5 Common Causes of Electrical Fires

While electrical fires are responsible for over $431 million in losses per year in commercial settings per year, they are also alarmingly common in residential settings. With nearly 500 deaths and over 1,400 injuries reported in 2017 alone, it’s safe to say that we all need to start taking action. In this article, we take a look at 5 common causes of electrical fires, so you can start putting important safety measures in place before it’s too late.

Faulty Outlets & Appliances

Both faulty outlets and old appliances are common causes of electrical fires. While it may be easier and less expensive to use an appliance that you know is out of date or uses a worn-out cord, you could be setting yourself up for a devastating fire.

FireRescue1 tells us more about this common electrical fire culprit:

“Most electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical outlets and old, outdated appliances. Other fires are started by faults in appliance cords, receptacles, and switches. Never use an appliance with a worn or frayed cord, which can send heat onto combustible surfaces like floors, curtains, and rugs that can start a fire.”

Not Using Surge Protectors

While surge protectors are easily accessible and incredibly common, not everyone uses them. In reality, a surge protector should be used with any high-end electronic device and can save you thousands of dollars in replacing an expensive piece of equipment. Not only can a power surge ruin any device that is plugged into your outlet, but it can cause the appliance to spark, potentially creating an electrical fire. 

Flammable Materials

It’s important to remember to keep all flammable materials away from an electrical appliance or outlet. It’s easy to leave a blanket, rug, or even cleaning supplies in close proximity to a plugged-in appliance, but in doing so you may trigger a potentially devastating fire.

Overloading Outlets

Making sure you do not overload your outlets, especially when it comes to more than one heat-producing appliance, will protect you from an electrical fire and save you money in the long run. Heat producing appliances are classified as all heating and cooking appliances, as well as all fuel-burning appliances. 

Restoration Master explains what you should do when it comes to heat-producing appliances:

“Make sure there is only one heat-producing appliance in a single wall outlet at a time. Extension cords should never be used to power heat-producing appliances. If you used extension cords frequently, have an electrician install outlets in more convenient locations.”

Not Keeping Up With Safety Codes

While continuing to use an old appliance is a definite fire hazard, so is not staying up to date on safety codes. Your outdated appliance may not be compatible with current safety codes, or your home may not contain wiring that supports the current electricity demand.

Firetrace tells us more on why not keeping your home up to date with safety codes could be a fatal mistake:

“Wiring with deteriorating coating or wires can easily arc and start a fire, especially if the wire does not match the circuit amperage. The higher the amperage rating of the circuit, the larger the wires need to be in order to avoid excess heat that can melt wires and cause fires. If an arc flash does occur, it can reach temperatures up to 1,000 degrees. The wire coating is only able to withstand around 200 degrees. Making sure wiring matches the circuit amperage and is free of imperfections is an easy way to prevent electrical fires.”

Fire-Alert takes pride in equipping homeowners, commercial businesses, and government buildings with all necessary fire safety devices to ensure the well-being of families and employees across the nation. Reach out to us using our contact form to find out more.