Preparing for a Storm Checklist: Winter Edition

While nerve-wracking, a winter storm is nothing to be afraid of, especially if you’re prepared. Follow this preparing for a storm checklist to ensure you’re ready for anything when the snow starts falling and the wind picks up.

Make sure everyone is on the same page.

Keeping everyone in your household in the know is the best start to winter storm prep. Sit down with the entire family and discuss what to do in the event of inclement weather. You should also show everyone where emergency items are located and assign small children a “buddy” to stick with. You should also make a plan for communicating with family members if you happen to be away from home when a storm hits. Making sure everyone feels prepared will keep panic at a minimum.

Winterize your car.

You may need to move locations during a winter storm, or you may be in transit when it hits. This is why it’s important to make sure that your car is up to the job. At the start of the season, visit your mechanic and have them top off all fluids and inspect areas like the battery and windshield wipers for wear and tear. It’s also crucial that your tire treads are capable of handling snow and ice. In some areas, chains or snow tires may be appropriate.

You’ll also want to stock your car with a few supplies:

• A windshield scraper
• A small bag of sand or non-clumping kitty litter
• Emergency blankets and warm clothing
• Flashlights
• A red cloth to tie to the antenna

You should also keep a mostly full tank of gas at all times.

Gather household supplies.

When gathering supplies, be sure to stock up well in advance. Stores can run out of items like bottled water quickly in the event of an impending storm. Here are some basics to have on hand:

• Flashlights for each member of the family
• Plenty of batteries in a variety of sizes
• A three-day supply of nonperishable food and bottled water for each family member
• Battery-powered radio
• Cell phone charger that operates on batteries, solar power or some other non-electric source
• Wipes, hand sanitizer and paper products
• Extra blankets and warm clothing
• Firewood and matches (if you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove)
• Rock salt, ice-melt or similar

Protect your home.

Some of the most expensive damage to your home occurs during instances of extreme cold. One of the most important things you can do for your home when the power goes out is to keep your pipes warm. This helps prevent burst pipes and extensive repairs. At the start of winter storm season, take the time to wrap pipes in insulation. You can also open cabinet doors to let warm air circulate and turn on all faucets so that they drip and water can keep flowing.

A healthy roof is crucial year-round, but it becomes especially important in the winter. In the fall, we recommend hiring an NPI inspector to help identify any weak areas and suggest repairs. They can also inspect your attic’s structure and insulation to make sure that warm air won’t escape and create ice dams.

You also might consider purchasing a generator to help with long-term storm prep. A generator can keep your heat and power running, and it can even be programmed to kick on as soon as a power outage occurs. Available in a wide variety of sizes and prices, generators are recognized as a smart investment that can sometimes earn you a break on home insurance costs.

Make room for pets.

If you have pets, you’ll want to keep extra supplies on hand. Make sure they have plenty of food, water and blankets. You should also have puppy pads, cat litter and cleaning supplies on hand for any bathroom accidents if your pets are used to being let outside frequently.

Hiring a National Property Inspections inspector can help you prepare your home for a winter storm. Look for an inspector in your area today to protect your biggest investment—your home.

5 Ways to Know if You Need a Gutter Replacement

1. You can see visible damage.

The quickest way to know if you need a gutter replacement is to examine your gutters up close. If your gutters are damaged, you may be able to see visible cracks, rust and holes, especially along the bottom. If the wear and tear is minor, you should be able to make repairs yourself with a little sealant. But before you make a decision about how to proceed with a potential DIY project, it’s important to look for the following signs. If you see any of these, chances are you’ll need a full-blown gutter replacement.

2. There’s water damage on your home’s siding.

The state of your home’s siding can give you great insight into many other aspects of the house’s condition, including its gutters. Another sign you may have a gutter replacement on your horizon is the presence of discolored water marks right below the gutters on your home’s siding. Water marks can indicate that gutters are leaking or overflowing. If your home is made of brick or another material, you’ll need to take a look at the fascia and soffit for water damage.

3. Your gutters pull away from the house.

Sagging gutters that pull away from the house indicate major drainage problems. If gutters get weighed down with water, they can sometimes drop or fall off the home altogether. Sometimes, sagging gutters are unavoidable due to heavy rainfall or freezing snow, but often, they can be prevented by cleaning out the dirt and debris that might be blocking water flow. Just be careful not to cause additional damage to gutters when leaning your body weight or a ladder against your home.

