All week we’ve been observation Fire Prevention Week, so we want to round thing out with our own take on ways to improve fire safety around the home. One of the most common, yet often overlooked, sources for house fires is faulty wiring. Issues with your house wiring can lead to overheating or sparks which can ignite insulation. Before you know it, a small connection you can’t even see has become a big problem. So how do you know when it’s time to get a full wiring inspection or repair?
Check Your Wiring Regularly
Wiring gets old and will eventually wear out. Insulation degrades over time, connection points develop carbon buildup, and the general structure of a house can change wire stresses over time. The best thing is to do regular wiring inspections on your home. This should be done at least every ten years. You can see when the last time your home was inspected by a professional electrician by checking the breaker box panel. To clarify:
More than 40 years since your last inspection? Get inspected as soon as possible. Boulden Brothers offers full electrical services including full code and safety inspections. A home that hasn’t been inspected in the past 40 years is bound to have multiple wiring issues. Don’t wait to get it inspected.
Between 10 and 40 years since the last inspection? We recommend having an inspection done. 10 years is a long time and many different stresses and events can take a toll on your home’s wiring. It’s highly advisable that you get your home inspected.
Pests, new home, or getting ready for a sale? Then an inspection is recommended. If you’ve had any issues with mice, squirrels, birds, or any nesting creature in your attic or walls then it’s best to make sure no wiring damage has occurred. It’s also a good idea to inspect a new home to make sure that the inspection is up to date, regardless of the signature on the breaker panel.
Wiring Danger Signs
As electrical wiring and equipment ages it gives off several warning signs that it’s time for a repair or a replacement. While many times the sign is “I’m broken and no longer functioning,” many warning signs are simply in the form of strange smells, finicky connections, or inefficient operation. Whether you’re going about your day or actively looking for electrical problems, here are a few things you should keep an eye out for:
- Regular outages
- Tripping breaker
- Dim/flickering lights
- Loose plugs and sockets
- Insulation damage on wiring
- Any kind of electric shocks or sparking
- Smells such as burning plastic or a strange urine odor
For an in-depth guide on exactly what to look for, and more dangers, we recommend looking at the Consumer Product Safety Commission guide on home wiring safety.
Additional Fire Safety
Beyond regular wiring it never hurts to be too cautious when dealing with possible fires in the home. Smoke alarms are essential to saving lives in the home. Make sure that every floor has a smoke alarm that’s properly installed for the best coverage. Regular maintenance and testing of every smoke alarm should be conducted to ensure that you’re covered in case a fire starts. The earlier the warning of a fire emergency, the high your chances are of both survival and of saving you home. Because when a fire starts, it’s a race against time.
Fortunately, Boulden Brothers hires technicians who understand the importance of proper fire and carbon monoxide alarms. During any safety inspection we perform, we test every fire alarm. We can also install alarms with long-term batteries or fire alarms which use house wiring to prevent missed battery replacements.
Finally, don’t forget to get your furnace maintained. While not as common an issue as electrical fires, furnaces have been known to cause fires when improperly maintained. A licensed furnace technician can clean, inspect and maintain your furnace. For your part, check the filter to make sure it’s clean and remove any objects (especially dry and flammable materials) from the area around your furnace and any vents or registers connected to it.
Home fires are often preventable with simple maintenance or a few repairs. It’s always better to take the extra time and ensure that your home is properly protected against possible fires. House fires are no joke which is why you should be prepared, from start to finish.
If you have any further questions home wiring, talk to the licensed, trained technicians at Boulden Brothers.
Visit us on our website, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ or give us a call at (302) 368-3848 for more information on maintaining a Green home. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions you might have.