The Consumer Product Safety Commission, using estimates from 2014 through 2017, says that major appliances caused more than 150,000 residential fires each year, resulting in 3,670 injuries, 150 deaths, and $547 million dollars in property damage. Despite the wide prevalence of home fires incidents, most fires are actually preventable. From fireproofing your home to keeping your appliances well-maintained, there is a lot you can do prevent an appliance fire. Here are simple things you can do to ensure your home is safe from appliance-caused fires.
Inspect Appliance Cords
Perhaps the most fire-prone part of any appliance is the cord. The is because cords can be damaged by frequent use. This can expose live electric wires leading to sparks which may, in turn, lead to a fire. You don’t need to wait until the cord is damaged to replace it. Proactively inspecting cords can enable you to identify aging cords. Replacing such cords in a timely manner can drastically reduce the risk of appliance-related fire. One way to reduce the risks associated with appliance cords is having big appliances mounted on the wall. Furthermore, the fireplace is another structure that is more likely to cause a fire. In addition to reducing the risk of a fire, having a wall-mounted fireplace enhances the beauty of the home and saves space.
Regularly check for and clean out the lint inside and around the dryer. If the seal around the dryers drum fails, the blower blows inside the drum instead of into the duct. Some homeowners may use flexible ducts, which sag, or they may not realize that elbows in metal ducts can affect blower performance.” Lint can also build up on screen that’s meant to keep bugs and small animals out of the exhaust fixture. Regularly check for and remove lint inside the duct and screen.
Use Firestop Putty Pads
Although firestop putty pads don’t prevent fires from starting, they can curtail the spread of the fire. These putty pads are placed around plastic socket boxes. In case of a fire, the putty pads will fill the hole that remains when the box melts and they will stop the fire from spreading through the wall.
Follow Appliance Best Practices
It is important to follow appliance best practices:
- Avoid putting metallic items, aluminum foil, or twist-tie warps in a microwave oven.
- Unplug toasters, coffee makers, and other appliances when you finish using them.
- Avoid using an oven as storage.
Don’t Place Appliances on Wet Areas
Wash basins are an integral part of modern kitchens but they can also a major cause of fire incidents when located too close to cooking electrical appliances. Exposing your electrical appliances or their cords to water may cause electrocution or even start a fire. Therefore, it is important to keep electrical appliances away from the wash basin. Equally important is making sure that electrical appliances do not become wet when cleaning.
Don’t Put Appliances Near Flammable Items
In case a small fire starts, you want your home to be equipped such that the fire does not spread quickly. To this end, it is important to locate your appliances at least three feet away from flammable items like beddings, carpets, curtains, towels, and furniture. In addition, it is important to keep rugs, mats, pizza boxes and paper bags away from the cooker or other hot appliances. It is also wise to keep appliances away from doorways and high traffic areas.
The most effective way of keeping your home safe is taking proactive steps to prevent the fires from starting in the first place or to stop them immediately after starting. Replacing worn out appliance cords, using firestop putty pads, and locating electrical appliances away from water, flammable materials and high traffic areas can go a long way in helping to prevent a major in-home fire.