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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Preventing Electrical Fires

8/15/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Carbondale/Clarks-Summit/Old Forge, the Scranton/Wilkes-barre premier fire, water, smoke and mold cleanup and restortaion company is encouraging homeowners to follow this simple steps in the hopes of preventing unneccassry house fires.

Your home may be your castle, but even the coziest castles can harbor scary secrets—especially when it comes to your electrical system. Wires, circuit breakers, outlets, plugs…even as a longtime homeowner, can you be sure everything is safe and up to code?

“Certain hidden problems—sometimes found in older homes or ones with do-it-yourself renovations—could be putting you in harm’s way,” warns Dave Borowski, spokesperson for Direct Energy. Here’s a checklist of things in your home that might be major electrical dangers.

Wires not properly grounded: All home wiring should have a ground provided: i.e. your circuit breaker box has power supply wires and separate wires that run to a metal rod driven into the ground, so all grounded wiring eventually connects to this “ground” source. The idea? An electrical current always seeks the most efficient pathway to the ground (earth) and grounding provides an easy and safe access route in the event of a product failure. But if any circuit isn’tgrounded, an electrical current can stray away from this intended path, connect to your body instead, and cause serious injury.

Aluminum wiring:It’s been illegal in most applications since 1978, but aluminum wiring—cheaper than copper—was popular in the early ’70s. Cheaper, yes, but unlike copper, aluminum is soft and malleable; it pulses and becomes loose. “So aluminum wires can easily get overheated; they could burn right into the wall and catch the house on fire, or cause other damages,”Borowski says.

Older homes or homes with remodeled additions: If your home was remodeled anytime in its history, the work may have been done by a do-it-yourself person—or perhaps by a contractor who didn’t secure the right permits or follow proper codes. “Maybe someone wanted to enclose a garage, found a plug in the wall, and just stole power from that plug, which is also servicing the living room or bedroom,” says Borowski. If all these outlets are connected to one wire, that wire’s capacity may be exceeded, and it can overheat.

The wrong size circuit breakers: Circuit breakers are a safety device, designed to trip—or turn off the power to a particular item or outlet—if too much electricity is flowing through a particular wire. Danger can result if there’s a mismatch between the size of the circuit breaker and the size of any wire, says Borowski.

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