Does this picture above look familiar? A jumble of many, many cables, all being plugged into one or two outlets? Everybody has done this at some time or other. Sadly, quite a number of fire incidents in the home are caused by electrical failure/misuse. Here are several tips for electrical fire prevention.
- Do NOT overload electrical outlets
When too much current flows through a circuit, conductors heat up and can get hot enough to start a fire. Limit the number of appliances you connect to one outlet. Average household circuit currents are either 15A(amp) or 20A. You can easily check the amps by studying the fuse requirement on the electrical panel. However, bear in mind that safe operating ranges for appliances are in reality less than 80% of the 15A or 20A ratings which means approximately 12A for the 15A rated fuse and 16A for the 20A fuses are more within acceptable safety margins. Use this overload calculator tool to give you a general idea of how many / what type of appliances you can connect safely to an outlet.
- Check integrity of wires/plugs/outlets
Damaged wires/plugs/outlets may cause sparks! Disconnect an electrical appliance by pulling on the actual plug, don’t yank on the cord instead. If a plug doesn’t fit securely into an outlet, the receptacle needs to be replaced. Make sure the cord is firmly plugged into the outlet.
- Organize wall outlets and its surroundings
Extension cords are meant to be a temporary solution only. Minimize their time of use. Also, unplug your electrical gadgets when they are not in use. Coil up excess cord length and tie up the coil with plastic ties or Velcro straps. Keep flammable materials away from outlets.
- Use power extension bars with surge protector features
This is very important to protect electrical appliances from sudden voltage spikes.
Remember: electrical fires are preventable. Safe independent living!