Did you know that the attic is one of the most common places where fires originate? It’s true. The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) estimates more than 10,000 attic fires occur in the United States alone every year.
With a statistic like that, it’s no wonder why knowing how to prevent attic fires is so essential. But unfortunately, there are several electrical attic hazards just waiting to start a fire in your home.
Read on to learn some of the most common electrical attic hazards and safety tips to protect you and your loved ones against attic fires.
1. Exposed Wiring
When it comes to your attic, electrical wiring is everywhere, and exposed wiring is one of the most common electrical hazards that may be lurking in your attic. As an electrical system ages and insulation wears out, wires can become exposed. Exposed wires are particularly vulnerable when it comes to overheating, power surges, and shorting out. This can create an electrical attic hazard. To avoid exposed wiring, we recommend having a professional inspect your existing electrical wiring to determine if new electrical wires are needed.
2. Uncovered Junction Boxes
Similar to exposed writing, uncovered junction boxes are a common electrical hazard. A junction box is an enclosure that houses electrical connections. The junction box serves to protect the electrical connection from the elements (if it’s outside) and against people from getting electric shocks.
When the junction box isn’t covered properly, the electrical connections aren’t protected. Not only can this damage the electrical connections, but it can lead to sparks. Without a cover, sparks can contact combustible materials in the attic like wood, resulting in a devastating fire.
3. Overcrowded Junction Boxes
Speaking of junction boxes, overcrowding a junction box can create an electrical fire hazard as well. A junction box with too many wires can overheat, causing the insulation to melt and ultimately lead to a fire. The good news is, this problem has an easy fix. All you need to do is purchase a large junction box to house all of the wirings in.
4. Improperly Terminated Wires
When homeowners can’t remove electrical wires, it’s common for them to be terminated with wire caps.
When an electrical wire is terminated, the wire is trimmed, capped, and enclosed in a surface-flush electrical box. Unfortunately, this project is not always completed accurately, which can mean live wires are present in the attic, even though the homeowner thinks they are terminated. When this happens, the homeowner may think they can safely place other items near the electrical wires without repercussions.
To prevent a potential electrical hazard in your attic, it’s recommended to inspect all of the terminated wires to ensure they are properly trimmed, capped, and enclosed in a Surface-flush electrical box. Not up to doing the inspection yourself? Schedule an electrical wire inspection with a reputable company.
5. Overloaded Extension Cords
Extension cords are one of the most abused household items around. That’s because homeowners tend to overload extension cords, pushing them beyond their means. While not overloading your extension cords applies to every room in your home, it’s imperative to keep this rule in mind when it comes to your attic. Overloaded extension cords can become hot, ultimately letting off sparks and presenting an electrical attic hazard.
Clutter is another seemingly innocent factor that can present an electrical hazard in your attic. Even if the items aren’t combustible (such as wood or another organic material), too much clutter leaves plenty of electrical wiring opportunities and the like to spark, causing a fire that spreads quickly.
7. Hanging Items on Wire Runs
Some attics may have wires stapled across the undersides of the floor joists. While it may seem harmless to hang items on wire runs, this presents a significant electrical attic hazard. When working in your attic, safety should be top of mind, so always make sure you aren’t hanging tools and the like on wire runs.
Schedule a Free Inspection with Attic Projects
Now that you know the most common electrical hazards and safety tips to protect you and your loved ones against an attic fire, it’s time to take the next step with a free inspection. One of our in-house inspectors will provide you a detailed inspection report, so we understand exactly what needs to be done to ensure your attic is safe against electrical hazards.
Contact us today to get an attic inspection and learn more on our blog.