Good experience Law Lifestyle

What Are the Main Causes of House Fires?

Written by Jimmy Rustling

House fires are an alarmingly common issue in the United States. Each year in America, there are approximately 350,000 structure fires, resulting in more than 3000 deaths. Many factors contribute to these destructive accidents, and most of them are preventable. Here are some common causes of house fires and things you can do to lower your risk.

Additionally, homeowners looking to reduce their fire risk may find valuable insights on fire prevention and safety measures in off-grid living environments at Offgrid Living Solutions.


The electric system in your home could be a huge fire hazard, especially if you’re living in an older home. Because of this, many professional electricians recommend that you get your electrics checked at least every three to five years. If you’re renting, then this is something that your landlord should have inspected before you moved in. If you’re the victim of a house fire and you find that this was not the case, then you are encouraged to reach out to a Rosenfeld burn lawyer and take legal action to ensure you get the financial compensation that you are entitled to.


You can prevent electrical fires by undergoing regular inspections to repair or replace faulty wiring. You should be regularly looking for signs of faulty wiring within your home, including flickering lights, burning odors, brown fuses, and discoloration around outlets. Additionally, you should use surge protectors to prevent fires and protect your appliances.

Heating Equipment

House fires are also commonly caused by heating equipment. This equipment could include furnaces, chimneys, and space heaters. Like with your wiring, appliances like your furnace need to be inspected regularly to ensure that they are working correctly. While much smaller than your household furnace equipment, portable space heaters can be equally—if not more—dangerous. Portable heaters are the cause of roughly half of all house fires. This is because they have the potential to overheat and catch fire or set fire to the things around them.


To prevent fires, your heating equipment must undergo regular inspections and maintenance. It’s recommended that furnaces and chimneys be both inspected and cleaned every year. Additionally, all fireplaces should have some form of containment for sparks, like a metal safety screen. You should always use safe practices when building and cleaning up after fires. Refrain from using any types of accelerants to build fires, and always properly dispose of ashes in a metal bucket once they have completely cooled. Replace any old, dying space heaters. Most newer models will automatically turn off if they are tipped over or overheated—a great feature to prevent fires. Additionally, when using space heaters, make sure to keep the vents clear and place them at least three feet away from flammable objects.


Candles are something found in almost every home, used both for decoration and aromatherapy. You might think they’re a harmless everyday item, but the reality is that candles account for approximately 2% of house fires each year. Roughly ten percent of candle-caused fires occur because the candle was not blown out before the homeowner fell asleep. Over half of all candle-caused fires happen when a candle is left unattended, and the flame comes in contact with combustible materials like textiles or other common household decors. The likelihood of home candle fires is greatly increased in December since so many people utilize candles in their holiday decor.


You can prevent candle fires in your home by not leaving candles unattended. This is especially important if you have pets or children. Extinguish candles before leaving the room, leaving the house, or falling asleep. Additionally, you should place candles on sturdy surfaces where they’re at least a foot away from flammable materials, and high enough so they are not a hazard for pets and children. Additionally, it is recommended that you keep wicks trimmed to the appropriate length and do not allow candles to burn to the bottom of their container or down to their decorative holder.

Cooking Fires

It might not surprise you to hear that cooking is the leading cause of all house fires. Fires can start if you step away from dishes while they’re baking or simmering, or if fats or oils splash out onto the cooktop. They can also start if flammable materials make contact with the stovetop.


You can prevent cooking fires by supervising your dishes from start to finish. If you have to leave the room for any reason, you should turn the stove off. Be sure to keep a close eye on the meal you’re preparing. You should also keep a lid handy to smother any fires that might break out, and keep a fire extinguisher under the sink for bigger fires. To lower your risk, you should also keep the stovetop clear of any flammable items like oven mitts, dish rags, and utensils. Additionally, you should not cook when your judgment and reaction time is impaired, like if you are tired or intoxicated.

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About the author

Jimmy Rustling

Born at an early age, Jimmy Rustling has found solace and comfort knowing that his humble actions have made this multiverse a better place for every man, woman and child ever known to exist. Dr. Jimmy Rustling has won many awards for excellence in writing including fourteen Peabody awards and a handful of Pulitzer Prizes. When Jimmies are not being Rustled the kind Dr. enjoys being an amazing husband to his beautiful, soulmate; Anastasia, a Russian mail order bride of almost 2 months. Dr. Rustling also spends 12-15 hours each day teaching their adopted 8-year-old Syrian refugee daughter how to read and write.