Almost daily there’s a news story about a residential fire somewhere in the U.S. which was caused by an electrical problem. According to statistics from the U.S. Fire Administration, well over 25,000 homes experience an electrical fire each year somewhere in America and over 1,000 people lose their lives because of these types of fires. The fires can’t just be explained by cold weather heating in the far northern areas of the country. Homes in the South are just as prone to electrical fires as are those in northern climates. According to electricians in West Palm and other towns across the country, there are several signs that your home could be closer to experiencing an electrical fire than you may think.
Older homes with their older wiring are generally more susceptible to experiencing fires caused by electrical issues, but newer homes aren’t completely immune. Improperly installed or maintained wiring is the primary reason. The wiring may not be sufficient to handle the electrical load that’s being placed on it, or the circuit breakers might be too old or not the right type to safely feed the home’s electricity to the systems and appliances using it.
Another cause of electrical fires is loose wiring. This is wiring that once may have sufficiently distributed the electrical load through the house but, over the years, has become dangerous. Loose wiring results in increased resistance within the circuit, which frequently leads to a fire.
The habit of plugging in too many appliances or systems on one circuit commonly causes fires as well. Overloaded circuits, particularly those confined to small spaces such as the diameter holes in subflooring, can’t effectively distribute the extra heat resulting from the extra load. Eventually the surrounding material heats up to the point that it bursts into flames.
Appliances are also major culprits in electrical fires. Large appliances such as clothes dryers can catch fire due to clogged lint filters and dishwashers may start a fire if the electrical system comes into contact with moisture. Smaller appliances like toasters and microwaves often catch fire when they’re used in a way for which they weren’t designed. Extension cords and power strips, used in tens of millions of homes, can be a particular risk due to potential overheating.
There are several things you can do as a homeowner to take care of visible signs that an electrical fire might be imminent. Redistributing the load among various outlets is an important first step, as is avoiding the use of extension cords whenever possible. Repairing or replacing your damaged appliance cords is another important step you can take. When you must buy a new appliance, you should investigate the safety ratings of the various models before making your purchase.
Unless you’re an experienced electrician, you won’t have the expertise you need to check the unseen wiring in your home. That’s when you need to call an electrical service to assess the wiring in your home, whether it’s decades old or nearly brand new. If you are looking for electricians in West Palm who can provide a free safety check to uncover the areas that need repair or upgrade, contact Carpenter Electric.