There are few things more devastating to a family than the destruction of the family home due to fire. Sure, you’re home insurance can help to rebuild your house, but some possessions, like pictures, can’t be replaced.
It’s important to take some time to learn the common causes of home fires, so you can help to prevent them from happening.
The good news is your insurance agent or insurance company has some of this information. In fact, our partner, Travelers Insurance, used their home insurance claims data to provide use a list of the most common cause of fire-related losses.
Check out this five (5) way to help prevent home fires and help to keep you from having to file a home insurance claim:
1. Faulty wiring and outlets are one of the top causes of house fires
- Inspect all the electrical cords in your home for signs of fraying or abnormal ware. Replace all frayed electrical wires.
- Refrain from pinching or covering electrical cords with through rugs or blankets.
- You need to be aware of the capacity of your home’s electrical system so you don’t overload it. Do not overload your circuits. If you are uncertain of the load capacity of your home’s electrical system, you will want to consult an electrician.
- You want to use surge protectors to protect valuable electronic devices (eg. Televisions and computers). There is a difference between a power strip and surge protector, while both allow you to plug in multiple devices, only the surge protector will provide protection from power surges.
2. Being careless in the Kitchen is another leading cause of home fires
- Here is an easy one, don’t leave you pots or pans unattended while cooking over an open fire.
- You should have a separate fire extinguisher located in the kitchen. It should be easy to access and close to the stove or oven.
- Build-up of grease or food splatter can be an ignition source when you turn on the stove or oven. Make sure to keep the surfaces of your oven and stove clean.
3. The clothes dryer is another source of home fires
- It is important to install your dryer vent properly. If you’re installing it yourself, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s installation, and use the recommended duct material. If you have any questions, or are unsure about the installation, you should hire a professional installer.
- Make sure your regularly clean the dryer vent.
- You should regularly clean the lint filter. As a matter of fact, you should clean it before each load of clothes.
- Inspect around your dryer for loose lint, it is common that it will collect under and behind the dryer. Clean these areas frequently.
4. Alternate heating sources are fire hazards
- Older space heater may lack the proper safety features, you should avoid using them. If you need to use a space heater, purchase one that is properly UL Listed and pay attention to all the safety features.
- Space heaters placed too close to curtains or furnishings can easily catch fire, place your space heater in an open area.
- If you plan to install an alternative heating system, such as a wood or pellet stove, follow the instructions. If you are unsure about how to properly install the system, consider hiring a professional to do the installation.
- Before installing a wood or pellet stove, check to ensure it complies with the laws of your state and municipality.
5. Your dirty chimney is another potential fire hazard
- Have your chimney inspected annually by a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweep. Have a professional clean and repair the chimney as needed, especially before the cold months, when you will be using it frequently.
- Use seasoned wood only. Never burn green or damp wood.
- Never burn cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, trash or trees in your fireplace – these can all spark chimney fires.
Fire and water losses are the two most common home insurance claims, you can do many things to mitigate against these perils. Take into consideration these common causes of home fires and take the necessary steps to keep your home safe.