Most of us are fortunate to live in relatively well-built homes where hazards are minimal. Nevertheless, vigilance pays when it comes to home safety. There are many fronts in the home where danger or unnecessary expense from breakdowns may be lurking, from lighting, electrical, and fire hazards to HVAC, chemicals, and security. Here's a sample home safety list that you may want to adopt or adapt for your own use.
- Electrical safety— There are more than 28,000 electrical fires in this country annually and most are caused by out-of-date malfunctioning appliances and faulty electric cords. Examine cords for fraying or cracking. Replace cords or replace the appliance. Repair or replace appliances that overheat or short out. Cover exposed wiring; avoid overloading outlets; and don't run cords over heaters or pipes or under carpets and rugs.
- Chemical hazards— Store gasoline, paint thinner and other flammable liquids in approved containers in a well-ventilated area. Keep these containers away from sources of heat, flame or gas. Store oily rags in a sealed, metal container.
- Fire hazards— Keep piles of flammable materials to a manageable level; don't store newspapers, linens, magazines or papers near electrical equipment or combustion-powered appliances. Check chimneys, flues, dryer and gas vents for cleanliness and adequate airflow. Install a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide detector. Check batteries or otherwise ensure the devices are working properly.
- Lighting— Some homeowners feel more secure with extra lighting illuminating their property at night. Do be aware that crime studies don't necessarily corroborate that extra lighting inhibits crime — in fact, some studies show it may make it easier for criminals to see what they're doing. What might work better than just flooding your property with light is to add motion sensor-activated lights, security cameras or alarms.
- Doors— To delay forced entry, doors should be metal clad or of solid core wood. For added door security, install heavy deadbolt locks and four-screw strike plates secured with 3-inch wood screws in the door frame.
For more advice on your home safety list, contact Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical. We serve Santa Cruz and South Bay Peninsula.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas of California about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).