From exposed wires, to faulty installations, here are things to look out for to ensure the safety of everyone at home and prevent electrical fires.

Light fixtures in storage areas and closets

Keep stored items away from light fixtures, especially in storage areas with lower ceiling levels. Fabric, plastic or paper material can catch fire from a light bulb as low as 40 watts. Same applies to light fixtures in closets and cabinets, both which may contain fabric such as clothing, or plastic such as food containers.

Check for heat damage

Signs of heat damage are an indication of a fire hazard. Since sockets can house more than one type of wattage, at times, homeowners use a higher wattage bulb on a socket that is meant for lower wattage bulb. That can cause heat damage. You will notice warning labels such as “Caution: to reduce the risk of fire, use 75 watt lamp max”. Always pay attention to these labels and make sure you are following the specifications indicated on them.

Fortunately, heat damage is visible to the naked eye and therefore easy to detect.

Here is a list of what to watch out for when inspecting your light fixtures at home:

– Burned or deteriorated sockets
– Brown spots on fixtures
– Burn spots on fabric chandeliers or lamps
– Discoloured or exposed wires
– Previous repair signs: taped wires or flimsy mounting brackets

If you notice any of the above signs in your light fixtures, consult a certified electrician to determine next steps. Chances are, the heat damage will only worsen, resulting in an electrical fire or nearby items igniting.

Maybe it’s time for an upgrade

Hand Installing LED Light Bulb
The use of LEDs instead of incandescent lightbulbs reduces the risk of shock and fire hazards. LEDs are energy efficient and generate less heat, making them less prompt to cause damage to light fixtures. When purchasing LEDs, look for “suitable for use in enclosed luminaries” labels.

Consult a certified electrician when considering an upgrade. Initial proper installation with energy efficient LEDs can be a preventative maintenance tactic, significantly reducing the risk of electrical fires, as well as lowering your carbon footprint and energy bill.

Finally, stay safe this holiday season when using lights as decoration. Make sure items are not within close proximity of anything that generates heat.

Related Articles

A home equipment breakdown can cost you thousands. How can insurance help?

Important mid-winter home maintenance checks

How to protect your home from electrical fires

© The Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company of Canada. All rights reserved.

This article is for informational purposes only. All recommendations are general guidelines and are not intended to be exhaustive or complete, nor are they designed to replace information or instructions from the manufacturer of your equipment or software. Contact your equipment service representative or manufacturer with specific questions. Under no circumstances shall BI&I or any party involved in creating or delivering this article be liable for any loss or damage that results from the use of the information or images contained in or linked to in this article.

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