Older houses are becoming increasingly popular in today’s home buying market. Not only can you get more for your money with an older home, but the classic look they provide is also coming back into style. If you’ve moved into an older property in hopes of renovating it and bringing it up-to-date, fire safety is a good place to start with your repairs. As a resident of an old house, fire safety is something important to consider. Protect yourself and your belongings by doing the following updates to prevent a residential fire in your home.
Keep an Eye on Old Electrical Wiring
Electrical wiring requires regular inspection and upkeep. Faulty wiring is one of the leading causes for the start of house fires in older US homes. One way to know if your home wiring and electrical outlets are operating up to safety code is to hire an electrician to inspect and test them. For wiring that lies deep within the walls of the home, inspection can be more difficult. An electrician may suggest installing an AFCI or AFDD device. When connected to a circuit breaker, it can detect an electric arc. This will set off the breaker and should prevent the sparks that can lead to house fires.
Replace Smoke Detectors
If you live in an older home, chances are it’s time to change the smoke detectors. While it is important to remember that battery replacement is needed a few times a year, complete replacement of the device itself is also critical for optimum safety. Purchasing new smoke alarms is fairly inexpensive, and one of the best ways to prevent a serious fire or catch one as it begins within the home. Federal regulations suggest installing smoke detectors in all of the following locations in your home:
- Inside every bedroom
- Outside of every sleeping area
- One on each level of the home, including the basement
Install Fire Extinguishers
If a fire does start in your home, do you have a plan for what to do? Making an emergency plan will help you and other household members to know how to react and how to get to safety quickly. If a small fire starts, you can sometimes take care of it yourself before much damage is done. Having a fire extinguisher on hand can be very helpful for preventing the spread of a house fire and reducing fire damage significantly. Consider installing a fire extinguisher in one or more of the suggested areas:
- Furnace room
- Laundry room
- Crawl space/loft
If you have never operated a fire extinguisher before, take time to study the user manual to become familiar with how to operate it. If you want to take it one step further, get a spare extinguisher and practice outdoors so you are prepared if a real fire occurs.
Add a Sprinkler System
While some homeowners worry about the possibility of fire damage caused by a home sprinkler system, the truth is, fire sprinklers can reduce the danger of having a full-blown house fire by over 80%. A sprinkler system can react far faster than a fire fighting crew who has to be called and arrive at the scene. While some water damage may result, fire damage cleaners can usually take care of the resulting water quickly. The water can should the fire quickly, and will result in less overall fire havoc to deal with.
Perform Regular Inspections and Routine Replacement
Once you invest in alarms, extinguishers and other preventative measures, be diligent about maintaining the new systems you have in place. All of these protective measures can only be useful if they are in proper working order. Have an electrician perform regular inspection of old wiring and electrical outlets to make sure they are running up to current safety standards.
The schedule for fire safety testing and device replacement is as follows:
- Test smoke detectors monthly
- Replace smoke detector batteries every six months
- Install new smoke detector fixtures every ten years
- Test fire sprinklers annually
- Test all other fire alarm systems according to your service provider’s guidelines
Create a Safe Environment
Older homes do not have to be high-risk environments for fires when safety is properly addressed. As you take these basic measures to prepare for and prevent a house fire, you can live with more peace of mind in your one-of-a-kind older home. If a small or large fire does occur in your older home, call the fire damage cleaners at United Water Restoration Group for help in the fire restoration process.