Safe At Home

Father and daughters sitting on a sofa, cozying up under blankets.

Charlesgate knows how important feeling safe and comfortable is to a great quality of life. And, although we can’t come over to winterize your home, we can make sure you have the best information to make sure your own house is well-prepared for the colder months.  

To that end, here are four actions that can keep you safe at home.

  1. Watch the heat. Nearly half of all fires during December through February are due to heating equipment, including furnaces, space heaters, and stovetops. To prevent your memories from going up in flames, remember to:
    • Hire a qualified technician to evaluate your heating system before you rely on it, whether it’s a furnace, boiler, or heat pump.
    • Use electric heaters with automatic shut-off switches and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
    • Keep burnable items at least three feet away from any heating equipment.
    • Avoid using extension cords and ensure the electrical cords are intact.
    • Ensure outside ventilation for fireplaces, wood stoves, or other combustion heaters is working.
  1. Prepare the pipes. Did you know that almost 30% of homeowner insurance claims are because of water damage and freezing? Cold weather can damage pipes, setting up inconvenient and expensive repair needs in the future.
    • Drain outdoor water spigots as well as swimming pools, sprinkler lines, and hoses. Remove and store hoses.
    • Turn off inside valves supplying water to outdoor hose bibs to prevent and turn on the outside faucet to allow for water to drain and expand. Leave water taps dripping continuously.
    • Consider replacing outdoor faucets with freeze-proof hose bibs or use a Styrofoam cover to provide extra protection.
    • Add insulation to unheated areas and use pipe sleeves, heat tape, or heat cable to insulate individual pipes.
    • Keep a fresh water supply just in case the pipes become unusable.
  1. Light the right way. Winter means shorter days and longer nights…as well as bright holiday displays and possible power outages. Shine this winter with care and consideration.
    • Replace broken bulbs and light strings before decorating. Use a wooden or fiberglass ladder to prevent shocks.
    • Prevent tripping hazards by keeping strands and cords off the ground and dry.
    • Remember that indoor lights are not interchangeable with outdoor ones. Look for the UL seal which indicates the lights meet the American National Standards Institute standards.
    • Don’t leave open flames of any kind without supervision.
    • Have plenty of flashlights with fresh batteries in easy reach in case the power goes out.
  1. Stay warm and ready. About 1,300 people die every year in the U.S. due to cold weather. Hypothermia is a medical emergency. Infants, the elderly, and individuals with diabetes and heart conditions are at a higher risk.
    • Conserve heat by sealing off unused areas, closing drapes, and shutting windows and doors.
    • Layer loose-fitting and lightweight clothing. Avoid cotton since it stays wet for a long time.
    • Wear outer garments that are waterproof and tightly woven. Make sure to wear a hat.
    • Don’t let infants sleep in a cold room. Dress them in warmer clothing like footed pajamas.
    • Take breaks from being outside. Rest indoors and rehydrate.
    • Eat well-balanced meals and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Hot, sweet beverages or broth are good for keeping warm.
    • Keep a survival kit in the car and ensure phones are charged.

Spring will be here before you know it! Until then, protect your home and loved ones. Home is where the heart is safe.

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