4 Things On Your Roof That Can Affect Your Home's Fire Safety Levels And What You Can Do About Them

Many homeowners who are vigilant about fire safety issues completely overlook the roof area as a potential source of household fires. However, roof conditions and materials can have a substantial affect on fire safety levels. Here are four ways that your roof can impact your fire safety and what you can do about them:

Clogged Dryer Vents

Household dryer vents on the roof are never a good idea because they are easily overlooked, and dryer vents post significant fire hazards no matter where they are located if the openings aren't cleaned regularly to remove lint and other debris. Additional considerations concerning having a dryer vent on the roof are that fires that start in the actual dryer due to a clogged lint trap can travel up the vent and onto the roof. There, they are less likely to be noticed by household occupants until the fire is fairly large.

If you have a dryer vent located on your roof, having it closed up by an experienced roofing professional and moved to a more accessible location will help keep your family safe from fire.

Birds' Nests

Although many homeowners love to listen to the birds sign and watch them from their windows, your fine-feathered friends can accidentally cause household fires! Here's how they do it:

  • Nesting materials such as dried plant material and paper catch fire easily.
  • Nests can clog ventilation systems, which can cause heating and cooling systems to overheat and possibly catch fire.
  • Nest can also catch fire in fireplace or wood stove chimneys, which is why it is very important to always have your chimney cleaned before temperatures cool down enough in fall to light an indoor fire on a regular basis.

If you live in an area with a substantial pigeon population or other types of flocking birds, installing bird spikes is recommended as an effective way to keep them off your roof. It's also important to have a chimney cap installed to keep birds from nesting in chimneys during the spring and summer months and to cover vent openings with mesh to prevent birds from nesting in them.

Moss and Tree Branches

Moss that is allowed to accumulate on roofs poses a significant fire hazard when it dries up during the dry season, so make certain that moss is cleaned off of your roof on a regular basis. Tree branches are also another fire hazard because ground fires can travel up trees and onto the roof. Branches should be cut back regularly to prevent this from occurring, and trees should be planted more than 10 feet from the home. If you live in an area that experiences high fire danger levels during the summer season, choose fire-resistant trees for landscaping.

Roofing Materials

Roofing materials can also make a difference when it comes to fire safety. Many people love the look of wood shakes, but this material is so potentially dangerous that is has been banned in some areas even if it has been treated with fire-retardant chemicals. If the roofing material of your home consists of wood shakes, you should consider replacing it with one of the following:

  • Fiberglass laminate -- these shingles have the added benefit of having significant aesthetic appeal as well as being very long lasting.
  • Clay tiles --another attractive roofing material that is extremely fire-resistant.
  • Slate shingles -- besides being fire-resistant, this high end roofing material is elegant and can last for up to one hundred years.

There are many other ways that you can make your roof as safe as possible, such as roof repairs -- ask your local roofing professional for assistance if you have questions!

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