Faulty wiring causes 4,000 fires a year

North East electrical compliance contractor, PASSfm, is passionate about electrical compliance in line with the latest safety standards. Here, the company writes about the numbers of accidental fires as a result of faulty wiring and how electrical contractors can help reduce these figures.

Faulty wiring is a problem that often goes unnoticed until it’s too late, but it can lead to big problems. The second source of accidental fires in homes is faulty appliances and leads, following misuse of equipment and appliances as the leading cause. According to the Home Office, it has been this way for the last ten years, with nearly 4,000 accidental fires in dwellings in 2019/2020.

While the number of accidental fires caused by faulty wiring have decreased over the years, it is still a significant problem facing electrical contractors. We are the ones who can prevent it from becoming a big issue. So what do you need to know?

Why are the numbers going down?

In 2010/2011, the Home Office reported that, out of a total of 31,856 accidental fires in dwellings, 5,060 were as a result of faulty wiring. The total number of accidental fires has reduced since then to 25,555, but with 3,862 resulting from faulty wiring, that’s still 15%.

The numbers are reducing slowly, but why?

The Approved Cables Initiative (ACI) was established in 2010 to try and tackle the issue of substandard wiring in the UK electrical supply chain. Since then, they have raised awareness of the number of faulty wires in UK homes, with the government releasing non-statutory guidance to local housing authorities on the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector Regulations 2020. This came in addition to existing legislation, which requires landlords to keep properties free of electrical hazards.

With the changes in guidance and regulations over the years, it means that there are penalties for landlords who do not comply with safety standards, as well as greater demand from electrical contractors and consumers for wires and cables which meet quality and safety expectations. As a result, the numbers of accidental fires caused by this problem have reduced over time.

Which appliances and leads are most at risk?

The numbers are going down, but faulty wiring is still a cause for concern for electrical contractors and homeowners alike. It is often an unseen problem. If a cable is faulty, we may not notice until the damage has been done.

The Home Office report highlighted the appliances most likely to cause problems:

  • Electrical distribution, including wiring, cabling, and plugs, resulted in 902 fires
  • Cooking appliances made up 444 fires
  • Electrical lighting caused 191 accidental fires in 2019/2020
  • Other domestic style appliances were the biggest cause of accidental fires, with 1,811 resulting from items such as washing machines, tumble dryers, and fridge/freezers

What can electrical contractors do to prevent this?

Electrical contractors are responsible for installing and maintaining systems, including wiring. This means that they are best positioned to find issues and resolve them before they become dangerous hazards.

Carrying out thorough checks is the best preventative measure. With these checks and both visual and electrical testing, faulty wiring which does not meet wiring regulations and compliance standards within the UK can be identified. The industry can demand higher quality wiring and cabling in the UK electrical supply chain to reduce risk and keep people safe.

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