Electrical problems are a common cause of fires in the home – but they don’t have to be.

An average of nearly 48,000 U.S. house fires caused by electrical failure or malfunction are reported annually. The result: roughly 450 civilian deaths, 1,500 civilian injuries, and $1.5 billion in property damage.

About half of these fires involve electrical distribution or lighting equipment. The remainder are caused by equipment like fans, washers, dryers, space heaters, and air conditioners.

There are a number of ways to protect your home from such a devastating event. We recommend the following checklist:

1 Make sure your home is equipped with enough smoke alarms, and also make sure they are functioning properly. Don’t forget to test them periodically, as batteries don’t last forever.

2 Look for signs of trouble with switches and outlets throughout your home. Make sure they are all working, and call a professional if you hear crackling, buzzing, or sizzling sounds. Other signs of danger include outlets being warm to the touch or plugs fitting loosely.

3 If a cord has fraying or cracking, or if it appears pinched or pierced, toss it. Frequent use of extension cords increases the risk of an electrical issue, so make sure the cords get enough air.

4 Use lamps and appliances safely. For example, make sure you use the correct light bulbs. Also keep space heaters away from furniture and other flammable items, and protect appliance cords from damage.

5 Know the basics of your electrical panel. Do you have arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCI’s), and have you tested them? You also want to make sure all your circuit breakers and fuses are the proper size.

If you don’t feel comfortable completing this checklist yourself, the experts at Gary Houston Electric Co. are happy to inspect your home for any potential issues. With more than 35 years of experience providing affordable, quality, and timely electrical services, you can count on the best Little Rock electricians to find and address any fire hazards on your property.

Call us today at 501-375-8330, or contact us here.