The 4 Most Common Causes Of Electrical Fires

Fire is dangerous. Despite the need for smoke alarms in all houses and advancements in fire prevention and fighting technology, there are still more than 50 deaths per year due to house fires. Even one death is one too many.

Unfortunately, many of these house fires are avoidable. The most common cause is electrical, a simple annual inspection by a qualified Sydney electrician like, can help to ensure your electrics are safe and drastically reduce the risk of a fire. 

However, sometimes it isn’t the electrics at fault, it is the human element. That’s why you need to know the 4 most common causes of electrical fires, it will help you to avoid these scenarios.

1. Faulty Sockets & Wiring

Unsurprisingly the biggest issue is faulty sockets and old wiring. As your electrical system ages, the wiring will start to deteriorate. Electricity is carried in metal wires which are encased in protective PVC. This prevents the wires from touching and sparking to cause a fire.

This protective coating naturally deteriorates over time, allowing the wires to be exposed. The casing can also be damaged by being pinched in the walls or by being eaten by rodents and other pests. 

This results in bad wiring that can cause a fire. 

Equally, sockets can become damaged through use. The constant plugging and unplugging of appliances can damage the internal components, allowing them to work loose and come into contact with each other. 

2. Bad Connections In Lights

In a similar way, light connections can be damaged. Although this is less likely at the switch the bulb end is under a lot of stress and has to deal with the heat from the light bulb. If you are using conventional bulbs the heat generated can be significant, encouraging the protective coating to melt or even the plastic encasing the connections to be damaged and allow a fire to start.

The hot light bulb combined with a spark on something flammable can be enough to get a fire started and cause serious damage inside your home. Don’t forget the fire can often spread through the ceiling voids. 

3. Heaters

Portable heaters are sometimes the most practical option when trying to stay warm in the cooler months. However, you should never leave a portable heater unattended. If it is left too close to soft furnishings it can quickly set them on fire and give you a problem.  

Equally, the heater can be accidentally knocked over by a child or a pet, allowing the heat to come into contact with a carpet and start a fire. You may be surprised at how fast this type of fire can spread. 

4. Overloading

Overloading circuits is a recipe for disaster. Every circuit should have a breaker that dictates how much power the circuit can handle. But, this assumes the wiring is at least the same rating. If it isn’t the circuit breaker may not trip but the protective sheath of the wiring will melt as it is overloading. Again, this will allow the live wire to spark with the neutral and cause a fire. 

Even extension cords can cause an issue, especially if they are left coiled. This encourages the heat to build up and a fire to start.