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Don’t Let Your Home Renovation Dreams Go Up in Smoke

It happens more often than you might think – a fire claim during a home renovation project resulting from improperly discarded rags soaked with a combustible liquid. Common combustibles include deck stains, oil-based paints, paint thinner, kerosene, and varnishes. Rags are used to apply these finishes, to wipe up spills or to clean application brushes. As these soaked rags dry, in a matter of hours their vapors may cause a chemical reaction to occur in heated rooms or warm outdoor spaces without a spark to initiate a fire. Every year, about 2,000 home fires are caused by spontaneous combustion or a chemical reaction. Of these fires, about half are started when oily rags catch fire.

Outdoor projects, such as deck renovations, are a leading cause of spontaneous combustion fires. Indoors, renovations such as floor sanding and polishing use rags which quickly become saturated with combustible liquids. Even a garage may be harboring a potential hazard. That’s because when preparing for a home renovation, owners will store flammable materials next to their parked cars. Vapors and heat plus improperly stored combustibles equals a potential fire. United Public Adjusters & Appraisers wants you to know that with a little foresight and caution, that these construction site hazards, as well as a subsequent fire insurance claim, can be completely avoided. Here are a couple tips to prevent this potential hazard:

  1. Distribute several portable fire extinguishers around your project jobsite. In case of fire, workmen can quickly extinguish the blaze before it causes major damage to your home and/or property.
  2. Do not disconnect your fire alarm system. Cover your smoke detectors with easily removable tops by day to prevent dust from sanding, wallboard, etc. from damaging them. Remove the covers at night to protect you and your family.
  3. Insist that smoking is prohibited on the jobsite. After all, the goal here is to avoid a potential fire insurance claim, not to create one!
  4. Speak with your contractor to learn how they manage the removal of rags and solvents after each workday. If combustible materials must be stored on site, insist on the unit to be located well away from your residence, landscaping, or any structures on the property.

United Public Adjusters & Appraisers wants your renovated home to exceed your expectations. To learn more about how we can assist you in the event of a claim, contact our professional public adjusters at 800-718-5677.


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