Maintenance is necessary not only to keep the house looking good. It is more important to regularly do maintenance tasks that ensure the safety and health of all residents. This is true whether you are a homeowner or a tenant. If you are renting, make sure that you and your landlord have a clear agreement on maintenance. Either the landlord does these on schedule or you have it done with the costs deducted from the rent.
Prevent House Fires
According to the Red Cross, the most frequent disaster in the United States is house fires. In the first quarter of 2021, there were 17,000 house fires across the country that affected over 70,000 people. This was an increase of 16 percent over the first quarter of 2020. That means there were 2,300 more fires that affected an additional 9,000 people.
You must install smoke detectors with loud alarms throughout the house, especially inside and outside sleeping areas. Take note of the manufacturer’s instructions on how often to change the batteries and comply. Every month, test each alarm to ensure that it is working properly. If the manufacturing date of an existing alarm indicates that it is more than 10 years old, replace it with a new one.
Some 3,000 fires a year are caused by lint that accumulates in clothes dryers. Clean off the lint from the dryer’s filter before you put in each laundry load. Schedule a professional dryer vent cleaning quarterly if you use the appliance frequently.
Heaters are a common cause of fires. Change your furnace filter regularly and hire a certified technician yearly for a thorough inspection. Daily, make it a habit to check that flammable materials like beddings, curtains, and magazines are kept at least three feet away from space heaters.
Do a monthly inspection of electrical outlets and appliance cords. Call a professional electrician if you see discoloration around outlets or frayed cords. Do not attempt to fix electrical problems yourself unless you are a professional in this field.
Prevent the Inhalation or Ingestion of Poisonous Substances
Make sure that all fuel-burning appliances are checked once or twice a year by professionals because they can leak carbon monoxide into the house. These include clothes dryers, furnaces, gas stoves, and water heaters.
Carbon monoxide inhalation can cause illness even after a short exposure and can lead to death with prolonged exposure. Because carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, you will not be able to sense its presence. You must install carbon monoxide detectors with loud alarms throughout the house. Check that the batteries are working monthly.
Radon gas is also colorless and odorless but causes lung cancer. It comes from the soil and can enter the house through plumbing, electrical wiring, and cracks in the building. Hire a professional to check your dwelling because high levels are found in one of every 15 homes.
If you have children, keep all medication and household chemicals out of their reach to avoid ingestion. It is part of the instinct of very young children to put things in their mouths. This includes adult vitamins, laundry detergents, fabric softeners, household cleaners, insect repellents, shampoo, conditioner, lotions, and other toiletries, among others. Small items like button batteries and coins must also be kept away. It is best to keep cupboards that contain these locked in case a child climbs up to reach them. Make it a daily habit to inspect the home for these hazards.
Prevent Home Intrusion
Intruders can harm you and your family to steal your possessions. Install sturdy locks on all windows and doors and make it a habit to check each one every night and before leaving the house. Include bathroom windows, basement windows, and attic windows. For even better protection, especially if you live in an area with a high crime rate, install decorative grillwork on all windows.
Install a reliable security system that includes sensors on doors and windows, motion sensors, and glass break detectors. Ensure that it is turned on every night and before you leave the house. No wirings should be visible and vulnerable to tampering outside the house. Put the system on test mode once a month and check if all points are working.
Ensure Your Own Compliance
Make a checklist of all the safety maintenance tasks and their respective schedules. Post this where you can see it every day. Mark the date as you or your landlord accomplish each task so that you have an indication that you have not missed anything and when the next one is due. Fulfill these tasks faithfully because your life and your family’s life depend on them.