Most home fires are the result of faulty electrical wiring. We identify five possible causes of electricity-related home fires and give advice on what you, the homeowner, should do to avoid the dangers of faulty electrical wiring.
US Fire Administration statistics show that each year, close to 500 Americans die and about 2,300 more are injured in home fires. These fires are due directly or indirectly to bad electrical wiring, and they have caused the loss of millions of dollars worth of property. It’s important for homeowners to ensure that their home’s electrical wiring is properly maintained in order to avoid tragic losses and other major property damages. You can start by checking the following, as they have been identified as possible causes of electricity-related fires:
Worn-Out Eletrical Plugs and Sockets
Even the most durable electrical plugs and sockets can only last for so long and once they go beyond their lifespan, they can quickly turn into a fire hazard. You should monitor all your electrical plugs and sockets at home and immediately replace those that are worn out.
DIY Wiring Projects
Many homeowners today eagerly tackle their own home repairs and renovations instead of hiring professionals to do the job. While this is advantageous in some ways (it can save them a lot of money, for instance), some Do It Yourself projects can be quite risky, particularly those involving electrical connections. The task may seem easy enough but untrained individuals may not even be aware of certain electrical requirements and procedures. So if you choose to do your own electric connections at home, you may think you’re saving money; however, what you may really be doing is putting your home and family at risk.
Non-compliance with Installation Codes
Non-compliance with current installation code is another example of faulty wiring. NFPA and NEC Codes have been adopted in all 50 states. The NEC is the benchmark for safe electrical design, installation, and inspection to protect people and property from electrical hazards. It is updated and revised regularly. Manufacturers will often include detailled installation instructions, for example with an electronic dimmer produced for dimmable compact flourescents or LED bulbs. It is easy to misswire these controls if you follow the old fashioned dimmer installation instructions.
Outdated Circuit Breakers
Outdated circuit breakers are no longer capable of handling the high voltage most new appliances require. When you use these old circuit breakers with new appliances, it’s likely you will cause electrical overloads that can eventually lead to wiring problems and even house fires.
Outdated Fuse Boxes
If the fuse box in your home was installed ten years ago or earlier, consider switching to a more modern design. Old fuse boxes are simply not built to handle the multitude of high-voltage appliances commonly used in homes these days. For the average household that uses appliances such as home entertainment systems, DVD players, computers, fax machines, and even electric cars, an old and outdated fuse box simply won’t suffice.
This is something many homeowners do without realizing they’re putting themselves in grave danger. An octopus connection involves using extension cords to increase the number of electrical outlets in the house without increasing the number of circuits. Unfortunately, this also increases the risks of fires and other electricity-related accidents. Ideally, a house should have 10 or more professionally installed circuits. If your house has less than 10 installed circuits, have the issue resolved right away.