One of the major causes of fire in an electrical installation are either inadequate termination of conductors or the failure of terminations over time and also further validates the importance of regular maintenance and testing on every installation.
Terminations of conductors can work their way loose over time through small or large vibrations which occur in your home every day from closing a door to a large lorry driving past your house, this unsecure termination then leads to overheating of the electrical conductors caused by Arcing.
What is Arcing?
Arcing is when electrical current jumps a gap between two conductors of electricity. Arcing can produce an arc flash where the electricity flows or discharges. These flashes ignite with particles in the environment, which can be anything from dust to gas. The arcs can exceed over 10,000 °F and electrical fires are the likely outcome of these arc flashes.
Below are a couple of examples of what can happen if arcing occurs:
A lot of people find it worrying that without regular electrical safety checks the effects of loose terminations can be happening right now in your home without knowing it. The most common way the homeowner or tenant realises there is an overheating termination is when a strong smell of burning plastic can be found close to the source of the problem caused by… you guessed it, loose terminations!
Fortunately in the last 30 years we have come a long way in how we install and maintain our electrical installations and the BS7671 regulations are regularly updated to keep up with the latest practices. The days of using screw tight junction boxes are a thing of the past as new ways of terminating conductors have been made available, such as the spring lever Wago Connectors which are quickly replacing the older screw termination.
These Wago Connectors are a more secure and reliable form of termination and in some cases are completely maintenance free! Torque screwdrivers are also commonly used to ensure the correct level of tightness can be achieved at each termination.
With regards to pre-existing installations, the only way to identify loose terminations is by conducting a full electrical safety check of your property. Here at Impulse Electrical, this check can be completed and certified.
Read more about our Electrical Safety Certificates.