Home safety maintenance is critical to homeownership. Here are four items to add to your to-do list to keep you and your family safe in your home:
If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, you should get one. Install one in the kitchen and other areas prone to fire. Once installed, however, we tend to forget them, but even if you have not used it, a fire extinguisher may depressurize and you won’t know it until you need it unless you check it. Your owner’s manual should have a maintenance schedule. If not, contact the manufacturer to get one.
When checking it, make sure:
- Nothing blocks it so that you can quickly access it in an emergency. If installed in a cupboard, place it at the front or mount it inside the door.
- Check the pressure. Most extinguishers have a gauge, so make sure the pressure is in the safe zone.
- Make sure the pin and tamper seal are intact, the nozzle and hose are not cracked and there is no corrosion on the tank.
The last thing you want is to learn that your extinguisher is inoperative during an emergency. Have your extinguisher serviced or replaced every five to ten years.
Smoke Detectors and CO2 Detectors
Check your smoke detector at least once a month, and according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, replace batteries at least twice a year. Check them more often when:
- Frequent cooking smoke activates it. Constant activation can wear it out.
- It gives false alarms.
- The alarm regularly emits short beeps.
You should have a carbon monoxide (CO2) detector on every floor of your home. CO2 is a colorless, tasteless, odorless gas that can kill quickly. You can purchase combo detectors that now detect smoke and Co2. Many townships are now requiring these as part of their Use and Occupancy requirements.
Never put old batteries in a battery-powered smoke/CO2 detector. Even if powered by your home’s electrical system, be sure to check the back-up batteries to be sure it will function during power outages.
It’s easy to not think about what can build up in your dryer vent. The line that runs from your dryer to the outside can vary in length and can get clogged with lint very easily. At worst, this can cause a fire and at least can cause your dryer to break down. We learned this the hard way – the thermostat in our dryer went and we found out it was because the dryer line to the outside was completely clogged. We’re lucky that’s all that happened. There are services out there that will come and clean out the line and even replace any that is in disrepair. You should do this once a year.
Many of us never think about our electrical panel unless we blow a breaker or the power goes out. Preventative maintenance to this vital home system is far more economical than repairs once it fails. Breakers and wires age and can cause arching and overheating. Have your panel and electrical system checked by a certified electrician every three years, and more often if you
- Often have to reset a breaker.
- Have frequent power outages.
- Have medical or other equipment reliant on electricity.
- See sparks, flame or smoke when flipping a switch or plugging into an outlet.
- Have a very old home with an old electrical system.
We can help you find home safety specialists to inspect your home’s systems, so contact us today.
Angela, Rick, Genevieve and Chris