According to the U.S.Fire Administration’s (USFA’s) National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), there are an estimated 10,000 residential attic fires each year, resulting in approximately 30 deaths, 125 injuries and $477 million worth of property damage. One of the many potential causes of residential attic fires is leftover debris from a roofing job. If you have a roofing job scheduled in the near future, or if you recently had one performed on your home, you should take note of what I’m about to tell you.
Water Heater Burner Open
During a roofing job, it’s not uncommon for workers to accidentally knock open the burner doors on an attic water heater. A worker could knock it with their body, or they could drop a tool down on it. When these doors are open, the exposed flame could easily catch fire to sawdust or other debris. After the roofing job is complete, take a minute to inspect the burner doors on your water heater, ensuring that it’s fully closed and secure.
Loose Breaker Wires
Of course, roofing contractors and workers may also knock loose some of the breaker wires in your attic. The power breaker serves as the ‘hub’ for your home’s electricity. All of the power travels to the power breaker where it’s distributed to partitions throughout your home. Allowing wires inside the breaker to remain loose is a serious fire hazard that needs to be addressed. With that said, you should never attempt to reconnect breaker wires unless you are certified electrician.
Shingles and Sawdust
You’re bound to find some leftover shingles and sawdust in your attic after a roofing job. If the contractor did a poor job of cleaning up after themselves, swallow your pride and remove the debris yourself. Both shingles and sawdust can fuel attic fires, turning a small flame into a devastating house fire. Contractors should clean this debris up before leaving the site, but as you probably know, they oftentimes leave a mess behind for the homeowner to handle.
A lesser-known fire hazard that’s left behind after a roofing job is moisture. I know what you’re thinking — doesn’t moisture prevent fires? Yes and no. If the moisture gets on electrical wires running through your attic, then it could short and cause a fire.
When choosing a contractor to perform your roofing job, do some research on their history and experience. A short Google search will likely reveal feedback (good and bad) from previous clients.