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What Causes Electrical Equipment To Overheat?

Light bulb on white table with white background.Since 2012, electrical malfunctions and failures have been the second leading cause of home fires in the U.S. (with unattended equipment being the top cause). This is according to the latest findings from the National Fire Prevention Agency (NFPA), which has reported that at least one in every eight home fires is caused by electrical equipment problems.

With overheating being one of the most common problems for electrical devices, knowing what causes electrical equipment to overheat — and the red flags of overheating — can help you protect your family, your home, and your electrical equipment.

What Causes Electrical Equipment To Overheat

There are three main causes of electrical overheating:

  1. Excessive current: This is the least likely cause of electrical overheating because circuit breakers and fuses typically safeguard against this.
  2. Poor connections: This factor can generate high wattage over a small area for a long period, which can trigger an electrical fire.
  3. Insulation breakdowns: As insulation wears down, sparks can be ejected, increasing the risks of electrical fires.

5 Signs an Electrical Device Is Overheating

Electrician cutting wires from an access hole in a wall.Some of the most common red flags that electrical devices are getting too hot include:

  1. Smoke
  2. Frayed cords
  3. Discolored outlets
  4. Broken or cracked plugs
  5. Equipment that is warm or hot to the touch

In general, the electrical equipment in your home that is most susceptible to overheating includes major appliances that regularly draw current. This can include your HVAC system, refrigerator, washer and dryer, and more.

If you notice the signs of overheating with any of the electrical equipment in your home, contact an experienced electrician as soon as possible.

How To Prevent Electrical Equipment from Overheating 

If you’re ready to address electrical safety in your home and minimize the risk that your equipment will overheat, here are four things you can do:

  1. Install GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) outlets indoors wherever there is a potential water hazard, including in your kitchen and bathrooms.
  2. Dedicate separate circuits and outlets for large appliances, like your refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer.
  3. Dispose of damaged or frayed electrical cords.
  4. Consider an electrical panel upgrade or wiring upgrades if your current system is outdated or unable to support your electrical needs.
  5. Get a safety inspection from an expert electrician at Lon Lockwood Electric to make sure you’re not at risk of an electrical fire.

To schedule an inspection or any electrical service, call (585) 766-4702 or contact Lon Lockwood Electric today.