Whether you own or rent your home, you are likely to run into home emergencies that you will need to handle right away. Even if you don’t consider yourself especially handy, these are situations that you should be able to manage yourself. Or at least, hopefully you can keep them from turning into complete disasters before professional help can arrive.
Having this knowledge is important for your and your family’s safety. More than that, if you do own, it can help you to fix and even prevent damage to your home that could adversely affect its resale value.
Here are nine of the more common home emergencies you may run into, as well as the measures you should take to try and contain them:
With its super-hot surfaces and even wide-open flames, the kitchen provides ample opportunity for accidental fires. And that opportunity only grows when it’s paired with a distracted cook.
If a grease fire does occur, try to turn off the heat source, if you can. Then, throw baking soda on any flames to smother them and put them out, cover them with a pan lid, or use a nearby fire extinguisher.
Burst Water Pipe
While homes in colder climates are more prone to having pipes burst, it can happen to anyone. Even inside a home, an old pipe could just all of a sudden give way. Hopefully, you become aware of the situation before you have a full-on flood situation.
Regardless, you want to stop the water. Find a bucket to contain what’s currently coming out. Then, if there is no local valve, you will need to turn the water off at the main. Depending on the severity and location of the pipe break, you may try to replace it yourself, or call in a plumber.
Listen closely, and you may hear it before you see it. Then, that dark spot appears and spreads across the ceiling. Get a bucket and/or towels to collect any drips. Then, you need to go up into the attic to try and locate the source of the leak and patch it. There are some great tapes and sprays available for quick fixes.
As home emergencies go, this one can be particularly scary given the fire danger it can present. If you smell gas, get your family out of the house as soon as possible. Open up as many exterior doors and windows as you can to air the house out. Then, contact your gas company and report the leak. They will likely send someone over right away to find and contain the leak.
It could be an errant baseball, a broken tree branch, or even a criminal’s attempt to get inside your home. Either way, a broken window is dangerous and leaves you vulnerable. Put on some thick gloves, and take out any jagged pieces left. Then, cut a thick plastic membrane or even cardboard to the size of the broken pane, and adhere it in place with heavy-duty duct tape.
Most of the time, a power outage is a temporary inconvenience, a few hours at most. But what about those cases when a power line is completely knocked out? Or maybe a storm created all kinds of utility damage, and your area needs to get in line for repairs. If it looks like you will be without power for more than a day, you should have supplies on hand.
Battery-operated light sources are essential, as is also a supply of non-perishable food and beverages. Get some ice and an ice chest to save as many perishables from the refrigerator as you can. You may even try going to a hotel if the outage goes on for a long time.
Don’t want to deal with any of that? You may consider having a generator on hand to keep your electrical essentials running safely if a power outage occurs.
One ant? Not that big of a deal. A row of ants? Bigger deal. Mice, rats, cockroaches? Yes, big deal. Not only are such pests health hazards, but they can actually damage your electrical, insulation, and other systems in your house.
Make sure any and all food is put away, and that all surfaces are clean of any tempting debris. From there, a variety of sprays, baits, and traps can be effective in stopping current pests and deterring new ones from taking their place. If you can’t seem to get to the source, however, you would do well to contact an exterminator, who can put special deterrents in place.
Carbon Monoxide Build-Up
If you have gas-fueled appliances in your home, you have the potential to have carbon monoxide build-up. The result is odorless and can be deadly. In this case, prevention is what you should aim for. You want at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home, near to any gas sources.
It never fails. As soon as the temperature hits 100, the air conditioner dies on you. The same is true in wintertime with a furnace or central heating. If your environmental controls fail, wear as much as or as little clothing as needed to better ensure your own personal temperature. Use a portable AC or heater in the room(s) you use most often. Keep the windows covered; in the winter, blankets or thick curtains can help insulate the house, while in summer drawn shades can keep things shadier and cool.
It would be nice if none of these home emergencies ever happened to you. But it’s not likely. At least having the tools and expertise to handle situations like these can help to keep you prepared, and your family and home protected.
For more information on all kinds of safety matters, be sure to check out the articles available on the PeopleFinders blog.
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