Although the odds of a house fire are not very high, you are always facing the risk if you ignore certain things. A house fire can happen quickly and everything you built and bought over the years can be gone in a flash.
The recovery after a house fire is lengthy and expensive and is something to be avoided at all costs. It doesn’t matter how good your fire and property insurance are, the best thing to do is to prevent a fire from occurring in the first place.
In this article, we will examine the most common causes of house fires so you can do an audit and make sure your house is not at risk.
1. Electric problems
A ticking time bomb in many older homes is faulty wiring. Many people assume that since they have a circuit breaker and not a fuse box that they are covered. Although having a circuit breaker is much safer than a fuse box, it can still have issues and need to be updated.
Also, the wiring itself in a home can get frayed or not have the proper gauge for modern electricity demands and can overheat. There are so many ways that your electric system can end up causing a fire and you may not even realize how close it is to happen.
For instance, an old home with old wires can have spots where the protective insulation around the wire is frayed and the heat from the current touches something flammable behind the wall. Suddenly it causes a fire. Or, the old wires get hot in various spots because they are overloaded and the same thing happens.
Even a circuit breaker can get overloaded if some of the breakers themselves are faulty. This can happen when old breakers that don’t provide enough amps for many modern appliances end up not switching because of an internal problem. This causes a short and can end up lighting up on fire. It is wise to make sure that you upgrade your box with Challenger breakers to avoid this issue.
Have an electrician come and inspect your wires if your house is more than twenty years old to determine if the wiring is going to be ok and if it is a fire hazard.
2. Cooking accidents
Another area of the home that is quite susceptible to fires is the kitchen. It makes sense as there is usually an open flame or heating element that can catch fire to things around it. Grease fires are very common since many people don’t know that they can occur.
If you are deep frying and the oil boils over then this will light up in an instant. It pays off to read up on safety guidelines to follow when cooking to make sure that you don’t have an accident like that.
Potholders made of cloth are also easily lit up in flames if they are left too close to a burner. The key is to always be aware of where you are putting things down and never leave the kitchen when something is on the stove.
Even baking can be hazardous if you are not regularly cleaning the inside of the oven. Grease can accumulate inside and at a certain point, it can ignite. Make sure to clean the inside of the oven thoroughly if there is ever a spill inside. Even if there isn’t one, it should be cleaned regularly since spatter does occur.
Everybody should have a fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen. They are small and affordable and will save your house. Trying to put out a fire without one is not a great idea and the flame can spread very quickly.
A smoker is far more likely to have a fire at home than a nonsmoker. Once again, it is due to having an open flame around. An ashtray on a side table too close to a curtain is a recipe for disaster. Smoking in bed is one of the worst things a smoker can do, yet, many fires are caused by smokers falling asleep in bed and lighting it up in flames. A cigarette that falls on a carpet unnoticed is sure to cause a fire.
The best option is clearly to quit smoking, but there are some safety measures that should be taken to keep your home safe if you decide to continue to smoke. The easiest way to stay safe is to have a designated smoking area outside where you have an ashtray filled with sand to prevent any ashtray fires. The area should be free of materials that could light up on fire if it is exposed to a stray ash or forgotten cigarette.
4. Christmas trees and candles
Christmas tree lights and candles lend an exceptional atmosphere to the holidays. Many people end up with a major problem because of them, though. Candles are forgotten about often and the open flame can easily catch on a curtain, napkin, or another flammable item. Often, the candles are placed in the window for decoration and can set the window frame or blinds alight.
Christmas trees that are left for too long without water, or even with water but well past the holidays will end up drying out. The oil in the needles is still there and makes the tree extremely flammable. If the lights are not LED and give off heat, this could be enough for the tree to light up. A short circuit on the electrical outlet, often overused with too many plugs, can also set the tree on fire.
Make sure candles are never left lit when you aren’t in the room. If you have small children or pets then make sure they are supervised if there is a candle around as they could knock it over.
Take your tree down as soon as the holidays are over and make sure to keep it watered at its base. An even better idea is to use an artificial tree.