According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are over 26,100 electrical fires in the United States each year, causing deaths or injuries to more than 1,300 people.
Many of these electrical fires are the result of a handful of common, avoidable causes. Let’s walk through a few electrical “bad moves” you might be making in your home.
1) Misuse of extension cords
Many people get around not having convenient outlets by using extension cords. However, extension cords should always be a temporary solution. Having a proper electrical outlet installed by a licensed electrician is always preferable and safer.
Appliances should never be plugged into extension cords for any period of time.
2) Faulty, outdated electrical wiring and outlets
Perhaps the biggest cause of residential electrical fires is faulty, outdated wiring and electrical outlets. If your wiring is more than 20 or 30 years old, there’s a good chance it’s not up to standards to handle today’s appliances and electronic devices. You should have a periodic electrical inspection to ensure your safety and consider upgrading.
If any of your electrical outlets are not grounded, it’s imperative you make that improvement as soon as possible. Homeowners can check if outlets are properly wired and grounded with a simple outlet tester.
3) Electrical overloads
If too many appliances or devices are attached to a single circuit, the current will likely heat the wires to a high temperature. Occasionally, these temperatures can climb high enough to cause a fire.
Typically, when a circuit is overloaded, the breaker will trip and stop the current from flowing. If you find that your tripping the breaker or blowing a fuse often, it may be a sign that you’re overloading the circuit or have a more significant electrical issue.