Posts Tagged ‘safety’

Happy Halloween!

October 30, 2014

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Halloween is a holiday I know I looked forward to when I was a little kid.  We always carved pumpkins and had a blast doing it.  Of course it was fun to dress up as well, but it was even more fun to get all the free candy!  Although, walking around at night in a costume isn’t the safest thing.  Good news is we can all help make Halloween a little safer for everyone in the neighborhood.  Here are a few tips:

  • Leave carving to the adults. Carving a pumpkin can be difficult for a little one.  Let them draw the face and you carve it for them.
  • Use reflective tape. With the addition of reflective tape on costumes or treat bags, this will help increase visibility.
  • Street lights aren’t everywhere and sometimes yards are dark, be sure to have flashlights with fresh batteries for your trick-or-treaters.
  • Make your home safe for trick-or-treaters. Check outdoor lights and replace burned out bulbs.  Clear sidewalks of debris for easy walking.
  • Look both ways. It’s difficult for motorists to see trick-or-treaters.  Be sure to look both ways before crossing.

More tips can be found on American Academy of Pediatrics website.

From all of us at GreenHomes, be safe this Halloween!  Share this post with a neighbor and protect the trick-or-treaters in your neighborhood.

Thanks for stopping by!

-April

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Summer is here. Be safe!

June 17, 2014

Summer SafetySafety is a top priority for us in the work we do in your home. We stress it every day.  In fact an energy audit is only partially about saving you money.  It is also about keeping you and your family safe.  As part of our audit, we check for gas leaks on the combustion equipment in your home like your furnace or gas stove.

While we keep you safe inside, here are a few tips to keep you safe outside as summer closes in:

  • Watch out for Bugs!  Mosquitoes and ticks are the most common.  Repellants are helpful for both.  If ticks are an issue in your area there are some simple landscaping efforts you can do to help deter them.
  • Enjoy the sunshine, but cover up! Hats, sunscreen and shade are encouraged.
  • If it gets too hot inside your home and even hotter oustide, maybe energy efficiency improvements are what you need for safety’s sake!

 

Thanks,

Jason

 

Photo by Steffen Flor  from wikimedia commons

Lights! Home! Action!

December 17, 2013

light tree

The days are shorter, it’s darker, and what kind of season would it be without lights!  Here are some tips from us at GreenHomes America to make your season a bright and efficient one!

  • Switch to smaller and newer lights, consider LED lighting in particular.  There are significant savings with this newer lighting technology.  If you must have the big bulbs, switching to a smaller wattage may help (this works with all the lighting in your home).
  • Use a timer! It is good to turn off the lights when you don’t need them and much easier if you set them up on a timer.
  • Make sure lights have a (UL) label which means they Underwriters Laboratory safety requirements. (we follow BPI requirements for your home)
  • Use the right set for indoor and outdoor use.
  • Safety Check! Just like we perform on your home! New or old check all light sets for frayed wires, damaged sockets, or cracked insulation. If you find any defects, replace the entire set (if we find defects in your home we can fix them, you don’t have to throw it away).
  • All outdoor cords, plugs and sockets must be weatherproof. Keep electrical connections off the ground, and make sure wiring is kept clear of drainpipes and railings to prevent any risk of shock.  Water can cause all sorts of problems and not just with electricity.
  • Don’t overload your electrical circuits. Circuits in older homes carry a maximum of 1800 watts each. Most newer homes can handle 2400 watts each. While our friends over at CurrentSafe can speak to this, be safe!

Thanks,

Jason

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This July, Wildfires Brings to Mind Staying Safe When the Heat is Hazardous

July 5, 2012

I can only hope and pray for everyone’s safety and quick progress in ending the wildfires that continue to burn in the west.

This is the season when temperatures push past 100 degrees; and when factoring in the heat index, the “feels like” temperature is over 120 in some places. Evacuations and wildfires add insult to injury.

