The National Safety Council has declared June “Home Safety Month” and it’s a great time to think about things you can do to keep yourself safe from indoor air pollution and protected from injury due to overconfidence in your do-it-yourself abilities.
Here are a few things to put on your “honey do” list:
- Keep your indoor air quality up to par by:
- Changing air filters regularly.
- Vacuuming the coils on your, furnace, refrigerator, and other appliances to reduce particulate matter in the air.
- Cleaning your humidifier and/or dehumidifier to eliminate potential mold and moisture.
- Ensuring all air vents, interior and exterior, are free of dust and debris.
- Getting a professional assessment of your air quality needs, and then installing an air cleaner, UV germicidal lamp, or air sterilizer as recommended.
- Ensuring that the air in your garage, along with its chemical and exhaust fumes, ventilates to the outdoors instead of into the house.
- Cleaning all ceiling fans so they don’t circulate dust and particulate matter throughout the house.
- Checking and changing batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors; dust thoroughly around the entire unit so the sensors are unobstructed.
Know your limits, DIY-wise:
- Are you a professional plumber? If not, don’t tackle any projects larger than changing a faucet or showerhead. Calling a plumber to do the job correctly the first time is significantly less expensive than calling a professional to do the job correctly and fix the damage you caused.
- Are you a licensed electrician? Changing a light switch or installing a ceiling fan is within the realm of many of us, as long as we take the proper precautions. Any other task is best left to a professional to avoid the very real chance of injury and serious damage to your home.
- Don’t move, repair, or replace any gas appliance without a professional. Gas lines are dangerous, gas leaks are difficult to detect, and carbon monoxide poisoning due to improperly vented gas appliances kills more than 400 people a year.
- Before you rent or buy a major power tool, be sure you know how to use it, or are under the guidance of someone who does. A welder is not a toy.
- Not many appliance involve razor-sharp blades that can cause serious injury if misused…so respect your garbage disposal:
- Run the disposal regularly to reduce buildup; use citrus peels to freshen the drain and ice to sharpen the blades
- Only use cold water when you run the disposal to reduce the chance of oils accumulating
- Put in small chunks one or two at a time to lessen the chance for a clog and to avoid overworking the disposal.
- Never put anything in the disposal that is not food.
- Don’t put grease or oil, cheese, bread, egg shells, potato or carrot peels, or any fibrous foods down; all will accumulate and clog the disposal.
- Never put your hand in a disposal until it is unplugged. If possible, use a flashlight and a pair of needle-nose pliers to retrieve whatever it is you need, instead of your hand.
- When in doubt of a clog, dropped object, or any other problem, call a professional.
Have a sunny, and safe, summer!