The Importance of Home Inspection and Maintenance for Fire Prevention

Travis Country locals were shocked when a fire erupted in a residence in the area, prompting firefighters to cordon off the scene and prevent the quick-moving fire from spreading to nearby homes.

The incident serves as another reminder about why home owners need to value home inspection and maintenance. Because no matter how good you are at keeping your home in tip-top shape, a professional eye in identifying potential hazards and a proactive home maintenance regimen from experts are just about the two things that can guarantee your home to be fire-proof. Here's how to have a fighting chance in fire prevention:

1. Schedule a regular home inspection, especially for electrical systems of old homes. Old homes require close monitoring of electrical wires to ensure that faulty wires that have been worn by time are detected and replaced before they could do any harm to the property and its occupants.

2. Remove junk from the house to prevent fire hazards that could start with small sparks. Stacks of old magazines and newspapers, oily rags, bottles/containers with flammable contents, and other similar items must not be stored inside the home. Conduct general cleaning in your home at least once per quarter. If there is a need to store flammable material in the home, make sure to keep it away from electricity, heat and direct sunlight.

3. Regularly check for vermin infestation. Pests such as house rats can do more harm than just nibbling on your food stores. Rats are somewhat attracted to the buzz of electricity, so don't be surprised to find wires chewed off. Keep the home free of rats and you can expect your house to last a few more years.

4. Maintain your fireplace. A fire can start in the most innocent and "safe" places, such as in a fireplace. Keep flammable material away from the fireplace when not in use and teach kids to use the fireplace only with adult supervision.

5. Check your gas pipes regularly. Gas is highly flammable and can easily ignite with a mobile phone receiving a text, so make sure you're not living in a potential bomb by having your gas pipes professionally inspected.

6. Comply with your county's building and fire safety codes. You can start checking your home for hazards before the home inspector comes by downloading a copy of the county's local building and fire safety codes and crosschecking what you have at home. Make a list of potential "violations" and point them out to your home inspector so you can make necessary renovations before any accident occurs.

Home inspection and home maintenance may seem menial tasks for home owners who'd prefer to put them off for "the next day". However, if you want to protect your investment and your family, these menial tasks are simply "a must". A day's consultation with a home inspector is far cheaper than losing your $500,000 home or family that you simply can't put a price tag on. It's your choice.

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