Household Cleaning Tips to Avoid Fires
House fires are more common than you may realize, with potential fire starters like dust, laptops and lint traps hiding in plain sight throughout your home. While the thought may never cross your mind, many household items that go misused or uncleaned can be disguised as harmless but ultimately deadly.
Are you guilty of these bad habits that could start an unexpected fire in your home?
Misusing electric blankets: A warm and cozy electric blanket is a undeniable source of comfort in the winter but, it also poses a potential fire hazard. Never allow pets to snuggle on top and do not pile extra covers over the electric blanket. Excessive heat buildup may lead to fire. Never bend the coils, always keep your blanket at its lowest setting and always turn it off in the morning.
Piling up dirty rags: A wood stain may be the perfect finishing touch on a DIY project, but later, that pile of oil-soaked rags you tossed in the corner could trigger the perfect storm. Those rags are a very real fire hazard if left unattended. The rags could oxidize and spontaneously combust, causing a house fire. Two proper ways to dispose of oily rags are to lay them flat outside to dry or to put them in a metal can filled with water and a tight-fitting lid.
Lingering dryer lint: We're sure you know emptying the lint screen increases your dryer’s efficiency, but did you know that lint is flammable? The combination of lint buildup and excessive heat is a recipe for disaster. Make sure to clean the interior of the dryer frame as well as the dryer vent and exhaust duct regularly to clear away lint and clogs and to reduce the risk of fire.
Letting your laptop overheat: If you own a laptop, you know how hot it can get after hours of use. You increase the risk of restricting airflow through the cooling vents when you leave your laptop computer on your bed, rug, chair or other soft flammable surfaces. This can cause your laptop to overheat and possibly catch fire. Keeping your laptop on a desk or table will help prevent fires.
Using too many extension cords: Extension cords are meant to be a temporary response to a lack of electrical outlets; not a permanent solution. The reason for this is that connecting many cords for a significant amount of time causes an overload that will lead to a short circuit - which could start a fire. Hiring a qualified electrician to install additional outlets could help you avoid this problem altogether.
Disregarding dust: Built up dust can be a fire hazard if it collects in and around electrical sockets, electronics and even floor heaters. Vacuuming on a regular basis, especially behind electronics, will significantly reduce the chance of dust particles catching fire.
Improperly storing batteries: Storing 9-volt batteries in your kitchen junk drawer might be putting your home and family at risk. When loose batteries roll around with other metals such as paper clips or screws, the two terminals could short out, possibly generating enough heat to ignite flammables nearby. If storing the batteries in the original package is not an option, place a piece of electrical tape over the terminal to prevent this possibility.
Unwanted guests: Rodents like mice and rats like to chew on electrical wires to control the length of their teeth. Over time, they can remove the sheathing which leaves the wires exposed. The electrical current travelling through the wire generates heat and if the wire is exposed this could lead to sparks and ultimately ignite the surrounding surface. Call an exterminator if you suspect you have rodents.
Forgetting the chimney sweep: There are common causes of chimney fires, such as, dead birds, raccoon nests, cracked mortar and built-up creosote. The National Fire Protection Association recommends a professional chimney sweep at least once a year. Also, when building a fire in your fireplace, never light it with kerosene. Always use an approved fire starter.
Overlooking the range hood: Ovens and cook tops are the most common sources of kitchen fires. But range hoods are also a potential threat. Grease builds up over time and can drip down onto the cook top, possibly starting a fire. These flames could easily reach your cabinets and before you know it your kitchen could be engulfed. Regularly clean and maintain your range hood to keep your kitchen out of harm’s way.
Furniture arrangement: Furniture placed too close to a wood stove could spontaneously ignite. Pyrolysis is the chemical decomposition of a combustible item. This occurs when an object is continually exposed to a heat source and dries out. This leading-yet seldom considered cause of fires does not even require a direct flame. It only takes heat and time.
Why Choose SERVPRO
Fire and secondary smoke damages are extremely destructive and catastrophic experiences. In many instances, your property will also suffer secondary water damages from firefighting efforts. We are industry leaders in both fire and water damage cleanup and restoration. SERVPRO of Gaylord & Cheboygan has specialized equipment, specific training, and certifications that allow us to restore your home to pre-fire condition "Like it never even happened."