Posted on: 15 January 2015
Few things are scarier or more potentially devastating than a house fire. Not only would a house fire put your family's lives at risk, but it could also lead to the loss of priceless sentimental items and other valuables, and even leave you without a place to live. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, house fires cause nearly 12 billion dollars in damage a year, and lead to more than 3,000 deaths per year on average.
It's critical to do what you can to prevent house fires from occurring in the first place. Here are five random, often overlooked things that can cause a house fire:
Dirty or Broken Dryer Vents
A dryer vent that's full of lint or other debris, or that is improperly hooked up or malfunctioning, can easily cause a house fire. Warning signs to look out for include a dryer that's suddenly taking much longer than usual to dry clothes, and the area around the dryer becoming humid when the dryer is in use.
Having a dryer vent cleaning expert come to your home to inspect and clean out your vents can not only prevent a dangerous house fire, but can also help your dryer work much more effectively and last longer. Once you have your vents inspected and cleaned, you should continue to do so annually just to be on the safe side.
If your home is older and the wiring has never been upgraded or replaced, you may have an increased risk of a house fire. In particular, if you notice flickering lights, sparking outlets, blown fuses on a regular basis, or other signs of faulty wiring, you should definitely hire an electrician to come inspect your home's wiring as soon as possible. Electrical fires caused by faulty or old wiring can start inside your walls and quickly spread throughout your home.
Improperly stored paint, paint thinner, paint remover, and other flammable liquids are incredibly dangerous. These can easily catch fire simply from becoming too warm. Your best bet is to store these items in a cool, well-ventilated space. A garage or basement may be ideal, as long as there is adequate ventilation. Be sure to keep paint products away from sources of heat, regardless of where you store them.
Christmas trees are beautiful and festive, but did you know they can also be a major fire hazard? Luckily, it's easy to practice good fire safety where your tree is concerned, without needing to forgo having a Christmas tree altogether. A well-hydrated tree is much less likely to be set on fire than a dried out tree, so be sure to keep your Christmas tree in a stand that holds water, and fill it regularly. You should also avoid placing your tree close to a radiator or fireplace.
Most of us think nothing of storing unused batteries loose, often in a junk drawer filled with lots of other random items. Unfortunately, loose batteries can be a major fire hazard. If the prongs of the battery come in contact with something metal, even something as small and benign as a paper clip, the battery can spark and cause a house fire. In fact, house fires caused by loose batteries are on the rise.
Luckily, house fires caused by loose batteries are easy to prevent. When storing or disposing of batteries, simply enclose them inside a plastic case or box. Another option is to cover the prongs of the batteries with electrical tape.
By taking care of these items around the house, you can protect yourself and your family by helping to prevent a potential house fire.Share