Every year, almost half of all house fires that are reported across America involve a light switch, an ignition switch, or another minor electrical malfunction that turns into a roaring blaze. Homes that still do not have ground fault circuit interrupters, or GFCIs, have a much higher instance of home electrocution incidents. When to call an electrician? The startling answer could be: right now.
Faulty wiring, especially in homes that are more than about 40 years old, account for about two-thirds of all residential fires that were studied recently. Frayed cords and plugs to electrical appliances started about 10% of all home blazes, and other relatively minor malfunctions and ignition problems accounted for the rest. What some homeowners may not realize is that one of the most compelling reasons to use a professional electrician is to check whether rodents have caused damage to a home’s electrical wiring.
Of course, residential electrical repairs are best undertaken in advance of any serious problems. Homeowners may notice that the lights in a certain room are taking longer to switch on, or that some light fixtures may have a working bulb but will refuse to be switched on. These are valid reasons to use a professional electrician. Not every home has rodents in the walls, but they do enjoy gnawing on electrical wiring; rodents may cause periodic blackouts in the home, along with other symptoms — droppings and a sound like running or scratching inside of interior or exterior walls — that may have homeowners calling for help.
Ideally, each home will have a smoke detector in each bedroom, in upstairs and downstairs hallways, and fire safety equipment — along with additional smoke detectors — on every single floor of the home, including attic and basement. Fires in residential homes caused by electrical failure cause as much as $1.5 billion in damages every single year. No homeowner wants to worry about arc-fault circuit interrupters, and not everyone knows what AFCIs are used for, but professional electricians can explain what they are used for and why every home should have them in their bedrooms.
AFCIs are a sophisticated circuit breaker, and professional lighting contractor and electric home repair contractors can talk to homeowners about their concerns regarding fire safety. Home energy efficiency is a natural goal, and there are newer recycled steel doors and windows that are rated for fire safety. Some homeowners may want to invest in new appliances that are specifically rated for home energy efficiency, realizing that older cords can be fire safety hazards.
In general, any appliance that has a cord with exposed wiring should be immediately replaced. Sealing tears with electrical tape may not be enough to fix vacuum or computer cords, and newer appliances are designed with home energy efficiency in mind. Sometimes, pets can chew cords, and if homeowners see mysterious burns around their dogs mouths, it may be a mild electrocution delivered to the pet because they were chewing television or computer cords.
It is extremely important to upgrade and monitor home electrical systems. Home fires can occur at any time of the year, and electricians should be able to perform a comprehensive analysis of a home’s wiring and safety. Combining fire safety checks with home energy efficiency upgrades may sound like a great idea, and professional electricians should be able to help homeowners stay safe from the dangers of outdated and faulty wiring.