5 Common Causes of Electrical Fires & How to Prevent Them

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, over 51,000 fire,1,400 injuries, 500 deaths, and $1.3 billion damaged properties are recorded every year.

Don’t let yourself, your property, or your loved ones be a casualty! Learn the common causes of electrical fires and ways on how to protect your home.

Faulty Electrical Outlet

One of the most common reasons for short circuits is a faulty electrical outlet, often referred to as receptacles. Over time, receptacles begin to wear out and frayed wires  may potentially cause a fire.

A common indication of a faulty electrical outlet is discoloration, which signifies overheating, cracked plates showing internal elements of the receptacle, unmatched socket holes, and old ungrounded outlets.

Prevention: Upon discovery of faulty electrical outlet, avoid using it and do not attempt to repair it yourself. Call a professional instead.

Worn-out Electrical Wires

Old and worn-out electrical wires can’t handle a tremendous amount of power and can cause fire once in contact with combustible materials such as curtains and paper.

Signs of wiring problems are unexplained burning smells, overheating electrical devices, intermittent power outages, sparks from outlets, and tingling sensation upon contact with switches, cables, and appliances.

A risk for electrocution is likely possible. The electric voltage in your homes may not be enough to kill, but it can still leave permanent damage.

Prevention—upgrade to new electrical wires and system if your home is 30 years or older. Seek professional help if in doubt.

Overloaded Electrical Circuit

Electrical circuits are designed to handle a limited amount of voltage. So, plugging in different power-hungry devices simultaneously into a single powerline can cause wires to heat up, which may start a fire.

Signs of overloaded electrical circuits include unexpected power interruptions and breaker tripping. Breaker tripping happens when your circuit tries to handle higher electrical voltage beyond its limitation.

The use of extension cords is one primary example of this—like having multiple appliances in a single room connected to a single cord. It’s best to install power circuits that match to appliances you are using. Also, use of extension cords are only temporary.

Portable Heater

The National Fire Protection Association reported 43% of incidents are due to the careless use of portable heaters. This type of heating equipment uses coils, which can potentially ignite a fire when placed near combustible materials such as beds, curtains, clothing, couches, and especially wires.

Defective Appliance

Modern appliances, if not used correctly, can still lead to electrical fire.

A common scenario is using old appliances with faulty wiring, old insulators, and frayed cords. Another risky possibility is that they may not have the right standard when it comes to wattage usage and safety regulations. We alwas advise homeowners to use appliances according to their purposes and safety regulations.

Keep Electrical Fire At Bay

Protect your home from fire and electrical-related incidents. Take advantage of Maddox’s Comfort Plan.

With Maddox’s Comfort Plan, you can receive regular check-ups and maintenance to your electrical system so you can keep your peace of mind in knowing your home is safe.

Our electricians will provide consistent, biannual evaluations of your wiring to ensure their safety and, in the event they spot a problem, suggest a plan of action to update the wiring and enhance the safety of your electrical system. Give us a call today!

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