9 common causes of fire in the home

Even if your home is 100% covered by homeowner’s insurance, no check will make up for family heirlooms, photos, documents, keepsakes, artwork and other irreplaceable items.

Get to know the top causes of fires in the home so that you can be better prepared to avoid such a sad event.

1. The kitchen

Cooking equipment is the number one cause of house fires and perhaps the most easily prevented. In most cases, fires start because people leave food on the stove or in the oven and then forget about it. Never leave a pot or pan unattended and consider purchasing a clip-on timer for baking.

2. Portable heaters

Whether it’s added heating at night while you’re sleeping or an attempt to dry off soggy clothes or shoes on a snowy day, portable heaters present great danger when not used correctly. Be sure to keep a minimum of 3 feet clear in all directions from a portable heater.

3. Electrical failure

Sparking from bad wiring or faulty appliances is avoidable:

  • Check all appliances for frayed wires or damaged plugs
  • Don’t overload outlets
  • Always hire a licensed electrician for wiring work inside the home
  • Avoid running wires or extension cords under rugs

If the wiring in your home is old and potentially out of date, find room in your home maintenance budget to have it replaced.

4. Smoking

Never under any circumstances smoke in bed. If you are a smoker, consider switching to lighting up outdoors only and always use an ashtray. Smoking related incidents are the number one cause of fire deaths in the United States.

5. Accidents involving children

Teach your children the importance of never playing with fire. If you have young kids in the house keep all matches and lighters in a locked drawer. The desire to play with fire is very common. Keep an eye out for melted toys, burnt matches or other signs that your kids may be playing with fire when you’re not around.

6. Backyard BBQs

There are a number of ways your barbecue grill can start a fire in your home:

  • Placed too close to a flammable wall, tree or shrub
  • Poor maintenance
  • Not cleaned properly
  • Overloaded with too much greasy food

7. Misplaced candles

Given that a candle is an open flame inside your home, be very careful to ensure they are lit only on stable surfaces and away from any material that could light easily. Do not leave lit candles unattended.

8. Garage or shed mishap

Flammable liquids or solvents that are improperly stored can not only ignite but cause a chemical fire or even explosion that burns hot and is difficult to put out. Safely dispose of dangerous materials you no longer need.

9. A not so merry Christmas

Christmas trees are behind hundreds of house fires per year in America. Always keep your tree base full of water and test lighting for frays or other electrical issues. Never light candles on your tree and remove the tree from your home at the first sign that it is dry and brittle.