You move into a new house, and everything looks good. You have nice hardwood floors, and the quartz countertops you’ve always coveted, but did you know that there could be hazards hiding in your beautiful home? Here are 10 home hazards you need to watch out for, and ways to prevent and take care of them.
If you live in an urban area, firetrucks are a part of life, but how often do you think about where those trucks are heading? Every year, about 350,000 homes catch on fire. Many, if not most of those fires are completely avoidable. Your initial home inspection should include your home’s wiring. You want to make sure everything is completely up to code. You also want to make sure you have working smoke detectors. If you have the kind that needs batteries, change them about every six months.
Unplug unused appliances when you can, and make sure there are no frayed cords. Avoid overloading your electrical panel. Always make sure candles are away from any loose fabric and when you light a fire in the fireplace, supervise it. Close the screen so no ashes fly across the room.
Most people know carbon monoxide as car exhaust, but many homes are contaminated, especially in rooms close to the garage. Make sure there’s good insulation between your home and your garage, and never leave your car running in a closed garage. You should also (in fact, it’s the law) install carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
Asbestos and Lead
If you live in a home that was built before the late 1970s, you could have asbestos or lead in your home. Asbestos was commonly used in insulation, flooring, and even those once popular popcorn ceilings. Lead was commonly used in paint. Both are relatively safe if they are stable, but once you start tearing down walls or tearing up flooring, the asbestos could become airborne. Peeling lead paint is dangerous to pets and children who might eat it. If your peeling lead paint crumbles into dust, the airborne particles could end up in your lungs.
When you have peeling paint, or if you are about to start a renovation and your home was built before 1977, call a professional to get an inspection. If there is lead or asbestos, it’s best to have a professional remove it.
Slipping and Falling
The leading cause of home accidental deaths is falling. Bathtubs are particularly dangerous, especially for the elderly. Install slip bars, which are smaller and more attractive than in the past. Make sure your stair rails are secure and that there are no tripping hazards like loose carpet.
Avoid window treatments with cords to steer clear of this common choking hazard. If you can’t afford new window treatments, secure them above children’s reach.
And a Bit of Common Sense
Keep all hazardous and poisonous things out of reach from children and pets. That includes cleaning supplies, chemicals, medications, and even makeup. When cooking, turn pan handles away from the front of the stove. As a matter of fact, cook on the back burners, if at all possible. If you have young children, buy safety knobs to keep them accidentally. Keep things that might bump people on the head out of reach as well. Keep electrical cords out of the way, and plug all outlets to keep little hands away.