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Electrical Fires – Everything You Need To Know

Knowing how to handle electrical fires and detect if there could be one is extremely important. Fires originating from electrical wires, electrical outlets and other electrical equipment can easily be avoided. Knowing what to do when the fire starts and how to control it is also important. Here at The Local Electrician, we understand the main reasons why an electrical fire often starts within a home.  

The common causes of electrical fires are from faulty and damaged outlets, lights, extension cords and wires. Cutting off the electricity and using a fire extinguisher suitable for electrical fires will help put out the fires. To identify if an electrical fire may happen, inspect for discoloured outlets, burning smells, outdated wiring and tripping circuit breakers.

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Top Causes for Electrical Fires

There are many reasons which can cause an electrical system to start a fire. The main issues or situations which are likely to cause an electrical fire are:

  • Faulty Appliances and Outlets – faulty and old appliances and outlets will commonly cause the fire to happen. Faulty appliance cords and switches are also likely to catch fire if there are any electrical issues. Frayed, worn or damaged cords can heat up adjacent surfaces which can easily start fires. 
  • Light Fixtures – installing a light bulb with a wattage which is too high for light fixtures or lamps can be dangerous. The maximum recommended bulb wattage should be checked before installing a light bulb into the fixture. Incorrect wattage can have the appliance or fixture work too hard, overload and might spark a flame. Also, covering lighting fixtures with cloth or other materials might have them heat up.
  • Extension Cords – incorrectly using extension cords is an issue which will cause electrical fires. Plugging an appliance into extension cords should be a temporary occurrence. Using an outlet is safer as the appliance can run continuously on power. Extension cords can overheat due to overworking which will lead to them causing the electrical fire. 
  • Portable and Space Heaters – when people place the heater close to clothing, beds, curtains, clothes, rugs and other materials which are combustible this increases the chance of an electrical fire. It is important to place the heater away from these materials to limit the chance the heater will cause them to ignite. 
  • Old Wiring Systems – wiring systems older than 20 years are more likely to be faulty. This means that they might not have the wiring capacity to handle the amount of power needed today. They can easily overheat in the wiring system to the power board and should be replaced.

How to Stop an Electrical Fire

To put out an electrical fire there are needed steps and tools to apply to ensure the situation is safe. When an electrical appliance, fixture or system starts to ignite in flames here are the steps and precautions to take:

  • Cut off the electricity supply if it is safe. This can be through the powerpoint and more importantly taking the cord out of the outlet. 
  • Limit the amount of oxygen which the flame can be exposed to. This can be from a fire-proof blanket to a heavy blanket. This will help with preventing the fire from expanding. Ensure to not accidentally place on the flames a combustible material. 
  • It is important to not pour water at all when it is an electrical fire. The water is a conductor of electricity which will mean it will only make the situation worse. Water might also create more flames as it travels through the wiring system. 
  • Use a fire extinguisher which is of Class C as it is built to combat electrical fires. The solution will fight the fire successfully as they are non-conductors of electricity. 

When there is no access to a fire extinguisher or electrical safety equipment ensure to quickly leave the place. Close the door to the room if possible and call for emergency services.

Signs of an Electrical Fire

There are many signs to look out for that may indicate that an electrical fire might happen. It is important to detect these early to ensure that the issues are resolved to prevent the fire. 

  • Tripping Circuit Breaker – a circuit breaker is what will help shut off electrical power when surges are identities. When the cut off occurs frequently there is often an issue which might lead to a fire. Appliances might be using too much power, there is a short or the circuit is defective could be the issues. 
  • Burning Smells – from old wiring, short circuits to loose connections, burning smells might suddenly happen. When this occurs it might be behind the wall to wires from appliances. 
  • Discoloured Outlets – the outlets might be discoloured which can indicate that they are faulty. Sparks might be created when an appliance is plugged into it as well. These issues with the outlets can be an early sign that a potential electrical fire might occur. 
  • Outdated Wiring – when the wiring system of the home is older than 20 years and specifically over 50 years this can be an issue. The older the wiring system the more likely that it would not be able to handle the power levels of today. These are more likely to experience further problems which can lead to fires. 

For more information on the dangers of old electrical wiring, read our blog for a more detailed insight.

Reliable Emergency Electrician Services

When needing an Emergency Electrician to work on resolving electrical defects The Local Electrician is here to help. From electrical repairs to safety electrical inspections, we are able to prevent electrical fires. This is through ensuring that the systems are safe, healthy and fit to be working in the home.

Our team is here to work across all of Sydney, including the Inner West, Sutherland Shire and Eastern Suburbs. We also offer reliable Level 2 Electrician where our fully qualified electricians will undergo ore advanced work.


For trusted emergency electricians to work to prevent and detect electrical fires – contact The Local Electrician on 0439 823 190!

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Our skilled electricians are qualified to carry out any electrical repair or installation within Sydney. We strive to deliver absolute customer satisfaction by offering electrical services that are affordable, safe and long lasting.

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