Half of the homes in United States were built before 1973, presenting them with unique electrical safety challenges. If you are living in an older home, it’s important to recognize the dangers that could result from your electrical system, as most electrical fires occur from outdated wiring and appliances. Here’s everything you need to know about the potential electrical hazards in your home and how you can stay safe.
Electrical Dangers in Your Home
Electrical Safety Foundation International has provided the following statistics on electrical hazards in the home:
- Home electrical problems cause an estimated 53,600 fires in the United States each year, accounting for $1.4 million in property damage.
- More than 500 people die in electrical house fires each year, while an additional 1,400 people are injured.
- Approximately 2,400 children are injured by inserting objects into electrical outlets each year, that’s about seven per day. Most of these incidents involve children under the age of six.
How Electrical Fires Occur
According to the National Fire Protection Association, the majority of electrical fires – more than 30,000 – are caused by arc faults. Arc faults occur when electricity is released unintentionally from wiring, cords or appliances, due to poor or improper installation. When this excess electricity is released, it can cause an electrical device or surrounding material to catch fire.
Arc faults are more likely to occur in older homes, due to faulty electrical outlets and outdated appliances. Here are some more things that may cause an arc fault, all of which are commonly found in older homes:
- Loose or improper connections from electrical wires to outlets or switches
- Punctured or pinched wire insulation (may occur when wire is snagged on a nail or screw inside a wall or when heavy furniture is placed over cords)
- Cracked or peeling wire insulation as a result of age, heat or excessive bending and tension
- Frayed appliance cords and extension cords
- Damage to electrical wiring from rodent infestation
How to Protect Old Homes From Electrical Hazards
Even if the wiring in your home is old, there is new technology that can be used within your electrical system to prevent fires and electrocutions. Old or new, every home should be equipped with these lifesaving devices:
Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI): This is a type of circuit breaker that detects problems that may cause a fire and shuts off the power before one can occur.
Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI): A type of outlet designed to shut off electrical power in the event of a ground-fault. When a ground-fault occurs, an electrical current may take an alternative path, releasing electricity somewhere it shouldn’t.
Ensure Your Older Home is Safe With Mister Sparky!
If your home is older than 40, it’s likely time for an electrical update. From updating your electrical outlets to safer models, to rewiring your entire home, we’ll make sure your electrical system is safe and efficient to use! Call Mister Sparky today or schedule an appointment online.