New technology can mean new risks
It’s important to consider that changes in technology can also impact the risk landscape for electrical fires. The adoption of solar panels in homes has been driven by the increased availability of implementing the technology at home, coupled with energy costs and environmental benefits being important to home owners. Research published by the Independent found that there were six times the number of fires involving solar panels last year compared with 10 years ago. While this only equates to 66 fires in the period of January to July 2023, it does present a wider conversation around the electrical fire risk presented by the use of solar panels.
Faulty wiring risk
There are a variety of different ways in which a home wiring fault can cause an electrical fire. The internal wiring connecting sockets and outlets around a house can age. There is a risk that worn-out sockets can become ungrounded, meaning the excess positive charge within the electrical supply doesn’t have a safe outlet. Ungrounded electrical wiring is incredibly dangerous, increasing the risk of sparking and fires. Additionally, if a person were to touch ungrounded electrical wiring, they could suffer a serious electrical shock.
Older buildings are obviously at a higher risk. Some properties might not have the appropriate wiring capacity to simultaneously run a variety of modern electrical appliances.
Preventing electrical fires
There are tips and best practices your clients can undertake to reduce the risk of an electrical fire in their homes, including the following:
Ensure your clients know to only buy quality, branded electrical appliances. They should look out for the CE mark on any electrical product purchased to ensure it meets EU health and safety standards.
Learn to switch-off
Recommend that your clients get into the habit of only leaving essential electronic appliances on. Electrical appliances should be switched off and unplugged when not in use. Investing in smart plugs can help you manage appliances from a smartphone, and it will save money on energy bills, too.
Chargers and batteries
Electrical charges and batteries present their own risk of electrical fire, especially if they become worn and damaged. It’s best practice to use the chargers that come with the specific product they’re designed for. Avoid leaving gadgets charging overnight or under cover.
Installation and inspections
Any type of domestic electrical installation should be carried out by an ECS-registered electrician to ensure proper standards are met. An Electrical Installation Condition Report is also recommended to be carried out once every ten years or once every five years for older, larger homes. The aim is to check the condition of house wiring and uncover any issues with faulty or old components.
Smoke and heat detection
The most important step your clients can take to ensure fire safety in the home is by fitting smoke and heat detectors to alert them in the event of a fire. There are a variety of useful online guides that can help them use fire alarms to protect their properties.
Protect your client’s homes
The Brit Private Client team have all the information you need to have the right conversations with your clients, ensuring that you build trust and get them the protection they need. Beyond electrical fires and basement flooding, our experts can help you with home, travel, and motor protection needs for private clients.