Most Common Causes of Electrical Fires in the Home


Did you know that there are roughly 28,000 electrical fires per year? These fires can cause $1.1 billion dollars or more in property damage and loss. Electrical fires are also responsible for around 300 deaths and around 1,100 injuries each year. The two months with the most electrical fires is December and January, the reason, is because of the increased use of heating appliances and lights in the home. Most Electrical fires actually start in the bedroom.


Some electrical fires happen because of faulty wiring in the home or appliance failure, however, many electrical fires occur because of mistakes made by the homeowners, such as overloading electrical outlets and extension cords. In order to help prevent an electrical fire in your home or a loved ones home, the most important thing is to be educated on the most common causes of electrical fires. So the most common reasons electrical fires occur is listed below.


  1. Most electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical outlets. In the previous article I discussed reasons why you should update or upgrade your wall outlets, this is definitely on that list as well. Other reasons fires start is because of faults in appliance cords, receptacles and switches. NEVER use an appliance with a worn or frayed cord. Some people actually remove the grounding plug from a cord so it can be used in a two-prong electrical outlet. This is NEVER safe, the reason for the 3 prongs is so they can only be used in outlets that can handle the extra amount of electricity these appliances tend to use. NEVER remove the grounding plug.



2. Light fixtures, lamps and light bulbs are another reason for electrical fires. If you are installing a new light fixture, lamp or light bulbs be 100% sure that the recommended bulb wattage NEVER goes over the recommended amount. Also lamp shades are not for hanging or drying clothes. Putting materials on top of a lampshade could start a fire. There are many cool lamp shades out there. Don’t decorate one with your shirt.

3. Don’t misuse extension cords. The are to be used ONLY as a temporary measure. Appliances should always be plugged in directly to the outlet. If you do not have the appropriate outlets always call an electrician, like the experts at Daniel’s Electric, so we can help keep your home safe for you and your family.

4. Space heaters are great because they are portable, however, they are a major cause of electrical fires. They cause fires often because people tend to put them too close to combustible surfaces such as curtains, beds, clothing, chairs, and rugs. Coil space heaters are especially dangerous because once the coils are hot they will almost instantly ignite anything nearby if it’s flammable. If you must use a space heater, use the radiator-type because they are designed to diffuse heat over the entire surface. These types of space heaters are less likely to ignite flammable items. Just because they will less liekly ignite flammable items, doesn’t mean you should put them near flammable items. Just like the coil space heaters, you should keep the radiator-type space heaters away from anything flammable like: clothes, curtains, beds, and rugs.

5. When buying an older home always call an electrician to update the electrical wiring in the home. Older homes usually do not have the wiring needed to handle the capacity of appliances and electronics we use today, such as computers, televisions, tables, microwaves, and air conditioners. In newer homes breakers usually shut off when circuits are overloaded, however, in older homes the breaker boxes could be worn, which could cause a malfunction and electricity will not shut off if the circuits are overloaded causing a house fire.

These are only the most common reasons of electrical fires. Be sure to keep your home and family safe by upgrading your electrical wiring, especially in older homes. These types of things are usually not in the forefront of anyone’s mind, but this is very important! Electricity is a wonderful tool we utilize and like anything sometimes it needs some maintenance to ensure the safety of not only your home but your family too.


If you are unsure if your home can handle the electricity you are wanting to provide call us! We are always happy to inspect your home and make sure all wiring is up to date, meets all requirements and nothing is malfunctioning.


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