Spring Cleaning: The Perfect Time to Do a Home Fire Inspection
It’s that time of year again – time for spring cleaning and an annual home fire inspection, While you’re sweeping those dusty corners and decluttering your home, take the time to conduct a home fire inspection you can do yourself. Follow our room to room home fire inspection guide to make sure your residence is safe and not at risk for a fire.
· Check your kitchen fire extinguisher – they need to be replaced every 10 years.
· If you don’t have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen, make it a priority, as a whopping 41% of home fires start in the kitchen. Read our blog post about choosing the right extinguisher.
· Make sure furnishings, curtains and knickknacks that can burn easily are kept away from your stove.
· Test the smoke alarm, and replace it if it’s 10 years old or older.
· Scrub the stove hood clean of grease to help prevent a fire.
· Inspect your furnace.
· Remove trash, clutter, rags and other combustible material away from the furnace.
· If you use portable space heaters on cooler spring days, make sure you keep them at least 3 feet away from furniture and curtains.
· Make it a rule in your home that space heaters must be turned off if you leave the room or when you head to bed.
· Confirm your space heater has a shut-off feature if it’s accidentally tipped over.
· Avoid using extension cords with space heaters.
· If you didn’t test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms a few weeks ago during Daylight Savings Time, test them now while you’re cleaning cobwebs off the ceilings and walls.
· Replace smoke alarms if they are close to 10 years old.
· Confirm smoke detectors have been installed in each bedroom as well as in the hallway outside of each sleeping area.
· Replace carbon monoxide alarms if they’re more than 7 years old.
· Clean the dryer lint filter.
· Check and remove the lint on the outside in the venting system.
· Examine the duct material around your furnace – experts at This Old House recommend replacing foil or plastic accordion-style material with more rigid metal ducts.
· Clean ash out of fireplaces and woodstoves.
· Get fireplaces and woodstoves inspected.
· Install screens to keep embers from igniting nearby objects.
· Move firewood and accessories at least 3 feet from the opening of the fireplace.
· Plug in lights, stereos and televisions directly into outlets, not through extension cords.
· While cleaning floors, make sure electrical cords are not running under rugs.
· Inspect electrical cords for cracks, cuts or fraying.
· Feel plug outlets to make sure they do not feel warm – if they do, unplug the appliance and call an electrician.
· Check the date on your fire extinguisher – if it’s getting close to 10 years old, replace it.
· Inspect the door into your house from the garage to make sure weather striping has been installed. This will help prevent carbon monoxide fumes from coming into your home.
· If you keep extra gas canisters in the garage, make sure they’re far away from anything that sparks or provides heat.
· Clean up the areas around emergency exits, such as doors and windows, so they are not blocked with clutter, recycling, boxes, shoes, etc.
· Practice your fire escape plan so everyone knows where the exits are and where to meet once safely out of the house. Click here to read our blog post about creating a fire emergency action plan.
Related: Read our blog post, 4 Reasons to Install A Home Fire Sprinkler System