When it comes to your home, one of the most important factors is feeling safe and secure. However, what about the hidden dangers that may be lurking around your house, apartment, or wherever else you live? And while danger may take many shapes and forms, today we are looking at one hazard in particular; fire.
Very few accidents can be as devastating as a fire. Or, in the most unfortunate cases, even deadly. Fire leaves nothing left after its wake. Just about anything and everything it encounters in your home can be burned. And those things which escape incineration can still be damaged by smoke, soot, and extreme heat.
And while the obvious suggestions such as don’t leave the stove on and don’t play with matches may be helpful, what about all the secret fire dangers you have in and around your home this very moment? Here’s how to find them:
Bad Wiring/Malfunctioning Electrical Outlets
This may be the number one hidden cause of house fires, although it is hard to determine something like that exactly, as the cause of many fires is never discovered. And although it may be a little easier to identify a bad outlet (and stop using it), it is far more difficult to know if you have faulty wiring or not. Having a home inspector out at the recommended times to take a look is probably a good idea.
Clothes Dryer Vents
This is one that a lot of people don’t know about. Something else they don’t realize is that it is recommended to clean the lint trap after every use, and at least every other use. Some folks admit to going weeks without cleaning it. In addition to this, the entry and exit points of the vents should also be checked regularly for obstructions or debris and cleaned out if necessary.
Josh Foy of Vent Gator a professional dryer vent cleaning company in Redlands explains, “Most homeowners neglect to clean their dryer vents. The amount that accumulates over time can be dangerous and puts undo stress on your dryer.”
Vent Gator provides dryer vent cleaning throughout Southern California and they can be reached at (800) 697-4014 and are based in Redlands, California.
If you like to keep newspapers (do they still have those today?) or other types of paper lying around or even neatly organized, you are adding unnecessary fuel to a potential fire. Every spark requires some type of kindling to grow. When you leave the paper and other similar flammables lying around, you are giving far too much opportunity for a flame to ignite.
Inoperable Smoke Detectors
It doesn’t do a lot of good to have high-quality smoke detectors if their batteries never get changed and they never get inspected. Many fire stations offer this service for free. There are countless stories from firefighters about the calls they have had to take to homes that had smoke detectors in multiple rooms.
If your garage is attached to your house (or just close to it) everything in it puts your home at risk as well. In addition to gas cans and various other flammable liquids or gases, many garages are full of sawdust. Sawdust is just about as flammable as paper and when it goes up, it goes up quickly. Always sweep up any of it that is left over after woodworking.
If you or someone in your household is a smoker, or even if you allow guests or friends to smoke, cigarettes that have not been put out properly pose a huge risk. Many times these ashtrays will be pushed close to drapes or furniture. Other times they might be dumped in the trash where they can really mingle with flammable materials. Either way, still-lit cigarettes are responsible for many fires each year.
Just as cigarettes, these often get lit and forgotten about or improperly extinguished. How many times have you blown on the same candle 3 or 4 times just to get it to go out? Or, have you ever come home to the same candle you left burning hours ago? Many firefighters have.
Old Fire Extinguishers
Finally, how long has it been since you checked your fire extinguisher? It is the irony of all ironies that the very piece of equipment used to stop a fire may inadvertently make it worse. If your extinguisher is several years old, it may not function properly. Have it inspected or get a new one.