When you envision residential electrical fires, it might be easy to think of winter-time activities, like pulling out space heaters, electric blankets, and Christmas lights. However, fires can occur at any time of year, including the summer. With over 51,000 home electrical fires each year, it’s important to be aware of common contributors to electrical fires, so you can take appropriate measures to stay safe this summer.
7 Common Causes of Electrical Fires During the Summer
According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 2015 – 2019 fire departments responded to over 46,000 home fires that were a result of electrical failure or malfunctions. Common electrical issues can include:
- Overloading your system with cooling appliances like fans and swamp coolers
- Old wiring leading to arc faults
- Faulty outlets
- Over-crowding plugs
- Damaged or frayed power cords
- Outdated appliances
- Lights that are too high of a wattage for the lamp
What Is an Arc Fault?
An arc fault is an unintentional electrical connection between two points in a circuit that can cause high currents and generate heat. It can occur when insulation on wires or cords are worn, damaged, or frayed due to age or wear-and-tear. This causes wires to come into contact with each other or other metal components of the circuit, creating an unintended path for electricity to flow through.
Arc faults create sparks that have the potential to ignite combustible materials like wood, paper, cardboard, and furniture—often going undetected until they cause a fire.
An arc fault is more likely to occur in a home with older wiring or insulation or when a wire is accidentally pierced when a picture is being hung. One of the best ways to prevent an electrical fire caused by an arc fault is to install arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) throughout your home.
How to Encourage Electrical Safety this Summer
As summer months are in full swing, it’s important to be aware of potential electrical hazards and take precautions to ensure electrical safety. Here are some tips to promote electrical safety in the summer:
- Do not overload extension cords by plugging too many devices into them at once
- Use surge protectors to help prevent overloading circuits and the risk of an arc fault
- Make sure you have properly grounded outlets in your home, especially near wet areas
- Install childproof covers on all outlets
- Avoid running electrical cables under carpets, rugs, or furniture
- Don’t leave appliances plugged in when not in use or overnight
- Have a certified electrician inspect your wiring every year for potential hazards
At Lightning Bug Electric, we take pride in not only providing exceptional electrical services but also in providing high-quality home safety solutions to ensure you feel confident and safe powering your home, no matter the season.
If you live in Murietta or any of the surrounding areas and looking to improve your electrical safety, give our technicians a call at (404) 471-3847 or fill out our online contact form today.