Electric stoves have surely become a convenient choice for kitchens because of their advanced features and promising cooking outcomes. However, electric stoves have to be handled with care to ensure they don’t catch fire or become a hazard in the household.
Sometimes even when you adhere to the safety standards of your electric stove it may still catch fire. In this article, we’ve provided 5 possible answers to the question, “why did my electric stove catch fire?”
We’ve also given tips on how to prevent future fires from happening with some basic safety precautions. Keep reading to find out more!
What Not to Do When There’s an Electric Stove Fire
- Don’t Use Water
The first thing people do when they see a fire is throw water on it. Don’t do that with an electric fire! It will cause more electric sparks which results in more fire outbreaks. If the fire is burning on grease the water will spread the grease around which will also cause the fire to spread rapidly.
- Don’t Use Flour
Some powders work to put out fires and others can make the fire bigger. A substance to avoid using at all costs is flour because it’s highly flammable. Flour will make the fire bigger and possible spread it around.
- Don’t Open Windows or Doors
Fire can emit black smoke especially if plastic or grease is burning. The smoke can cause you to cough and it can be difficult to see through it. Even if there is smoke coming from the fire, one of the worst things you can do is open a window or door as soon as a fire starts.
Fire needs oxygen to thrive, so the more air you let in the bigger the fire will get. Instead, put a cloth over your nose and mouth to minimize smoke inhalation while you’re putting the fire out.
What to Do If Your Stove Catches Fire
- Turn Off the Heat
As soon as you notice flames turn off the heat source immediately. If your electric stove is connected to a wall switch, turn the switch off immediately too. You don’t want electrical currents causing more sparks when you’re trying to distinguish a fire.
- Use Baking Powder
The best way to smother a small fire is if you chuck a cup of baking powder on top of it. Baking powder is a non-combustible substance so it’s safe to use on a fire. This works for small element fires or if the grease on your stove is burning.
- Use Sand
If you experience a massive fire and you don’t have enough baking soda, fill a bucket with dirt from your garden and throw it on top of the fire. Sand may be difficult to remove afterwards but it’s an ideal last resort if you don’t want your house to burn down.
- Shut the Oven Door
As mentioned before, a fire needs oxygen to survive. So if a fire breaks out in your oven, shut the door immediately and turn off the heat and power supply. The fire can die down on its own, but to be safe you can chuck some baking soda inside to try and douse the flames quicker.
- Use a Fire Extinguisher
If you don’t have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen, we suggest you put it on your shopping list. Whenever you’re working with appliances that can cause a fire, you should have an extinguisher nearby. Then if your stove ever catches fire you can put it out safely without using extreme measures.
How to Prevent Electric Stove Fires
Prevention is always better than cure. You can prevent electric stove fires by following these tips:
- Whenever you see loose and damaged outlets, they must be replaced and repaired immediately. In addition, the wire nuts should be tightened regularly to improve the power connection for your electric stove.
- Always call a reputable and experienced electrician to fix the damaged components to prevent injury and further damage to your stove.
- Make sure you hire a technician for a regular electric safety check of your home’s wiring to make sure all the electric components are working properly.
- Get high-end fire extinguishers in case of a fire and smoke detectors to warn you of a fire.
- Always have high-end and heavy-duty wiring installed in your home, and make sure you install industrial-grade outlets.
Why Did My Electric Stove Catch Fire?
- Electrical Outlets
In the majority of cases, electric stoves tend to catch fire when they are connected to damaged electrical outlets. In addition, there are chances of torn sockets, especially if they’re not attached properly.
As the switches and power outlets get older, the wiring will start wearing down, and the wires will loosen over time. All these issues will collectively result in wire wear and a fire.
Having said that, if the stove recently caught fire, recheck the electrical outlets and make sure they are intact. Also, if there are frayed wires you must get the electrical outlets replaced.
- Outdated Wiring
Old and outdated electrical wiring in the stove and walls can also be a reason behind the fire. Outdated wiring won’t have the capacity to handle a load of electrical appliances because old wiring can’t bear the extra current.
As a result, when you’ve connected multiple electrical appliances in addition to the electric stove, it will put more load on the old wiring, which causes it to heat and catch fire. Some common symptoms of outdated wiring include:
- Circuit breaker overloading
- Power outages
- Flickering home lights
- Electric appliances getting hot
- Sparking from the electric outlets
In such cases, it’s evident that it’s time to change the wiring of your home or simply switch to a gas stove if you want to be safe and save on utility costs.
- Overloaded Electrical Circuits & Cords
Extension cords can be a fire hazard, especially if you are using one for powering the electric stove. This is because the extension cords cannot handle an excessive power surge and load. It means that the circuit is overloaded, which causes sparks.
The extension cord could also have old wiring inside that may cause sparks or short circuits. It’s best to do proper stove installations where the electrical wiring is integrated and insulated into a wall with a switch.
- Old Stoves
Electric stoves have been around since the 1920s. So some people may still have old electric stoves from the 60s 70s or 80s. Such old stoves might have damaged or loose wiring because of wear and tear over the years. Moreover, older insulation tends to be highly flammable.
For this reason, you need to update the stove to be on the safer side. What’s more your old electric stove might not be compatible with a low-capacity power strip.
So, in addition to replacing the electric stove, you need to get appliance-oriented power outlets for optimizing the functionality of the stove. You can invest in ground fault circuit interrupters or surge protectors for extra safety.
- Damaged Coils
An electric stove can catch fire if the coil range element becomes loose or damaged. If you notice that your coils are cracked or moved from their original position you must replace them immediately. Damaged coils can lead to sparking which is one of the main reasons for electrical fires.
Additional Safety Tips
- Read Your Safety Manual Instructions
You can always be extra cautious when working with electrical appliances. Some stoves will come with a manual that will inform you of all the safety precautions you must take when cooking on the stove. Read these instructions carefully.
- Clean Your Stove Carefully
Don’t use too much water when cleaning your stove. The water can seep through fixtures on the stove and wet the wires inside. Always use a damp cloth to wipe your stove clean to prevent the wires inside from getting wet. Or use a stove cleaner to eliminate dirt and oil from the stove’s surface.
- Smell Wires Burning?
One of the sure signs that the wiring inside your stove is faulty is if you can smell wires burning. In this case, you must call your electrician immediately so he can have a look at what’s causing the smell. The electrician will safely open up the stove without damaging your appliance.
- Be Careful With Cooking Oil
Some people pour oil into their pots and pans while the stove is on. This is dangerous because you can easily spill oil onto the elements which can cause a fire to break out. Instead, pour the oil into the pots or pans before you turn on the heat.
Electrical appliances are convenient but if you don’t take care of them, they can cause hundreds of dollars in damage if a fire breaks out. Additionally, people can get injured or die from the fire.
So it’s important to replace old or worn-out electric stoves or call an electrician to assist you. Use this guide to assist you with extra safety precautions and tips to prevent stove fires.