Electrical Fires 101: Top 6 Causes & How to Prevent Them


Electrical fires are one of the worst catastrophes a homeowner can experience. Every year, over 51,000 fires are caused by electrical problems in the US alone. These lead to nearly five hundred deaths, almost 1500 injuries, and more than $1.3 billion in property damages.

Considering the destructive potential of these fires, it’s no surprise that Americans are strongly advised to keep a close eye on their electrical systems, and to leave any repairs to a qualified electrician in Fort Collins, CO, rather than attempt to tackle these issues on their own.

But how do electrical fires occur? What are the 6 telltale signs that your property is at risk of an electrical fire? What can you do to prevent these fires from occurring? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions.

What are the common causes of electrical fires?

Although electrical fires are scarily common, they’re also largely preventable. Knowing what warning signs to look for can go a long way toward helping you identify the possible source of an electrical fire and addressing the problem long before the actual fire can appear.

Always be on the lookout for these 6 common causes of electrical fires:

1. Improper appliance setup

Appliances can vary widely in their needs and the amount of strain they put on your electrical system. Some even need a voltage regulator and shouldn’t be plugged directly into an outlet. Failing to follow the correct procedures can damage the appliance and lead to an electrical fire. To be on the safe side, always have your new appliances installed by a seasoned electrician.

2. Overloaded extension cords

Every extension cord has a maximum capacity. Exceeding this capacity by plugging multiple power-hungry appliances into the extension cord can result in the cord malfunctioning and catching on fire, so make sure you’re not unknowingly overloading your extension cords. Likewise, old extension cords that are damaged or have exposed wiring are a serious fire hazard and should be replaced with newer models.

3. Worn or frayed cords

Damaged power cords and exposed wiring of any kind can generate dangerous levels of heat. This can cause nearby surfaces such as curtains and rugs to catch on fire. If you detect this problem in your home, you should either have the cords replaced or call in an electrician to fix them (if possible).

4. Improper light bulbs

Never install a higher wattage bulb into light fixtures or lamps that are rated for lower wattages. Doing so may overload the lamp and cause the socket to catch on fire.

5. Keep flammable materials away from light fixtures

Putting paper or cloth over a lampshade, or keeping a hot light bulb close to curtains or other light, dry materials is a disaster waiting to happen. Always make sure there’s enough clearance between light sources and any flammable materials nearby.

6. Old electrical systems

As with most other technologies, electrical systems of old weren’t as dependable as their modern counterparts are. Because of this, old homes that have never been rewired or weren’t wired during the past couple of decades are at an increased risk of an electrical fire.

Where can I hire a reliable electrician in Fort Collins, CO, and the nearby area?

Handyman Connection of Fort Collins is your one-stop-shop for all your handyman needs. Our crew includes highly experienced electricians, plumbers, carpenters, construction workers, and other experts from a variety of different trades.

Whether your home is situated right at the heart of the city or out near the Poudre River Whitewater Park, you can trust our technicians to quickly arrive at your place and perform the necessary tasks with utmost care and professionalism. Contact us today!