4 Tips for Planning a Summer Road Trip

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

Road trips allow you to enjoy the journey and not just the destination. However, planning for a road trip can be a daunting task, especially if you have never been on one yourself. With these four tips, you can make your road trip go smoothly while enjoying your vacation.
1. Plan Your Route and Stops Before You Start Your Trip

When you take a road trip, you will be spending a large amount of time in your car no matter how far you are going. Some people are able to spend eight or more hours in the car each day while others, especially children, may not have that sort of stamina. As such, knowing your main route and where you will be spending the night can help prevent stress, keep you on track and ensure that everyone can make it through the trip while enjoying themselves.

If you are using GPS-enabled devices, it is recommended that you bring two. GPS services can sometimes be inaccurate and can leave you in a lurch. Further, even though we live in the age of technology, bringing along an up-to-date paper map can be a life-saver if you find yourself lost without cell service or battery power. If you or your friends or family members do not know how to read a map, this is a great chance to learn.

2. Know Your Budget

Budgeting for a road trip is incredibly important. On top of budgeting for hotels, food, fun and souvenirs, you should also ensure that you have budgeted some emergency money in the event that something goes wrong with your car. You do not want a blown tire to be the end of your trip.

There are also a few ways you can save some money. Some phone apps and GPS devices can help you find the gas stations with the cheapest prices. Also, gas stations that are located at exits with multiple fast food restaurants often have lower prices due to the competition. When it comes to food, packing some snacks can help keep your food costs down. Visiting a fast-food restaurant or diner every time you are hungry can get expensive quickly.

3. Schedule Some Exploring Time

The best part about road trips is that you get to travel on roads you never would have traveled on otherwise. This means that you may come across national gems that you never knew existed. Depending on where you are going, some roadside attractions, like gem mines, living farms and specialty museums can take a few hours to visit.

Having some extra time in your schedule also allows for the unexpected. For example, you could encounter road construction, accidents and even unclear directions while you travel. Since you have the extra time available, you will not have to stress too much about getting behind schedule.

4. Get Some In-Vehicle Entertainment

Spending several days on the road can get boring pretty quickly, especially if you have little ones with you. While movies and video games are probably the easiest to throw in the car, kids can miss out on the sights. Bringing along books, non-messy supplies, like paper and colored pencils, and non-electronic games can help some of the time go by. Road trip bingo games are perfect for this, as it gets them interested in their surroundings while still occupying them.

Summer road trips are a fantastic way to experience more of the world first-hand. By using these tips, you can get a strong plan together that will allow you to remember your first road trip fondly.

 

Beat Heat Exhaustion and Dehydration by Staying Cool This Summer

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

There is no better way to enjoy the summer season than by spending your free time outside in the sun with your family. However, your summer fun could end in catastrophe if you and your loved ones are not careful when spending the day out in the heat.

Identifying Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion occurs when someone becomes dehydrated and ill due to heat. Some of the symptoms include headaches, vomiting, dizziness, muscle cramps, excessive sweating and fatigue, among others. If not treated, heat exhaustion can escalate to heat stroke, which is a potentially fatal medical emergency that can result in a coma or seizures.

If you suspect that someone is suffering from heat exhaustion, there are several steps that can be taken to cool the individual down:

  • The person should be moved to a shady place or indoors where air conditioning is available.
  • Any excess clothing should be removed to help the person feel more comfortable.
  • You can pour old water over the person from heat exhaustion. You can also pack icepacks around them if they are available.
  • If their symptoms persist or you cannot get them cooled down, it is essential to contact emergency services.

Identifying Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when someone’s body does not have enough water or electrolytes to function properly. Most of the body’s water is lost through sweating on hot days. Someone who is experiencing dehydration may have a number of symptoms, including sudden headaches, nausea, dizziness and even shortness of breath. Severe dehydration can be life-threatening and needs immediate medical attention. Symptoms for severe dehydration include extreme thirst, unconsciousness, fever, low blood pressure, rapid breathing and an inability to sweat or urinate.

