What Are the Top Causes of House Fires?

There are more than 350,000 house fires each year in the U.S., according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). That’s a devastating statistic, especially when you consider some fires can be prevented. Here are some of the most common causes of house fires and how you can protect your home from becoming another statistic.

Cooking-Related Fires

Not surprisingly, the kitchen is the place where the majority of home fires begin. According to the NFPA, cooking equipment left unattended sparked 32% of kitchen fires in recent years. Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby and if a fire occurs in the stove, keep the stove door closed. The flame will go out eventually.


Much more common in the cooler months, heaters are notorious for catching things on fire. This is typically because they're placed too close to flammable furniture or a rogue spark from a portable heating appliance ignites a fire. If your heating comes from a furnace, be sure to have it checked yearly by an HVAC professional. If you have small heaters, never leave them unattended and always unplug them when heading out.


Any type of open flame poses a threat and candles are just that. While they certainly add a beautiful ambiance to any room, they should never be left unattended and they should never be placed near anything remotely flammable. If you have pets or children, keep the candles up and out of reach.

Bad Wiring

Wiring offers the most potential for fires since a lot of it is hidden behind the walls. Pay attention to your lights for any indications that wiring could be going bad. If you use an appliance and lights dim or a fuse constantly trips or blows, it’s time to call an electrician to take a look at what’s going on.

Bottom line: House fires can be prevented with diligence and responsible home upkeep. Never be afraid of calling a professional to check out anything in your house that is not working how it used to.