Property owners are often so concerned with preventing leaks and molds that they ignore the common fire hazards that their roof is susceptible to. Roof fires are more costly and deadly than molds, so it’s about time we consider it a serious threat to our homes. An investigative report published in 1958 found that the roof is one of the main places where fires start.
In addition, U.S. Fire Administration reported 10,000 fires that originated from the attic between 2006 and 2008. Although it only makes up a small percentage of all residential fires, roof fires can cause massive amounts of destruction quickly. Knowing the main causes of roof fires will help you prevent it from destroying your home and putting your loved ones in danger. Here are the top five cause of roof fires that should be aware of:
1. Faulty electrical wiring
Faulty wiring, including faulty electrical outlets and malfunctioning appliances, are the most common causes of house and apartment fires in the US. Cases of such fires are high in months where there is an increased use of lights and heating appliances. In roof fires, light fixtures and electrical wirings in the attic are usually the culprits. Burned wires will eventually start a fire in your home and they are dangerous because they often go unnoticed. Flickering light bulbs and light fixtures that fail to turn on can be caused by burned wires. Loose electrical connections are the primary cause of burned wires.
2. Ceiling insulation
Fire hazards in the ceiling are not caused by insulation itself, but by the way it was installed or the way an electrical cabling was installed together with the pre-existing insulation. Investigators have determined that roof fires can also start in the roofing material of a property that lacks sufficient insulation around the vent pipe for generators. The heat coming from the vent pipes deteriorates the roofing material over time – igniting a fire when combined with high winds. Insulation must not be fitted too close to a heat source.
3. Leaky roof
Roof leak repairs should be your top priority, because believe it or not, water damage is a potential fire hazard. A leaky roof could cause electrical wirings in the ceiling or attic to malfunction. It can also lead to wire shorting issues. Even wires protected by junction boxes and insulation materials are not completely safe. Water may seep around the hinges of a junction box or insulation clumps when left exposed to water. A live wire that comes in contact with water can cause a spark and ignite the materials around it.
4. Roofing materials
Not all roof materials are created equal and some are just more prone to fires than others. Roof materials with an A rating are the most fire resistant. Metal tiles or sheets can prevent fires. Together with a fire-resistant underlayment, metal roofing can make your roof fire-proof. Roof materials may also have an A rating if they are soaked in fire retardants, so you can still use wood shakes if they are treated. Never use untreated wood because they are basically tinder and are highly flammable.
5. Uncleaned chimney
Not cleaning your chimney for a long time can put your roof in danger. Smoke from the fireplace creates a layer of flammable material called creosote that coats the inside lining of the chimney. To prevent fires, always clean the vents and chimney in your house and install a spark arrestor screen to prevent embers from escaping and igniting flammable materials around.
Although not very common, a rooftop solar system can also cause fires. Old panels in solar shingles have a design flaw that causes them to overheat. Choose a solar product with a proven track record of good performance. It’s also important to hire a well-trained roofing contractor to ensure your solar installation is safe and efficient.