warning signs of electrical fires in your home

Fire departments in the United States respond to nearly 30,000 home electrical fires each year, and these fires cause more than $1 billion in property damage – not to mention tragic loss of life and preventable injuries. We’ve outlined the most common causes of home fires below so that you can take necessary precautions.

1.Damaged Goods

One major source of fire is damaged electrical cords. Nicked or cut cords, a cord separating from the plug, and cords with any exposed wiring are all causes for concern. Many hardware stores will repair the cords for you, and they also sell a do-it-yourself kit. Avoid running cords across doorways or under rugs or carpets since they are more easily damaged under heavy foot traffic.

We recommend having a skilled electrician add outlets to alleviate use of extension cords. Damaged Christmas light electrical cords present a particularly dangerous home hazard, and account for a large number of home fires in December and January. Making sure your light cords are not damaged, that the lights are properly plugged in, and that they are not left on a dry tree are all great preventative measures… And never leave Christmas lights plugged in when you are away from home for an extended period of time!

2.TR Outlets

Tamper-resistant (TR) electrical outlets are a necessity in homes with small children or curious pets. Most new building codes now require ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), but if your home is older, make sure you have these, especially in bathrooms, kitchen, laundry areas, basement, and outdoor areas – any place there are faucets or other water sources.

3.Connection Overload

Outlets were not constructed to handle 10 or 12 items being plugged in at one time, so definitely avoid outlet overload. Electrical products come with manufacturer instructions for plugging the device into an outlet, and for high-wattage appliances, only plug that one item into an outlet at any given time. A tried and true test is that if the outlet feels warm or is discolored, it is likely overloaded and possibly damaged, so in this case, calling a qualified electrician is the best idea.

4.Heat Equal Fire

Lamps should always be placed in safe areas, away from things that can burn (curtains, paper, etc.) and should be set on a stable, level surface.  Most importantly, only use a light bulb that matches the recommended wattage for the lamp (typically very visible inside or near the lamp’s bulb socket.

Electrical fires are completely preventable, and a smart, responsible thing you can do is to schedule a home check with one of our qualified electricians.