21 Jan Top Causes of Home Electrical Fires
One would think that with all of our advanced technology and building codes that home electrical fires would be a thing of the past. Sadly, the U.S. Fire Administration reports that there are around 24,000 electrical fires every year, accounting for 6.3% of all residential fires. These fires led to over 300 deaths and $871 million in property loss. Much of this could have been prevented if the homeowners knew and managed the top causes of home electrical fires.
Does your appliance spark when you plug it in? Does it slide in easily to the outlet and fall out by itself over time? Does your outlet only work every now and then? These are all signs of a faulty outlet. Outlets are not designed to last forever and need to be replaced when they get old.
If the cord on your favorite old appliance is starting to fray, or its plug-in is getting bent out of shape, it is time to bite the bullet and get a new one. Old appliances suck more electricity than what today’s outlets can withstand and are unlikely to meet today’s standard of safety; this becomes a significant hazard in your household. In addition, those frayed cords will channel heat into its surroundings, which means that carpets, curtains, and other flammable materials could light on fire.
Several things can go wrong with light fixtures, and it is up to you to manage it properly. Installing a bulb with a wattage that is too high, placing cloth or paper material over a lampshade, and continued use of corroded fixtures are all potential fire hazards. As well, if you have a love of antique lamps, it is vital to get their wiring checked before using them.
Extension cords are meant to be a temporary solution to a lack of outlets, not a permanent one. No appliance should be consistently plugged into an extension cord, nor should there be too many appliances plugged into one extension cord. Just because your extension cord has a high number of slots, it doesn’t mean that your outlet can withstand the high draw of electricity. If you perpetually need more electrical outlets, it is vital to have an electrician install more in your home for you.
Space heaters present a severe hazard, especially in the winter. Often, space heaters are placed too close to flammable materials. They should be kept well away from beds, couches, chairs, rugs, curtains, and clothing. Be extra careful with coil space heaters; their coils reach extreme temperatures rapidly and can ignite any nearby flammable material instantly.
Wiring wears outs over time; it is not meant to last forever. When wiring gets outdated, a variety of situations can cause it to spark an electrical fire. It is recommended to get an electrical inspection every ten years to ensure that your wiring is to code and that there are no issues.
Now that you are aware of the top causes of home electrical fires, you can take measures to protect yourself and your home. Remember that it is always wise to hire a professional electrician to take care of all your electrical needs; it is not something that you can DIY. These electricians are highly trained and will ensure that your home is kept safe and sound. If you are unsure of your home’s electrical needs, you can read more on how to know when to call an electrician.