Common Causes of Electrical Fires and How to Prevent Them

Electrical problems are one of the leading causes of home fires in Canada. According to home renovation expert Mike Holmes, 20 percent of all home fires are the result of faulty wiring. Since the wiring is usually hidden, this can leave homeowners scrambling to figure out ways to prevent electrical problems.

Ontime Electric offers professional electrical fire prevention services from upgrading existing wiring to identifying the most common causes of residential fires to ensure the right preventative steps are taken.

Common Causes of Electrical Fires

Faulty outlets and appliances

The most common cause of house fires is faulty electrical outlets. Older homes are particularly susceptible to this issue as the wiring is often outdated and unable to handle the power requirements of modern appliances. You should avoid running cords under rugs.

Never remove the grounding plug from a cord to fit into a two-prong electrical outlet. This extra prong is designed to handle the extra electrical capacity of modern appliances.

Light fixtures

That vintage lamp may seem like a great idea for your home’s decor, but it may be a dangerous fire hazard. Old and outdated cords can easily fray, leading to a fire. It’s also important to only use the lightbulb wattage recommended by the manufacturer. If the wattage is too high, it can lead to electrical fires. Never place a cloth or paper over a lamp shade.

The heat generated from the light bulb can spark and lead to a fast-moving fire. If you are unsure if your light fixture is safe, consult your trusted electrician like the ones at Ontime Electric. They can ensure that the wiring is up to code and complete a safe installation.

Misuse of extension cords

Extension cords let you extend your work area, but if not used correctly, they can cause fires. Every year, thousands of electric fires are started by a misused extension cord. There are a few simple things you can do to prevent an electrical cord fire, including:

  • Never use an extension cord for appliances 
  • Never plug multiple extension cords together to run any device
  • Make sure you use an extension cord that is grounded for electronics 
  • Never use an extension cord that is frayed or missing prongs

Following these suggestions will ensure you are using an extension cord correctly and will minimize the risk of a fire.

Space heaters

Space heaters may seem like a great way to keep small spaces warm, but they should always be used with care. A space heater should never be used near curtains, bed linens, clothing or upholstered furniture.

Coil space heaters should also be avoided, due to the significant heat they create, causing them to instantly ignite flammable surfaces.

Faulty Wiring

Do you know how old your wiring is? Many older homes still have knobs and tubes and another old-fashioned wiring which cannot handle the energy capacity of modern appliances.

This can trigger breakers to trip when overloaded. If left unchecked, this can lead to a system overload and cause an electrical fire. A professional electrician can do a complete inspection of your home’s wiring to determine if you need to upgrade.

Contact Us

Keeping your home safe from electrical fires starts with fire safety prevention. Ensuring that your home has the right wiring system can keep you and your family safe from electrical fires. Remember to never overload an electrical system and only use recommended appliances and cords. If you’re concerned about your home’s wiring and want to prevent house fires, contact the pros at Ontime Electric. We will work with you to ensure your home is up to code and provide effective tips and solutions to prevent electrical fires.