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Home Inspector

Holiday Safety
December 2007

On behalf of Tri-County Inspection Company I want to wish everybody the best in this Holiday Season. The end of the year allows time to reflect on not only family and friends but also on how beneficial the past year has been. I want to thank you all for allowing us to become part of your real estate transactions and want to wish you and your families the best over the New Year.

This month's topic is about holiday safety. It is one of the small things we take for granted, but I came up with a list of ideas to consider:

Icy Sidewalks - Do not use rock salt, as it can deteriorate the concrete facing on your sidewalks and driveways. It is better to purchase kitty litter, as it will have the same effect as rock salt and is also biodegradable.

Candles - They are always great during the holiday season and add that additional charm to your home. However, make sure that you blow them out before you retire to the bedroom or leave your house.

Extension Cords - With all the lighting, Christmas Trees, and shrubbery we tend to light during the evening hours, extension cords can become dangerous. Do not put them under any type of carpeting, but at the same time do not allow them to be a tripping hazard.

Outdoor Lighting - If possible connect any extension cords to a GFCI rated receptacle, especially with inclement weather coming upon us. Even a home inspector's wife argues with me that occasionally the lights will go out during the snow and heavy rain, but it is all about safety.

Cooking - When cooking with large families, always keep the handles to the pans facing inward instead of outward, as small hands may want to reach up and grab for them.

Oven Cleaning - When all of the cooking is over and you are ready to clean the oven, be sure that you do not go to bed or leave your home when the self-cleaning feature is in use. Temperatures can exceed more than 800 degrees and fires have been known to occur.

Hose Bibs - Water spigots or hose bibs, and hoses should be shut down at this time of year. Be sure to remove the hose from the hose bib, as water will freeze within the hose first, passing the frozen ice into the building and causing leaks possibly at this point or in the spring. Bleed the water from the lines and then re-open the valve.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors - A carbon monoxide detector should always be placed by the cold air return on the highest level of your home as well as in the utility room. I prefer the plug-in versions over the battery units; however, any type is recommend for family safety.

Heating - If your home is more than 15 years old, I would suggest that you have your furnace and chimney evaluated by a heating professional. If you have a central humidification system above your furnace, it becomes more critical. For those of you who may have heat pumps heating and cooling your homes, have the refrigerant evaluated at this time of year for optimum performance.

Jack H. Milne, Jr. President, Tri-County Inspection Co.