5 Leading Causes of House Fires and How to Prevent Them


Every year, there are nearly 1.1 million home fires reported in the United States, leaving many people homeless and others injured. House fires can be devastating for any family or individual, especially if they weren’t able to get their belongings out in time. That’s why it’s so important to know the leading causes of house fires and how to prevent them.

Electrical Fires

Electrical fires are responsible for approximately 15% of home fires each year, and they can be extremely dangerous since they can occur in seconds and are extremely difficult to control. The best way to prevent these types of fires is to make sure all your tools, appliances, and electrical cords are in good condition and that you aren’t overloading outlets, extension cords, or power strips. You should be sure to unplug appliances when they’re not in use and keep your cords from getting tangled or caught up on anything. If you do have an electrical fire, don’t use water to fight it. Instead, shut off the power and call the fire department to report the fire.

Cooking Fires

Cooking fires account for about 10% of home fires each year, but because they usually occur in the kitchen, they are one of the leading causes of house fires. Oils and grease are major causes of these fires, so it’s important to clean your stove regularly and never leave anything cooking unattended. If you do have a cooking fire, don’t try to put it out with water or a fire extinguisher. Instead, shut off the burners and remove the pan and any food that has burnt. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby or find a nearby fire extinguisher and spray the flames until they’re out.

Appliance Explosions

Appliance explosions are responsible for about 3% of home fires each year. While most of these happen in the kitchen, they can also occur in other rooms of the house, including the garage. Many different appliances can explode, so always read the instructions, know your appliances, and make sure you’re using them safely. If you do have an appliance explosion, shut off the appliance, unplug it, and then apply an ice pack to the area of the explosion. If you’re using a vacuum or washing machine, unplug it first before shutting it off and applying ice to the area.

Careless Use of Flammable Liquids

Flammable liquids are another common cause of house fires, accounting for about 3% of home fires each year. Common culprits include gasoline, paint, and thinner. It’s important to keep these items away from open flames and to keep your house free of dust and debris. If you do have a flammable liquid fire, don’t use water to fight it. Instead, shut off the source of the fire, such as the valve on a gas can, and then use a fire extinguisher to put out the flames.

Natural Causes

House fires are also often caused by natural events such as lightning, rolling electrical storms, and wildfires. While you can’t do much to prevent a lightning strike, you can use surge protectors and make sure your roof is free of debris and any broken or cracked windows are repaired. If you do have a wildfire in your area, make sure to have an evacuation plan and know where to go. Also, have fire extinguishers and a First Aid kit on hand.

Preventing House Fires: What You Can Do Right Now

  • Here are a few ways you can prevent house fires in your home:
  • Make sure all of your appliances are in good working order.
  • Use extension cords, power strips, and outlets properly.
  • Keep your home clean and free of dust.
  • Don’t leave cooking food unattended.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

With these tips and tricks in mind, you can make sure your home stays safe and free of fire. Stay vigilant and make these prevention measures a part of your daily routine.

House fires are devastating events that can leave you without a home and all your belongings. Luckily, there are many different ways to prevent house fires from happening. From keeping your appliances in good shape to making sure your home is clean and free of dust, you can greatly reduce the risk of having a house fire. Although these events are rare, they do happen. If they do, the fire and smoke damage restoration experts at Steamatic are here to help.

5 Things to Look for in a Water Damage Restoration Company


When you have a water damage emergency, it can feel like the world has suddenly jumped into your home. You may not even be at home when a pipe bursts and drenches your entire house with water. The next thing you know, you find puddles of dirty water seeping through your walls, ceilings, and floors. If you’re anything like most homeowners, the first thought that will probably pop into your head is: ‘What the heck happened?’ The good news is that most of the time a professional water damage restoration company can restore your home to its former glory.

A water damage restoration company will pinpoint the source of the problem and begin working on repairs right away to get things back to normal as soon as possible. In case you don’t know already, here are five things you should look for in a water damage restoration company:

Reputable Local References

There’s a reason why this is one of the first things they ask you for when you call up a water damage restoration company. If they have nothing to show for their previous work, how will you know if you can trust them with your home? By asking for reputable local references from their past customers, you can find out how satisfied these customers were with the service that was provided to them. You should also make sure you check to see if the company you are considering hiring is licensed and insured.

Scheduling and Communication

A water damage emergency, is often a time-sensitive issue that you need to resolve as quickly as possible. Any delay in addressing the problem will only make things worse and may result in the damage being more extensive. Because of this, you want to make sure the company you hire has a reputation for being reliable, prompt, and organized. You should also check to see what methods of communication they prefer. You don’t want to spend hours trying to get in touch with them because you can never seem to get a hold of the person you need to speak with.

Insurance Coverage

You want to make sure the water damage restoration company you hire is fully insured. This will help you breathe a little easier knowing that if something goes wrong you will be fully compensated. A reputable company will not hesitate to show you proof of their insurance coverage. When it comes to water damage restoration, there are a number of different things that can go wrong. Unfortunately, you will not know if these issues are present in your home until they happen. That’s why it’s a good idea to hire a professional water damage restoration company. They will do a thorough inspection of your home to see what they need to repair or replace.

Equipment and Personnel

You definitely want to make sure any water damage restoration company you hire has the appropriate equipment and personnel on staff to get the job done right. This could include anything from a certified water damage restoration technician to an electrician, plumber, and/or HVAC technician. If you have a serious water damage emergency, the last thing you want is for the company to try and solve the problem with the wrong equipment or inadequate experience.

Thorough Inspection of the Damage

When you hire a water damage restoration company, you want them to thoroughly inspect the damage and determine the best course of action for you to take. An inspection that doesn’t cover all areas of your home may not be thorough enough and could leave some parts of the damage undiscovered and untouched.

