For homeowners in Southern California, no concern is greater than the danger of wildfires. But fire damage to homes doesn’t only come from wildfires. It can occur because of cooking accidents, electrical shorts, using wood stoves, gas leaks, and more. In 2020, fire damage was responsible for 23% of all home insurance losses.
We’ve previously written about how you can protect your home against wildfires. Today we’re going inside the house to look at preventing fires from starting indoors. This is especially important at this time of year, when holiday decorations, crackling hearth fires, and visiting guests increase the risk of fires.
Don’t overload your circuits
The electrical demand in homes has increased significantly in the 21st century, and not all homes’ electrical systems have kept pace. It’s important for you to know the electrical capacity of your house so you don’t overload your circuits. Avoid using octopus plugs or plugging too many appliances into a single outlet, and always use power strips.
Have an electrical audit done for your house
It’s a good idea to have a professional electrician provide your house with an electrical audit every few years. An audit will give you a better sense of the home’s electrical capacity and where you may need to upgrade, such as replacing an old electrical panel. An audit can also pinpoint danger spots from frayed wiring and other places where you’ll need electrical repairs. Frayed wires are among the leading causes of house fires.
Be cautious in the kitchen
First, make sure you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and that you know how to use it. Inform other members of the family about its location. Never leave any pots or pans unattended on a stove, and keep the stovetop and oven clean so that built-up grease won’t ignite later.
Have the dryer vent regularly cleaned
Clogged-up dryer vents are one of the biggest sources of house fires, and they often go unnoticed until too late. The lint inside a dryer vent is highly flammable and just the heat from the dryer can be enough to cause it to ignite. Cleaning the lint filter before each load will slow down the accumulation in the dryer vent, but you should have professionals clean out the vent every few years.
Be cautious with space heaters
Because Southern California has mild winters, people often use space heaters for warmth rather than turning on their central heating system. Space heaters can be dangerous, especially older ones built without safety precautions. When you do use a space heater, keep it away from furniture and drapes, and do not let it run unattended.
Invest in regular chimney maintenance
If you have a wood-burning fireplace, creosote build-up in the chimney can turn into a huge fire hazard. Have your chimney inspected annually by a CSIA-certified chimney sweep. The chimney sweep can tell you when the fireplace and chimney require cleaning for repair.
If your home does suffer fire damage, you can trust Jarvis for expert fire damage restoration in Orange County, CA.