There are simple treatments for mild dehydration:

  • Water intake should be increased by frequently drinking small amounts. Drinking a large amount of water or other fluids all at once could lead to illness and vomiting.
  • Sucking on ice chips can ensure that fluids are going back into the body slowly.
  • Eating ice pops can help balance electrolytes. Popular sports drinks also have electrolytes, but they also contain a high amount of sugar. Therefore, these should be avoided by young children or individuals suffering from diarrhea.

For severe dehydration, the person may require an IV to replace fluids at a hospital or in an emergency room.

Tips for Staying Cool

Drinking water and staying indoors in the air conditioning are easy ways to beat the heat. However, everyone wants to enjoy the summer while it lasts. You don’t need to suffer episodes of dehydration and heat exhaustion to enjoy the great outdoors.

While keeping yourself hydrated is a must, here are several additional ways to stay cool when temperatures skyrocket:

  • Make Your Own Popsicles: One of the easiest ways to stay cool is to eat something cold. By making your own popsicles, you can even get the kids involved. Experiment with different healthy fruit juices and fruit pieces to create a tasty snack that will get everyone to sit down and take a break to cool off.
  • Stick with Cold Foods and Drinks: Keep your meals light and full of chilled fruits and vegetables. Eat small amounts during the day rather than one big meal. Digestion generates body heat and eating less more frequently will keep you cooler.
  • Leave the Kitchen Appliances Off: The oven generates quite a bit of heat. Avoid cooking foods that require the oven during the hottest parts of the day to give your air conditioner a break. Use a slow cooker for your big meals.
  • Use a Cold Cloth: If you find yourself outside working in your yard or garden, placing a cold cloth on the back of your neck will cool you down. You can also soak a cloth headband in ice water and wrap it around your head.
  • Use Ice with Your Fans: If you use floor fans, placing ice behind the fan will cool the air that is being blown into the room.

By staying cool, you and your family will be sure to have an enjoyable and memorable summer this year.

 

Preparing Your Air Conditioner for Summer

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

With the summer heat quickly approaching, it is time to get your air conditioner ready to take the heat. However, if you want your air conditioner to be reliable throughout the summer season, you will want to ensure that you provide it with the maintenance and care it needs to run efficiently even when the temperatures soar.
Set Up an Air Conditioner Checkup

While it may seem like overkill to have a professional like us come check out your air conditioner, now is the time to do it. Not only will a professional be able to do on-the-spot repairs and maintenance now so that you know your unit will turn on when you need it, but you will also see advantages in the long run. Air conditioning units that are regularly maintained generally last longer than those that do not. This means that your air conditioner will be more reliable for longer. Click on the link above to request an appointment.

However, if you need your air conditioner before you have a chance to get a professional out to give it a checkup, you can do a quick inspection of your cooling equipment yourself. Keep in mind that you will still want to have a professional come out to give your cooling unit the maintenance it deserves.

Inspecting Your Air Conditioner

Before you turn your cooling unit on, you should conduct a visual inspection of all of the equipment. Start with any exposed ductwork that your home has. Look for wear, like holes or thinning pieces of metal. Worn ductwork can make it more difficult for your air conditioner to keep your home at the desired temperature as cooled air may be lost before it reaches you. The harder your air conditioner has to work, the faster it will wear itself out.

Second, go through your home and check all of the vents. Remove anything that may be blocking them. If you have pets, you may want to remove the vent and vacuum around the opening of the duct. This will prevent pet hair and dander from being blown about your home when you first turn your cooling unit on.

If you have an outdoor unit, ensure that the condenser unit is not blocked by any items, twigs and other foliage. Blockages of any sort can have a drastic effect on the unit’s ability to cool your home. This is something that is easily done when you do your spring yard cleanup.

