Proper maintenance prevents electrical fires - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Proper maintenance prevents electrical fires

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LACROSSE CO., WI (WXOW)—Electrical fires in our homes claim the lives of 280Americans each year.

Manyof these fires are caused by incorrectly installed wiring, overloaded circuitsand extension cords.

Electrical fires are the cause of 7-percent of home fires.

"What you have to remember about an electrical fire is there's afire, but there is also live electricity which could cause shock orelectrocution," Chief Don Dominick, Onalaska Fire Department said.

Signs of an electrical problem are:

  • Tripping circuit breakers frequently
  • Tingling feeling when you touch an appliance
  • Discolored or warm wall outlets
  • Flickering or dimming lights
  • Sparks coming from an outlet

"It could be extension cords improperly used," David Stokes,Owner, Stokes Electric said. "It could be a loose connection and wiring thesystem itself."

A circuit breaker is the latest technology used to protect from damagecaused by a short circuit.

Some older homes still use fuses; its important to have the proper sizefuse.

"If not, that creates more and more heat and more and more load onthat circuit until it gets to the point where it can't handle it and the fusedoesn't blow first but wire will start on fire."

Installing adapters into the fuse box is one way to make sure you havethe right size conductor with the proper fuse.

"Once the adapter goes into the fuse panel, it tightens up andcan't be released so you can only  put inthe right fuse," Stokes said.

Remember, extension cords are intended for temporary use.

If you have to use an extension cord all the time that's a sign thatyou need to have an electrician install another outlet.

Alot of these problems can be avoided with proper maintenance and making sure aqualified person does the work. 

All electricians should be licensed, have liabilityinsurance and be taking continuing education credits.

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