1. Fire Alarms, Action Plan & Prevention
Living in Australia and our warm climate it is quite common for bush fires to spark. Sometimes simple things, like a heater, can start a fire. According to the Queensland Government, fire alarm batteries should be checked, “once a month by pressing the test button”, and batteries changed once a year, “before the expiry date on the manufacturer’s warranty”*.
In the event of a fire, you need to have an action plan. A designated area should be known to those residing in your home, where everyone meets in the instance of a fire.
Every month dry dead leaves should be cleaned from gutters and the backyard. Keeping your backyard clean and tidy helps reduce the risk of fueling a fire if one does break out.
2. Pest Control
Undoubtedly pests are a huge problem in the majority of Queensland homes; however, by regularly checking and treating your home for pests you can decrease, if not rid your home of them permanently.
At the first sign of rodents, you can purchase traps and bait to eliminate further reproduction. For spiders and insects, you can purchase DIY kits from most hardware stores and even some supermarkets. Alternatively, you can hire pest control companies to do this for you.
Please note when handling poisons always wear appropriate protective gear and always read the label for safety instructions.
Homes should be checked again and treated for pests every six months.
Everyone likes to know their home is safe and protected from thieves and vandalists. Unfortunately there is no sure way to stop theft in your home, however, these simple tips can help prevent it:
- Walk around your home and check all possible entryways, including doors and windows. If you have security screens, check that they are not damaged or worn.
- Never leave spare keys under pot plants or mats near the door, if you are worried give a spare set of keys to a trusted family member.
- Ensure all locks, handles and hinges are in good condition and are working properly. This will help prevent thieves from easily busting open a door or window without breaking the lock.
4. Cooling and Heating Systems
To prevent the possibility of a fire:
- Air conditioning units and heaters should be fully cleaned twice a year.
- Filters should be vacuumed and washed, allowing them to dry fully before replacing back into the unit.
- Vents should be dusted and wiped free of dust with a dry cloth only.
- Fireplaces should have ash removed before each fire lit and soot dusted from the chimney once a year.
- The fireplace should be kept free of webs and dust.
- The opening should be kept clear of flammable decor and cloths.
5. Paint and Mould
Flaking paint can amount to a much bigger issue if not dealt with early. Once paint starts to crack, flake and age it will continue to spread as weather and the elements affect it further. If you notice chipped or flaking paint, the area should be sanded back and patched with an undercoat followed by the top coat. Never just paint straight over the top of flaking paint as this will just cause the top new layer to wear off easier as the ageing paint underneath it continues to shift and peel away.
Always check the cause of the flaking paint; is it age, weather or is there evidence of mould? Mould can cause serious health risks, especially to those suffering from asthma as it spores in the air we breathe. If the area is affected by mould, depending on how deep it has penetrated the surface, it may be easily removed by a good scrub with vinegar to kill the mould. If however the mould returns or does not scrub off, you may need to hire professionals to assume the depth of the mould’s penetration and how so successfully treat the area.
It’s always a good idea to regularly check your home, inside and out, for signs of mould or mildew. Early detection allows you to easily and quickly treat the surface area before it penetrates deeper into the surface, requiring professional treatment. Mould is grown in moist, humid environments, thus to prevent mould growth in your home, ceiling fans and plenty of ventilation can reduce moisture within rooms. You can also buy dehumidifiers or moisture absorbers from hardware stores such as Bunnings or Masters.
Always wear a safety mask and gloves when sanding or dealing with mould to prevent damage or irritation to your skin and respiratory system.
6. Monitor Tree Height and Location
Ensuring tall trees are maintained is important, especially if they are in the proximity of electricity lines. Consider the distance they are placed from your home and garage, thus in the case of a severe storm event, falling trees and branches won’t damage your home or property. Sometime it is a good idea to have large trees removed to prevent a potential hazard or damage.
Remember to always check with your local council for approval before seeking out professional help to remove large trees.
Drainage can make all the difference between dry carpet and a soggy muddy one after a good downpour. To prevent flooding during a storm ensure drain pipe exits are free of debris, grass and built- up earth. Water should be able to flow freely and quickly away from the house. Roof gutters should be without holes, free from leaves and debris. If you find water run off escapes in a direction that is not ideal, it may be a good idea to dig out your own drains, lining them with concrete to prevent erosion.