Reliable Home Safety Tips

A general guide to keeping you and your home safe

spring cleaning

Spring Cleaning, Safely

We’re all used to sprucing up our homes when the warm weather comes, however most of us probably don’t think about safety when we pull out the brooms and buckets and mops. However, when deep cleaning, there are many materials that can cause bodily harm or pose household threats and it’s good to be aware as you get down and dirty. Here are some useful home safety tips to keep in mind while you clean!

When it comes to cleaning, it’s actually more necessary than just being tidy. Many of your household appliances and fixtures require regular upkeep and without it, they can become dangerous to you and your family. For example, fireplaces need to be cleaned every few months, as they begin to build up residue that contains dangerous toxins. Without proper care, you can produce excess carbon monoxide, which is deadly in large amounts. To reduce build-up and protect your home, always clean your fireplace and chimney flute every few months, at the very least during your spring cleaning activities.

fireplace cleaning safety

Beyond fireplaces, appliances like stoves and ovens need cleaning, too. Anything that produces fire and creates residue will foster build-up, which can contain many harmful toxins and chemicals. When you continue to use them without proper care, this can lead to higher levels of Carbon Monoxide. Additionally, be careful when using things like oven cleaners and aerosols that contain harsh chemicals. Without effective ventilation, you can inhale dangerous fumes and gases that can lead to respiratory complications. It’s always smart to have windows open and fans blowing while cleaning to ensure the air is being filtered out of your direct area.

Chemical cleaners are something to be especially cognizant of when using. Many contain harmful byproducts and the fumes alone can be hazardous to your health. Always spray an arm’s distance from your face and keep all cleaners away from easy-to-reach places, preventing children or pets from getting into harmful situations. Additionally, remember many cleaning products are flammable and should never be stored or placed near an open flame or appliance that generates significant heat.

While most dirt and grime that accumulates throughout the home is something you can take care of on your own, there are instances when it’s safer and advisable to call in the professionals. When it comes to molds and mildews, it’s never a good idea to 1) ignore the problem or 2) deal with large mold infestations yourself. If you have a few small patches of mold, bleach is a moderately effective way to eliminate these growths, however, if you have large areas covered it’s best not get help.

check for insect infestations

Molds and mildews can be horrible for your health, especially black mold, which can actually be deadly. Breathing in the fungus that lives on mold can cause serious respiratory health problems, so if you need to get rid of it, make sure to always wear a mask or simply pick up the phone and let the professionals handle the problem. This goes for infestations, as well. You may find while deep cleaning that unwanted insects or other creatures have found a home in yours, however, sometimes it’s better to ask for help than try to bug bomb or eradicate the problem on your own. Many of the products used are dangerous to small children and pets, which makes them hazardous, and if your issue is big enough, they won’t completely take care of it.

Spring cleaning is something everyone should participate in, but don’t wait an entire season to clear things up. Always check your appliances, electronics, and fireplaces regularly to ensure the best safety for you and your family, no matter what time of year. And do be afraid to ask help of a professional; some tasks are just too big for one person to tackle.

spring safety

Seasonal Safety Tips

The changing of the seasons is a beautiful time: warm rains, silent snowfalls, bright sunshine. But as spring turns into summer, summer info fall, and fall into winter, there are often severe weather changes as well, and this means prepping your home for what may come.

Spring

The bitter cold of winter is fading and the spring-time rains are coming, which means the likelihood for flooding increases. Some homes are located on hills or have draining systems, which help prevent water from building up, however not all have these luxuries. If yours is one that is prone to flooding, there are some things you can do to at least help detect water before it gets too bad. You can install flood monitoring systems in your basement that will alert you whenever waters begin to infiltrate your home, and when they reach destructive levels. These monitoring systems can be synced with your security system and you can control them from your mobile device or tablet with certain apps, depending on how high-tech you want to get.

Sump pumps are also a great way to detect a rise in water. If you notice that your sump pump is running constantly or if your backup sump pump engages, you may be able to get a jump on preventing an interior disaster. Be sure to monitor your sump pumps and test any backup batteries monthly.

Spring also brings the time for deep cleaning. Winter is over, we get that urge to purge and get our homes back to tip top shape, which means bringing out the cleaners and getting to work. While this a great, it’s smart to use caution when deep cleaning your home. Many appliances have built up residues with harmful chemicals and when burning them down, like with your oven, or soaking them with strong cleaner, you’re emitting an array of gases, vapors, and toxins that are bad for your health. Ventilate the area properly and always cover your mouth and nose with protective gear when using intense cleaning products.

summer safety

Summer

Finally, you can leave your windows open and enjoy the warm sun, but as pleasant as summer can be, it’s important to make sure you’re protecting your home while enjoying the weather. Don’t leave windows open at night or when you’re not home. Intruders see this as easy access to your property. However, we all forget sometimes, so make sure your security system is working properly. A proper security system will alert you when a window is open before you arm the system and also alert you the moment someone or something enters your home or attempts to break in.

