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The Seven Main Causes of Winter Fires and How To Keep Your Home and Family Safe

house with roof and top floor destroyed by fire

With a little precaution, you can protect your home and family from a major disaster. As we go through Colorado winters, fires become more common. Spending a few minutes checking areas around your home can be lifesaving. It’s a heartbreaking scene when Restoration 1 of West Denver gets a call concerning a house fire. Before it happens to you, we recommend checking the following sources of heat and fire in your home.

Chimney Fires. While many of us have gas fireplaces now, chimney fires may result from wood-burning fireplaces or wood stoves. The cause is the build-up of creosote, which can start a fire if a spark reaches a deposit of creosote or the chimney gets intensely hot. The best way to prevent chimney fires is to have a professional clean your chimney at the start of the season. It’s also better to build “clean” fires – that is, fires that burn seasoned wood. Always make sure to keep the damper open, and don’t burn glossy paper or wrapping paper in the chimney. These types of papers may contain chemicals that can cause a chimney fire.

Space Heaters. Maybe you’ve had a reliable space heater for the past decade. It’s a work horse – heating a room in your home every winter. While it may be hard to part with a heater that’s working, if it’s old, it’s unlikely that it has the same safety features as newer units. When you shop for a new heater, make sure it’s UL listed and pay special attention to the safety features.

Outdoor Fire Pits. People are spending more time outdoors now. Firepits for patios and decks have become commonplace. They are nicely designed and encourage family gatherings in colder months. But they can be dangerous. Before you start an outdoor fire, take note of the following conditions.

  1. Don’t use a fire pit, or build a fire in the back yard, on unusually windy days.
  2. Make sure your fire is well away from any structures.
  3. Build your fire with seasoned wood and branches. Don’t use lumber, as it may contain chemicals that may even be toxic when burned.
  4. Always have extinguishers on hand in case of emergency. This could be a commercial extinguisher, or a bucket of water and a shovel to smother the flames with dirt.
  5. Be sure to keep your patio chairs away from the fire.
  6. And never leave the fire unattended.

Candles. Throughout the winter months, the days are longer and darker. Lighting candles during the winter months makes the home more inviting. Just make sure you’re being safe. Here are some important tips:

  1. Stay in the same room as the candle and make sure pets are out of the way.
  2. Candles should be by themselves, away from flammable items.
  3. Keep the wick trimmed on your candles and make sure you read the label on the candle before lighting it. Sometimes the manufacturer provides important tips to burning the candle.
  4. Know when to toss a candle and when you buy another, invest in quality.
  5. Best of all, try the battery-operated candles now at most stores. They look nice. Can be set to timers. And they’re safe.

Dryer Fires. You get busy and forget to check the filter in your dryer. It happens. And when it does it can be dangerous. Be sure to clean your dryer filter, clean the dryer duct and replace the accordion style ducts. Instead, install a rigid metal duct.

Cooking Fires. Probably the most common cause of house fires, you can prevent most cooking fires simply by staying in the room as you cook.

Faulty Wiring. If your lights dim when you turn on an appliance, if you frequently blow fuses or you can only use one appliance at a time, your wiring should be checked. It may be that you need a connection for a specific appliance – a space heater for example.

Your First Line of Defense? Smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide alarms can protect your home and family. They are reasonable priced and easy to install. Find the products that best fit your home, purchase them and install them immediately!

Should you need help after a fire, please give us a call at 72O-605-2994 – we are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.