4. Your basement is flooding.

They say that if your basement is flooding, you should start at the top of your home and work your way down to diagnose the issue. This is where gutters come into play. You might experience basement flooding from time to time when your gutters can’t carry water away from your home fast enough. If water isn’t carried away, it can end up right below your eaves as it slides off your roof, seeping into your basement and causing water damage that ranges from wet patches on the ground to inches of standing water. Sometimes, basement flooding is unavoidable, especially in areas of heavy rainfall where gutters overflow often. Often, though, it means your gutters are significantly damaged.

5. You can spot mildew on your foundation.

If your home is experiencing foundation issues, the gutters may be your last area of concern. But they can actually play a big role in the health of your home’s structure. This is because the primary job of gutters is to carry water away from the home. If you can see water pooling around the foundation and signs of mildew, you could be dealing with a major gutter issue. Sometimes, simply cleaning your gutters will help get rid of any plugs, but you could also need a replacement.

If you need help determining the condition of all aspects of your home, NPI can help. Whether you’re buying, selling or just looking for a three to five year checkup, you can find a highly trained and qualified inspector near you.

How to Avoid a Chimney Fire This Winter

While curling up by the fire is always great when the weather gets cold, there are a few things you should do first to make sure your fireplace is safe to use. Chimney fires occur more often than you’d think and can cause real damage to your home, but they’re easily preventable with some simple maintenance.

What is a chimney fire?

Chimney fires occur when your fireplace ignites a buildup of flammable material in your chimney. The most common culprit is a substance called creosote, which is really a residue of smoke and vapor from burning wood. This residue accumulates in your chimney as you use your fireplace, and if it isn’t cleaned regularly, it can build up in layers to form an incredibly flammable glaze.

What’s worse is that you may not even know you’re having chimney fires until you’ve had several of them. Chimney fires usually burn themselves out before they become noticeable, but they can burn at temperatures of up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to crack mortar and affect the structural integrity of your chimney. If a fire starts in an already-damaged chimney flue, that fire can spread to the home’s wooden structures and cause catastrophic damage.

What causes chimney fires?

Simply put, chimney fires are caused by a lack of proper maintenance. If you don’t have your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned regularly, you’re giving soot and creosote the chance to build up. The more flammable creosote buildup you have in your chimney, the higher the chance of combustion when you use your fireplace.

There are a few things you can do to slow the buildup of creosote in your chimney. First, burn only seasoned wood in your fireplace. Seasoned wood has been left to dry and age outside for at least six months to a year. Using “green,” or unseasoned, wood in your fireplace leads to more water vapor, inefficient burning and higher levels of creosote.

You can also lessen creosote buildup by ensuring proper air flow through your chimney. This means keeping the glass doors on your fireplace open, and making sure that the damper is all the way open before starting your fire.

How can you prevent chimney fires?

Regular inspections are the only way to be sure that your fireplace and chimney are in proper working order. An inspector can determine whether your chimney has suffered any structural damage from past fires and knows the signs of dangerous creosote buildup.

Even if you don’t use your fireplace very often, having it inspected regularly is important because creosote isn’t the only flammable substance in your chimney you have to worry about. Branches, bird nests and other debris can become lodged in your chimney (we’ve found even weirder things like footballs and raccoons, too—yeah, it happens). These can either obstruct air flow, causing an accumulation of carbon monoxide, or they can combust. Neither option is good news.

Call Your Local NPI Inspector for a Safe Chimney

National Property Inspections has the tools and expertise you need to keep your fireplace safe for your family this winter. Find your local NPI inspector today and schedule an appointment.

6 Ways to Prevent a Christmas Tree Fire

Christmas tree fire

With the holidays just around the corner, we’re guessing things are hectic around your home. You’re getting ready for company and putting the finishing touches on your decorations. Without adding undue stress, we’re here to give you tips on something that may have fallen to the back of your mind: Christmas tree fire safety. Here are some ways to stop a burning Christmas tree from ruining your holiday.

1. Pick a tree that’s green.

Fresh Christmas trees are much less likely to catch on fire than those that are already starting to dry out. Dry trees can ignite in a second and become a raging fire in less than a minute. When picking out your tree, pay attention to how the needles look and feel. If they look brown, come off the branches easily and snap between your fingers, the tree is too dry. Instead, look for vibrant green needles that look waxy and don’t break easily.

