Keep your home and your family safe with an annual safety inspection before minor damage turns into major problems.
Inside your home
Smoke and CO detectors
Every home should have smoke detectors installed in all bedrooms, outside the sleeping areas and at every level of the home. So a two-bedroom house should have at least four detectors. Similarly, your home should have a CO detector on each level, and at least one, either inside or just outside the sleeping area.
Your annual inspection should include cleaning and testing all of these detectors, and installing everything you lack. To keep them already installed, open the door, remove the battery and vacuum the house. Replace the battery and press the test button. The alarms should sound briefly during the test. If they do not, replace the batteries or the entire unit if necessary.
With so many gadgets and devices that help us in our homes, you can have many power strips that work hard. Just because it has eight sockets to connect to does not mean that you can safely connect eight things, especially if you use these to power large appliances, or use an aging power supply. Divide the number of devices connected to these devices and replace any old or worn out ones.
Check for water damage
Check for leaks of water entering the house. This means in and around the kitchen and bathroom, dishwasher, under sink, in the laundry area and around the water heater. Look for signs of corrosion. This can cause a problem with the water or the pipes themselves. Also check the toilet places and make sure they do not swing. Movement may indicate damage to the floor below.
Don't forget to look up. The roof can show stains, sagging or cracks that indicate plumbing or roof leaks. Slow leaks can lead to major damage if not corrected soon.
After looking up, take a look at the floors. Observe any relaxations or cracks, especially in places that receive water, such as toilets or bathtubs.
Windows and Doorways
Doorway thresholds should not exhibit cracks, which may cause water to enter the home. Look for cracks above the doors, which may indicate displacement in the ground. Check for signs of water damage around windows and examine the seal to test if they are sealed. If not, your energy efficiency in your home may suffer.
Kitchen and laundry
Burner on a gas stove should be lit quickly without a mini explosion and give an even blue flame. If they don't, you may have a dirty ignition. Contact a professional for service on this.
Hopefully you regularly remove the lint screen of your dryer. Every year, you also need a thorough cleaning of the dry ductwork, which requires more than vacuum. If you cannot do this, contact a local company that specializes in this work.
Active children (or adults rushing out the door in the morning) may put stress on the stairs. If ignored, a playful tugboat on Saturday morning can lead to injuries. Give it a giggle to determine if it is stable and make repairs accordingly.
Attic and Garage
Get in on the attic and have a look while it is still bright outside to find holes that let in. Any animal activity? Critters have the potential to destroy the insulation's integrity or chew through wires, creating a fire hazard. Look out for areas that can become entry points for rats, squirrels, raccoons and other culprits.
Put down the folding ladder and mosey in the garage to check for any cracks in the doors. If this is your first time entering the garage in a few months, you should be careful. Who knows what types of stumbling hazards these rakes and spades have created, not to mention the stack of old paint cans and other chemicals lurking in the corner. It may be a good time to coordinate the project for the garage organization.
Before leaving the garage, take a flashlight so you can inspect the chimney. Check for loose bricks, cracks, animal activities or nests and excess soot that can create a fire hazard. Check that the damper is working properly while you are on it.
Outside the Home
Be careful when examining the exterior of your home. Cracks in asphalt or concrete on your driveway or pavement may have become a stumbling hazard in recent months under a blanket of snow and ice. What began as a minor crack a few summers ago can slowly turn into a raised, shadowed obstacle, increasing each time water infiltrates and freezes.
Examine the rails on the porch and watch out for loose or rotten steps that can cause a nasty fall. Do the same for gates and fences, look for inclined posts or other damage caused by storms.
If animal activity is obvious around roof protections or openings, look up the surprising threats (yes, we know, they can be cute …) and deal with them so they don't cause any further damage.
You have already checked the inside of the chimney, so check the outside now. Flashing, ventilating and chimney cabinets should not be peeled or missing.
Rain gutters should be clear and in the right pitch. Check the foundation for cracks or bulges.
What does the roof look like? Missing shingles? Blowing or crumbling pieces? Is it covered with moss? All of these conditions can create nightmares in the long run, so pay attention and make sure before they turn into something more than you can handle.
Have you found the gas shut off valve? Please do and make sure it works properly by turning it perpendicular to the tube in the shutdown position. Don't forget to turn it on again when you are done with the control.
Don't forget to look up while you are outside your house. Any tree members that threaten to move wires around the home can spell trouble.
Clean any AC units, remove twigs, leaves and dead critters like lizards that met their unclear departure there.
Make Your Plans
This includes your family's emergency plan, your winter storm preparation and your extreme heat plan. Restore your disaster supply kit with batteries, preservatives and emergency water. No home security inspection is complete but each of these plans, no matter where you live.
Winter weather may vary depending on your location, but extreme heat now takes it toll for all of us in one way or another. Planning for family safety in the event of prolonged heat is another crucial priority on your risk list.