It’s easy to fall behind on home maintenance or see it as a chore, but how well you maintain your home can have a real effect on both your comfort and safety. Whether it’s the risk of property damage or health problems, common household systems can be full of potential hazards if they aren’t taken care of properly. Neglecting maintenance on things like your HVAC or your appliances can leave you vulnerable to anything from nausea and dizziness to severe illnesses like emphysema. If you’re a new homeowner or want to educate yourself, read on to learn more about exactly home maintenance can impact your safety.
How can home maintenance impact your safety?
You may not realize it, but there are many ways in which maintaining your home also keeps you safe. One obvious task to keep up with is checking your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Batteries generally need to be replaced once or twice a year. In the United States, it’s recommended that smoke detectors be replaced entirely every ten years, and carbon monoxide detectors are replaced after seven. Dryer vents are another hazard, as they are a common cause of house fires. Old or dirty water filters can allow bacteria and germs to remain in your drinking water, and knives that aren’t regularly sharpened have a higher risk for injury. There are just some common household issues that everyone should be prepared for.
It would help if you kept in mind that the climate in the area you live can create specific safety risks. In an area with frequent storms, there are several things to consider this hail season. Hail and hail storms can cause significant property damage to everything from your window to your roof to your car, so having good insurance is essential.
More importantly, it can be dangerous for both humans and animals if they find themselves exposed to the elements because of a broken window or damage to the structure of your home. Hurricane season always requires plenty of prep if you live along the Gulf Coast, from boarding up windows to buying sandbags to help minimize flooding. Whatever challenges are associated with the weather where you live, it’s necessary to prepare for them to keep yourself and your family safe.
What systems and appliances need regular maintenance?
Windows and doors are a good place to start when making a list of fixtures requiring an annual inspection. Cracks and crevices can let in moisture, dirt, mold, and allergens, which can cause all kinds of health problems for anyone inside the house. Make sure any imperfections are filled with caulking or weatherstripping or replace them entirely if they’re beyond repair. Your washing machine and dryer also should have their vents cleaned annually by a professional. While you can do it on your own, having it done professionally is the best way to ensure you reduce your risk of a house fire.
Your HVAC system definitely needs regular inspection and maintenance. First, the filter needs to be changed every 1-3 months, and a technician should also inspect the entire system at least once every year. If your HVAC isn’t well-maintained, not only will it not operate efficiently, it can cause health issues.
Your furnace especially can create issues if it isn’t looked after. In the winter, your furnace flue can experience blockages that impede its ability to vent harmful gases like carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide. This can allow carbon monoxide can leak into your home, and carbon monoxide could lead to air poisoning and cause health complications. All of this underscores why it’s so important to have a functioning carbon monoxide detector in your home to avoid serious health problems like fatigue, asthma, carbon monoxide poisoning, and even several types of lung disease.
Even the most commonplace household items like your air conditioner and your dryer can pose serious health risks if you don’t maintain them well. Not only that, but issues like water damage or other types of structural property damage can cost thousands of dollars to fix. Preventive maintenance is the best way to reduce the odds of any appliances or household systems breaking down or causing negative health effects. Investing the time and money required to keep everything in your home operating safely and efficiently is well worth the peace of mind that it’ll provide you and your family.