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Helpful Homeowner Hacks: Common Home Emergencies And How To Avoid Them

When you’re a homeowner, the last thing you want is an expected disaster to put your safety or your prized possessions at risk. Sometimes, accidents are inevitable. But often, these are steps you can take to protect your home and keep your family safe from harm. Here are some of the most common home emergencies and some hacks to help you avoid them.




The most common home emergencies and how to prevent them

Plumbing problems
Plumbing problems, like blocked pipes and leaks, are very common. In minor cases, it may be possible to attempt repairs yourself. However, if you’re not confident, or the issue is more complex, call a professional plumber. If you try and flex your DIY plumbing skills, and you get it wrong, you could cause even more damage.

Possible causes of plumbing issues include blocked drains and gutters, holes in the roof and eroded pipes. If you think leaks may be linked to roofing issues, call some local roofing firms and ask for quotes. It’s best to deal with roofing problems as soon as possible, especially with winter approaching. In the fall, leaves fall from the trees, and this can result in blocked drains and packed gutters. Make sure you check guttering on a regular basis. If you have trees in your driveway, it may be worth investing in a leaf blower.


House fires
Fire is incredibly dangerous. Even the smallest fire can get out of control very quickly. If you have a fire at home, don’t hesitate to call the emergency services. In some cases, it may be possible to use a fire extinguisher or a fire blanket to dampen flames. However, if the fire is beyond your control, don’t attempt to put it out. Leave the building as quickly as you can. Don’t waste time trying to get possessions out of your home.

The most common causes of house fires are leaving appliances, such as hair straighteners on, and cooking incidents. If you’re using heated styling products, always make sure you switch them off at the socket. You can now buy appliances that have an auto shut-off switch. If you’re cooking, never leave the stove unattended. Keep an eye on children and pets. Take care when you’re working with high-fat ingredients. Use an extractor fan to reduce smoke and improve ventilation. Candles and cigarettes are other causes of house fires. If you’re burning candles, make sure they are on a level, solid surface. Don’t light candles close to soft furnishings or textiles. Try to avoid smoking indoors. If you are smoking, make sure you stub your cigarette out in an ashtray. Never leave matches or lighters lying around, especially if you have children. Make sure you check your smoke alarms on a regular basis.

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Broken heating systems
It’s getting colder by the day, and the last thing you need is a broken furnace. When it’s chilly outside, you want your home to be a cozy haven where you can snuggle up and get warm. Sometimes, it’s impossible to predict problems with your furnace. But regular checks can help to reduce the risk of emergencies. If you do find yourself in a situation where the heating is broken, you may need urgent help. You don’t want to be sat at home shivering wearing hundreds of layers. If you’re looking for emergency repairs, you’ll find advice online at AcademyAir.com/services/residential/emergency/. Often, you can get same-day or next day services.

Sometimes, problems are a one-off. However, if you have recurrent issues, it may be time to start thinking about replacing the furnace. Heating systems have a shelf life, and if you have an old furnace, it may only have given up the ghost. New devices can be expensive, but they’ll save you money on callouts and repairs in the long run. You can also enjoy peace of mind that your home will be lovely and warm during the holidays.


Break-ins
We all like to think of our homes as safe havens. However, even the most fortress-like property may be targeted by thieves. If you come home one day to find the locks bust and items missing, call the police immediately. The sooner you report the crime, the sooner the police can start looking for suspects. Take a tour of your home, and note down everything that is missing. Take photographs of damage to doors and windows. This information could prove useful for police investigations. It will also help with your insurance claims.

Sadly, it’s not possible to prevent every break-in. However, there are things you can do to try and make your home a tough nut to crack. In many cases, thieves look for easy targets. If you leave windows and doors open, for example, they view this as an open invitation. Never leave keys or valuable items are given windows or doors. Lock up before you go out or go to bed, and invest in security measures. CCTV, outdoor lights and burglar alarms can all act as deterrents. If you have a dog, this can also put thieves off.

When you’re going away, don’t forget to cancel deliveries, and ask your neighbors to keep an eye on your home. Keep a car out on the driveway, and ask a friend to pop and collect your mail.

If there is a neighborhood watch scheme in your area, join it. Your neighbors can be a valuable asset when it comes to protecting your home, especially if you travel a lot.

Check out http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/real-estate/articles/2008/10/30/8-easy-and-cheap-ways-to-prevent-home-theft for more tips to prevent burglaries.


Flooding
The weather can be unpredictable at the best of times. As we approach winter, many of us are anticipating storms, cold climes, and high winds. Even if you don’t live on or near a floodplain, there may still be a risk of flooding. Torrential rain can wreak havoc, especially in low-lying areas. If there are weather warnings in place, make sure you follow advice and pay attention. Lay out some sandbags at the base of the building, and move valuables upstairs. Turn off power supplies. If you’ve been advised to evacuate, don’t try and tough it out. Advice is issued for your safety. You may not want to leave your home, but your safety should be your priority.

If your home has been damaged by flooding, you can often claim on your home insurance. Make sure the property is safe and secure before you return home. There may be hidden dangers, such as sharp items. In cases of severe flooding, the water may be polluted, and there may be structural damage. It’s wise to seek professional advice before you move back in. You may need to stay with friends or family or book a hotel room for a couple of nights in the meantime.

If you live in an area prone to flooding, it may be worth looking into preventative measures. You can buy absorbent floorboards and air bricks, for example.

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Getting locked out
Every year, thousands of people get locked out of their homes. Usually, this involves misplacing your keys or arriving home when your partner has already locked up and gone to bed. Many people also get locked out when they take the trash out or pop and get something out of the car. If you do get locked out, don’t panic. If there’s a ground floor window open, you may be able to climb in. Alternatively, the back door may be open. If there’s no obvious entry route, call a locksmith. They can open the door and let you in. To prevent this from happening, leave the latch on if you’re doing something in the driveway or backyard. If you’re going out for the night, make sure you have a set of keys with you.


Gas leak
A gas leak is a severe problem. If you smell gas, or you think you may have a leak at home, don’t hesitate to seek urgent help from your gas supplier. If there’s a chance of a leak, you’ll need to switch your gas supply off as quickly as possible. In most cases, you’ll find the valve in the meter box, which may be outside. If you have a gas stove or a gas fire, make sure you’re aware of the location of the emergency control valve. Once you’ve turned the supply off, open all your doors and windows. It’s essential that you don’t use any electrical items or touch any switches. Refrain from smoking and extinguish candles.

If you have a gas leak, or you have problems with your furnace, there’s a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is often branded a silent killer. This is because it has no smell or color. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include dizziness, severe headaches, and fatigue. Bear in mind that this can also affect pets, so look out for unusual behavior.

To prevent gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning, book regular checks for appliances and heating systems. You should also have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted at home. This will alert you if levels of carbon monoxide are dangerously high.


None of us want to be confronted with emergency issues at home. Sadly, you never know when things may go wrong. Hopefully, this guide will help you to minimize the risk of home disasters, and keep you safe, warm and healthy.

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