Whether you just bought a 2.5-million-dollar house in the Hollywood hills or you are renting a humble apartment in the Midwest, there is a sense of satisfaction knowing that you are providing your loved ones with a place to call home. However, it takes more than a roof and four walls to keep the inside of your home safe for your family members. If you have small children, pets, or disabled family members, safety precautions become even more important.
Many people are interested in both DIY home renovation ideas and professional home improvement services. Individuals who have experience with some home renovation projects may still need help with other major household repairs. They also may require emergency home repair assistance after something goes wrong. There are plenty of household issues that do require immediate attention and which should be handled by professionals.
Individuals interested in discount home repair can save money in many different ways. There are professionals who offer effective home repair services at lower prices. People can also save money by doing at least some of the work themselves. However, these people will still end up paying for tools and supplies, which can be very costly. Getting cheap home supplies can help people save quite a lot of money, as long as they’re able to find inexpensive supplies that are still high-quality.
Building materials that are low-quality can break or exhibit other problems, which will ultimately cost people more money. People may have the same issue with certain tools, especially when they’re using power tools and similar devices. However, the materials from certain less expensive brands can still be just as effective as materials from other brands.
With all of these different considerations for home repairs, it is hard to sleep at night worrying about whether you and your family are safe. Studies show we need at least seven hours of sleep each night, so losing sleep to intrusive thoughts of an unsafe home is most unwelcome. Luckily, we have curated a guide with the best home improvement safety tips to help you make your home safer and provide you some peace.
Indoor Safety Gates
One of the quickest ways to improve your home safety is by installing indoor safety gates.
These devices, also frequently called baby gates and pet gates, vary from inexpensive wooden structures to pricey, aesthetic pieces that add to the decor of your home. No matter which route you take, there are a few tips to making sure your safety gate is effective.
- No horizontal slats
- Check product certification
- Choose the right width
- Consider who or what the gate is keeping out
- Follow installation instructions
1. No Horizontal Slats
You want to buy a baby gate to keep your little one from going down the stairs. That’s great! So, you search online and pick out an expensive gate with interesting horizontal bars and install it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
You may think you’ve just improved the safety of your home, but in reality, you have provided your child with a fun ladder that leads to a devastating fall.
To ensure your child or pet can’t easily climb over the safety gate, choose vertical slat or fine mesh style gates are the safest choice. There is no explaining why some sellers are willing to send a family an unsafe “safety” product, but an easy way to avoid similar situations is by checking the product’s certification.
2. Check Certification
The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) provides a highly regarded certification to products that complete and pass their rigorous testing. A JPMA certified product has been tested for safety, functionality, usability, and overall quality.
So, before you trust any product with the safety of your child, check for a JPMA certification.
3. Choose the Right Width
Safety gates are sold in varying widths. Some brands even sell gates that come with extenders and extra slats to allow users to install the gate in wider doorways.
As we mentioned, baby gates can be pricey. You can save yourself time and money by measuring your doorway prior to purchasing your baby gate. Additionally, never try to make a too-small baby gate fit in a wider doorway by wedging items into the gap. This can lead to a dangerous opening where a small child or animal could seriously harm or suffocate themselves.
4. Who or What Is the Gate Keeping Out?
Sure, there are a lot of safety gates that will suit both babies and pets. However, the gates available specifically for pets tend to come in variations that are beyond necessary for a child but might be very necessary for a large breed dog. Of all our home improvement safety tips, this might be the most important for large pets.
Pressure mounted gates, which typically withstand plenty of weight to maintain children and smaller animals, can easily give way to the strength of a 100+ lb mastiff. Similarly, most baby gates stand about 22 inches tall which is way too low to keep a good jumper like a border collie locked away. Consider the needs of your safety gate and cater your searches to your individual needs.
5. Follow Installation Instructions
If there is one thing that frustrates manufacturers and their PR more than anything, it is seeing their product being badmouthed by someone who did not use it properly. In fact, it is a fairly common occurrence for a consumer to think their product is ineffective only to discover it was installed incorrectly.
The problem is frustrating in any industry, but when it comes to child safety products, not following the manufacturer’s instructions can lead to serious injuries. Sure, installation may seem straightforward, but you can never be too careful when your child’s safety is involved.
Outdoor Safety Gates
You may think that an outdoor safety gate is the same as an indoor safety gate, but there are quite a few differences. First, outdoor gates typically have mounting hardware and are made from weatherproof materials. Additionally, an outdoor gate may also refer to other types of gating structures and barriers that require professional fence installation. Here are some examples of outdoor safety gates:
- Kennels: A 4-sided pen with tall sides that may have a roof. They are often used for temporary animal housing and/or breeding animals.
- Garden Fences: A low-height, sometimes decorative fencing that surrounds a garden. It is typically used to deter foraging animals and keep pets and children out of gardening beds.
- Animal Pens: Similar to a kennel, animal pens are meant to safely house animals while they are outside. Unlike kennels, animal pens typically have shorter sides and may provide far more square footage.
- Portable Pens: The hybrid of an indoor gate and an animal pen, portable pens are short, foldable pens that can be easily stored and moved around a yard for temporary pet or child protection.
- Driveway Gates: Large, automated gates that block the outside of a driveway. Used to keep vehicles secure as well as prevent children and pets from entering the road.
The most common type of outdoor gates is made from metal and uses heavy-duty mounting to provide prolonged safety. They are used to block off patios, deck stairs, pool entrances, and many other dangerous outdoor areas. If you need a gate to protect the animals and children in your yard, be certain to find a gate that is outdoor graded and uses a secure latching system.
