July 16, 2019

How Do Electrical Fires Start In The Home?

Author:  Nick Celenza

Do you know it takes just 30 seconds for a small flame to turn into a major fire? Latest statistics in 2014 revealed to ministers by the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council, show 98 people across Australia perished in house fires.

Electrical fires may happen at any time because of problems in house wiring, an appliance failure or homeowners overloading electrical outlets and extension cords.

How Do Electrical Fires Start In The Home?

Overloaded sockets and leads

Electrical plug sockets, adapters and extension leads are all potential causes of a house fire. A power point which is overloaded can be especially dangerous as it may overheat. Plug in too many appliances then you could cause a short circuit which may spark a fire.

The same applies with an extension lead. If you exceed the maximum amp rating of that lead, it could become hot. Plugs with wires sticking out are not safe and should be thrown away.

Too many small appliances in a kitchen, all switched on at once, may result in a power surge. Too much current passing through a circuit breaker, should ‘trip’ to break the circuit, to prevent any damage.

A circuit breaker protects your home from an overload of current which could cause damage to your appliances, but far worse a fire. A breaker will need replacing – it’s your safety item to protect your circuit so check it regularly.

One which is over than thirty years old may be out of date.

How Do Electrical Fires Start In The Home?


Electrical appliances have become so much part of our everyday life, that we often forget that they can develop hidden faults which you don’t know about. The older it is, the more worn it may become.

The most common appliances to start an electrical fire are portable heaters, televisions, dryers and ovens. The old-fashioned small bar heaters can easily overturn. Never put anything on top of a heater, even when it is switched off.

Don’t leave anything electrical on at night unless it’s supposed to be left on like a freezer. Never use an appliance with a worn or frayed cord as it could send heat onto combustible surfaces like curtain and rugs.

How Do Electrical Fires Start In The Home?

Light fixtures and bulbs

Make sure you use the right wattage when you’re installing new light bulbs, exceed the recommended wattage and you could cause overheating. Choose an appropriate size shade for your lamp stand, if it’s too big, it may topple and falls and start a blaze.

Don’t place materials on top of lampshades and keep all clothing away from light bulbs as some materials are highly flammable.

Outdated wiring system

The arrival of computers, laptops, tablets and iPads mean many older homes may not have the wiring capacity to handle the increase in electrical appliances.

Each time we purchase a new one, we’re adding to our electrical circuit, unless we’re throwing old ones out. This over consumption could be potentially dangerous. If your house was built before the 1990s, it may not have enough wiring capacity to handle all your electrical goods.

Your breaker should trigger when circuits get overloaded with too much current, but outdated ones may no longer do their job correctly, causing an overload and potentially a fire.

If you want your house checked for any potential electricity hazards, make an appointment at PWA Electrical Services. All our electricians are fully qualified, and we offer services which are extremely affordable. Available across the whole of Perth, you can call us 24/7, so pick up the phone today.