As the weather gradually heads into autumn, we start to think about spending more time indoors and safety from at-home accidents such as fires.

Any fire at home is a scary thought, but luckily there are things you can do yourself at home to prevent the risk of a fire from ever starting. While accidents can happen, learning how to avoid a fire from starting or knowing what to do to prevent it from spreading throughout your home is vital.

RELATED: TIPS FOR AVOIDING WILDFIRE SMOKE DAMAGE

Here is some advice on the best ways homeowners can remain proactive to keep their home safe from electrical, grease, and house fires.

Dust bunnies and sawdust

Remember to sweep up old dust bunnies, sawdust, and drywall dust when doing home improvement projects. These loose particles can be ignited by the smallest of sparks.

Inspect electrical system

Make sure all of your outlets and lighting switches are secure with no loose wires hanging. This includes any Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets. These outlets are the ones in your kitchen, bathrooms, garage, and exterior with buttons in the center. You can test them by pressing the “test” button followed by pushing the “reset” button. These are usually found behind large appliances and other areas of the home where there are changes of an electrical surge. Doing this can be one of your best defenses against an electrical fire in your home.

Exposed or uncovered light bulbs

Lights without a protective cover are a fire safety concern since some bulbs (depending on the wattage) can burn upwards of 200-500 degrees Fahrenheit. A loose piece of clothing or curtain blowing in the wind can land on a lit bulb and cause a house fire.

Extension cords

Damaged cords and loose connections can cause electrical sparks that could melt the rubber or plastic protective cover. Make sure your cords are used properly and safely to prevent this type of electrical fire in your home.

Smoke and CO detectors

Replace the batteries in your smoke/CO alarms periodically. House fires can spread from room to room in a matter of seconds. A disconnected smoke/CO alarm or one with dead batteries increases the possibility of a total loss of your home and a potentially life-threatening situation.

Clean fan screens in kitchen hood vent

A clean fan screen above your kitchen stove can help prevent the potential for grease fires, a necessity for your home and family’s safety. A clogged filter can cause many other adverse effects in the home, like the build-up of smoke and grease particles. A simple solution of dish soap and water with a small scrub should do the trick. Pro tip: if your filters are metal, you can throw them in your dishwasher.

Clean out dryer vents

A clogged dryer vent is one of the most common causes of home fires. With a dryer vent brush (usually available at your local hardware store), sweep both sides of the surface of the dryer screen and inside the tube. This will clear up most of the lint build-up and will help drastically reduce your energy bill and lead to a longer-lasting unit.

Keeping things tidy around gas appliances

Place protective covers over the ignitor boxes of gas water heaters and dryers. When your water heater kicks on, the ignitor turns on as well, so clutter and lint can be a good fire starter if left near the spark. Another good housekeeping tip for appliances is to make sure your gas cooktop igniters are clean of grease to help prevent a kitchen fire.

Chimney sweep

A clean chimney is a happy chimney. The build-up of soot and debris can accumulate in a chimney, causing a fire hazard if not cleared out. Always make sure flammable items like blankets and curtains are pushed away from an open flame.

About the Author:

Hippo Insurance is an InsurTech company that’s reimagining home insurance through the lens of homeowners – building policies with more comprehensive coverage for today’s consumers at up to 20% less than competitors.

Photo courtesy of Erkin Athletics

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