For many people, garage door maintenance ranks high in their home safety checklist. Why? For starters, a neglected garage can significantly jeopardize your home’s safety. Consider this: at least 9% of burglars enter a property through a faulty or unsecured garage door.
However, creating a safe home for your family to thrive in entails more than just protecting it from burglars. If anything, you also need to address the safety hazards that lurk around your home. You also need to be aware of the prevalent home security mistakes you need to steer clear of.
Make your home a safe haven for you and your family by adhering to the following home safety checklist:
Check your appliances
There are plenty of safety hazards in the kitchen, and appliances can be one of the primary culprits. In line with this, it is recommended that you check your appliances now and then.
It is also a good idea to examine potential safety hazards attributed to improper installation, damage, or age.
Ensure circuits are not overloaded
Refrigerators and other appliances can often use up a lot of energy and might trip your home’s main breaker in the process. If the circuit trips often, it can overheat and might cause a potential electrical fire.
It is recommended that you consult an electrician to check if any of the appliances you have at home might require a dedicated unit.
Inspect garbage disposal and inspect drains
At all times, ensure the drains in your kitchen sink are free from any buildup or clogs. It is also advisable to check for existing leaks, mildew, wet spots, and signs of prior leaks.
Ensure you have safety latches
If you have pets or small children, make sure they don’t have access to dangerous items like knives or cleaners. Consider adding safety locks or latches to drawers and cupboards where hazardous house items are stored.
Test carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
The kitchen needs to have a carbon monoxide detector and a smoke alarm. Test both to ensure the sensors are free from dust and are working accordingly. Check also if changing the batteries is needed.
Don’t hesitate to invest in a new detector or smoke alarm if the one you currently have is faulty.
Post an emergency contact list
Post an emergency contact list on your fridge or in an easily visible place. Include numbers of your local police and fire stations, doctors, poison control, and the neighborhood watch association.
Don’t forget to include your work or cell phone numbers and family members and friends that should be notified in case of an emergency.
Create a home inventory
Protect your valuables by conducting a thorough home inventory that catalogs your valuables. This can come in handy if you need to make an insurance claim due to a break-in.
Invest in a safe
Store your birth certificates, social security cards, and other valuables like jewelry and collectibles in a fireproof safe to ensure they remain intact if fire engulfs your property.
Examine outlet covers and switch plates
Inspect your light switches and outlets for cracked or missing covers and install or replace them as needed. If some covers are missing, have an electrician check it to ensure the contacts are not exposed.
If you have small children at home, it would be good to add childproof outlet covers to ensure your little ones won’t have access to them.
Have an emergency plan ready
Prepare an escape plan in case of earthquakes, fires, tornadoes, floods, and other possible emergencies. Ensure the emergency plan you’ve prepared is comprehensive and you’ve covered all the bases.
You can also run drills to ensure everyone at home knows what to do in case of an emergency.
Inspect your pipes
Check your pipes on a routine basis and look for signs of leakage, rust, and corrosion.
Examine the size of the pipes and take note of what they are made of.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to check the bathroom faucets for drips or leaks as well. Also, observe if your bowl empties and refills correctly each time you flush.
Test and clean the shower heads
Routinely check the shower in the bathrooms. Check if water pressure and the temperature is okay. If you notice that pressure is low, try removing the shower heads and cleaning it to see if it addresses the issue.
Check for caulking around the tub, shower, and bathroom tiles. In some cases, discoloration is a telltale sign of mildew and molds. Ensure there are no cracks or holes, especially at joints where the doors, walls, and the floor meet.
Find the main shut-off valve
The main shut-off valve for the water system is often situated in the kitchen or bathroom sink. Try turning it off to check if it is in good working condition. When turned off, no water should come out of any of the faucets.
Have a first aid kit at home
Regardless of how careful you are, accidents can sometimes happen. In line with this, make sure you have a fully-stocked first aid kit with gauze, antiseptic, medical tape, and bandages.
Keep it in a place where it can be accessed easily in case someone at home gets hurt.
Familiarize yourself with the electrical system
Find your home’s main breaker panel and test the circuits to determine if everything is working correctly.
If you are still using fuses instead of breakers, have it checked by your electrician regularly to ensure everything is in top shape and working as it should.
Inspect your water heater
Have a professional check your water heater to ensure it is working properly. At least once every year, flush the tank to get rid of any sediment. Flushing can also help extend your heater’s life.
If you own a gas water heater, know how to care for the pilot light and venting system.
Clean vents and air ducts
If you want fresh air circulating in your home, have your ducts cleaned professionally.
Vents and air ducts can harbor pollutants and allergens. Have your ducts inspected for molds.
Be also on the lookout for clogs caused by dust, rodents, and other insects.
Check for foundation damage
While foundation damage is not typical, it is something you need to look out for. Foundation damage that’s unattended might cause flooding in your property.
Look for prevalent signs of possible wear, including cracks and wet spots in the floors or walls, especially over doors or windows or where the ceiling and the walls meet.
Change the air filters
Inspect your heating and air conditioning filters.
If dirty, set a reminder so you can change it regularly. Typically, the air filter needs to be changed at least every three months.
However, if you have pets, checking it monthly would be ideal to ensure it does not get clogged.
Insulate pipes that are exposed
At times, cold temperatures can result in pipes freezing and bursting. In line with this, make sure your pipes are ready for the winter by insulating them.
You can also use a tubular conduit, foil insulation, or fiberglass to wrap the pipes.
Check door locks and windows
Ensure all doors and basement windows can be opened quickly and can be locked securely. If your windows have bars, it might be a good idea to have a quick-release mechanism installed in emergencies.
For added peace of mind, you can also install door or window sensors in areas that are not used often.
Ensure there’s proper lightning
Make sure there is enough lighting in storage and mechanical areas, as well as your stairways. It would also be a good idea to place light switches at the top and bottom of the stairs to prevent falls.
This is especially needed if you have older adults living with you.
Put non-skid tapes on the stairs
Adding non-skid tape on the stairs would be a good idea so slipping is dramatically reduced. To make it more visible even in low light, it would be good to paint the last step of the stairs white.
Change faulty locks
Inspect if there are any faulty locks in the property and have them replaced right away. For added security, consider using smart locks with remote control and keyless entry.
Install security lighting
To keep burglars at bay, install security lights outside your property. Another way to beef up your security would be to use smart light bulbs.
You’ll not only enjoy added safety, but you’ll also enjoy the ease of being able to control your exterior lights using your smartphone.
Check your gates
Ensure your gate is in good condition, closes tightly, and has a secured latch that can’t be tampered with. One foolproof way to ensure gate security would be installing two locks—one at the top and another at the bottom.
Install alarm systems and security cameras
Some studies show that burglars skip homes with alarm systems and security cameras. Check out the security camera options available at your disposal and find out which one is the best fit for your home and property.
Conclusion: Home Safety Checklist
Keeping your home safe is no easy feat. It will take time, energy, effort, and even money. Fortunately, it’s well worth the effort as you’ll enjoy security and peace of mind.
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