Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)
GFCI outlets are designed for use in areas where water is present. Because water conducts electricity very effectively, it can cause the hot and neutral sides of an outlet to connect. The resulting flow of current can kill. GFCIs detect any leakage of electrical current, immediately interrupting the flow of power.
Before 1962, building codes didn't require plug-in outlets to be grounded and polarized. This standard was implemented to provide greater protection for homeowners. That third prong, the ground pin, is there for a reason. It provides another way for current to leave the home if something goes wrong.
If you have outlets in the home that aren't grounded, don't install a grounded outlet with the existing two-wires available. Hire an electrician to rewire all your outlets so they are grounded. Not only could it save your home from fire, it will also protect all your electronic appliances.
Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs)
If you have never heard of this type of plug, you aren't alone.
AFCI outlets are required in any bedroom receptacle as this is the most common location for what is known as an arch between the hot and neutral sides of the plug. This arc is a serious fire hazard and occurs frequently in old receptacles.
Monitor Outlet Condition
Look for loose-fitting plugs, as these can overheat and cause a fire. Replace wall plates that become damaged. While you are at it, make sure that all unused outlets have safety covers on them if there are small children in the home.
Check Power Strips and Extension Cords
Power strips and extension cords are the source of many electrical fires, mostly because too many power hungry appliances and fixtures are connected to them at once. If a power strip's breaker keeps tripping, consider that a sign that too many things are plugged in.
It is important to make sure that extension cords are in good condition. Watch for signs of wear on the insulating covering. Cracks, scrapes and frays are signs that a cord needs to be replaced. Never staple any type of power cord to the wall. Use tape instead. Also, never run cords under carpet where damage could occur out of sight.
Match Wattage on Light Bulbs to Fixture Limits
Almost all light fixtures list 60 watts as the maximum wattage for incandescent light bulbs. Exceeding this rating can cause overheating of the light fixture, damage and ultimately fire. If the fixture has an open design that allows air to flow freely, you may safely use most CFL bulbs because their maximum wattage is far less than 60 watts. Beware of using CFL bulbs in enclosed fixtures, unless the bulb has been designed for that use. The standard CFL can overheat.
Replace or Repair Appliances that Cause Shocks
Any appliance that gives you a shock when you touch it should be unplugged immediately. If you or an electrician cannot identify the source of the problem, replace the appliance. Also beware of any appliances that trip your circuit breakers or blow fuses.
Plug Space Heaters into Unburdened Circuits
If you plug too many heaters into a series of plugs that are on the same wire, you can overheat the wire in the wall. While this will trip the breaker, cumulative damage to the wire's insulation can eventually cause an electrical house fire.
At Baker & Sons we have 23 years of residential and commercial electrical experience. We help Sarasota, Manatee & Charlotte County property owners renovate their electrical systems with minimal disruption to their lives.
Call us today at (941) 377-3602 for an evaluation of your electrical system. We'll give you an honest assessment and tell you whether we can save you money through an electrical renovation. We will explore all the solutions and help you as a Florida property owner find the best short and long-term option for your budget.