Fire-proofing your home cannot only protect your family and property, but can reduce your home insurance rates as well. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fire departments across America respond to more than 300,000 house fires every year. These fires result in not only billions of dollars worth of damage, but tens of thousands of deaths as well. Many fires are caused by cooking accidents and cigarettes, but there are many other factors such as electrical faults, the incorrect storage of flammable liquids, and even outdoor activities such as barbecuing. It’s no wonder that many insurance companies offer generous discounts to customers who take the time to fire-proof their homes.

3 Easy and Effective Ways to Fire-Proof Your Home

Fire-proofing your home need not be expensive or overly involved. There are some simple steps that every homeowner can take to ensure their home and family are protected. The following three steps are inexpensive and uncomplicated, but can save you the heartbreaking loss that affects so many homeowners every year in America, and lower your insurance rates as well.

  1. Install Smoke Alarms. According to the NFPA, three out of every five fire-caused deaths occurred in homes with no or faulty fire alarms. If you don’t have fire or smoke alarms in your home they are easily installed and the cost is minimum. If you do have smoke alarms in your home they should be tested once a month and the batteries replaced at least every six months.
  2. Keep a Handle on Your Heating Equipment. Fires caused by improperly used or malfunctioning heating systems are the second leading cause of home fires in the United States. To avoid a fire resulting from heating equipment, make sure you: have a qualified professional install any heating equipment such as wood or gas burning stoves or furnaces, and any stationary space-heating equipment or water heaters. Additionally, if you have a chimney, have it professionally cleaned at least once a year. Make sure that you also have an effective screen for fireplaces, and maintain a zone around them that children are not allowed to enter.
  3. Get Rid of Fire Hazards. Many home fires are started every year by barbecues placed to closely to the house, overburdened electrical sockets, grease fires in the kitchen and even lint build-up in dryers. Each of these is a fire hazard that can be easily eliminated with a little common sense and effort. If cooking, especially frying, stay in the kitchen while you are doing so, and remove any flammable items such as paper towels, oven mitts, and food packaging. Installing a small fire extinguisher in the kitchen will go a long way to lowering the insurance rates you will pay, though you must make sure you have your extinguishers checked and certified by a licensed authority on an annual basis. Don’t overload power strips with too many appliances, and clean out the lint filter on your dryer after every cycle. You should also vacuum the exhaust outlet of your dryer occasionally, and never leave electrical appliances running when you are away from home.

The above are three easy and cost-effective methods of keeping your home fire safe. Keep any documentation you have of fire extinguishers and smoke alarms installed, and the annual certification of having them inspected. Take photos of the surrounding spaces in your kitchen and areas around fire places or heating units such as water heaters so that you can show your insurance provider. Making the effort to do so may pay off with a generous reduction in the rate you will pay for your home insurance.