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Homes across America see over 51,000 electrical fires each year, according to recent statistics. These fires are devastating to homes and cause an average of 1,400 injuries and as many as 500 deaths. 

Electrical fires are preventable. Learn about the risks in your home and make proper changes to minimize the risk of having an electrical fire.: 

Faulty Outlets & Appliances

Most electrical fires start because of faulty outlets or damaged appliances. Exposed wires, damaged cords, and misconnected circuits can spark easily.

Contact a professional electrician if you think you have a faulty outlet, and be sure to dispose of any damaged appliances.

No GFCI Outlets

a white GFCI outlet with a plug in it

A GFCI outlet is a ground fault circuit interrupter. It breaks a circuit anytime there’s an imbalance between the incoming and outgoing currents. It protects electrical components from overheating. Without GFCI outlets, there is an increased risk of an electrical fire.

GFCI outlets are important in any location that is close to water, such as in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms. 

Contact a professional electrician about getting GFCI outlets installed in your home. 

Older Appliances

Older appliances are not equipped with today’s safety features, and their wiring can be unreliable. Frayed, loose, and faulty wiring leaves them more susceptible to an electrical fire.

Replace your older appliances with newer, more energy-efficient ones to reduce your risk of an electrical fire. 

Outdated Wiring

a wiring system with black cords

Outdated wiring systems in homes, such as knob and tube wiring, can be extremely dangerous. Knob and tube wiring consists of ceramic knobs and black tubes that hold copper wiring. It is not grounded and leaves your home at risk of fire. 

Have a licensed electrician inspect, update, and replace your home’s electrical system as soon as possible. DIY methods leave you at risk for electrocution, so leave it to the professionals.


Overlamping occurs when you use bulbs with a higher wattage than recommended by a lamp’s manufacturer. It can cause the wires in the lamp to melt and lead to an electrical fire.

Check the recommended wattage on a lighting fixture before using a bulb. Always use a bulb at or below the recommended level. 

Overloaded Circuits

a lot of plugs in a bunch of outlets

When you exceed how much electricity your home’s circuit can handle, you can overload your home’s circuit. When this happens, your circuit can overheat and cause a fire. 

Unplug electronics when they’re not in use to conserve electricity. A whole-home surge protector can prevent fires should your circuit become overloaded. 

Overused Extension Cords & Power Strips

Extension cords and power strips are dangerous when overused. Only use extension cords for temporary situations. Never use all the spaces on a power strip at once, and aim to plug most of your appliances directly into outlets. If you don’t have appropriate outlets in your home, hire an electrician to install them. 

Space Heaters

a space heater next to a couch

Space heaters are small electric heating devices designed to warm up small areas. Space heaters with exposed coils can cause fires when placed near flammable objects and left on for too long.

Only use coil heaters for short periods and away from flammable materials, or swap your coil heater for radiator heaters, which are safer to use long-term. 

Final Thoughts

Electrical fires are very common, accounting for about 6.3 percent of all residential fires. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent these disasters in your Richmond home. Follow the tips above, and contact U.S. Electric for an inspection today. Our professionals deliver high-quality, prompt, and dependable services for all of your electrical needs.