You might think water damage and flooding are the only issues to worry about in your home’s basement, but there’s also an increased potential for fire damage in Springfield Missouri. Many homeowners have heat-generating appliances, such as water heaters, furnaces, and dryers, in their basements. Just like flooding, basement fires are preventable when homeowners follow some simple safety tips.
Install Smoke Alarms
Every basement should have a smoke alarm, which should be cleaned and tested once per month. Regular testing ensures proper function throughout the year. Additionally, basement smoke alarms should be linked to others in the home, so that when one alarm goes off, the others sound as well.
Add a Carbon Monoxide Alarm
When installing smoke alarms, consider adding carbon monoxide (CO) alarms if the basement contains wood-, gas-, or oil-burning heating equipment such as a hot water heater. Carbon monoxide is a tasteless, colorless, and odorless gas, and it can quickly turn lethal. A carbon monoxide alarm will minimize the chances of CO poisoning.
Store Flammable Materials Carefully
Textiles, paper, debris, and other flammable items should be kept at least three feet from furnaces, wood stoves, water heaters, and other heat-generating equipment. Oily, greasy rags should be sealed in airtight containers, and trash should be removed as quickly as possible.
Minimize the Risk of a Dryer Fire
Though most newer homes have upstairs laundry rooms, many people still keep their washer and dryer in the basement. When people only go down to the basement to wash and dry clothes, it’s all too easy to overlook simple maintenance. These appliances should be plugged directly into the wall. Using an extension cord may create a fire hazard.
The dryer’s lint trap should be cleaned with each load, and its vent should be regularly cleaned as well. Dryers with blocked vents and clogged lint traps may overheat, causing a fire. According to the CPSC (the US Consumer Product Safety Commission), more than 15,000 dryer fires occur each year. They lead to numerous injuries, several deaths, and millions of dollars in property damage. However, with regular lint trap and vent cleaning, the risk is greatly reduced.
For fire safety, basements should be equipped with AFCIs or arc fault circuit interrupters. AFCI devices prevent electrical switch fires by turning off the circuit when an inadvertent arc (electrical discharge) occurs within a circuit. The installation of AFCIs is a complex process, so it’s best to leave it to a local electrician.
Keep Things Clean
Though the basement is largely “out of sight, out of mind”, it’s important to tidy up once in a while. Keep the stairs clutter-free, so there’s less fuel for a potential fire and so it’s easier to get out of the basement if a fire does start.
Count on the Experts
Though water heaters, heaters, furnaces, and dryers are some of the most useful appliances in the home, they can potentially cause serious fire damage. By keeping clutter away from these appliances, maintaining them regularly, and following these tips, it’s possible to reduce the risk of a basement fire. However, if there is a basement fire, homeowners can count on the fire damage restoration experts at PuroClean Certified Restoration to get things back to normal.