Hidden Home Fire Dangers That Lurk

February 23, 2017

More than 47,000 home fires reported to U.S. fire departments involved some type of electrical failure or other household malfunction, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Homeowners sometimes discover that fires can be caused by some unexpected objects. Realtor.com® recently featured some of the hidden fire dangers that may lurk in a home:

Dishwashers

Many dishwasher fires are caused by liquids that come into contact with the appliance’s wires. The average residential property loss due to a dishwasher fire was $11.2 million from 2010 to 2012, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“Any device that powers a motor, heating element, or sometimes both in the same appliance always has a higher propensity for fire—and dishwashers are a common example,” Joe Torrillo, a firefighter who served in the New York Fire Department for 25 years, told realtor.com®. “They should never be turned on when going to sleep or leaving the home.”

Rodents

Squirrels, rats, and other small creatures can make a home in your attic insulation in cold weather. If they start chewing on the rubber-covered electrical lines, there could be a fire risk too. “When electrical wires become exposed to each other and their protective insulation has been compromised, there’s a likelihood of propagating an actual flame,” says Torrillo.

Jars and glass objects

Watch what you leave out in the sunlight, like on your kitchen table. An empty glass Nutella jar was blamed for a 2015 fire in southwest London. The sun rays refracted through the empty glass and ignited a spark. Do not leave flammable liquids, such as gasoline, cleaning fluids, paint thinners, and cooking oils in glass jars, in the direct sunlight. Torrillo recommends using metal cans for flammable liquids and plastic containers for cooking oils.

Source: “Up in Flames: 5 Surprise Fire Starters Lurking in Your Home,” realtor.com® (Feb. 22, 2017)