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4 Common Causes of Electric Fires

Not only are electrical systems one of the leading causes of house fires, but they’re also one of the costliest.  Studies have shown that electrical fires annually account for nearly $1.2 billion in property damage. Moreover, the U.S. Fire Administration reports that 8,200 fires have recently occurred due to electrical malfunction, resulting in a total of $431 million in losses.

To minimize the risk of an electric fire, check for these common warning signs:

1. Faulty outlets and appliances

Outdated appliances and faulty electrical outlets are the cause of several electrical fires. Studies have shown that 13% of all residential fires are due to electrical malfunctions.

Be sure to never to lay the cord of an electrical appliance across (or under) rugs, curtains or other flammable surfaces.

Immediately replace the appliance if the cord shows any signs of wear and tear, or if the appliance makes strange noises. These devices can malfunction by drawing more current than they need to, without tripping the breaker. The excessive heat generated can melt the wiring insulation and pose a fire hazard.

Repair or replace loose outlets when you notice them. Moreover, if you notice that you’re able to plug a cord in an outlet without any resistance, and it easily falls out, this is a clear sign that the outlet is a fire hazard. The loose connections can generate more heat than required, and start a fire.

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2. Light fixtures

Lamps and light fixtures are designed to take a certain amount of wattage. Installing a bulb higher than the required maximum wattage can result in a fire. Therefore, always make sure to purchase light bulbs that are appropriate for the intended appliance. Plus, do not place materials like cloth over lampshades, because they can easily heat up and ignite.

3. Space heaters

While space heaters are a convenient source of heat and comfort, things go awry if you place it right next to or on top of something flammable like curtains, chairs, rugs, couches or beds. Coil space heaters are especially dangerous because they can instantly ignite a nearby flammable surface if the coils become too hot.

4. Not in compliance with safety codes

Outdated wiring in old homes and commercial spaces deteriorate over time, posing a serious shock or fire hazard. If your home is over 20 years old, it’s likely that its wiring system is rated to hold lower amps than what today’s modern devices require. This means that these circuits can easily be overloaded, leading to a potential electrical fire.

If you’re purchasing a new home or adding a major appliance, we recommend that you get your electrical system inspected. Our professional electricians can ensure that your electrical components and home wiring are in working order, up to electrical code and don’t pose a hazard to you and your family.

We provide 24 hour emergency electrician services in Wilmington, MA