Take steps to help prevent electrical fires by identifying possible safety problems before they occur. Safe Electricity offers the following checklist to help find possible issues with your electrical system or appliances before they become a fire hazard in your home:
Check for loose-fitting plugs and loose wall receptacles. Replace missing or broken wall plates. If you have young children, install tamper resistant outlets. Avoid overloading outlets with adapters and too many appliance plugs.
If an outlet is not working, it may be an indicator of unsafe wiring. Have an electrician check it out. Also check for loose wires and loose lighting fixtures. Listen for popping or sizzling sounds behind walls. If light switches are hot to the touch or lights spark and flicker, immediately shut them off at the circuit breaker and contact a qualified electrician to make repairs.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)
Make sure GFCIs are installed in your kitchen, bathrooms, laundry, workshop, basement, garage, and outdoor outlets. GFCIs help protect against electrical shock. Use the test and reset button monthly to ensure they are working properly.
Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs)
Consider having AFCIs installed in your home. An AFCI installed in a circuit breaker monitors the flow of electricity throughout your home. If the AFCI detects any abnormality, it will shut the system off, preventing a fire.
Do not remove the grounding pin (third prong) to make a plug fit a two-conductor outlet.
Make sure cords are not frayed or cracked, placed under rugs, tightly wrapped around any object, or located in high traffic areas. Do not nail or staple them to walls, floors, or other objects.
These are not intended as permanent household wiring, so use them on a temporary basis only. If you find you need more electrical outlets, talk to an electrician about installing more so you will not need to use extension cords.
Verify that your light bulbs are the intended wattage for the lamp or fixture they are in, and make sure they are screwed in securely so they do not overheat.
Check that circuit breakers are working properly. Fuses should be properly rated for the circuit they are protecting.