4 Safety Upgrades That Are Essential in Every Home

by Sage SingletonNovember 29, 2017

If you’re a new homeowner or living in an outdated home, you could be putting you and your family at significant risk if you haven’t reviewed your home’s safety. Regular safety checks can help keep your home safe, but sometimes you need to do a little more. These four home safety upgrades are essential and inexpensive in comparison to the costs of hazards like a house fire or a threat to your health.

Smoke Detectors

via Nest

Smoke detectors may be one of the most ubiquitous safety devices in the US. Still, smoke alarms sound in only 53% of house fires; three out of five fire-related deaths occurred in homes that were either missing alarms entirely or had fire alarms that failed to operate due to faulty wiring, dead batteries, or incorrect installation.

If your home is missing smoke detectors, you should purchase some immediately. Hard-wired systems are the most reliable, but a basic battery-powered model will work just fine. The latest smart smoke detectors can alert your smartphone to the location of a triggered alarm and remind you to change out dying batteries. These advanced detectors sync up with smart home devices like smart thermostats to provide a comprehensive safety system.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Carbon monoxide (CO) can be just as deadly as smoke and fire. In US homes, CO accounts for more than 400 deaths and around 20,000 emergency room visits each year. Carbon monoxide is emitted from fuel-burning devices like your stove, furnace, or fireplace. CO-related deaths are highest in winter, when low ventilation and high furnace use increase the likelihood of a dangerous leak. Symptoms are flu-like, and infants and the elderly are most at risk from CO poisoning.

To protect your family from a carbon monoxide leak, be sure to install CO detectors on each floor of your home, near sleeping areas and at least fifteen feet away from fuel-burning appliances. You can also upgrade your smoke detectors to a model that detects carbon monoxide, giving you a safety net in all the main areas of your home.

Home Security Systems

In 2016, over 900,000 residences were broken into with an average loss of over $2,300. A home security system or home surveillance system can prevent thousands of dollars in losses, making it a sound investment for most homeowners.

A home monitoring service offers the best protection against a break-in, and 24/7 monitoring by security professionals ensures a quick response when an alarm is triggered. Monitoring systems require a monthly fee after the initial equipment is installed, but the peace of mind they provide can justify the cost.

via BuddyGuard

The newest crop of AI-powered units are great upgrades, especially for homes with outdated security systems, and they avoid the costly subscription plans associated with monitoring systems. Newer systems utilize facial recognition to differentiate between an intruder and trusted individuals like your friends and family (or your family dog). These systems can notify your smartphone when an anomalous individual is detected, and the best systems can even contact first responders autonomously.

Asbestos, Mold, and Toxins

Unlike carbon monoxide and burglars, which arrive in your home unexpectedly, asbestos, mold, and other chemical toxins may already be present, especially in older homes. Depending on your home’s vintage and former occupants, these materials may place your family at risk and should be assessed immediately.

Asbestos is a major threat in homes constructed prior to the ban in 1978. Popcorn ceilings and insulation are common applications for asbestos fibers, and any new construction or renovation can disturb these materials and cause significant inhalation risks. Asbestos should be removed immediately by a certified asbestos abatement contractor.

via Home Revivalvia Home Advisor

Mold is another common hazard usually caused by dampness inside and outside of your home. Mold of any kind should be removed with a bleach solution to avoid health risks; a simple scrubbing in a well-ventilated area usually kills off mold. Installing a dehumidifier or ventilation fan can remove moisture from basements or bathrooms to prevent new growth.

Toxins left over from drug production are less common, but potentially life-threatening. Former meth houses can pose a significant health risk, since the toxins can percolate underneath floors and inside walls for years. You can have your home tested for the presence of methamphetamine, which is an indicator for the other solvents that can persist in the walls of your home.

While some of these dangers are less likely to be a threat than others, preparing your home and inspecting it for hazards can help keep them at bay. Focus on these home upgrades to avoid the most dangerous threats to your health and safety. What other upgrades have you made to make your home safer? Leave a comment below!

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About The Author
Sage Singleton
Sage enjoys teaching, individuals, families, and communities about home maintenance and safety. She loves DIY projects and craftt and in her free time, she enjoys wedding planning, traveling, and learning French.