Spring is the season when most people are focused on cleaning around the home, but as temperatures rise, it is also a great time to think about home safety. Complete the following six safety-related tasks each spring so your home will remain a safe, low-risk environment for you and your family.
1. Check Your Smoke Alarms
Home fires can be caused by lightning strikes, electrical malfunctions, kitchen accidents, and an array of other unfortunate circumstances. Regardless of the cause of the fire, having smoke alarms in your home greatly reduces your risk of injuries and death if there is a fire.
Change the batteries in your smoke alarms, and replace any alarms that are 10 years old or older. Make sure you have at least one alarm on each floor and one in each bedroom.
2. Check Your CO Detectors
Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a poisonous, odorless gas produced whenever fuel is burned. It can cause nausea, confusion, and even sudden death. To protect yourself from CO poisoning, the CDC recommends keeping a CO detector in your home and checking the batteries twice a year – in the fall and the spring. After you check your batteries this spring, set a reminder in your phone for the fall so you remember to do it then too.
3. Check Your Outlets for Burning and Hissing
Walk through your home, and take a quick look at each of your electrical outlets. If you see any burn marks or discoloration on or around the outlets, then your wiring needs to be replaced. Also, listen closely to make sure your outlets do not make hissing or buzzing sounds when in use. Hire an electrician to make repairs ASAP if you have any suspicions about your outlets.
4. Make Sure the Water Main Valve Turns
If one of the pipes in your home happens to burst, you need to turn the water main valve off as soon as possible to minimize the amount of water that floods into your home. If you’re able to turn it off quickly, you may end up with minor water damage rather than a huge tragedy. Water main valves tend to seize up as they age since they are not used often. Make sure yours turns freely, and apply some lubricant to loosen the valve if needed.
5. Clear the Space Around Your AC Unit
Did you know that an air conditioner can start on fire? This is rare, but it usually happens when the air conditioner has not been properly maintained, so be sure to schedule your maintenance appointment soon if you have not already.
Fires can also be caused by too much debris and brush around your air conditioner, which limits air flow. Clear space around the air conditioner, leaving at least two feet of space on all sides.
6. Check Your Hot Water Temperature
This step is especially important if you have kids in your home. Hot water coming out of the tap at 140 degrees F can cause serious burns in less than five seconds. Water at 145 degrees can burn in less than three seconds.
The safest hot water temperature setting is 120 degrees F. Water at this temperature takes more than five minutes to produce serious burns, so you have more than enough time to move your hand away after you realize it is hot.
You can adjust the water temperature using a simple dial on most hot water heaters. If you are not sure whether the setting on your water heater is accurate, use a thermometer to measure the temperature of your hot water, then adjust the hot water heater accordingly.
Complete these tasks today for a safer home. If you discover you need electric, plumbing, or HVAC repairs or maintenance, contact us at HELP.