Electrical fire hazards can emerge at any time, no matter the age of your home. If you’ve ever wondered what types of hazards Ting is identifying and remediating for homeowners, here’s a really interesting overview.
There are several ways to present data associated with Ting-identified hazards. Before digging in, it is important to know that the data is based on a catalog of electrical hazards Ting has detected, localized, identified, and mitigated before any major consequences or losses, each confirmed by a qualified electrical or utility technician.
We classify every hazard as either an Electrical Fire Hazard (EFH, those generally found in the home) or a Utility Fire Hazard (UFH, those related to electric utility infrastructure). We further break out EFHs, as indicated below.
- EFH – Electrical fire hazards in homeowner devices, appliances and home systems
- EFH – Electrical fire hazards in home electrical infrastructure
- UFH – Electrical fire hazards introduced into the home by electric utility infrastructure
EFH – Electrical Fire Hazards in Devices, Appliances and Home Systems
These hazards are separate from those associated with a home’s existing electrical infrastructure (wiring, outlets, panel, switches, etc.).
Light fixtures have presented the largest proportion of electrical fire hazards to date. These include chandeliers, flush mount ceiling lights, sconces, outdoor lighting, and desk or floor lamps. Some were due to poor device quality, others are related to installation or age.
A little surprising, the data reveals that tech devices such as laptop chargers and smart switches represent a notable proportion of hazards found. This could be related to cheaper aftermarket and/or non-UL-approved devices. In contrast, the hazards found from faulty heating pads/blankets are not insignificant; upon inspection, the arcing activity was due either to poor component quality (even in newer blankets) or to general wear and age.
Importantly, the data reveals that home age is not the leading determinant of electrical fire risk where devices, appliances, or home systems are the hazard source.
EFH – Electrical Fire Hazards from Home Electrical Infrastructure
These hazards include those associated with a home’s existing electrical infrastructure. Many of these electrical system components are generally hidden from everyday view. This includes wiring inside walls and above ceilings, electrical outlets, wall switches, electrical panels (includes the panel itself and/or breakers enclosed in the panel), and on the homeowner’s side of the electric utility meter.
Because electrical infrastructure is much less likely to change over a long period of time, the likelihood of a hazard arising tends to correlate with the age of the home, unlike hazards related to devices and appliances as described above.
UFH – Home Electrical Fire Hazards from Electric Utility Infrastructure
These hazards are associated with the electric utility’s local distribution infrastructure, which includes transformers, meters, and the connections between them.
Loose/poor neutrals are the most common finding; left unchecked these conditions can cause surges and sags that can damage electronics and appliances, and cause other safety and fire hazards. You can learn more here about these faults here.
The data suggests, as would be expected, that older homes in older neighborhoods generally have older or possibly outdated grid infrastructure. Equally important, the data clearly shows that newer homes and neighborhoods are not immune to these types of electric utility hazards.
We hope you find this interesting! We’ll continue to share updates on Ting-identified hazards and share additional insights.