One of the most horrifying statistics we’ve heard lately is that every single day, firefighters across the country respond to 1,000 house fires. Even worse, is that annually, 2,500 people perish in house fires. This is in part due to the fact that it only takes 30 seconds for a fire to get out of control in a room. Once that happens, the temperature quickly climbs to approximately 600 degrees. There are obvious things that cause fires like unattended candles. However, there are plenty of ways that house fires can originate that are less conspicuous. Here are just a few:
Your Dryer: A dryer is set up to expel heat and moisture during the cycle. If the lint trap is not emptied often enough, the dryer continues to run but cannot dry. The temperature of the machine rises and can eventually cause a dryer vent fire. In some newer homes, designers are placing the laundry room in the center of the home, rather than flush with an outside wall. This leads to longer dryer vents, which can ultimately increase fire risk, because it becomes more difficult for the dryer to release the lint. Beware of extreme drying times, massive amounts of lint in your dryer trap and clothing that is too hot to handle when first coming out of the dryer.
Careless Home Improvements: Unless you are professionally trained, doing your own electrical work is a no-no. It is well worth the investment to hire an electrician for rewiring that needs to be done in your home. Additionally, properly dispose of rags that are used during staining or refinishing projects. That’s because these they do not dry like paint does. Instead, they oxidize which can result in spontaneous combustion
Wobbly Outlets: Not only do wobbly outlets make it tricky to keep something plugged in, they can actually be an unseen fire hazard. That’s because the hanging blades inside the outlet create some serious heat that can cause a house fire. The moment you have plugs falling out of outlets because they are loose, swap the outlet out.
Electrical Overload: Think of all the technological advances that have taken place in the last 30 years. From smartphones, to Blu-ray players, to gaming consoles, the amount of “stuff” plugged in at your home is likely at an all-time high. Older homes do not always have the capacity to handle all of the electricity needed. An overloaded breaker can cause a fire if it malfunctions and does not trip when it becomes overwhelmed.
Your Chimney: The purpose of a chimney is to vent toxic gases from your fireplace outside your home. However, they are prone to build-up from particles that are not completely burned up in your fireplace. These particles, called creosote, can eventually start a fire. While it’s a no-brainer that your chimney needs to be periodically cleaned, there are a few other preventative measures that can be taken. These include burning fewer, larger logs versus a bunch of smaller ones, burning wood that is completely dry and never using gasoline or kerosene to jump start a fire.