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10 Common Electrical Hazards You Should Be Aware of

Head and shoulders photograph of Lucy Adegbe
Electrician repairing light fixture
Electrical hazards are one of the most common home safety issues. It's of utmost importance to be aware of these hazards to avoid injury or damaged property and appliances. Fortunately, any injuries and damages are preventable when you know exactly what to look out for.

It's worth considering a home warranty for your home and appliances, especially if you're a homeowner. Electrical fires are just one of the reasons why, as they can be a major hazard in the household. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, faulty electrical wiring is a major cause of residential fire outbreaks. Using electrical equipment incorrectly or even poor maintenance can cause fires.

A good home warranty provides compensation in the event of damages to your home or appliances due to electrical faults and resulting fires. If you want to make sure you're covered in case of such fire, a company like First American Home Warranty and Choice Home Warranty is a great choice.

This article highlights 10 common electrical hazards you should be aware of to ensure you don’t run into serious troubles.

Let’s take a look.

1. Poor and Old Wiring

If you live in an old house, there’s a good chance that the electrical wiring is old and poorly done. If your house is 30 to 50 years old, it’s advised to carry out regular maintenance.

All you need to do is engage the services of a qualified electrician to inspect the wiring yearly so that it may be repaired or replaced if needed. Your homeowner warranty may cover the electrical inspection and maintenance.

2. Exposed Electrical Outlets

If you have kids, you’ll agree that they can be quite curious. Kids may become interested in exposed electrical outlets, which is extremely dangerous. Serious injury can result from touching exposed electrical sockets.

It’s important to use plastic covers to conceal exposed outlets and prevent injury. Some plastic covers even close outlets automatically when not in use.

3. Using Light Bulbs with Wrong Wattage

It’s important to know the right wattage before buying a light bulb. This is because using a light bulb with a wattage greater than your wiring might result in a fire. Always buy light bulbs with the same capacity as your wiring.

4. Overloading Power Outlets

Every outlet has a maximum amount of electricity it can handle. Plugging in an appliance with a higher voltage capacity can overload the outlet, which might result in a fire.

Even though we may try to cheat this by using an adapter or extension cord with several outlets, the result will always be an overload. Therefore, it’s advisable to install power outlets with a circuit breaker so that the switch automatically goes off when an overload happens. This minimizes the risk of a fire outbreak.

5. Using Unsafe Electrical Appliances

Sometimes, rather than fixing a faulty appliance or getting a new one, we may be tempted to ignore it. It still does what it's supposed to, right?

However, using malfunctioning electrical appliances can be very risky. It's better to go to the main electrical panel and turn it off to prevent more serious damage that could result in unnecessary expenses.

6. Using Electrical Sockets Close to Wet Areas

Using electrical sockets close to damp or wet areas such as bathrooms or walls behind broken pipes can be risky and may result in electrocution. If you need to access such areas, simply turn off the power from the electrical main.

7. Damaged Insulation

Insulators prevent negative and positive wires from touching each other to prevent a spark. Damaged insulators can cause fire, burns, or even electrocution. While it’s important to carry out routine electrical maintenance, remember to turn off all power if you notice your insulation has been damaged.

You can get a professional electrician to replace your insulation if it is damaged. A homeowner warranty can cover this expense.

8. High Tension Electric Cables

A house is unlikely to be built directly under high tension cables. However, there’s a high possibility of this happening in underdeveloped and developing nations. This can lead to serious electrical hazards.

9. Keeping Flammable Items Close to Power Outlets

Keeping flammable substances close to power outlets can result in fires or even explosions. Such substances include premium motor spirit (PMS) or nitrate-containing fertilizer. This can be extremely dangerous and must be avoided.

10. Inspecting Electrical Components With Power On

When inspecting electrical equipment such as light bulbs, cables, or insulators, it’s important to turn off the main power supply. This is to prevent accidents that can result in fires or electrocution.

Final Thoughts

To be forewarned is to be forearmed. It's important to be aware of common electrical hazards to be able to protect yourself and those around you.

Though you might have a homeowner warranty and hire a qualified electrical engineer to inspect or fix electrical issues, it's not a bad idea to become familiar with some common electrical problems.

Head and shoulders photograph of Lucy Adegbe
Lucy Adegbe contributes to Top10.com as a distinguished financial writer specializing in personal finance, e-commerce, FinTech, and cryptocurrency. She began her career as crypto trader and advisor at Guru Capital LTD, and has since worked for several blockchain-focused companies. In addition to writing for Top10.com, Lucy has also worked with publications such as The Balance, CRD Network, and DeFi Planet.