As a homeowner, creating a safe environment where your family can thrive is essential. Although several safety concerns lurk throughout the average home, the majority of these issues are easy to address with regular care and maintenance.
Taking small steps—like taking care in the kitchen and maintaining your home heating system—can significantly increase your home’s safety. Here are some of the best ways to protect your family and make your home safer.
1. Choose propane over natural gas.
Throughout the United States, over 14 million homeowners use propane gas to heat their homes. Heating your home with propane offers a wide range of benefits, including safety, redcued heating costs, and a small carbon footprint.
Although no fuel source comes without potential risks, propane is a significantly safer energy source than its alternatives, including natural gas. According to the National Fire Protection Association, propane heat has a strong safety record due to codes and regulations ensuring its safety.
Homeowners can use propane to safely fuel a variety of home appliances, including fireplaces, hot water heaters, dryers, and furnaces. As an added benefit, homeowners that use propane heating typically enjoy lower utility bills than those who use electric or natural gas. Propane appliances, such as propane water heaters, produce more energy than electric units, boosting your home’s energy efficiency.
2. Don’t overlook safety housekeeping.
Safety housekeeping involves preventing minor safety hazards by maintaining basic safety practices throughout your home. From removing clutter from stairways to ensuring cords are out of reach, simple preventive measures can significantly increase your home’s overall safety.
Safety housekeeping is essential in the kitchen, especially for families with smaller children. In most cases, the most common kitchen injuries—from minor lacerations to serious burns—are easily preventable with safety housekeeping. To keep your kitchen safe for everyone in your home, be sure to keep sharp knives out of reach and off countertops, have kitchen appliances unplugged when they’re not in use, and store mittens, oven gloves, and proper utensils near the stovetop.
3. Schedule regular HVAC maintenance.
Scheduling regular HVAC maintenance can keep your heating and air conditioning system working properly, which is essential for maintaining your home’s air quality. Research has shown that chronic health problems such as asthma may be linked to low indoor air quality and poorly maintained HVAC systems, and prolonged exposure to contaminants and allergens can exacerbate pre-existing medical conditions.
To maintain indoor air quality, the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology recommends keeping your HVAC system clean and well maintained, taking care of your carpet using a HEPA-filter vacuum, and preventing mold by dehumidifying your basement. To ensure your HVAC system is running properly, it’s a good idea to schedule inspections twice yearly in the spring and fall.
4. Invest in home security.
One of the biggest safety hazards for homeowners comes in the form of potential security threats, including fires, floods, and home invasion. To protect your family and belongings, it’s essential to invest in an up-to-date home security system with a security alarm and door-locking system. To maintain fire safety throughout your home, be sure to install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home and check their batteries regularly.
It’s always a good idea to have an emergency action plan for your home and family, which may involve an escape route and emergency meeting place. Make sure to communicate your emergency action plan to all members of your household, and only share house keys with those you can really trust. For added safety, consider installing outdoor cameras and motion detection lights, especially if you live in a more rural area.
Whether you’re a new homeowner or you’ve owned the same home for years, it can be easy to forget about potential security hazards. Above all else, taking small steps to maintain your home’s security can help you keep your family safe and protect your home.