When cold weather starts to creep in at the end of the year, it’s time to start heating your home! By following these tips on fire prevention safety in your home, you can have peace of mind that you’ll stay safe and warm all winter long.
Practice Responsible Fireplace Usage
Wood, pellet, and gas burning stoves are all excellent home heaters. With some mindful safety practices, they can also be a safe way to heat your home in the Fall, Winter, and Spring!
- Never leave a fire in your fireplace unattended! This is the most basic rule of home fireplace usage, and also the most important. If you’re planning on leaving the house or going to bed, douse your fire completely.
- Have your chimney checked every single year by a professional. Even if you don’t think your chimney is in need of cleaning or maintenance, a professional can make sure that there are no blockages, such as birds nests, that could block smoke from exiting your fireplace correctly.
- Practice smart burning habits. You should always use seasoned firewood, not damp or green wood. Damp wood and green wood can pop and crack in the heat, sometimes sending small embers flying out of the fireplace. Seasoned wood is the safest and most efficient choice when it comes to fueling your fire.
- Never burn trash like cardboard, wrapping paper, or Christmas tree branches in your fireplace — residue from these items can build up in your chimney and increase the risk of a chimney fire.
- If you have young children, make sure they always have adult supervision around the fireplace and talk to them about fire safety practices.
Inspect Your Clothing Dryer
Dryer fires are one of the leading causes of fires in the United States, and also one of the most preventable. With regular cleaning and maintenance, you can greatly reduce the risk of a house fire while also ensuring maximum efficiency for your clothing dryer!
- Empty your lint trap after every single load of laundry. The most effective lint trap is a clean one, and emptying yours after every load of laundry helps ensure that there isn’t a chance for build up to form.
- Check underneath and behind your dryer regularly for lint buildup. This can help you make sure that everything is working correctly and that all of your duct connections are secure. If lint is escaping the ducting somehow, double check all of your connections to make sure there aren’t any gaps or holes.
- Check and clean out the dryer vent regularly — it might seem redundant to check this too, but checking your dryer vent for lint can help you make sure that your lint trap is working properly! If you find a buildup of lint within the vent, it might be time to consider replacing your lint trap.
- If you are installing your dryer yourself, make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions that should have come with your machine. Use the proper ducting material and make sure that the duct is installed correctly.
Inspect Your Wiring & Electronics
Faulty, frayed, or improper wiring can also pose a fire risk, but can be mitigated with regular maintenance.
- Be aware of your home’s electrical system’s capacity and do not overload your circuits. Just like you should never overload a surge protector, you also don’t want to overload your home’s electrical system.
- Speaking of surge protectors, learn the difference between surge protectors and power strips. While both of these will allow you to plug in multiple devices, only a surge protector will help protect your devices from a power surge… thus the name “surge protector!” Use a surge protector to protect valuable electronic devices such as computers or televisions.
- Check the electrical cords around your home regularly for damage or fraying. If you have pets, make sure to check any accessible cords for damage from chewing, even if you’ve never seen them doing it!
This list is a great starting point for fire safety and prevention, but don’t hesitate to do more research and find other ways to keep your home safe from fires this year, and the years to come. If you ever experience a fire or smoke damage, call Elite Restoration! Our 24-hour emergency response team is available all year round and can help you restore your home to normal as soon as possible.