Though homeowners are often worried about theft or crime when they move into a new neighborhood, the real dangers come from things like improper maintenance, bad weather, and even basic cooking accidents (crime is only a number one concern in one state: Nevada). But instead of putting out fires (figuratively and literally), doing some quick research and incorporating some easy tips to be proactive can save you time and money in costly repairs and damages down the road. Especially if you’ve recently moved into a home but even if you’ve lived in the same house for years, preventative measures should be taken regularly and maintained so you can be sure your family is as safe as possible from potentially health and safety hazards.
The following categories (wind, water, fire) include many of the potential risks each element may introduce to your home, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. Your house may have unique concerns or specific safety needs, so be sure to take those into account when you do regular maintenance and remodels.
- The ultimate biggest concern for homeowners when a large storm blows through is easily danger posed by trees. Though trees can be beautiful and provide some needed shade and greenery for your yard, tall trees with weak limbs can easily be blown off or fall and cause considerable damage to your home or family. Trained professionals can help remove dead or sickly trees and trim remaining trees to thin out their branches (and their potential risk to your home).
- Wind can also pose damages by blowing debris into or near your home, and though there’s only so much you can do, you can make sure lawn furniture is stored or secured in the event of a big storm and do regular maintenance for the upkeep of your roof, windows, and doors.
- Water can cause some of the most extensive damage when your home floods, but there are some ways you can keep the rainwater outdoors where it belongs. Make sure you regularly clean out your gutters - if they’re clogged, rain can’t be funneled away from the foundation through the drainpipes and may seep into the foundation, then into your basement.
- Insulating the attic can actually help prevent water damage in the winter as well. If heat escapes, snow can melt and refreeze into ice, effectively creating a shield under which ice melts into water and has nowhere to go but in. Keep the heat in and the water out.
- Frozen and subsequent busted pipes can cause significant water damage (and tons of wasted money on water leaking out). Talk to a plumber about installing new pipes and insulating the remaining outdoor pipes.
- Water can cause damage in a less obvious way too: sitting water and wet surfaces (walls, ceilings, etc) can easily grow toxic mold that is incredibly difficult to get rid of. Rather than waiting until mold growth makes you and your family sick, clean up any water leaks and keep up with other repairs to prevent it altogether.
- There’s nothing scarier than hearing the fire alarms in your home signalling danger...except not hearing them when there is a fire! No list can stress the importance of testing smoke detectors and replacing the batteries when necessary. It literally saves lives.
- Almost half of house fires start in the kitchen. Never leave a burner or the oven on without staying nearby, and keep napkins and other flammable objects far away from the heat.
- Homeowners often aren’t aware of the danger bad wiring poses but wires that short out pose the risk of starting a fire too. Contact a local electrician to replace old wiring and repair old appliances, and consider installing arc-fault circuit interrupters.