The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that there are, on average, 358,300 home fires per year. More than half of all accidental home fires are caused by electrical fires. Most of these are caused by faulty or incorrectly used electrical products.
In more than half of these electrical fires that begin in the kitchen, cooking appliances and white goods – such as air conditioners, refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, dishwashing machines, tumble driers, etc – are the main offenders.
Therefore, understanding the risks and potential causes of electrical fires is crucial for learning how to prevent them.
We’ve compiled some advice to assist you in protecting your home and loved ones from electrical fires.
Common Causes of Electrical Fires
Fire risks arise when electricity cannot freely flow through the wires, outlets, devices, and appliances that comprise a circuit. As a result, the electricity must arc or jump through the air in order to complete the circuit. These arc faults can reach temperatures as high as 35000 degrees Fahrenheit. Such conditions cause overheating, damage to electrical systems, and finally the possibility of a fire. Knowledge about electricians for hire, services to set up an electrical system at home, and repairs are important.
If you pay attention to your home, you will realize that there are different types of electrical outlets. Therefore, it’s critical to recognize the warning signs of faulty wiring so that you can take action to reduce your risk of a fire hazard or electrocution.
1. Common Electrical Outlets: Most electrical fires are brought on by faulty electrical outlets or used-up sockets that are not grounded properly.
2. Outdated Electrical Wiring: Electrical fires are frequently started by outdated electrical wiring. Your home today may not have enough wiring to support the increased number of electrical appliances, including video players, computers, microwaves, wide-screen televisions, air conditioners etc.
Older wiring tends to overheat and catch fire.
3. Cords and Electrical Circuit Overloads: Unrestricted use of extension cords is a major fire hazard. When the computer, TV, home theater, and other appliances are all plugged into the same extension cord, it creates an excessive load of power on a single socket which means the circuit is overloaded. So your home is at serious risk of an electric fire.
4. Old Appliances: Old appliances with frayed, damaged wiring, and loose connections can catch fire. A straightforward electrical repair may not be sufficient to address these problems due to the high flammability of the outdated insulation used in these appliances.
5. Light Fixtures: Installing a bulb with high wattage for the lamps and light fixtures can ignite a fire. Broken lamps and lighting fixtures cause fire too.
6. Portable Heaters: One of the most frequent causes of fires is placing your portable heater close to flammable materials like curtains, rugs, beds, couches, and the like.
Fire Hazard Conditions and Signs for Concern
One of the best ways to help prevent electrical hazards from happening in your home, like a house fire or a painful shock, is to learn what electrical hazards to look for. The most typical electrical risks found in homes are listed below.
- Lights that flicker or dim when using particular appliances.
- Outlets or light switches that are warm to the touch.
- Outlets that light up when something is plugged in.
- Outlets that hiss, buzz, or crackle, or have a burning odor.
- Circuit breakers that frequently trip.
- Touchable hot wires and breakers in electrical systems.
How to Prevent Your Appliances from Becoming Fire Hazards
To avoid your appliances becoming fire hazards, follow the below rules.
- Verify that every appliance has received approval from the safety boards for mechanical and electrical products.
- Ensure that appliances are connected to outlets rather than extension cords. You can have an electrician put in an outlet that is closer to your appliance.
- To prevent overloading a circuit, some appliances will consume more power and may need to be on their own circuit. If the appliance needs a dedicated circuit, check the manufacturer’s specifications.
- When not in use, unplug small appliances, like, toasters, kettles, hair styling tools, and irons.
Tips for Fire Safety
- As soon as you notice any loose outlets, fix or replace them.
- Hire a licensed electrician to inspect your home and replace any outdated wiring while adhering to the National Electrical Code.
- Have your wiring, exterior power panels, and electrical wall outlets thoroughly inspected for electrical safety.
- Speak with security system companies to have high-quality fire extinguishers and smoke detectors installed.
- Speak with security system installers to have high-quality smoke detectors and fire extinguishers installed.
- Invest in appliances that meet recognized safety standards and are made of high-quality materials.
- Check that all light bulbs and other lighting components are plugged into sockets with the correct wattage.
- Never use flammable materials to decorate a lamp, and keep fixtures away from fabrics like bedding or curtains.
- Use a modern model with all current safety features when using a portable heater.
- Ensure that anything that could catch fire is placed far away from portable space heaters.
You can do all the fire prevention possible in your home, but your family should also be prepared if a fire happens. Hence, preparedness measures are essential to ensure your family can safely escape a fire incident.
Create an emergency exit plan and practice it frequently with your entire family. Ensure everyone knows multiple exits from the house and the meeting place once outside. Make sure you have and recharge fire extinguishers and have them on every level of your home within easy reach. Make sure you have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors set up at your home. Check the expiration dates on each detector because they last for 7 to 10 years.
All the preparedness and prevention care for fire hazards from electrical appliances at home will ensure safety and security.0