Everyone has a checklist of things that need to be done around the home for routine maintenance. There is a seemingly unending list of things to clean or replace in order to keep things safe and running smoothly. It can be hard to remember every detail, even though forgetting can be a hazard. In order to keep the home safe, it is important to not overlook or put off these ten hidden dangers found in the Home Safety Checklist at RealSimple.com.
1. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
While the most obvious, it is also easily forgotten, partly because it is ignored unless it is beeping. Install plenty, and don’t wait for the low battery beep. Check the batteries and clean the vents monthly.
2. Outlets and Wires
Be careful to not overload outlets, and check all cords for frays or if they have been compromised. Feel outlets and plugs. Warmth can be a sign of a problem and an electrician should be notified. Use extension cords only when necessary and within the proper wattage.
What is that? The technical term is ground fault circuit interrupters, but most people probably know them as the outlets with little buttons in the middle that always have to be reset. They are meant to shut off when the current moves through an unintentional path. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) these outlets have reduced electrocutions by 83%. They are required in certain areas of the home and should be checked frequently to insure they function properly.
Whether it’s the water heater, or an electric or gas heater, proper maintenance is vital. Keep flammable materials away from water heaters. Make sure all outside vents for the heater are unobstructed to avoid carbon monoxide buildup.
5. Chimneys and Wood Stoves
A chimney should be inspected by a professional each year to insure proper functioning. Inspect wood-burning stoves twice a month. Make sure the door latches. Only use seasoned wood to avoid a buildup of soot.
6. Fire Extinguishers
Keep one in the kitchen and garage and one on each floor of the house. Replace if damaged or expired.
7. Vents and Filters
Dryer vents going to the outside become a fire hazard when filled with lint. Check often to make sure they are clear. Heater and air conditioner vents need to be cleaned or changed monthly.
8. Breaker Box
This is often overlooked, but checking for damage and making sure it is up to code is one way to prevent fires in the home.
Loose wires, water or structural damage, and pests can hide in places like the attic and basement. Look in hidden areas often for signs of problems before they become costly and dangerous.
It’s easy to dismiss plumbing problems as something that comes with an older house (or any house), but there are signs of bigger issues that need to be checked out. Poor water pressure, discolored water, water spots on ceilings, and gurgling are just a few hints of a bigger problem.
Safety is important, and sometimes it takes a professional to make sure things are fixed properly and up to code. Please contact us with any questions about how we can help make your home safe!