When the wind is howling or the snow is blowing, our thoughts naturally turn to home. Is there anything better than coming home on a blustery day? But cold weather can bring more than just shorter days and tough commutes; there are certain home safety hazards you need to be aware of when the temperature starts dropping. Here are some tips to help keep your home warm and safe during the winter:
Avoid Electrical Problems
The last thing you want when it gets chilly is for your heat to stop working. Take some time to check the outside of your home. Dryer vents and electrical fixtures can be popular with birds and other critters. Make sure there are no nests left over from the spring and summer, as these can be a fire hazard.
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Ensure Proper Ventilation
A carbon monoxide detector is a must year-round, but can be especially important when your house is closed up and the heat is running. Carbon monoxide is odorless, so know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headaches, dizziness, upset stomach and confusion. Be sure to replace furnace filters once a month; not only do they help keep your HVAC system running smoothly, they can also make life a little easier for allergy sufferers.
While you’re at it, check to make sure all exhaust fans in your bathrooms and kitchens are in good working order, too. Keeping these clean and free of debris reduces your risk of starting a fire.
Avoid Water Hazards
When the temperature really starts to drop, frozen pipes can be a real concern. Pipes along exterior walls should be insulated, and you’ll want to regularly check for clogged gutters — icicles could indicate that water is collecting where it shouldn’t. And make sure all garden hoses are disconnected and outdoor spigots are drained of water before the really cold weather hits; a little bit of planning beforehand can make a huge difference down the road when it comes to preparing your home for winter.
Keep Your Driveway and Sidewalks Clear
What about the exterior of your house? Keeping your driveway and sidewalks clear of snow and ice is a huge factor in keeping you, your family and perfect strangers safe! Make sure your snow blower and other equipment are in good repair well before the first flake falls, and be sure to clear your driveway and walkways as soon as possible after a storm. Follow up with rock salt or ice melt on walkways to ensure a property free of slips, trips or falls.
Winter also means cold and flu season, and when everyone’s cooped up inside it’s that much easier for germs and viruses to spread. Make sure everyone in your house follows good hygiene; most viruses can be prevented by frequent hand-washing. If someone is sick, try wiping down high-traffic areas (doorknobs, faucets, etc.) with an anti-bacterial cleaner, and instruct other family members to wash hands often and avoid touching their mouths, noses or eyes whenever possible.
Staying Safe and Warm
Don’t let winter weather give you the chills! By following these simple tips, you can ensure you and your family stay safe and cozy until warmer temps return. And if you’re looking to further protect your home, consider talk to your local Farm Bureau agent to learn how Farm Bureau can help you protect your home, auto and the other things that matter most in your world.