How does bad wiring cause fire?

Electrical_Recept020-DFsBad wiring causes fires and in many cases people lose their most valuable asset because they ignored the safety of the electrical systems in their house. The easiest step you can take in reducing the risk of electrical fires, is to avoid overloading your home’s electrical circuits. 
Each circuit in your home is only designed to deliver so much electricity, and stressing these circuits by drawing too much power can cause the wires to spark or deteriorate.
Replace any old wiring in your home. Electrical wiring only has a lifespan of about 30 or 40 years, so homes older than that may be relying on deteriorated wiring. In addition, older wiring setups were not typically designed to handle today’s large electrical loads. If you are relying heavily on extension cords or if your circuit breakers trip regularly, you are likely drawing more power than your old wiring can handle.

  • Older homes may contain old compound wiring, which poses a more significant risk of degrading and causing fires than copper wiring.
  • Having Watts Up replace all or most of your home’s wiring will provide a virtual guarantee against electrical fire
  • If your home is very old, it may have very few circuits, as plug-in appliances and equipment were not as numerous when the home was built. An effective measure to reduce stress on each circuit is to have an electrician from Watts Up come to you and run new wiring and install new circuit breakers on your electrical panel.

There are several ways a fire can start:

  • Loose connection under heavy load. This raises resistance, which has the effect of raising the voltage beyond the rating of the wire. I have seen 3 pin plug sockets catch fire because of this.
  • Shorts. Many causes here, but a short is, in effect, arc welding. As you can imagine, this is very hot and fires can start quickly in old wooden houses.
  • Too much load on the circuit. Usually, this is a “home fix” problem, where somebody puts in a circuit breaker rated to more amps than the wire gauge amp rating. The wire is being asked to carry more power (watts) than it should, which can cause the wire to heat up. If the overload is bad enough, the heat will catch the insulation on fire.
  • Poor grounding can cause fires. It tends to be less of a direct fire issue than a real safety problem. Poor or no grounding can kill by electrocution in cases where your body becomes the best path back to the box or earth.
  • Wiring in poor condition or with inappropriate fusing may cause fire where the fuse does not ‘blow’ in time to prevent excessive heat buildup, and ignite surrounding materials.
  • The heat generated by lamps and heating elements too close to flammable materials is another major cause.

If you are worried about the wiring in your house, or you have had a small fire recently, or you have a home which has had renovations and electrical work done of an unknown standard, don’t hesitate to contact Watts Up Electrical. You could also try our quick test Watts Up Electrical Home Safety Test .

Older houses need tender loving care, and their hidden electrical wiring is no different. As a house ages, wiring can wear out for many reasons and, as such, should be inspected by a qualified electrician every so often. Five of the most important electrical wiring warning signs are breakers or fuses that go out regularly; dimming and flickering lights; buzzing, charred, or discolored outlets or switches; an unexplained burning smell; or outlets and switches that give mild to severe electrical shocks when using them. These common signs should be learned and checked for regularly to ensure that a house has an electrical system that is functioning normally.
Have an electrician inspect your home’s wiring as soon as possible.Dan and the team will be happy to answer your questions or organise a site visit to evaluate the wiring in your house. Don’t take the chance with your biggest asset. Get a qualified electrician to check your place now. To find out more about Dan Jackman and the team at Watts Up click here.

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