Electrical Faults Cause House Fires
Over 2000 domestic electrical fires occur in the UK each year. Most are caused by defective fixed wiring, dodgy appliance leads, loose terminals or the misuse of electrical equipment. The two most common faults are insulation failure and overheating.
Insulation can fail for a variety of reasons. Modern wiring is insulated with durable PVC but older installations used rubber, which becomes brittle with age. This leads to insulation breakdown, which often results in the production of extremely high, short circuit fault currents that cause fires. Damaged insulation can also result in unearthed metal surfaces becoming live from which you could receive a fatal electric shock.
Overheating occurs when loose terminals start arcing or installations are overloaded. The latter often happens when multi-adaptors or multi-socket extension leads are used to connect several appliances simultaneously to the same circuit. Work carried out by unqualified installers or DIY enthusiasts can also lead to the faults outlined above.
If Your Most Valuable Asset Goes Up In Smoke
Many homeowners assume that their insurance policy will fully protect them in the event of an electrical fire but often find this is not the case. This is because owners are responsible for, and must be able to demonstrate, the overall safety of their electrical installations. Insurers recommend that electrical installations are tested at least once every 5 years or after any additions are made to the system. So if you submit a fire claim an insurance assessor will automatically check whether you have valid certification. If you don’t have the correct paperwork your claim will likely be disputed. Crucially, the responsibility for providing this documentation resides with the insured and ignorance of this requirement offers no protection in law. The bottom line is that insurance companies increasingly limit compensation payouts where they can establish owner negligence leaving homeowners facing a substantial refurbishment bill or worse, becoming homeless.