Home is where most of us truly feel safe, but have you thought about just how safe your home actually is? While almost all of us think about the obvious hazards and have basic safeguards in place for them, many fires result from threats that the owners had not even considered.
Here are five hidden fire hazards in your home.
Most people clean out the lint trap on the clothes dryer after every load. Unfortunately, that is not the only place that lint accumulates…and you can’t see or easily reach it.
As your clothes dry, lint that does not end up in the trap collects in the duct work and dryer vent hose. This reduces the unit’s efficiency and means more electricity to properly complete the task. However, the real concern is that lint is quite flammable and near sources of heat inside the machine. Thus, the more lint that builds up, the greater the risk.
Have a professional clean out the duct work and dryer vent hose annually. If possible, go with an aluminum hose rather than plastic, as the latter can also be a fire risk.
When people hear of kitchen fires, they probably think of cluttered and greasy food preparation areas in restaurants on the verge of being closed by the health department. In reality, even the cleanest, most well-organized kitchen in the world can be a fire hazard if left unattended during cooking.
Do not ever leave cooking alone for more than a very short period of time. Pots can overflow and spill their red-hot contents on the countertop or floor, food can burn and ignite objects nearby, and children or animals can move things close to active burners. Try to do your stovetop cooking at a time when distractions are minimal or non-existent.
Many people enjoy shopping for old appliances at antique malls and garage sales. In an age when so many products are plastic and uniform in appearance, vintage things seem to have so much more character and visual appeal. Unfortunately, because they come from an earlier age, these machines do not represent the safety standards that we expect from products made nowadays.
Old appliances can easily overheat and start fires, thanks to old, frayed wiring. Have these re-wired to modern standards or use them only as unplugged conversation pieces.
Hidden Electrical Cords
Speaking of frayed wires, we all know not to overload electrical outlets, but have you thought about electrical cords that are not in plain sight? Some homes use extension cords that are hidden under carpeting and constantly stepped on, leading them to fray and become dangerous. Also, some cords become looped or tangled, which eventually leads to the same problem.
It is a good idea to inspect your electrical wiring annually. Frayed wires can lead to fires start behind walls and dramatically spread before detection.
Many people like to have gaming systems and computers but don’t necessarily like the clutter that can go along with them. There is a danger to having such electronics hidden away in entertainment centres or closets: overheating and possible fire.
Arrange your electronics so that they have ample ventilation, and be sure to clean them periodically to remove dust, which can lead to clogging and overheating.