During cold weather, we see the highest number of electric fires. These fires are not only damaging property-wise, but they are taking lives, as well. Faulty wiring or electrical sockets overloaded by heating devices can and will spark. Space heaters can also ignite.
It is very important to check if your appliance has a “tip switch,” meaning that it turns off automatically if tipped over. Remember to set space heaters on a solid, level surface that is not carpeted to ensure that it does not tip over and also to ensure that the tip-over switch can function. Never drape blankets, or place combustible items near space heaters and keep a minimum of one-meter distance from the heating unit.
6 common causes of electrical fires.
- Faulty outlets, appliances. Most electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical outlets and old, outdated appliances. Never use an appliance with a worn or frayed cord that can send heat onto combustible surfaces like floors, curtains, or carpets as it can start a fire.
- Running cords under rugs is another cause of electrical fires. The cables get heated underneath the rug and ignite the rug starting a fire. 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 only be used in outlets that can handle the extra amount of electricity that these appliances require.
- 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 or 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.
- 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.
- Wiring. Outdated wiring often causes electrical fires. If a home is over 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 gaming players, microwaves and air conditioners.
Stay safe and make sure you get your house inspected this winter.
Contact Home Inspection SA today and get a free quotation.