Are You Safe in Your Own Home?
Is your home as safe as it could be? If you live in a good neighborhood, is your family safe and protected? While safety and security are high on everyone's priority list, most of us are probably overlooking something that could make a big difference in the long run or in the case of an emergency. Check out these safety tips, and see if there aren't things you are forgetting.
Even if your home doesn't make the cut, the best part is that upgrading needn't be expensive, time-consuming, or a headache.
1. Check your Locks
Making sure you have sturdy locks is crucial to the safety of your home and family. If you have just moved into a new home you may want to consider having all of the locks changed, especially if they are showing signs of wear and tear. Changing out a lock is something you can certainly do yourself. Perhaps you are looking for a little more security, in which case you can install a deadbolt or another series of locks. The project will take less than a day, is inexpensive, and will add to your piece of mind.
2. Windows and Doors
Assess your home's windows and doors. Do they seem flimsy, old, or hollow? If so, you probably want to invest in a little upgrading. If your front or back door seems hollow, loose or easy to break down, consider investing in a solid new one. If this isn't within your budget, iron screens with locks are a good alternative. Likewise, check your windows. Do all of the locks work? Are panes missing or easily removed? If so, consider upgrading or replacing them immediately.
3. Keep it Lit
Motion sensor lights are superb means of repelling burglars, and with a price tag of $15-and-up, you really have no excuse not to install a few around your home. Sensor lights can be programmed to go on and off at a specific time or when they sense motion or heat. They are also great to have inside the house, in the laundry room or garage.
4. Cause for Alarm
Most homes these days come equipped with smoke detectors, but have you checked yours lately to make sure that it is working? It's possible that the battery has run down or that the unit is not functioning as it should. Smoke detectors should be checked every month and batteries should be replaced every year. If you have lived in your home longer than ten years, replace all of your smoke detectors, as they have about a decade-long lifespan.
Carbon monoxide detectors are rapidly growing in popularity as well and should be part of every home. Unlike smoke, carbon dioxide is colorless, odorless and basically undetectable without a device. If you don't have a carbon monoxide detector on every floor, invest in a few, and remember to check them monthly as well.
5. Get Your Fireplace Cleaned
Everyone loves to huddle around a warm fire on a cold day but if your chimney hasn't been cleaned within the last year, you are living with a major fire hazard.
Make an annual chimney inspection and cleaning a priority, scheduling it the same time every year, such as the week after Labor Day. (The colder the weather, the busier chimney cleaners will be). Also, remember to clean up ash regularly, burn chimney-cleaning logs once in awhile and make sure your damper is in proper working order. For more tips,click here.
6. Take a Hold of Mold
Everyone lives with a little mold, but when it starts living (and multiplying) inside your home, you have a problem. Besides contributing to allergies and skin irritation, too much mold can lead to serious respiratory problems in children and adults. If you are seeing or smelling mold in your home, tackle it right away. Have an inspector come and determine the source of the mold, such as flooding, a leaky roof etc, and the amount of damage. Clean up and treatment of mold is dependent upon these factors, but don't wait—mold will just continue to grow.
It may seem unnecessary, but wait until you live without one. Peepholes are cheap and easy to install—all you need is a drill and a screwdriver. After you pick up a peephole at your local home improvement center, place it low enough so that all members of the family can use it. A peephole that is too high will not benefit the kids when they are home alone. Using a drill bore a hole through both sides of the door per the manufacturer's instructions. Insert the peephole and secure with a screwdriver. Click here for more detailed directions.
8. Put the Fire Out
A fire extinguisher is a basic lifesaving tool that many people overlook. Available at your home improvement store for about $15-and-up, a couple of fire extinguishers are a must-have for every home. Place one in the garage, one in the kitchen and a couple upstairs. Make sure all family members know where they are and how to operate them. Fire extinguishers should also be tested frequently and check with the manufacturer's instructions on when they should be replaced.
9. Furnace Service
If you live in a warm climate, you probably haven't given your furnace much thought, but even the mildest winters call for an annual furnace inspection. While your furnace sits dormant all winter, dust and dirt can gather, releasing harmful particles into the air. It's best to have a professional inspect your entire heating a cooling system for cracks and leaks, just to be on the safe side.
10. Get Kitted Out
Finally, is your family prepared for an emergency? See that your family has first aid and emergency kits. If your area has frequent tornadoes, earthquakes, or hurricanes, it is especially important to get the tools you need to deal with such disasters. (While you are at it, make sure your car has an emergency kit, too.) Though the chances of your home being badly damaged by a natural disaster are rare, it never hurts to be safe. Also, consider a home-toxin testing kit. They can indicate the levels of radon, carbon monoxide, lead and radiation in your home.
Now that you are in the know, there is no excuse not to get into gear and make your home a safer place to live. Chances are you probably are employing at least a few of these ideas, so you won't have much work to do. The few hours it takes will be well worth the peace of mind it brings.
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