4 Warning Signs Your Home Is In Danger Of An Electrical Fire

A whopping 51,000 home fires are ignited each year due to some kind of electrical failure, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI).

The good news? You can easily prevent electrical fires in your home. You just have to know what to look for.

You’ll know if your home is in danger of an electrical fire if you see (or smell) these signs:

  • Circuit breaker keeps tripping
  • Persisting burnt smell with no identifiable source
  • Several discolored or charred outlets and switches
  • You have old, outdated wiring

Let’s explain these in detail.

1) Circuit breaker keeps tripping

Your circuit breaker has one job: cut off the flow of electricity to your home to prevent overheating a circuit—and thus prevent an electrical fire.

So, if your circuit breaker keeps tripping, it’s trying to tell you something. It means one of these 3 things:

  1. Your appliances are pulling too much electricity on one circuit, causing an electrical overload)
  2. There’s a short circuit somewhere in an appliance or circuit wiring, which needs fixing by an electrician.
  3. The circuit breaker has gone bad

Learn more: Why Does My Circuit Breaker Keep Tripping?

DON’T keep resetting the breaker if it keeps tripping. At some point the breaker will give out and stop tripping. If the breaker does not trip, an electrical overload will overheat the wiring insulation and cause an electrical fire.

DO call an electrician to find the root of the problem.

Related: 2 Dangerous Circuit Breakers That Could Be Hiding in Your Home

2) Persisting burnt smell with no identifiable source

Do you smell a burnt smell in your home, but you can’t tell where it’s coming from? Chances are you have a short circuit, possibly caused by a loose connection or old, faulty wiring.

Short circuits are the main causes of home electrical wiring fires according to the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Closely related to the smell, you may also see...

3) Several discolored or charred outlets and switches

Loose connections or faulty wiring in your home causes arcing and sparking, resulting in a small fire that chars or discolors your outlet.

4) You have old, outdated wiring

Is your home 50+ years old and has never had the wiring updated? If so, you’re in danger of an electrical fire. Here’s why:

According to the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), many older homes with outdated wiring can’t handle the amperage (electrical load) needed for modern, energy-hungry home appliances. This electrical overload can cause the wiring to overheat and spark fires on surrounding materials.

If your home’s wiring is outdated, you’ll need to get an electrician to rewire your home.

Learn more: 4 Signs Your Florida House Needs Rewiring

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