A good number of accidents which occur in the home are a result of poor home maintenance. One area where this is often the case is on and around the stairs. Staircases can be particularly hazardous for small children and elderly or handicapped residents so its vital that they are in good order and well maintained. What are some ways to do this?
As a homeowner, there are simple things you can do to make sure the staircase does not become a danger to the household, for example, if the stairs are wooden, be careful not to over polish them and make them slippery. If you have carpet, make sure it does not start to become loose. Check the handrail also for any wobbling or loosening. Do you have good lighting on and around the stairs? This is important especially for members of the household with failing eyesight.
It is not just the interior stairs that should be checked, exterior stairs need to be in good order and not uneven or insufficiently graded as this could cause water to start pooling on the steps. While the contractor that built the home should have abided by all building codes and regulations, its good to familiarize yourself with these standards. Bannisters must not be spaced too far apart, which could allow a child to get their head trapped and stairs must all be of the same height in order to prevent a tripping hazard.
These are some simple staircase safety checks to do but they may go a long way in preventing a stair related accident or injury.
Are you in the process of buying an older property? While an older home can be full of charm and character, it can also contain toxic substances which were used in construction materials years ago. One such material is lead which was often used in paint and piping. Although the dangers of lead have come to light in more recent years, what should you be concerned about when it comes to finding it in the home?
As we have mentioned, lead is often found in old paint which was used for both the interior as well as exterior of the home. This becomes a problem when deteriorating paint starts to chip and even becomes dust. If this happens on the exterior of the home, you will likely find lead in the surrounding soil. Lead paint chips or paint dust can cover any surface of the interior of the home, making it especially hazardous. We know lead is particularly dangerous for babies, young children and even unborn babies. Because young children like to crawl and climb on everything, it is more likely that they will inhale lead paint dust or chips if they are found in the home.
It is also worthy to note that even if your home is new, you could still have lead in the home. If you are someone who enjoys antique furniture you may well find that it contains lead paint.
As we stated earlier, lead can also be found in an old homes piping system which meaning that lead could be found in drinking water.
So, from this short review we can see that if you are about to buy an older home, you might want to make sure that lead does not pose a health risk for you and your household.
Water, as we know, is essential to life. Its vital, then, to have a reliable and safe supply of water within our own home. However, is this always the case? What do we know about where our homes water supply comes from and how safe it is?
It’s a good idea to find out more about your homes water supply, for example, what is the waters source? This has a lot to do with the kind of area you are living in, if it’s a densely populated area or more rural. Much of the time a large town or cities water comes from a reservoir. However, this reservoir wont necessarily be located close to the city, it could be some miles away. This kind of water source is referred to as a “surface” water source. On the other hand, if you live in a rural area, you will most likely have well water which is supplied by an underground reservoir, or aquifer.
Determining the safety of your water, however, involves a number of factors, not just the water itself. The body of waters surroundings must also be analyzed. What is the land surrounding the body of water used for? Is it industrial? Or, is it farmland? The land surrounding this water is referred to as “the water shed”.
While this article is just a general overview about where your water comes from, perhaps you’re wondering how you can find information specific to your location. Since 1999 all community water supply companies are required to make available an annual report for its consumers. This report gives details such as where the water comes from and any contaminates that may be found in it.
It’s a very sad fact that on average 3,000 people die every year in the United States from the effects of a house fire. Many of these deaths might have been avoided if there were fully functioning smoke detectors in the house. Yes, these small appliances play a critical role when it comes to fire safety. Here are a few brief reminders:
Multiple smoke detectors should be fitted in a home depending on its size. A good rule would be to have one fitted on every inhabited floor of the home. This also includes the basement and garage. Having one in each bedroom would also be a good idea.
Having a fire exit plan is another vital step to surviving a house fire. Every member of the household should know what to do. Perform a fire drill every once in a while. It’s a good idea to do this at nighttime when everyone is sleeping as this is when the household is usually most at risk. Set off the smoke detectors to make sure they are loud enough to wake the whole household and that the sound is distinct enough so as not to be confused with any other sound.
Remember, a smoke detector is only effective if it is working properly. Do a simple test of them once a month to ensure they are working and do not require batteries. Another reminder is to NEVER disconnect batteries even when a sensitive smoke alarm becomes a nuisance. It is all too easy to forget to reconnect them again.
With the children off school for the summer, its time to spend some quality time by the pool. While a swimming pool is a place to have fun, if you have a swimming pool in your backyard, what steps do you need to take to ensure it is a safe environment?
