maintenance to increase home safety

An often-overlooked aspect of home safety is proactive maintenance of systems, appliances and other integral components. Photo: Carmen Miranda – Alain Pinel Realtors (2014)

Above all else, your home should be a safe place, which is why it’s important to stay up-to-date with changing safety code standards. However, while devices like smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) provide protection from potential hazards, other aspects of home safety often go ignored or unnoticed. Read on to learn from five Diamond Certified Expert Contributors about proactive maintenance to increase home safety.

Furnace inspection: Kent Penning of Cold Craft, Inc.

While ongoing upkeep such as routine filter changes can maximize your furnace’s performance, another important step is to have it regularly inspected by a professional. A furnace’s components start to wear out over time, which can compromise operating efficiency and create a potential fire hazard due to overheating. The best way to avoid this situation is to have your furnace proactively inspected and maintained by an HVAC professional.

Cold Craft overheated HVAC system

As a furnace ages, worn-out components and dust buildup can cause it to overheat, which creates a potential fire risk. Photo: Cold Craft, Inc. (2014)

Electrical panel inspection: Paul Parker of Mr. Sparky

Over time, the wiring connections in your home’s electrical panel can become loosened due to repeated expansion and contraction with fluctuating temperatures. When electrical connections become loose, it not only can inhibit efficient energy flow, it can also create a fire risk. In extreme cases, loose wires can actually melt, which indicates temperatures in excess of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Since the average panel contains more than 100 connections, it’s a good idea to have yours routinely inspected by a professional electrician.

Microwave grease filter replacement: Kenny Turnage of K2GC

If you have an over-range microwave in your kitchen, you may be surprised to learn that it represents a potential fire hazard. An over-range microwave is equipped with a grease filter (located on its underside) that provides ventilation and captures fumes and grease particles. If the grease filter becomes over-saturated, however, it loses its effectiveness and becomes extremely flammable—all it takes is one high flare-up during range top cooking to ignite a grease fire. To prevent this from happening, periodically replace your microwave grease filter (or clean it if it’s reusable).

deteriorating door paint

Continually abraded or deteriorating door paint can result in the production of hazardous lead dust. Photo: Bay Area Lead Detectors (2014)

Lead paint hazard prevention: Don Stader of Bay Area Lead Detectors

While lead paint contamination is a major concern in pre-1978 homes, one aspect that often gets overlooked is painted doors. When a painted door doesn’t fit properly in its frame, continued abrasion between the door and the jamb can cause paint to rub off. A similar situation can occur on doors with painted hinges, due to repeated opening and closing. In either case, the continued deterioration of these painted components can produce lead dust, which poses a contamination hazard. While door-related issues can often be addressed with minor repairs, in instances of severe wear, your best option may be to replace the door, trim and jamb altogether.

Door lock functionality: Gary Lekan of First Lock & Security Technologies

As you inspect the condition of paint on your home’s doors, it’s also a good idea to test for lock functionality. Besides being a nuisance, exterior doors that are difficult to lock or unlock also represent a security risk, as incorrectly installed or faulty door latches and deadbolts can significantly increase your home’s susceptibility to break-ins. For this reason, it’s important to test these components for proper functionality and take proactive steps to correct any issues.

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