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Is Your Home Ready For Your Summer Vacation?

Get your home ready for your summer vacationNow that summer is in full swing, you may be ready for a vacation (if you haven’t taken one already). But is your home ready for your summer vacation?

Follow these tips to make sure your home stays secure and energy-efficient while you’re away enjoying your time off.

Timed Lights

Connect a few lamps around the house to timers and set them on a schedule consistent with your family’s normal activity. With lights going on and off on a regular (or irregular) basis, your home will appear occupied. So criminals will move on.

Get a House Sitter

Have a trusted friend or professional house sitting service take care of your home while you’re away. They’ll discourage crime by visiting your home regularly and bringing in your mail and paper for you. They can also water your houseplants and take care of any pets you may be leaving behind, giving you fewer things to worry about during your summer vacation.

Stop Your Mail and Paper

If you can’t get a house sitter you trust pick up your mail and paper, help your house look occupied during your trip by contacting the Postal Service and your newspaper to temporarily hold your service while you’re gone.

Protect Against Unexpected Leaks

If you’re going to be gone for a long summer vacation, it may make sense to temporarily shut off the water supply to major appliances like washing machines, ice makers, sinks and toilets. That way, there’s no chance of a leak occurring, and no chance you’ll come home to a kitchen or laundry room full of water.

Clean Up Your Yard

Mowing the grass before you leave for that summer vacation can help your home look occupied. Arrange to have a friend or lawn service cut it if you’re going to be away for an extended period. Trimming trees and shrubs away from outside windows can also be helpful, as it makes it difficult for burglars to hide or enter your home unnoticed.

Unplug Small Electronics

Many household devices like coffee makers, televisions and DVRs can continue to draw current even when switched off. Unplug them to save energy. Furthermore, unplugging your garage door can protect your home from criminals using universal garage door remotes. Just make sure you have an alternate way to get back in when you return from your summer vacation!

Don’t Waste Energy Cooling an Empty Home

There’s no sense running an air conditioner when there’s nobody there to feel it. Set your cooling system to 80 to 84 degrees while you’re away. If you have a friend checking on the house for you while you’re away, you could have them turn the temperature back down the day you’re due to return so your home won’t be so hot when you get back.

Don’t Broadcast Your Whereabouts

Social media can be a great way to share your summer vacation memories as they happen. However, by letting everyone know that you’re having a great time far away, you’re also pointing out the fact that your home is empty. Save the vacation photo sharing until you’re back home. Also be sure to watch the conversations you have about your trip while you’re at work, school or in any other public place. You never know who’s listening for an opportunity.

Hopefully these summer vacation tips will help you come back home to find everything safe and sound, and no incidents to have to deal with upon your return. These summer vacation tips presented by Brown and Reaves Services, Inc. Call us anytime, 24/7, for air conditioning problems. 843-497-9867.  Remember to grab our 20% off coupon on your next service call by Liking us on Facebook.

Safety Tips: Winter House Fires

More house fires occur during the winter months than at any other time. Fortunately, taking simple precautions can prevent most house fires. Follow the safety tips below to help ensure your safety:

Portable Heaters

  • Put at least three feet of empty space between the heater and everything else.
  • Vacuum and clean the dust and lint from all heaters.
  • If the cord gets hot, frayed or cracked, have the heater serviced.
  • Never use extension cords with portable electric heaters.
  • Turn off portable heaters when leaving or sleeping.
  • An adult should always be present when anyone is using a space heater around children.
  • Make sure your portable electric heater is UL approved and has a tip-over shut off function.

Your fireplace can be warm and cozy, but also cause many house fires.Wood Stove and Fireplace Safety

  • Have a certified chimney sweep clean and inspect your fireplace.
  • Place ashes outdoors in a covered metal container at least three feet away from anything that burns.
  • To prevent flue fires, burn dry, well-seasoned wood.
  • Always use a fireplace screen made of sturdy metal or heat-tempered glass. If children are present, use a special child-guard screen.

