Nobody wants to wake up or come home to their house burning down because a house fire can destroy a home and everything in it within such a short period of time. While house fires generally happen with little or no warning, most fires are preventable as they may be caused by certain behaviors that many homeowners are unaware can actually increase the risk of fires. Some of the most common causes of house fires include these behaviors which makes awareness of these behaviors and home fire safety practices very important among homeowners. The following are common behaviors that are among the top house fire causes that you should avoid to prevent house fires.
Putting Electrical Appliances Too Close Together
Most electrical appliances generate some level of heat and major appliances need a lot of power to operate. Putting too many appliances in the same area can greatly increase the risk of an electrical fire or a fire caused by the heat emitted from the appliances. You should make sure that all of your major appliances are spaced throughout the home so that the emitted heat from each appliance can dissipate and it is also important to make sure each appliance has its own plug directly into the wall to reduce the risk of electrical fires.
Leaving Cooking Food Unattended
The leading cause of house fires is unattended cooking and even though just about every list of fire safety tips includes this risk, it remains the most common cause. Many homeowners think there is no harm in walking away from the stove for a few minutes while cooking but a fire can start in just a few seconds if cooking food is left unattended. You should always be vigilant when cooking to reduce this risk and try to avoid cooking methods such as frying that are more likely to cause fires.
Excessive Use of Extension Cords and Power Strips
Extension cords and power strips handle a lot of electricity which makes them a potential fire risk if they are used improperly. You should avoid connecting multiple extension cords together because this will overload the cords and increase the risk of a short circuit which can cause a fire. It is important to remember that extension cords are meant as a temporary solution only. Power strips should also be used with caution as not every power strip has surge protection. Make sure each power strip has its own outlet and do not daisy-chain multiple power strips together only to plug them into the same outlet.
Using Damaged Cords
You should always check electrical cords around your house to make sure that none of them are damaged or worn out. Damaged cords are more likely to cause an electric shock and if the outside coating of the cord is worn out, the heat it generates can cause a fire through direct contact with flammable material. Checking for and replacing damaged worn out cords can help prevent house fires.
Leaving an Appliance on in an Empty Home
If you leave your house for any amount of time, make sure your electrical appliances are turned off. A single malfunction when you are away can very quickly turn into a large fire that will consume your home. One of the few appliances that is deemed safe to leave on in your empty home is a crockpot because they do not generate enough power or heat to be a serious fire risk.
Failing to Clean the Dryer Lint Trap
Excess lint in the dryer is the second leading cause of house fires after unattended cooking. Cleaning the lint out of the trap on the dryer only takes a few seconds and establishing a habit of cleaning out the lint trap with every use will greatly reduce the risk of a fire. You should also check the dryer hose annually to make sure it is clear of lint and debris.
Unattended Lit Candles
Many people like to light candles in their home to create a certain mood or because they enjoy the smell but it is very important that you do not forget about a lit candle or leave it unattended. Just one candle can cause a major fire and all it takes is for the candle to get knocked over or the flame to get too close to something flammable. Make sure to put your candles in sturdy holders away from anything that can possible catch fire and always blow them out before leaving the room or the house.
Failure to Clean Chimney
If you have a fireplace in your home that you use regularly, cleaning out your chimney is very important for preventing house fires. An oily residue known as creosote builds up in your chimney when you use the fireplace and this substance is very flammable. A big enough creosote build-up in your chimney greatly increases the risk of a chimney fire so make sure to have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually if you like to use your fireplace.
The risk of a house fire in just about every home is very real and even though many homeowners may believe that their homes are safe, the common behaviors listed above can actually be putting your home more at risk. These everyday behaviors are among the leading causes of house fires because they are so common and it is important for homeowners to realize the danger in these behaviors and avoid them to help prevent house fires. However, even with the best home fire safety habits, a fire can still be started by something out of your control and when this happens, a fire damage restoration specialist is needed to get your home restored. Avoiding these behaviors that increase the risk of a fire is the best form of protection.