There are many fire risks in your home, from faulty wiring to having flammable materials near a heat source. Another risk of fire is due to your appliances. These can be big or small appliances, such as the water heater, washing machine, microwave, and range. Here are some tips for reducing your risk from an appliance fire.
Keep Appliances Away From Wet Areas
This is mostly important for smaller appliances that get moved around. With appliances like your toaster, microwave, and electric can opener, you want to make sure they are kept from water. Make sure the cord of your toaster isn't a little too close to the kitchen sink or that the pitcher of water isn't right next to your microwave where it could spill onto the appliance and cause a fire. Similarly, make sure nothing flammable is near appliances, such as keeping dish towels off the range handle and not putting blankets too close to the radiator.
Look For Signs of Faulty Wiring
Some appliances aren't near water or flammable materials, but instead catch fire due to the electrical system. You should only plug them in healthy outlets that don't show any signs of having old or outdated wiring. If, when you plug in an appliance, the lights in that room flicker, or there is a spark coming from the outlet, unplug it and call an electrician immediately. These are common signs of having faulty wiring, which puts your entire home at risk of an electrical fire.
Don't Overload the Circuits
A common mistake made is having too many appliances plugged in and running at the same time. This is more common in the kitchen, where you might be using the same circuit for a toaster, microwave, coffee maker, and slow cooker all plugged in at the same time. In this situation, try to use just one or two appliances at a time. Keep the slow cooker unplugged until you leave for work and turn off your coffee maker and unplug it as soon as it is done brewing. Just not running everything at once in a small area could reduce your risk of an appliance fire.
Inspect the Cords Thoroughly
When you have an old appliance, the cord might be a little worn and cracked, possibly even revealing the bare wire underneath the plastic coating. Avoid plugging in any appliances that show signs of wear on the cords. Either replace the cords or the entire appliance. Also make sure only three-prong plugs go into three-prong outlets. Don't try to force a two-prong plug into a three-prong outlet; use an adapter instead.
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