Did you know that approximately 24,000 residential fires in the United States are caused by electrical issues each year? Out of those, 11 percent result in a fatality. As clean up professionals, we understand the devastation that fires cause to building structures but also to the individuals and families affected. At Sage Restoration, we want to make sure that you and your loved ones are protected against electrical fires.
Most electrical fires start in the bedroom, but the highest number of fatalities occur with fires located in the living room, family room and den.
Some electrical fires happen because of problems in house wiring or appliance failure, but many occur due to mistakes that homeowners make like overloading electrical outlets or extension cords.
Whether in plain view or not, there are many causes of electrical fires. Below are the most common:
1. Faulty outlets, appliances
Most electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical outlets and old, outdated appliances. Other fires are started 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.
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.
2. Light fixtures
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.
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.
3. Extension cords
Misuse of extension cords is another electrical fire cause. Thanks to some feedback we have provided some clarification on when and how to use extension and power cords. While it is recommended that appliances be plugged directly into outlet, extension cords can be used as a temporary measure. When selecting an extension cord, make sure the wire size is appropriate for the load that is being placed on the extension cord. One can find both 2 wire and 3 wire extension cords that can be appropriate for the load being serviced. The fact that the cord is a 3 wire cord does not by itself provide for extra current capacity as compared to a 2 wire cord of the same wire size. If you are unsure if your extension cords are appropriate for the appliances in your home, hire an electrician to do an assessment.
4. Space heaters
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.
Outdated wiring often causes electrical fires. If a home is more than 20 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, video and gaming players, microwaves and air conditioners.
While fire is always the immediate danger, once it is gone, what it leaves behind will continue to affect the house. Ash and smoke, if left untreated, will cause extensive corrosion and discoloration, not to mention lingering powerful odors. Our professionals at Sage Restoration can clean the mess before it becomes a major problem. Contact us today to discover how we can help in your time of need. #ServiceWithCompassion