Did you know that each year fires cause an estimated $871 million worth in property loss? A huge percentage of these fires are started by electrical problems.
This is concerning because many people are prone to these types of electrical fires without knowing it. The best way to prevent them is to know exactly what starts them. That way, you can actively lookout for the signs and contact a professional if you see them.
That’s why we organized this list of the common causes of electrical fires. With it, we hope you’ll learn about the potential threats in your own home and take the necessary action to protect yourself against them. Let’s get started!
1. Faulty Outlets and Appliances
Old outlets are without a doubt the most common causes of electrical fires. However, it can also be the cords of old appliances that start these fires. Make sure that you always avoid using a cord that’s frayed or worn down.
There’s a high likelihood that sparks can fly off of these cords and outlines. This, in turn, can set fire to the surrounding area like carpets, curtains, and couches. Make that you never run cords underneath carpets as this is a huge fire hazard.
Also, never remove the third grounding plug from a cord to fit it in a two-prong outlet. The grounding plug is an essential component that allows the appliance to draw extra energy.
2. Light Fixtures
Lights are also a common source of electrical fires. Typically it has to do with the type of lightbulb that’s used. If you install a lightbulb with a wattage that’s too high for the lamp or light fixture, then it can easily cause an overload.
As such, you should always check a lamp or light fixture for the maximum wattage. Then, never go over that amount. Also, avoid putting things like shirts or papers over lamps. The intense heat can cause the material to heat up and eventually ignite.
3. Misuse of Extension Cords
Some people make the mistake of using an extension cord permanently within their homes. It’s important for you to never do this. Extension cords are meant for temporary use.
If you leave them plugged in for a long enough time, then they can cause sparks and start a fire. If you lack adequate outlets, then you should call an electrician and have them install new ones that you can use.
4. Space Heaters
Many people rely on space heaters in the winter to stay warm. However, you must be careful with these devices. All too often people will place their portable heaters too close to their bed, clothing, couches, or similar flammable material.
Then, when the coils from these heaters come in contact with the material it causes them to ignite. If you need to use a space heater, then go with a radiator model over the coil ones. These are much less likely to ignite nearby objects.
Many old homes are simply not built to handle the appliances that we use today. Things like televisions, video games, computers, air conditioners, and microwaves use a huge amount of energy.
And, if the wiring in your home is over twenty years old, then there’s a good chance that they could cause an overload. Typically, a breaker will stop this overload from becoming an electrical fire.
However, if your breaker box is outdated, then it’s likely that it will happen.
Electrical Fire Safety Tips
We’ve already gone over some tips on how to minimize or prevent the damage caused by certain sources of electrical fires. However, there are still more things that you can do. For starters, you should make sure that the smoke detectors in your home are properly operational.
In addition to this, you should keep several fire extinguishers around your home. These precautions can severely minimize the amount of damage caused and potentially save lives. You should also pay attention to the outlets around your home.
If you notice that they’re loose, then make sure that you tighten them properly. If you believe that your home has old wiring, then you should contact an electrician.
They can inspect your home and make sure that the wiring is enough to handle your energy needs. This is a good idea even if you think your wiring is perfectly fine. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
What Are Some Signs You Should Call an Electrician?
We’ve mentioned some problem areas that you should always keep an eye out for. If you notice any of these areas acting up, then it’s important to deal with them immediately. However, when should you think about calling a professional electrician?
There are some obvious signs, like smelling smoke or a burning scent. However, there are also some less common ones, like flickering lights and circuit breakers that keep tripping.
Be careful when you hear strange noises. More often than not this is one of your appliances warning that it’s operating incorrectly. If you notice any of the signs that are present on this list, then you must contact an emergency electrician as soon as you can.
Enjoy Learning About the Common Causes of Electrical Fires? Keep Reading
We hope this article helped you learn more about the common causes of electrical fires. More often than not, people think that electrical fires will never happen to them. However, we strongly urge against this type of complacency.
It’s a sure-fire way toward becoming the victim of a life-changing accident. Instead, follow the advice on this list to protect both yourself and your family from fires.
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