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Prevent Home Fires: Cincinnati Home Maintenance

prevent-home-fires-cincinnati-promasterThere is no greater fear for many homeowners than that of a house fire. Beyond the loss of material possessions, the safety of our family and ourselves is always at the top of our minds, and it should be. In fact, emergency crews respond to more than 350,000 home fires each year in the United States. That’s why it’s good to know that there is some basic home maintenance you can perform in your home to prevent home fires.

Maintenance To Prevent Home Fires:

1. Electrical Outlets and Cords

Electrical fires make up the largest percentage of home fires in the U.S., and are often avoidable. Be sure that the cords on your electrical devices are not worn or frayed. Avoid using power strips that could allow too many devices to overload the circuit. Never run wires underneath rugs, carpets, or baseboards. When remodeling, be sure that all electrical work is done to your local code. If you have a flat-panel TV mounted to a wall, remember that only low voltage wires such as HDMI or audio cables can be run behind drywall. Power cords can never be placed behind the wall.

2. Exterior Debris & Firewood

It’s not uncommon for people to have piles of firewood, brush, or compost near their home. To prevent home fires, be sure that all combustible materials are kept at least 10 feet away from your home’s exterior, and preferably even more. This is also a good rule for your outdoor grill, as many home fires are caused by an innocent family barbecue gone wrong.

3. Dryer Vents

We all know that it’s important to clean the lint trap on our clothes dryer, but did you know that it’s also vital to clean the vent? The line that runs from your dryer’s exhaust to the exterior of your home is a prime location for the beginnings of a home fire. In fact more than 15,000 fires per year are caused clothes dryer vents. These vents should be cleaned at least once a year to ensure that the flammable lint from your clothes and blankets won’t cause your dryer to overheat, creating the possibility of a fire. This is a very important step to prevent home fires.

4. Heaters

When winter rolls around we all pull out something to give our home an extra bit of warmth. Sometimes that’s an oil heater, while other times a ceramic or infrared heater. While they may help us to warm up in cold weather, they can also create fire risk. To prevent home fires, be sure that your heater has an automatic shut-off if it tips over. Never place a space heater too close to furniture, blankets, or curtains. Always plug your heater directly into an outlet, not a power strip. And finally, don’t leave space heaters on unattended or overnight.

5. Chimneys

Continuing with cold weather risks, dirty or faulty chimneys are the cause of many home fires. Your chimney allows smoke, water vapor, gases, unburned wood particles, and other materials to exhaust from your home when you burn a wood fire. As these substances flow up into the cooler chimney, condensation occurs. The resulting residue that sticks to the inner walls of the chimney is called creosote.  Creosote is very flammable. To prevent home fires, your chimney should be inspected and/or repaired before lighting your chimney for the first time each season.

6. Smoke Detectors

While your smoke detectors won’t necessarily prevent a home fire, they can keep you safe if one occurs. You should have smoke detectors located near the ceiling of every level of your home, and immediately near sleeping areas. Be sure that you replace your batteries once a year, and change the smoke detector itself every 10 years.

Prevent Home Fires: Cincinnati Home Maintenance

If you need help with these or other home maintenance needs, we invite you to contact ProMaster Home Repair. We’d love to help you make sure your home is taken care of the right way, so you can enjoy it for many years to come!

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