These Are 7 of the Most Common Causes of Household Fires

As the weather cools down, more of us are looking to for ways to make our spaces warm and inviting. Lights, candles, and heat can make that happen, but those same things can cause house fires.

Being aware of the danger can help you be more vigilant about possible hazards in your home. We know that things out of our control like wildfires can cause devastation to structures, but so can a combination of things within our control like habits, household items, and curiosity.

Firefighters have pointed out some of the everyday habits that may lead to fire, but here we are listing seven of the most common reasons for fires in the home.

  1. Cooking Fires

    Whether in the kitchen or outside on the grill, cooking fires are the leading cause of fires at home. According to the National Fire Protection Association, unattended equipment at the stove or oven is behind almost half of those fires.

  2. Bad Wiring and Faulty Electrical Equipment

    Do your lights dim when you turn something on? Your circuits may be overpowered, or the wires in your equipment might be frayed. If you notice flickering when using appliance or other electronic devices at one time, have an electrician check out your home’s system.

    Don’t overload outlets or power strips but do install surge protectors where you can have multiple items plugged up. Also, be conscientious about unplugging toasters, slow cookers, and other pieces of electrical equipment.

  3. Heating Sources

    Heating sources like space heaters and chimneys contribute to a sizable percentage of house fires. Space heaters in particular account for two out of every five heating equipment related fires, and a large number of deaths and injuries when they’re at fault.

    In many cases, they are plugged into a power strip or extension cord which causes overheating. Additionally, when they are kept too close to upholstery, bedding, and other flammable materials, they ignite a fire. If you use one, make sure it is plugged into an outlet that can handle its wattage, and place it in an open area. If you have a chimney, have it cleaned properly before using it for the season.

  4. Christmas Trees

    Lights and dry Christmas trees make for a terrible mix under the wrong conditions. Christmas trees can spark up quickly and spread. If you have a real tree, make sure you keep it watered and turn the lights off when it is unattended to prevent a fire.

  5. Smoking Habit

    Fires commonly start in bedrooms, living rooms and in other parts of the house from lit cigarettes, cigars, etc. Whether you smoke inside or outside, be sure the butts are completely out before walking away. With e-cigarette devices, overheated batteries have also been responsible for fires. Keep a watchful eye over the device while it’s charging.

  6. Children

    Curious and unattended kids playing with lighters and matches are responsible for tens of thousands of fires per year. Most of them are caused by children under the age of 10 inside the home, but a large number occur outside when igniting trash or plant debris.

    Teach kids about fire safety and keep matches, lighters, and other materials out of their reach.

  7. Flammable Household Products

    Items like cleaning chemicals, fuel oils, paint, and gasoline are combustible when a heat source is near. Store items away from heat, flames (e.g. candles, cigarettes), and electric sources and keep away from children.

There is no way to predict when a fire will strike, but you can pay attention to the things on this list to minimize the chances that something you do is the direct cause. Take steps to protect yourself and your family!

Are you vigilant about fire safety in your home? Is there anything you will pay more attention to now? How often do you check for fire hazards in your house?


National Fire Protection Association