not touch them.
- Nobody should work under them when equipment (e.g. ladders, a crane jib, a tipper-lorry body or a scaffold pole) could come within a minimum of six metres of a power line without getting advice
- Always assume underground cables will be present when digging in the street, pavement and/or near buildings.
Make electricity your friend, it is a boon for your convenience, don’t convert it in to curse by mere negligence!
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