Many homeowners have the “it won’t happen to me” syndrome when it comes to home fires. Yet, in 2016, there were 352,000 fires and 2,735 deaths (not to mention the billions of dollars in property damage), reported by the National Fire Protection Association. Proper fire prevention planning can help you avoid adding to these numbers—and in eco-friendly ways. Remember, it actually can happen to you.
Rewire Your House
Homes built 50 or more years ago should have a wiring inspection. Outdated wiring is often degraded and not able to meet the demands of modern electrical usage. Overloading electrical components is also a safety hazard and can cause overheating, electrical shock or a fire. Although the average cost to rewire a house can be pricey, it pays off, for both safety and cost-saving purposes. Exorbitant energy bills can also be the result of faulty, incorrect or worn electric wiring (with heating and cooling for example).
Top electricians can identify signs to look for that indicate a need for rewiring and give an overview on how to rewire a house. They advised to make sure to install smoke detectors for enhanced safety. To further increase your home’s energy efficiency, the Copper Development Association Inc. recommends installing wire one size larger—a requirement by the National Electrical Code.
Green Your Fireplace
The fireplace is an aesthetic focus point and creates a warm ambience during the winter months, but it’s also a source in the home known to be harmful to the environment. Smoke from wood-burning fires contributes to air pollution, according to Massachusetts’ Energy and Environmental Affairs. Wood smoke contains carbon monoxide, soot, nitrogen oxide that causes smog, plus other chemicals, gases and fine particles. The Scientific American suggests burning wood pellets as a greener alternative. Made from sawdust, wood pellets have low moisture content and burn efficiently, producing fewer pollutants.
Chimney professionals at Northeastern Chimney also offer these three tips for environmentally conscious wood burning:
- Use an upgraded wood stove: Shop for an EPA-certified wood stove that can improve efficiency by about 50 percent. These stoves can produce the same amount of heat while burning one-third less wood. This leads to less creosote, smoke and pollution.
- Improve efficiency with a fireplace insert: Traditional masonry fireplaces rate low on efficiency, especially since air escapes when the fireplace isn’t in use. A fireplace insert is a solution that can easily increase efficiency.
- Burn only seasoned firewood: Look for seasoned, low-moisture firewood. Burning anything other than firewood, like treated wood or colored paper, releases toxins.
Create an Eco-friendly Fire-Prevention Kit
FireFreeze Worldwide, Inc., recognized as the world’s leading environmentally friendly fire extinguishing agent, offers non-toxic and sustainable fire retardants, suppressants and extinguishers. These products, part of FireFreeze’s Cold Fire line, are:
- Made from mostly organic water and plant-based substances
- Included on the United States Environmental Program’s SNAP Program Vendor List as non-toxic acceptable alternatives
- Substitutes for halon—an agent that contributes to depleting the ozone layer and emitting greenhouse emissions
- Not included on the NIOSH Recommendation for Occupational Health Standards of 1988 and are not marked as hazardous by SARA, CERLA or RCRA
Make an Impact
Small changes, like renovating your fireplace or collecting eco-friendly fire-protection products, still make an impact on our planet. And although you may need to save up to cover the average cost to rewire your house, the safety and efficiency are well worth the investment.