Did you know that the average home contains numerous fire hazards?
In fact, a fire department responds to a fire somewhere in the U.S. every 15 seconds!
According to the National Fire Protection Association, 75 percent of civilian fire deaths were caused by residential fires.
Unless you’re constantly on the lookout for fire hazards in your home, you can never be sure you’re safe from a house fire.
So in today’s blog, we’ll provide you with the most common fire hazards in your home.
Having this knowledge can make you and your family safer when you buy or build your next home.
When it’s winter everyone loves a good candle, right?
They may be cozy and inviting, but they’re still little fires.
If you choose to light a candle, follow these safety tips.
Keep them at least 12 inches away from curtains, papers, clothing, cabinets, children, and anything else that’s highly flammable
Stay in the same room with your candle
Always put it out before you leave the house or go to bed
Don’t burn the candle all the way down
Use sturdy candle holders that won’t tip over easily
Avoid candle use in the bedroom
Most people have lamps in their homes.
These lamps serve both as a source of light and decoration.
However, the lamps can be dangerous fire hazards if you aren’t careful.
Decorative lampshades can get hot easily
People often have papers or excess flammable objects around their lamps
People fail to turn off their lamps when they leave the house/room
LED lightbulbs are less of a fire hazard than incandescent bulbs
People should avoid using lamps that have frayed cords
3. Outdated wiring
Old or bad wiring is present in some homes, and it can be a fire hazard.
How do you know if you have it?
You have to unplug one appliance to use another
The lights dim when you turn on an appliance
If you’re experiencing this in your home, call an electrician to check on your wiring and make sure everything is up to date.
If it’s not, then you could potentially start an electrical fire without realizing it!
No one wants that.
4. Electrical appliances
Everyone has electrical appliances in their house.
This category includes everything from kitchen appliances to hair care appliances to fans to electronics.
You won’t be able to get rid of all these items, but you should learn to use them safely.
You should make sure that all the wires on these appliances are in good condition and that you replace any old, frayed cords.
These are real fire hazards in your home and you shouldn’t play around with them!
5. Flammable liquids
There are certain flammable liquids that you’ll need around the house.
For example, most people keep extra gasoline in their garage for their lawnmower.
However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be extra careful with these items.
We recommend that you store flammable liquids in a cool place away from heat sources and in safe containers.
To nobody’s surprise, the leading cause of house fires is cooking.
In fact, most house fires will start in the kitchen because it’s just too easy for a little oil or other food to escape.
Once that happens, a fire is imminent.
Fortunately, you can help prevent kitchen fires by cleaning your stove and oven regularly.
You can also keep flammable objects away from heat sources whenever possible.
We’d also always recommend a grease-fire fire extinguisher under your kitchen sink because you should never use water in a grease fire.
Here are some cooking tips to avoid home fires or home injuries related to cooking.
Stay alert while cooking
Don’t leave food unattended
Wear close-fitted clothing with short or tightly rolled sleeves
Keep oven mitts, wooden utensils, and towels away from any heat source
Don’t place metal or foil in the microwave
Don’t throw water on a grease fire; put a lid on the pan to smother the fire
Don’t turn the heat on too high when you cook (even if you’re in the kitchen)
Clean your dirty stovetop to avoid a small kitchen fire getting out of hand
Did you know that space heaters account for more than one-third of home heating fires?
They also resulted in four out of five home heating fire deaths.
The following safety tips can help keep you safe while using a space heater.
Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment
Never use your oven to heat your home
Have heating equipment cleaned and inspected annually
Turn off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to bed
Test smoke alarms monthly
Did you know that smoking in the home is the leading cause of house fire fatalities?
This is because people will forget to put out their lit cigarettes and fall asleep after smoking.
The cigarettes will then catch fire within the home, which is full of flammable items (sheets, pillows, blankets, curtains, etc.).
If you smoke in your home, always extinguish the butt of your cigarette in a sturdy ashtray and keep that ashtray away from anything flammable.
We’d also recommend against smoking while drowsy as it’s more likely to become a fire hazard.
9. Washers and dryers
If a fire starts because of washers and dryers, it’s typically because of a failure to clean them.
The following tips can help you avoid this outcome.
Clean the dryer lint filter after every use
Never use a dryer without a lint filter
Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is running
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions
Don’t overload your dryer
10. No smoke alarms
Fires can start within minutes.
If you want to double your family’s chance of surviving a fire, then you should have several smoke alarms that are checked regularly.
Here are some smoke alarm tips.
Test your smoke alarms once a month and change the batteries every six months
Change the batteries in your smoke alarms whenever you turn your clocks
Everyone loves grilling out on the barbecue, especially during the summer.
Unfortunately, during this summer fun, fires can start because of the grill.
We recommend preventing a fire hazard by not keeping your grill against the house and by cleaning your grill after every use.
