Hometown Lawrence: Take steps to prevent household hazards
We like to think of our home as a safe place from the outside world. Still, there are dangers hiding inside we may not consider. These are just some of the more common home hazards and what to do about them.
Carbon monoxide: This is a colorless and odorless gas, so you won’t know it’s around until the danger is at hand. Carbon monoxide comes from combustion appliances such as gas furnaces, hot water heaters, space heaters and gas generators that are not working or vented properly. Prevent this from happening by installing carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your house. They are just as important as smoke detectors.
Dryer lint: According to the U.S. Fire Administration, approximately 2,900 dryer fires happen yearly and cause an estimated five deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property damage. The primary cause is clogged lint filters and discharge pipes. Be sure to clean the lint trap each time you use the dryer, and clean out the exhaust tube at least 2 to 3 times each year.
Rugs and carpets: Falls are one of the leading causes of injuries in the U.S., especially for adults 65 years of age and older. To prevent accidents, make sure the carpet is tightly secured without ridges and loose edges, and check to make sure area rugs have non-slip backings or are taped down to prevent sliding.
Bath and shower: Injuries are common in the bathroom, especially in the bathtub or shower. To help prevent accidents, put non-slip mats or decals in the bottom of the tub, use a non-skid mat outside the tub or shower, and make sure the hot water temperature is no higher than 120 degrees. Installing grab bars is also a good idea, but be sure the bars are installed correctly so they work properly and do not damage the wall.
Hot water heater: Did you know this appliance can explode if excessive pressure or temperature builds up or, in the case of a gas model, the fumes ignite? Properly maintaining your water heater will keep this from happening. Open the manual pressure relief valve at least once a year to make sure it works, and never set the temperature higher than 212 degrees. Also keep combustible items away from gas water heaters. Your owner’s manual will give you all the information necessary to keep the water heater working safely and efficiently.
Mold: Damp areas of the home with poor air circulation are where you can find mold, such as where there has been a water leak from faulty plumbing or a damaged roof. Mold spores can lead to sinus problems, chronic coughs, eye irritation, asthma attacks and lung infections. Get rid of the mold by first stopping the moisture source. There are cleaning agents available to remove small patches, but larger areas will need to be handled by a mold removal contractor.
Hometown Lawrence is the Lawrence Journal-World’s real estate resource section and website. For more information on area real estate listings, go to HometownLawrence.com.