Although the last of the snow may not yet have graced us with its final presence, there is no doubt that spring is in the air. As the weather begins to warm, there is no better time than now to do the following maintenance recommendations for your house:
- Replace or clean your furnace filter
It should be checked once a month and replaced or cleaned as needed. Some filters are reusable and are supposed to be taken out, washed with a hose, and re-inserted. A dirty filter can lower the efficiency of the heating/cooling system, increase heating costs, and cause fires.
- Clean the kitchen exhaust hood and air filter
Keeping this clean of cooking grease will help keep a stovetop fire from spreading.
- Check your electrical system
Look for burn marks at the main electrical panel; they can be a sign of arcing inside the panel, which can easily lead to a fire. Loose connections or damaged insulation can cause the arcing.
Note: Only a qualified electrician should remove the front panel cover.
- Trip and reset the circuit breakers regularly
Remove any combustible materials such as paper boxes or flammable liquids from the area near the main electrical panel. Sparks caused by arcing inside the panel can ignite material stored nearby. If you feel that your home might benefit from an electrical panel upgrade in the not too distant future, you may wish to start doing some research to find the details of an electrician who may be able to do this for you.
- Check all electrical outlets for loose-fitting plugs
They are an indication of a worn out receptacle. Worn receptacles should be replaced as they cause overheating and fires. Also check electrical outlets and switches to be sure they work properly. If any switches, outlets, or receptacles do not work, have a qualified electrician determine the problem and fix it to avoid fires inside the walls of your home.
- Install safety covers to help protect children from electrical shock
Any appliance or tool that gives even the slightest shock should be unplugged and checked by an electrician or repair shop.
- Make sure the light bulbs in all your fixtures are the correct wattage
The light fixture manufacturer recommends the correct wattage. If too high a wattage bulb is used in a light fixture, heat produced inside the fixture can lead to fire inside the fixture, ceiling, or wall.
- Consider installing a lightning protection system on your home
- Protect all your electrical appliances from power surges and lightning
Read more at: How to Choose Lightning and Surge Protection for Your Home.
- Always have a multi-purpose fire extinguisher accessible
Make sure it is Underwriters Laboratories (UL) listed or Factory Mutual (FM) approved. Check the gauges to make sure they are charged and ready to use.
- Review your fire escape plan with your family
- Run through a severe-weather drill with your family