Causes of Electrical FIres Explained

Almost 30,000 electrical fires occur in homes every year. The key is prevention by early detection and care of electrical equipment and wiring. Just a few culprits most commonly cause electrical fires. Today, we’re going to consider them and how we can protect ourselves and families from potential harm.

Wiring issues

Misuse of wiring is more common today than it was in the past because we are a much more electronically geared society. Our abundance of electrical devices has raised the risk in homes built in a time when people never dreamed they’d own more than one television set. Since many times all of the residents of the house are away during a good portion of the day, and electrical wiring fire can go undetected for hours.

Don’t forget these! Test them once a month, and replace all the batteries on the same day every year, such as April FOol’s Day or your birthday. :)

Don’t forget these! Test them once a month, and replace all the batteries on the same day every year, such as April FOol’s Day or your birthday. :)

Make sure your wiring isn’t dated, and the circuit breaker box is equipped to deal with your electronics usage. Have an electrician or contractor rewire the home and add breakers if necessary, and use Afci if needed.

Retrofitting is also crucial for homes with two-prong outlets to safer three-prong outlets. Three-prong outlets are such a basic standard of electrical safety; no home should be without them.

Food preparation

Grease fires often start when a frypan full of oil is left on a too-hot burner or left unattended. A grease fire can be snuffed out by using the lid of the pan to smother it. Do NOT attempt to move the pan anywhere, as this can result in spilled grease, which can then spread uncontained. Likewise, water or any other liquid will jump the fire out of the pan.

Heating appliances

That cozy electric blanket that belonged to your grandmother has lived past its useful life, even if you’ve taken marvelous care of it. The shelf life for an electric blanket is ten years. After that, throw it away even if it appears to be in beautiful shape. The cords of these blankets, as well as heating pads and space heaters, can become frayed or damaged.


Space heaters can be prone to tipping or being knocked over by exuberant children or pets, and senior citizens who require walking aids. Since they heat small areas, the surrounding materials such as bedding, clothing, and other flammable materials can inadvertently catch on fire.

Using appliances and extension cords incorrectly

Appliance makers have long known about the fire dangers of their products. For example, the iron or toaster which seems to have an inordinately short cord was never meant to be used with an extension cord because of the potential for tripping. However, these appliances also present other dangers; a toaster, for example, should always be pulled out and away from any materials made of wood before use. Irons should only be used with a fire-resistant pad and never be left unattended. An unmaintained dryer with a vent which is chock full of lint can cause a fire, as well.

Lighting always comes with a recommended wattage maximum; adhere to the wattage to avoid overloading the wiring. Finally, extension cords are a short-term solution, and a homeowner should never hide one beneath a carpet, rug, or other items where it can become worn and frayed.

If you have a wiring issue, need more outlets or want GFCI’s installed in your home, give us a call. Electrical safety can be so easy with a licensed electrician to call upon when you need help.

If you need a highly-reviewed, licensed electrician in the Phoenix Valley area, call Efficient Electric at 623-900-1461. We would love to hear from you!