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Creative Commons License photo credit: AlishaV

Electrical fires are not a rare thing, and can happen to anyone, at any time.

Actually, I experienced it a couple of times as well.

My first experience was with my oven, as all of a sudden, the heating element started to smolder, and my whole oven lit up with flames. I turned the oven off, but the fire did not stop.  Finally I ran to the main fuse box, and flipped off the oven fuse, at which point the smoldering slowly subsided, and my oven started to cool off.

If you do not know where your fuse box is located, or which fuse switch is for which part of the house, you should learn it right now, and hopefully will never need to use this knowledge.  I was lucky enough to be familiar with our fuse box.

Another time was just as scary, since while I was away from home, my toaster oven “miraculously” turned itself on.  I was not even using my toaster oven that day.  It must have been heating at full blast long enough for the handle to fall off, the electrical socket, walls and counter top to get  too hot to touch.  Fortunately it did not cause a more serious fire, and to this day I still do not know what caused it.

I learned my lesson, so now before leaving the house I always unplug the toaster oven, the coffee pot, my curling iron, and any other small appliances I have plugged in…just in case.  I encourage you to do the same, because not only it will save energy (anything plugged in, even if not in use, draws energy), it will give you a peace of mind, while you are away.

Here are additional tips on preventing electrical fires in your home:

  • Cover all unused wall sockets with plastic safety covers, if you have small children in your house (they love to stick their curious little fingers in there, or anything else they might be holding).
  • Avoid running extension cords across walkways, doorways, and under carpets.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for plugging appliances into electrical outlets.
  • Avoid overloading outlets, by not plugging more than one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle at one time.
  • Install smoke alarms on every floor, and near all sleeping areas.
  • Change smoke alarm batteries regularly. As a rule of thumb, change every time you adjust your clocks for daylight savings time.
  • Replace, or repair any loose or frayed cords on all electrical devices (that includes your laptop).

If you have any other ideas on preventive measures for house fires, please share them with us.

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4 Responses

  1. Valerie

    October 26th, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    1

    I would like to add to your list, the dryer for your clothing as well. Also, remember to clean out the lint in the vents as well. Very good information and I agree with it, because I have been doing that for years.
    Some of my friends can not understand why my coffee maker and toaster oven is only plugged in when I am using it.
    Keep up the great info coming.

  2. Suburban Grandma

    October 26th, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    2

    That is a great idea. Thank you.
    I did hear of people’s dryers catching on fire, because the lint screen was too clogged up.
    My friend’s father always shuts off the main water valve in his house, before going away for more than a day, since once his house got flooded from a cracked water hose to the washing machine.

  3. Lydelle

    August 3rd, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    3

    Great tips, thanks a bunch. I also had an experience that gave me the final push I needed in order to make the decision to get an outdoor pizza oven. Since then, I’ve done a great deal of my cooking and baking in my backyard. Works well for places with moderate weather where you can do so all year round. Nonetheless, it’s a great thing in general!

  4. Suburban Grandma

    August 3rd, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    4

    Outdoor pizza oven sounds great, but I have not seen many of these around.
    Thank you for your comments.


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