The Inspector

By NPI, Inc.



How to Have a Very Merry Christmas (and Other Holiday Home Safety Tips)

 December 25, 2023 |  Holiday, Safety, Home Maintenance, Just for Fun |  winter, electrical, kitchen, pets

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all who celebrate!

The holiday season is a great opportunity to take some time off from work and enjoy friends and family. While these breaks can certainly have its joyful moments, there’s something about meeting up with friends and family that can lead to an air of chaos. If you’re expecting guests who have a tendency of getting caught in hairy situations, it just might be smart to take a few safety precautions along the way.

To ensure a very merry Christmas break, here are a few home safety tips homeowners should keep in mind while weathering the holidays.

Monitor Ice and Snow
If you’re expecting a degree of icy or snowy weather throughout the holidays, it may be wise to make some extra efforts to keep your driveway and sidewalks cleared. You may have family members in town who aren’t used to dealing with frosty conditions. Take precautions that no one gets hurt from slipping on unattended patches of ice. With that said, those that may have the impulse of piling on the sidewalk salt or other ice melt solutions should wait and rethink their options.

While effective at melting ice, rock salt can also damage shoes and clothing, and its corrosive effects can even damage vehicles as well as your home’s masonry. According to the EPA, salt causes roughly five billion dollars worth of damage on an annual basis, and ice melt products can have long-reaching effects on your lawn, extending cracks in the cement and expediting erosion. Take the time to hunt for environmentally-friendly options and then use it sparingly only after shoveling for the best experience.

Anticipate Electrical Overload
With more guests in the home than usual, it’s reasonable to expect a bit more power demand. Often, homeowners don’t realize that they’re running near their limitations of single circuit power usage until someone new comes along and plugs in an extra heater, hairdryer, or laptop charger. Rather than deal with the ensuing panic from an outage, realize that overloads are easily correctable with some reconfiguration.

Usually outages occur when a single circuit is overloaded, so homeowners can work to utilize their circuits that are under less use by moving new devices into these other parts of the house. If you don’t already have access to your home’s circuit map, it may be useful to create your own and then make a rough calculation to determine where you may be close to exceeding a circuit’s limitation (for more information on how to create a circuit map, check out this guide from experts at the Family Handyman).

One final point regarding electrical concerns: keep in mind that if guests bring their pets along for the trip, extra precautions may be needed to tuck cords and Christmas lights away from easy access. Cats and dogs are notorious for letting their curiosity get the better of them. In this case, it may be better to help them avoid a shocking life lesson.

Cook with Ambition (and Prepare a Backup)
Family reunions tend to be accompanied by an anticipated feast, and as the host, it’s not out of the ordinary to try new things. Broadening your cooking horizons is a great idea! But for those that are particularly inexperienced in the kitchen, take some time to review a few basic cooking safety tips before diving head first into that new recipe.

Start off by confirming that your emergency equipment is working properly (meaning your smoke alarm, fire extinguisher, and first aid kit). Then, make sure you are appropriately attired for the job - that means no dangling necklaces or loose-fitting clothing that could get tangled up in the activity. Finally, most kitchen fires occur simply due to leaving food unattended. Limit distractions and maybe recruit a cooking partner, then have at it (and review some extra cooking safety tips per the Red Cross)!

As a final note, although fumbling a new recipe and having to pivot to a tried-and-true backup can be disappointing, remember that the main point of the holidays is to enjoy each other’s company. Best of luck!

From everyone here at National Property Inspections, we wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year!

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