Fire hazards are everywhere in your home. From grease fires in the kitchen, to electrical fires from overloaded outlets, to dryer vent fires from clogged dryer vents, the potential for house fires is very real. For the purposes of this article, we are going to look at a few fire hazards in your home that you maybe aren’t aware of and how you can do some preventative home maintenance to help reduce the risk of fires.
Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Even the best preventative maintenance doesn’t guarantee there will never be another house fire. So, having working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the house is a very important warning sign to alert you in the event of a fire. We recommend testing them a minimum of once per year to ensure they are working. We also recommend changing the batteries yearly, rather than waiting until they start peeping at you or wondering if it’s still working. And changing the batteries yearly will prevent the dreaded 2:00 am wake up call of a fire alarm peeping at you! Don’t you hate that!
Having fire extinguishers in your home is another preventative maintenance task that you should take seriously. Many fires can be put out with in home fire extinguishers. They can potentially save your home if you are able to use the fire extinguisher to put out the fire while the fire department is in route to your home. Those extra minutes matter! Our recommendation is you have one fire extinguisher on each floor of the home and one in the garage. You should make sure you know how to use the fire extinguisher before any potential fire situation. Learn to use them now instead of when you’re trying to put out a fire.
Couple important points:
- Not all are created equal. Look for good quality that will last a few years. We also recommend rechargeable fire extinguishers.
- Not all fire extinguishers are made for every type of fire (grease, electrical, chemical, etc). Check your type to see what it’s rated for.
- Check them quarterly to make sure they are in the acceptable pressure range.
- Don’t have them inaccessible or buried in the back of a closet that you will not find in an emergency. They should be in an easy to access location.
Dryer Vent Cleaning
Your dryer vent fires are one of the most common causes of fires in the home. We recommend cleaning your exterior dryer vent annually (for most average households). You should also be cleaning the lint screen in the dryer prior to every load. Also, the area below where the lint screen is located should be cleaned quarterly. This is where a lot of lint builds up on the inside of the dryer. A small attachment to your vacuum hose should work to clean the interior. We recommend calling a professional dryer vent cleaning company to clean your exterior dryer vent annually.
Degrease Vent Hood
Grease fires are a common cause of house fires in the kitchen. In order to help prevent that, we recommend cleaning & degreasing your vent hood on a quarterly basis. There are many different types of vent hoods. Some vent to the outside of your home. Some have metal screens on the bottom of the microwave and vent inside the house. Taking the screen out and cleaning it or taking apart the vent hood and degreasing it is something we recommend doing quarterly. This will help prevent grease from building up and catching on fire.
Winterize the A/C Unit
Winterizing your A/C unit is another important step in helping to reduce fires in your home. Thankfully this isn’t a super common cause of house fires, but our CEO & Founder had this happen at their home. Regardless, this is still important to note and take preventive action towards. A/C unit fires can happen when rodents get into the A/C unit, chew on wires and build nests. Then in the spring when you turn your A/C unit back on it has the possibility of igniting the nests, leaves, debris, etc. We get asked about covering A/C units and that is not something recommend doing. For one, it can trap moisture inside leading to mold, mildew and rust. Second, it creates a nice little home for rodents that is protected from the elements. Both of those are bad news! To prevent rodents from getting in the A/C unit, we recommend using an anti-rodent treatment to keep them away. We use a non-toxic, non-poisonous treatment that is safe for animals, children, etc. The rodents don’t like the smell and they stay away from the A/C unit.
If you have questions on how to do any of these tasks or want to learn more about our Quarterly Routine Home Maintenance Plans where we do these preventative Maintenance jobs and 30+ other jobs, email [email protected] or call us at 888.858.5872.
For more information, here is a link to a Fire Safety Checklist for Homeowners and Renters published by the U.S. Fire Administration.
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