Aim at the Base of the (Potential) Fire: Common Culprits in Electrical Fires in Homes

Thousands of fires occur in the United States each year, causing injuries and even deaths. These unfortunate events also cause billions of dollars in property damages. Many of these incidents are linked to electrical fires in homes. Knowing what commonly cause these fires can help protect property and save lives.

Outdated Wiring

If you live in a home that has been around since you were a child, the house possibly has an outdated style of wiring known as “knob and tube wiring.” It was commonly installed in homes in the pre-1950s, and it involved the use of two-pronged outlets instead of the modern three-pronged outlets, which can help guard against electric shock. The old style of insulation is also known to dry out, so they can act as kindling that can cause electrical fires to spread quickly.

Your old wiring may still be functional, but it probably can no longer handle the kind of electrical output needed by modern appliances and devices you have at home. This can make your electrical system at increased risk for overheating and catching fire.

If you have outdated wiring in your home in Woodbridge, VA, residential electricians are available to inspect and even update the whole system. The electrician can also perform other necessary electrical repairs in your home.

Old Appliances

Your decades-old appliances are likely safety hazards. If you have not replaced your appliances for a while, they may now have frayed cords, as well as faulty and loose wiring that can cause them to catch fire easily. The high flammability of the old insulation in these appliances is also an issue.

It may be time to buy new appliances to ensure safety in your home. If you’re concerned about the purchase costs, new appliances tend to be more energy-efficient, so you get to save money through reduced monthly electricity bills.

Misused Extension Cords

Extension cords can overheat and cause fires when they are used improperly. Overheating often occurs due to overloading or plugging appliances that consume more watts than the extension cord can handle. Overheating can occur at the socket, the plug, or over the entire length of the cord. If any part of the extension cord becomes hot while in use, take this as a warning that it is overloaded

You can check the capacity or rating at the packaging or tag of the cord to know how much power it can handle. Avoid running extension cords in areas where they can be easily damaged or heat up such as under carpets or through doorways. Make sure you also discard cords that are missing important safety features such as polarized blades and safety closures.

Unsafe Space Heater

Burned electric socket

People tend to place portable space heaters close to combustible surfaces such as beds, curtains, couches, and rugs. Coil space heaters, in particular, can be so hot and instantaneously ignite flammable surfaces. To be on the safer side, opt for radiator-type space heaters. They are less likely to ignite flammable items, albeit you still have to keep these devices away from combustible objects.

Home fires can start easily. It’s best to eliminate the risks of electrical fires in your home, so you can ensure the safety of your property and more importantly, your family.

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