Summer also brings severe temperatures, which can be irritating. To ensure your home is kept at a cool temperature when heat waves strike, you can install home automation systems, like Nest, to manage your home’s internal temperature. This way, even when you’re not home, you can keep track of how much energy you’re using and even get your home to comfortable setting before you come back. It’s also helpful to manage in case you have pets at home.

fall safety

Fall

Autumn is a docile month. The temperatures even out, and we have a little time before winter comes blustering in, so enjoy! Make sure you keep your home security systems activated and working correctly so you and your family are safe from intruders. Fall is also the perfect time to pay attention to your home’s gutters. Falling leaves like to clog up gutters which, when winter comes, can create ice dams and cause your gutters to become unsecured.

winter

Winter

The coldest season can be beautiful, but it can also be difficult. When temperatures drop drastically below freezing, always keep your sinks and bathtubs dripping to help prevent your pipes from freezing, which can lead to them bursting, costing you a lot of money to fix. Using temperature monitoring systems is also helpful during this season so that your home never gets dangerously cold.

A few other simple measures to take are keeping salt on hand to spread over ice, boiling hot water can help thaw frozen pipes, and installing thicker, insulated windows can help keep drafts at bay and save you money on your energy bill.

kitchen safety

Make Your Kitchen Safer

Kitchens always seem to be the one place in a home that gather the most people. During holidays, parties, or just having a few friends over, everyone seems to gravitate toward the kitchen. And why wouldn’t they? It’s where the food and drinks are stored! But any place that’s going to have a group of people in it needs to be a safe place, and although kitchens can be a comfortable space to be in, they can also be a little treacherous.

From sharp objects to strong cleaning solutions to appliances generating incredible heat, your kitchen has quite a few points that can be harmful—if you’re not paying attention. Here are a few ways you can make your kitchen a safer environment for your family and friends.

dishwasher safety and sharp cutlery

Keep your cooking knives, steak knives, butcher knives—anything with an overtly sharp blade—away from the reach of children and always keep them in a place where the blade is securely covered. You never know when someone may be reaching for something else and pull down your knife set, or if you keep them in a drawer, when someone may be rummaging for another utensil and accidentally grab hold of a knife. It is also good practice to always wash your knives and sharp utensils by hand. Placing this items in the dishwasher can create an unsafe environment when unloading the dishwasher. It’s best just to hand wash, dry, and store the items immediately.

Never use your oven to heat your home in the winter. It may be tempting after baking muffins to leave the heat running in the winter, after all who doesn’t like feeling cozy during brutal weather? But this poses a threat to your kitchen and home in different ways. Obviously, family members can accidentally burn themselves on an open oven, but it also emits certain levels of gases into the air, increasing your Carbon Monoxide emissions. Especially if you haven’t cleaned your oven in a while, which brings us to another safety tip: clean your oven.

oven safety

Ovens contain high heat and build up residue from being used so often. It’s important to clean out the entire oven, the top, bottom, and all the gunk that falls beneath to ensure that when you use it you’re not burning harmful residue which releases toxins into the air. Additionally, it’s smart to check and make sure ovens and other large appliances are connected properly. Loose plugs or hookups can make using these household norms dangerous and you risk creating sparks which can lead to house fires.

Keeping things clean is of course important for more than just safety, however, what you use to clean is also something to think about. Household cleaners are plentiful and many of the stronger solutions can pose imminent danger to you and your family or guests. Anything with bleach should be contained in a bottle that is child-safe, which means it’s not simply a twist off cap. Keep these types of solutions high up and in a place that isn’t obvious so when you’re entertaining, the chances of people or children stumbling onto them decrease. Also, be aware of storage temperatures. Many solutions need to be kept in a relatively cool atmosphere, so don’t place them near an oven, stove, or near water heaters. Additionally, keep them away from freezers or any other area in your home that can contribute to a severe temperature fluctuations.

Of course, if you ever have questions on how to safe-proof your kitchen, or any other room in your home, there are always home security professionals who would be happy to assist you, and even come out to do an analysis of your home and its surroundings. You can never be too safe or too cautious when it comes to protecting those you care about, so make sure to double check your kitchen before any gathering.

choose security over pleasure

How to Protect Yourself From Cyber Threats

As the Internet age continues to boom, cyber security is becoming more and more important, not just for large companies and businesses. Digital hackers are breaching networks large and small and you and your family could be potential targets if you’re not careful. Although the risks are increasing as cyber-attacks become more common, so too are the precautions you can take to secure your network and information housed within.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, there are many simple tips to keeping your networks as secure as possible, and many of them are good habits to form. When it comes to being online, we can’t escape the necessity, but you can form practices to help you become less vulnerable. Some of these home safety tips include:

cyber security at home

Never clinking on links in emails, even if it is provided by a trusted or known retailer. Things can get lost in the digital communication, so it’s better to go straight to the website than use a link.