12. Christmas trees
Live Christmas trees are a great addition to any home during the holiday season, but did you know they can be a huge fire hazard.
The combination of dry branches and hot lights is more dangerous than most people know.
If you decided to go the live tree route, then make sure to keep it hydrated.
You’ll want to cut off about an inch of the trunk before you set it up and then make sure you water it every day.
Additionally, invest in LED lights, which don’t get as hot when they’re lit on the tree.
Have you taught your children not to play with fire?
For the most part, kids don’t intend to start fires in the house.
However, they may not understand what it means when they have a lighter, match, or candle in their hand.
Talk to your children about fire safety constantly and remind them that it’s never okay for them to play with fire.
Fire is something that’s only for adults.
We use outlets in our homes every single day for appliances and electrics.
Your electrical outlets should always be on your home inspection list as they can be a fire hazard.
Here’s how you should check them.
See if they’re overloaded or showing signs of wear
Rearrange things so that as many appliances as possible are able to use their own outlets
Use extension cords to reach more distant outlets
Make sure your outlets aren’t loose because they can loosen the wires connected to the outlet and create dangerous arcing
Avoid running extension cords under rugs
Make sure your lamps are all using bulbs with wattage equal to or less than the manufacturer recommends
Unplug electronics when they’re not in use
Recognize that televisions and computers need space from anything flammable because they overheat
15. Storage areas
Did you know that your garage, basement, and yard are fire hazards as well?
Often, this is where people put all their junk and clutter, which makes it even more dangerous.
Here’s how we’d recommend making these areas safer.
Avoid cluttering debris or junk near your furnace or heater
Don’t pile old newspaper in damp or warm places as they can self-combust without being close to a heat source
Put gasoline or other flammable liquids in tightly sealed metal containers and place them far away from heat sources (including your gas or charcoal grill)
Place your grill at least 10+ feet from your home and away from any overhead branches or structures
16. Extension cords
Overloaded extension cords or careless use of electrical devices can melt wire insulation and cause a fire.
Simply put, don’t overload your extension cords because this can result in an electrical shortage and bad connections, which will ignite nearby combustibles and quickly start a fire.
17. Gas water heater fire
Sometimes, homes will have the washer and dryer hooked up near the water heater.
As a result, people will pile their clothes waiting to be washed near their water heater.
When this occurs, clothes piled too close can ignite when the water heater comes on.
Be mindful of this and always keep the area around your water heater clear!
If you have a fireplace, make sure that your home’s chimney is swept at least once a year.
Removing this soot and debris helps to eliminate the fire hazard.
Additionally, you should remove any flammable materials from the area.
This includes blankets, curtains, rugs, etc.
If you have children, do not leave them unattended when there is a fire in the fireplace.
Did you know that sawdust is highly combustible?
If you have a workspace in your garage or shed, then make sure you clean up your shop!
Between electrical wiring or a short spark from metal objects colliding, there are a lot of ways that the sawdust pile can quickly unite.
Have you ever left a laptop running on your bed?
If so, you could have had a near-miss with a house fire.
In 2013, a laptop ran on a bed with a recalled battery for 16 to 18 hours.
It was ultimately deemed a contributing factor in a fire that burned a condo down.
While most laptops have automatic shutdowns that prevent them from overheating, if it fails, then you’re out of luck.
It’s always best to take your laptop off flammable materials (like a bed) and make sure they’re properly shut down.
Did you know that 9-volt batteries in junk drawers can pose a risk to your home?
These are great fire starters, and, too often, people just leave them lying around.
If you have 9-volt batteries on hand, it’s best to keep them in their packaging or keep the posts covered with tape to avoid any issues.
Do you hate dusting your house?
You’re not alone!
Dusting is a pain in the butt, but it’s an essential chore because dust is a fire hazard.
When you have dust near a space heater, electrical sockets, and other spots that can ignite, you put yourself at risk for a blaze.
Amp up your cleaning and dusting to prevent this!
23. Exposed lightbulbs
Did you know that exposed lightbulbs can pose a fire and safety risk in your house?
Under normal circumstances, a 60-watt light bulb doesn’t get hotter than 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, when exposed, it can reach close to 290-500 degrees, which is high enough to ignite things like table tennis balls.
It’s important to note this as keeping your bulbs covered will prevent fire hazards.
Do you have any fire hazards in your home?
While some of the hazards on this list may be obvious, others you may have come as a surprise.
Now that you know all the potential risks, you’ll be able to correct them and keep your home as safe as possible.
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Disclaimer: we are not lawyers, accountants or financial advisors and the information in this article is for informational purposes only. This article is based on our own research and experience and we do our best to keep it accurate and up-to-date, but it may contain errors. Please be sure to consult a legal or financial professional before making any investment decisions.