The heat can be deadly, and in areas where we aren’t used to it, very high temps can surprise us and leave folks unprepared.  We often provide cooling tips, and they’re worth revisiting.  Here are a couple of important reminders we’ve posted in the past to help you—and your home—get through this.

Keeping Your Person Cool

  • Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic, and without caffeine), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you get thirsty to drink. (Warning:  if you are limiting fluids or reducing water intake for medical reasons, check with your doctor for a specific recommendation.)  Remember, if you’re sweating a lot you need to replace electrolytes, too.
  • If possible, stay indoors in an air-conditioned space.  If you don’t have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library—or the time-honored tradition of going to a movie theater.   Some locales might have heat-relief shelters.  Check with your local health department.
  • Go swimming in a cool pool.  Take a cold shower or a cold bath.  Cooler water can be an excellent way to cool down your body temperature.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • If you’re going to be outside, try to do it early in the day or late in the evening when it’s generally cooler.  Try to avoid heavy exercise in the heat.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a helpful Extreme Heat guide the offers additional details and advice.

Keeping Your Home Cool

  • According to the CDC, air conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death.  Room air conditioners can help.  And installing a central AC unit is usually done in a day.
  • Keep the heat out!  During the day, if it’s cooler inside than outside, keep windows shut.  And keep window shades down to block out direct sunlight.  Open the windows at night if it’s cooler outside.
  • Fans to the outside—blowing in either direction—can help if it’s cooler outside than inside.  But they’re counterproductive if it’s hotter outside.  Ceiling fans (and other fans) help you stay comfortable—but only while you’re in the room.  The fan motors actually generate heat, so turn them off when you’re not there.
  • Of course, contact us if you’d like more permanent, energy-efficient solutions.

Remember that children, the elderly, and the sick are especially susceptible to heat.  Keep a close eye on them.

My hat’s off to the first responders and dedicated folks helping those who have been displaced as the fires rage on.  Here’s to a quick end! Please be safe, and stay cool!

Thanks,

Jason

In Home Performance Safety is Our Number One Concern!

June 19, 2012

Our advisors and installation crews spend a lot of time in houses.  We use ladders and power tools and crawl around underneath and above homes, especially attics.   We look for air leaks, low insulation levels, electrical concerns, and other hazards.  Safety is a great concern, and occasionally we come across the unexpected; such as sharks.

Sharks: A major safety concern in attics

Sharks: A major safety concern in attics

I’m sure that air leakage from the electrical box is providing plenty of nice indoor air smells, steak cooking, people sleeping.  Seal those leaks and I’m guessing the sharks won’t be so interested.  More insulation in this space is needed too.  Summertime air conditioners have to work twice as hard when there’s so little insulation and air sealing in your attic.  When you want to keep the conditioned air conditioned, hot or cold, putting a good cap on your home is a great start.  What shark would stick around after that?  No good indoor smells, no cool air, not a great place to hang out.

What's for dinner?

What’s for dinner?

If you have sharks in your attic consider a home performance assessment, it’s a great way to take a bite out of your high energy bills and make a home more comfortable and safe.

Thanks,

Jason

It’s Cold, But Don’t Use Your Stove to Heat Your Home or Apartment

January 17, 2011

With temperatures sinking to single digits—and even well below zero in many locations around the Northeast—the potential for house fires shoots up as some attempt to use their kitchen stove or other forms of open flame sources to heat their homes or apartments for warmth.  Don’t!

  • NEVER USE YOUR OVEN FOR HEATING. Kitchen ovens were never designed for heating homes only for cooking food.  There is a risk from both carbon monoxide (CO) and fire.
  • Never Leave High Stove Heat Unattended. Stay close when using high heat on the stovetop. If you must leave to answer the door or the phone, keep a spoon or a potholder in your hand so you have a visual reminder to get back to the kitchen ASAP.
  • Review portable heater safety tips.  Kathryn had a nice post about space heater safety this fall.  Reread it!

Stay warm, but be safe.  If your home or furnace isn’t up to the task, call is.  If it’s a question of affording the utilities, check out your local community agencies or your state’s LIHEAP program for emergency assistance. 

