By Ali Sahabi of Optimum Group, LLC
President, Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter
The upcoming holiday season is an exciting time, yet it does present challenges for homeowners and homebuyers. From moving your summer lifestyle indoors to hosting guests and storing gifts, your home will become a beehive of activity as the days grow shorter, so start now and prepare your home and family for a safe and happy holiday season.
Before the holiday season gets underway, pull 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.
Take a quick walk around your home in the daylight. Try to see the outside of your home 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. Well-lit outdoor walkways and entrances are important especially for guests.
Then, 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 all know where these important parts of your home are located. If you have automatic timers for your irrigation system or lighting system, now is the time to start cutting back on your water and energy use.
Inside your home, consider pathways in the house especially if you will be hosting older guests or young children. Clear obstacles and relocate any furniture that might require to maneuvering around. Secure any exposed electrical cords and check that railings on stairs inside and out are secure.
Put night lights in bathrooms, guest bedrooms, hallways near the guest bedroom 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. 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. Edges of rugs can be a tripping hazard, and even a slight scoot can affect a person’s balance. 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. If you choose one of these methods, be careful not to mar the floor underneath.
Make sure 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 always designed in close collaboration with local public safety officials to ensure the most rapid response times in the event of an emergency. Yet, the age – old tradition of using plants and trees as holiday decoration risks fire hazards. So remember to keep your tree and decorations such as wreaths and menorahs as fresh as possible until it’s time to take them down. If you bring in a freshly-cut Christmas tree, place it in water as soon as possible. Most species can go six to eight hours after cutting the trunk and still take up water. 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. Never burn any part of a tree in the fireplace or wood stove. Recycling is the most environmentally-friendly method. If you’re not sure where to take the tree, the National Christmas Tree Association provides local recycling information at their website www.realchristmastrees.org or by visiting www.calrecycle.ca.gov. Check for any wear and tear and replace any electrical cords that are frayed or cracked before you light up your tree.
For more information on home safety or maintenance, visit our www.BIABUILD.com website and have a terrific holiday season.