Here in the Northwest we’ve had quite a variety of weather this fall – from beautiful sunny days, to torrential rain, high surf and gusty winds. It’s typical weather for fall and winter, and a good reminder that taking care of our homes before we have a storm-related problem makes riding out the nasty weather much easier.
Below are some great tips for protecting your home – and family – this winter.
1. Adequate lighting: When the power goes out, flashlights are much safer than candles! Even better, purchase battery-operated lanterns … they’ll provide a lot more light and you can place them on tables and counters. They come in many sizes, from small ones that you can put in a drawer or carry in your car, to large ones that can light up your bathroom.
2. Gutters: Take the time to either clean our your gutters – or hire it done. Between spring and fall, leaves and other tree debris collects in your gutters, clogging them up and creating dams at drain points. Another worry – when gutters are heavy with debris and not securely attached to the eves of your house, high winds can rip gutters right off and send them flying.
3. Fire and CO2 alarms: To be on the safe side, replace alarm batteries every winter and summer. Risking a failed battery could be risking a life … changing out batteries costs very little and takes just a few minutes.
4. CO2 placement: If your garage is attached to your house, be sure to put an alarm near the door between garage and house.
5. Look for tripping hazards. While you might know where something is during the day (and you instinctively avoid it), when the power goes out and your house is dark it’s easy to forget where those trip hazards are. Emergency rooms and medical treatment are often the next stop for people who trip in the dark.
6. Space heaters: If you use space heaters for extra warmth, check the plug and cord for any fraying and keep a 3′ radius clear all the way around the heater. We often hear about space heater-ignited fires where the heater has either malfunctioned or had something ignitable laying against it. Consider replacing your older space heaters with new models which have a safety switch that shuts the unit off if it tips over.
7. Slippery surfaces: In the Northwest, decks, walkways and driveways are notorious for becoming slippery due to a build up of moss. (Even if you can’t see it, microscopic moss is probably there!) In most cases a pressure-washer will do a great job of cleaning surfaces – if you need more help use only environmentally-friendly products.
8. Exterior lighting: Especially during the fall and winter when we’re living in up to 15 hours of darkness a day, consider exterior lighting that either is set on a timer, or has a motion-detector sensor. This is particularly important from a safety and security standpoint. Solar lighting is great during spring and summer, but it’s not terribly effective if there’s not enough light during the day.
If you’d like more ideas on keeping your family and home safe this winter, give one of our Windermere Whidbey Island brokers a call. They can put you in touch with home safety and maintenance experts from across Whidbey Island.