Bottom Line

All of these things are important to look for in a water damage restoration company. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the only way to truly know if the company you hire is right for you or not is to go through the hiring process. Ask for references, check their insurance coverage, and ask to see their equipment and personnel. Then, once you’ve spoken with them, make a decision based on all the information you know.

If you are dealing with severe water, fire, smoke, or mold damage, you need a restoration company you can trust. Contact Steamatic today for all your restoration needs.

Water Damage: What Are the Top Causes?

causes of water damage

Water damage represents one of the biggest threats to a home’s longevity and structural integrity. What makes it even more dangerous is that hidden leaks can start without homeowners even knowing it, with the damage mounting one drip at a time. The repair and renovation costs can be enormous. By understanding the common causes of water damage, homeowners and business owners can take steps to protect themselves from water damage to their residences and offices.

Extreme Weather

Storms don’t have to climb to the level of a hurricane to take a toll on a house or commercial building. Heavy rains can overwhelm even the most well-constructed roof. As roofs age, they can become even more vulnerable through undetectable cracks or gaps. Strong rains are often accompanied by strong winds, and the two factors together can cause significant water damage problems for homeowners.

Septic Tanks

Septic tanks are integral to treating household solid waste. If a septic system overflows, it can produce another area of vulnerability for water damage in a home. This can sometimes happen from excessive rain. However, if a septic system has defects or the installation was done poorly, homeowners can experience water damage. An overflowing septic tank can cause serious issues for your household and may require extensive cleaning and repairs.

Clogged Gutters

The inescapable elements of nature can also create water damage. Falling leaves, especially in autumn, can create clogs in gutters that prevent water from draining as the system intended. As the phrase goes, water finds its level. So as the water rises in the gutters, it seeks nooks, crannies, and cracks until it has nowhere else to go. As water collects, it begins to rot wood and other materials in the home.

Human Error

Unlikely as it may seem, one of the causes of water damage relates to simple forgetfulness or human error. Sometimes homeowners get distracted when filling kitchen sinks, bathtubs, or other receptacles, and they overflow. Depending on how much water escapes, this can damage floors and ruin carpets. If left too long, the damage can also lead to mold.

Frozen Pipes/Weakened Gutters

Winter weather can also lead to water damage. When bitterly cold temperatures cause pipes to freeze, the pipes expand and can split, requiring expensive plumbing repairs. Ice buildup on gutters is also a common cause of water damage. The weight of the ice can cause the gutters to separate from the house, displace shingles, or cause cracks at the roofline.

An estimated one of every five insurance claims in 2020 was related to an incidence of water damage. Given the frequency, vigilance is vital in preventing significant out-of-pocket expenses for costly repairs to roofs, gutters, basements, floors, and other parts of houses and businesses. It’s challenging to stay ahead of the problem since water damage can occur slowly in ways that you might not notice. If you need help with a restoration project, call or contact Steamatic online for a project estimate.

5 Most Common Types of Smoke Damage

types of smoke damage

Fire presents ongoing dangers for homeowners and business owners. Even with the highest level of protection, though, fires happen. 

The fire does not have to be significant to cause severe problems cleaning a home or business. Even the smallest of fires can cause smoke damage that needs repairs for proper health, safety, and aesthetics. In addition to fire, homes and businesses can also receive long-term damage from cigarette smoke. Learn more about the five most common types of smoke damage occurring from fires.

Dry Smoke

Fast-moving, high-temperature fires create an effect known to restoration experts as dry smoke. Fires fueled by paper or wood typically produce dry smoke. Damage from dry smoke is easier to clean since this smoke forms a light powder on surfaces. However, the challenge is that dry smoke can hide in cracks and other absorbent materials — although walls may look clean, you may still get the smell of smoke from them.

Wet Smoke

In contrast, wet smoke comes from slow-burning fires that give off a lower heat. Wet smoke damage is tough to clean and often leaves a smell long after cleaning your home or business. You will recognize wet smoke from a sticky residue attached to doorknobs and other objects throughout a structure. Wet smoke damage may be more common in commercial fires, as it usually stems from burning tires or different types of rubber.

Protein Smoke

A fire in the kitchen area of a home or business such as a restaurant leaves behind smoke damage. Protein smoke damage results from burning organic matter. This type of smoke damage often occurs following a kitchen grease fire. 

Protein smoke damage can also be cumulative from cooking meats, oils, and fats regularly prepared over an open flame. Protein smoke is not always visible immediately and causes surface discoloration.

Fuel and Oil Smoke

Fires fueled by petroleum-based products such as gas or oil pose a distinct challenge. These substances create petroleum smoke damage that can stick to many materials, leaving them with greasy stains. Furniture that comes into contact with fuel smoke is often not salvageable because of the discoloration and smell. 

Cleaning fuel smoke damage is particularly challenging, given that the residue is thick. Restoration experts say cleaning usually requires a specific solvent. Fuel smoke doesn’t necessarily always need fire as its source — it can sometimes result from a furnace malfunction.

Cigarette Smoke

Long-term smoking in a home can also lead to damage that requires remediation, especially when individuals intend to sell a home. Stale cigarette smoke can permeate into walls and countertops and require professional smoke remediation. Clearing the air inside a structure requires special equipment, including a professional air-mover, to successfully eliminate odors.

The best way to avoid smoke damage is to focus on fire prevention. Keeping a home or business safe takes constant attention, but it is worth the effort. Smoke damage can seriously damage residential and commercial properties and make them uninhabitable. If a fire occurs, contact restoration experts to help remediate the impact.