A house fire can happen unexpectedly, spread quickly, and cause massive devastation to lives and property. Fortunately, house fires are preventable, but it doesn’t just involve changing the batteries of your smoke detector and replacing your fire extinguisher regularly.
There are many possible fire hazards in the home, from the most obvious ones such as electrical problems to inconspicuous things like dust bunnies. In this article, we talk about some of the most common fire hazards in the home and how to get rid of them.
1. Dryer lint
Dryers collect lint from your clothes with every cycle. When they accumulate in excess amounts, the heat coming from the motor, heating elements, or gas burners can easily start a fire. To eliminate this kind of danger, hire a dryer vent cleaning professional to clean your dryer and the vent pipe at least once every twelve months. But if you use the dryer more frequently than the average household, you may have to clean out the lint twice a year.
2. Old smoke detectors
Fires can spread fast–so fast, in fact, that you may not notice the smoke and heat until it’s too late. Smoke detectors prevent loss of property and life by alerting you of a fire as soon as possible. But if they are old or dead, you are essentially putting your entire house at risk.
Make it a habit to replace your smoke detectors’ batteries at least twice a year. More than that, replace the smoke detectors themselves when they are ten years old or older. Check the dates on the back of the cover to determine when you should replace the smoke detector, and then schedule that replacement in your calendar.
3. Fabrics near the stove
It goes without saying that you should never place anything made out of fabric near a flame, and yet this can be all too easy to forget when you’re busy cooking. Remember to never put curtains, towels, or oven mitts near the stove.
4. A dirty stove
An excessive amount of grease and food debris on a stovetop can make it more flammable. To prevent a stove fire, make sure to clean it regularly and remove food debris as soon as it gets spilled.
Cigarettes that are not extinguished properly can cause nearby flammable objects to ignite. So, if there are people in the house that smoke, be sure that they smoke outside and at a good distance away from the house. Moreover, they should have a proper vessel to contain cigarette butts, ideally one filled with sand or water to ensure that cigarettes are extinguished completely after use.
6. Chimneys and fireplaces
Chimney fires can spread quickly and produce a lot of smoke, making them some of the most devastating types of fires in the country. Prevent a chimney fire from happening in your home by having your chimney and fireplace cleaned and inspected regularly, especially after frequent use in the winter. Furthermore, fireplaces should never be left on for too long, much less overnight.
7. Extension cords
Overloaded extension cords can melt wire insulation and start a fire. If it is placed on a carpet, the flames can spread even quicker. That said, it is crucial that you avoid plugging too many devices into your extension cords, and you must replace them if they are outdated.
8. Expired fire extinguisher
The lifetime of a fire extinguisher can be between five to fifteen years, depending on its type. When a fire extinguisher expires, it loses its operability and can leave you unable to put a fire out if one occurs. Needless to say, this can lead to unnecessary loss of property or worse–life.
Make it a point to replace your fire extinguisher when it goes beyond its expiration date. Some units can be recharged so that you don’t have to buy a new one; check the label if this is the case for your fire extinguisher.
9. Space heaters
Space heaters are notorious for being firestarters, which is why it is not always a good idea to use them. If you must use one, place them at least three feet away from anything that can burn. Be sure that they are also on a stable surface and not on top of carpets or rugs.
10. Dust bunnies
Dust bunnies may seem harmless, except maybe for your allergies, but they can actually be a fire hazard, especially when near a space heater or electrical sockets.
These are just some of the most common fire hazards that can be found in a home. If one or more is present in your house, get rid of them as soon as possible to avoid risking your family and your property for something easily preventable.