Electrical fires accounted for 6.8% of residential fires in the United States during the year 2018. In total, that adds up to a little over 85,000 fires in that year alone. Additionally, 7.8% of non-residential fires are caused by electrical issues.
There are a number of issues that could make your home or any building more susceptible to electrical fires. It’s important to be aware of these risk factors so you can assure your home is not in danger.
The following list includes some of the most common causes of electrical fires we’ve seen as electricians that you should be aware of to protect your home, business, and family.
Aging appliances often contain frayed wiring and highly flammable insulation. This can be a deadly combination. Not only is the appliance itself a risk factor, but if it’s not up to modern standards in regards to wattage usage and safety regulations, it could also be incompatible with your home’s wiring nowadays.
If you have outdated appliances, the best course of action to assure your safety is updating to new appliances. But if that’s not an option, there are other measures you can take too. You can install appliance-grade outlets that accommodate your situation. You can also install surge protectors such as ground fault circuit interrupters.
When winter blows in with its blustery, frigid weather, many turn towards portable heaters or commonly called “space heaters” to keep warm. When used properly, they can be a great tool. But too often, people will leave them running endlessly without supervision. This can lead to an untimely fire.
If you’re one that can’t part with your space heater, be sure to take precautions to prevent it from causing a fire. Keep it away from furniture, curtains, or any other highly flammable materials. And as tempting as it is to keep it running while you’re asleep or away, turn it off if you can’t actively monitor it.
Damaged Cords and Wiring
Frayed, damaged cords and wiring are a major issue that can lead to a fire. This can present itself in the appliances you use or even the structural wiring of your home or commercial building. Buildings over 20 years old could potentially not be equipped to handle the increased amount of energy we use with our modern appliances. This can lead to overheated wiring, sparking, and potentially a wall fire. Damaged wiring can aggravate the situation.
If you notice any frayed or damaged wires, they need to be replaced immediately. If you have an older home or commercial building, it’s a good idea to have an electrician do a thorough safety audit to see if you have any underlying issues to repair. It’s also important to have a reliable fire detection system in place just in case you can’t immediately identify a wiring issue on time.
Power strips are a handy tool that can make our lives a lot easier. But they can become an issue if you’re not careful. If your TV, game station, laptop, and oscillating fan are all plugged into the same extension cord, you could be placing undue stress on the socket it’s attached to. When you have too many appliances feeding off one source, it can create an excessive power load and heightens your risk of fire damage.
The best way to avoid circuit overload is to avoid plugging in too many appliances in one power strip or outlet. You can also invest in more heavy-duty extension cords. When you plan on purchasing power strips to create your office, entertainment room, or living room, look for the amp capacity over the outlet quantity. If you do plan on installing high-powered electronics in one power strip, do the math beforehand to know if it can handle the stress.
Looking for Electrical Help?
Residential or commercial, small fixture replacement or full rerouted wiring, Professional Power Inc is here for all of your electrical needs big or small. If you’re concerned about whether or not your home or building is at risk of an electrical fire, we can provide you with an inspection and help correct any factors that could put your space in danger.
If you’re in the Greater Denver Area, get in touch today! We can’t wait to work with you!