Want to Protect Your Home From Fires? Start with Your Wires!
Tips to Protect Your Home From Fires
Protect the wires, and you are protecting your home. The following tips can help keep your home safe and secure:
- Never take shortcuts. When working on a do-it-yourself wiring project, take plenty of time to do it right. Avoid pinching wires or pushing them into boxes that are too small. Always double-check your work.
- Pay attention to socket ratings. If your light socket is rated for 60 watts, don't put that 100 watt bulb into the fixture! Although it might seem to work fine for a while, the additional heat is slowly damaging the wires, and that could lead to a fire.
- Be careful with wires. Don't run appliance wires under rugs, in areas of high traffic, or in places where water could reach them. If the wires on any appliance are frayed, replace them immediately.
- Install ground fault protection. Make sure the outlets in your bathrooms and kitchens are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters, or GFCI outlets. These outlets have their own built-in circuit breaker, and are meant for use in areas that could get wet, such as near sinks or tubs. If an outlet short circuits, the GFCI circuit will trip, saving you a shock and perhaps an electrical fire.
- Don't overload the circuit. This happens when you plug several high wattage appliances in the same outlet, or when you use an overloaded extension cord. When you do this, the stress on your home's wiring can be very dangerous.
- Watch for warning signs. Flickering lights, frequently blown fuses, or the smell of smoke when you use an appliance indicate serious problems behind your walls. These signs call for the services of a certified electrician. Electricity is not something to fool around with, so as soon as you see the warning signs of something amiss, make that call!
- Have your electrical system evaluated. It's always a good idea to know what you are dealing with when it comes to old wiring. Call an electrical contractor to look over the entire system and make plans to implement any recommendations. You are always better safe than sorry, especially when it comes to old houses with old wiring!
Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her hobbies.