Family safety is a prime concern here at Southern Trust Home Services. This year’s observance of National Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 4-10, serves as a reminder to protect your family from the dangers of fires caused by home heating and electrical systems.
At Southern Trust Home Services, the Roanoke electrical and heating experts, we encourage homeowners to use National Fire Prevention Week as the perfect time to check your home for possible fire dangers.
According to the NFPA, heating equipment is a leading cause of fires in U.S. homes. Local fire departments responded to an estimated average of 52,050 fires involving heating equipment each year in 2012-2016, accounting for 15% of all reported home fires during this time. These fires resulted in annual losses of 490 civilian deaths, 1,400 civilian injuries, and $1 billion in direct property damage.
To heat your home safely, NFPA advises that you should have a qualified contractor, like Southern Trust, install furnaces, boilers, water heaters or other central heating equipment according to local codes and manufacturer’s instructions. All fuel burning appliances must be vented to the outside. Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional. If your heating unit is not working and you smell gas around it, do not attempt to relight it — leave the house, then call 911 and the gas company.
Never store anything flammable or combustible, especially gasoline, oil or charcoal lighter, near heating equipment. Keep children at least 3-ft. away from fireplaces, woodstoves and space heaters. Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room, NFPA says. Check the batteries in your CO and smoke detectors twice a year. Never use your oven for heat. Turn off portable space heaters before going to bed.
If you live in an older home, your electrical system may be outdated as well. Older homes may have knob-and-tube wiring, aluminum wiring, and 60A electrical systems that tend to come with a greater risk of overheating. A 60A electrical service might be ok for a small house but, in general, it’s not up to the task to handle modern appliances, TVs, video game consoles, home theater systems and computers. We recommend 100A service.
Frequently tripping circuit breakers or blowing fuses is a sign of trouble. Be on the lookout for burning smells, flickering lights or small appliances that feel excessively hot. Do you have multiple extension cords strung through the house? You’re likely overloading the circuit when everything attached to the cord is on at the same time.
Because your electrical system is behind the walls, it’s hard to tell if it’s outdated. Wiring may have become disconnected from switches and outlets, potentially causing a fire. Older wiring can overheat when it’s overloaded.
Our families mean everything to us at Southern Trust and we want to keep your family as safe as ours. Please call us to check the safety of your heating and electrical systems at (540) 343-4348.