Avoid Electrical Fires

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 40,000 residential fires and $2 billion in personal property damage are directly attributed to problems with electrical wiring systems each year.

A survey of more than 2,000 homes inspected in North America found electrical problems in more than 30 percent overall, with that number rising to almost 50 percent in homes more than 30 years old.

Electrical usage in homes has greatly increased over the years, with more general and major appliances being used.

Electrical Issues In The Home

  • Main Electrical Service

    All homes should have a minimum 100 amp, with larger homes having a 200 amp service. Older homes usually have a 60 amp service with fuses for main and branch wiring. Changing a blown fuse with the wrong amp rating can cause branch electrical wiring to overheat, causing a fire. A tripped circuit breaker only needs to be reset. Upgrading your electrical service from fuses to circuit breakers greatly decreases chance of electrical fires.
  • Branch Wiring

    Older homes were wired with 14 gauge knob and tube wire with one circuit feeding each floor of the house. Electrical connections for wiring to receptacles and lights were made with a solder joint connection, located in the floor. Over a period of time or from heavy electrical usage the solder joint becomes loose, thus power is lost to receptacles or lights. Knob and tube wiring in basement usually has open splices, with exposed electrical connections. Replacing knob and tube wiring with romex wire greatly decreases risk of fire or electrical problems and provides a grounded circuit for electrical devices, thus reducing the chance of electrocution. Major appliances such as room air conditioners should be installed on a separate circuit to prevent overloads.
  • Electrical Receptacles

    All duplex wall receptacles should be three-prong type to avoid electrocution. Receptacles located around water, such as bathroom, kitchen counter should be Ground fault Interrupter type receptacles. All receptacles in bedrooms should be protected by arc fault circuit breakers. A sufficient amount of receptacles should be located in each room, elimating the use of extension cords.
  • Smoke & CO2 Detectors

    Smoke detectors should be located in all bedrooms and first and second floor hallways. A CO2 detector should be located at the gas or oil furnace.