2. Place your tree strategically.

Being aware of heat sources in your home is the next step in preventing a Christmas tree fire. You should always maintain a distance of at least three feet between your tree and any sources of heat. This includes fireplaces, candles, space heaters and radiators. Remember, it only takes one spark on a dry tree to create an out-of-control flame.

3. Keep your tree watered.

How much should you water your Christmas tree? If you said a gallon a day, you’re right! Trees need even more water the first few days and may need more in general depending on their size, so make sure not to skimp. Once you notice needles beginning to fall, your tree is a fire hazard and should be removed from your home.

4. Use appropriate types of lights.

Only use UL-listed Christmas lights for your tree (check the manufacturer’s directions) and be sure you’re not overloading your outlets by connecting too many light strings together. We recommend connecting a maximum of three traditional light strings together. You can also switch to energy-efficient LED lights instead, which produce much less heat, and flameless candles, which can look and feel like the real thing without the danger of an open flame.

5. Turn off the lights when you leave.

Any time you leave the room, you should turn off your Christmas lights and extinguish any candles or other sources of heat, like fireplaces. This is especially important when you’re leaving the house or going to bed. Enjoy the cozy firelight when you’re relaxing at home with your family, but when you go to bed, make sure it’s lights out.

6. Know when to take down your tree.

We know it’s hard to say goodbye, but listen to this—half of all Christmas tree fires occur in the 20 days AFTER the holiday, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Even a well-watered tree begins to show signs of drying out after four weeks. That means if you put your tree up around Thanksgiving, you should take it down right after Christmas.

Have a Safe Holiday with National Property Inspections

National Property Inspections is your partner for a safe and festive holiday season. Your local NPI inspector provides many services to help you keep your home’s most important components in tip top shape this winter. Locate your nearest inspector and make an appointment today.

How to Remove Salt Stains the Easy Way

Winter brings more into your home than just snow and ice. In addition to slushy footprints, there’s a good chance that you and your family are tracking in salt, sand and ice melt. Avoiding these substances in parking lots and walkways is almost impossible, so what’s a person to do? You might start by thinking of the clean-up process as a little science experiment.

The salt that we scatter on sidewalks in winter is actually made up of calcium chloride pellets. Calcium chloride is an inexpensive substance known for its effective melting properties, with certain solutions having the ability to prevent freezing at as low as – 62 degrees Fahrenheit. It also happens to have a high pH, one greater than 7.

Because calcium chloride is so acidic, it tends to attract water, which means it loves our snowy boots. You may think you’re in the clear once wet footprints have either evaporated or been wiped away, but unsightly white streaks will likely appear in time. And if salt isn’t properly cleaned, it can slowly destroy a floor’s finish or permanently stain carpet.

How to Remove Salt Stains with Vinegar

Your first thought may be to grab a bucket of hot soapy water or scrub hard at the stubborn stains with a brush. But the best way to remove stains is to neutralize the highly acidic calcium chloride with a low-pH cleanser. You can choose a floor neutralizer for this specific purpose, but our favorite solution is one we’ve already discussed at length in a previous entry—vinegar. With its pH of 3, vinegar won’t just remove tough, baked-on stains from your oven. When used the right way, it’s your best bet for keeping floors clean.

Since vinegar itself is fairly acidic, it’s best not to apply it directly to just any surface. Stone, for example, can be eroded by acidic substances and is not ideal for cleaning with vinegar. The key to using vinegar to remove salt stains is to dilute it. To avoid wear and tear on your flooring, try mixing four to five ounces of vinegar with about a gallon of warm water. Use a generous amount of vinegar solution to mop floors or gently scrub carpets. Allow it to rest for three to five minutes, then use clear warm water to mop stains again.

While vinegar is perfect for vinyl or tile flooring, you’ll need to modify the process if you have a hardwood floor. It’s best not to use a mop since excess or standing water can cause damage to wood. Spot-treat hardwood floor stains with a rag soaked in the solution, then use another clean, dry rag to wipe up the stains and any vinegar residue.

You can also use vinegar to clean salt stains off of concrete. Since calcium chloride tends to bond more strongly to concrete than interior flooring materials, you’ll need to create a stronger cleaning solution. Mix one part vinegar with five parts water, put down a generous amount of cleaner, wait three to five minutes and then mop it up with clear water.