Finally, check the refrigerant lines and electrical wiring. If you see wear on the refrigerant lines or electrical wiring, do not attempt to fix them yourself. Just be sure to make a note and avoid turning your air conditioner on until a professional comes out to do maintenance. Refrigerant is flammable and faulty wiring could cause a fire, so it is best just to avoid those potential hazards altogether.

Consider Upgrading

If you have had your air conditioner for years and it is just not keeping up with your family’s needs, it may be time to upgrade. The cost for R-22 refrigerant has risen dramatically in the last couple of years and will soon be obsolete. Repairing old systems can be impractical because of cost. Click on the link above to view our current a/c sales price.

Replace your old air conditioning system with new R410a this Spring and save! Many newer systems are designed to work efficiently as save energy, which gets passed on to you in the form of saving money on your electricity bills.

Enjoy Your Summer without Suffering

Once you have checked your equipment and you have ensured that everything looks to be in good shape, it is time to turn your air conditioner on. Set your thermostat to your desired temperature, turn your air conditioner on and go outside. Listen to the fan on the condenser to make sure that it sounds like it is running normally. Within 10 to 15 minutes, your home should begin to feel cool and comfortable.

 

How to Get Kids Involved in Gardening

Monday, April 24th, 2017

When it comes to spring, growing flowers, herbs and vegetables are a joy that many people look forward to. Even though it can take time and lots of love to get your flowers and shrubs to grow up strong and healthy, it is a fun outdoor activity that the whole family can enjoy.

Reasons to Start Gardening with the Kids

There are many reasons to get your kids involved in gardening early. Not only does it give them a chance to get their hands dirty, but it gives them something that they can take ownership over. Some kids may even enjoy getting the opportunity to enjoy the fruit of their labor. After all, there is nothing more delicious than getting a taste of a tomato that they grew themselves. Further, they get to learn about nature and be a part of sustaining it.

How To Get Them Started

Tip 1: Give them a space to grow

If you have the space, giving your kids a plot of their very own to work with will get them more invested. Whether it is a small strip near the fence or a nice-sized spot, they can have the power to plant what they want where they want it. As their vegetables and flowers grow, you can talk to them about what they planted and make plans for next year.

Tip 2: Create a job list

Although growing things is pretty easy, the plants still need care to grow. Creating a job list for the kids to follow can help them ensure that they do not miss a step. Make sure to include watering, weeding and adding mulch to the list.

Tip 3: Provide kid-friendly tools

If you are getting younger kids started in gardening, having kid-friendly tools is a must. Smaller hand trowels and kid-sized gloves can make the work easier for them and reduce any frustrations they may have, especially if they are too small to handle adult-sized tools.

Tip 4: Involve them from start to finish

Children love being involved in the entire gardening process. By giving them the ability to pick out what they want to grow and where they want to grow it in their gardening space, you may find that they will be so much more invested in the process. Further, you may be able to get them excited about gardening in the spring if they have time to think about what they want to grow.

Tip 5: Let them decide what to make with the harvest

Harvesting the vegetables and herbs that they grew is always fun. However, they may enjoy it even more if they get to help pick what to make with their bounty. Pizzas are always fun, but the kids may even have other ideas that might surprise you. Best of all, of course, is that you will not have to beg or trick them into eating healthy foods.

Apartment Gardening

Getting kids involved in gardening can be a bit more difficult if you don’t have the gardening space. However, there are a couple options. You can always plant in pots that can be kept on the balcony or in the kitchen. Otherwise, your city or community may have communal plots that are available for you to grow herbs and vegetables.

Enjoy Your Garden

By getting your kids involved in gardening, they get to be outside away from computers and gaming systems while learning skills that will be useful throughout their entire lives. Not only will they get to learn about where their food comes from, but they can also learn about the joy of growing it themselves.

 

Tips for Dealing with Spring Allergies

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

Although you may be happy that warmer weather has finally arrived, you may be frustrated with the allergy symptoms it may bring with it. Unlike food allergies or allergies to certain types of animals, spring allergies often occur when the trees, flowers and other fauna are in bloom.

