Electrical fires can spark out of nowhere, literally. And unlike other types of fire, you can not just throw water on it to put it out. Electrical fires can cause a whole host of damage to your home or office—but what causes electrical fires to break out? Learn more about their causes and how you can avoid dealing with the damage.
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6 Common Electrical Fire Causes in Idaho
Faulty Electrical Outlets
Defective or outdated power outlets can spell trouble for your home. As outlets get older, so does the wiring behind them. Bad connections and incorrect amperage ratings can send too much power through wiring that can easily spark a fire.
Outdated and improperly placed wiring poses a significant electrical fire risk. Homes with wiring installed before 1990, may not have the capacity to meet modern-day demands and can quickly become overloaded. Similarly, improper installation and loose connections create a fire hazard.
A circuit or outlet becomes overloaded when it is carrying too much power. The heat from the immense power build-up can wear down internal wiring, resulting in an electrical fire.
You may have grown attached to that old fridge, but it is time to address it for what it is—a possible fire hazard. Over time, power cords can fray to split, which may release heat onto nearby flammable surfaces.
Bulbs & Lighting Fixtures
How many lightbulbs does it take to start an electrical fire? Just one. Among the leading causes of electrical fires are homeowners installing a bulb with too high of wattage for their light fixture. Even with the correct bulb, a light fixture covered or surrounded by combustible materials can heat up and catch fire.
A poorly placed space heater can ignite nearby combustible materials like blinds, blankets, and rugs. This is especially true of coil space heaters, but even radiator-type space heaters can eventually become hot enough to ignite.
Tips to Prevent Electrical Fires in the Home
Being proactive is your best bet at avoiding major loss to fire damage. Follow these tips below to keep your home safe.
- Ensure that no wiring is running under rugs in your home
- Always inspect the devices and appliances for frayed or slit cords before plugging them in
- Replace outdated wiring and outlets
- Check the wattage of the light fixture before installing a bulb
- Clear any flammable objects or combustible materials from areas around light fixtures
Signs Your Home Is at Risk for Electrical Fires
While ensuring you follow prevention tips helps, knowing the signs of electrical fire risk is just as important.
Undetectable burning smell
Notice a burning smell in some rooms in your home? It could be from a wire short-circuiting behind your walls. These are dangerous since you can not see the sparks, loose connections, or other issues that could potentially break into a fire.
Old or faulty wiring can cause arcing and sparking, leading to fires that can discolor your outlets. The fires are usually small, but if left unattended, can engulf in flame.
Frequent circuit breaker trips
Your circuit breaker’s one job is to cut the power off to circuits that are drawing too much power. This prevents circuits from overheating and breaking out into an electrical fire. So if your circuit breaker keeps tripping, it’s warning you that either a circuit has gone bad, there’s a short in the wiring or an appliance, or your appliances are drawing too much power.
Learn More About Fire Safety and What to Do Immediately After a Fire in Idaho
A house fire can be a devastating ordeal. You may feel at a total loss—but that does not mean your home can never be the same. Following an electrical fire, call a professional restoration company to learn how you can get your home or office back to its pre-loss condition.
CTR is here to help restore your home and peace of mind. Our certified technicians offer full-service restoration and 24/7 emergency response.