(NC) – Most homeowners take conscientious steps to avoid fire hazards. Be sure to add electrical considerations to your list.
With reports that 'electrical distribution equipment' is the ignition source for 8% of residential fires in this country, the Electrical Safety Foundation International – Canada (ESFI-C) is encouraging homeowners to watch for and address electrical hazards.
Electrical distribution equipment includes wiring, panel boards, fuses or circuits, receptacles, switches, appliance cords, cables and other electrical articles. Fires can result from old or damaged wiring and components, improper electrical installations, overloaded electrical system, misuse of electrical products, and harmful counterfeit electrical products.
Be sure to address electrical hazards in your home, starting with:
• Overloaded outlets and panels (including over-fusing) – ensure an adequate number of outlets, and check the load rating of your home's electrical system to avoid overheating.
• Improper use of extension cords – follow manufacturer instructions and cord ratings.
• Damaged cords – destroy and replace frayed and damaged extension cords. Damaged appliance cords should be repaired by the manufacturer or their recommended service provider.
• Counterfeit electrical products, electronics, and components – don't buy electrical counterfeit products. These by-pass the quality controls and safety standards defined to protect consumers for shock and fire hazards.
• Renovating/modifying electrical systems – consider your electrical system needs when planning renovating. Check what's behind the wall. Visit www.esfi.ca for tips and links to information on provincial requirements.
Watch for the signs of potential electrical hazards hidden behind the wall. Signsinclude:
• breakers that frequently trip or fuses that frequently blow
• dim/flickering lights
• loose plugs or switches
• overheating or discolouration of plugs or switches
• damaged insulation on electrical wires (where open and visible)
• sizzle and buzzing sounds
If you have concerns associated with your home's electrical system be sure to contact a qualified or licensed electrical contractor to determine if repairs are required.