When you own your own home, you want to make sure that it is safe for you and your family. You also want to ensure that your home is energy efficient.
Home energy efficiency is important for several reasons. First of all, you can be assured that you’ll have consistent lighting and your other electrical appliances work optimally. Home energy efficiency can also make a difference in your electrical bill, especially when you turn off lights when they’re not being used.
Electrical fires are one of the major causes of property damage in the United States. On an annual basis, these fires cost $1.5 billion. Taking precautions and engaging in regular home maintenance needs can make a major difference in preventing these fires.
There are a variety of factors that cause confined as well as non-confined home structure fires. In a report covering the years of 2007-to-2011, half of the non-confined fires were a result of electrical failure or an electrical malfunction. When a malfunction occurs in electrical distribution and lighting equipment, there is a strong possibility that it could cause a fire to ignite.
In 2011 alone, United States fire departments received approximately 47,700 calls for home structure fires that were caused by failures and malfunctions of electrical systems.
When to Call an Electrician
A qualified electrician can provide home energy efficiency and safety tips along with other necessary services. Here are just a few reasons to use a professional electrician:
- When you have electrical problems
- When you need electrical repairs
- When you need electrical wiring
- When you need electrical wiring repairs
When to Ask for a Home Inspection
If you haven’t noticed any existing issues with your electrical system, you may still want to call for a home inspection to make sure that there aren’t any hidden issues.
If you’ve just purchased a new home, you may want to request an inspection prior to moving in. While this may be a standard practice, it’s always a good idea to double-check, as some home buyers may agree to purchase a home “as is.” In this case, having an electrician conduct an inspection and make any necessary repairs–or rewire it entirely–is a necessary precaution.
When your home is ten or more years old, experts recommend that you contact a residential electric contractor to inspect it. Furthermore, you should also ask for an inspection when you’re remodeling or after you’ve purchased, and are preparing to install, any new appliances.
When your home is 40 or more years old, the Electrical Safety Foundation International states that you should have an inspection to determine if there are any existing or potential hazards.
Necessary Safety Measures
There are several safety measures that you can take to prevent electrical fires. One of these is having arc-fault circuit interrupters on all your bedroom circuits.
In the event that a fire may occur, it’s important to have smoke detectors throughout your home. It’s recommended that you have one in each bedroom as well as in the hallways with 15 feet of these bedrooms. If you have a multi-level home, then you should also have a minimum of one smoke detector per level.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, installing ground fault circuit interruptors could prevent someone from being electrocuted. On an annual basis, there are approximately 300 electrocutions, and taking this important safety precaution could potentially eliminate more than two-thirds of these electrocutions from occurring.
Causes of Home Structure Fires
Fires can be caused by a multiple factors. According to data gathered from 2007-to-2011, fires resulted due to the following issues:
- Electrical distribution issues with wiring and lighting equipment: 63%
- Faulty lamps, light fixtures, and light bulbs: 20%
- Cords and plugs: 11%
- Transformers and power supplies: 6%
If you even suspect that there may be issues with your home’s electrical wiring, contact a professional electrician to make sure. If you have electrical sockets that haven’t been used for a while or don’t work at all, it’s also important to have those checked, too.
When the electrician comes to your home to inspect any existing or potential hazards, be sure to also ask them for home energy efficiency tips.