The Manuel Builders Blog

Blog Archive for November, 2017

5 Holiday Hot Spots in Your Home

Categories: Home Safety, Other | Posted: November 23, 2017
It’s easy to forget about or even brush off fire safety during the busy and stressful holiday months whilst shopping, cooking and spending time with family. According to the National Fire Protection Association, home fires occur most often during the winter months so before baking the pecan pie and rocking around the Christmas tree, take some time to check out these fire safety tips.

 

Know The Facts

One of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems. A heat source that is too close to the tree causes one in every four of Christmas tree fires. December is the peak time for home candle fires and one-third of all candle fires start in the bedroom.

Oh, Christmas Tree

Natural trees should be cut at a 45-degree angle at the base then placed in water. Tree stands should be filled with water at all times and when the tree becomes dry, discard it right away because once your Christmas tree becomes dry, it’s chances of catching fire increases greatly. It’s also important to place the tree away from any heat source including fires, candles, and space heaters.

Smart Decorations

When hanging lights either on your Christmas tree or on the exterior of your house, make sure to check the strings for wear and tear, throwing away any with frayed wires, broken bulbs or faulty sockets. Remember not to pile on a lot of plugs onto one power strip or extension cord, this includes stringing three or more strands of lights together. When hanging lights outside, avoid using nails or staples as it could damage the integrity of the lights. Also, only use non-flammable or flame-retardant decorations as it can prevent a fire from growing rapidly should one break out.

Kitchen Time

The heart of your home can get pretty wild around the holidays when you’re preparing the perfect dinner for your family and it’s easy to become distracted and forget about a certain dish on the stove. The NFPA says that unattended cooking is the #1 cause of kitchen fires. Be certain to stay present while you’re cooking and keep distractions to a minimum. If you must leave the room, take a pot-holder with you so you don’t forget that you have a dish in the oven. Also, keep kitchen clutter off the counter, especially flammables like towels, paper, plastic containers and cooking utensils, away from the stove.

Watch Your Wicks

During the Holiday months, candles set the atmosphere and give a sweet aroma that just makes it feel like Christmas time but the incidence of candle fires is four times higher during December than during other months. To reduce the risk of fire, keep candles at least a foot away from anything that can burn and make sure it’s placed on a sturdy base. Try to remember and remind your family to only have candles burning in a common room like the living room or kitchen (away from flammables) so the flame is never left unattended. It’s a good practice to walk through each room before bed and before leaving home to make sure there’s no candles still burning. Also, consider battery-operated and LED lights as they can look & smell like real candles.

Check the Basics

Install smoke detectors on every level of the home, outside of sleeping areas and inside the bedrooms. Make sure your smoke detectors are up-to-date and have working batteries by testing each one monthly. In addition to the kitchen, you should have a fire extinguisher next to the front and rear exits of the house, in the hallway and on every level of your home. It’s also important to develop and practice a house fire escape plan with your family.

Get Your Kids Involved

It’s important that children know the importance of fire safety. Get them involved by printing out fire-safety coloring pages and explain things that they should and should not do around fire. Organize a fire evacuation plan with your family – make sure they know the fastest way to escape, helping younger siblings if they’re in the same room, and instructing them how to move around the house. If they’re in the bedroom with no way to get out the door, make sure they know how to open their own window and other windows around the house. Designate a specific meeting spot where the entire family can meet up to ensure everyone is safe.

For more information about house fires around the holidays visit, www.usfa.fema.gov
Source: National Fire Protection Association

Bi-Annual Maintenance

Categories: FAQs | Posted: November 10, 2017

Part of being a new homeowner means having to learn the basics of maintaining your home to prevent larger problems in the future. Below are some of the basic homeowner maintenance items that we encourage all of our new homeowners to perform on a bi annual basis.

  • Clean out your gutters and downspouts from all debris build up. Water will always find a path to trickle down.. If your gutters and downspouts remain clogged with leaves or twigs, the water will eventually back up and could potentially begin seeping into your home.
  • Maintain exposed wood with a clear sealant i.e. exterior beams, posts and doors. The harsh weather here in Louisiana can quickly break down any exposed wood if not properly sealed.
  • Inspect outside of home for the condition of siding, paint, masonry, stucco and wood trim. Take a step back and look at your home from afar. We can sometimes miss the bigger picture by trying to dig in too deep. Look for chips, cracks, and fading of paint. Touching these up continuously can be much easier and cost effective than trying to do many touch ups or repairs all at one time when they pile up.
  • Check A/C pan and hot water pan for signs of water then flush the drain lines. Simply pouring a bit of bleach through these lines to break down any debris that could potentially cause a clog. This can be a huge factor in preventing more costly damages.
  • Make sure to check your smoke detectors and replace the battery, if necessary. Your detectors will notify you when it is time to change the battery. Just listen for the beep!

To check out the items needed to maintain on a monthly and annual basis, check out our full maintenance video here.