More Winter Foot Traffic Tips

A certain amount of moisture and staining is probably unavoidable when it comes to your home and winter foot traffic. You may need to lay down a strict no-shoes-in-the-house rule and put out additional absorbent mats to catch any water and salt. It’s a good idea to place one for wiping outside the door and then one or two more to cover your foyer. You can also try leaning shoes toes-up on the lip of a boot tray so that excess moisture drains off.

Do you have a question about removing stubborn salt stains from your home’s floors? Let us know in the comments below, or contact your local National Property Inspections team.

Christmas Critters: How to Get Rid of Raccoons in Your Attic

As the weather gets colder, you might find yourself with an unwanted houseguest this holiday season. Critters of all stripes look for warm places to burrow in for the winter, and they won’t think twice about making a home in your attic, crawlspace or basement if the conditions are right. Whether you’re dealing with a raccoon, groundhog or even a skunk, we’ll tell you the signs to look for and how to get rid of them so they won’t come back.

Signs of An Animal in Your House

We’ve found a raccoon that had been hiding in a customer’s garage for four days before anyone noticed. It had entered the home through a small opening in the exterior wall and gotten stuck in a rarely opened utility closet. The customer only found out about his visitor because of the faint, musky urine smell and a nice nest of drywall shreds spilling out from under the door.

Why are we telling you this? Simply put, animals can be sneaky. Even if you think there’s no way you wouldn’t notice a wild animal in your house, the fact is that you don’t look for things you’re not expecting. Here are the signs to clue you in:

• Unexplained scratching sounds in the walls
• Lights flickering and electrical systems failing
• Signs of intrusion like holes or shredded drywall
• Visible signs or smell of urine or droppings

In our customer’s case, the solution was simple enough—open the garage door about a foot, open the closet and let the critter waltz out. If only it were this easy all the time. If you think you might have a raccoon or other wild animal in a place that’s hard to access, like your attic or walls, we recommend calling in an animal control specialist to remove it.

Securing Your Home with an NPI Inspector

Raccoons and other animals are generally drawn to your home in search of food, so you should remove their reason for hanging around. Keep your garbage cans secure with locking lids, and if you have other pets, don’t feed them outside. Once you know the animal is gone, it’s time to figure out how it got in. This is harder than it sounds. For example, a raccoon can gain entry to your home through a hole as small as three inches, and these openings are easy to overlook in hard-to-reach areas like a crawlspace.

Rather than spending your holiday season combing your home for entry points, let National Property Inspections take care of it while you knock back some egg nog and trim the tree. Your NPI inspector knows exactly what to look for and will identify the areas you need to repair, like open soffits, vent holes and more. Find your local inspector now to get rid of raccoons and keep them out of your home for good.

Why Does My House Smell?

Sometimes, previous owners can leave things behind. And sometimes, those things aren’t tangible items, like plates and furniture. They’re smells. Before you walk away from your dream home, use these tips to pinpoint the source of any odors and be on your way to breathing easy.

Kitchen Leftovers

You might be surprised to know that eliminating many odors is as easy as cleaning out the kitchen cabinets and refrigerator. Before your search gets underway, head to the kitchen armed with trash bags and go through the fridge and all storage areas. It’s easy to miss items in dark corners, and busy tenants or owners may have simply forgotten food during the move-out process. Once you’ve determined that the kitchen is clear, you can check other key areas.

Cigarette Smoke

Cigarette smoke is one of the most invasive, unmistakable odors, and one of the most difficult to remove. The smell from a cigarette can remain airborne months after it’s been lit, and inhaling leftover cigarette odor actually has a name–third-hand smoke. While daunting, removing cigarette odor can be done, and it’s almost always worth it.

The best way to approach stale cigarette smoke odor is to treat the entire house top to bottom, beginning by steam cleaning any carpets to remove residual smoke particles. Walls and upholstery can be chemically treated to neutralize the odors that are associated with smoke, and painting the walls can lock in stains and any remaining smell. Opening windows and doors will also help to purify the air, and there are air filtration machines available which cleanse and purge the home of toxic fumes.

Moisture and Mold

If your home smells “musty,” you probably have a larger project on your horizon. The leading cause of mold, moisture and mildew is water leaks in the roof, walls, plumbing or basement. Air conditioning units and drain lines can also be a culprit. Any of these issues will likely warrant a professional repair.

Insulation issues can also cause excess moisture. If flashings around windows are not properly sealed, condensation can collect and begin to mildew. You should also check freezer and refrigerator doors for sealing issues.