Generators

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible killer. You cannot see or smell it. A generator’s exhaust contains poisonous CO, which can kill you in a matter of minutes. Follow these important generator safety tips:

  • Never use a portable generator inside a home, garage, shed or other partially enclosed space, even if doors and windows are open.
  • Place portable generators outside only, far away from the home. Keep the generator away from openings to the home, including doors, windows, and vents.
  • Read the label on the generator and the owner’s manual, and follow the instructions.
  • Install CO alarms with battery backup in the home outside each sleeping area.
  • Get to fresh air immediately if you start to feel sick, weak or dizzy. CO poisoning from exposure to generator exhaust can quickly lead to incapacitation and death.
  • Be sure generator fuel is properly and safely stored.
  • Always refuel the generator outdoors and away from any ignition sources.
  • If you choose to have a generator permanently connected to your home’s electrical system, make sure a licensed electrician installs it and be sure to notify your electric company.

CandlesCandles can start house fires if left unattended or not enclosed for safety

  • Place candles in sturdy, fireproof candle holders where they cannot be knocked over.
  • Make sure all candles are out before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Keep candles, matches, and lighters out of children’s reach.
  • Keep candles away from Christmas trees, evergreen clippings, decorations, presents, and wrapping paper.

Smoke Alarms and Home Escape Plans

  • Install smoke alarms outside each sleeping area and in each bedroom.
  • Test and vacuum your smoke alarms each month to make sure they are working.
  • Smoke alarms 10 years old or older need to be replaced with new units.
  • Know two ways out of every room.
  • Practice your escape plan with your whole family at least twice a year.
  • Do not attempt to go back into a burning home.

Via Answers.usa.gov

To make sure your home is safe and the danger of winter house fires is lessened, call Brown and Reaves Services, Inc., Serving the entire Myrtle Beach and Grand Strand area. 843-497-9867. We will check all of your home’s heating devices to make sure they’re safe, including checking your smoke detectors and any gas or wood burning devices you may have. Remember to grab our 20% off coupon on your next service call by Liking us on Facebook.

Winter Home Fire Safety Tips

Keep these tips in mind if you are considering alternative heat sources or simply want to make safety your top priority when heating your Myrtle Beach area home.

Home Fire Safety with Kerosene Heaters:

  • Precise Fuel: Do not apply fuel that is not designed for your particular make or type of heater. Use only fuel recommended by the heater’s manufacturer.
  • Proper Room Ventilation: This is important because burning fuel (coal, kerosene or propane) can produce deadly fumes. Make sure to also inspect exhaust parts for carbon buildup.
  • Appropriate Storage: Ventilation is important for storage areas as well. Keep kerosene or other flammable liquids stored in approved metal containers outside of the house.

Home Fire Safety with Wood Stoves and Fireplaces:

  • Adequate Clearance: Wood stoves should be at least 36” from flammable surfaces and have suitable floor support. Flammable materials should be kept away from fireplace mantels.
  • Annual Check-Up: Chimneys should be inspected annually and cleaned if necessary.
  • Burn Wisely: Never burn charcoal indoors and do not use excessive amounts of paper to build fires. It is possible to ignite creosote (a black oily build-up which is a result of incomplete burning of wood or coal) in the chimney by overbuilding the fire.
  • Double-Check the Fire is Extinguished: Heading off to bed? Do not close your damper (the plate that regulates airflow) with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper can cause the fire to reheat and force carbon monoxide into the house.

Other Home Fire Safety Tips:

  • Basic Protection: Each level of your home should have working smoke alarms. Be sure to inspect each alarm annually and replace batteries if necessary.
  • Discard Properly: When discarding hot ashes, place them in a metal container outside and away from the house.
  • Use Caution: If your water pipes are frozen, use hot water or a handheld dryer to thaw them. Never thaw them with an open flame because the pipe could cause heat to ignite the structure inside the wall.

Protect your home and your loved ones by following these simple safety tips when it comes to heating your home this winter.

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