5 Common Electrical Hazards at Home and How Homeowners Should Handle Them

Home safety is about more than just protecting your homes from robbery or breakage; electrical hazards may also jeopardise and place you and your family at risk of electrical shocks and fires. The Electrical Safety Foundation International reported that the third leading cause of home fires is electrical distribution systems.

While opting for the services of a licensed electrician for homeowners now and then or as needed would ensure the electrical safety of a home, owners also play a critical part in identifying and managing any electrical hazards within their capabilities. Here are five common electrical hazards found at homes and how homeowners should handle them.

Poor Or Outdated Wiring

The National Fire Prevention Association reported that defective wiring is the primary cause of residential fires. Homes with wiring over three decades should be inspected. Homeowners should hire a certified electrician to repair or replace the faulty wiring properly and minimise the risk of electrical fires.

Homeowners should contact a professional electrician for homeowners if they notice any of the following signs in their homes:

  • Flickering or dimming lights
  • Persistent burning smell
  • Circuit breaker keeps tripping
  • Outlets feel hot when touched or generate a spark

Overloaded Outlets Or Incorrect Usage Of Extension Cords

Outlets are created to hold a limited amount of electricity. Plugging multiple high-voltage appliances into the outlet can lead to overload and overheat, which may lead to an electrical fire. Using adapters to increase the numbers of devices an outlet can accommodate is also another dangerous practice.

Extension cords may also pose an electrical hazard when misused. To avoid this risk, homeowners should purchase an SAA-certified extension cord and match it to its allowable uses. Homeowners should never attempt to overload the cord by plugging in many heavy-duty devices and running it under combustible surfaces.

Using The Wrong Wattage For Light Bulbs

Utilising light bulbs with a higher wattage than lamp capacity may lead to overloading of the lamp’s wiring which potentially causes a fire. Homeowners can prevent this danger by purchasing a light bulb with lower than or equal to the maximum wattage stated on the lamp’s socket. If they want to use a stronger light, they should consider using a lamp with a higher wattage bulb.

Leaving Electrical Outlets Unprotected

Kids are at an age where they are curious about a lot of things around them, including electrical outlets. Hence, unprotected outlets can be very dangerous for a home with young children. If they touch or insert an object into the outlet, they are at risk of getting an electric shock or burn.

Homeowners can protect their child from these dangers by covering these reachable outlets with a plastic closure. They may also try installing child safety wall plates which come with built-in outlet covers that snap into places automatically when the outlets are left unused.

Using Unsafe Appliances

Whether it is a water heater, a rice cooker, or an iron, home appliances that keep tripping a circuit breaker is an indication that the devices are not safe or damaged. Homeowners should discard or get these faulty appliances professionally repaired to prevent an electrical fire, burn or other injuries.

If the appliances begin to malfunction when in use, homeowners can try cutting off the power where the device is connected in the main electrical panel.


No matter which electrical hazard you encounter at your home, you should never DIY an electrical project. You should let a licensed residential electrician handle any project involving electricity at your home for safety reasons.

About the author


Martin was born in England but now lives in Perth, Western Australia. He has a passion for breakfast, coffee, hot curries & fast food, and is a cat & Dalek person.

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