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Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

Fuse Box and Circuit Breaker Box Safety

by The Jana Caudill Team

The fuse box or circuit breaker box is the electrical nerve center of your Crown Point, Cedar Lake, or Dyer home.  Everything that you plug into an outlet or screw into a light socket that’s not running on batteries but uses electricity in the home counts on fuse and breaker boxes to do their job, and do it safely.  You do too.  Accordingly, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind when accessing the nerve center of your home:

  1. Just say “no” to H2O.  We’ve all been warned at one point or another not to use electric appliances like hair dryers, curling irons, or plug-in radios near the bath tub.  The principle is shockingly basic: water and electricity don’t mix.  Apply that principle to electric boxes.  If your home has recently suffered water leakage or flooding, possibly from extreme weather conditions or a roof leak, and your walls are wet DO NOT access your electrical box.  Again, water and electricity don’t mix, so if walls are wet, and/or you are standing in standing water stay away from the fuse or breaker box.  You are quite literally risking death.
  2. Replace blown fuses only with properly sized replacement fuses.  Incorrectly replacing fuses, or worse, attempting to bypass the fuse or breaker altogether by wiring around it risks starting an electrical fire, and that’s not the kind of fire you put out with water!  Always, ALWAYS use a properly rated and sized replacement fuse.  Your home circuits were designed with this built-in safety feature for a reason.  Which brings us to…
  3. Call an electrician if...  If you have to constantly replace blown fuses or reset tripped circuit breakers something is wrong, especially if you’re repeatedly installing the correct fuse.  You either have an overloaded circuit, meaning a few too many combination TVs, stereos, DVD players, and video game systems plugged into one circuit, or some other malfunctioning short in the circuit.  If unplugging and relocating some of your electrical equipment to lighten the load doesn’t solve this you need to call an electrician right away to inspect your wiring for safety concerns.

When the Lights Go Out

by The Jana Caudill Team

When the power goes out, especially at night, isn’t it nice to be able to walk right over to the bathroom cabinet, kitchen drawer, garage, or wherever you keep your flashlight(s) and voila, let there be light!

Doesn’t always work that way, does it?  Either the batteries are dead, extending the scavenger hunt in your Crown Point, Dyer, or Munster home for at least another ten minutes while you look for fresh batteries, or the flashlight isn’t there (now, when you need it most) to begin with.  Maybe you have candles tucked away for these infrequent not-quite emergency situations.  Again, are they still where you remember storing them?  Do you remember where you stored them?  Do you even own any candles?

Here are a few forethoughtful tips on ensuring you have ready and recharged access to illumination when the power goes down.

  1. Store candles in plain sight.  Many homeowners use decorative candles as part of their home décor.  Dining room center pieces, fireplace mantle dressing, bath accents, you name it.  Integrate candles in locations where you might otherwise place a vase of fresh flowers.  Keep a multi-purpose lighter handy, but in a secure location away from children, instead of matches which require an ashtray or similar unsightly receptacle for cooling down after use.
  2. Put a flashlight anywhere you have a sink.  Under the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, powder room sink, and laundry room sink.  That way you’ll have access to multiple flashlights in easy to remember locations.  The only issue here is if you have children.  Kids love flashlights.  The easy solution is child-proof cabinet latches.
  3. Like with the battery backup in your smoke detectors, replace your emergency flashlight batteries once a year.  I suggest every holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.  Make it an annual part of decorating the house for the holidays.

4 Top Baby-Proofing Tips

by The Jana Caudill Team
  1. The Baby Gate.  Whether your baby first crawls, rolls or scoots around your Crown Point, Munster, or Dyer home she will undoubtedly learn to fall before she learns to walk.  Be sure to gate off open stairways, both those leading up as well as down.  A child can just as easily make it up a few steps headed toward a second floor bedroom prior to a tumble as teeter on the edge of stairs headed down to the basement.
  2. Electric Outlet Safety Covers.  Not much to say here.  If there’s a way for a curious infant to squeeze a tiny little finger into an outlet that’s on the wall only a foot above the floor…Best not to gamble.
  3. Cabinet and Drawer Locks.  Keep Billy away from chemicals, aerosols, ant traps – whatever you keep under the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, and in the laundry room cabinets that you just can’t put up high and out of reach.
  4. Curtain, Drape, and Blind Safety Ties.  Babies grow into toddlers faster than you can sing “Happy Birthday,” walking and running before you know it.  Children love to learn about their environment, checking out plants, testing the family cat, finding weeks old Cheerios under the edge of the sofa.  And they love windows.  Tie loose cords up high enough to keep toddlers from getting all tangled up and in trouble.

