Electrical Fires: How They Start, Common Causes and Prevention

An electrical fire is a kind of fire that happens because of an electrical problem. Learning everything about electrical fires is vital in maintaining the safety of your home.

When they happen, contacting an expert electrical service provider is your best bet.

For this post, we’ll talk about how electrical fires start, their common causes, and how to prevent them.

How Do Electrical Fires Start?

Electrical fires start whenever there’s an electrical fault in appliances or systems. These problems can lead to hazardous situations, which is why it’s critical to address them immediately.

Having a qualified electrician inspect your property regularly can significantly minimise the risk of such fires from taking place.

3 Most Common Causes of Electrical Fires

The 3 most common causes of electrical fires are faulty wiring, overloaded circuits, and malfunctioning outlets. Let’s take a closer look at each of these causes below.

Faulty Wiring

Old or incorrectly installed wiring, particularly frayed wires, can easily cause electrical fires. These wires can short-circuit and ignite nearby flammable materials.

Overloaded Circuits

Having too many connected devices that exceed safety capacity can cause circuits to overload. This can lead to overheating and potentially result in an electrical fire.

Malfunctioning Outlets

Malfunctioning outlets are one of the biggest causes of electrical fires. Devices and appliances that draw power from these compromised power points can overheat, increasing the chances of a fire happening.

How Can I Prevent Electrical Fires?

You can prevent electrical fires by performing the following:

  • Check and maintain electrical cords and appliances regularly. You want to ensure these components are in good condition and aren’t damaged.
  • Distribute your electrical devices wisely to avoid overloading circuits and power outlets. You should also avoid overusing extension leads to reduce the risk of electrical fires.
  • Get help from a licenced electrician to regularly inspect your electrical system. This is particularly useful for older properties, as these professionals can readily identify and resolve potential hazards.
Electrical Fires How They Start Common Causes and Prevention (1)

How Do I Put Out an Electrical Fire?

You can put out an electrical fire by shutting down power, using the correct fire extinguisher, and applying baking soda.

Shut Off Power

Immediately cutting the electrical supply is crucial in an electrical fire. Find your circuit breaker and switch off the power. This step halts the flow of electricity, reducing further risk of sparks or fire spread.

Use Correct Fire Extinguisher

Selecting an appropriate fire extinguisher is vital. For electrical fires, a Class C extinguisher, which is suitable for electrical equipment, is recommended. These extinguishers contain non-conductive substances, making them safe for use on live electrical apparatuses.

Apply Baking Soda

Baking soda, a common household item, can be a quick alternative when a Class C extinguisher isn’t available. It contains sodium bicarbonate, an effective agent in smothering electrical fires. Generously scatter it over the flames.