What are the Common Allergy Symptoms?

Spring allergy symptoms can range from the sniffles to coughing, sneezing and watery eyes. In severe cases, they can cause a person to trouble breathing and can affect their ability to concentrate. Allergy symptoms can make a person feel ill and have a negative impact on their school or work performance.

Identifying the Causes of Allergies

If a person believes that they have allergies, it is highly recommended that they go to a specialist who can help them identify exactly what they are allergic to. An allergy specialist may give you a skin test or a blood test. Skin tests often include pricking the skin with a small amount of the suspected allergen. If you are allergic to that particular allergen, you will form a red bump at the site of the prick.

Tips to Prevent Allergy Symptoms

If a specialist is able to identify a particular allergen that is causing you trouble, they may have medication that you can take that will reduce the symptoms and make you feel better. However, if your symptoms are not severe enough to warrant prescription medication or they are more troublesome than normal, there are some natural remedies you can use to keep your symptoms at bay.

For example, nasal irrigation may potentially help clean out the sinuses, which could make breathing a little bit easier. To do this, you will need to mist up a solution of warm distilled water, a quarter-teaspoon of baking soda and a quarter-teaspoon of salt. A neti pot or squeeze bottle is then used to administer the solution into the sinuses. It is important to note that this works for some and not for others, so if you do not see any improvements, you may need to find alternative treatments.

Spring Cleaning to Get Rid of Allergy Symptoms

If you are allergic to pollen and other types of biological allergens, you can help make yourself feel better by making sure your home is free of them. Vacuuming at least once a week and doing the occasional dusting can keep your exposure levels at bay. Be sure to change out or wash your furnace filters, depending on the type that you use, on a regular basis so that you can be sure that the airborne allergens are being removed from the air that you are breathing. You can also install a whole-home air cleaner like these to improve your indoor air quality.

You can also prevent some allergens from getting into your home by removing your shoes before you come inside. If you spent the day outdoors, a quick change of clothes can prevent you from transporting pollen and other allergens all around your home. Finally, you may find it appropriate to shower before jumping into your sheets. This way, you can breathe a little easier and get a refreshing night of rest.

Stay Healthy and Productive

When you find a system of keeping the allergens at bay that works for you, you will be amazed at just how much better and more energized you feel. Note that, in addition to keeping pollen and other biological allergens out of your home and taking medical precautions, it is always helpful to eat a healthy diet, stay active and stay positive.

Four Tips to Make It To The End of the School Year

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

For many students, getting through the final few months of school can be difficult no matter what grade they are in. As the temperatures get warmer and the days get longer, they would rather be spending quality time outdoors or engaging in hobbies and sports instead of preparing for math tests. However, there are a few tips available that can help students stay focused and get the grades they need.

1. Get a Homework and Bedtime Routine Down

As summer draws near, it is very easy for kids to become more relaxed about getting their homework done and trying to get a later bedtime. However, this can cause a student’s grades to slip and, in worst-case scenarios, could result in the need for summer school. Sticking to a consistent homework schedule and bedtime will keep the student on track and prevent them from going to school frustrated and tired. Depending on your student, you may even work out a snack or break schedule that helps make the task feel smaller and easier to complete. Keeping a consistent routine down at home can also help the student wind down from field trip days and other unusual activities.

2. Work Outside

If the weather is nice and sunny, taking homework outside can boost a student’s motivation. Finding fun ways to incorporate outdoor activities with homework can be fun for younger children, like using sidewalk chalk to work out simple math equations. Older students may enjoy spreading out their work on the back porch so that they can enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. If there is no good work space outside, moving the desk or table closer to a window can help them keep their spirits up.

