Homeownership Tips
Home Should Be Your Sanctuary: 3 Things To Do Right Now To Keep Yours Safe

If Punxsutawney Phil’s Groundhog Day prediction is accurate, we can expect continued wintery weather over the next few weeks as we inch toward Spring Equinox on March 20. While many of us will remain hunkered down for the near term awaiting warmer temperatures, it’s important to be mindful of seasonal hazards in the home that too often go unnoticed and unaddressed.

Exercise Due Diligence with Décor

As spring approaches, refreshing the home with new and repurposed décor is something many homeowners look forward to. Décor, however, can be dangerous.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than two out of every five fires spurred by décor happen because of placement in close proximity to a heat source. To avoid starting a fire in your own home, be mindful to place curtains, throw blankets, and other incendiary items at least three feet away from fireplaces, baseboards and space heaters. If you fawn over live flora, be fastidious about watering. Dry plants, and particularly those with needles, are more likely to ignite.

While candles provide a cozy ambiance on cold winter days, they are also a cause for concern. Unsurprisingly, more than one-third of home decoration fires are started by candles. Never leave candles unattended and be sure to extinguish them before going to bed. And if you’re someone who leaves decorative lights up year-round, check for loose bulbs and cords. Exposed wiring and otherwise damaged light strings are common ignition sources.

There’s a heightened risk for house fires when a variety of heat and light sources are used to keep warm during the winter. It’s critical that you test your home’s smoke alarms to ensure they’re working properly and can alert you in the event of a fire. It’s also important to have an evacuation plan. Make sure all of the members of your household are clear on escape routes and designate a family meeting place away from the home to confirm that everyone is safe and accounted for.

Before You Make Your Spring Getaway

 Whether you have young children who have an upcoming week off of school, or the freezing temperatures of the past few months have you dreaming of escaping to a warm weather destination, part of planning to be away from your home for an extended period of time includes thinking about how to best protect it in your absence.

Homes that appear empty are a prime target for thieves. Whole home protection, like SimpliSafe, offers homeowners peace of mind while being a deterrent from porch pirates and other opportunistic individuals. If you’re a first-time homebuyer, take advantage of PrimeLending’s limited time offer with the award-winning home security provider and snag a free 7-piece SimpliSafe security system that includes key security components such as an indoor camera, a motion sensor, and entry sensors, as well as two complimentary months of SimpliSafe’s most comprehensive 24/7 monitoring, perfect for alerting the police in the event of a break-in.

Other tips for protecting your property include adding timers to outdoor and indoor lights, asking a trusted contact to collect mail and packages while you’re away, and not sharing on social media that you’re out of town.

Be Wary of Bad Weather

Some parts of the country are seeing remarkable amounts of snow this winter. Boston, Massachusetts, for example, tied its single-day snowfall total in January with more than 23 inches! While backyard snowman building and sledding are likely at the top of many winter wish lists, homeowners need to be mindful of responsibilities related to seasonal precipitation.

While laws vary by states and towns, homeowners are typically liable if an individual is injured on their property due to negligence. As a homeowner, it is almost always your responsibility to adequately remove snow and ice from your walkways, driveway and other parking areas. Be cognizant, too, of ice that forms on windowsills, garage eaves, roofs, chimneys and other elevated areas. As temperatures warm, falling ice and snow presents a significant hazard.

In addition to clearing snow, using ice melt helps prevent slips and falls. Consumer Reports suggests mixing it with sand for maximum effectiveness and applying it in layers before and during storms.

For the most accurate information about requirements related to snow and ice, as well as property maintenance and upkeep, review your homeowner’s policy and consult with your local government.

Part of making sure your home is a refuge year-round – including during the winter – is knowing that it’s protected. If you’re interested in how to best protect one of your most valuable assets and learn more about SimpliSafe’s full suite of products, visit SimpliSafe.com.

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Written By Mandy Jordan