- By Signature Home Services
- In Aging in Place/Universal Design, Baby Proofing, Cabinets, Handyman, Tile & Grout, Tips, Window Treatments, Windows
I truly hope you think of your home as your safe haven. After all, that’s what it should be! However, whether we know it or not, sometimes a home is the most dangerous place we can be.
According to the CDC, general accidents are the third most common cause of death in the country, and hundreds of thousands of accidents happen in and around the home. Each year, over 29 million ER visits happen as a result! In fact, it’s at home that accidents are most likely to occur.
That said…you don’t have to walk around the house wearing a helmet or worrying about every possible accident!! Instead, there are some practical things you can do in both your home maintenance AND your home design to make your house as safe as it is beautiful…
The purpose of my article this week is to raise awareness around the types of accidents that occur at home…and around what you can do to prevent them. Home safety is NOT just about older couples, or just those with small kids. For your sake and that of anyone entering your home, these are 10 universal tips that will help make your home the safe haven it should be!
1: Baby proof those cabinets!
Baby proof every cabinet—or at least those with chemicals or utensils! There are a variety of baby proofing technologies out there today to solve this problem, and they’re all discrete. Your cabinets will still look great and work beautifully! This is also a great fix for “that one cabinet” that likes to flap open…
2: Ensure your stair rail is anchored into the studs
Part of our Signature Home Maintenance Club was built around ensuring that major fixtures and systems in your home are each up to the highest safety standards. This is something we build into our twice-per-year inspections of club members’ homes, because it’s THAT important.
One of those fixtures that you should be 100% sure about is your stair rail. It MUST be anchored properly into the studs of the wall, or it will NOT be secure…and you don’t want to find out how insecure it is right when you land on it to save yourself from a fall!!
3: No-slip tile and other flooring
Your flooring type—especially for rooms with moisture and for those high-traffic spaces—is a CENTRAL choice in your home’s safety. This can include no-slip tile for bathroom areas, non-slip vinyl for kitchens, and even glass flooring for entry ways. There are SO MANY options…just be sure that the no-slip feature is where you start.
Expert tip: Where you do use space rugs over any surface, be sure to put anti-slip stickies on the bottom!
4: Cabinets anchored properly
Especially if you have any large, stand-alone cabinets, these should be anchored properly into the studs of the wall just like that hand railing I mentioned before. You would not BELIEVE how many cabinets are poorly installed—and how would you know until an accident happens?! A professional contractor or certified handyman can check these installations for you.
5: For anything larger than swapping out a fixture, hire an accredited plumber or technician or electrical or plumbing work
MANY accidents in the home come from DIY handyman fixes. When it comes to electrical or plumbing “honey-do” lists, hiring an accredited professional is easier than you might think. Avoid accidents by hiring a pro handyman service—especially for any jobs bigger that swapping out a simple lighting fixture.
And speaking of lighting…you MUST have proper lighting for the task at hand in every space of your home (making sure that the lumens in each light fixture is enough for that environment). A kitchen countertop needs extra light, for instance, just like a bathroom shower area.
Oh, and by the way…installing dimmers on your principle lights is a HUGE energy-saving option that also allows you to set the ambience when you really don’t want the full-bright of your lights, too!! That way, you can install as many lights as each space needs without worrying about light control later.
Expert tip: Don’t forget garage lighting or security lights outside, either!!
7: Ensure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are fully charged or with full batteries
One of the most DEVASTATING accidents at home is when a fire strikes…and faulty smoke detectors are a leading cause why families sometimes don’t get out in time.
At least twice per year, check ALL your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors…you can even use our home check-up score worksheet to see what else is worth checking on that same schedule.
Did you know that the number-one hazard for children at pets at home is something as simple and unobtrusive as your WINDOW cords?! Just read this article I wrote on the topic of window safety…this is one of the MOST IMPORTANT safety considerations in your home!
9: Dryer vent cleanings
A forgotten task that an indoor air quality professional can help you catch up on is the annual cleaning of your dryer vents. According to FEMA, more than 2,900 home fires a year are a consequence of dryer vents not being properly maintained and cleaned. Wow!
10: Lower that water heater temp!
Have you ever asked yourself how hot your water heater is actually set to? Even if you have, do you know how hot it NEEDS to be set to? The Department of Energy recommends setting residential water heaters to no hotter than 120 degrees…and, believe me, that is still PLENTY hot to steam up the bathroom as much as you’d like!!
There are LOADS more tips where these came from…but this list of 10 gives you an actionable collection of items to think SERIOUSLY about now. Just look at those statistics…I do NOT want you to be one of them!!
What other safety concerns do you have at home? What accidents have befallen you? Be honest…tell us about it on Facebook! Other homeowners can learn from what you know, and we would LOVE to engage with you on social to share more resources to make everyone’s home the safe haven they deserve.