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May 30, 2022"

Common Causes of Electrical Fires and How to Avoid Them?

Of course, electricity has become a basic necessity of life. Unfortunately, electricity comes with several challenges, one of which is electrical fires. According to ESFi Home Electrical, Fires Facts and Statistics “Home electrical fires account for an estimated 51,000 fires each year, nearly than 500 deaths, more than 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property damage.”

Electrical fires cause about 500 deaths every year. The most worrisome part is that the figures climb every year. We realize that lack of information is the biggest reason why the issue is so rampant not only in the United States but all over the world.

So, we wanted to offer some vital information about electrical fires. We need to bring the outrageous figures down to the barest minimum. In this article, you’ll learn the common causes of electrical fires and how to prevent or handle them.

A. Common causes of electrical fires

1. Wrong use of heaters

A good number of electrical fires are caused by heaters, and this is why the number is higher in the winter months. A common mistake is to place an electric heater too close to highly combustible materials. Things like newspapers, curtains, bedding, and furniture are sometimes placed too close to space heaters.

As such, they get too hot and burst into a fire. And once a fire starts, it will quickly spread to other items. So, we will advise that you should install your heater in a place that is at least 5 feet away from any object.  Also, by virtue of our experience, we’ll say liquid-filled electric heaters are much safer than coil space heaters.

2. Old or wrong wiring

How old is your wiring system? If it is up to 15 years old, we’ll advise you to change it. Wires deteriorate with age. And electrical components also get worn out. The coating on your wires may have worn out, and some of your connections may be loose. All these are ingredients of an electrical fire.

This is why you should hire licensed electricians in Austin to inspect your wiring now. We cover Dallas, Fort Worth, and surrounding areas for all of your electrical needs.

In addition, you should make the inspection a yearly affair. Wrong wiring is even more dangerous than old wiring. So, you’re wiring and other electrical works should always be handled by experienced electrician in Cedar park. We cover Dallas, Fort Worth, and surrounding areas for all of your electrical needs.

3. Overloading

You need to find out the capacity of the wires that were installed in your home. Some power tools require thicker and stronger wires because of the heat they will generate. If your wires cannot power the tool you plugged into your outlet, they (wires) will start to melt, and this can be dangerous.

You may see smoke coming out of your electrical outlets. Another common type of overloading is that of light fixtures. Light fixtures have wattage capacities. If you install bulbs that are higher than their capacities, you may be inviting an electrical fire. This means that you should check the capacity of your lamp holder before you get a bulb for it.

4. Misuse of extension cord

Some tools or appliances are too powerful for extension cords, but some people still make the mistake of plugging powerful tools into an extension because there’s no outlet close by. If the plugged appliance is too powerful for your extension cord, the wire of the cord could melt, and its component could explode, starting a fire.

Powerful tools like an engraving machine or a chainsaw should always be plugged into an electrical outlet. If there’s no outlet where you need the tool, get it installed. It is better, cheaper, and safer than using an extension cord.

5. Electrical short circuits

This is another common cause of electrical fires. It occurs when a hot current-carrying wire comes in contact with a neutral wire or the grounded part of the system. This reduces the resistance, increasing the volume of the current, and allowing the current to stray into another shorter path instead of following its established pathway.

We have talked about short circuits in detail, and you can access it here – What is a Short Circuit and What You Should Know About It?

The best way to avoid an electrical short circuit is to get your electrical system inspected by a certified electrician at least once a year. We cover Dallas, Fort Worth, and surrounding areas for all of your electrical needs.

B. How to handle an electrical fire

The worst thing you can do to an electrical fire is to pour water on it. Water conducts electricity, so when you pour water on an electrical fire, you risk electrocution. And if you don’t know the cause of the fire, don’t pour water until you’re sure it is not an electrical fire. Here are a few tips to curtail electric fires.

1. Switch off the mains

The first step is to quickly turn off and unplug the burning appliance, and if the appliance isn’t within reach, or if its plug has meted with your outlet, switch off the circuit breaker or cut off the main power supply.

2. Call firefighters

The next step is to call the fire department if you can quickly reach your phone. Even if you think you’re in control of the situation, it is better to call them when you still can. The fire may get out of control.

3. Use a fire extinguisher

While the men of the fire department are on their way, you should still try to curb the fire, at least to reduce the extent of the damage. Electrical fires are classified as Class C fires. So, you should use a fire extinguisher labeled Class C. The one labeled Class ABC can also help.

4. Evacuate your family

If the fire seems to be getting worse in spite of your efforts, you may need to evacuate every member of your household and your pets. While material things can be replaced, lost lives cannot be replaced. In all, the safety of lives comes first.


Although several tips have been discussed above, the best ones are:

  • Hire only experienced electricians in Dallas, Fort Worth, (DFW), and surrounding areas to handle electrical works in your house.
  • Inspect your electrical system and connections once a year.
  • Equip your home with fire extinguishers and learn how to use them.

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