GNcareers, from Gulf News

Avoiding fires caused by faulty electrical wiring

In today’s modern age, households use a number of electrical appliances at home at the same time. This means a greater risk for house fires caused by faulty or aging electrical wiring.

It is, thus, important for any electrical installations to be carried out by an expert, and for every household member to have knowledge of some safety precautions at home.

Spot problems early on – Anything electrical can cause a fire and being aware is the first step to avoid it. Replace worn or frayed sockets and cords. Beware of outlets, switches and cords that feel hot to touch as these may have an internal problem. Other potential fire hazards are flickering lights, tripped circuit breakers and blown fuses. Any of these serves as a warning bell that something is amiss, so call an expert to fix the problem. It also helps if you get yourself acquainted with the location of the fuse box and circuit breakers when moving into a new home.

Say “no” to overloading – Ensure not to overload plug sockets and extension cords which can lead to blown fuses and tripped circuit breakers. Try to limit the use of extension cords; do not use them with appliances such as refrigerators and air-conditioners that require a higher wattage. Also be sure that any plug’s prongs fit the sockets available just right.

Use correct fuses and bulbs – A blown fuse needs replacing immediately. Make sure to replace it with the correct size. A fuse that is too large can create a fire hazard while one that is too small may instantly blow again. The same is true with light bulbs. Be aware to use the correct bulb wattage for each lighting fixture.

Avoid DIY repair work – Unless it is just replacing a cord, do not attempt to do complicated electrical repair work yourself. If you come across a problem, turn off the main switch and contact a professional electrician immediately. It is also always a good idea to check the wirings yourself monthly and for your property’s entire electrical system to be inspected by a professional at least once a year.

Handy Hints
• Conduct a “regular check” on all electrical appliances and electronic equipment
• Do not overload plug sockets and extension cords; ensure prongs fit sockets
• Contact a professional electrician in case of problems, for regular inspection

Source: Nicholas Baker, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer