A fire ranks among a homeowner’s worst fears – especially since just one faulty wire or improperly connected smoke detector can create a dangerous environment and potentially lead to costly repairs. Home fires on average are responsible for nearly $4,000 in cleanup, namely to remove water and soot and replace damaged infrastructure.
Introducing protective measures at the start of remodeling planning can build confidence with clients and demonstrate your interest in their needs and safety. With October’s Fire Prevention Month observance underway, there is no better time to catch up on the latest fire-related home innovations and safety best practices.
Think Behind the Wall
When beginning a remodel, keep in mind that fire threats are just as prominent in hidden interior areas as they are in more visible ones. Electrical outlets, drywall and insulation are just a few behind-the-wall home components that can help fires spread if outdated or improperly functioning. If you are starting fresh or are early in the remodeling process, it’s the perfect scenario to recommend upgrades to these potential game changers, since the implementations will be more convenient and easy to apply before the build is complete.
A recent study found that electrical receptacles are responsible for 5,300 fires – and a corresponding 40 deaths and 100 injuries – on average each year. To offset these risks, consider installing receptacles that offer added electrical protection. AFCI-ready properties in particular stand to benefit from dual-function AFCI/GFCI alternatives which recognize and prevent common electrical risks more capably than most standard breakers.
If a fire does occur, behind-the-wall preparations can contain the damage and preserve key structural elements. In fire-prone areas, such as kitchens and attics, it’s best to apply heavy-duty insulation capable of withstanding high-intensity temperatures. Also, when installing pipes, cables and duct penetrations, an insulating foam sealant can close gaps and prevent the spread of harmful gasses and toxic smoke.
Fire Detection – Any Time, Any Place
While fire detectors are the most fundamental notification system in the modern home, it’s possible that residents won’t think to upgrade their alarms until it’s too late…or until their detector beeps them into changing the battery. This negligence particularly can be risky for homeowners who are frequently away from their property.
When planning for fires, evaluate whether more versatile, mobile-compatible detectors are a good fit for your property. Advanced technologies such as the Nest Protect alarm system can connect with both owners’ smartphones and onsite Wi-Fi to send real-time alerts for both emergencies and low batteries. In doing so, owners can better pinpoint the exact sources of potential problems while receiving an added layer of comfort when they are away.
In situations where clients either cannot or do not want to overhaul their alarm systems, real-time alert options still exist. Recommend that these clients pair their current alarms with a remote system, such as Kidde’s RemoteLync Home Monitoring Device, to receive the same immediate notifications. These synchronized systems are a great addition when remodeling a vacation or rental home.
Regardless of the alarm type, or connected monitoring application, the switch to long-lasting batteries can serve as an easy performance enhancer
Finally, it’s critical that remodelers and clients ensure that all components of a rebuild are up to code and meet local and national fire safety guidelines.
About the Author
Julia Buerger is a merchant for The Home Depot,responsible for fire safety, security and consumer electronics.