3 ways to reduce the growing risk of electrical fires

Sean Thomforde / Shutterstock.com

Since the start of the pandemic, millions of us have spent more hours at home than ever before. Whether it’s working or just locking in and staying out of harm’s way, time spent at home has increased exponentially.

While spending more time at home is a source of joy for many, it also increases certain risks. For example, Nationwide Insurance says recent claims data shows a significant increase in the number of domestic electrical fires.

If you’re concerned about an increased risk of an electrical fire—and you should be—here are ways to reduce the risk of such a fire.

Why are electrical fires increasing?

Woman in front of her ruined house after natural disaster or fire
Vlad Teodor / Shutterstock.com

All of this time we spend at home puts greater strain on our home’s plumbing, electrical systems and appliances, says Sarah Jacobs, vice president of product development for consumers nationwide.

As we push our electrical systems harder, failures can occur. In a press release, Jacobs says:

“Homeowners should consider using technology to monitor their electrical system and identify potential issues before they turn into a bigger problem.”

Keep reading to learn more about the technology available and other steps you can take to minimize the risk of an electrical fire in your home.

1. Have your home inspected

Electrician doing a home inspection
ETAP / Shutterstock.com

Nationwide notes that about 50% of homes built before 1973 haven’t had their electrical system upgraded.

The insurer urges you to have your home’s electrical system inspected by a licensed electrician so you know what needs improvement to keep your home safe.

2. Upgrade your devices

Movers install refrigerator
Andrei Popov / Shutterstock.com

Nationwide reminds homeowners that time catches up with everything, including internal wiring and cords to your appliances. This wear can increase the risk of fire.

So it might be a good idea to upgrade your devices if they’re long in the tooth. The cost of replacing a refrigerator is small compared to the incalculable cost of losing your home and its valuable possessions in a fire.

3. Use a surveillance system

Woman working from home
dotshock / Shutterstock.com

A home electrical monitoring system can alert you to potentially dangerous problems in the electrical system. Simply plug the device into a power outlet and it will detect hazards ranging from micro arcs to faulty appliances or devices.

Nationwide partners with Hartford Steam Boiler to offer a free home electrical monitoring system from Ting to policyholders in Indiana, Missouri and South Carolina. The program will be expanded to other states in the coming months.

If you are not a Nationwide customer, check with your own home insurer to see if they offer a similar benefit for the home electrical monitoring system. For instance, state farm offered the devices to policyholders in states including Arizona, California, Ohio and Texas.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click on links in our stories.