What Causes Electrical Fires And How To Prevent Them

by | Jul 10, 2018 | Wiring

Electrical fires account for approximately 51,000 of the fires that occur each year. This is the case despite the fact that most electrical fires as very preventable.

Read on to learn more about what causes electrical fires and what you can do to prevent them.

What Causes Electrical Fires?

Some of the most common causes of electrical fires include:

Faulty Outlets and Appliances

Old, faulty electrical outlets and outdated appliances are often the cause of electrical fires.

Avoid using outdated appliances, especially if the cord is worn or frayed. These types of cords can send heat to combustible surfaces like rugs, carpets, and curtains and can start fires.

Problems with Light Fixtures

Many people also accidentally start electrical fires when they install bulbs with a wattage that is too high for the fixture they’re using. Check the maximum bulb wattage recommended for a particular fixture before screwing a bulb into it.

It’s also easy to start an electrical fire if you’re placing cloth or paper over your lampshades.

Space Heaters

Space heaters are one of the most common causes of electrical fires. There are a few reasons for this.

First, many people place them close to combustible surfaces like beds, couches, rugs, and curtains.

It’s also common for people to plug space heaters into power strips. This can significantly increase your risk of an electrical fire because power strips aren’t designed to handle the high current flow that a space heater needs. This can cause them to overheat and potentially catch fire.

Outdated Wiring

Outdated wiring also accounts for many electrical fires. If your home is older than twenty years, it’s especially important to have your wiring checked and updated to make sure the wires and the circuit breaker can accommodate modern electrical needs.

How to Prevent Electrical Fires

As you can see, there are lots of things that can cause electrical fires. Don’t let these potential causes frighten you, though. Instead, use this information to empower you to make changes that help prevent fires from happening.

Some other things you can do to minimize your risk of an electrical fire include:

  • Get an electrical inspection, especially if you live in an old home.
  • Replace frayed or worn cords and electrical outlets.
  • Avoid plugging too many appliances into the same power strip, extension cord, or electrical outlet.
  • Keep flammable materials (blankets, rugs, towels, etc.) away from wires and electrical devices.
  • Be able to identify signs of faulty wiring (flickering, plugs that spark, breakers that trip constantly, buzzing outlets, etc.).

It’s also important to make sure you’re turning these jobs over to a professional. Unless it’s something as simple as replacing a worn-out electrical cord, it’s important to leave these matters to someone who truly knows what they’re doing.

Start Preventing Electrical Fires Today

Now that you know more about what causes electrical fires, do you think your home could use some electrical work?

If you live in or around any of the suburbs of Chicago and want to get your home in good shape and prevent future damage, contact us at All Suburban Electric today.

We’re available 24/7 to meet all your electrical needs.