Many people consider their homes as their sanctuary—the safest place that they can ever be in. However, many reports and studies have revealed that complacency and negligence can put many homeowners at risk for fires. The top five leading causes of household fires in Australia are: cooking; children left to play with matches and lighters; cigarettes; electric heaters placed near combustible objects; and faulty wiring and defective appliances. All of these are easily preventable and yet fires cause about 100 deaths and 3,000 injuries annually.
While it makes perfect sense to avoid overloading circuits and to dispose of appliances and extension cords with frayed cords, electrical safety inspections can help homeowners pinpoint and rectify safety hazards they might fail to notice on their own.
Ideally, homes that are more than ten years old (particularly those that are 30 to 40 years old) should be subjected to an electrical safety inspection. On average, an electrical system has a lifespan that lasts between 30 to 40 years. As technology evolves, so do home appliances. As they offer more conveniences and features, so do their power requirements. A home built 30 years ago may have an electrical system that may be perfectly capable of handling the power requirement of appliances at their time, but how about modern appliances that require 100 or even 200 amps? Also, many houses built 30 years ago may have used aluminium wirings in the electrical system. The problem with aluminium wiring is that unlike copper wiring, it corrodes faster.
Sometimes, a homeowner can unwittingly trigger an arc fault when making modifications to a wall, moving furniture which might compromise an appliance’s electrical cord, or simply creating a loose connection in a power outlet. An arc fault occurs when the electrical current doesn’t pass through its intended path. This can trigger heat of about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. While easily preventable, arc faults can be hard to detect.
Another hidden danger in homes is the use of substandard electrical products. In their effort to save money and cut costs, many homeowners buy electrical products like counterfeit extension cords and circuit breakers. While these products may come cheaper than genuine products, the savings gained from buying fake and substandard products may unfortunately result in lost property and lives.
While it is important to install smoke alarms in homes and teach every resident—including the young ones—about fire safety, sometimes, there are hidden dangers that lurk in the household that an average person may easily overlook or may not have the ability or capacity to detect. Having a professional inspect your home for fire hazards like faulty electrical systems can spell the difference between life and death.