Basement Fires: How to Prevent Them

Basement pipeline

Salt Lake City in Utah is known for its cold winters and dry air. It is because of this that people have homes with an air conditioning system and furnace in the basement. Some have found it convenient to make this laundry room too, but this set-up has been the cause of many basement fires. But there are precautions owners could do to make their home safe from fire.

No Flammable Materials

One common mistake most homeowners make is to keep flammable materials in the same area as the furnace and the boiler. This can spell disaster as even one spark can start a fire. What you can do is either keep them away from the basement altogether or have some ventilation.

Another precautionary measure would be to make sure that you have a ceiling that uses a gypsum board. Heat alarms can also give you an idea whenever the heat in your basement rises. Keep in mind, though, that a heat alarm is different from a fire alarm.

To ensure you are well protected, you can have both the heat alarm and the carbon monoxide alarm. The latter is to notify you if the level of carbon monoxide in your basement has increased. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be quite deadly as carbon monoxide is tasteless and odorless. Around 200 deaths per year are due to CO poisoning that started in the basement.

Do Not Use Extension Cords

Most basement fires start from shorted electrical wiring. Using extension cords could cause your circuits to overload. It is a much better option to make sure that you do not overload your electrical circuits. Check your wiring and make sure you are not using too many appliances in one socket. If you need to use one, make sure to keep the wires and cables away from areas where they could be damaged.

Maintain Your Dryer and Washing Machine

Nothing keeps you safe from fire better than ensuring that your appliances are in good working condition. A good dryer vent cleaning would ensure that lint and other small particles are removed from the filters and the drum. Lint can build up over time, which can cause the heating element to overheat. In turn, this can lead to a fire. In a year, around 2,900 cases of fire started in the clothes dryer.

Evaluate Your Home’s Wiring

There are many homes in Salt Lake City that are fifty years or older. This means that the wiring and electrical system might not be up to today’s standards. Older homes tend to have fuse boxes instead of a circuit breaker panel, which makes it more susceptible to basement fire since these cannot handle the same electrical load that we have today. This is typically the case if the home has been around earlier than the 70s.

Keep the Stairs and Hallway Clutter-Free


This one is not so much helpful in preventing fire but would be a big factor in how fast you can get out should a fire start in your basement. By having a clutter-free hallway and stairway, you can run out quickly and not have to worry about stumbling over or tripping on items as you make your way out of a room full of flames or smoke.

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