Home Fire Damage: 3 Major Causes and Prevention Tips

Home fires do more than just damage property. They also represent a potentially fatal danger to the occupants. What many people don’t realize is that home fire risks are actually higher in the winter.

Home Fire Damage: 3 Major Causes and Prevention Tips

Take steps to protect yourself and your family by understanding the three leading causes of home fire damage and learning a few important prevention strategies to help ensure you don’t become a victim.

Home Fire Damage: 3 Major Causes and Prevention Tips

3 Main Causes of Home Fire Damage

While specific statistics vary from state to state, national fire safety experts identify these three causes as the leading culprits behind home fire damage:

  • Cooking facilities and equipment. According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), cooking was the root cause of 46 percent of American house fires between 2010 and 2014. While risks are higher on holidays, when cooking facilities and equipment are working overtime, a cooking-related house fire can start just about any time.
  • Home heating equipment. With heat and fire being a natural combination, it’s no surprise that this is another leading cause of house fires. Most heating-related fires are started by space heaters, including both the portable and fixed varieties. Chimneys are another common cause of house fires, and many more are started by leaving flammable items too close to heat sources.
  • Electrical infrastructure. Electrical failures and the malfunctioning of electrical equipment is another serious hazard that should be on your home safety radar.

By implementing a few easy, common-sense safeguards and solutions, you can dramatically reduce your chances of experiencing a house fire.

Home Fire Prevention Tips to Keep Your Family Safe

Let’s look at each of the three common causes of home fire damage and consider the ways in which each of them can be prevented.

Cooking Facilities and Equipment

Here are some ways to avoid cooking-related house fires:

  • Always keep an eye on your food when you are cooking using an exposed source of heat, such as an electric cooktop or a gas element
  • If you must leave your food unattended temporarily, turn off the heat until you return
  • Take a moment to completely clear the cooking area of all flammable materials, such as paper towels and dish cloths, before you start cooking
  • Ensure that functional smoke detectors are located no more than 10 feet from your main cooking area

Home Heating Equipment

Use these home heating equipment tips to beat house fires:

  • Use the three-foot rule around all heating equipment: make sure the space around any and all home heating sources has at least three full feet of unobstructed clearance on all sides
  • Have a professional clean your chimney at least once a year, ideally at the start of the heating season
  • If you have a fireplace, make sure to set up an effective screen around its opening and ensure that all fires are completely extinguished before you go to bed for the night
  • Reduce your heat consumption at night to safeguard against the possibility of a fire starting while you’re asleep

Electrical Infrastructure

Reduce your risk for electrical fires with these helpful hints:

  • Review manufacturer specification for the safe operation of electrical appliances, including both low-wattage and high-wattage products, and use only one high-wattage appliance at any one time
  • Ensure that all appliances have strong, sturdy electrical cords; do not use an appliance that has a weak, damaged, or frayed cord
  • Make sure that all rooms in your home are serviced by emergency circuit interrupters that will cut power if it reaches risky levels
  • Have any and all potential electrical problems services by a licensed technician. Old, faulty wiring and outdated infrastructure can also be very hazardous.

It is also important to understand your rights and responsibilities when it comes to home insurance if you ever have to file a fire damage claim with your insurer.

If you need professional help handling fire or water damage repairs, call Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement. Family owned/operated Charlottesville & Culpeper VA home renovation contractor with over 40 years of experience, we are experts at insurance restoration and offer 24/7 emergency service to our Virginia customers!.

Call (804) 647-0649 or (800) 852-4142 or Request Your Free Quote below

We work for you, not the insurance company!

Get your no-obligation quote!

12 Home Winterizing Tips From a Roofing Contractor

It’s essential for homeowners to properly prepare for winter’s arrival. Winterizing your home helps keep your heating costs as low as possible, all while improving indoor comfort. It also helps prevent potentially costly problems from developing over the course of the winter, problems like ice dams, flashing leaks, or structural water damage.

Winterizing your home has two main objectives. First, you’ll create a tight “shell” around your home to prevent heat from escaping. Second, you’ll identify issues that require immediate repair so you don’t have to worry about major problems developing during the cold-weather months.