General Deodorizing

If you have decided that your home with olfactory character is right for you, there are simple steps you can take to deodorize a musty house. Zeolite, a natural mineral, absorbs odor without any perfumes or masking agents. It’s completely safe, non-toxic, and lasts up to six months. After that, it is easily rechargeable by heating in direct sunlight or a 250-degree oven for thirty minutes.

Activated charcoal is another powerful detoxifier that is used as an ingredient in many commercial odor removers. It is incredibly reasonable and lasts far longer than traditional air fresheners. Cleaning a musty home with vinegar is not only environmentally friendly, it also helps eliminate the odor from an old house. Baking soda is another miracle ingredient, that when sprinkled in an affected area, soaks up and removes residual odors. Not only does this work in refrigerators, but in any area of the home such as carpets, floors, and even clothing. Sprinkle it on the carpet at night, then simply vacuum in the morning for a fresh, clean scent.

If you’re having trouble pinpointing the source of a smell, call a National Property Inspections team near you. They can inspect your home from top to bottom and identify leaks, roof weaknesses, faulty appliances and more.

Don’t Pull a Griswold: How to Fix Christmas Tree Lights

One of the splendors of the holidays is all the festive décor, both inside and outside your home. Twinkling Christmas lights are what signal Santa’s sleigh, after all, so don’t get caught this season with lights that don’t work. Learn how to fix your Christmas tree lights easily so you can save money while still putting on a spectacular display. This way, you won’t get caught like Clark Griswold on Christmas Eve with blown fuses and a palooza of holiday frustration.

Christmas Lights Don’t Work? Check the Fuses

The first way to fix Christmas lights that don’t work is to identify whether half or all the strand is out. If it’s the latter, try replacing the fuse. A blown fuse can turn an entire strand dark, and often happens when multiple strands are connected from end to end. To change the fuse on a string of Christmas lights, first locate the plug (and make sure it’s unplugged from the wall, while you’re at it). On the male plug of every light string, you’ll see a sliding door that conceals the fuses. Open this and check the fuses—working fuses will be clear, while burnt out fuses will be dark in color. Replace the broken ones and you’re set.

Another lesson to learn from Mr. Griswold: do NOT use a stapler to put up your exterior lights, as this can cause the wires to blow the fuse.

Find Problem Bulbs with New Technology

With such new and innovative technology on the market, identifying a problem bulb is easier than it has ever been. A Christmas light repair tool costs about $20, and comes with everything you need to identify and replace a bad bulb: a continuity detector, shunt repairer, and light bulb removal tool.

The spark function on the repair tool can test each individual bulb, zapping and repairing the gap in current. If that doesn’t work, you can follow these steps to quickly trace the location of the dead bulb on the strand.

1. Pull apart the braided wires of the strand to identify the one directly connected to your bulbs.
2. Place the instrument about halfway through the strand, between two bulbs. If the tool hums or lights, the problem is in the half of the strand farthest from the plug.
3. If it doesn’t light up or hum, the problem is on the opposite side.
4. Once you have identified the problem side, you can replace the bulbs that have simply burnt out.

Remember, leaving a dead bulb on your Christmas lights can shorten the life of those around it.

Call Your Local NPI Inspector Today

With these simple instructions, you can easily learn how to fix your Christmas tree lights instead of buying new ones. If you have any questions, call your local branch of National Property Inspections. Their inspectors will give you advice and point you in the right direction so you don’t end up like Aunt Bethany’s cat this holiday.

The Best Electrical Outlet Type for Your Needs

Varying in category, voltage, and function, different electrical outlet types are each designed for a specific purpose. Different countries may have varying national standards, but the central goal is always the same: connecting you to your devices swiftly and easily.

Surge Protection Outlets for Clean Electricity

For reliable power you need to start with clean electricity, but what does that mean? Clean electricity is free of “noise,” (aka interference) that can be caused by nearby power lines or electrical substations. A noisy electrical supply is prone to surges, which is why one of the best ways to protect your home’s expensive electrical equipment is with a surge protector. Surge protection is also necessary in professional settings such as emergency power supplies or life-support systems for hospitals. If you don’t like the look of a surge protection power strip, you can buy in-wall surge protection outlets, too.

