Affordable Home Services Of Idaho
Affordable Home Services Of Idaho

Home Safety & Maintenance Tips

Check back here regularly for tips and to find out what's new with Affordable Home Services.

Heating your home during winter

Is the chill of winter creeping in and around your house? The best defense is making sure your home’s heating system is maintained properly. Follow these tips for extra efficiency and warmth:

  • Have a professional inspect your heating system once per year, before winter hits.
  • Replace air filters often, per the manufacturer’s recommendation (the professional who inspects your heating system can tell you what’s best).
  • Seal up air leaks and add insulation around the house.
  • Clean registers and make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, carpets or drapes.
  • Bleed trapped air from hot water radiators.

Alternative heat

Beyond that, some homeowners opt for alternative heating devices, such as space heaters. While these can be comforting and warming, they can also become a fire-hazard. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that space heaters are associated with about 33,300 residential fires every year.
 
If you decide to add alternative heating to your regime, make safety a top priority. The 
Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) suggests:

  • Look for products tested by Underwriters Laboratory (UL). Properly tested and rated stoves will have an attached safety label and an installation.
  • Buy models with automatic shut-off features and heat element guards.
  • Maintain a 36-inch clearance between the heater and combustible materials, such as bedding, furniture, wall coverings or other flammable items.
  • Do not leave a heater unattended.
  • Check every electrical cord for fraying and cracking. If one looks worn, replace it before using.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors in several parts of the house.
  • Never run the heater’s cord (or any cord) under rugs or carpeting.

Other safety suggestions:

  • Never use a kerosene heater indoors.
  • Never use electric or gas stoves to heat the home. They are not intended for that purpose and can cause fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If using a wood fireplace, have it inspected annually by a professional chimney sweep.
  • When using a gas fireplace, keep the glowing embers and logs clean; inspect and clean the air circulation passages and fan; and avoid obstructing the vents.

Go to disastersafety.org for more information

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Barbeque Safety

 

With barbeque season already here, homeowners should heed the following safety precautions in order to keep their families and property safe.  Regardless of the type of grill you have, there are risks for improper use.

  • Propane grills present an enormous fire hazard, as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is aware of more than 500 fires that result annually from their misuse or malfunction.
  • Charcoal grills pose a serious poisoning threat due to the venting of carbon monoxide (CO). The CPSC estimates that 20 people die annually from accidentally ingesting CO from charcoal grills.  These grills can also pose a serious fire hazard, especially by using excessive lighter fluid, failing to monitor the grill while in use, or improperly disposing of ash.
  • Electric grills are probably safer than propane and charcoal grills, but safety precautions need to be used with them, as well.

Safety Recommendations For General Grill Use

  • Always make sure that the grill is used in a safe place, where kids and pets won't touch or bump into it. Keep in mind that the grill will still be hot after you finish cooking, and anyone coming into contact with it could be burned.
  • If you use a grill lighter, make sure you don't leave it lying around where children can reach it. They will quickly learn how to use it.
  • Never leave the grill unattended, as this is generally when accidents happen.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher or garden hose nearby.
  • Ensure that the grill is completely cooled before moving it or placing it back in storage.
  • Ensure that the grill is only used on a flat surface that cannot burn, and well away from any shed, trees and shrubs.
  • Clean out the grease and other debris in the grill periodically, and scrape the grill rack to remove baked-on food.
  • Be sure to check the unit for rust and other signs of deterioration.
  • Don't wear loose clothing that might catch fire while you're cooking.
  • Use long-handled barbecue tools and flame-resistant oven mitts.
  • Keep alcoholic beverages away from the grill; they are flammable!
  • When attaching propane check, connections with a soapy liquid to detect leaks. Turn on tank and soap the connections. If you see bubbles then you have a bad connection

In summary, homeowners should exercise caution when using any kind of grill, as they can harm life and property in numerous ways. 

Anti-Tip Brackets For Ranges

Anti-tip brackets are metal devices designed to prevent freestanding ranges from tipping. They are normally attached to one of the rear legs of the range or screwed into the wall behind the range, and are included in all installation kits. A unit that is not equipped with these devices may tip over if enough weight is applied to its open door, such as that from a large Thanksgiving turkey, or even a small child. A falling range can crush, scald, or burn anyone caught beneath.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were 143 incidents caused by range tip-overs from 1980 to 2006. Of the 33 incidents that resulted in death, most of those victims were children. A small child may stand on an open range door in order to see what is cooking on the stovetop and accidentally cause the entire unit to fall on top of him, along with whatever hot items may have been cooking on the stovetop. The elderly, too, may be injured while using the range for support while cleaning. 

In response to this danger, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) created standards in 1991 that require all ranges manufactured after that year to be capable of remaining stable while supporting 250 pounds of weight on their open doors. Manufacturers' instructions, too, require that anti-tip brackets provided be installed. 

 

Check Your Range

It may be possible to see a wall-mounted bracket by looking over the rear of the range. Floor-mounted brackets are often hidden, although in some models with removable drawers, such as 30-inch electric ranges made by General Electric, the drawers can be removed and a flashlight can be used to search for the bracket.  

A more certain test is trying to carefully tip the range.  The range should be turned off, and all items should be removed from the stovetop first.  Then, firmly grip the upper-rear section of the range and tip the unit. If it’s equipped with an anti-tip bracket, the unit will not tip more than several inches before coming to a halt.  It is usually easier to detect a bracket by tipping the range than through a visual search. This test can be performed on all models and it can confirm the functionality of a bracket.

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Lead-based Paint

If ingested, lead can lead to a variety of health problems, especially for children, including brain damage and other serious issues.

Lead-based paint may be a hazard when found on surfaces that children can chew or that get a lot of wear and tear, such as windows and window sills, doors and door frames, stairs, railings, banisters, porches and fences. Lead from paint chips that are visible and lead dust that is not always visible can both be serious hazards. Lead dust can form when lead-based paint is dry-scraped, dry-sanded, or heated. Dust also forms when painted surfaces bump or rub together, such as when windows open and close. Lead chips and dust can get on surfaces and objects that people touch. Settled lead dust can re-enter the air when people vacuum, sweep or walk through it. 

In 1978, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) set the legal limit of lead in most types of paint to a trace amount. As a result, homes built after 1978 should be nearly free of lead-based paint. In 1996, the U.S. Congress passed the final phase of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act, Title X, which mandates that real estate agents, sellers and landlords disclose the known presence of lead-based paint in homes built prior to 1978. 

Lead-based paint that is in good condition and out of the reach of children is usually not a hazard. Peeling, chipping, chalking or cracking lead-based paint is a hazard and needs immediate attention.

If the house is thought to contain lead-based paint, consider having a qualified professional check it for lead hazards. This is done by means of a paint inspection that will identify the lead content of every painted surface and a risk assessment that will determine whether there are any sources of serious lead exposure (such as peeling paint and lead dust). The risk assessment will also identify actions to take to address these hazards. 

The U.S. federal government has standards forinspectors and risk assessors. Some states may also have standards in place. Call your local housing authority for help with locating a qualified professional. Do-it-yourself home tests should not be the only method you use before embarking on a rehabilitation project or to ensure your family’s safety. For more information on lead-based paint, consult the HUD Office of Lead Hazard Control website at www.nachi.org/go/epalead

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Affordable Home Services Of Idaho

Donnelly, ID 83615


Phone: 208 495-4321 208 495-4321

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Proudly serving Valley County,Idaho and the surrounding areas to include:

*Cascade *Donnelly *Lake Fork 

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