Various types of electrical faults in home wiring cause about 51,000 fires each year, accounting for nearly 500 deaths, 1,400 injuries, and about $1.3 billion in property damage according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International. Most typically, electric fires occur because of short circuits causing arcing (sparking) that ignites building materials, or from circuits that are overloaded with current, causing wires to overheat. Electrical problems account for about 10 percent of all residential fires, but this type of fire is often deadly, accounting for almost 19 percent of deaths due to home fire. This is likely because electrical fires often ignite in hidden locations and build into major fires before residents are aware of them. And such fires frequently may ignite while residents are sleeping. Properly installed electrical systems are very safe, with a number of built-in protective features, but old, faulty wiring systems can be susceptible to short circuits and overloading. It's a good idea to have your wiring checked out by a professional electrician, especially if you live in an older home.