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According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than 300,000 house fires ignite each year in the U.S. on average—and most of them are preventable. In our Fire at Home series we have covered some unlikely causes of house fires to help raise awareness that there are many reasons a fire sparks, but the outcome is the same.  In an effort to prevent the number of house fires claiming homes and lives across the country, we want to draw attention to the lesser known culprits.  

From laptops to dishwashers to 9-volt batteries, the wide variety of causes bring destruction and sometimes fatalities.  In this final installment of our series, we address an issue that many of us see multiplying in the corners of apartments and homes everywhere – dust!

Dust bunnies aren’t just an annoyance — they’re also a danger to your safety. Dust can be a fire hazard if it collects near floor heaters, electronics, and sockets. If sparks fly, dust piles can ignite and cause a fire. Regular dusting and vacuuming with a hose can significantly reduce the amount of dust that lingers near your electrical outlets and appliances. Pay special attention to the back of entertainment centers and any crevices that might collect dust.

Dust is an unwelcome presence because it makes homes dirty and contributes to allergies and other health issues.  But, again, too much dust in certain areas is also a fire hazard.  The heat from electrical outlets, electronics, and appliances can cause dust to start on fire, especially if there are sparks.  You can dramatically decrease the risk of a fire from dust by cleaning your home regularly and removing dust from areas near outlets and electronics.

Conclusion:

There are many reasons for a home fire and there are many tips to keep you and your family safe.  In review of our Fire at Home series, here some tips to prevent the lesser known causes.

  1. Check Your Appliances – Make sure internal components of your dishwashers don’t leak, and perform regular checks at least once a year.
  2. Beware of Glass and Sunlight – do not leave mirrors or glass ornaments on window sills.
  3. Properly Store Batteries – Any time two 9-volt batteries touch (on the terminals on top of the batteries), they can create a charge, build enough heat, and burst into flames.
  4. Unplug Your Laptop – Do not leave your computer plugged in and sitting on a combustible surface, such as a couch, bed, carpet, or paper-cluttered desk.
  5. Clean Dust Bunnies – Especially near and around electrical outlets and vents.

Homeowners should always make fire prevention a point of emphasis and knowing these unlikely causes of house fires can help you better protect your home.  It is very rare for these factors to trigger a house fire but because the possibility is there, you must take the right actions to reduce the risk of a fire.  If you do experience any amount of fire damage in your home, contact the experts at Sage Restoration.  We have the tools and equipment needed to stop the damage from spreading and restore your home.