5 Causes of Electrical Fires

How do electrical fires start in the first place? Even if you diligently follow fire safety tips, it’s still possible that an electrical fire might break out in your home for reasons you may not have considered. If you want to learn more about what causes electrical fires to improve the fire safety of your home, here are five potential hazards you should look out for.


If you notice one of your appliances has a cord that’s heavily worn or frayed, then you shouldn’t use it anymore unless it can be repaired. Frayed cords from old appliances can generate high levels of heat that can set rugs and other combustible objects ablaze. In addition, they may no longer meet safety standards and might even malfunction in certain conditions, so make sure that your refrigerators, stoves, and other appliances aren’t ignored.


What causes electrical fires can sometimes be tied to the passage of time. Because families are using more electronics and appliances than they were in years past, the wiring capacity of old homes may no longer be capable of handling their electrical needs — which can eventually lead to overheating that can start a fire. Additionally, the coating can break down over time and the wiring itself can also loosen, making it more prone to catching fire. If your home is more than 20 or so decades old and you’re concerned the wiring isn’t sufficient, ensure that it matches an appropriate circuit amperage and check for any damage that might be a hazard.

Circuit Breakers

Circuit breakers are an essential component of your home’s electrical system, as they protect the circuit from being damaged by shutting off power. However, if your breaker box is old and has dysfunctional connectors, it can overload and start a fire. This means that homeowners should check on their circuit breakers every now and then to ensure it is up-to-date.

Extension Cords

While extension cords on their own aren’t what causes electrical fires, they can become problematic when misused. Plugging a large appliance or an excessive number of devices into the same cord at once can put a lot of strain on the power socket. Because it wasn’t intended to handle that much, it can result in a fire. It’s also worth noting that extension cords that have been kinked can create more heat and melt away the insulation, so be sure they are always safely stored.

Light Fixtures

It’s important to understand that faulty or outdated appliances aren’t always what causes electrical fires — in some circumstances, they can be started by something brand new. This is the case for light bulbs, as inserting one that has too high of wattage can overload your lamp or ceiling light and cause a fire. This happens to be one of the leading causes of electrical fires, so double-check that your new light bulbs are an appropriate wattage before you use them.

Light fixtures can also cause a fire if you accidentally leave a flammable object like cloth or paper on top of the bulb. The heat of the light bulb can eventually ignite the material, so ensure that nothing is left too close to them.

If You Ever Experience an Electrical Fire, ServiceMaster Restore Will Be There to Help

In the event your home or business is harmed by an electrical fire, reach out to our fire and smoke damage removal services. ServiceMaster Restore will help return your property to normal following a serious accident or emergency and can help with fixing water damage, removing mold, and more. For information on our restoration services and to schedule a service, call ServiceMaster Restore today.

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