Browsing Category: "House and Home"

Inferno Info! Preventing Home Fires

There is always something we need to do to our home to make it better. While we think about improving our home or making it more stylish, we very rarely think about the safety aspect of our homes. There are so many little problems that are potential fire hazards that it’s probably easier for most of us to not think about it. But there are some simple things to do that can cut down the chances of getting a fire at home…

burning, fire, flame

[Photo courtesy of Skitterphoto/pexels.com]

Candles

Between 2009 and 2013, on average there were 25 candle fires per day in the US. Although that doesn’t sound like much, it totaled 86 deaths, 127 injuries, and $374 million in damaged property. So make sure you do the following:

  1.    Keep candles 12 inches away from anything that could burn.
  2.    Use candle holders that are sturdy.
  3.    Blow out all the candles before leaving a room or going to bed.
  4.    Don’t use candles in the bedroom.

Cooking

Hopefully, everyone has some common sense when it comes to cooking, but here are some tips.

  1.    Wear close fitted clothing while cooking.
  2.    Don’t leave food unattended.
  3.    If you get a grease fire, smother the fire in a pan. DON’T put it out with water.

Dryers & Washing Machines

Washers and dryers catch fire because of a failure to clean them.

  1.    Don’t overload the dryer.
  2.    Clean the lint filter after every use, and don’t use the dryer without one.
  3.    Don’t restrict the air exhaust pipe and make sure the outdoor vent flap is open while the dryer is on.

If You Have A Fire…

Firstly, don’t try and be a hero. Call the fire department as soon as you can, but make sure that you get to safety. As fires are such a common hazard, the best idea is to have a plan in mind should this ever occur. Know all your escape routes from your home blindfolded because you won’t be able to see when there is thick smoke. Stay low, and get out as quick as you can because you may only have seconds. Staying as low as possible means you will get the most oxygen out of the air.

After The Fire…

Once the fire has been put out, you will need to stay somewhere else. In the meantime, if you have updated your insurance policy, you will have to put in a claim for all the items damaged. If there are parts of the home that haven’t been damaged, you can hire a restoration company to start the cleanup. There are companies like Pro Restoration who specialize in clearing up homes after house fires and help to restore your property. Once your home is back to its former glory, it’s time to take notes of what potential hazards there are, and minimize them as much as you can.

Preventing a fire is very much about common sense as it is about safety, and in your home, you need to make sure that you are sensible by not obstructing doors, cooking safely, and generally being vigilant.

[ Tagged In ] , , , , , , , , ,

Could Your Home Be Killing You?

Sick house syndrome has had a lot of press recently and it’s not surprising given that the one place in which you want to feel relaxed, nurtured and comfortable could actually be making you sick.

Image from ipcblog.org

If your health is keeping you up at night it could be the sign of an unhealthy home. Here are 10 ways your home could be affecting yours and your family’s health.

  1. Damp air – damp air is the biggest cause of moldy homes.  Mold spores aren’t just unsightly and can cause damage to paintwork, walls and even furniture, they are actually really bad for our respiration and can aggravate conditions such as eczema and asthma. Whilst you may never be able to completely protect your home from mold attacks you can limit the spread by reducing the amount of moisture in the air thus removing the conditions in which mold thrives.
  2. Dirty vents – if you use an air conditioning unit and haven’t been on top of its regular maintenance and cleaning then you could be circulating dust, bacteria and germs every time you turn it on.  This is because airborne nasties like to collect in the vents of air conditioning units and if they aren’t dealt with they can then find their way through the system and back out into the room just ready for your family to breathe them in. Check your vents and limit the circulation of bad air.
  3. An old bathroom – if your bathroom has seen better days the fixtures and fittings are more likely to come lose and loose their waterproof seals. When water is allowed to get into cracks it becomes stagnant causing all sorts of nasties to breed and not just mold.  If you’re showerhead is looking a bit rusty and tired for example it could actually be filling the air with small particles of lead and other metals that can affect your liver and pulmonary system. An aging bathroom could be a serious hazard to your health.
  4. Poor ventilation – a poorly ventilated room, particularly the bathroom, creates the perfect condition for mold and bacteria to take hold. It doesn’t allow for the good circulation of fresh air and this can actually make you feel lethargic, confused and generally unwell as your body has to work harder to take in oxygen.  Even if you work hard to eradicate the mold these conditions will just keep reappearing if poor ventilation is a problem in your home.
  5. Dust – if you are an allergy sufferer you will know how dangerous dust can be.  Certain kinds of dust can trigger reactions ranging from a mild cough and sneeze to a full blown, life threatening asthma attack.  It can also cause itchy eyes, now and throat and can be very uncomfortable in little ones. It can also contain bacteria that affects the gut over a sustained period of time.
  6. Musty bedroom – your mattress could be literally teeming with life if you don’t regularly vacuum it and let it air.  This is because it gathers over half your bodyweight in dead skin every year and this is the delicacy of choice for bed bugs.  Bed bugs sound harmless but they bite and you will soon notice little lumps and bumps that keep you itching long after daybreak.  
  7. Chimneys and flues – if you have an open fire in your home and your chimney or flue isn’t working properly you are allowing smoke, ash and dirt to circulate through your home.  Just as you would avoid smoke inhalation during a fire as this can be fatal, likewise you need to avoid it on the smaller scale by having properly operating and certified ventilation systems.   
  8. Asbestos – it is impossible to know whether you have asbestos or not, particularly if you live in an older building.  This is one nasty you really don’t want to be tackling on your own so you should always call out an expert to check that asbestos isn’t lurking in the fabric of your home, particularly if you are planning on undertaking any modifications or repairs. Not all asbestos is harmful but if it is it is toxic, which is why you should never remove it without the guidance and help of an expert.
  9. Radon – another common life threatening substance that could be present in your home is radon.  Radon is a gas that is difficult to detect as it is both colorless and odourless but it causes thousands of cases of lung cancer in the USA every year.  Again you should consult an expert to test for radon, particularly if you are in a radon hotspot.  For more information check out the EPA website.
  10. Household chemicals – household cleaners and chemicals such as bleach can be harmful if in the reach of little fingers so always store any poisonous items in a sturdy, raised or lockable cupboard. However these chemicals can also harm you during day to day used in two ways.  Firstly the overuse of chemicals in the home can lead to skin complaints and allergies particularly in the eyes, nose and throat. They can also prevent good bacteria from cultivating which can lead to a compromised immune system and more chance of picking up common colds and bugs.  Try and use more natural, plant-based cleaners for a healthier approach to home maintenance.

