Man checking smoke alarm
Safety doesn't have a season, it's important all year long
posted in: Family

Seasonal safety tips

Every season comes with new safety needs around your home. Whatever the time of year, play it safe with these seasonal home precautions.


Around the house

  • Keep flammable items away from fireplaces and temporary heaters.
  • Avoid leaving burning candles unattended. Keep them away from flammable materials, and make sure they are in an area where they won’t get knocked over.
  • Check to make sure smoke detectors and their batteries are working. Be prepared by having an operable fire extinguisher readily available.
  • Remember that the homes you visit may not be child or pet-friendly. Keep an eye out for danger spots.

Frozen pipes

Frozen pipes can cause major problems in your home, including a lack of running water and flooding when the pipes finally thaw.

Problems are most likely to occur when temperatures reach below 32 degrees Fahrenheit outdoors and more easily affect previously-frozen pipes or fixtures, pipes running within exterior walls, and any pipes exposed in unheated rooms, attics, or crawl spaces.

You can’t control the temperatures outside, but you can take some precautions.

How to reduce your chance for freeze-up:

  • Keep your thermostat set 52 degrees or higher.
  • Check the main shut-off valve before winter to make sure it operates freely.
  • Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes with caulking.
  • Allow warm air to circulate by keeping kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open during cold spells.
  • Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces.
  • Insulate exposed pipes, such as those in crawl spaces and attics.
  • Make sure insulation extends 12 inches below the frost line on outdoor pipes.

If your pipes freeze, consult a professional plumber before taking any action. If you take steps to minimize the problem, be sure to take extra precautions to avoid electrical shock.

How to deal with frozen pipes:

  • Open the faucet of frozen fixtures to help relieve pressure and reduce chance of pipes bursting.
  • Increase temperatures in the house using the thermostat or space heater to help warm the pipes.
  • Be cautious when thawing pipes. Never use an open flame. Rags soaked in hot water or an electric hairdryer are safer alternatives.



  • Continuously monitor the weather so you know when you are at risk for severe weather and flooding.
  • Do not enter flooded roadways. Exercise extreme caution during the night when flooded roadways are more difficult to see.
  • Be careful when you park your vehicle or camper near moving water, especially when weather is severe.

Air conditioners

You don’t want to be caught without a properly working air conditioner when the dog days of summer hit. Basic maintenance will keep your air conditioner in working order and prevent fires and malfunctions.

  • Remove any shrubbery, leaves, dirt, or other debris that may have built-up next to your air conditioner since last summer.
  • Turn the system on and check for basic power.
  • Run the system for a few hours and check the temperature-setting against an indoor thermometer.
  • Change your furnace filter to maintain an efficient system.
  • Check with a certified professional for cleaning and trouble-shooting.

Charcoal and propane grills

Warmer weather means backyard barbecuing. Enjoy this pastime with a few safety tips in mind.

Charcoal grills

  • Set-up your grill in an open area free of obstructions from your home and trees.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby as charcoal grills may flare up unexpectedly.
  • Avoid loose clothing or long sleeves when grilling.
  • Don’t use lighter fluid on old coals, only new ones.

Propane grills

  • Inspect the cylinder of your propane tank for bulges, dents, gouges, corrosion, leaks, or evidence of extreme rusting.
  • Examine the hoses on your grill for brittleness, leaks, holes, cracks, or sharp bends.
  • Replace any damaged equipment.
  • Keep propane tanks upright at all times and move gas hoses away from dripping grease and hot surfaces.
  • Dispose of empty tanks by checking with your community sources for proper disposal guidelines.



Family pools can provide countless hours of summer fun, but fun can turn frantic if you don't take precautions.

  • Fence your yard and cover the pool when your family is not swimming.
  • Ensure your children and any visitors can swim and are always supervised.
  • Make it a family priority to talk about the pool rules to ensure everyone understands the importance of pool safety.

To learn more about water safety for children visit Safe Kids Worldwide.

Home playgrounds

Your kids are no doubt excited to get outside and play after so many chilly, rainy days inside. Before they head outside, double check that your home playground is safe after enduring months of snow and rain.

  • Check for rusty or damaged parts, as well as sharp corners, and make repairs.
  • Replace any faulty or protruding hardware.
  • Replenish wood chips or mulch to create a softer surface and prevent injuries.



Colder weather is just around the corner so take the time now to ensure your furnace is in proper order. Basic maintenance will keep your furnace in working order and prevent fires and malfunctions.

  • Turn the system on and check for basic power.
  • Run the system for a few hours and check the temperature-setting against an indoor thermometer.
  • Change your furnace filter to maintain an efficient system.

Check with a certified professional for proper installation, cleaning, and trouble-shooting. Proper upkeep on your furnace also lowers your risk for carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide alarms

When you check your furnace it’s also a good time to check your carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are functioning properly.

  • Alarms should be installed near each separate sleeping section of your home.
  • Alarms should meet the requirements of the current UL standard 2034 or the requirements of the IAS 6-96 standard.


Gutter maintenance may rank as your least favorite chore, but it’s crucial to prevent roof damage or yard erosion and prevent bigger problems like a leaky basement.

  • Remove debris from gutters, including leaves, twigs, dirt, and pebbles (find a cleaning partner to help secure a ladder, if necessary).
  • Check for settling, which may have occurred by a build-up of weight in one area from too much debris, by examining the corners of your gutters for sags and leaks.
  • Check with a certified professional for additional cleaning and repairs.

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