The holiday season is here, and many of us in Olathe and the Greater KC area are getting ready to settle in for a much-needed break and some quality time with the family! Some of us already have everything in place for the holidays, but others – maybe many others – will still be putting it all together right up to the last minute.
While there's a lot to do, remember, and keep track of in any holiday season, there is also a certain amount of caution to be exercised when planning and executing all the holiday merriment and trimmings around the house. Believe it or not, hazards abound! With that in mind, your friendly Olathe heating and cooling service company has put together a list of things to consider and keep an eye on while you're decking the halls and making merry.
Holiday Hazards Around the House
- Even with your Olathe heating and cooling system working just as it should, the holidays can get chilly here in the KC area. If you're keeping cozy with space heaters or electric blankets, be sure to always use them as directed in order to stay safe.
- Before you start that first warm, crackling fire of the year, be sure that your chimney and fireplace area are clean. Hire a chimney cleaning service to inspect the flue and be sure that it's free of obstructions. When using the fireplace, always use a screen, and never burn things like Christmas trees, wreaths, or wrapping paper.
- If you're celebrating the New Year with fireworks, take care and, of course, only use them outside, away from flammable surfaces. Keep some water handy to douse them when they're out, just to be safe.
- Nothing shuts down holiday meal prep faster – or more unpleasantly – than clogged pipes from putting too much waste down the garbage disposal too quickly. Be conscientious of what you put down the sink or disposal.
- Speaking of your sink, nothing is more unpleasant on a cold day than frozen pipes. These can burst, leading to flooding and other problems. Make sure that your pipes are properly insulated and check with a plumber or your Olathe heating and cooling service to see what you may need to do.
- Okay, maybe there's one thing worse on a cold day than frozen pipes, and that's probably when your furnace stops working. Let's face it, if it's going to happen, it's probably going to be on the coldest day of the year. Fortunately, regular furnace tune-ups can help identify problems before they lead to a malfunction. If your furnace does stop working, the Olathe heating and cooling pros at Davenport are just a phone call away.
- It isn't just the cat that may pull down the Christmas tree. Toddlers and even older kids might do the same, and any tree that isn't properly stabilized can be a hazard.
- Candles create a pleasant, cozy atmosphere on cold winter nights. Just be sure that matches and lighters are out of reach of children in a locket cabinet. If you're using an artificial tree, make sure that it's labeled fire resistant. Of course, it goes without saying that you should blow out all candles (and unplug any lights and other lighted decorations) when you go to bed or leave the house.
- Don't plug too many lights into the same outlet, and replace any extension cords that have become frayed, have exposed wires, or are cracked or loose. A blown fuse or a power outage can really put a damper on the holiday season.
- Falls account for as much as 50% of accidents in the home. When hanging lights or other decorations, always choose a ladder that's safe for the task, and use as directed. That means saying off that "not a step" step.
- Icy conditions outside can also transform your front steps into a dangerous hazard. Use slip-resistant tread and be diligent about putting down salt whenever there's precipitation. Use plenty of light at night so people can see where they're stepping.
- Many of the plants we associate with the season – including mistletoe, holly berries, poinsettias, and others – can be poisonous to children or pets. Keep them out of reach. And while you're at it, make sure that your pets don't get into any chocolate, which can be fatal for them. It's fine for the kids to have some, though!
- Alton Brown may make using a turkey fryer look easy, but it isn't so simple. In fact, firefighters respond to more than 1,000 fires every year caused by turkey fryers. If you're inclined to fry a turkey, follow the instructions carefully, or better yet, pick one up that's already been fried for you.
- Wash your hands frequently when handling food. You may not think about it as you're preparing your holiday feast, but every year around 48 million Americans contract food poisoning, and many of those are during the holiday season. Check the foodsafety.gov website from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for more tips on how to avoid food poisoning.
- Sometimes, gifts are wrapped a little too well, but slashing away at the wrapping paper or those frustrating plastic packages with a pair of scissors or a kitchen knife may open up more than the gift. Ouch.
Fortunately, a little critical thinking can save a lot of holiday misery and help make sure that your holidays are merry and bright. Keep this list handy and share it with friends and family on Facebook or Twitter, so that everyone can stay safe and cheerful this holiday season. Have yourself a happy (and safe) holiday, from all of us at Davenport Service Company!
And of course, if something does go wrong, the Olathe heating and cooling pros at Davenport are here to help with everything from emergency furnace repair to replacing your hot water heater and beyond. Whether you want to schedule a bit of preventative maintenance or need your furnace fixed right away, call Davenport Service Company at 913-441-2222 today!