Don’t open attachments—trustworthy retailers don’t use them.

Never give out your personal information online. Just don’t do it. It may seem safe because you’re working with a well-known company or your landlord, however, even they won’t always be able to protect your information from an experienced hacker.

Choose your passwords wisely. Don’t think of something that’s easily guessable, like your birthday or your street address. These are common and most hackers know exactly the formulas people tend to use for passwords. Stay away from anything that is available online. For example, if you have your favorite pet pictured on Facebook or other social channels, don’t use that pet as a password. This gives outsiders inside information, making it easier for them to guess your passwords. Try to think outside the box and never share your passwords with anyone.

It’s also advisable not to use the same password for every site you use. In the case that a hacker does succeed in breaking into one of your accounts, they won’t have the information for several sites if you use different codes. Additionally, thinking of different ways to spell words can be helpful when trying to create a secure password. Interchange numbers for letters, letters for number, and use symbols when it makes sense to you. This way, your password is much more difficult to guess and therefore more secure.

internet safety

Don’t forget to update your anti-virus and operating systems. These help protect against threats and cybercrime.

Always be suspicious. When it comes to the Digital Age, you just never know. So when online, never be completely trusting of a site or a link or an address. It’s very easy for smart hackers to rework commonplace things like this, so you should keep an eye out for anything that seems odd, and always follow the safety measures we just discussed.

When it comes to installation, have a professional setup your network and help you understand how to best protect it. Professionals will never ask for your passwords or personal information, however, they can help you build networks that will be safe, secure, and functional. If someone ever does ask you for any passwords or what you want your password to include, simply stop working with them and get a new installer. No one from a reputable company will ever ask for anything that could breach your security and endanger your personal information.

It’s better to be safer and a little more skeptical when it comes to cyber security than to be too trusting, so always use extra precaution when dealing with important information online, including your mobile devices, and be sure to ask any questions about bettering your protection to a trusted installer.

baby proofing your home

Getting Your Home Ready for Baby

The anticipation of welcoming a new member into your family is one of the most exciting times of your life. There’s so much to do to prepare that, often times, we can forget important measures to take when it comes to getting ready. However, one thing you must remember is to baby-proof your house before your bundle of joy comes home.

Baby-proofing is a more extensive process than you may imagine. You need to go through every room, every nook and cranny, every corner to make sure there aren’t hidden dangers—and there are more than you may think.

First things first: always cover sharp corners and edges of furniture. Toddlers and babies are at risk for hurting themselves on an array of objects, so it’s important to cover anything that is at or below their height level and poses harm. Most stores sell baby-proofing tabs and covers and these are relatively inexpensive. You should also make sure to secure your staircases and doors. No, your newborn baby isn’t going to be running down the stairs or opening and closing doors anytime too soon, however, you want to be ready for when they crawl, shimmy, and start developing their exploring and motor skills. It’s always better to prepare earlier on than feel unprepared later.

child safety around cleaning products

These things are common sense when it comes to baby proofing. Of course you don’t want them to fall or hit their heads and remedying these dangers is pretty simple, however, there are many other household harms we don’t even think about for ourselves that can pose a threat to babies and small children. For example, household cleaners are a huge threat to babies and kids, and something we often don’t think about. Some bottles are baby-proof already or are difficult to open, however many are sprays and jars, which can be easy for small, growing hands to get ahold of and open. Ingestion of these poisons can be deadly, and because babies are so small, the negative effects happen at a more rapid pace. To avoid any accidents, put all your cleaners in a high place and secure them with a lock or safety system. Always buy cleaners that have difficult caps or push locks so that even if a child gets a hold of one, they will have trouble opening it.

Beyond placing your cleaners in safe places, be aware of your baby while using them. Many stronger solutions, like oven cleaners, emit strong fumes and vapors, which may harm not only your baby, but also yourself. Be careful when using them; always wear something over your face and never keep your child anywhere near the room where you are cleaning. Additionally, make sure to take the time to air out the room you’ve been cleaning for at least a couple of hours after.

While cleaners can be dangerous, not using them or not cleaning can be even more so. When we neglect fireplaces, stoves, and ovens, residue builds up that contains harmful chemicals. Continuous use of dirty appliances can produce higher levels of carbon monoxide, which is harmful to everyone in the home. Make sure to not forget about these things as part of baby-proofing your home.

cleaning up mold or mildew

It’s also smart to always keep up on dusting and cleaning around the walls and floors of your home. We all like tidy spaces, however, molds and mildews are sneaky and can build up quickly. If your baby is crawling near an outbreak area, inhaling these growths can be dangerous for their respiratory system.

Baby-proofing isn’t an exact science. There are always new things that can occur that may pose harm to you and your family, however being aware of common threats and the ways to combat them is a great start to protecting your growing family.