Holiday traditions have a way of bringing together family, friends, and neighbors. However, many of the most popular holiday festivities also invite some added risks to your home. If you want to keep your loved ones safe this holiday season, follow these six crucial home safety tips.
1. Switch to LED lights.
Many families love to plug in all kinds of lights, crockpots, and other decorations around the holidays. While these additions can be fun and festive, they may also overload your home circuits. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, one out of four Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical issues. One way to avoid these problems is by upgrading any of your holiday lights. LEDs use far less electricity and don't heat up like traditional light bulbs, helping you and your tree stay cool under the holiday pressure.
2. Skip the candles.
Candles are popular in many homes around this time of year. While following proper candle safety limits the risks of starting a fire, you may be better off skipping the real deal altogether. Modern LED candles can give the same look and feel of a candle without any of the dangers. If it's the distinct candle smell you’re after, then candle warmers can provide the aroma without the open flame.
3. Use space heaters cautiously.
If it gets cold where you live, then you’ve probably been tempted to plug in a space heater. While these devices can quickly warm you up, they can also be extremely dangerous. According to our consumer product safety commission (CPSC), more than 25,000 residential fires and more than 300 deaths are caused by space heaters each year. If you’re forced to use a space heater this winter, then practice extreme caution. Use a 20-amp circuit, skip on the extension cord, and never leave it plugged in for more than a few hours at a time.
4. Inspect your fireplaces & chimneys.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, over 30% of home fires start in fireplaces or chimneys. So, before Santa scoots down your chimney, be sure to perform an annual inspection. Properly using your fireplace is also crucial. Be sure to clean and properly discard ashes in between fires to prevent build-up in your chimney.
5. Clean out your dryer.
The U.S. Fire Administration reports about $35 million in property loss each year due to dryer fires. These types of fires peak in January and are entirely preventable. You should frequently be emptying the lint screen and keeping your dryer vent opening free from snow and other debris to minimize your risk.
6. Check your smoke & carbon monoxide detectors.
Ultimately, taking the proper steps to prevent household fires will stop most fires before they occur. However, you should still be doing all you can to maintain your home's fire detection systems. Take some time to test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and replace the batteries as needed.