Electrical fires are a home hazard that can occur at a moment's notice, and for a variety of different reasons. Understanding the most common sources of electrical fires, and the warning signs that point to a risk of a fire occurring, can help you identify and deal with the problem before it turns into a serious safety hazard.
Wiring in Poor Condition
Wiring that has become damaged, or that is extremely old and thus not up to modern safety standards, is one of the most common sources of residential electrical fires. Thankfully, it is also one of the easiest electrical problems to identify in your home. Wiring that has aged or that is in poor condition will manifest itself in poor electrical performance in your home, such as constantly tripping fuses and lights that flicker when other appliances come on. If you notice either of these two things occurring, you should get into contact with an electrician to closely examine your home's wiring to identify any problems that may exist.
Damaged Outlets and Plugs
Damaged outlets and plugs are another extremely common cause of electrical fires. Outlets that have been physically broken and have any sort of exposed element or wiring should be replaced immediately by a professional, as they risk igniting anything that comes into contact with them. Further, you should regularly inspect the plugs of your appliances for signs of fraying or damage. This can happen naturally over time, be caused by rodent infestations, or simply by accidental physical trauma that goes unnoticed. Whatever the cause, frayed plugs pose the same risk of electrical fire to your home as poor wiring in the walls do and should be replaced as soon as possible.
Indoor Use of Extension Cords
The use of extension cords within your home can increase the risk of an electrical fire occurring, though not to the same extent as either of the two above issues. This is because extension cord use, especially if multiple cords are being used, can greatly increase the strain that is placed on your home's electrical system, which in turn makes sparking and tripped breakers much more likely. If you absolutely have to make use of extension cords within your home, only do so as a temporary measure, and contact a professional electrician to come in and install additional electrical outlets that are up to safety standards as soon as possible.