As a child, you may have held a fear of house fires; many children are apt to wonder what might happen should their home catch fire in the night. And while you probably grew out of the fear of monsters in your closet, some childhood fears stick with us because they’re grounded in reality. Fire is one of those fears.
In 2011, electrical malfunctions and failures were involved in 47,700 house fires in the U.S. No matter how careful you are about turning off the stove and oven, you’re still at risk for fires, simply because of the nature of the modern electrical home. Does this mean you should sell your house and live in a cave to eliminate the possibility of your house catching on fire? Of course not. But there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of a fire in your home.
- Make sure you have enough smoke detectors. You should have at least one smoke detector on each floor of your house. Ideally, you should also have a smoke detector in each bedroom and in the hallways within 15 feet of each bedroom.
- Install arc-fault circuit interrupters. Arc-fault circuit interrupters, or AFCIs, are built to sense when electricity is no longer confined to its intended path — that is, the electrical wiring — and to shut off the electricity before the unconfined energy starts a fire. In particular, concentrate on installing AFCIs on bedroom circuits if you don’t have them already.
- Consider having an residential electric contractor inspect your home. According to experts, houses which are older than 10 years and have had new appliances or renovations added should be inspected. Though you can certainly inform yourself about electrical repairs, it’s never a bad idea to consult with an informed professional. Do-it-yourself methods can save you some money, but dealing with electrical problems yourself can also be dangerous — know when to call an electrician or qualified residential electric contractor.