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How Do I Avoid an Attic Fire?

Having a fire extinguisher in the attic can help prevent a significant fire from erupting in it.
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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 12 August 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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There are numerous ways to eliminate the risk of an attic fire in your home. An attic fire may occur when wiring has become frayed or torn. Checking the electrical wiring in your attic is one measure you can take. Examining your chimney lining for flaws is another step that can help prevent an attic fire. Ensuring proper ventilation for your attic is also essential.

Some fire safety experts believe the installation of a whole house fan or attic fan may pose an increased risk for attic fires. That said, you may want to weigh the pros and cons of attic fan installation. If you cool your home with an attic fan, be sure it is constructed of quality material, such as metal. Plastic fan parts may pose a fire hazard.

If your home attic houses a water heater or furnace, be sure you have adequate venting. Lack of ventilation may create ideal conditions for an attic fire. It's also a good idea to examine the water heater flue occasionally. Check for debris or bird nests that may block ventilation.

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Regular use of a fireplace requires yearly inspection as well. If you wish, you may check for hidden dangers yourself, but is is recommended to have a professional run a sweep or inspection on a yearly basis. Failing to comply with proper chimney maintenance could put you at risk for an attic fire. As part of a chimney sweep, the qualified professional will remove soot, bird nests or other materials that have built up in the chimney.

Another tip for avoiding an attic fire is to simply clean up the area. This is especially true if you have a finished attic for storage use or one that is occupied for entertainment or sleeping purposes. Never leave appliances plugged in when they're not in use and don't overload your electrical outlets. Watch out for loose curtains or window furnishings that block vents. Don't store boxes or other items too close to a vent and, most importantly, do not store combustible items that may ignite in your attic.

If your home's siding has been constructed of flammable materials, this could ignite and put you at risk for an attic fire as well. If you plan to remodel your home, be sure to comply with all safety codes and regulations. Stucco or other options may be safer alternatives to wood siding. Also, consider using materials that are non-volatile for your roofing projects instead of wood.

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