3. Stay Organized

Many students start out the school year fully organized and ready to go. As the school year progresses, they may become less organized over time. This can cause them to lose homework or even completed papers. Since students generally perform better in school when they are organized, have them take an hour every week or so to get their backpacks, desk and other homework area cleaned out. This way, they can ensure that they have everything they need for the week. If you find that you have a student who is just messier than normal and has a difficult time staying organized, reducing the number of items they keep with them can help. For example, one folder for all homework and completed assignments can help your student keep their most important assignments all in one place.

4. Enjoy Your Weekends

Getting through each week can become more and more difficult for students. As such, giving them a break from dealing with school stress can help them relax and de-stress. If their homework load is low, let them take Friday afternoons and nights off so that they can just enjoy being kids. Have them complete all of their homework on Saturdays so that they have Sundays completely free. This way, they have at least a day and an afternoon when they do not have to think about school at all. If you enjoy family outings on Saturdays, ensure that students get their homework done early so that they can have the evening free before having to jump right back into work the next morning.

Making it to the end of a school year is a huge accomplishment. By helping your student stay motivated to the very end, you can set them up for a fun, stress-free summer vacation.

How Home Automation Systems can Save You Money

Sunday, February 5th, 2017

Although it makes sense to curb your energy use to lower your monthly utility bills, taking the steps to make this happen can be difficult especially if you do not know how to start. Although there are home automation systems that all connect to each other, you can start with single devices to get the ball rolling on an energy-saving plan.
Program Your Thermostat

Many homes have heating equipment that is not energy-efficient, especially if the system is a decade old or more. Because it can be costly to replace your furnace, you can turn to a programmable thermostat to keep your heating bills lower. Programmable thermostats allow you to set the temperature throughout the day without having to change the temperature on the physical thermostat. For example, if you want your home warmer when you wake up, colder during the day when no one is at home but still warm when you get back, you can program the thermostat to change the temperature automatically.

Control Your Lights

If your family is constantly leaving lights on, you are likely adding to your electricity bills. There are several different apps that allow you to control all of the lights in your home right from your smartphone or tablet. If you forgot to turn your lights off before leaving for work, all you have to do is simply turn on the app and turn off your lights. You can even use the app to turn your lights back on before you get back to avoid coming home to a dark house.

Use a Smart Power Strip

When you turn off your electronics, you may believe that those electronics are no longer using any energy. However, turning off your electronics simply puts them into “standby mode.” As long as they stay connected to a power source, they create what is known as a “phantom load,” which can cost you money. In fact, phantom load may account for up to 8 percent of your monthly electricity bill.

To avoid the extra cost, you can utilize a Smart Strip power strip. These power strips detect when your electronic equipment has been turned off and cuts the power. This way, your turned off electronics are not still draining power even when they are not in use.

Combining Home Automation Devices

Most home automation devices are designed to work with a virtual assistant, such as Amazon’s Echo and Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google. These virtual assistants allow you to access each home automation device from one app. This means you can also set up different settings so that all you have to do to turn down the thermostat, turn off the lights and turn off your electronics all at once is to push a single button. Some of the virtual assistants, like Alexa, even use voice recognition so that you do not need to be near your phone or tablet to active your home automation devices.

Savings from installing home automation devices do not happen overnight and there is an initial investment cost. Over time, however, you will begin to see lower utility bills and you get into the habit of cutting back on your energy use. Not only can home automation devices lower your utility costs, but you may also find the value of your home going up as more homeowners become interested in home automation.

 

Taking Control of Indoor Pollutants During the Winter

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

During the winter when temperatures remain low, keeping the home airtight and warm may be of the highest priority for many homeowners. While sealing off the home from the outside world will save money and keep inhabitants warmer, there is a major drawback. Sealing up the home can cause indoor air pollutants to also become trapped in the recirculating air, potentially causing feelings of illness or other more severe symptoms.
What are Indoor Pollutants?

