According to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, there are around 10,000 residential fires that originate from the attic each year. These fires result in an estimated 30 deaths, 125 injuries and $477 million in property damage. While attic fires are somewhat rare (around 2% of all residential fires), they remain a growing problem due to the fact that many homeowners overlook this area. So, how you can reduce the risk of an attic fire in your home?
Unlike most other areas in a home, attics typically do not feature smoke alarms or water sprinkler systems. When a fire occurs in the attic, it will grow larger and spread throughout the surrounding environment without triggering an alarm. It’s not until the fire has reached its way down into the home when the alarm is triggered. This is why it’s important for homeowners to take the necessary precautions to help reduce the risk of attic fires.
Install a Smoke Detector
Even if they aren’t required by local or federal building codes, it’s still a good idea to install a smoke detector in your attic. In the event that a fire breaks out here, you’ll have a better shot at containing it before it spreads into other parts of your home. Smoke alarms are relatively cheap and require minimal maintenance, but investing in one for your attic could save you tens of thousands of dollars in the long run.
Check Electrical Wires
Go throughout your attic to perform a visual inspection of the electrical wires running through it. Loose, torn or damaged wires could potentially create a fire. If there are faulty wires in your attic, hire a professional electrician to come and replace them.
Keep It Clean
Of course, cleaning your attic on a regular basis may also reduce the risk of a fire starting. Allowing old cardboard, wood shavings, insulation, etc. to clutter your attic offers a suitable source of tinder (AKA fuel) for a fire. Now that spring is here, there’s no better time to tackle a yearly attic cleaning project. Take a couple of trash bags up to the attic and toss any old debris that’s laying around.
Remove Overhanging Branches
If there are overhanging trees or branches above your roof, you should consider removing them to reduce the risk of fire. The dead debris that falls from a tree can leave tinder on your roof and gutters. Thankfully, you can eliminate this possibility by creating a 3-meter-long barrier around your home.