MOBILE, AL (Nov. 30, 2015) – The holiday season undoubtedly brings excitement and joy to many, but it can often wreak havoc on the home and homeowner. From decorating injuries to house fires to frozen pipes, there are plenty of opportunities for disaster to strike. Media personality and home expert Danny Lipford takes the mystery and stress out of holiday preparations, and offers tried-and-true advice to avoid home mishaps and enjoy all the season has to offer.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, 30 percent of home fires occur during the months of December, January and February – many resulting from beloved holiday traditions. Lipford advises there are basic preventative measures any homeowner can take to guard against fire:
- Choose a safe tree. Live trees should have fresh needles that bend instead of break at the touch. They should be kept well-hydrated and away from any heat source. Artificial trees should be labeled “fire resistant” and come with an Underwriters Laboratory (UL) seal indicating that proper wiring is in place for all lighting.
- Don’t mess around with electricity. Discard any holiday lights with broken bulbs, frayed wires or cracked sockets. Pay attention to the guidelines for the number of strands that should be connected, and be sure to connect lights to a circuit that has Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protection to reduce the risk not only of fire, but also electric shock. When using outdoor lights ensure they are rated for outdoor use, and use plastic hooks or fasteners – never metal. Put lights on a timer or ensure they are turned off, both indoor and outdoor, before going to bed or leaving the home.
To further protect against home fires, Lipford recommends having up-to-date, functional smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed in the home. “If you have an alarm that is ten years or older, it’s time to replace it,” says Lipford. “With technology always on the move, there are some fantastic options available to homeowners today, including alarms that can be synced to your smartphone or other device. If any activity is detected in the home, you receive remote notification immediately via text or email.”
Decorating injuries send nearly 6,000 people to the emergency room each year during the holidays. Lipford offers several strategies to keep homeowners safe at home, and avoid hospital visits:
- Use math, yes, MATH! When using a ladder to hang decorations, position the ladder using a 1:4 ratio. Move the ladder 1 foot away from the home (or other structure) for every 4 feet in height that you will climb. Placing pads on the feet of the ladder will offer added traction and prevent slipping. Avoid stepping on the top rung of any ladder to maintain balance.
- Add texture to outdoor steps and surfaces. Gluing or adding self-adhesive, anti-skid strips to stairs and walkways are a great way to avoid slips and falls during the holidays and winter weather.
Finally, Lipford offers several preventative measures homeowners can take to avoid other common holiday disasters:
- Take care of the pipes. Don’t let frozen or burst pipes put a damper on holiday festivities. Insulate any pipes that are exposed, utilizing snap-on insulation or a recycled pool noodle. Let pipes drip to prevent freezing and open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow heat from the home to warm pipes.
- Don’t skip the annual checkup. “Calling in a professional to service your heating system is one of the best pieces of advice I can offer,” says Lipford. “I have seen so many home debacles stem from avoiding this one, important checkup. It’s a simple thing to do and can save homeowners time, money and headaches.” A professional will ensure the system is clean and operating safely and efficiently.
About Danny Lipford
Danny Lipford is a 36-year veteran remodeling contractor and media personality known to audiences as Host of the Emmy-nominated and nationally-syndicated home improvement TV show and nationally-syndicated radio show “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford.” Lipford served as the home improvement expert for CBS’s “The Early Show” and The Weather Channel for over a decade and has made more than 160 national television appearances. Lipford has been a longtime contributor to Better Homes and Gardens magazine and BHG.com, and continues to serve as a source for hundreds of other popular magazines and news outlets each year. Visit www.AboutDannyLipford.com to learn more.
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