December 1, 2022

Did you know 40% of New South Wales fires result from electrical faults? In addition, electrical problems are the primary cause of residential fires in Western Australia.

Just following simple electrical safety tips can prevent many electrical fires. Our home electrical safety checklist below contains precautions you must heed. But above all, always consult an electrician if you are unsure about the safety of an outlet or appliance.

4 Main Causes of Electrical Fires

Watch out for these signs of hidden electrical problems. And if you’re ever in doubt, ask an electrician to check things out.

1. Faulty Wiring

If wires are not installed correctly or poorly designed, they can overheat and start a fire. Similarly, damaged cables, using the wrong type of wires for the job, and not-up-to-code wires can cause a fire.  

2. Overloaded Outlets

Overloaded outlets are also a top leading cause of house fires. When you overload an outlet, you put too much stress on the wiring. It causes the wires to overheat, breaking the insulation around them, and resulting in a fire.

The most straightforward way to avoid a fire caused by an overloaded outlet is not to overload it in the first place! Be cautious of how many devices you are plugging into an outlet.

If you need to plug in more than one device, use a power strip with built-in circuit protection. It prevents your outlets from becoming overloaded and potentially starting a fire.

3. Short Circuit

If there’s a loose connection in the electrical system, this can cause a spark. This spark can easily ignite a fire if there is anything flammable nearby. Second, a short circuit can cause an electrical surge. This surge can overload the circuits and cause them to catch fire. Finally, a short circuit can cause the wiring to overheat. It can cause the insulation to catch fire, and the fire can then spread to other parts of the building.

4. Leaving on Appliances That Generate Heat

Heaters are a leading cause of electric fires in Australia. With that in mind, leaving any heat-generating device, like an iron box, hair dryer, or coffee maker, unattended could easily cause a blaze. It’s important to keep these appliances away from flammable materials, like curtains or towels, and to unplug them when you’re not using them.

General Safety Tips to Prevent Electrical Fires

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if you have old and unsafe wiring because most electrical work is hidden behind the walls of your home. However, note that wiring issues are a major fire hazard.

Here are some electrical measures you should never overlook:

  • Do a monthly check of all electrical outlets and cords.
  • Check for damaged or frayed cords, and replace them immediately.
  • Never overload outlets or extension cords.
  • Be careful not to nail or staple electrical cords to walls or floors.
  • Never use electrical appliances near water.
  • Utilise surge protectors to provide a safe outlet for excess electrical energy.
  • Observe the appliance instructions in the manual.
  • If a device feels hot, unplug it and have it checked by a qualified electrician.
  • Avoid running cords under rugs or furniture.
  • Always unplug appliances after using them.
  • Never use an extension cord for more than three months.
  • Never leave a device charging for so long.
  • Use the correct chargers for your devices.
  • Use only light bulbs that are the correct wattage for the fixture.

And always remember all electrical installations and repairs must be installed by someone with the necessary training, skill, and experience to do the job safely.

Please educate your employees on electrical safety and measures to avoid electrical fires in the workplace. Business owners are also advised to create a fire safety plan for their workplace and to get insurance to cover their losses in case of a fire.

A Simple Electrical Maintenance Goes a Long Way in Preventing Fires

Lack of regular electrical maintenance can have serious consequences. Always ensure your electrical installations and equipment are safe. So contact us at Astley Electrical today if you’re experiencing flickering lights, buzzing outlets, or other electrical issues. Never ignore any electrical fault – it’s better to be safe than sorry!