By Ali Sahabi of Optimum Group, LLC
President, Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter
In three weeks, we will bid farewell to Daylight Savings Time and begin spending considerably more time indoors as we enter the holiday season. For homeowners, this brief respite between Columbus Day and the winter holidays provides a terrific opportunity to prepare your home and family for a safe, happy and reasonably stress-free holiday season. So, here are a few tips on using these hours of daylight to get your home ready for the holidays to help you protect your family and guests, avoid potential liability issues and spare yourself some last-minute holiday stress.
1. Double-check all of your outdoor lighting. Well-lit outdoor walkways and entrances are important especially for guests and children and offer great deterrence for criminals. Then, take a quick walk around your home in the daylight to view your home’s as a potential burglar would. Find out which of your neighbors have the most unobstructed view of your home and ask them to keep an eye on it if you’re going to be traveling. Look for any decorative or landscaping elements such as shrubbery that could obscure somebody tampering with the entry points to your home.
2. The increased dependence on power in winter increases the odds of power outages and overloads. Make sure you have easy access to any outdoor or garage-based energy sources such as circuit breakers, shut-off valves ducts or service lines. Cut back any shrubbery or obstacles and make sure all of your family members know where these important parts of your home are located.
3. Save water. If you have automatic timers for your irrigation system, now is the time to start cutting back on your water use.
4. Consider interior pathways especially if you will be hosting older guests or young children. Clear obstacles and relocate any furniture that might require maneuvering around. Secure any exposed electrical cords and check that railings on stairs inside and out are secure.
5. Consider installing night lights in bathrooms, guest bedrooms, hallways near guest bedrooms and the kitchen. Make sure there is a lamp or light switch within easy reach of the guest bed so that visitors can keep a light on until safely tucked in.
6. For bathrooms, be sure the shower has a non-slip floor. To enhance the traction, apply non-slip strips or a suction-attached non-slip mat, both readily available at home improvement stores. Secure or remove any throw rugs or bathroom mats. If there are rugs you want to secure rather than remove, non-slip pads can help - or you can apply double-sided carpet tape or even caulk to attach the rug to the floor.
7. Reduce fire hazards by ensuring the spaces around your appliances remain clear of paint, solvents, rags, paper or any other combustible products. Today’s new homes are the most fire-resistant homes ever built and new home communities are designed to ensure the most rapid response times in the event of an emergency. Yet, the traditions of using plants and trees as holiday decoration risks fire hazards. Keep your tree and decorations such as wreaths and menorahs as fresh as possible until it’s time to take them down. Place your tree or wreaths at a safe distance away from heat sources such as fireplaces, vents and windows with direct sunlight. Use holiday lights that produce low heat and turn off the lights when you’re away or sleeping. After the holiday season, dispose of the tree properly. Check for any wear and tear and replace any electrical cords that are frayed or cracked before you light up your tree.
8. While you are protecting your guests and loved ones, remember to protect your credit too. Prepare for the holiday shopping season by ordering your free credit file disclosure (known as your credit report) from www.annualcreditreport.com. This website, the only one authorized by federal law, allows you to request a free credit report online, by phone or by mail once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Then, track all of your credit card and ATM card purchases carefully. It will take a few extra minutes out of your shopping season, but will prevent hours or even days of headaches later on.
For more information on home safety or maintenance, visit our www.BIABUILD.com website and have a terrific autumn.