In order to prevent yourself or someone you love from becoming an electrical fire statistic, it is important to be aware of the common causes of electrical fires. Below are the 7 common causes of electrical fires in a home:
1. Most electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical outlets and old, outdated appliances. Fires are triggered by faults in appliance cords, receptacles and switches. Never use an appliance with a worn or frayed cord which can send heat onto combustible surfaces like floors, curtains, and rugs that can start a fire.
2. Running cords under rugs is another cause of electrical fires. Removing the grounding plug from a cord so it can be used in a two-prong electrical outlet 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.
3. Light fixtures, lamps and light bulbs are another common reason for electrical fires. Installing a bulb with a wattage that is too high for the lamps and light fixtures is a leading cause of electrical fires. Always check the maximum recommended bulb wattage on any lighting fixture or lamp and never go over the recommended amount.
4. Another cause of fire is placing materials like cloth or paper over a lampshade. The material heats up and ignites, causing a fire. Faulty lamps and light fixtures also frequently result in fires.
5. Misuse of extension cords is another electrical fire cause. Appliances should be plugged directly into outlet and not plugged into an extension cord for any length of time. Only use extension cords as a temporary measure. If you do not have the appropriate type of outlets for your appliances, hire an electrician to install new ones.
6. Space heaters are a major cause of electrical fires. Because these types of heaters are portable, many times people put them too close to combustible surfaces such as curtains, beds, clothing, chairs, couches and rugs. Coil space heaters are especially dangerous in this regard because the coils become so hot they will almost instantaneously ignite any nearby flammable surface. If you do use space 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.
7. Outdated wiring often causes electrical fires. If a home is over twenty years old, it may not have the wiring capacity to handle the increased amounts of electrical appliances in today’s average home, such as computers, wide screen televisions, DVD players, microwaves and air conditioners.
[signoff icon=”username”]The writer is an, An Energy Audit expert working with Mwerick International: Energy Auditors In charge of Planning and Development Patrick M Kasagama E-mail: Patrick@mwerick.com Web: www.mwerick.com [/signoff]