How Do Electrical Fires Start?

Electric cables with sparks

Electrical fires cause nearly one billion dollars in property damage every year, creating deadly circumstances in both homes and businesses. But how do electrical fires start, and how do you put out an electrical fire? Safety is of utmost importance when it comes to working with wires, cables, and other technological components, so prepare your workspace with these tips on how to stop an electrical fire. 

What Causes Electrical Fires? 

An electrical fire is caused by a failure within an electrical component, such as a circuit breaker or electrical panel. If these systems get overloaded with too many connections, the excess energy creates a surge of heat, resulting in an electrical fire. Circuit breakers are designed to evenly distribute power throughout its system, but pushing a panel to its limits could result in dangerous consequences. 

Beyond overloading an electrical panel, there are several other ways to start an electrical fire: 

  • Neglecting maintenance: Just like with any machinery or technology, your electrical system needs regular checks to ensure it’s operating properly. Maintenance can include anything from visual inspecting wires and cables for kinks or frays, as well as replacing faulty equipment when necessary. 
  • Using old equipment: Outdated equipment, appliances, and components are one of the biggest culprits in starting electrical fires, contributing to nearly 13% of all residential electrical fires.
  • Safety code adherence: Safety codes are constantly changing to account for improvements in voltage, coating, and amperage recommendations. Failure to adhere to updated safety codes could not only result in an electrical fire, but also costly fines.

How to Put Out an Electrical Fire

If you’re looking for how to stop an electrical fire, do not use water. Throwing water on an electrical fire will not extinguish the flames and will in fact make the situation worse. Water conducts electricity and increases the risk for electrical shock for both you and anyone in the surrounding area. 

The best way to put out an electrical fire is to use a fire extinguisher. Fire extinguishers are rated for different types of fires, so check to ensure you have a Class C-rated extinguisher on hand. The chemical makeup inside will be able to properly extinguish an electrical fire. Point the nozzle directly at the fire and spray until extinguished. 

Keep Your Electrical System Up to Date With Gateway Cable Company

A smart way to avoid electrical fires is to replace vital components once they’ve reached the end of their lifespan. Gateway Cable Company can help get you the materials you need; get started when you request a quote today!