We all rely on electricity to run our homes and businesses and to keep them comfortable. And we anticipate that our electrical installations will be secure, guarding against the possibility of shock or electrocution for persons as well as the possibility of electrical fire for structures.
An estimated 51,000 fires, over 500 fatalities, more than 1,400 injuries, and ₱1.3 billion in property damage are caused by home and business electrical fires each year.
Understanding the risks and potential causes of electrical fires is crucial for learning how to prevent them. We’ll examine some of the most typical causes of electrical fires in this blog post, along with some tips for prevention.
Despite the development of protective technologies and local electrical safety standards, there are still several risks in the world today.
Please read: COMMON CAUSES OF FIRE IN THE PHILIPPINES
Old or Damaged Electrical Wiring
Electrical fires are frequently started by outdated electrical wiring. The increased number of electrical equipment in the typical home of today, including laptops, wide-screen televisions, video players, microwaves, and air conditioners, may be too much for a home that is more than 20 years old.
The increasing power load is too much for the old home wiring to sustain. Older wiring has a propensity to overheat and catch fire.
Because electrical work is typically concealed behind the walls of your home, it can sometimes be difficult to identify if you have outdated and insecure wiring. But keep in mind that electrical issues pose a serious fire risk.
Keep an eye out for these indications of concealed electrical problems:
- Overloaded circuit breaker a lot
- Changing lights or sporadic power interruptions
- Electrical appliances or gadgets that feel too warm
- Shocks or sparks coming from outlets or appliances
- Unknown burning odors
Overloaded Electrical Circuits and Cords
Extension cords pose a serious fire risk when used without restriction. When multiple appliances, including a TV, home theater system, computer, and others, are hooked into a single extension cord, it places an enormous power burden on a single socket that might not be able to handle it.
This indicates an overloaded circuit and a significant risk of an electric fire in your home.
For this reason, it’s crucial to deliberately avoid ever overloading your outlets. If your home doesn’t have enough outlets to meet your demands, get a reputable electrician to install more outlets to keep your family and property safe.
More heat is generated by kinked or broken cords, which finally causes the insulation to melt from the inside out.
Common Outlets for Electricity
The majority of electrical fires are brought on by faulty electrical outlets (Receptacles) or worn-out, improperly grounded sockets. The wiring under outlets and switches deteriorates over time, and wires are stretched around that could potentially get loose and break, igniting a fire.
Because they consume a lot of energy, worn-out appliances are often to blame for electrical fires, and equipment with frayed or damaged cords increase the danger of a fire starting.
Old appliances with frayed wiring, loose connections, or other problems might catch fire. Moreover, a straightforward electrical repair may not be sufficient to address these problems due to the high flammability of the outdated insulation utilized in these products. To secure your safety, it is best to choose modern equipment.
Having older appliances increases the chance that they might not meet safety standards, power usage requirements, or material quality. Everything in your kitchen, including stoves, toasters, and refrigerators, has the potential to spark an electrical fire.
When several appliances are hooked into extension cords or power strips that are not rated to handle the significant quantity of electricity that appliances require, it contributes to the problem of appliances and their connection to fire.
To install outlets that are built for the type of device and home you have, contact an electrician. To safeguard your home from surges, electricians can also install ground fault circuit interrupters.
When using a space heater in the winter, be careful where you set it and never keep it on for an extended amount of time, especially if you are asleep or away from home. One of the most frequent causes of fires is placing your portable heater next to things like curtains, rugs, beds, couches, and the like.
Use radiator-style space heaters if you must, as they evenly distribute heat across their whole surface. Although they are less likely to catch fire, these should still be stored far away from combustible objects.
The use of lamps, light fixtures, and light bulbs is another frequent cause of electrical fires. One of the main causes of electrical fires is installing a bulb with a wattage that is too high for the lamps and light fixtures. On every lamp or lighting fixture, always check the maximum suggested bulb wattage and never exceed it.
Placing things like paper or cloth over a lampshade can also spark a fire. A fire is started when the substance warms up and ignites. Fires are frequently caused by broken lamps and lighting fixtures.
The wattage requirements for all of the light fixtures in your home must be followed because light bulbs don’t come in one size that fits everyone. It is possible for the entire structure to catch fire if a 100-watt bulb is used in a light fixture designed to accommodate a 60-watt bulb. It’s crucial to never exceed the maximum wattage shown on your lighting fixtures because of this.
Tips on Fire Safety
- As soon as you find any loose outlets, fix or replace them. To strengthen the connection, you might be able to tighten the wire nuts; alternatively, the outlet could need to be changed.
- Call a licensed electrician to inspect your property and replace any outdated wiring while adhering to the National Electrical Code.
- A full electrical safety audit of your wiring, external power panels, and electrical wall outlets should be performed by a professional.
- Installing high-quality smoke detector alarms and fire extinguishers will increase your chances of surviving any electrical fire, saving lives, and limiting damage. For more information, contact your security system provider.
- For every need, pick heavy-duty extension cords. Make sure the cord is out of the way and away from any foot traffic. Running cords underneath floor coverings could cause them to overheat.
- Never use extension cords exclusively. Have more outlets installed by an electrician if you don’t have enough.
- Watch out for your appliances. Look for hot spots or exposed wires in cords. Do not wait until the cord catches on fire to fix or replace a device if it produces odd noises or is not functioning properly.
- Invest in quality equipment that adheres to established safety regulations.
- Make sure that all light bulbs and other lighting components are plugged into sockets with the appropriate wattage. Avoid overloading light fixtures, and swap out those that seem to get too warm when lighted.
- Don’t use extension cords to power your lights. Frayed or broken cords should be replaced.
- Replace these fixtures as soon as you can if your lights flicker or won’t remain lit and you’ve ruled out light switch issues.
- Never use flammable materials to embellish a lamp, and keep fixtures away from fabrics like bedding or drapes.
- Make cautious to keep flammable items far away from portable space heaters. Use radiation heaters that do not ignite on direct touch if at all possible.
- Use a recent model with all current safety measures only while using a portable heater to lower the possibility of starting a fire. Make sure your heating unit is the right size for the space you want to heat.
- Away from foot traffic areas, furniture, drapes, beds, and anything combustible, place the heater.
- It should be plugged directly into a wall outlet, much like other appliances. Use heaters just as instructed, and turn them off when you leave the room.
Despite the fact that electrical fires are all too frequent in Philippine homes and businesses, being aware of their origins might help you take precautions. Purchase home or fire insurance for true protection of your important possessions in order to protect your assets.