Why Did My House Burn Down?

Spring is here and as inside/outside cleaning is in full force, there are often unseen and overlooked things that need your attention. The cause of many if not most house fires are vents, chimneys, heat/AC units, and electrical components. With a little preventative maintenance, you can limit this danger.

PixabayCeiling vents in bathrooms and laundry rooms are out of sight out of mind. Who looks up all the time? Remove the vent covers and clean them well. While they are down look up into the vent. In most cases after saying yuck, you will reach for the vacuum. In severe cases you might want to unscrew the motor unit to clean behind it. Do not forget to wipe down the fan blades.

PixabayLaundry rooms are a big culprit. The ceiling fan if you have one, will be more clogged. Clean the lint trap in the dryer every use. If your dryer is on an outside wall and has a short distance to the outside, you can clean this yourself. Unplug the unit and move it out. After cleaning the vent, you will want to clean the floor behind it as well. If the vent is long, call a vent cleaning service. Well worth the expense. Leaving a dryer running when you are not at home, which we all do, is not highly recommended.


Chimneys build up creosote in the flue. This can catch fire inside the chimney. There are fire logs you can buy at the hardware store that help with this and doing so every few months is a good idea. But if you use your wood fireplace or insert frequently, nothing beats a good chimney sweep.

PixabayFurnaces, heat pumps, and AC units also need annual maintenance. Even if you change your filters on schedule, the wiring inside also needs to be checked.

These steps can prevent standing in your front yard watching your house full of memories burn to the ground. And always have a fire extinguisher on each floor, that you periodically take for service to make sure they are charged and in working order. A quick reaction with one can stop the flames, but always leave if it cannot be managed. Life is more valuable than property.

Marcee Maylin has a degree in Editorial Journalism from the University of Washington and 30+ years media experience. She is currently the Editor of the Everett Post dedicated to providing current, relevant, and entertaining content for the local community.