5 Common Causes of House Fires (and 5 Ways to Prevent Them)

For most people, the house is their biggest investment, so protecting it couldn’t be more important. Fortunately, with a few behavior modifications, you can prevent some of the most common house fires.

But first, let’s talk about the reasons most house fires erupt:


No one wants the smell of last night’s cooking in the house today — not to mention the moisture, which can lead to mold and mildew. (©Adam, Adobe Stock Photos)

1. Careless Cooking

Cooking is a part of many people’s daily routine. But open flames, splattering grease and burning food are frequent occurrences, so it’s not the safest task.

When you add leaving the range or stove unattended to the mix, you have a recipe for disaster.


Electric space heater blowing warm air into stylish modern living room
(©New Africa, Adobe Stock Photos)

2. Harmful Heating

We all want to stay warm when temperatures dip, and it’s easy to whip out a space heater. After all, staying in one room and heating that single space is more energy-efficient than heating an entire house.

But space heaters can be hazardous conveniences, especially when you place them too close to drapes or furniture.

Fireplaces also can present problems when not regularly maintained. Have a chimney sweep and fireplace inspector visit at least once a year.


Electrical outlet with a plug on fire
A smoky outlet is a sure sign of electrical malfunction. The solution is an arc-fault circuit interrupter.(©jivimages, Adobe Stock Photos)

3. Perilous Power

Electrical fires are common due to poor maintenance of electrical systems, which leads to unattended bad wiring and broken fixtures. These problems can lead to bigger issues such as shorts or sparks that could set your home ablaze.
But even a well-maintained electrical system is no match for risky habits like plugging in too many devices and overloading outlets.


A row of ablaze tealights

4. Combustible Candles

Candles come in handy for all kinds of reasons. They set the mood for romantic dining, they help you relax, and sometimes they’re necessary during power outages. But an open flame — no matter how small — always poses a risk.


Small pile of burned out cigarettes

5. Smoldering Smokes

You’ve heard the surgeon general’s warnings about smoking cigarettes, and the message has caught on in recent decades. However, while the number of people who smoke may be declining (just 14% of U.S. adults as of this writing), just under 40 million people still do, and this unhealthy habit contributes to one in 20 house fires.

We know the problems, but what are the solutions?

Well, with a few simple changes to your behaviors and daily habits, you can prevent these types of common house fires.

Read the following infographic to learn more!

Infographic that shows how to prevent common house fires

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