Thanks,
Mike

Fire prompts warning about space heaters

December 29, 2010

The Burlington Free Press reports an all-too-common winter story about a house fire started by a space heater.  Fortunately the house wasn’t completely destroyed, and no one was injured in this case.  But it could have ended very differently.   As Kathryn touched on last month, space heater safety is very important.   As the Fire Marshall’s Office said in this case, space heaters should be used only temporarily and kept clear of combustible materials.

Stay warm–but be safe!
Mike

Can natural gas leaks kill you?

September 13, 2010

Because of the spike in inquires in the wake of the massive California natural gas explosions, I’m reposting an article from last year.  If you read no further, carry this away:  take gas leaks seriously.

We had a few searches hit our website with people asking if natural gas leaks can kill you.  YES, THEY CAN.   They should be taken very seriously.  The big risk is fire or explosion–enough to lose your home and injure or kill everyone in it.  [Google “gas leak house fire” for recent examples, beyond the California disaster.]

If you smell gas, it’s a bad leak and should be fixed.  Note that propone can be even more problematic since it’s heavier than air and can settle and collect in low spots like basements.  If you notice a faint smell of gas, call the gas company or a qualified contractor immediately.  If you notice a strong smell of gas, get out of the house immediately and then call the gas company from a safe location.  You may not be able to detect leaks be smell, however, and you should have your lines tested for leaks periodically–we suggest doing so along with your regular furnace maintenance.

This is not an alarmist plea to panic about using gas.  It’s what I use to heat my home, and it’s how most homes in the U.S. are heated.  It has great advantages as a heating fuel.  I much prefer it to oil, which is dirtier, smellier, and fouls equipment faster.  It also allows for much more efficient equipment.  But gas must be used safely, and leaks should be taken seriously.

That’s why you should have your home tested for gas leaks and combustion safety issues (such as proper drafting of fuel-burning appliances and carbon monoxide spillage).  This is particulary true if you’re changing your house–remodeling, adding windows, insulating and air-sealing, etc since you not only have the risk of bumping pipe and loosening joints, but you also change to dynamics of how the house operates.

Take gas leaks seriously.  And insist that anyone working in your house take them seriously, too. 

Thanks,
Mike

Address Carbon Monoxide (CO) Issues Immediately

July 29, 2008

Do you want to see me go pale?  Tell me that your carbon monoxide alarm keeps going off.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas produced by incomplete combustion of fuels like gas, oil, and wood.  In humans, it blocks delivery of oxygen to the body.  Hundreds of people die every year from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, and thousands are unknowingly sickened by CO.  Depending on the amount inhaled, this gas can worsen heart conditions, and cause fatigue, headache, weakness, confusion, disorientation, nausea, and dizziness.  

The sources could be hot water heaters, stoves or anything the burns a fuel.  Even cars in attached garages can create dangerous CO problems.  I like the National Safety Council’s (NSC) recommendations for what to do if your CO detector goes off:

  • Make sure it is the CO detector and not the smoke alarm.
  • Check to see if any member of your household is experiencing symptoms.
  • If they are, get them and others out of the house immediately and seek medical attention.
  • If no one is feeling symptoms, ventilate the home with fresh air and turn off all potential sources of CO.
  • Have a qualified technician inspect your fuel-burning appliances and chimneys to make sure they are operating correctly.

Anyone whose CO alarm is going off should seek help from a professional to locate and fix the source of the problem immediately.

But don’t wait for the alarm.  They’re not set to go off at low levels that can still make you ill.  We run into homes every week that have a combustion safety issue—issues that may be slowly poisoning the family in the home.  Check out the NSC’s general recommendations.  All homeowners should get at least an annual check-up on their heating and hot-water system to make sure they are operating properly.  And anytime you make changes to your home, from building an addition, to adding air-conditioning, to changing your windows, you should have an expert make sure that all equipment is operating and venting properly.

Be safe!

 


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