Tips for Protecting Your Property and Family Against 4 Common Home Hazards
There are many things a homeowner can do to make their household secure and comfortable for their loved ones, and we’re certain you’ve already taken numerous steps to ensure your home feels like a well-guarded yet cozy castle. But what if there are additional actions you can take to make your home even safer? The Bearingstar team thought you’d want to know about them, so we prepared this blog post to provide you with information about four common household dangers and ways you may be able to better safeguard your property and family from them. While this is not an all-inclusive list, we hope it may serve as a useful guide for double-checking that you’re taking essential measures to keep your home as safe as possible.
1. Home Fires
While it doesn’t move at light speed, a fire spreads very quickly. This is why it’s so important to make sure smoke detectors are installed and maintained properly in your home and that everyone in the household is alerted at the first wisp of smoke. Of course, a homeowner’s goal is to prevent a home fire from starting in the first place. Since cooking, space heaters, and faulty wiring continue to be the main culprits for causing house fires, here are a few tactics you may want to implement in your home, if you haven’t already:
- Purchase a multipurpose model fire extinguisher to put in an easily accessible spot in your kitchen, and get extras to place near any home heating sources as well as in your basement, attic, and bedrooms.
- When using home heating devices, like space heaters, make sure they have fire-prevention features, such as a tip-over safety switch and overheat protection, and have been UL or ETL listed, which indicates a unit has passed independent safety tests.
- Keep an eye out for signs that your home might have electrical wiring issues, including frequent blown fuses, discolored or warm wall outlets, or a burning or rubbery smell coming from appliances or outlets, and call a qualified electrician immediately if you notice them.
2. Electric Shocks
Not only are electrical issues a major cause of home fires each year (as noted above), but having electricity coursing through your home means there is the potential for an electric shock injury in virtually every room of your house. If you have a newer home, you may have many lifesaving electrical protection devices already built in. But if you own an older property, you may want to have a qualified electrician inspect it to ensure your electrical system is safe and properly updated. In addition, the following tips may help reduce the likelihood of an electric shock:
- Regularly check home appliances for frayed cords, exposed wiring, and damaged plugs.
- Remind family members that it’s critical to turn off an appliance before pulling out a cord and to unplug light fixtures before changing bulbs.
- Know the location of overhead electrical lines outside your home before doing any type of work on a ladder, and contact your utility company to mark the spot of underground power lines before doing any type of digging. In addition, homeowners in Massachusetts can contact Dig Safe, a nonprofit organization that will notify your utility company about your project for free, while in Connecticut, homeowners can reach out to the state’s Call Before You Dig program for assistance.
3. Lithium-Ion Batteries
These batteries are becoming an increasingly popular source of power and are present in many of the things we have in our homes, like cell phones and laptops, and in trendy modes of transportation, such as e-bikes and e-scooters. While lithium-ion batteries are both effective and efficient, they also have some serious drawbacks. For example, when used, charged, or stored improperly, they can lead to overheating, fires, and even explosions. In addition to recommending that you always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, the National Fire Protection Association offers the following tips on lithium-ion battery safety:
- Stop using the lithium-ion battery if you notice anything unusual, such as an odor, change in color, change in shape, leaking, or odd noises.
- Store batteries away from anything that can catch fire, and only use the battery and charging cord designed for the device.
- Do not keep charging the device or device battery after it is fully charged, and never charge it under your pillow or on your bed or a couch.
4. Carbon Monoxide
Like most homes, yours probably has carbon monoxide detectors installed on all floors to help alert you and people in your home of the presence of dangerous levels of this odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas. Not every homeowner, though, has learned that there are several ways they may be able to better prevent carbon monoxide from stealthily building up inside their residence. The following are just a few actions that might help thwart this hazard in your home:
- Consider upgrading your gas stove’s range hood to one with a faster, more powerful airflow, and always check the color of the gas stove flame—blue means it is working properly, while yellow or orange typically means there’s not enough oxygen to form a proper flame and that your stove requires immediate service.
- Regularly check your hot water heater for stains, soot, or debris buildup, or a weak pilot light or one that is yellow or orange instead of blue, all of which may be signs of a carbon monoxide buildup.
- Have your heating system, water heater, and any other fuel-burning appliances inspected and your chimney checked or cleaned of debris by a qualified professional every year.
The Bearingstar team is here to help homeowners make sure their properties are safe and sound.
On our blog, you’ll find numerous articles, similar to this one, that provide insight into how you may be able to keep your house safer for your loved ones, like tips for using a generator safely and how to build a home emergency kit. In addition, you’ll find articles that provide detailed information on essential insurance coverages for your home and how these solutions may help you and your family recover more quickly if a worst-case scenario happens. Finally, if you follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, you will get access to even more knowledge on safeguarding your home and the most important people and things in your life.
Of course, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly with any home or other personal insurance questions. Our Massachusetts team can be reached at 877-801-7424, and our Connecticut team is available at 888-519-9996. You can call us whenever you need us.