Attic Fires In a Home Can Be Deadly

When it comes to an area of your home where a fire can occur, what’s the first place that comes to your mind? You probably are thinking the kitchen, but did you know that your home’s attic is also an area of concern?

According to the US Fire Administration National Fire Data Center from 2006 to 2008 there were over 10,000 residential building fires that started in attics.

While a fire in an attic is only 2% of all fires in a residential home, they cause the most damage. The open space of an attic allows for a fire to spread unobstructed. This is especially true in older homes where an attic is a large open space covering the entire house.

Water damage from fire fighting techniques affects all lower areas of a house since the fire is being fought at the highest part of the home.

The largest cause of attic fires is electrical malfunction. Powered equipment like whole house fans, powered roof vents, or HVAC equipment are sources within an attic to consider. It’s a good practice to have these systems inspected or maintained each year.

Whether you maintain equipment in your attic or not, it’s imperative that you have a smoke/heat detector in your attic. Most homeowners have smoke detectors in bedrooms and hallways, but they don’t always catch smoke from an attic fire.

Having a detector in your attic that is connected by wire to your other smoke detectors will serve as an early warning system. In a connected system when the detector in the attic goes off so do the other detectors.

When deciding on what kind of a detector to buy, check with the manufacturer. In most cases you will need a heat detector. The average smoke detector that goes into a bedroom or hallway may not work properly in an attic where the summertime heat can be very high.

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Scott Harrigan