9 avoidable home improvement hazards

Armed with the right knowledge, tools and procedures, renovation-related risks can be minimized. As you go about your home improvement projects and repairs, stay alert for these hazards.

9 avoidable home improvement hazards

1. Aluminum wiring

Recognizable by it's dull grey colour, aluminum wiring requiresspecial techniques and materials to make safe connections.

Keep safe by hiring a licensed electrician certified to work with it.

2. Asbestos

A mineral found in old ceilings, adhesives, and tiles for vinyl and asphalt floors, asbestos can also reside in vermiculite insulation (recognizable by its grey granules). Other building materials, made between 1940 and 1980, could also contain asbestos.

If you suspect that materials you're removing or working around contain asbestos, contact your local health department.

3. Smoke alarms

Over half of house-fire fatalities occur in homes that are missing smoke alarms or have disabled alarms or alarms with dead batteries.

Test your smoke alarms every month and replace units that are more than 10 years old.

4. Backdrafting

As you make your home more energy-efficient and airtight, existing ducts and chimneys can't always successfully vent combustion gases, including potentially deadly carbon monoxide (CO).

Install a carbon monoxide detector to minimize the risk of poisoning.

5. Buried utilities

A few days before you dig in your yard, have your underground water, gas and electrical lines marked.

Always call your local utility companies before you dig.

6. 19 litre (five gallon) buckets

Nineteen-litre (five gallon) buckets filled with water or other liquids are a drowning risk for young children.

Store empty buckets upside down and store buckets that contain liquids with the cover securely snapped.

7. Lead paint

If your home was built before 1979, it may contain lead paint, which is a serious health hazard, especially for children six and under.

Take precautions when you scrape or remove it. Contact your local public health department for detailed safety information.

8. Spontaneous combustion

Rags saturated with oil finishes like Danish oil and linseed oil, and oil-based paints and stains can spontaneously combust if left bunched up.

Always dry rags outdoors, spread out loosely. When the oil has thoroughly dried, you can safely throw them in the trash.

9. Mini-blinds and other cords for window coverings

Hundreds of young lives have tragically been lost due to corded window treatments. Most accidents occur when infants in cribs near windows become entangled in looped cords or when toddlers looking out windows or climbing furniture lose their footing and becoming wrapped up in cords.

Recalls, regulations, new products and new designs have lessened the dangers, but older existing window cords still pose a threat, and some experts maintain that no corded window treatment— old or new—is completely safe. In addition, some older vinyl blinds present a lead poisoning threat.

Keep these crucial safety tips in mind for your next home improvement project, and you should be able to sidestep these hazards.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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