Toddlers on the Run

by The Jana Caudill Team

Ok.  You’ve baby proofed Cedar Lake, Crown Point, or Chesterton home. You’ve addressed sharp cornered furniture, choking hazards, exposed electric outlets, and more in every room.  You’ve installed baby gates to restrict movement to off-limit areas of your home.  You’ve secured top heavy furniture like bookcases and TV strands to walls.  You’ve put safety latches on cabinets and drawers, and even on the stove door.

Now it’s time to look ahead to when your infant becomes a toddler. The first step a baby takes as it works toward walking is to stand, which means using furniture to help pull himself up.  This is where I remind you, if you haven’t already done so, to please, please, please secure all top-heavy furniture like bookcases, wide-screen televisions, TV stands, plant stands and the like to a nearby wall.

Soon to be toddlers can use the wall as well to help them stand.  Accordingly, secure curtain and blind cords that are strangle hazards up and out of reach of your little one.  If you’re remodeling a room and window coverings are in the budget, consider purchasing cordless products.

Window latches, especially 2nd story and higher need to be safety locked.  Children are inquisitive by nature.  Once they learn to walk and can better maneuver about their environment it’s only a matter of time before they start testing doors and windows.  Avoid accidental falls by securing all home egresses.

Implementing an Emergency Escape Plan for Your Family

by The Jana Caudill Team

Create the plan – Practice it with your family – Minimize risks

It’s crazy to think that most families do not practice their emergency escape plan, let alone have a plan in place.  Statistically speaking, the most common home emergency requiring a family to evacuate is the house fire, so any emergency plan should take into consideration fire contingencies.  Here are a couple key pointers for your family’s emergency escape plan:

  1. Plan your escapeCreate a plan that quickly and efficiently gets your family out of the house.  Designate primary and secondary exits, as well as a neighbor’s house as the destination everyone should head to for safety and for placing the call to 911.
  2. Practice your escape.  This is as crucial a step for adults as it is for children.  Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.  Children can be easily confused in an emergency.  Add the emotional trauma of an unexpected fire in the house and even mature adults can panic.  Practice the escape plan from the fire alarm all the way to your neighbor’s doorstep.
  3. Minimize risks in the home.  Test fire alarms and CO detectors, and change out backup batteries.  Clean build up out of the bottom of your stove and grill, and never leave pots and pans unattended on range burners.  Get a fire extinguisher, make sure everyone knows where it is in the house (in or close to the kitchen), and have it inspected regularly.

From our team to your family, Happy Holidays!

Relighting the Pilot Light

by The Jana Caudill Team

Here’s one: relighting the pilot light on your furnace.

First you’ll have to remove the access panel on your furnace.  Once you have the panel removed and set aside, locate the gas control knob.  Have your long fireplace matches ready.  Turn the knob to “pilot.”  Press and hold the “pilot” knob down while you use one of the matches to light the pilot.  Keep the knob depressed for thirty seconds before releasing.  If the pilot stays lit, turn the knob to the “on” position, replace the access panel, and you’re done!  Here’s a helpful video going into much greater depth covering all the furnace components involved, as well as a bonus video on lighting a pilot on a water heater.

Troubleshooting:

  1. If the pilot won’t light or stay lit the pilot nozzle (where the gas comes out and the flame lights) is more than likely obstructed and will need to be cleaned.  Be sure the gas is turned off and use a wire brush to clean away accumulated dirt and residue.
  2. If the flame is yellow or blue, not enough or too much oxygen, respectively, is reaching the burner.  You will have to adjust the burner control to obtain a flame that is light bluish on the outside and green on the inside.

Here’s to a safe and happy New Year!  Happy Holidays to our Northwest Indiana family, friends, and neighbors.

Stocking Your Home's First Aid Kit

by The Jana Caudill Team

You can always purchase a pre-assembled first aid kit that will contain most of what you’ll need for first response situations at home.  The downside is these kits can be more costly than assembling one yourself, and you’re subject to whatever the manufacturer decided to include with their product.

