How to Prevent Fire Damage in Winter
Homeowners don’t anticipate fire damage in the winter because of the cold temperatures and snow on the ground. However, winter brings certain fire hazards that most people aren’t aware of. In fact, these fire hazards are most likely to occur because they are so unexpected, and homeowners aren’t prepared. Fire damage also increases during the holiday season because of the flammable decorations and materials present in the house.
There are preventative measures you can take during the winter to prevent fire damage:
Water the Christmas Tree
Christmas trees are very flammable and a common cause for house fires during the winter. An artificial tree is much less likely to catch fire than a real tree. However, if it does catch fire, the smoke and chemicals are more dangerous. If you prefer a real tree, simply water it regularly because it is less likely to catch fire from random sparks than a dry tree.
Be careful what decorations you use to decorate your tree and don’t leave the lights on for long periods of time. Turn them off before bed and whenever you leave the house. Keep your tree away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, and heat vents. To be extra safe, create an emergency fire escape plan with your family and practice it during the holiday season.
Decorate the Tree Safely
Lights and decorations are often the sources of Christmas tree fires. We understand that decorating is half the fun of Christmas but be careful how you decorate your tree to prevent a house fire.
Avoid using lit candles on or near your tree, use LED lights because they require less energy, and replace any lights with a worn appearance, frayed wires, or loose bulb connection. Be careful to not overload your power strip or outlet and read the instructions for your Christmas lights before using it.
Inspect the Furnace/Chimney
A furnace or chimney that isn’t functioning properly is another common way for a fire to start quickly. It is common for chimneys to get clogged and this makes using the dangerous. Make it a habit to inspect your chimney or furnace for clogs or other damages that stop it from working correctly. If you don’t have the time or don’t feel confident enough to inspect your appliances, have a professional come by annually.
Use the Space Heater Carefully
Heaters are commonly used during the cold months but remember to be careful about where your heaters are located. Keep them three feet away from other appliances or objects in the house because this is an easy way to start a fire in the house. Be sure to unplug space heaters when they aren’t being used or when the house is empty and buy heaters that will turn of automatically should it fail.
Clean Lint from Dryer
Dryer fires commonly occur in the fall and winter and a majority of them start because homeowners don’t clean them often enough. A buildup of materials like link and dirt are the most common cause of dryer fires because the appliance cannot properly release heat and the buildup fuels the fire.
To prevent a fire, clean the lint filter of your dryer every time you sue it. You should regularly inspect your dryer ductwork and vent to ensure it is working correctly and have it professionally cleaned once a year. Don’t leave laundry unattended and make sure someone is awake and present in the house during a cycle.
Be Careful of Candles
Candles are a common household item, especially during the holidays. Candles are a great way to make your home smell good and feel cozy, in contrast to the cold weather outside. However, December is the most popular time of year for candle fires.
Put out candles before bed and whenever you leave the house for a long period of time. Be sure to place candles at least three feet away from combustible materials like blankets, curtain, and Christmas decorations. If you want a pleasant scent in your home but don’t want the risk candles pose, consider an air freshener, oil diffuser, or wax warmer.
Many of us spend the winter months inside, away from the cold. However, we often put our homes into overdrive while ensuring the inside temperature is warm and cozy, increasing the risk of house fires. Be mindful of how you use your appliances and decorate for the holiday season. For professional fire damage restoration services, call ServiceMaster Cleaning & Restoration for quality work and excellent customer service.