It’s hard to believe, but the holiday season is just around the corner. Whether you’ll be quietly celebrating during this festive time or entertaining a house full of guests, you’ll want to follow some guidelines to keep everyone safe and comfortable.
With everything else you’ll have going on, you probably don’t want to add anything to your to-do list, but with a little foresight and planning, you can make sure that everything goes smoothly. The last thing you need is for disaster to strike (or your furnace to break down) during the holidays!
They say there’s no place like home for the holidays. That’s partially because we go to great lengths to decorate our homes and get into the spirit. Whether you hang lights, put up a tree, or light the menorah, it’s always a good idea to put safety first!
- Check all holiday lights for any signs of damage before plugging them in.
- Keep freshly-cut Christmas trees from drying out by refilling the stand every day.
- Set up your menorah in a safe spot, away from fabrics, pets, and children.
- Don’t leave lit candles unattended.
- Avoid using extension cords in high-traffic areas where people could trip.
Decorations are meant to bring joy, happiness, and meaning to the holiday season. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the risk they can pose, too.
- Lighting equipment or electrical distribution is involved in 43% of home Christmas tree fires.
- 40% of Christmas tree fires start in the living room, family room, or den.
- The top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and New Year’s Eve.
Yes, this topic is somber and sobering, and no one wants to put a damper on your celebrations, but knowing the facts, however, can save people’s lives — including your family. Stay alert, stay safe.
One of the best things about this time of year is the food. From hearty breakfasts to traditional dinner feasts, walk into most homes and you’ll be hit with sweet and savory aromas. While this is an important part of the holidays, practicing kitchen safety is crucial. After all, house fires caused by cooking are most likely to happen on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day!
- Avoid leaving the house with a turkey in the oven.
- Never use a slow cooker that is damaged.
- Don’t overfill a pan or fryer with too much oil.
- Keep pot and pan handles facing the inside of the stove so that kids can’t grab them.
- Use the ventilation hood to direct steam and smoke outside of your home.
We’re all excited for the good eats and treats we get to sample during the holidays, but make sure your cooking preparation includes practical safety measures.
Indoor Air Quality
During the cooler months, when we tend to keep our doors and windows shut tight, you can’t overestimate the significance of good indoor air quality. Things can get a little stuffy or musty inside your home, especially if you have a house full of guests. Here are some things you can do to clear the air during the holidays:
- Change your HVAC air filter at least every 30 days.
- Dust and vacuum your whole home regularly.
- Keep cigarette smoke outside your home.
- Manage the humidity inside your home.
- Invest in an air purifier.
- Let fresh air in, when you can.
- Ask guests to remove their shoes before entering your home.
It’s a good idea to do all of these things year round, of course, but it’s even more important during the busy holiday season.
Fire Escape Plan
No one ever expects a fire to break out, but sadly, they do. In addition to potentially destroying your home, house fires put your entire family at risk. Tragically, house fires happen more often and are most deadly during the holiday season. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working.
- Identify all possible exits and escape routes in your home.
- Come up with a plan as a family and discuss with guests.
- Draw a floor plan for young children.
- Practice the escape plan/have fire drills regularly.
- Choose a meeting spot outside of the home.
- Assign the safety of young children to adults.
- Make sure your house number is visible from the road.
Hopefully, you will never have to use your fire escape plan, but having one in place could be a genuine lifesaver. When your family and guests know what to do if an alarm goes off, you’ll all have a better chance of making it out alive.
One of the most overlooked resources for holiday safety is your local HVAC service and repair company. We can perform a number of tasks to ensure that things run as smoothly as possible this time of year — so you can focus on the good stuff!
- Prevent breakdowns by having your HVAC unit serviced.
- Have your air ducts cleaned to improve air quality and reduce fire risk.
- Install a whole home humidifier for maximum comfort.
W.G. Speeks has worked with residents in the Greater Richmond Region for more than 75 holiday seasons to keep their HVAC systems running efficiently. We offer a no-risk, free consultation with our NATE-certified technicians. We’d love to hear from you — give us a call today!