Indoor pollutants can range from biological allergens like pet dander and pollen to harmful or even toxic particles called volatile organic compounds. Pollutants can be brought indoors from outside or they may be generated inside from appliances or even from the home’s heating unit.

Before you can begin to improve the indoor air quality in your home, you will need to determine where the pollutants are coming from. Volatile organic compounds can be found in many household supplies, personal care products, furnishings and paints. Fireplaces, dryers and other appliances also give off combustion pollutants when they are used. Finally, biological pollutants can be created when the pets shed, mold and mildew buildup in the damp places or if you bring them in from outside. For example, you can potentially bring in pollen, environmental tobacco smoke and pesticides on your shoes.

Symptoms that can be Caused by Indoor Air Pollutants

Poor indoor air quality can make you and other family members feel ill. It can cause watery eyes, coughing and sneezing. When the air quality is very poor, you may even suffer from headaches and upper respiratory congestion. In worst case scenarios, sufferers may even get nose bleeds more easily, have difficulty breathing or even develop a severe lung disease.

Because these symptoms are associated with other illnesses, you may not think about your indoor air quality when you are suffering these symptoms. However, if you feel better when you are away from home, then it may be worth taking steps to improve your indoor air quality.

Simple Ways to Reduce Indoor Pollutants

It is just a fact of life that you, your pets and your appliances will always be producing air pollutants. While you can certainly reduce the amount of some pollutants in your home, making your air permanently cleaner for the winter will involve your heater. Your heating equipment is responsible for circulating the air when your home is sealed off, so any pollutants that are in the home will have to pass through your heater first. As such, ensure that you clean or replace the filter once every 30 days during the winter. If you have a regular filter, you can upgrade to a HEPA filter, which collects smaller particles and prevents them from going back into the circulating air.

Another way you can improve your indoor air quality is to stop using products that leave pollutants in the air. For example, choosing to use green cleaning supplies and non-aerosol personal care products can reduce the amount of pollutants you are adding into the air. Additionally, if you are involved in hobbies that require paint or chemicals, working in a well-ventilated room, even if it is cold, will prevent you from breathing in the fumes. To keep biological pollutants at bay, you can up your vacuuming and dusting game to prevent a buildup of irritants. Shoes should be taken off outside or be left at the front door.

During the winter, it is important for everyone to be aware of their indoor air quality and how to combat them. By being vigilant, you can ensure that the air you are breathing while stuck indoors is clean.

 

The Importance of Humidity

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

Many homeowners do not understand just how important the amount of humidity in their homes can be. The amount of moisture in the air can dictate how the inhabitants of a home may feel or even allow for certain unwanted organisms to grow within the home. However, maintaining humidity levels may be the last thing on your mind, especially if you are busy keeping your air conditioner, roof and gutters maintained. Regardless, adding the maintenance of humidity levels could greatly improve the way that you feel while hanging out at home.

 
Dealing with Dry Air

You may find that you suffer from dry sinuses, dry skin and chapped lips during the winter time or when the air becomes particularly dry during the summer. Dry indoor air can cause a person to suffer from nosebleeds, headaches and other associated illnesses.

The main way to increase the humidity level within the home is to purchase a humidifier. There are several different types of humidifiers available, including:

  • Install a Central Humidifier: These humidifiers are included as part of the home’s HVAC system and are designed to raise humidity levels throughout the home.
  • Impellar Humidifiers: These humidifiers have a rotating disk installed that produces a cool mist.
  • Steam Vaporizers: Electricity is used to create a cooling steam that is then released into the air. Because this device involves hot water, it is not recommended for households that have children or pets.
  • Ultrasonic Humidifiers: These devices use an ultrasonic vibration to produce a mist that increases humidity levels.
  • Evaporators: Air is blown through a wet material, which could be a wet filter, belt or wick.

Dealing with Damp Air

High humidity levels often becomes a problem during the summer time. Occupants who suffer from certain allergies may be more likely to suffer from respiratory problems or even asthma flare-ups. Further, dust mites, molds and bacteria can also grow within the home if the humidity levels are high enough.

