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Avoid These 7 Common Causes of House Fires

House fires are a real and serious threat. There are over 1,300,000 every year in the United States, costing over 14 billion dollars in property damage and taking the lives of over three thousand individuals (source).

Defend against this possibility and avoid the following common causes of house fires:

Extension Cord Overuse

One extension cord in good condition in a dry environment isn’t much of a risk. But daisy-chaining too many extension cords, power strips, and adapters in creative ways exposes more connections and puts increasing stress on your outlets. This adds up to increased risk that something spark, short, or ignite.

Dryer Lint

An overflowing filter and blocked lint trap stops air flow and allows heat to build up, eventually reaching the heating coils-where the lint can easily catch fire. Make sure that your lint traps are emptied after every load to keep the air flowing and improve the performance of your dryer as well.

Kitchen Accidents

Keep cooking materials, especially oil, safely away from stovetops and never leave the stove unattended. Also, remember that to stop a grease fire you need to snuff it with the pot top or baking soda—NEVER with water, which will only cause the burning oil to spray.

Neglected Heating Systems

Fireplaces, heating systems, and chimneys need to be routinely cleaned in order to prevent blockages and clear away dangerous buildup of flammable compounds like creosote.

Fire Pits and BBQs

Movable Fire Pits and BBQs are great in the summer but they need to be kept away from the home itself, and never stored indoors or in a crowded garage while they are still hot.


Lamp shades or stray socks can both burn if they come in physical contact with lightbulbs—especially older incandescent bulbs which get extremely hot while in use. Also, make sure all lamps are stable so they won’t accidentally fall over.

Faulty Wiring

Aging homes, especially those forty years old and older, often have lower quality wiring that can struggle to handle the load generated by modern devices. Given how many electronics we all keep in our kitchens and living rooms this can cause overloads and fire or smoke damage as a result. Fortunately, your wiring can be corrected if you notice that your fuses or circuit breaker are being triggered too often, or that your appliances are struggling during simultaneous operation.

After the Fire

Unfortunately, even if you take every precaution against home fires, accidents do happen. If you ever suffer a house fire in Western Michigan, or experience smoke damage as a result of any one of these risk factors, contact Amber Valley Construction. We’ll move fast to secure the site (after the professionals put the fire out) and limit future damage to the structure, while working with your insurance company to get your home fully restored as soon as possible!

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