Tag Archive | "Home Maintenance"

Holiday Safety – Decorating Tips

It’s that time of year again! Yes, time for many of us to begin decorating for the holidays. These Holiday traditions are part of the magic of the season, but they can present hazards if safe practices are not observed. According to the National Fire Protection Association, thirty per cent of all home fires occur during December, January and February. In addition, nearly 6,000 people a year are treated in hospital emergency rooms for falls associated with holiday decorations. More than half of these injuries involve falls from ladders or roofs while decorating outdoors. Here are some of the most common holiday decoration and lighting tips to keep you safe!

Preparation

Before you start rigging up the lights, run your decorations through a quick check. Inspect your string lights. Are they frayed, cracked or have damaged sockets? Do you see any broken wires or loose connections? These are hazards and may cause electrical shock or start a fire. Discard and replace damaged items. Pay special attention to plugs, and ensure that the wire insulation is fully intact. Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use. Don’t overload extension cords with strings of lights, as this can cause an electrical fire.

Candles

You may enjoy the natural glow of candles to festively illuminate your home during the Holidays. Candles are wonderful, but we need to be especially careful with open flames. Be sure to keep candles away from evergreen trees and flammable materials. Never leave candles unattended, and be sure to extinguish all candles before leaving the house.

Indoor & Outdoor Decorations

DO NOT connect more string lights than the manufacturer recommends. Typically, it is no more than three light strings for one extension cord. Light strings with stacked plugs can usually accommodate longer lengths than end-to-end connections.

“If one goes out”… unplug the entire set and then replace the bulb. Replace burned-out bulbs promptly. An empty socket can cause the entire string to overheat.

Use lights and extension cords designed for outdoor use if using them outside. Seems simply enough, keep in mind, lighting intended for outdoor use will be too hot for interior use. Here’s a interior lighting tip: Try LED string lights, they are cool to the touch and are as energy efficient as you can get! Don’t attach light strings with nails or staples. Use only UL-approved hangers.

Decorations come in all shapes and sizes, so use these guidelines to make safe selections for your festive trimmings. Never use lighted candles on or near a tree. Families with small children should make sure to avoid decorations that a sharp or easily broken. Decorations that look like candy or food may be a choking hazard to young children who might put the item in his or her mouth.

Trees

A tree is often the centerpiece of holiday decorating and getting the right tree is the first step towards safety. Artificial trees should be fire resistant. Check for a tag that says “fire-resistant” before purchasing an artificial tree. Use only non-combustible and flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Live trees should be bought as fresh as possible or else your tree could become dry and flammable. A fresh tree is green with needles that are hard to pull from branches. The needles should not break when bent. Keep trees away from fireplaces and heaters, and keep plenty of water in the base.

Breakdown

Take exterior lights down within 90 days. The longer they are up, the more likely they are to suffer damage from weather and even the chance that a small critter might chew on them.

Store your lights safely. Be sure to untangle lights before putting them away. Tangled lights can result in damaged cords and broken sockets. Wrapping them around a piece of cardboard and then wrapped in paper or fabric to protect the bulbs is your best bet. Also, keep your lighting in a sturdy container for years of continued use.

Wishing you a safe and enjoyable holiday season,

Lewis Jones
Summit Country Homes & Remodeling

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Problems Caused By Clogged Gutters

“More homes are damaged each year from gutter problems than from any other water related source”

Regular gutter maintenance can add many years to the life of your gutters. Every year leaves, sticks, granules from shingles, dead birds, old tennis balls, bird droppings, and what can be described as sludge gets washed off the roof into our gutters. This can build up and cause damage to the guttering itself or to your property. In fact, a blocked, leaking or sagging gutter is worse than no gutter at all because it overflows/leaks in one place rather than evenly along the roof. This concentrates the problem and can cause serious damage to fascias, eves, brickwork, pointing, paintwork, sills etc.

Some problems caused by clogged gutters are water pooling around the foundation, which leads to potential penetration points. Any wood fascia that exists around your house can start to break down and decompose, causing serious & costly problems by having to replace the wood fascia around your home. Backed up gutters can result in frozen water in the winter that stands for several days, blocking the flow of unfrozen water from the roof. This will eventually weaken the shingles and wood on the roof, causing leaks into your attic and home.

For many people it is a case of out of sight, out of mind, but ignoring a problem can result in costly repair bills later on. Gutter cleaning is important preventive maintenance and should be done
at least twice a year if possible. A well flowing gutter can discharge water at a high rate when
needed.

Install Gutter Guards: Once the gutter system is cleaned and properly adjusted, consider installing gutter guards to avoid a repeat performance in the future.

There are many types of gutter guards available. Screens can be effective but eventually allow debris to get through. Clogs will reoccur and can be even harder to clear since the screens will need to be removed first. Leaf blocking guards, which look like a metal louver are a more costly but more effective option at keeping leaves off gutters. The louvers allow water to leak into the gutter while washing leaves over the side.

No matter what gutter product you choose, it is important that you check gutters periodically!

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What’s Available in Home Siding

Often when it comes to home siding, homeowner’s are not quite sure what way to turn. The siding on your home can be thought of as the “skin” of your home and just like the body’s skin, the siding needs to protect your home and keep out anything that could damage it. Let’s take a quick look at a few of the options you have in home siding to give you an overview of the possibilities.

Vinyl is the country’s most popular choice in home siding; homeowners choose vinyl over half the time. There are several reasons that vinyl siding is so popular. Made of a substance called polyvinyl chloride (PVC), this siding material is strong and durable. If installed properly, your home is protected from weather changes such as temperature and precipitation. Since the costs of installation are inexpensive compared to many other types of home siding, homeowners find it easy to stay within their budgets. Vinyl siding is also low maintenance since it doesn’t need to be painted like some choices.

Metal siding is another fairly popular choice due to the versatility in using aluminum or steel. Not only can it be found in a variety of shapes, textures and colors, metal home siding can be shaped easier than most other siding materials. This allows for many looks that wouldn’t be feasible with less flexible materials. With metal home siding, homeowners will find that their siding will never rot and is highly resistant to pests like termites.

Fiber cement siding is another good choice and is so durable that it is often under warranty for twenty years or more. One thing that is ideal about this type of siding is that fiber cement siding isn’t combustible yet can give the appearance of wood. This gives the ability to make the house fit in with period architectural styles while still having a modern siding option.

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