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Your home is your castle and it’s hard to imagine anything big enough to threaten its sturdy walls. As any residential electrician knows too well, a fire is one thing that can take a house from its perfect condition to a pile of rubble in just a few short hours.

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), “Home electrical fires account for an estimated 51,000 fires each year, nearly than 500 deaths, more than 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property damage.”

These fires aren’t caused by arson or someone playing with fireworks in the living room, but rather by the electrical wiring, devices, and appliances that exist in every home in the United States. There’s also a little bit of user error and bad judgment mixed in.

Learn the common causes of electrical fires so that you can identify risk in your own home, and determine whether you need to call a Delta Electrical residential electrician for help.

Faulty Outlets

Outlets that haven’t been installed correctly or well-maintained are at the root of many residential electrical fires. Even worse is the fact that we often have old, outdated appliances plugged into these faulty outlets, drastically increasing the chances that a malfunction will occur. If cords, receptacles, or switches can’t handle the power surging through them, it could result in a spark that ignites surrounding curtains, carpet, upholstery and more.

Incorrect Light Bulbs

How much attention do you pay to the wattage of the light bulbs that you buy? Most people aren’t really sure what the difference is between 35, 45, 65, or 100 watt bulbs; they assume that more is better. However, not every light fixture is designed to handle a 100-watt bulb. Before installing a bulb, make sure to check the lamp to see what the maximum recommended wattage happens to be.

Misuse Of Extension Cords/Outlet Expanders

We’ve all done it. Frustrated by the fact that there’s only one outlet on the wall where we want to set up an entertainment center, we utilize multiple extension cords or outlet expanders to create a way to plug everything in. This is a very dangerous practice, however, and often leads to electrical fires.

“Appliances should be plugged directly into the outlet and not plugged into an extension cord for any length of time. Only use extension cords as a temporary measure,” advises Fire Rescue 1. If you don’t like the number or placement of outlets in your home, it’s best to call a residential electrician to discuss the ways in which your outlets can safely be expanded.

Removing The Grounding Plug

If you live in an older house, your outlets might only have room for two-pronged plugs. Many large and newer appliances, including laptop charging cords, have three prongs. Some people don’t like being limited to what they can plug in at home, so they use a pair of pliers to remove the third prong. This is very dangerous! The grounding prong is meant to ensure that these items are only plugged into an outlet that can handle their high energy draw. Removing puts you at serious risk for an electrical fire.

Don’t live in a dangerous house that could burn down at any minute! Contact the residential electricians at Delta Electrical to ensure that your outlets, wiring, and appliances are up to code and safe to use.