Home electrical fires cause an estimated 280 deaths and $1.1 billion in property loss each year according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Many homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover this type of damage if owners were aware of a fire risk and did not take steps to prevent it. Cape Coral’s Sullivan State Farm Agencies advise property owners to take the necessary steps to prevent electrical fires and to review their policy with an agent to better understand their coverage.
More than half of home electrical fires are related to wiring issues. Thirty-nine percent of home electrical fires involve outlets and receptacles, interior house wiring, and other electrical wiring. U.S. fire departments respond each year to an estimated 25,900 home electrical fires, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
“Those are high numbers, and they stress the importance of taking steps to prevent your home from becoming a statistic,” said Dawn Sullivan, State Farm Agent. “The electrical system in your home may need to be repaired or updated. Even if your property requires a complete rewire with a new electrical panel, that expense pales in comparison to the importance of keeping your home and family safe.”
Is your home at risk? An electrical system will often display signs when there are potential problems. If you notice any of these warning signs, have an electrician inspect your electrical system for:
- frequent blown fuses or tripped breakers;
- an over-amped or over-fused electrical panel;
- dimming or flickering lights, indicating the circuit is overloaded or has a loose connection;
- hot or discolored switch plates, cords, or plugs;
- light bulbs that frequently burn out in a socket, signaling a fixture that can’t handle the bulb wattage
- buzzing or sizzling sounds;
- a burning smell;
- arcs or sparks from an outlet when you plug or unplug a cord;
- loose outlets;
- cracked, cut, or broken insulation or
- electrical shock when you plug in or touch a cord.
“Electrical codes can vary depending on where you live, and there are common situations that warrant an inspection from a qualified professional,” suggests State Farm Agent Mike Sullivan. “Even when you don’t see any of these warning signs, you can’t go wrong with an expert electrical system inspection.”
It is also good idea to have your home’s electrical system inspected periodically, especially if:
- your home is more than 40 years old;
- you’re relying on extension cords for power;
- you’ve made major home improvements or added new appliances that could strain your existing system;
- your home has ungrounded, two-prong outlets or
- your home has aluminum wiring instead of copper.
“This time of year is such a great reminder to have your electrical system checked before the holidays,” suggests Dawn. “We tend to use extra cords and outlets to power our holiday decorations like Halloween lawn blow-ups and Christmas trees and lights. Some people also use space heaters in their homes when temps drop lower than we’re used to in Southwest Florida.”
The Sullivan State Farm team is prepared to help you determine the best protection for your family depending on your unique circumstances. To make an appointment to discuss your insurance needs, call the Sullivan State Farm Agency at 239-541-3276 or visit the agents’ websites: mikesullivan1.com or dawnsullivan.net.