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Protect Your Best Investment this Holiday Season
By Philip Burum
Daylight Saving is over and while much of America is digging out their sleds and snow shovels, Southern Californians are still checking the weather reports to determine if they need to put on jackets before they leave the house.
However, major changes in our weather and having the holiday season on the horizon means that homeowners in the region will be looking to protect what will be for most of them the biggest and best investment they will make in their lifetimes – their home. So here are some suggestions to prepare your home, family and guests for a safe and happy holiday season.
Start by checking the coverage on your homeowner’s insurance. Too often this is one aspect of homeownership that is overlooked, so the beginning of the season offers a perfect opportunity to make sure that everything in your policy is up to date.
Fire is a big concern in California this time of year, so target any drying plants in your yard or any decorations such as Christmas tree and decorative lights (indoor and out), wreaths or menorahs this season. Place trees or wreaths at a safe distance from heat sources such as fireplaces, vents or windows with direct sunlight. Turn off lights when away or sleeping and always check electrical cords for wear and tear to replace any that are frayed or cracked even before you decorate. Then, check them intermittently throughout the season. Check any electrical cords in the yard that might get wet or attract animals and be sure to dial back your watering schedule.
Another important challenge during this season is protecting your home and family from burglars or porch pirates. Examine your home in the daylight and look at the outside of your home as a potential burglar would. Look for any landscaping elements such as shrubbery that could obscure somebody tampering with the entry points to your home; and cut them back.
Today, choices for security cameras, alarms and other devices used to discourage or prevent unwanted entry to your home are plentiful and reasonably inexpensive, so consider investing in security technology. Get to know your neighbors as they are often the best source of security you will find.
Make your house safe for guests this time of year. Start by examining all the exterior and interior pathways throughout and leading up to the house. Clear obstacles by relocating any furniture that might require maneuvering around and be sure that your outdoor walkways are cleared of any encroaching vegetation. Secure all floor coverings. Consider installing night lights in bathrooms, hallways near the guest bedrooms and kitchen. Make sure there is a lamp or light switch within easy reach of any guest bed.
Check any smoke or carbon monoxide alarms or fire extinguishers. Make sure they have sufficient charges to get you through the season.
Since the bulk of accidents in the home occur in the bathroom, make sure your showers and bathtubs have non-slip floors and consider enhancing traction by applying non-slip strips or a suction-attached non-slip mat. These preventative measures may seem minor but, preventing a stubbed toe or a fall in the shower will pay untold dividends in the form of enjoying your company rather than worrying over an unforeseen injury.
Spend some time before your holiday shopping to inspect any areas such as attics or garages in which you will be storing presents or unused summertime items. Make sure they are free of any flammable objects, materials or fluids; and are well-ventilated.
Most importantly, after the holiday season make sure you dispose of trees or other decorations properly. Never burn any part of a tree in the fireplace or wood stove. Recycling is the most environmentally-friendly method and many municipalities have rules about disposing of trees, so check with your local fire department or City Hall.
The BIA Baldy View Chapter seeks to advance the opportunity to attain the American Dream of home ownership. For additional information on homebuying, home improvements, the benefits of homeownership or home safety or maintenance, visit our www.BIABUILD.com website.