If you are worried about any of these common household problems there are lots of things you can do to maintain a healthy home including:

  1. Regular maintenance – keeping your house well maintained means you are more likely to spot when mold or other bacteria is beginning to take hold
  2. Good cleaning regime – housework isn’t the most exciting pastime but it will keep dust and germs at bay as well as make your home more comfortable
  3. Open windows – help to ventilate that air and you can breathe deeply again
  4. Be vigilant – keep an eye out for problems and act fast before they take hold
  5. Call in the experts – if in doubt call in the experts, particularly if you don’t know what substance you might be dealing with. Your family’s health may depend on it

 

[ Tagged In ] , , , , ,

Making Home Dreams Come True

So the time has come to own your own home.  You have had enough of renting and the thought of being able to call a place your own fills you with excitement.  If you are about to embark on the path towards homeownership here are some things you are definitely going to need to know to make sure your first home is a good one.

  1. Know your budget – let’s start with the basics.  How much can you afford to spend on your home?  We all dream of the big beach front property but for most of us this just isn’t a reality.  Be honest with yourself about how much you can afford to borrow based on your earnings and savings and stick to the budget.  Remember your budget needs to include the price of the house, any renovations if you are going for a project buy and of course all the legal fees. Do the math before you even start the search and it will avoid a lot of heartache when the perfect house is outside of your means.
  2. Be needy – really consider what you need from a property. This isn’t just the size but also how your lifestyle will work within the properties you are looking at.  Do you need a spare room for when the family comes to stay? Do you spend more time in the kitchen or living room? Do you need a bath or will just a shower work.  Is a garden a must or can you live with a balcony? All of these and more are valid questions to ask yourself so that you can steer your realtor towards those homes that are going to best suit your needs.
  3. Clean up your act – there are lots of poor credit home loans on the market so don’t let a poor credit history stand in your way of home-ownership.  However if you can clean up your credit score you have more options when it comes to the type of mortgage deal that suits you.  You can dramatically improve your score by paying your bills on time and dealing with bad debt history.  For more information and advice check out Equifax.
  4. Bargain hunt – if you want a bigger house on a budget why not consider a project buy as a way of getting more for your money. Project buys are houses that need a little or a lot of work to them but because of that are sold off at much less than they are worth.  If you have time, patience and some good DIY skills you could save a fortune and add value to your home just by fixing it up.
  5. Plan ahead – unless you have a really good income or family money a mortgage is normally taken over a very long period of time, which means you need to consider your future earnings as well as your cash flow today.  Plan ahead as best you can for a financially sound future.

Home ownership dreams – image from sheknows.com

[ Tagged In ] , , , , ,

Home Is Where The Heart Is- So Choose a Good One

There are so many things to think about when you’re buying a house. The size, location, budget and a million other things will all come into play. We all have a wishlist of the kinds of things we want in a home, here are some of the things you could add to yours when you’re going to viewings.

[Photo courtesy of /pexels.com]

A Good State of Repair

While properties which show signs of disrepair will hugely lower the price, don’t be too tempted by this unless you’re planning on doing a full renovation. Keep an eye on signs of pests, structural damage or other issues that will be very expensive to put right. Even if things look ok, it’s worth having a survey or home inspection done. Companies like Solex Group professional home inspection offer this, it can give you peace of mind and make sure you know you’ve made the right decision about a property. The last thing you want is to be stung with pricey repairs a few months down the line where you overlooked something.

The Area

You’re not just moving into a home, but an area or community. Make sure you do plenty of research on this before buying a home to make sure it matches up with what you want. You could look into things like crime rates and unemployment levels. You could see what parks and amenities are nearby, whether there are good transport links and what the schools are like. It’s easy to be bamboozled with a gorgeous property especially if you’ve found what you think is ‘the one’. But you can never change the area you’ve moved into, so make sure this is as good as the house.

The Garden

While you can landscape and change the garden itself, the size is something you’re stuck with. In fact, if you want to extend the home later down the line this will take space from the garden and make it even smaller. Therefore you need to make sure the size is something you’re going to be happy with. If you have kids and pets, is there enough space for them to run around and play? If you have a big family and like to host garden parties, will there be enough room for everyone?

Eco-Friendly Features

We all know how important it is to reduce our carbon footprint, and making changes at home is one of the biggest ways we can go about this. Therefore properties which have eco-friendly features are certainly worth considering over those that don’t. Solar panels, cavity wall and loft insulation and energy efficient windows and doors for example will reduce the amounts of fossil fuels we use. And as a bonus, your energy bills will be cheaper too. It’s something to ask when you view properties, that way if you’re tied between two and aren’t sure what to pick the eco-friendly home has an advantage.

What kinds of things are on your checklist when you’re looking for your next home?

[ Tagged In ] , , , , , ,

error: Content is protected !!