Since the beginning of the pandemic, millions of us have spent more hours at home than ever before. Whether working or simply locking down and staying out of harm’s way, time at home has expanded exponentially.
While spending more time at home is a source of joy for many, it also increases some risks. For example, Nationwide insurance says recent claims data shows a significant jump in the number of home electrical fires.
If you are concerned about a greater risk of electrical fires — and you should be — following are ways you can reduce the chances of such a blaze.
Why are electrical fires increasing?
All that time we are spending at home is placing greater stress on our home’s plumbing, electrical systems and appliances, says Sarah Jacobs, Nationwide vice president of personal lines product development.
As we push our electrical systems harder, failures could occur. In a press release, Jacobs says:
“Homeowners should consider using technology to monitor their electrical system and identify potential problems before they turn into a bigger issue.”
Keep reading to learn more about what technology is available and what other steps you can take to minimize the risk of an electrical fire in your home.
1. Have your home inspected
Nationwide notes that around 50% of homes built before 1973 have not had their electrical systems upgraded.
The insurer urges you to have a licensed electrician inspect your home’s electrical system so you can learn what needs to be upgraded to keep your home safe.
2. Upgrade your appliances
Nationwide reminds homeowners that time catches up to everything — including the internal wiring and cords attached to your appliances. This wear can raise the risk of a fire.
So it can be wise to upgrade your appliances if they are long in the tooth. The cost of replacing a refrigerator is small compared with the incalculable price of losing your home and its treasured possessions to a fire.
3. Use a monitoring system
An electrical home monitoring system can alert you to potentially dangerous issues in the electrical system. You simply plug the device into an 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 electrical home monitoring system from Ting to policyholders in Indiana, Missouri and South Carolina. The program will expand to additional states in the coming months.
If you are not a Nationwide customer, check with your own home insurer to see if it offers a similar electrical home monitoring system perk. For example, State Farm has offered the devices to policyholders in states such as Arizona, California, Ohio and Texas.
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