Here are the five most common causes of electrical fires in homes:
Faulty Sockets / Appliances
Most electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical plug sockets and dated appliances that have been around for a while. Don’t use an appliance with a worn cord which could send heat onto combustible surfaces like floors, curtains, and rugs that can start a fire. Removing the grounding plug from a cord so it can be used in an electrical socket can also cause a fire, the reason appliances have the extra prong is so they can be only used in outlets that can handle the extra amount of electricity that these appliances draw.
Light Fixtures & Fittings
Lamps, light bulbs, and light fixtures and fittings are another common reason for electrical fires. Installing a bulb with a wattage too high for the lamps and light fixtures is a leading cause of electrical fires. Get a professional to check the maximum recommended bulb wattage on any lighting fixture or lamp and never exceed this amount. Putting materials like cloth over a lampshade is also a cause, the material heats up and ignites, causing fire.
Appliances should be plugged directly into outlet and not plugged into an extension lead for any length of time. Only use extension cords as a temporary measure. If you do not have the appropriate type of plug sockets for your appliances, get an electrician in to your home to install new ones – a much safer alternative.
Many times people put these types of heaters too close to combustible surfaces such as curtains, beds, clothing, chairs, sofas and rugs. Coil space heaters are especially dangerous due to the coils becoming so hot that they will almost instantly ignite any nearby flammable surface. If you do use portable heaters, use the radiator-type that diffuse heat over the entire surface of the appliance. These are less likely to ignite flammable items, but should still be kept away from them.
Outdated Wiring Systems
If a home is over 20 years old, it may not have the wiring capacity to handle the increased amounts of electrical appliances in today’s average, such as computers, televisions, games consoles, kitchen gadgets etc. Breakers should be triggered when circuits get overloaded by too much electricity, but outdated breaker boxes often have worn connectors that do not work, causing the system to overload and start an electrical fire. Get a professional to upgrade your electrical system for maximum safety.