If you’re a new homeowner or living in an outdated home, you could be putting you and your family at significant risk if you haven’t reviewed your home’s safety. Regular safety checks can help keep your home safe, but sometimes you need to do a little more.
Smoke detectors may be one of the most ubiquitous safety devices in existence. Still, smoke alarms sound in only 53% of house fires; three out of five fire-related deaths occurred in homes that were either missing alarms entirely or had fire alarms that failed to operate due to faulty wiring, dead batteries, or incorrect installation.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Carbon monoxide (CO) can be just as deadly as smoke and fire. Carbon monoxide is emitted from fuel-burning devices like your stove, furnace, or fireplace. CO-related deaths are highest in winter, when low ventilation and high furnace use increase the likelihood of a dangerous leak. Symptoms are flu-like, and infants and the elderly are most at risk from CO poisoning.
Home Security Systems
In 2016, over 33,000 Ontario residences were broken into. A home security system or home surveillance system can prevent thousands of dollars in losses, making it a sound investment for most homeowners.
The newest crop of AI-powered units are great upgrades, especially for homes with outdated security systems, and they avoid the costly subscription plans associated with monitoring systems. These systems can notify your smartphone when an anomalous individual is detected, and the best systems can even contact first responders autonomously.
Asbestos, Mould, and Toxins
Unlike carbon monoxide and burglars, which arrive in your home unexpectedly, asbestos, mould, and other chemical toxins may already be present, especially in older homes. Depending on your home’s vintage and former occupants, these materials may place your family at risk and should be assessed immediately.
Asbestos is a major threat in homes constructed prior to its ban in Ontario in 1979. Popcorn ceilings and insulation are common applications for asbestos fibers, and any new construction or renovation can disturb these materials and cause significant inhalation risks. Asbestos should be removed immediately by a certified asbestos abatement contractor.
Mould is another common hazard usually caused by dampness inside or outside of your home. Mould of any kind should be removed to avoid health risks. Installing a dehumidifier or ventilation fan can remove moisture from basements or bathrooms to prevent new growth.
Toxins left over from drug production are less common, but potentially life-threatening as the toxins can lie dormant underneath floors and inside walls for years. If you’re concerned, you can have your home tested for the presence of methamphetamine and other drugs for an affordable fee. Former marijuana grow-operation properties also pose serious health risks to unwary home buyers, owners and occupants. Once thought to be exclusive to low income housing, grow-ops now exist in most Ontario neighborhoods, regardless of location or value.
Not only is your home probably your largest investment, it’s also the place where you and your loved ones spend most of your time. Frequent safety checks are important but if you feel out of your element make sure you consult an experienced professional.
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