Got the January blahs? Feel like hibernating for the next 3 months? Do you have a big pile of books you never have time to read or a new hobby you’ve taken up? Looking for something to spark up your day? Well I have some suggestions that could keep you occupied, make you feel like you’ve accomplished something very important for your family and at the same time increase the value of your home!
Make your home more family friendly by ensuring your house provides a safe environment. Begin by checking electrical outlets. Do you sometimes blow a fuse, have flickering lights or see a spark when you plug in an appliance? That’s a sign your current electrical system is not able to provide the power you need and an upgrade is required. You should have power bars throughout your home to protect your computer or TV from power surges. Ensure loose wires lying around are not a tripping hazard. If your wiring is over 40 years old it may be time to install new wiring.
Are your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in good working order? Change the batteries once a year on all smoke detectors of which there should be a minimum of one per floor. Do you have a fire escape plan? Have you done a “fire drill” with your whole family to ensure they know the plan? Do you have up to date fire extinguishers and shown the children how to use one? What about your fireplace or woodstove maintenance plans? Creosote can easily build up in a fireplace and it should be checked every fall before lighting that first fire. Specifications on woodstove installments/requirements change often, so ensure you are meeting the basic safety guide and have your stove pipe checked for cracks.
Next, look at the furnace area. It should not have any clutter around it at all. Change your filters every 4 months and it’s advisable to order a yearly maintenance plan with your supplier.
Plumbing is often overlooked until it’s too late. Check for loose fittings, hairline cracks and small drips. In this case prevention is worth thousands of dollars of repairs, let alone the massive cleanup, loss of goods and overall inconvenience.
Insulating foam sleeves can easily be added to pipes in areas more prone to freezing and I hope you remembered to drain your outside taps and turn off the water supply to them. While we are talking plumbing, check the hose on your washing machine. If old replace, if loose then re-secure.
Any person living in the country should be testing their water 3-4 times a year for fecal and bacterial content by taking a sample to the Eastern Ontario Health Unit. It’s a free service and the results just may surprise you!
Last but not least, poisons. Not only little children but pets are curious and will find poisons/cleaners/caustics/mice/bug and other poisonous products that are left out or within their reach. In case of emergencies, have the poison control number beside your phone, or better yet put the number on your speed dial.
By the way, when you finish inspecting your own home, go check on the home of any elderly person in your family that could use your help.
Be safe, be aware and protect your family and assets in less time than it takes to read that next novel!