Every year, thousands of people in the United States are injured or displaced from their homes due to residential electrical hazards and/or electrical fires. Sadly, many of these injuries and fires could have been prevented if homeowners had known how to recognize electrical hazards in their homes. Take precautions against potential dangers by checking your home for these common electrical issues.

Faulty, Damaged, or Outdated Wiring

Homes typically have several wiring circuits that deliver power to appliances, lights, computers, heating systems, and more. These wires may become frayed, damaged, or corroded, which can cause electric shocks, sparks, and fires. And in many homes, especially those that are more than 30 years old, the wiring is outdated and in need of replacement. To minimize your risk of dangerous electrical accidents, have a qualified electrician inspect your wiring every few years to check for any problems and ensure your electrical system meets current safety standards.

Overloaded Outlets

One of the most common causes of electrical hazards and fires are overloaded outlets. Appliances should be plugged directly into outlets and not permanently plugged into extension cords. Outlets are built to handle a specific amount of electrical input and output before they can become fire hazards or create a risk of electrical shock. If you have a limited number of outlets, you can use surge protectors to safely add more plugs to an outlet, or have an electrician install new outlets in your home.

Check your home for overheated outlets and plugs—as well as outlets that have become discolored, damaged, or emit an odor—and have them replaced by an electrician. Use outlet covers to prevent babies and young children from sticking their fingers and other objects into outlets, safeguarding them against shock and electrocution.

Overloaded Circuits

Frequent circuit breaker tripping can indicate potentially dangerous problems with your home’s electrical system. These overloaded circuits—often found in older homes that were not designed to handle today’s electrical demand—are one cause of the more than 40,000 residential electrical fires that occur every year in the United States. Other signs of overloaded circuits include blinking, dimming, and flickering lights; discolored or warm wall plates; and sizzling, cracking, or buzzing sounds from your appliances. Prevent overloaded circuits by shuffling your high-use appliances around to balance the power load. Fixing more serious electrical issues such as installing new circuits or replacing electrical panels should be left to licensed electricians.

Electrical Appliances in Proximity to Water

Electrical appliances should never be left plugged into an outlet and within close proximity to water. If a plugged-in appliance falls into the sink or bathtub, do not reach in to pull it out, even if it is turned off. Turn off the power at the main electrical panel and then unplug the appliance. Keep your appliances dry

and never handle them with wet hands as this increases the chance of electric shock. If an electrical fire starts in your home, do not pour water on it, instead, use a fire extinguisher.

Safeguard Against Electrical Surges

Switch off your electrical equipment such as your computers and TVs when you aren’t using them to prevent overheating or a power surge that could damage your electronics or start a fire. You may want to purchase surge protectors to use while your electronics are turned on, which can be useful if you live in an area where the power frequently shuts on and off because of weather.

One of the biggest—and most dangerous—electrical hazard is a homeowner attempting to make repairs themselves or hiring a “handyman.” Unless you are both qualified and experienced in electrical work, hire a licensed electrician for any maintenance, repairs, or installations. To minimize the risk of electrical fires and injuries, call Harder Electrical & Mechanical to check your home for electrical safety hazards and perform any electrical services that you may need.

About Harder Electrical & Mechanical

Founded in 2003, Harder Electrical & Mechanical Services provides residential and commercial heating, cooling, and electrical services. We have proudly served the Albuquerque, Tijeras, Edgewood, and Moriarty areas for over 15 years. Locally owned and operated, Harder Electrical & Mechanical Services is open five days a week and on-call Saturdays.

Harder Electrical & Mechanical was founded with the philosophy of providing quality services for a fair price. With extensive training in electrical, mechanical, and refrigeration, Harder Electrical & Mechanical not only stands behind the work we do – we guarantee it.

Our experienced technicians provide residential and commercial heating, cooling, and air conditioning services. We can repair, replace, and install all brands of equipment, and we provide a 1-year warranty on labor along with any manufacturers’ product warranty.

Harder Electrical & Mechanical is your one-stop-shop for all your electrical, heating, and cooling needs. Call us today at 505-281-4807 for a free estimate.