On average there are around 3000 house fires in Victoria each year. Approximately a third of those are caused by electrical faults and building wiring problems in the home.
Electrical fires cause substantial damage and property loss annually across Australia, with many of these fires preventable.
To understand how to prevent electrical fires it’s important to uncover the cause of the electrical fault – was it a result of outdated wiring, defective manufacture, or non-compliant installation?
Inferior electrical connections including old, outdated or deteriorated wiring, especially in homes over 20 years of age are common causes of house fires.
Detecting any underlying electrical issues by having your house wiring checked will help prevent the risk of a house fire ensuring the safety of you and your family, and your property.
Is the wiring in my home safe?
Homes 20 years or older are more likely to have potential electrical hazards occur as the complete wiring structure may not have been inspected for some time and could show signs of deterioration, including not complying with current standards and regulations.
There is risk of wiring damage even in new homes. With an increased number of electrical appliances running in Australian homes it is crucial the building’s electrical system be able to withstand the increased demand on power.
Speak with your electrician about reviewing the wiring in your home. Seek their recommendations for preventing electrical fires, including checking faulty switches and power outlets.
Common electrical wiring faults
- Inferior, defective or outdated wiring can corrode or commonly become loose in outlets and switches causing overloading, breaks, or the entire electrical system trips out frequently or to blow fuses.
- Faulty switches and outlets, worn, defective or corroded electrical connections from sources such as a light switch, a power-point or electrical appliances.
If you notice a warning sign it usually indicates a serious and potentially hazardous problem; signs could include;
- Regularly tripping breakers or blowing fuses
- Dimming or flickering lights
- Hot or discoloured switch plates, cords, or plugs
- Light bulbs burning out in a socket
- Loose outlets
- Unusual buzzing or sizzling sounds or a burning smell
- Arcs or sparks from an outlet when you plug or unplug a cord
- Cracked or broken insulation
- Electrical shocks when you plug in or touch a cord
Other reasons to check the wiring
An expert electrical system inspection is advised periodically even if there are no obvious faults or warning signs the wiring could be defective.
It is recommended the following areas require an inspection from a qualified electrical contractor.
- Your property was built 40+ years ago
- Recent home renovations or addition of major new appliances potentially adding large power loads
- The house is not earthed with old outlets
- Heavy use of extension cords
- Outdated rubber, fabric coated cabling as modern wiring is PVC coated, coloured grey or white, and twin-earthed.
How can my electrician help?
Talk to your certified electrical contractor as they are fully trained to conduct electrical inspections on your property using testing equipment to identify any potential wiring issues and they will recommend installation of new wiring if required.
They may also recommend the installation of safety switches or if your home is older, a completely new switchboard.
Fires are preventable, and in the case of keeping you and your family safe, the first step is to check the current wiring in your home.
When we complete a job at your property, we will issue a certificate of electrical safety assuring our work complies with Australian standards and regulations.
Call us 03 5245 7727, or email [email protected] to chat about how we can help you safeguard your home.