Signs of Electrical Hazards and Precautions

Have you ever known anyone who thinks every spider is deadly, or the only harmless snake is a dead one?  The reason these attitudes exist is lack of knowledge about spiders and snakes. Some are actually invaluable, even if you don’t want to pet them.  

There are also people who are terrified of electrical power. They unplug the toaster and coffee maker every morning after breakfast; won’t leave home with a washing machine or dishwasher going; always afraid that the house will burn down if anything is left powered on. Fear of the unknown is the culprit. In this blog, we are going to look at some real-life electrical hazards and what the response should be. By examining what a real hazard may look like, we can also talk about the most appropriate course of action.

For many, the fear of an electrical fire is the most urgent, and for good reason.  According to a report by the EFSI, which you can read here, there are approximately 50,000 electrical home fires each year, which cause 500 deaths and 1,400 injuries.  They are responsible for $1.3 BILLION in damages.

Electrical receptacles account for over 5,000 of those fires, causing 40 deaths and more than 100 injuries.

Incoming power to the home is responsible for a third of household fires.

There are some things you can do to be sure your home is safe. First and foremost, make sure you have working smoke and fire detectors in your home. Battery-operated models should have new batteries twice per year.

If you have never had a professional home inspection, do so.  Smith Electric has skilled electricians who can inspect your power from the incoming lines to the wall outlets and switches. While older homes are bound to have issues over time, new homes can have major problems too. Nobody is excluded. Older homes will have issues related to lack of breaker spaces and not enough receptacles. New homes may have foundational or design issues caused by shoddy workmanship and the hurried state in which homes are constructed today. They usually have enough outlets and oversized panels, but problems caused by one loose wire nut can be hard to track down.

If you have breakers that trip on a regular basis or cords that get unusually hot, then it’s time for an inspection.  If you rely heavily on many extension cords or leave them permanently in use, you may need to have your electrical set-up checked out. If there were multiple people or contractors that have done work on your home or business and you’re not sure that it was done to code, then you should definitely have it verified.

While there are many areas of home improvement which are worthy of a do-it-yourself attempt, electrical power is not one of them. Unless you have a good basic understanding of what you see, how to read a meter, and how your distribution system works, then referring to a professional electrician is your best bet.

Smith Electric is here to help.  We’re based in Mobile, Alabama and licensed to operate in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Georgia and have been proudly serving the Gulf Coast since 1992. Call us for 24-hour emergency service at 251-471-4723! Visit us online at and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter!