We perform home inspections on many homes in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill and it is surprising how many “little” things that can be easily tested and/or repaired around your home that would provide a much safer environment for you and your family. Here is a short list to get started in making your home safer.
- 1. Test smoke detectors monthly and replace batteries once a year. This is one common issue we find in houses during our home inspections. At least one smoke detector will not test properly either from a dead battery or an old/damaged smoke detector. It is beneficial to have a smoke detector in every bedroom and in the hallways. More information from the National Fire Protection Association: http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/fire-and-safety-equipment/smoke-alarms
- 2. Clean out lint from your dryer vent to ensure it will vent properly. A clogged/blocked dryer vent is a fire hazard. It is estimated that over 15,000 fires are started every year due to a blocked dryer vent. Clean as needed or have a professional service clean it for you. From the Consumer Product Safety Commission: http://www.cpsc.gov//PageFiles/118931/5022.pdf
- 3. Test and reset your GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets every six months to ensure they will trip properly. The test/reset buttons are located on the outlet. These are located in the kitchens, baths, basement, garages, and in areas that can be exposed to water. A properly working GFCI could protect you from a potentially fatal shock. We see these fail a lot during our home inspections. Just because the outlet is there does not mean that it is functioning properly.
- 4. Clean the various filters throughout the house. This can include your heating/air return filters, filters for the vent to the stove/microwave area, vacuum filter/grill at the bottom of the refrigerator. This can protect your home from environmental contaminates and allow the devices to run more smoothly and efficiently.
- 5. Have your fireplace/chimney cleaned professionally, especially if you burn wood during the winter time. Not cleaning your chimney properly can result in chimney fires. More information from the Chimney Safety Institute of America: http://www.csia.org/homeowner-resources/the_facts_about_chimney_fires.aspx
- 6. Do not overuse electrical drop cords in the house. These can be tripping hazards and can fray and overheat during use. Also do not plug too many appliances in one circuit. This can cause electrical overheating and possible fires.
- 7. Check ceiling fans for any type of wobble. Wobbling fans can wear out the motors and cause them to fail or fall over time.
- 8. Have a flashlight with fresh batteries close by the bed in case of a power failure.