6 Common Causes of Electrical Fires


These days, with our modern reliance on technology and electricity, electrical fires are becoming more and more common. That’s why it’s important for you to familiarise yourself with the most common causes of electrical fires, so you can prevent them from occurring and feel safe in your home. In this article, you will learn how to create a safe environment in your home, while still being able to enjoy all the benefits that electricity, modern appliances, and technology have to offer. Read on to find out about the six most common causes of electrical fires. 

1.) Old Wiring

Old electrical wiring is often outdated and can’t handle the power requirements of modern appliances and technology. If your home is over 20 years old, and you’re using high-tech computers, laptops, and large, flat screen TVs, then the wiring probably won’t be able to cope. Outdated wiring such as this overheats and then can become a fire hazard. But how do you tell if you have old wiring when it’s hidden behind the walls? Keep an eye out for flickering lights, overheated appliances, burning smells, power outages, and shocks from appliances – if you are experiencing these issues then you probably need to call an electrician. 

2.) Heaters

If you don’t have an air conditioning system in your home, then you will be thankful to have a small, portable heater to save you in the cold of winter. However, most people don’t realise how much of a fire hazard these heaters are – so if you’re going to use one, make sure you do it safely. Many people put these heaters close to flammable items such as beds, couches and rugs, without knowing that they could easily ignite these materials. So when you’re using a portable heater, make sure you place it far away from any furniture, and preferably on a non-flammable surface such as tiled floors. 

3.) Outdated Appliances

Old appliances often have frayed cords, ineffective insulation, and faulty wiring – and this makes them a common cause of electrical fires in many homes. The most risky appliances are outdated toasters, fridges, ovens and kettles, so you should keep an eye on these especially. The wiring slowly breaks over time, and the old insulation cannot protect the wires, so they can overheat and catch fire. You may think that a solution to this is repairing the appliance, but unfortunately this doesn’t work very well, and you are better off just buying new appliances. 

4.) Overloaded Outlets

Overloading power outlets is a common mistake in many homes – it seems harmless, and even useful, but it can actually be a dangerous fire hazard. The more items you plug into a single outlet, the more power it has to produce, and if it exceeds the amount the outlet was designed to create then it will probably overheat and cause an electrical discharge. Avoid using an excessive amount of adapters, power boards and extension cords – if you don’t seem to have enough outlets then maybe you need to get an electrician to install a few more around your house.

5.) High-Wattage Lights & Bulbs

One of the main causes of electrical fires is installing a light bulb with a wattage too high for the light fixture or lamp that it’s going into. You are meant to check the maximum wattage that your light fixture or lamp can handle, before buying the light bulb, to ensure they are compatible. If you use the wrong bulb, it can overheat and cause an electrical surge that may create an electrical fire. 

6.) Covered Electrical Cords

The majority of electrical items need space around them for ventilation, to ensure they don’t overheat – this includes televisions, computers, and electrical cords. Electrical cords are often covered by rugs, furniture, or water-proof materials (if they are outside). You may think you are just making your house more tidy and clean-looking, but covering over your electrical cords can actually be a fire hazard because they don’t have space for ventilation. The best course of action is to keep them away from flammable items, and uncovered, so that they don’t overheat and cause a fire.

Benefits of an Electrical Safety Inspection

If you want to be completely sure that your home is safe from electrical fires, then perhaps it’s a good idea to call in a professional. An expert residential electrician in Perth will carry out an electrical safety inspection, where they will assess all of your power outlets, lights, and wiring. With the help of a professional electrician Perth, you will know exactly what needs to be done to create a secure property.