Four causes of electrical house fires
For many, your home is your biggest asset, and it is important you protect it from fire damage. Electrical problems account for about 24,000 house fires annually in the United States. The good news is almost all electrical fires are preventable. If you know how to spot the four common problems, then you can fix the issue before it results in a fire.
Faulty electrical outlets can heat up the wall.
Receptacles, or more often called outlets, are a fantastic modern convenience. However, like most things, it wears out over time and needs replacement. Receptacles have three important connections: Ground, neutral and hot. If the wires loosen, the contact points on a plug will have a weak connection with the receptacle blades.
The resistance causes heat which should trip a breaker or blow a fuse, but if it doesn’t the heat can result in a fire. Bad wiring can also cause sparking and arcing in the junction box, which could cause a fire in the attic. If you notice burn marks around the receptacle, it is important to investigate the situation immediately.
Prevent these problems simply by checking the outlets in your home regularly, and calling an electrician if you notice any unusual issues. Is your outlet no longer working? Does it send off a slight shock when you touch it?
Don’t leave the home with appliances running
Dishwashers, toasters, dryers and other large appliances can cause house fires if the plugs are old and faulty. It is tempting to leave the dishwasher or dryer running when you leave the house because it is convenient to come home to dry clothes and clean dishes. However, this results in unnecessary risk.
Have you opened your dishwasher immediately after it finishes? If the machine isn’t working appropriately, the heat meant to sanitize your dishes can cause a fire in your kitchen. Similarly, any leftover lint in the dryer can ignite. Leaving these appliances running when no one is home prevents you from extinguishing the fire before it causes extensive damage to your home.
Is the microwave turning on by itself, or is the toaster not turning off after you remove the bread? If you are noticing either occurrence, unplug the appliances and get maintenance on it or better yet buy a new microwave or toaster.
Don’t ignore problems with the lights.
Seemingly minor problems can actually cause severe damage. The annoying flickering in the bathroom could be a warning that the wiring is faulty and dangerous. Dimming or other lighting issues could indicate a short in the wiring. This is especially concerning for older homes in Norman.
Installing a light bulb with a voltage too high for the socket can also cause a fire. Just because a higher voltage fits, doesn’t mean you should use it for a brighter room. The excess wattage results in overheating. At best it will cause a short in the wiring and blow a fuse, but at worst, it could ignite a fire.
Old homes have unique charm and bad wiring
Over the years, building codes related to electrical wiring have improved immensely. This means older homes built even three or four decades ago in Norman or Oklahoma City might not be up to code, especially if it was never updated.
Faulty wiring is the leading cause of electrical fires. It is time to get an inspection if you notice a burning smell anywhere in the house, or if you constantly have to reset breakers or replace fuses.
Inspections can save your home, your family and a lot of money spent on insurance. You should hire an electrician in Norman who is familiar with building codes, and we offer the best electrical services in the area.
Are you concerned about the wiring in your home, flickering lights or bad outlets? We can help.. Call us for a free estimate at 405.326.6117.