Common Causes of Electrical Fires
It is no secret that during the winter months electricity usage increases, as people use heaters and lights more often. But with increased electrical power usage, comes heightened fire risks – as December through to March is the deadliest time for electrical fires every year. By knowing the most common causes of electrical fires, you will be able to identify any risks within your home or workplace.
Extension Lead Use
Extension leads are a useful electrical appliance for many people within the home and office. However, when incorrectly used, they pose a massive fire risk. Plugging an extension lead into another extension lead is extremely dangerous for any amount of time and must not be done under any circumstances. Furthermore, extension leads must only be used as a temporary measure, as if you need an outlet for an appliance you will use constantly, you must hire an electrician to install a new power outlet.
Old and worn out electrical appliances are the number one culprit in many electrical fires, as often people will use an appliance until it is completely broken. It is important to keep in mind the inner wiring of your appliances and what state they might be in when they’ve been in use for years and years. Furthermore, newer appliances are more efficient and will help you save money on your electric bill!
Wiring is often hidden in appliances or behind walls, which makes it difficult to check their condition. We recommend consulting a professional if you suspect faulty and old wiring. Here are the signs to look out for if you are worried about hidden electrical issues:
- Hot electrical appliances
- Shocks or sparks from electrical outlets or appliances
- An unidentified burning smell
- Regular power outages
- Flickering lights
Although electrical breakers should be triggered on any appliances or power outlets when there is an overload of electricity, older breakers may be too worn to stop any overheating.
During the winter season, it is natural to want to add extra heating to your home with space heaters – as they are relatively cheap and easy to use. However, they come with a warning due to their high fire risk. In particular, the older models of portal heaters can have worn electrical breakers and overheat very quickly and when placed next to flammable items, such as clothing or curtains, can very quickly cause a fire.
We recommend using radiator style portable heaters, which are able to disperse the heat evenly over the surface area, so there is no concentrated source of heat. Additionally, place the heater in an area which won’t touch any flammable items to reduce the risk of an electrical fire.
Lamps, light bulbs, and other light appliances can also be a cause of electrical fires. You can cause a fire by making the mistake of using the wrong light bulb for the light fixture, or putting flammable items over lamps. Also check the wiring of old lamps and light fixtures to ensure damaged wires aren’t in use.
Airway Air Conditioning is the leading supplier of air conditioning services in the Cambridge and the Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire areas. Get in touch with our friendly and experienced team today for more information!