At Amp’d Electrical Services, we are always working with our clients to prevent electrical problems in advance. The same goes for electrical fire causes. Read through our helpful guide to reduce the risk of electrical fires in your home and work environments this year.
There are three main types of electrical fire causes: natural, accidental, and incendiary. Often, electricity plays a part in accidental fires, but it can also contribute to natural fires and incendiary fires. For this reason, it’s important to be aware of how to avoid electrical fires.
For a fire to ignite, three elements must exist, oxygen, fuel, and heat. Electricity often provides the heat factor in a fire incident.
Two types of short circuits exist, a limited short circuit and a dead short circuit. In the instance of a limited short circuit, the electrical current flows through a too small volume of material, causing a spark or flash. This will melt the copper wiring, showing characteristic beading as evidence. This process can ignite any combustibles nearby, although it is more challenging to ignite solid, concentrated combustibles including wood, plastics, and paper this way. Easily ignitable materials include wood chips, sawdust, cotton, and gasses.
Dead short circuits occur as a live electrical wire connects to a common or ground wire or if the positive and negative wires connect in a DC circuit. In a correctly wired box, the fuse will blow and the circuit will de-energize. This situation will not produce enough heat to ignite nearby combustibles. If, however, the circuit is fused incorrectly, the electrical current may continue to pass through the wiring, causing overheating, which may lead to fire ignition.
The high electrical current flowing through wires may overload a circuit. This may not be an issue, but if the excess heat created cannot dissipate in the small confined space such as through floor joists, the heat generated may ignite the surrounding combustibles.
Occurring when electricity is exposed to water over time, leakage current builds as the salts in water begin to form an arc or carbon bridge. As the current’s charge increases, heat increases thus the potential for ignition of surrounding combustibles.
Every time an electrical contact is closed or opened, there is a small spark, causing degradation of the surface. If an electrical contact fails closed, welding together, this could result in uncontrolled heating, thus ignition of a fire.
If a combustible gas/air mixture is present, it only takes a spark to ignite it causing a massive explosion. In environments with expected gaseous mixtures, install specially designed contacts and switches, found in Building and Fire Codes.
If you notice anything strange about your electrical system, do not hesitate to contact the team at Amp’d Electrical Services. Prevent electrical fire causes with a thorough electrical system inspection by our highly skilled, licensed, and insured electrician team of electricians. We will make sure your home and buildings are up to code and safe. Call us today!