The holidays can be a magical season, but traditions, décor and crazy Aunt Sally’s celebrations can lead to accidents if you’re not careful.
Follow these tips to keep you and your family save and sound through to the New Year.
Your tree is a fire risk — even if it's fake.
Keep your tree at least three feet away from all heat sources; like heat vents or fireplaces. If you have a real tree, keep it watered. The drier the tree the easier it could ignite. Choose a sturdy stand so it can handle the extra water without tipping over.
Don't overdo it on the lights.
As much as you may want to cover every inch of your house with twinkle lights, you may have to scale back depending on your outlets. Check the packaging for the power output and never plug in more than what a power strip or outlet says it can handle. Always look for the UL symbol when buying electrical items and pay attention to its color: Green means it's approved for indoor use, and red means it can be used indoors and outdoors. If you're using old lights, check the wires to make sure there are no signs of fraying or cracking. Even if you've followed all of these precautions, you should still unplug all indoor lights when you leave the house. Yes, even the ones on your tree in the bay window.
Don't be sloppy with broken ornaments.
Not as graceful as you thought? If you drop a glass ornament and it breaks, pick up the big pieces and wrap them in newspaper or a paper towel before throwing them in the garbage, You can use a moist piece of bread to pick up the little shards. Then, sweep or vacuum the space thoroughly.
Not all toys work for all kids.
Keep all the kids in mind when selecting gifts. People tend to focus on what's age-appropriate for one specific child, but younger children always want to play with the toys that the older kids get. This could be a problem if an older kid's toy comes with lots of little parts.
Never toss anything but logs into your fireplace.
Don't try to burn evergreens or wreaths in a fireplace or wood stove. Greenery and tree needles
burn much faster than logs, creating sparks, which can fly into the room or onto the roof. They can also cause a build-up of creosote, a highly flammable compound, in the chimney. Burning
wrapping paper could be hazardous to breathe in, because it can contain metallic materials. Make sure the fire is out and the embers have cooled before you leave the house or go to bed. Put the ashes in a metal bin that's at least 25 feet away from the house. And have a
professional come out at least once a year to inspect the chimney.
Candles are pretty, but they're still open flames.
December is the peak time of year for candle-related house fires. Sure, they set the holiday mood, but lit flames and Christmas decorations don't exactly mix. Keep lit candles at least 12 inches away from surrounding objects. Trim wicks to a quarter of an inch before you light them and only let candles burn for one hour for every inch of diameter, so the wax can melt evenly. So, if you have a three-inch candle, it shouldn't burn for more than three hours.
Remember to secure the house.
If you're headed out of town for an extended period of time, you should do more than just lock up. Tell neighbors you trust that you're going away and have them keep an eye out. Have your post office stop your mail and put lights — inside and outside — on timers, so they go on and off at random times during the night.
~ From your friends at JB Home Inspection
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