12 Home Winterizing Tips From a Roofing Contractor

12 Home Winterizing Tips From a Roofing Contractor

From a roofing perspective, the most important home winterization tasks focus on your roof, attic, door and windows.

Here’s a breakdown of what you should do to prepare your roof for winter:

  • Start with some basic gutter inspection and maintenance – check and clean your gutters and downspouts during the fall, then check again as winter approaches to make sure they’re not clogged with debris. Common gutter issues that necessitate gutter repair include:
    1. Blocked drainage: Pooled water can mean that the gutter hangers are installed improperly or missing, or that the gutter pitch needs to be positioned at a sharper downward angle.
    2. Water trickling: Water that trickles between the gutter and your home’s fascia may be the result of damaged gutter aprons. These small pieces attach to both the roof and the gutter, but can be repaired or replaced quite easily.
    3. Sags, cracks and holes: The gutters, themselves, can become damaged from ice, hail and high winds.
  • Look for damaged or missing shingles, and repair or replace them promptly. Small holes or cracks in shingles can often be repaired with roof sealant, applied with a caulking gun. Curled shingles can often be cemented back in place. Torn shingles can also be fixed using roofing cement.
  • Take a look around your chimney flashing to make sure there are no loose elements that could lead to leaks.  If you find a section of flashing that looks questionable, it’s better to replace it now rather than keeping your fingers crossed through the winter months. Flashing is inexpensive to replace, particularly when compared to the costs of repairing a roof damaged by a roof leak.

Moving into your attic, take care of these essential tasks:

  • Check your attic insulation to make sure it’s adequate. This is critical if you want to avoid ice dams as lack of proper attic insulation can lead to their formation. Ice dams can cause serious and expensive to repair damage so prevention is key.
  • See if there are air leaks in your attic, and if so, block them out with caulking. Seal off any exposed ductwork in your attic.
  • If you have an attic fan, reverse its direction so it helps warm air rise instead of sending cool air down.
  • Assess your attic ventilation. Make sure that none of your home’s exhaust vents travel through your roof soffits on their route outside. Ventilate your eaves and ridge baffles.
  • Cover your attic steps with a wooden crate to help prevent heat loss.

Finally, winterize your windows and doors:

  • Check your windows for air leaks by holding a candle or a stick of incense up to your closed windows on a windy day; if the candle flame or smoke trail flickers, your windows are leaking.
  • Seal off window leaks with plastic shrink wrap or rope caulking.
  • Add weatherstripping around the edges of your doors to help keep cold air out and warm air inside.
  • Consider upgrading to weather-resistant doors and windows if problems persist.

Should you detect any problems with your roof or attic that you can’t fix on your own, don’t hesitate to reach out to a local professional. It’s very important to ensure your home is in the best shape it can be before winter arrives, so don’t take chances.

Invest in a professional inspection!

The National Roofing Contractor’s Association recommends semi-annual roof inspections to keep your home safe from weather-related roof damage. The fall and spring are optimum times to schedule both a roof inspection and a gutter cleaning.

An experienced roofer can provide a comprehensive repair estimate to help you in maintaining and caring for your roof. Take advantage of their skill and know-how to keep your roof performing its best for decades to come!


LGC Roofing is a family owned/operated NJ & PA roofing company with over 30 years of experience in residential/commercial roofing, siding, and gutters installation/repair. Call 609-712-8157 in NJ or (215) 932-7850 in PA to schedule your free, no-obligation estimate.

Want An Energy Efficient Roof? Proper Installation And Materials Are Key

As more and more people are looking to save on utility bills and reduce their home’s carbon footprint, energy efficient roofs have become increasingly popular in the last decade. And when it comes to energy efficiency of your home, your roofing structure can make a significant impact.

For one, some types of roofs are more energy efficient than others. Additionally, the way a roof is installed will influence whether the heat gains during summer and losses during winter are mitigated efficiently.

If you’re looking for a new roof and you want to optimize your home’s energy efficiency, it’s crucial that you evaluate different types of roofing materials and also shop around for a quality contractor skilled in those materials. This will ensure your new roof will be a great investment for decades to come!

