Skip to Content
chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up chevron-right chevron-left arrow-back star phone quote checkbox-checked search wrench info shield play connection mobile coin-dollar spoon-knife ticket pushpin location gift fire feed bubbles home heart calendar price-tag credit-card clock envelop facebook instagram twitter youtube pinterest yelp google reddit linkedin envelope bbb pinterest homeadvisor angies

Odds are you live in a home with an attic. This is probably the room you visit the least, although it may contain more “stuff” than any other room in the house. Attics are typically used for storage and are rarely visited or thought about, being the “out of sight, out of mind” destination for all of the things in your life that eventually can only be said to be taking up space. Old clothes and toys, holiday decorations, large empty boxes, camping gear and other forgotten items that typically end up here can easily ignite if the heat conditions are right and the items are dry enough. However, it must be mentioned that an overstuffed attic might also prevent further damage to the actual living area by slowing down the spread of the fire, allowing more time for emergency responders to get in and extinguish it right where it started. You can see how utilizing the attic for its storage space is a double-edged sword—Chances of a fire starting in the attic increase with the amount of dry goods stored there, but at the same time these items can serve as a temporary protective buffer in the event of an actual fire. It is up to you to decide how full you want your attic to be, but here are some other useful tips for fire safety and prevention in the attic.

An average of 10,000 attic fires in residential buildings are reported each year, resulting in millions of dollars worth of damage, and unfortunately in some cases, loss of life. Among the most common causes of attic fires is the heat given off by electrical equipment combined with the already hot and dry conditions of the attic. Other common culprits are faulty wiring and electrical malfunctions, which might only produce a tiny spark at the wrong place and the wrong time. If your house was built over ten years ago, it’s a good idea to have your wiring checked and to replace any frayed or corroded lines as soon as possible. Most people never think to install fire alarms in their attic since they are typically unoccupied, and this means that a fire may be burning for several minutes or even hours before it’s detected. Since smoke and heat rises, you can’t always count on it reaching your downstairs alarms in time. Be sure to install a fire alarm in your attic, or several throughout if you live in a larger home. A few seconds’ notice can make all the difference in the world during a fire that originates in the highest part of your home. 

You might want to remove some of the drier, more susceptible and possibly more deteriorated items to a cooler environment, or donate or dispose of them if they no longer bring you and your family joy, and definitely DO NOT store anything flammable or combustible up there! This includes batteries. Fires might also start in the attic if the heat from the chimney is high enough to ignite some of these stored items, so be sure to have your chimneys professionally cleaned regularly to minimize the heat that gets trapped there. It is not unheard of to have air conditioning set up in your attic. This will greatly reduce the risk of spontaneous fires starting from excessively dry and hot conditions. However, a cheaper alternative is to install proper ventilation for the size of your attic. Have a licensed contractor inspect your house and find out if your ventilation is up to par. Attic vents are typically installed in the walls near the top of both peak sides of the house, and the roofs themselves are often built with a venting area at the ridgeline. The boxing that goes along your house should also have a pattern of ventilated soffit panels running along the entire perimeter of the roof to allow excess heat to be exchanged with the outside air as needed. You can also get an attic vent fan that will automatically kick on when the attic reaches a certain temperature. These are all great ways to help prevent attic fires and perhaps save you a bit on your cooling costs as well. Just remember that if you ever find smoke in your home and you can’t tell where it’s coming from, it’s probably in the attic. If so, don’t take any chances. Attic fires can spread rapidly, especially when you don’t know how long it’s been burning, and a ceiling could collapse at any time.  Play it safe. Gather your family, get outside, and call 911!

A fire can break out at any time, and the team at Enviro-Clean Services, Inc. is ready to take your call, day or night. Contact us -24/7 for fire cleanup, smoke damage, and fire damage restoration.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.