It’s official. Minnesota is in a drought. This means ugly lawns, reduced crops, and high risk of fires. While we sit and wait for the rain, there are some steps we can all take to prevent our homes and neighborhoods from fire dangers.
Now may be the right time to Inspect Your Home.
- Check all electrical outlets to ensure there is no evidence of arcing or overheating.
- Look in the attic and crawl spaces for wiring which may have been damaged by pests or insects hiding away over the winter.
- Check your clothes dryer! Dryer fires account for over $100 million in losses every year. Clean the lint filter before or after every use and ensure the vent is clear from any obstructions. The American Household Appliance Manufacturers Association (AHAM) recommend you update any white vinyl hosing to safer rigid aluminum hoses.
- Check the gas system in your home for loose fittings, leaking valves, faulty pilot lights, and debris or improperly stored flammable materials in areas near these appliances. Remember, a professional inspection for peace of mind (and safety!) is never money wasted.
- Window air conditioners are not meant to run off of extension cords. These AC units do not bring the temperature inside a room low enough to the point of turning off regularly, so they run continuously without end. This continuous cycling causes heat to build up, the extension cord to burn out and a fire to start. If it’s August in MN and you are still weighing the benefits over the risks, use a commercial cord with at least a 10 gauge wire and use the shortest length possible to keep your home safe.
- Keep your stove, vent hood, and oven clean. Especially watching out for grease accumulation.
- If you have a chimney, have it inspected and cleaned annually. Regardless of how long it’s been since your last fire, always remove ash and unburned wood into a metal container (not plastic) and place outside away from any buildings.
A professional inspection for your home is a great way to ensure the safety of your house, your family, and your neighborhood. While this may not be possible for you each year, inspecting your own house for fire prevention is a necessary part of home ownership and could also be a great way to teach your kids something new. Enjoy the beautiful sunshine, Minnesotans!