Here’s a great video on putting together your own first aid kit.  You’ll want to start with a container that’s large enough to keep all the supplies together in one place, yet highly portable so the kit can be moved easily from room to room and even outside for outdoor accidents.  Tackle boxes are always a great choice.  Here’s a list of the standard items to include in your first aid kit compliments of Kids Health.  For home kits, one item worth including that is often overlooked is a flashlight.  When assembling your kit keep in mind the types of activities you and your family often participate in.  For example, if your family hikes and camps frequently be sure to stock supplies in your kit to address campfire burns, poison ivy, and insect bites.

If you’re assembling a travel kit think about including an old cell phone and charger.  Most adults have cell phones nowadays, but this will insure you always a phone handy in an emergency.  I found this great webpage worth sharing with your family on tips for calling 911 from a cell phone.  It’s completely different from calling from home, and knowing the difference in an emergency, as they say, is priceless.

Have a healthy and safe new year!

Cleaning Out Your Dryer Vent

by The Jana Caudill Team

For most of us the laundry room is “Out of sight, out of mind.”  When we clean the house the rooms generally tackled first are those we frequent most (like the kitchen and bedrooms) or areas in the home that we might expect visitors to see (like the family room and bathrooms).  If the laundry room is an afterthought, what does that make the unseen accumulation of dust and lint in your dryer vent?  One word: dangerous.  Periodic cleaning of your dryer vent is a great habit to get into.  The problem is you just have to remember to do it – every year.  That or someone has to remind you.

Consider this your reminder.
 

Over 15,000 fires happen in clothes dryers annually, and the vast majority of them are attributed to poor cleaning and upkeep.  Daily, newspapers around the country run articles about dryer vent fires and their devastating effect on local families.  15 deaths and over 300 injuries happen every year in clogged dryer vent fires in residential buildings.
Experts recommend having your dryer duct and vent cleaned out at least annually.  It’s all too easy to overlook some of these infrequent yet necessary home safety maintenance chores.  Again, the reason for this reminder.  I recommend grouping this task with other annual or semi-annual home maintenance jobs like changing the backup batteries in smoke alarms and emergency flashlights, or inspecting your fire extinguisher.  Schedule this group of tasks into your computer or cell phone calendar, or pencil it in on the tried and true printed calendar on the front of your refrigerator. 

From all of us at the Jana Caudill Team, have a happy (and safe) new year!

Holiday Traveling

by The Jana Caudill Team

Everyone deserves a nice long vacation, and if you’re fortunate enough to be able to take the time off during the holidays then by all means pack up and go!  Yes, sometimes it’s nice just to stay home, watch a movie, complete the little renovation project on the powder room you started last spring, or maybe just catch up on some sleep.  Whatever suits you.  That’s not what I’m talking about here.  I’m talking about hitting the road, getting away, and in particular traveling during the holidays.

 Whether you’re venturing cross-country or just across the state, one thing to keep in mind when traveling during the holidays is the safety and security of your unoccupied home while you’re gone.  That brings up two main concerns, accidents and burglary. 

Accidents are the easiest to mitigate.  Start with turning off the main water supply valve in your home.  One of the top insurance claims throughout the year is water damage, and a burst pipe while no one is home to take care of it right away is no way to start the new year.  Also, turn off your water heater and its gas supply.  Not only does this prevent potential gas leaks, you’ll save money on your energy bill.  Everyone’s equipment is different, so refer to manufacturer’s directions first when considering any of these practices.  Here’s a complete checklist of things you can do to minimize the chances of an accident occurring while you’re away. 

The best way to deter burglary is to minimize opportunity while making it appear the house is operating just as it would any other day.  Stop newspaper delivery for the time you’re away so papers don’t start to pile up on the front porch.  Put house lights on timers.  Park a car in the driveway.  Remember, Business as usual.  That’s the message you want to broadcast to the outside world.  Even then, burglars are always out during the holidays looking for opportunities.  Don’t make it easy on them.  Hide spare car keys, jewelry, and other valuables in shoeboxes or behind the canned vegetables in the pantry.  Have a trusted neighbor stop by periodically to monitor the house, or consider hiring a house sitter for the week!

Take a few extra steps for your peace of mind before your vacation and whether you’re leaving Northwest Indiana for some time off or staying home enjoy the holidays!

Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

Contact Information

Photo of The Jana Caudill Team Real Estate
The Jana Caudill Team
Redkey Realty Leaders
503 East Summit St., Suite 2
Crown Point IN 46307
219-661-1256
Fax: 219-663-5949