What Causes Electrical Fires?

Electricity is a major cause of accidental fires in UK homes, the exact figure is 20,000 each year. Understanding the risks and causes of electrical fires is the best way to protect your family. 9/10 (89%) electrical fires are caused by electric products. To prevent this from happening in your home we have listed some of the most common ways electrical fires can start in your home. 

Old Appliances

Old Appliances

Having older appliances in your home may suit the look you are going for, but they are probably not safe to use. Older appliances are not up to modern standards when it comes to the materials used, how they are constructed and are updated when it comes to safety regulations. Outdated appliances are also more likely to have frayed cords, loose wiring or leaking batteries all of which can cause issues. 


You should inspect all of your appliances regularly for signs of electrical damage. Any of your appliances that are making strange noises or produce a burning smell should be inspected and replaced with a new model which follows current safety standards. 

Electrical Circuit Overloads

Electric Overload

Plugging in too many cords into a single power source will always lead to a disaster. You should always avoid using a single extension cord to power multiple appliances and electronics at once. This can lead to overloading the circuit which will result in it wearing out the system and will therefore potentially cause a fire. 

Instead of relying on extension cords you could try using multiple outlets and ensuring your appliances have a dedicated circuit. If you do not have enough outlets in your home you can hire an electrician to install more.

Portable Heaters

Portable Heater

Data from the London fire brigade shows that over the past five years there have been nearly 400 fires caused by electric heaters. These appliances heat up very very quickly and can ignite flammable materials almost immediately. It is as easy as placing a portable heater too close to curtains, bedding, sofas and upholstery can result in a major fire. 

It is important to remember to store heaters on a flat and fire-safe surface. Ensure that you keep them away from flammable materials and never leave a heater unattended. It is so imperative to unplug them when not in use and also when you are asleep.



Outdated wiring often causes electrical fires. If a home is over 20 years old, it might not have the wiring capacity to handle the increased amounts of electrical appliances which are usually stored in a modern home. 


You could think about installing breakers which will be triggered when a circuit gets overloaded by too much electricity. Outdated breaker boxes, however, can have worn connectors which do not work, which will cause the system to overload and start an electrical fire.

Lighting Fixtures


Light fixtures, lamps and bulbs are another common reason for electrical fires. Installing a bulb with a wattage that is too high for the lamps and light fixtures, is a leading cause of electrical fires. You should always check the maximum recommended bulb wattage on any lighting fixture or lamp and never go over the recommended amount. 

Another cause of a fire can be placing materials such as cloth or paper over a lampshade. The materials will heat up and potentially ignite causing a fire. Faulty lamps and light fixtures can also result in a fire. 

Just keep in mind that light bulbs aren’t one size fits all, so be sure to follow wattage guidelines for all light fixtures around your home. 

Expert Electrician Services Bristol 

If you are worried about any of your electrics, appliances or light fixtures or you believe your home could be at risk of having an electrical fire please give the PJ Bryer team a call. If you find yourself looking for “Electrician Bristol” our team can help to make sure your home is as safe as possible for your family. Please give us a call today on 01454 314980 for more information. 


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