Leaves & Electrical Hazards

Autumn doesn’t official begin for another few weeks, but leaves are already turning here in central Indiana. Soon, the fall foliage will make its way to the ground, where – despite its beauty – could actually pose a hazard when it collects around electrical equipment.

After falling, leaves tend to dry out and collect in piles around the bases of homes, in gardens, and lawn furniture. While not only unsightly and attractive to insects and other pests, these piles pose a fire hazard if they collect around electrical equipment.

Cords, lights, and outlets sometimes give off a significant amount of heat energy. When dry leaves trap this heat, the heat can actually ignite the leaves, creating a fire that can quickly spread to your home or building.

Prevent Electrical Fires

To prevent fires, make sure to keep leaves away from electrical equipment. Rake dry leaves out of your yard, and remove leaves that collect around the base of your house or buildings. Also, do not run cords and cables through leaves. Make sure your cords and cables are free from obstructions.

More importantly, make sure to inspect the cords you’re using. Frayed or otherwise damaged cords are both a fire and shock risk. They can also be less efficient to use if they’re damaged and giving off lots of heat.

Other Sources of Electrical Fires

De-icing cables are another source that can ignite dry leaves. If your de-icing cables are activated and leaves are packed around them, the cables can potentially light the leaves on fire, which could quickly spread across your roof. If your home or business has de-icing cables, make sure to inspect them regularly and contact an electrician if they’re damaged or if you’re otherwise concerned.

Pine needles, sometimes called “Pine Straw” is sometimes used purposefully for landscaping, but can also pose a fire hazard. Fires have been linked to pine needles when they’re used for landscaping around the base of buildings. Pine needles ignite much more easily than hardwood mulch and burn faster, shooting up flames high enough to light siding on fire.

If you use pine needles for landscaping, never run cables or lights across it. Make sure your cables only run over nonflammable materials.

Schedule an Inspection

No matter how many leaves you’re battling this season, scheduling an electrical inspection is always a good idea. An Indianapolis licensed electrician can ensure your electrical system is ready for winter, and can make suggestions for proper maintenance. To schedule your inspection, call Grounded Solutions today.

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