Inspecting your home's safety as the clocks change

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Inspecting your home's safety as the clocks change

Daylight savings time is about much more than gaining an extra hour of sleep during the winter - it's also a great time to inspect key safety features in your home.
As the clocks are turned back this weekend, winter is fast approaching, which means you'll be spending more time indoors. If you've properly prepared your house for the season, it'll be sealed up tight to ensure warm air can't escape. Plus, you'll be running your furnace for the first time in a few months.
With these considerations in mind, you should check your smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and indoor air quality in addition to adjusting the time on your clocks.

Smoke detectors
These devices should be inspected once a month. This includes testing them and changing to batteries if necessary.
When the batteries are low, smoke detectors produce an intermittent beep to alert you a change is required. For some homeowners, this noise becomes more of an annoyance rather than a call to action, but you shouldn't ignore the beep or disable the devices.
Fire safety experts suggest you change the batteries in your smoke detectors at least once a year. You can also consider replacing them each time the clocks change to ensure the devices are always in working order.
If you don't already own smoke detectors, head out to the store and pick some up. Keep in mind there are two types: ionization and photoelectric. The former is best for fires that produce a lot of heat in a short time, while the latter is more effective for fires that have little heat. Ionization alarms are more suited for areas where combustible materials are present, and photoelectric alarms can be placed in rooms where smoldering may occur, such as a kitchen.

Carbon monoxide detectors
The threat of carbon monoxide can be more dangerous than a fire. With the latter, you may be able to smell the smoke or see the flames and safely exit your house. However, carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, which means you won't know you have a leak in your home without functioning detectors.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal. The symptoms are similar to the flu, and many people who experience this health threat don't realize it because the leak occurs while they are sleeping. Considering your home will be sealed for winter and the gas will not be able to be ventilated outside, it's important your carbon monoxide detectors work.
Check the batteries in your devices and buy them if you don't have any.

Indoor air quality
Keeping in line with the fact that your home will be sealed for winter, you also need to pay attention to indoor air quality. Ventilation is one of several ways to improve air quality and includes opening windows to allow air to circulate. However, given the colder temperatures, this option likely won't be feasible.
Besides carbon monoxide, radon, secondhand smoke and mold spores can all pollute the air in your house. Remove pollutants from your home and consider buying a few air cleaners to place around your home.
You can also schedule a home inspection to get a detailed report on the air quality in your house. Few people - particularly those with allergies - are able to tell there's an issue with their air quality, which is why it helps to have a professional conduct an inspection. Just be sure to factor in the time change when setting your appointment.
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Nathan Robart

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