Each year electrical fires are responsible for over 50,000 residential fires. Most people think their home is safe, but few understand the risks and causes of electrical fires. The best defense against an electrical fire is knowing what causes them and taking action before one starts. In this article, we’ll take look at what causes electrical fires and tips to avoid them.
What Causes Electrical Fires?
There are a number of things that can lead to an electrical fire. All it takes is excessive heat or a single spark.
Worn Electrical Wiring – How old is your home? Houses built more than 20 years ago are likely to have antiquated wiring. Outdated and worn-out wiring is the leading cause of house fires. Old and damaged wiring does not have the capacity to meet the demands of modern technology. Frequent circuit breaker overloads and power outages are signs of bad wiring. If you think your home has old out of date wiring, hire a qualified electrician to inspect your home to be sure.
Bad Electrical Outlets – Electrical fires can and do start in outlets. An ungrounded outlet is likely to spark, form an electrical arc, or catch on fire. Even grounded outlets can start fires if the wiring is loose. GFCI outlets can help prevent fires by tripping the circuit when there’s a short. Inspect your outlets regularly and look for signs of wear. Call a professional electrician for outlet upgrades or serious electrical repairs.
Circuit Overloads – Having too many cords plugged into a single power source is a recipe for an electrical fire. Avoid using a single extension cord to power multiple appliances and electronics at once. Overloading a circuit can result in a fire. Instead of relying on extension cords, use multiple outlets and ensure each appliance has a dedicated circuit. If you don’t have enough circuits, an electrician can install more.
Light Fixtures – Not every light bulb is designed to work with any fixture. Installing a high-wattage bulb in an incompatible lamp can lead to an electrical fire. Covering a lamp with a makeshift cloth lampshade can also result in a fire. Always 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.
Portable Heaters – Space heaters have earned a bad reputation for causing house fires. These little heaters heat up quickly and can ignite flammable materials in little time. Placing a portable heater too close to curtains, bedding, or upholstery can lead to a fire. Make sure to always store portable heaters on a flat, fire-safe surface, and keep them away from flammable materials.
Protect Your Family From Electrical Fires
Don’t let a preventable electrical fire destroy your home. Your local Omaha electrician can quickly identify and diagnose electrical problems that may lead to a fire during a professional electrical inspection.
Omaha – 402-731-1220
Lincoln – 402-464-4333