The risk of house fires rises in the winter. Fireplaces, holiday cooking, candles, and the increased usage of space heaters contribute to hazards that may lead to a fire. Keep your family and home safe this season by taking precautions. Here are a few helpful tips to prevent a house fire.

Clear the Hearth to Prevent a House Fire

Before building a fire this season, take time to declutter the area around the hearth. When the fireplace isn’t in use, the hearth might get cluttered with books, magazines, children’s toys, and various items from around the house. Clear away materials that may be flammable before using the fireplace.

Take Care While Cooking

Fires in the home sometimes occur due to an unattended stovetop or cooking appliances with flammable items too close. When the cold winter days arrive, prevent a house fire by following simple cooking safety tips.

Never leave kitchen items that can catch fire, including dish towels, food packaging, and wooden utensils, near the stovetop or oven. Keep pot handles turned inward so they don’t get bumped off the stovetop. Clean spilled ingredients immediately. Verify the smoke detectors are working correctly before using any appliance that produces heat, such as an electric stovetop or gas range.

Clean the Chimney to Promote Fire Safety

Before building a fire, hire a chimney sweep to remove leaves, pine needles, animal nests, and creosote from the chimney. A dirty and clogged flue is a major fire hazard, so have the chimney cleaned before the weather gets too cold.

Hire a professional to inspect the chimney and fireplace. Taking care of this task in the fall allows plenty of time to complete cleaning and repair before cold weather arrives. Depending on the fuel used in the fireplace, creosote build-up can be an issue as it can ignite if exposed to hot embers that float up the chimney.

Using Candles Carefully to Prevent a House Fire

As winter approaches, the use of candles becomes more common. Candles are often enjoyed for decoration, aromatherapy, or even to add a cozy touch to a room. Be aware of using them safely to prevent a house fire this winter.

  • Place candles on a flat, stable surface.
  • Keep flammable items like curtains and table linens away from the flame.
  • Don’t leave candles unattended.
  • Use fire-resistant candle holders made of glass or metal.
  • Teach young children to keep a safe distance
  • Extinguish candles before leaving the room or when going to bed.

Be Careful With Space Heaters

Space heaters are excellent for providing localized warmth but can be dangerous if not used carefully. Never leave a space heater unattended, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep furniture, curtains, and rugs at least five feet from the appliance, and always unplug the space heater when leaving the house or going to bed.

Test Smoke Detectors Monthly

If you haven’t changed the batteries in your smoke detectors, fall and winter are excellent times to do so. Make sure the detectors in your home are working. Test them monthly by pressing the “test” button and vacuuming or dusting them regularly to keep the devices free of debris that could compromise their effectiveness.

These tips will help you prevent a fire and keep your home and family safe this winter.

Reliable Real Estate Inspections provides home inspection services in Hilton Head and the surrounding areas. Contact us to request an appointment.