Common Causes of House Fires and How to Prevent Them

Fire incidents are responsible for billions of dollars’ worth of losses in American homes every year, not mentioning the thousands of lives lost from these incidents. Fire is inarguably the most dreadful calamity that can befall any homeowner. There is a positive change, though, as the number of house fires has been on a steady decline within the last decade, largely because most homeowners have invested in modern fire alarm systems.
by Lena Linetti

Alarms help homeowners stop fires before a lot of damage is done. But that is only good enough. To eradicate the problem completely, we all need to understand what causes house fires and how they can be prevented.

To help you protect your family and your most valuable investment from fire, here are the 5 most common causes of house fires and how you can prevent them:


Many people have a tendency of leaving pots and pans cooking on the stove, unattended. It is also not uncommon to find outdated, faulty appliances still in use in modern kitchens. All these are potential fire hazards in a home. Combine that with faulty or frayed wiring in the kitchen as well as a too-hot cooking oil and you have a real fire problem. There are also people who cook while wearing baggy clothes that can catch fire easily, and those who insist on cooking even when they are sleepy or drunk. This is the main reason why The National Fire Protection Association ranks faulty cooking equipment and reckless behavior in the kitchen as one of the leading causes of house fires.

If your kitchen is outdated, it is important that you renovate this high-risk space in your next home remodeling project. Secondly, avoid leaving unattended pots and pans whenever you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. Thirdly, only wear close-fitting and tightly rolled sleeves when handling fire in the home. Lastly, order take-out if you are on medication and the drugs are making you drowsy, if you are sleepy, or when high on alcohol.

Electrical failure

Statistics by the EFSi (Electrical Safety Foundation International) show that short-circuiting due to faulty wiring is the leading cause of electric fire in homes. Circuits that are overloaded with current are also guilty of causing these fires, particularly because overloading causes wires to overheat, which results in sparkling. Electrical problems in homes account for about 19 percent of home fire deaths in the USA. This unfortunate statistic is largely attributed to the fact that most electrical fires often ignite in the dead of night when no one is awake, or in hidden locations where house residents might not detect until it is too late. That is why properly installed electrical systems are very critical in any home

Common Causes of House Fires and How to Prevent Them

If your electrical systems are shoddily installed, or if you live in an old home, it is imperative that you invest in a home remodeling project where a professional electrician will install safe wiring systems that have modern built-in protective features. You need systems that are least susceptible to short circuits and overloading. Unless you are a qualified electrician, refrain from doing your own electrical repairs.

Reckless smoking

Smoking in the bedroom, especially when drowsy, sleepy, or drunk, is a known recipe for house fires. Sometimes smokers forget to extinguish their cigarette or drop cigarette butts anyhow on the floor, not knowing that fabrics and wall paint can easily burst into flames. Placing a cigarette butt on wooden furniture is also very risky.

It is best that you be smoking outside if you must smoke. If you can quit smoking altogether, the better for your health!  Before putting your cigarette butts in an ashtray after smoking in the house (for those who can’t go outside), soak them in water to extinguish them completely.


Some old lampshades and light fittings dissipate lots of heat which sometimes becomes a fire hazard if they come in contact with highly flammable material. It is important to ensure that all your lighting fixtures are well insulated to keep the heat in check.


If you love the ambiance and fragrance of candle-lit evenings, be very careful not to leave lit candles unattended, particularly when they are near flammable household items such as books, bed covers, hanging clothes, etc. And did you know you can achieve the same ambience and fragrance using battery-powered candles with LEDs rather than candles? And in case you want your ambiance to have a fresh look, put some flowers and grow lights over them, so they can flourish faster. In this way you will have a safe and good-looking environment.


A house can catch fire from literally anything that has fire or electrical power, not just the five causes we have mentioned. Some houses even catch fire during the hot summer months when temperatures hit 40⁰C and more. You need to take all the measures that you feel will protect your home from fire.

Lena is an architect. She is young and ambitious, with a degree in architecture. She has eight-plus years of experience in interior and exterior design. Her mission is to inspire others to live their dreams and create their perfect sweet home. Lena puts a big effort into working with her clients and tries to help them in the best way she can.  Lena can be reached

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