It is a sad fact that many children die each year from drowning accidents, with those under age 5 being at the greatest risk. What makes this so bad is that it happens so fast and generally with no noise, which means that a child has often drowned before anyone knew they were missing. So, how can you protect a child if you have a swimming pool in your home?
If you have a pool on your property, its important that you have some kind of pool barrier. This could take different forms such as fencing or a wall. There are specific guidelines put in place for pool barriers, for example, they must be the correct height, any fencing should have the correct amount of spacing and must make it impossible for a child to climb under.
If you have an above ground pool or hot tub etc. there must also be strict safety measures in place so that a child would not be able to access the pool without supervision.
Walls of the home can also act as a pool barrier but any doors that lead directly to the pool should have an alarm system which will go off when the doors are opened. The alarm sound should be loud enough to hear throughout the home and have a sound that is different from any others. In this way, it will be difficult for a child to gain access to the pool, through the doors, without being detected.
Yes, summer by the pool is what most children want. By following these safety guidelines, you will help to ensure their safety as well.
So many people suffer with allergies which cause all kinds of respiratory ailments. There are numerous causes for this but let’s look at some of the air pollutants in our homes that might make these allergies worse and, some of the ways we can improve the air we breathe at home.
There are all kinds of things in the home that contribute to poor air quality, for example, dust, pet dander, damp or mold, even gas stoves and furnaces that are poorly maintained, lead and asbestos (if the home is older). Then there are the things we use such as cleaning products. Solvents such as formaldehyde that have been used for treating furniture like curtains and sofas, these are all areas that contribute to poor air quality in a home. So, what are some ways you can deal with these problems?
While in many cases, it would be very hard to eliminate the problem all together, there are simple ways to improve home air quality. Keeping the home clean will go a long way to improving the homes air quality especially if there are pets. Its important to try and keep dust to a minimum and vacuum regularly. Replace chemical and aerosol cleaners with non-chemical cleaning products.
Try to keep each room well ventilated so that soft furnishings are aired out well. Replace air conditioning filters regularly. Have a check of the entire home every so often to make sure there is no mold forming. Check appliances etc. to make sure they are working well and are not at risk of producing carbon monoxide. It would be a good idea to have a professional come and inspect furnaces etc. to make sure they are working well.
By following some of these simple suggestions, it will go a long way to enhancing the quality of air in your home.
Keeping a home safe from intruders is of great importance to many homeowners. One way to prevent intruders is with window bars, or safety bars. These metal bars are attached to the outside of the window, usually the basement and ground floor windows and are designed to prevent anyone from entering through the windows.
This can offer a sense of security for the homeowner as it is an effective way of stopping a burglar from entering through the window, however, there are some safety concerns to think about when it comes to this type of security device. A major problem arises if the resident needs to exit the home in an emergency such as a fire. Not only would they stop someone from getting out of much needed exits, but they could also block vital points of entry for firefighters.
If you feel like you really need window bars in your neighborhood, what are some ways you can do it and ensure they are not a fire hazard? Make sure they are fitted with a quick release device. This type of mechanism would allow the occupant to easily release the bars from the inside of the home. It should not require any kind of special tool to release them and needs to be easy for a child or elderly person to use. This is because a person can become disoriented and panicked in an emergency situation, and precious time would be lost trying to open a difficult mechanism.
As we can see, then, window bars can provide a good level of security for the lower floors of the home, but they can easily become a fire hazard if they are not equipped with a quick release mechanism that is easy to use.
After a very long winter here in New York, we are certainly looking forward to some warmer weather and, with that, usually comes a long spring cleaning list. Is getting our air conditioning system ready on that list? While we know that having a yearly maintenance check performed by a professional is an important thing to do, what are some ways we can keep our a/c system well maintained?
Keeping your central air conditioning system well maintained will ensure a comfortable home during a hot summer.
When searching for that perfect place to call your new home, you no doubt have many requirements. For example, making sure it will fit the needs of you and your household, having the right location and all for the right price.
There may be some requirements that don’t automatically come to mind though. One of those things is making sure the property has the correct amount of grading (or slope). Perhaps you’re wondering what is that? And why is it so important?
Please enjoy the following brief video which will help you to answer these questions. We want you to be as informed as possible when it comes to buying your new home, so that the experience will be a positive one.
Although it may not feel like it, spring is just around the corner and with that comes getting much needed maintenance done on our homes. If you will be looking for someone to do the work for you, how can you be sure to get someone honest who will not try to rip you off?
Here are a few pointers:
While there are many honest workers out there, it’s always good to be on our guard. Please feel free to contact us with further questions.
PARKER AND WEST ENGINEERING, PLLC.