Hidden Dangers in Your Home

We are becoming more and more concerned with security. Crime rates are high and its not safe to leave your door unlocked anymore, even if rural areas. It hasn’t been for a while now. It seems there is a terrorist warning every other day and our children are in more danger than ever.

We spend so much time thinking about the danger outside our home we forget that there are dangers within our homes that no locked door can stop. I don’t mean to sound so sinister but there are things within your home you need to keep your eyes on.

Your Dryer Vent

Last year my dryer decided to become temperamental. It worked half of the time and other times it would just quit heating up. The repairman could find nothing wrong with the dryer or the gas connection. Looking back it was a good thing it quit working! A fluttering sound near my bathtub was the big tip off. Our dryer vent ran behind the tub and apparently there was a bird’s nest in there. This could have caused a huge problem and was a fire hazard.

Most dryers have a screen to catch the lint but it is far from perfect. A certain amount will escape the screen and venture out your vent. This lint will then build up within the vent and becomes a big risk for fire. If too much lint builds up it creates blockage. The hot air can then cause the lint to catch fire.

If your dryer seems to be taking longer to dry a load or not drying things completely as it once did, your vent may need to be cleaned. If your vent is not too long you should be able to purchase a tool to clean it out yourself. If it’s a long one you should hire a professional to clean it for you. Have this done at least once a year or more often as needed.

Always keep up with recalls and do an Internet search on your dryer brand. It wouldn’t hurt to do so for all appliances in your home. Never leave the dryer running while you are away from home or sleeping. If there is a problem and a fire occurs it is best you are present and awake so it can be dealt with swiftly.

Carbon Monoxide

This problem has gotten more press recently but a lot of families still don’t know the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home. Death can occur when this gas builds up in the home. Because it is odorless many have no idea it’s built up to dangerous levels in their homes.

This gas can come from leaving a car running in an attached garage or from improperly operating appliances. CO can also build up in your home if your chimney flue is not properly opened when in use. Using kerosene heaters in homes without proper ventilation can also lead to CO build up relatively quickly.

The best defense is to have your appliances checked yearly to be sure they are functioning properly. Never have an open flame in your home and never idle your car in your garage. Purchase a CO monitor for your home that detects CO at low levels. Be sure to test it regularly.

Your Heating System

Your home heating systems consists of the heater, pipes or ducts and chimneys. Many people use their heating only part of the year and forget that problems can occur when it is not in use.

Chimneys need to be kept clean and free of debris. Fires can happen if there is an accumulation of soot or other materials inside the chimney. Blockage can also cause smoke or gases for be pushed back into your home.

The heater itself should be checked for working pilot lights or frayed wires. Wood stoves should be thoroughly cleaned. It is recommended you have your heating system checked over by a professional once a year, preferably before you turn it on for the first time in the fall or winter.

Mold

Mold left growing unchecked in a house can be dangerous to your family’s health. Homes may have minor amounts of mold that go unnoticed and are harmless. This becomes a problem when conditions are ripe for mold to thrive and it spreads. Mold spores in the air can cause allergic reactions, asthma and infections. Symptoms of mold exposure include cough, sore throat, respiratory infections, confusion, irritability, fever, headaches or difficulty breathing.

Molds grow in areas where there is plenty of water at its disposal. If you have recently had water damage be sure to check for mold. Leaking pipes, moist bathrooms and humidifiers can also create an environment for mold to thrive.

Small amounts of mold can be cleaned up by removing the moldy material and disinfecting the area. Use gloves and a breathing mask and make sure you remove all of it. If the area with mold is bigger than three by three feet you will need to find a professional to take care of the problem for you.

Lead Paint

If your home was built before the year 1980 you may have lead paint. Lead paint is a huge concern for families with children. Lead can affect family members of any age but children are at a higher risk. Even if child doesn’t put paint chips in their mouth they can still breath in particles of paint as it deteriorates.

If you think there is even the slightest chance you have lead based paint in your home you should have it looked as soon as possible. The paint will need to be removed for the sake of your family’s health.

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