An electrical fire is devastating; it’ll burn everything you hold dear within mere minutes and hours. The Electrical Safety Foundation International reported that over 50,000 home electrical fires are occurring every year, resulting in almost 500 deaths and over $1 billion worth of property damage. While many people thought that fire at home begins due to things like sputtering oil or overturned candles, electrical fire may also be caused by many other reasons, such as the arcing of an electrical circuit.
Apart from hiring a professional electrician for homeowners, homeowners can protect their homes against electrical fires by learning and knowing how to identify warning signs that may lead to an electrical fire. This article highlights five critical warning signs of electrical fire all homeowners should know.
Warning Sign #1: The presence of persistent burnt smell or heat emitted from outlets or unknown sources
An overloaded outlet, such as using too many cords on a single outlet, or utilising an extension cord in place of an outlet, may cause too much heat in one place and may result in an electrical fire. Homeowners can identify the risk of electrical fire by checking the outlet, whether it is hot when touched or produces a burning smell.
Homeowners can avoid electrical fire happening from such instances by using a proper number of plugs for every outlet. They should also avoid running any power cords under combustible items like beddings or rugs. They should also make sure that every plug fits perfectly and tightly into each outlet to prevent an overheat.
On the other hand, if homeowners keep smelling a burnt smell in their houses but do not know where they are coming from, chances are, they have a short circuit, most probably due to faulty wiring or loose connections.
Warning Sign #2: Discoloured or charred switches
One of the most common reasons why switches or outlets are charred or discoloured is due to faulty wiring or loose connection, both of which cause a small fire responsible for scorching or discolouring the switches. Therefore, if homeowners found a charred or discoloured outlet in their homes, they should inspect their homes for defective wiring.
Warning Sign #3: Fuses keep blowing or circuit breakers repeatedly tripped
Although an occasionally tripped circuit breaker and blown fuses are considered normal in most instances, these situations may indicate an electrical issue if they keep happening. A short circuit, which involves a massive, unsafe level of electrical current flow typically due to inappropriate connections between wires, is usually the common cause of the persistent tripping of the breaker and blowing of fuses. Short circuits may result in arcing, which generates a high amount of heat that may start fires. In these situations, hiring a licensed electrician for homeowners would be a good idea.
Warning Sign #4: Lights are flickering or dimming
Dimming or flickering lights usually indicate a poor connection of one or more electrical systems. Arcing from these spots may generate heat powerful enough to ignite combustible items. Since home’s wiring system is often installed within the walls, several materials may have the potential to catch fire, including wood framing. If homeowners notice their lights dimming or flickering, they should contact a professional electrician for inspection and repair.
Warning Sign #5: Outdated wiring system
If the house is already over fifty years old without any wiring updates, the homeowners are at risk of an electrical fire. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that many older houses with outdated wiring could not handle the electrical load required for high-energy-consumption modern home appliances. Electrical overload may lead to wiring overheat and ignite fires on surrounding things. In such a situation, homeowners should get a reputable electrician to rewire their homes.
Several signs indicate your house is in danger of an electrical fire, such as persisting burnt smell and tripping of breakers. If you notice any of these signs, be sure to contact a professional electrician to get your home’s wiring inspected and repaired.