The Top Causes of Electrical Fires and How You Can Stay Safe

Electrical fires make up a large number of the house fires in the United States. In fact, according to statistics, around 51,000 electrical fires occur in residential properties each year, which result in more than $1 billion in property damage, 500 deaths and 1,400 injuries annually.

While electrical fires are extremely destructive, they are also preventable. Working with an electrician will help you find potential issues in your home; however, it also helps to know what causes most electrical fires. Keep reading to find out what these causes are.

The top causes of electrical fires and how you can stay safe

Household Wiring

If the wiring in your home is damaged or old, it may struggle to keep up with the power needed to run safely. Also, outdated wiring systems aren’t designed to power the number of modern electronics in today’s households, which means it may malfunction or fail – even if no external damage is present.

Just think about the modern electronic devices you are using every day. From phones and laptops to widescreen televisions, complex home security systems and more, there is a lot of power demand. If your wiring isn’t up to par to supply the power, it may mean trouble.

If your home’s wiring is a decade or two old, it is a good idea to consider talking to an electrician about an upgrade. Failure to do this may lead to an electrical fire because of overheated wiring.

Improper Use of Extension Cords

Extension cords can be extremely helpful when small amounts of electrical power are needed in a location where a wall outlet is not accessible. Many people use extension cords outdoors as well.

While this is true, most homeowners aren’t aware that there are some rules to proper extension cord use. Extension cords can overheat quickly, resulting in electrical fires if they aren’t used properly. Also, the appliances and devices that you plug into them will become fried if they are misused for longer periods of time.

Portable or Space Heaters

Space heaters or portable heaters are useful when keeping your home at a comfortable temperature during winter weather. This is especially true for areas where it snows or has extreme temperatures. These portable devices are convenient, but they can also pose a serious fire threat.

If you usually use space heaters to warm your home, it’s a good idea to learn about the risks related to portable heater use and how to avoid an electrical fire. For example, make sure the heater is not too close to any type of flammable object while it is turned on. You should also avoid leaving the heater on for extended periods of time, as this increases the possibility of a fire.

Excessive Wattage for Your Lightbulbs

When you buy bulbs for the light fixtures in your home, it’s important to get proper wattage for that fixture. Failure to do this may cause overheating or an electrical fire.

If you use a bulb with a wattage higher than the maximum recommended wattage for the fixture, this is a serious risk. If you are not sure, or the bulbs you have chosen are getting hot, speak to an electrician about the fixtures in your home.

Preventing Electrical Fires

If you want to prevent electrical fires in your home, be sure to keep the tips and information above in mind. This will pay off and help you keep your home and family safe from danger. Be sure to work with your electrician to identify any other potential hazards that may be present in your home.

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