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Top Warning Signs of an Electrical Fire You Cannot Ignore

Burning outlet

An electrical fire is among one of the most insidious and dangerous threats homeowners have to contend with. They start quickly, without much warning, and the warning signs that you’re at risk are easy to miss for the untrained eye. You don’t need us to tell you how bad of a situation a fire can be, but we are here to help you recognize the early warning signs so that the fire department isn’t making it’s way to your house any time in the foreseeable future. 

Old Wiring

Most homes were built decades ago in a time where electricity was nowhere near as ubiquitous as it is now. Whereas in the fifties, the average home had lights, several appliances, and maybe a TV, the average home in 2021 has a host of electrical devices far too numerous to even begin listing in an article like this. From computers to phone chargers and everything in between, suffice to say there’s a lot more stress on your electrical system these days. Any home that hasn’t had wires updated in 40 years (1981 as of the date of writing)  is long overdue for an upgrade. 

If you experience any of the following call a professional right away:

  • Frequently overloaded circuit breaker
  • Flickering lights or intermittent power outages
  • Appliances or electrical devices that feel excessively hot
  • Shocks or sparks from appliances or outlets
  • Unexplained burning smells

Unsure if your home qualifies for a new wiring? Any home that has had a new fixture installed like a pool or a water heater is probably ready for new wiring. Also, any homeowner that finds themselves using an abundance of extension cords should probably call the professionals, as that’s an indication of a lack of outlets. 

Faulty Outlets 

Speaking of outlets, old, broken down outlets are one of the leading causes of electrical fires nationwide. After years of wear and tear, they can malfunction and cause a spark with devastating effects. The best way to see if your outlets are functioning properly?  Regular and sustained watchfulness. Faulty outlets can often be identified by loose framing and sparks when you plug something into it. If you see any such outlets in your home, call an electrician, and fast.


Extension cords are great. They let you power more devices off a single outlet. As great as they are, they also pose a significant threat if improperly implemented. Placing too many appliances and/or devices into the cord can and will cause a fire if done carelessly. To best prevent such accidents, consider unplugging devices as they are not needed.


Some devices are prone to overheating and causing fires, with the chief offenders being space heaters. These devices, while providing valuable warmth during the winter months, are known to cause fires when left on overnight or while the homeowner leaves for the day. Often, these fires erupt due to careless placement of flammable household items such as curtains, rugs, papers, and the like. The most obvious solution to this danger is keeping such flammable items away from the heater, but they can be perfectly safe with close attention and remembering to turn the device off after a while. 

Call Integra Electrical Today for the best electrical service in Des Moines and beyond!