Polarized and Grounded Outlets Prevent User Error

Certain outlet types are designed only for specific connectors to improve safety. Polarized plugs and outlets are now the standard for all common household appliances. With polarized plugs, you’ll notice that one blade is slightly larger than the other. This ensures that you can only plug your appliance in one way, the right way, aligned with your home’s wiring system. Grounded plugs, usually found on larger appliances like ovens, refrigerators and televisions, have three prongs.

Use GFCI Outlets In Case of Water

Ever wonder why some outlets have reset buttons on them? This is a special type of receptacle called a GFCI, or ground-fault circuit interrupter. Required in kitchens, bathrooms, and other exposed or damp areas, that tiny “reset” button can protect from serious shock when the right amount of electricity and water meet. Acting like an ultra-sensitive circuit breaker, this face detects the amount of incoming and outgoing current, and if they are not even, shuts itself down. Therefore, if you are having trouble with one or more outlets in the kitchen, bathroom, or laundry area, simply locate the GFCI switch and try a reset, which will restart any circuits it has been connected to. If you are having trouble locating the GFCI switch, National Property Inspections is always here to lend a helping hand.

Childproof Outlets Protect Your Little Ones

If you have a young family, child proof outlets are now more accessible than ever. While they appear identical to standard outlets, they are anything but. A spring-loaded cover plate protects the outlet holes, which prevents the insertion of household objects when unequal pressure is applied to the receptacle’s contact points. So essentially, unless you are an adult trying to plug something in, the outlet won’t budge. With nearly 2,400 children (that’s seven per day!) in emergency rooms due to electrical shocks per year, this is a fantastic way to keep your little ones out of harm’s way.

If you are having trouble locating the GFI switch or are wondering if it is time for an upgrade, National Property Inspections is here to help. Give us a call today at 1-800-333-9807.

Holiday Decoration Safety Tips: Deck the Halls Without Them Falling

Decking the halls each year is a time-honored tradition, but laying the yearly yule log can be more than just a fun activity. Holiday decorations can pose fire hazards and other safety concerns when not thoroughly inspected and placed thoughtfully. Follow these helpful holiday decorating safety tips to keep your household merry and bright throughout the season.

Trees

For those that enjoy the scent of fresh fir, remember that a watered tree is a happy one and poses less threat of catching flame. The less watering you do, the more your tree will dry out, which can create a fire hazard with even the smallest spark.

To test your tree, first examine its branches and color. A green tree is a healthy one, and fresh needles that have been watered are difficult to pry from their branches. If you peek under your tree up and see a shower of needles, you need to increase your watering.

When deciding where to place the family Christmas tree, be sure to avoid areas by radiators, fireplaces, and other heat sources that can potentially dry out its needles as well. If curious cats or playful little ones are of concern in your household, consider using thin guy-wires to secure your tree top to the walls and ceiling.

Lights

Whether they are indoors or out, it is essential to read all labels to verify that your Christmas lights have been tested for your holiday decoration safety. Examine all strands to make sure they do not have any fraying wires, broken sockets, or loose connections from being stored year after year.

To protect from wind damage, always be sure to secure each strand of Christmas lights safely. When it’s time for bed, turn off all light displays to avoid overheating and starting a blaze overnight. Using faulty lights on a Christmas tree can cause it to become charged with electricity, allowing anyone touching it to be electrocuted. To avoid this, use colored spotlights around or beside the tree, rather than attached to it. Bubble lights should always be kept a safe distance from children, and you may want to skip them altogether—infants and toddlers may be tempted to pull on lights or even try to eat them.

Décor

Before electricity, candles were used to bedeck the branches of trees. Now, however, it’s essential to keep any sort of flame away from your evergreen for the safety of your holiday decorations. When trimming the tree, use only non-combustible and flame-resistant materials. Try tinsel, artificial icicles, or plastic materials.

In homes with small children, it’s important to choose decorations that are not sharp or breakable, and to avoid anything that looks like candy. Children can and will eat anything they can find, so be mindful of the little ones during this festive and bustling time. Paper decorations, for example, can be a great way to be crafty while finding a safe way for children to decorate. On Christmas morning, remove all wrapping paper and trimmings from the tree and fireplace areas as soon as possible. Never burn these items or any greenery in the fireplace, as they can ignite suddenly and burn intensely.

For more information about getting your home holiday-ready, contact your local team at National Property Inspections. Our inspectors are always here to lend a helping hand.

Do you have experience with holiday disasters? Comment and let us know below!