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Rewire Before it causes a fire

Unfortunately, home fires are an all too common occurrence and in a great many cases the root cause is an electrical failure of some kind. The causes of electrical fires are many; sometimes it is mechanical failure of an electrical device and sometimes it is from improper usage or design of the electrical system in your home.

Nearly all electrical fires can be prevented, only if we understand the causes and take appropriate steps to prevent them. Putting issues off and saving a couple of dollars aren't worth risking the loss of your home or life from a fire.


Top 5 Reasons for electrical fires:


1. Wiring

Outdated wiring often causes electrical fires. If a home is over 20 years old, it may not have the wiring capacity to handle the increased amounts of electrical appliances in today’s average home, such as computers, wide-screen televisions, video and gaming players, microwaves and air conditioners. If outlets spark or make a buzz sound when something is plugged in, the home wiring may have faults. An experienced electrician should be hired to inspect and replace the wiring and breaker boxes. 


Breakers should be triggered when circuits get overloaded by too much electricity, but outdated breaker boxes often have worn connectors that do not work, causing the system to overload and start an electrical fire.


 2. Faulty outlets, appliances

Most electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical outlets and old, outdated appliances. Other fires are started by faults in appliance cords, receptacles and switches. Never use an appliance with a worn or frayed cord which can send heat onto combustible surfaces like floors, curtains, and rugs that can start a fire.


Too many appliances may cause outlets to overheat and cause sparks that can start a fire.


3. Light fixtures

Light fixtures, lamps and light bulbs are another common reason for electrical fires. Installing a bulb with a wattage that is too high for the lamps and light fixtures is a leading cause of electrical fires. Always check the maximum recommended bulb wattage on any lighting fixture or lamp and never go over the recommended amount.


4. Extension cords 

Misuse of extension cords is another electrical fire cause. Appliances should be plugged directly into outlet and not plugged into an extension cord for any length of time. Only use extension cords as a temporary measure. If you do not have the appropriate type of outlets for your appliances, hire an electrician to install new ones.


5. Space heaters 

Because these types of heaters are portable, many times people put them too close to combustible surfaces such as curtains, beds, clothing, chairs, couches and rugs. Coil space heaters are especially dangerous in this regard because the coils become so hot they will almost instantaneously ignite any nearby flammable surface.




Warning Signs of Faulty Wiring or Electrical Systems

To prevent an electrical fire, learn to recognize the warning signs that indicate a possible wiring or electrical problem. Contact a licensed electrician immediately to examine and repair electrical problems if you experience any of the following issues in your home:


  • Flickering or dimming lights

  • Switches or outlets that are hot to touch and/or emit an acrid odor

  • Discolored cords, outlets and switch plates

  • Repeatedly blown fuses and tripped circuit breakers




Every homeowner should be acquainted with at least one licensed electrician who can help keep their home wiring system safe!

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