10 Fire Hazards You Might Not Know About

dryer lint in outdoor filter screen

Nobody wants a fire in their home, especially when they are so often preventable. While most people may know to be careful when cooking and the risks associated with candles and smoking, there are actually quite a few other fire hazards in homes that people pay less attention to.

1. Space Heaters

Space heaters are a great way to keep warm if you don't have a central heating and cooling system, or if you do but want to heat a specific area. Space heaters, however, need to be kept a few feet away from anything flammable, like clothing or drapes, if you want to prevent a fire.

2. Electrical

Electrical fires can be caused by an overloaded circuit, an overheated appliance, or a few other things. To prevent electrical fires, replace any damaged cords and make sure not to overload your devices.

dangerous electrical plug and outlet

3. Heating

Other methods of heating besides just a space heater can carry fire risks. Keep anything that can easily catch fire away from heating equipment, and turn off anything with flames when leaving a room.

    4. Lightbulbs

    Exposed lightbulbs can also be a fire hazard. Exposed ones are not as self-contained as other types of lightbulbs and therefore carry a greater risk.

    5. Water Heater

    Gas water heaters can also carry fire risks. Make sure not to pile clothes or anything else that could catch flames too close to the water heater. If you do, they could catch fire when the heater turns on.

    6. Dirty Stoves

    Make sure you are using your stove safely. That means your stove needs to be clean. If your stove is covered in grease or grime, it is more prone to catching fire. You should wipe the stove down frequently and deep clean it a few times a month if you cook frequently.

    7. Washers and Dryers

    hand holding dryer lint screen

    Some easily preventable fires happen every year from poorly maintained washers and dryers. Make sure you are cleaning them, that the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted, and do not overload the device.

    Dryer lint is a huge safety hazard, causing thousands of fires a year. Built up lint can easily catch fire, and can then spread and ignite the vent pipe. Since a lot of us leave the room where we wash and dry our clothes, it may take you a while to realize that anything is happening.

    Cleaning the lint trap of your dryer takes a few seconds and should be done regularly. If you have pets that shed, you will need to clean the lint trap even more often.

    8. Sawdust

    At the end of a DIY project, you will often have created sawdust. Sawdust is highly flammable and should not just be left in a garage or other work area.

    These areas usually have a lot of electrical wiring, and a minor spark could cause the sawdust to catch fire and spread. To prevent this from happening, dispose of sawdust once it is created.

    large electric sander on wood floor

    9. Laptops

    Laptops and other electronics can cause fires if they overheat while touching something like clothes or a bedspread while being plugged in for too long. While the odds of this happening to you are very low, especially since most laptops automatically shut down to prevent overheating, be careful with older devices.

    10. Smoke Detectors

    Smoke detectors are meant to keep us safe. If there is, however, a problem with yours, you and your loved ones could be in danger.

    If smoke detectors don't go off and do their job to warn you of a fire in your home, you may sleep through it or not realize there is a small fire in your home until it becomes a major fire.

    Make sure to check your smoke detector frequently and change the battery when needed. You could also consider getting automatic sprinklers installed as an extra safeguard against fires. If you do, make sure they are not placed in a way that the slightest sign of smoke in the kitchen will make them go off.