The bathroom may just be the most dangerous place in your entire home. One study by the CDC found that over 230,000 American people injure themselves in a bathroom accident each year. 14,000 of those people even end up being admitted for a hospital stay based on their bathroom injury. So, what can you do to make your bathroom safer? Use these home improvement safety tips:
- Use anti-slip floor decor
- Keep appliances put away
- Install grab bars
- Implement ground-fault outlets
- Avoid water accumulation
1. Use Anti-Slip Floor Decor
Decorating with anti-slip decor is one of the most cost-efficient ways to avoid falls in the bathroom.
The anti-slip rug market is full of options to keep your most private space safe while also accenting or matching any other decor. From shaggy mats to slick woven pieces, there are thousands of options to choose from. Don’t stop at the decorative mats, though. A special mat for the base of your tub or shower is another great choice to avoid deadly falls. These mats are created from mold-resistant plastic and have suction cups that let them stick securely to the floor.
2. Put Appliances Away
Another danger lurking in the bathroom is electrical shock. It is important to keep electrical equipment like hairdryers and radios away from wet surfaces. Of course, this can be difficult depending on the available storage in your bathroom.
One of our lowest cost home improvement safety tips is to attach wire racks to the inside of cabinet doors or on the back of the entry door. These racks multiply your storage space and keep your electrical items far away from the sink, shower, tub, and toilet. It’s just like you’d want to keep any jewelry away from small kids. Instead of hoarding your broken pieces, however, choosing to sell broken jewelry will improve the safety of your home. Keep all other small items locked away, just like with your appliances.
3. Install Grab Bars
As we’ve mentioned, bathroom falls are extremely common and dangerous. However, these falls are even more prevalent among the elderly and disabled population. The loss of balance while navigating the bathroom can have detrimental results.
A great way to add extra security to your bathroom is by installing grab bars. These sleek wall attachments provide additional support while exiting the tub, standing up from the toilet, or moving around the shower. Though grab bars are usually silver, some companies offer the bars in a variety of colors and metallic finishes.
4. Implement Ground-Fault Outlets
Of all our home improvement safety tips, this may be one of the most important. Having an electrician install ground-fault outlets can prevent fires, expensive electrical damage, and the destruction of your electronic devices, and electrocution.
Essentially, a ground-fault outlet senses a change in electrical current and can shut off the electrical current when incoming and outgoing currents do not align. These devices have lowered electrocution rates so greatly that they are required in modern construction. However, older homes may not have these outlets installed and will need to be updated.
5. Avoid Water Accumulation
Another common cause of falls and injuries in the bathroom is from slipping on accumulated water. There are many ways water might end up on the floor in the bathroom. Tubs, sinks, and toilets can overflow. Showers can spray onto the floor. Liquid can be spilled during face washing or other activities. The list truly goes on.
Here are home improvement safety tips to avoid getting water on the floor:
- Complete sink, shower, and bathtub drain repairs in a timely manner
- Keep a plunger nearby to avoid an overflowing toilet bowl
- Use a shower door or curtain that keeps water from reaching the floor
- Use an absorbent mat outside the tub
- Keep a towel nearby while washing face or brushing teeth
- Monitor small children while in the tub or shower
Of course, sometimes all the preparation in the world can’t prevent water or other liquid from getting on the floor. Just be sure to mop up a wet bathroom floor as soon as possible and avoid entering the bathroom until the floor has had time to completely dry.
If you have water on the floor and don’t know where it is coming from, call up some local plumbers for additional advice.
Regular home maintenance is on our list of home improvement safety tips because there are many areas of the home that only pose threats if they fall into disrepair.
For instance, a broken gutter can create a deadly hazard if it were to fall on someone, but also allows water to accumulate around your home which causes further damage. Gutter replacement can easily save you thousands of dollars in future damage. Our home improvement safety tips for other areas to keep well-maintained are:
- Concrete Structures: Patios, driveways, statues, and other concrete structures can become slick with accumulated grime. Keep them regularly cleaned and maintained for weeds and cracks.
- Windows: Damaged windows allow heating and cooling to leak out of the home. Additionally, dangerous pests can easily enter the home.
- Siding/ Roof: Similar to windows, a damaged roof or siding can allow pests to easily enter a home. These structures are also vital to keep moisture from the interior of the home. Keep them maintained to avoid expensive structural damage, mold, and more.
- HVAC: Regular HVAC maintenance keeps the system running efficiently and lowers your utility costs. More importantly, regular maintenance can prevent bigger issues that may lead to expensive emergency HVAC repairs.
How safe is your neighborhood? You may be confident that you live in a safe area, but home invaders are wily. There are tips for preventing the attraction of these criminals like keeping nice vehicles inside with the garage door closed, but that is no surefire form of prevention. In fact, some of these criminals don’t care how much you have to give. They will take family photos, steal and sell broken jewelry, even destroy your home just because.
That’s why good home security is so important. One of the best home improvement safety tips we can give is to install a good CCTV system.
Closed-circuit television, or CCTV systems, refer to the use of wired cameras as a security device. These cameras can be DIY installed and monitored from your mobile devices, or you can pay a company to install the cameras and monitor them for you.
Another of our home improvement safety tips is to remember that not all fencing is created equally. If you are looking for the utmost privacy, a solid-wood fence is a great choice for you. If you just want to keep your children and pets in the yard, consider a chain link fence. Chain link is cost-effective and has the option to install interwoven privacy strips.
Other fencing types like picket, wrought-iron, and log are great to denote the barrier of your property, but they offer little in way of security.
Keeping Your Family Safe
There are a lot of home improvement safety tips to keep your family safe, and these are just a few ideas you can use to easily improve the overall security of your home. Just remember that keeping your family safe starts with making small improvements where you can, and working toward changing big things down the line. It takes patience, but soon your home will be a perfect haven for your family.
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