The holiday season is a special time for families in the home. With decorating, baking and wrapping presents together, winter can be warmer in the home than any other season. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we can sometimes overlook safety in the home, which can easily turn a wonderful season into a stressful one. With these three safety tips, you can keep your home safe for the holidays with just a few simple precautions.
• Stay Secure
Many vandals and career criminals know that the holiday season is a windfall for expensive gifts and electronics. Be extra vigilant when it comes to locking doors and windows when you leave the house and at night. Even during the day it’s a good idea to be cautious and take note of anything suspicious in your neighbourhood. Keep an eye on your neighbours’ homes, especially if you know that they will be out of town for the holiday season.
• Be Aware
It’s probably not ideal to leave a large pile of wrapped gifts in a visible area of your home, as these may entice burglars or people who are casing your neighbourhood to break in. Be aware of any known scams that are happening in your area as well. Criminals sometimes pose as delivery people or service people in order to gain access or knowledge about homes. The same idea is used in charity scams where criminals go door to door to collect support for a charity, only to pocket the proceeds. Always ask for proper identification before talking with anyone, or don’t open your door to strangers at all.
• Double Check
Your decorations have been sitting in storage for nearly a year. Before you mount those lights, be sure to thoroughly inspect them for loose or frayed wires, which can start a fire. Always ensure that your tree is well-watered so that it remains lush and green instead of drying out, which can also pose a fire-hazard. It’s also a good idea to secure your tree and double-check it to prevent children, pets or the elderly from being hurt or knocking it over.
Winter is a rough time on the wallet. Between the lights and decorations of the holiday season, the gifts and the expenses that come with heating and lighting your home through the long winter evenings, it’s imperative to find ways to cut your electricity bill. The truth is that with just a few simple changes, you can make a difference in tackling any excess energy that your family is using this winter.
Turn Down The Heat
One of the main culprits of energy use is the furnace or heater in your home. When you’re at home, a good practice is to wear a sweater or curl up into a big blanket instead of cranking your heat. Don’t heat your home when you’re not there if you’re looking to save on spending this winter; turn your heater on when you get home and you’ll find that you’re warm in no time.
Many of us don’t think much about the hot water that we use throughout the day. Between baths and showers, dishes, laundry and other household chores, we pay to heat a LOT of water. Do your best to take short showers instead of baths, or consider switching to a low-flow shower head to regulate your water use throughout a day. Before running a washer or dishwasher, ensure that you have a full load to avoid heating more water than is necessary.
Avoid Prime Time Energy Use
You may not realize it, but using your appliances throughout the energy rush hour (between 7am-10pm and 4pm-7pm) can actually set you back. Some energy companies are charging you a premium for your prime time energy use. Make an effort to do chores in non-peak times to avoid using too much energy in a day.
Fight The Drafts and Filter The Furnace
Using weather stripping or even plastic on single-paned windows can mean a much warmer home. If you find and fill small holes in your windows and doors, you can fight the drafts and use far less heat throughout the day. Remember to check your furnace filter on a regular basis as well. A well-filtered furnace will save you a lot on heating your home over the winter.