Want An Energy Efficient Roof? Proper Installation And Materials Are Key
Photo: Standing Seam Metal Roof Installation by LGC Roofing

Choose Energy-Efficient Roofing Materials

Not all roofing materials are made equal when it comes to enhancing energy efficiency. Ideally, you want to choose a roof system/type that creates a strong barrier between your home’s interior and the outdoors. This prevents energy losses and helps inhibits the effects of exterior environmental factors.

Conventional roofing materials, like shingles and wood, reflect only a small portion of the sun. Most of the sun’s heat is transferred to the sheathing below the roofing material, into the attic and then the rest of the house, requiring air conditioning to work harder. On the other hand, efficient roofing materials reflect 20-80 percent of the sun’s rays back, depending upon regional climate, the direction your home faces and the specific material you choose. Less heat is transferred inside, leading to lesser demand put on your house’s cooling system, which ultimately saves you money on your energy bill.

Experts recommend metal and slate as best materials for superior energy efficiency.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofs are considered among the most energy efficient types of roofs. They reflect a greater share of the sun’s rays and, depending on any coating applied to the metal, homes may see a savings of 20 to 30 percent on air conditioning costs.

Bottom line: steel, aluminum and other metals reflect a great deal of sunlight, plus are fire- and insect-proof and flame retardant, as well as other “green” benefits. Minimal maintenance and superb durability are additional perks you can’t ignore!

Tile Roofing

Clay and concrete tile roofs withstand the weather particularly well, offer natural thermal resistance and create a natural ventilation that provides a thermal barrier for heat transfer to the roof deck (since they’re installed individually with airspace around the tiles). Additionally, tiles can be painted with a reflective coating further increasing their energy efficiency.

Bottom line: tiles are natural, recyclable, energy efficient and environmentally-friendly, and last 50 years or more!

Reflective Coating

If you’re still drawn to the relative affordability of roof shingles, one thing you should do is apply a special reflective coating.

Without a reflective coasting, asphalt shingles absorb upwards of 75 percent of the heat that strikes them – and most of that heat will end up penetrating your home. By contract, shingles treated with a coating reflect about 80% of the heat they’re exposed to, boosting home energy efficiency in all seasons.

Bottom line: coating your roof will reduce heat energy costs and increase UV and waterproofing protection for the roof. Additionally, roof coating gives strength and longevity to roofing materials while maintaining the aesthetic appearance of any structure. Cool roofs are sustainable and environmentally friendly too!

Other Materials

  • Improve roof insulation – poorly insulated attics do not provide a home with the protection required to combat temperature extremes and keep energy costs down.
  • Build a radiant barrier in your attic – barriers inhibit heat transfer, helping you dramatically reduce heating and cooling costs.
  • Keep your home well maintained – updating caulking and weather-stripping, replacing heater filters or sealing ducts can go a long way.

Proper Installation Is Key

Professional roof installation is the best way to ensure your roof performs at peak energy efficiency. Shop around for a local quality roofing contractor with experience and expertise in the type of roofing material you decide to go with.

When choosing a roofer, be sure to select an experienced, licensed, and insured company that’s local to your area:

  • Pick few top contractors and collect multiple estimates you can compare.
  • Ask about both indemnity (liability) and worker’s insurance, noting the coverage end dates.
  • Check the length and types of warranties they provide. Both materials and workmanship warranties can vary greatly, and some roofers offer comprehensive systems warranties as well. A minimum warranty of one year is standard for the roofer’s labor, but many roofers offer longer warranties.
  • Lastly, and this one is important here, make sure that your roofing contractor has a proven experience in installing your particular roofing material – some roofing manufacturers require certification and training in the installation of their products.

And don’t forget to check with your tax professional about energy efficiency tax credits too; you may be able to deduct a portion of your roof’s cost because you chose to go green!


All Roofing Contractors is a Bear DE roofing company with nearly 20 years of experience in residential/commercial roofing, siding, and gutters installation/repair. Call (302) 722-8228 in Delaware or (610) 572-7334 in Pennsylvania to request a free estimate on your next project!