Sunday, December 9, 2012
Stay Safe and Protect your Home this Winter
Winter and the holidays can be some of the best times you will have at your home. Below are a few tips to help you stay safe and protect your biggest investment this winter.
I was asked by a client last week if he could use indoor extension cords for outdoor holiday lightning. I wanted to do my Fire Marshall Bill impression (let me show you something!) but realized that safety is no laughing matter. Extension cords are classified for either indoor or outdoor use. Outdoor cords are more durable and rated to withstand a wide range of temperatures, moisture, etc. It's OK to use an outdoor cord indoors, but you should never use an indoor-rated cord outdoors…doing so could shock someone or cause a fire hazard. Read and follow all the instructions on your lights and power cords. If you plan on treating your neighborhood to a Griswold type lighting display, we recommend that you have a licensed electrician inspect your wiring and circuit protection.
Home fires occur more often during the winter months than any other time of the year. Fire hazards include candles, space heaters and fireplaces. It is smart to buy and install smoke alarms on every floor of your home. Smoke alarms should be tested monthly. According to the CDC, carbon monoxide poisonings peak in December and January. Carbon monoxide detectors can be life savers, but more than 2/3 of American homes don't have one in place.
Outside your home, it it is wise to remove dead tree branches. Even a small amount of ice or snow on dead branches, along with wind, can cause them to break and damage your home. If you haven't already, now is an excellent time to clean your gutters. Snow and ice can quickly fill your gutters if they are already clogged with debris. When snow and ice begins to melt, the resulting water can get under your roofing. This water can cause serious damage your ceilings and walls.