There are several things that you can do to lower the humidity levels within the home:

  • Purchase a Dehumidifier: Dehumidifiers suck the excessive moisture from the air and collect it in a reservoir.
  • Install a Permanent Dehumidifier
  • Run the Air Conditioner: When air is forced through the air conditioner, the air is not only cooled but dried.

What are the Ideal Humidity Levels?

In general, humidity refers to the amount of moisture in the air. If the home does not have proper ventilation, the indoor air can become stale and dry. However, if too much moisture is added to the indoor air, the occupants of the home could also suffer from symptoms associated with the flu while the growth of harmful bacteria and other organic contaminants may be assisted.

The Mayo Clinic recommends that homeowners keep their indoor humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent. If you or another occupant suffer from allergies, it is recommended that you speak to your doctor about what humidity levels would be right for you.

How do I Measure My Home’s Humidity Levels?

The device used to test humidity levels is called a hygrometer, which resembles a thermometer. While these devices can be purchased at any of your local hardware stores, many humidifiers also come equipped with a hygrometer to help keep indoor humidity at a healthy level. Hydrometers come in both analog forms and digital forms, both of which are simple to use and allow you to better control the conditions within your home.

 

Preventing House Fires During the Holidays

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

For many families, the holidays are for traveling far and wide to spend time with family members you may not have seen all year, eat some delicious food and give gifts. However, it may shock you to know that 30 percent of all house fires and 38 percent of all house fire fatalities occur in December, January and February. To keep you family safe and warm, do not neglect to think about fire safety.
Electrical Fires

Each year, approximately 65,000 house fires are started by electrical heating equipment. If you rely on space heaters to keep your home warm, there are a few safety tips you should know so you can operate them safely.

Always read the manual before using a space heater for the first time. This manual will give you specific safety instructions and risks that you should be aware of. Before use, inspect the heater for any cracks, loose connections or broken plugs. If you see any wear, avoid using the heater. Do not ever leave a space heater unattended or let children and pets play nearby without supervision. Do not use space heaters to warm bedding, dry clothing or cook food. These heaters are only meant to provide supplemental heat. Heaters should be placed three feet away from the walls and anything that can catch fire, like clothing and paper. Install smoke alarms outside your sleeping areas and on each floor. Make sure to test them once a month.

Kitchen Fires

Kitchen and cooking fires are also the culprits for approximately two out of every five house fires during the holidays. The leading cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking. If you are going to be the main cook for the celebrations, try to avoid leaving the food unattended. If you must, most the gathering from the family room to the kitchen so everyone can have a hand in creating a delicious meal.

There are a few other things you can do to decrease the risk of a kitchen fire. For example, ensure that the stovetop and oven are clean and grease-free before you start cooking your meal. Use the back burners to prevent guests from knocking into pans and handles. Keep appliances that are not being used unplugged and out of the way. If there are children present, make sure they are supervised to prevent any shenanigans that could become a fire risk.

Fires Caused by Holiday Decorations

It is estimated that approximately 60 percent of families decorate in some way for the holiday season. Some decorate their living space with a live tree while others go the route of a realistic artificial tree to add charm. If you are going with a live tree, ensure that the tree is green and fresh as this cuts down on the risk of a fire. Newer electrical lights are generally safer than older ones; however, you should still look to ensure that there are no chewed or exposed wires.

Vintage decorations are also becoming all the rage. Vintage metal trees are beautiful and can add a unique touch. However, you will need to be extra careful with these trees as you cannot put electrical lights on them. You will need to purchase standing lights that shine on the tree. Further, vintage electrical decorations may need to be rewired if the old plugs are still attached. Using the decorations as is can put your home at risk for a fire.

The holidays should be a time when you can share the warmth and cheer with your loved ones. By reducing the risks of a house fire, you can cherish these memories without having to remember a tragedy.