Electrical fires are the third leading cause of home fires and home fire deaths in the United States. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), electrical fires account for an estimated 20% of all home structure fires each year. And while most people are aware of the dangers of electrical fires, many are still unaware of the steps they can take to prevent them.
Electrical Fires in the Home: What You Need to Know
An electrical fire in the home is a scary proposition. In a split second, a small spark can turn into a raging inferno, consuming everything in its path. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent an electrical fire from happening in the first place. And, if worst comes to worst, there are also things you can do to minimize the damage an electrical fire causes. Read on to learn more about electrical fires in the home and what you can do to prevent them.
The Causes of Electrical Fires in Homes
While electrical fires are not the most common type of house fire, they are among the most devastating. In addition to causing extensive damage to property, electrical fires claim lives every year. In order to keep your home safe, it is important to understand the causes of electrical fires. One of the most common causes is faulty wiring. Over time, wires can become frayed or damaged, which can create a risk of fire. Another cause of electrical fires is overloaded circuits. When too many devices are plugged into one outlet, it can cause overheating and sparks which can ignite a fire.
Finally, poor maintenance can also lead to electrical fires. If outlets and light fixtures are not properly cleaned and maintained, they can create a fire hazard. By understanding the causes of electrical fires, you can take steps to protect your home and keep your family safe.
There are many different things that can cause an electrical fire in the home. Some of the most common causes include:
– faulty wiring
– overloaded circuits
– overcharged batteries
– frayed or damaged cords
– faulty outlets or switches
– improper use of extension cords
– flammable materials placed too close to heat sources
What causes electrical fires with wires and what can you do to prevent them?
Many electrical fires are caused by failing to properly ground outlets and switches. Wiring behind them can also loosen over time and cause a fire if not maintained correctly. It does not cost much to have a qualified electrician inspect your home for any faulty wiring, and change any that may need to be replaced.
What causes a breaker box to catch fire?
There are three main reasons why circuit breakers overheat and eventually burn: overloads, power surges, or arc faults. If any of these events occur, they can cause the circuit breaker to heat up very rapidly, possibly leading to a tripped breaker. If your circuit breaker trips too often, it may be a sign of an electrical problem in your home that needs to be addressed.
It is important to remember that when dealing with any kind of electrical work or wiring, you should always hire a trained and certified electrician to ensure the job is done correctly and safely. Electrical fires can cause catastrophic damage if not properly addressed.
Preventing Electrical Fires in the Home
Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to prevent an electrical fire from happening in your home. Some of the best ways to prevent an electrical fire include using surge suppressors, avoiding overloading outlets, and regularly cleaning lint from dryer vents. Other precautions include not running extension cords under carpets or furniture, and making sure that all electrical work is performed by a licensed electrician.
- having your home’s wiring checked by a professional electrician if you suspect it is outdated or faulty
- replacing any damaged or frayed cords immediately
- use only surge suppressors that are rated for the wattage you need
- unplugging appliances when they’re not in use
- avoiding using extension cords whenever possible
- keeping flammable materials at least three feet away from any heat source
- keep animals away, and do not let your pets chew on cords. (And if you have mice in your house, they can do some serious damage too.)
- extension cords should only be used as intended – they are classified as temporary wiring. Furthermore, do not drape the cord over nails or attempt to fix it to walls in order to create an extra outlet. It is always better to get a permanent outlet installed by a professional electrician. Avoid long runs and daisy-chaining multiple cords together; instead, use a heavy-duty cord for optimal safety. ( I’ve seen some crazy daisy-chain setups!)
- check your kitchen counters for any hazards that may damage appliances. Pinching a cord under or behind an appliance, or wrapping it around a toaster or kettle can melt the insulation around the wire and cause problems.
- there might be damage to your outlet’s plug if you press furniture up against it while a cord is plugged in. Make sure there’s enough space behind your couch, bookcase, bed, or desk so that you’re not pushing against the plug.
- register your appliances to be automatically notified of any manufacturer defects or recalls. This can be done fast with the help of a smartphone app or website.
By taking these simple steps, you can help to keep your home safe from electrical fires.
Responding to an Electrical Fire in the Home
If an electrical fire does break out in your home, it’s important to stay calm and take quick action. The first thing you should do is call 911 and then evacuate your family from the home. Once everyone is safely outside, use a fire extinguisher to try and put out the flames. If the fire is too big or you can’t reach it with an extinguisher, close all doors between you and the fire and wait for firefighters to arrive. Do not try to reenter the home until authorities give you the all-clear!
Electrical fires are one of the most dangerous types of fires because they can spread so quickly. But by taking some simple precautions and knowing how to respond if an electrical fire does occur, you can help keep your family safe.