October is National Fire Safety Month and electrical fire prevention is a key part of the work we do at Raceway Electric. According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), electrical fires were the second leading cause of fires in 2012-2016. Electrical fires occur most often in residential homes and multi-family dwellings like apartments. We explore the causes of electrical fires and how to prevent them from happening in your home or business.
Top Five Causes of Electrical Fire
- These types of fires are caused most often by faulty outlets or faulty appliances. You can tell if an outlet is going bad one of several ways. First, the outlet may be hot to the touch or charred. These are more obvious signs but should definitely not be ignored. Another sign of a faulty outlet is if plugs have a hard time staying in the outlet. This means the outlet is worn out and can cause electrical arcing or sparking. Faulty appliances can also lead to electrical fires. Appliances with old, outdated cords that are frayed or damaged should not be used.
- Light fixtures are another common cause of fires. Make sure the light bulb you are using isn’t too high of wattage for the lamp or light fixture. Also, never place anything on top of your light shade or near the light bulb. Light bulbs can get hot enough to catch materials on fire.
- Outdated wiring is another leading cause of electrical fires. Homes that are over 20 years old may not have the wiring capacity to handle the increased number of appliances in homes today. Older wiring may overload circuit breakers which may also have worn connectors that fail to trip the breaker and can allow overloads and electrical fires may occur. If your circuit breaker keeps tripping, contact Raceway Electric to check your system and prevent fires.
- Extension cords can overload if they are used to plug-in appliances that are meant to be plugged into grounded outlets. Remember that extension cords are meant to be used in the short term and not for extended periods of time.
- Finally, as it starts to cool down, people will start to use space heaters which can cause fires when they are placed too close to materials such as bedding, draperies, furniture, etc. If you use a space heater, be sure to place it away from any other materials.
During National Fire Safety Month, be sure to check your home for these dangers. In addition, practice your family’s fire safety plan, and take steps to ensure your home is free from the hazards that can cause fires. If you need a reliable, professional, licensed electrician, contact us!