What Causes Electrical Fires?
Electrical fires account for about 51,000 residential fires each year. Think your home is safe? Understanding the risks and causes of electrical fires is the best way to protect your family.
The Most Common Causes of Electrical Fires
How do electrical fires start? Here are some of the top causes of electrical fires:
Houses built more than 20 years ago most likely have antiquated wiring. Unfortunately, outdated wiring is a leading cause of house fires. It doesn’t have the capacity to meet the demands of modern technology and energy consumption, so you may notice frequent circuit breaker overloads, power outages, or other signs of bad wiring.
Fire Prevention Strategy: Hire a qualified electrician to inspect your home and replace any old or damaged wiring.
2. Faulty Electrical Outlets
Did you know most electrical fires start in outlets? Ungrounded outlets are more likely to spark, form an electrical arc, or catch on fire. Even grounded outlets can start a fire if the wiring behind them loosens. GFCI outlets can help prevent fires by tripping the circuit in the event of a short.
Fire Prevention Strategy: Inspect outlets regularly. Look for signs of wear, including soot around the sockets or switches. If the wires are loose, tightening them will reduce the chances of a fire.
3. Electrical Circuit Overloads
Plugging too many cords into a single power source is a recipe for disaster. Avoid using a single extension cord to power multiple appliances and electronics at once. Overloading the circuit will wear out the system and could result in a fire.
Fire Prevention Strategy: Instead of relying on extension cords, try using multiple outlets and ensuring your appliances have a dedicated circuit.
4. Old Appliances
Older appliances are not up to modern standards when it comes to materials, construction, and safety regulations. Furthermore, outdated appliances are more likely to have frayed cords or loose wiring.
Fire Prevention Strategy: Inspect appliances for signs of electrical damage. Any appliances that make strange noises or produce a burning smell should be inspected by an appliance repair expert. Replace faulty appliances with new models that follow current safety standards.
5. Light Fixtures
Not all light bulbs work with every fixture. Installing a high-wattage bulb in an incompatible lamp is a top cause of electrical fires. Covering the lamp with a makeshift cloth lampshade may also result in a fire.
Fire Prevention Strategy: Double-check the wattage before installing new light bulbs. If a light fixture gets too hot when in use, it’s time to replace it. Only use commercial lampshades designed to fit the shape and size of your fixture.
Tips to Protect Your Family from Electrical Fires
Even if you follow all the safety precautions and rules, it’s not always possible to prevent all electrical fires. If one breaks out, be prepared to protect your family. Here are three ways an electrician recommends you stay safe:
- Make sure your electrical system is up to code and safe for use. This may involve upgrading to GFCI outlets, updating an old electrical panel, replacing old wiring, and more.
- Install working smoke detectors throughout your home. Test and replace the batteries frequently.
- Invest in a fire extinguisher. Water doesn’t work on electrical fires – and it could make the situation much worse. Choose a fire extinguisher with a class C or ABC rating.
Assess Your Home’s Fire Safety with Malek Electrical
Don’t let a preventable electrical fire ravage your home. Malek Electrical has expert electricians to ensure your home is as safe as possible for your family.
Contact us today to schedule your home’s safety inspection!
February 23, 2021