Holiday Safety For Homeowners

A Christmas tree inside a home.

A Christmas tree inside a home. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Holiday Safety for Homeowners

For many homeowners, decorating is one of the most exciting and tradition-driven parts of the holiday season. Lights, candles and other bright decorations can all be greatways to make your home look festive for the holidays, but faulty wires and open flames can quickly lead to disaster if precautions aren’t taken. There are several steps you can take to holiday-proof your house in order to prevent accidents and ensure that your family and home remain safe—and festive—all season long.

Lights and Electricity

Purchase lights and equipment from a reputable vendor and check labels for safety certification. If you’re taking old décor out of storage, inspect all lights and cords for damage before plugging them in. If a string of lights has broken bulbs or exposed wires, throw it out. Invest in a light timer or set a schedule to ensure you never leave lights on too long, and make sure to unplug everything before leaving the house or going to bed. Avoid overloading outlets or extension cords with too many plugs. Not only is this a potential fire hazard, it can cause electrical damage that could leave you with a hefty repair bill.

Trees

If you buy a real tree, be sure to keep it watered at all times. A dry tree will catch fire much faster than a well-hydrated one, and in heated rooms, trees lose water rapidly. For those who prefer artificial trees, make sure to choose one labeled “fire-resistant.” In addition, use non-flammable ornaments and tree trimmings for maximum protection.

Candles

Never leave candles unattended. Keep open flames out of the way, where small children and pets can’t knock them over. Be sure to extinguish candles before leaving the house or going to bed, and take care to ensure that wax drippings don’t damage flooring or furniture.

Outdoors

Test your home’s ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to make sure they are working properly—they are the first line of defense against electrocution. Ensure that all decorations and extension cords are designed for outdoor use and keep electric objects away from snow and water. Inspect all equipment for damage before use, and take proper safety precautions when using ladders and power tools.

Everything Else

Test all fire and carbon monoxide alarms to make sure they work correctly. If a rogue candle or faulty wiring leads to a fire, you want to be alerted as soon as possible. On a similar note, prepare an emergency plan for fires or other disasters, and make sure your family and house-guests know what to do in the event that something does happen. Keep fabrics and other flammable materials a safe distance (three feet is a good rule of thumb) away from heaters and vents, and consider childproofing electrical outlets.

By following these tips and sharing them, you can ensure a happy, healthy and safe holiday for all.

Healthy Living

Healthier Living-Room Checklist

living_room_family_gathering [Going green at home doesn’t mean spending a whole lot of money on home improvements or investing in expensive pieces of furniture or the latest and greatest in green technology. Instead, there are ways to find all sorts of ways to use less, waste less, and save more without blowing your budget. Today I’m focusing on how to Do Your Part in the living room for a healthier home.

Save Energy and Money

Start with the small stuff such as sealing up leaks around doors and windows. Caulk and weather stripping are inexpensive and a quick fix for rising energy costs. Since the fireplace is an easy target for hot air to escape, a fireplace plug for around $60 can put a stop to that waste. Also, pick better light bulbs. There are many energy efficient ones available including CFLs, LEDs, and halogens. Check out DoYourPart.com/Columns to see which ones work best in your particular fixtures. Another thing that adds to your electric costs are electronics that sip electricity even when not being used. Using a power strip with an on/off button will put an end to that expensive phantom power.

Shop for Safer Furniture and Flooring

Furniture made from medium density fiberboard (MDF) and some furniture adhesives can contain a formaldehyde-based resin that can actually pollute the air inside your home. Seek out furniture that is specifically labeled formaldehyde-free. Buying used, wood furniture pieces are another way to have cleaner indoor air because many of those dangerous chemicals have already evaporated.

And, many popular choices of flooring also emit formaldehyde. Whether it is certain imitation wood floors or new carpet — know what’s in the flooring and the adhesives you use and choose safer options.

Decorate Responsibly

From paint to plants, a lot of what we put in our living rooms can make big impact. Choose paints that are labeled no or low VOC. The costs of ones that don’t emit volatile organic compounds are comparable to conventional ones and they last just as long. You’ll also want to avoid pieces of upholstery and fabrics that are treated with synthetic chemicals that can get into the air and on our bodies. When choosing candles, opt for ones made of soy or beeswax rather than polluting petroleum products. And even a few plants placed around the living room can improve the air quality immediately.

Whether you’re looking for ways to cut costs or clean up the air in your home, the living room is the perfect place to Do Your Part for healthier living.


Article printed from RISMedia: http://rismedia.com