Electrical Shorts Causing Fire Damage To HomePosted April 20, 2015
Fire causes can either be natural, accidental or incendiary. Accidental fires are mainly caused by electricity. However, electricity is also involved in natural and incendiary causes of fire. The following article discusses ways in which a fire in your home can be caused by electricity shorts.
What Causes Fire?
In order to initiate a fire, you need fuel, oxygen and heat. These elements should be present at the simultaneously. Furthermore, fuel should be set in a manner that allows the source of heat to cause an oxidation reaction. Electricity is crucial in this process when it acts as the source of heat.
There are two kinds of short circuits; limited short circuits and dead short circuits. A limited short circuit is where wires contact each other leaving a small room for current to flow. This creates a flash or spark and causes the wiring’s copper to melt. This situation may lead to ignition of combustibles. However, combustibles can only be ignited if the combustible’s mass is small enough allowing the heat source (electricity) to reach the ignition temperature and cause a fire. Solid combustibles like plastic, wood and paper are hard to ignite. The substances that are easy to ignite are wood chips, sawdust, cotton products and combustible gases.
A dead short circuit is where a live wire gets in contact with a ground wire energizing the circuit or when positive and negative contacts touch each other in a direct current circuit. In a well fused circuit, the fuse will blow and then the circuit will be de-energized. This situation does not cause a fire. In cases where the circuit has not been properly fused, the current will continue passing through the wires and cause them to overheat. This situation will ignite any combustibles that are nearby causing a fire.
How to Avoid Short Circuits
• Ensure you buy electrical products that have a CSA certification seal this guarantees that the appliance is safe to use.
• Unplug the electronics that you are not using.
• Examine your power cables and look for cracks. The most common spot for short circuits is where the cord enters in to the plug.
• Make sure your electricity outlets are grounded
• Upgrade your electrical wiring to prevent potential problems
• Hire a home energy auditor to assess your house and ensure the standards for
wiring are followed and that your home is energy efficient, safe and comfortable. A home energy audit also helps you to determine what electrical appliance is a hazard to your home.
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