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According to recent studies, 20 percent of all fires in Canada involve electrical failure or malfunction. Many of these fires can be avoided if property owners follow some simple safety precautions. Below are the most common causes of electrical fires with information on how to avoid them:
1. Using high wattage appliances in outlets that don’t support that wattage
Before plugging an appliance into an outlet or extension cord, the permissible wattage should be checked. In addition, only light bulbs with the correct wattage should be used for lamps or light fixtures. Modern light fixtures usually specify the maximum allowed wattage.
2. Outdated wiring and breaker boxes in the home
If outlets spark or make a buzz sound when something is plugged in, the home wiring may have faults. An experienced electrician should be hired to inspect and replace the wiring and breaker boxes. If the home has aluminum wiring, it should be replaced with copper wiring, which is a lot safer. Aluminum wires do not meet the demands of modern appliances.
3. Plugging too many appliances into one extension cord
Too many appliances may cause them to overheat and cause sparks that can start a fire. Extension cords should be used only temporarily. It is better to plug major appliances directly into outlets (but not too many at once). Alternatively, power strips with internal overload protection (that shut off automatically when they are overloaded) can be used.
4. Using old and outdated appliances
Older appliances use more power than most outlets can support, which can cause them to overheat and start a fire. In addition, any cords that look worn or tattered must be replaced. Running cords under rugs can also start a fire.
5. Placing coiled space heaters near flammable objects
Space heaters must be kept away from materials such as paper, sheets, draperies, rugs or towels. Coiled space heaters should be placed at least 1 meter away from objects that can easily ignite.
While indoor electrical safety is highly important, outdoor safety should not be ignored, either. Outdoor electrical safety tips can be found here. The PuroClean team is ready to provide professional restoration services to any property affected by fire, water or mould damage.