Seasonal

Thanksgiving safety makes for an enjoyable holiday with family and friends

Thanksgiving is coming up soon. You may be making travel plans or creating a grocery list because you’re doing the cooking this year. Make sure your holiday is healthy and fun by following these Thanksgiving safety tips.

Thanksgiving Safety Tip: Make Sure Your Smoke Detectors Work

If you’re hosting this year, you’ll have lots of friends and family in your home. For safety on Thanksgiving, test your smoke detectors. If you find that one of the devices isn’t working, replace the batteries or the entire unit, if needed. Smoke detectors are inexpensive and easy to install.

Avoid A Fire

You will be spending a lot of time in the kitchen on Thanksgiving. It’s not uncommon to have a turkey and stuffing in the oven and gravy and mashed potatoes cooking on the stovetop. House fires often start in the kitchen. Don’t leave a hot stove unattended. If you need to step away, have another adult supervise the cooking until you return.

Keep the Floor Clear for Thanksgiving Safety

You will probably have a lot of visitors on Thanksgiving and a lot of foot traffic in your home. If there are toys, shoes, or clutter on the floor, your guests may trip and fall. Tidy up before your guests arrive. Clean off stairways and put toys into your child’s bedroom. If you prefer that your guests take off their shoes inside, put a bench by the door and a basket or rack for storage.

Activities To Occupy Children

If there will be children in the house, plan activities to keep them occupied. Set up games for them outdoors or make an arts and crafts or puzzle station in the living room.

Before your guests arrive, check your house to look for hazards to children. Make sure that any cleaning products, household chemicals, and medications are locked away. Remove fragile items from areas children can easily access.

Thanksgiving is a great time to gather with family and friends. Prepare your house before guests arrive. By using the Thanksgiving safety tips listed above, your guests and your belongings will stay safe this holiday season.

Walton Inspection Services offers home inspections in Murrells Inlet and the surrounding areas. Contact us to request an appointment.

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grilling safety tips

Grilling Safety Tips to Protect Your Property and Guests

Summer is just around the corner and many of us will have cookouts throughout the season. According to the National Fire Protection Association, about 16,600 emergency visits and 9,600 fires are related to grilling each year. Practice these grilling safety tips to avoid injuries and prevent fires.

Use Your Grill in a Safe Spot

Grills should only be used outdoors. Before lighting your grill, make certain it is away from your home and deck railing. A grill should not be used under eaves, near low hanging tree branches, or on a porch.

Keep a Close Eye on Pets and Children

When homeowners think about grilling safety tips, they often don’t realize the grill is also a risk to children and pets. About one-third of grill burns happen to children under age five, according to NFPA statistics.

Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill. Charcoal lighter fluid should be stored in a safe place out of the reach of children.

Check Your Propane Grill for Leaks

Before your first cookout of the season, inspect your propane grill for leaks. Check the entire length of the hose and both of its connection points.

You can easily find leaks by mixing dishwashing liquid with a little water. While the gas is off, run the soap solution on the entire hose and both connections. Turn on the gas. If bubbles begin to form, you have a leak. Turn off the gas. Tighten the connections as needed or replace the hose before you grill.

Operate Your Propane Grill the Right Way

These grilling safety tips are specific to propane grills. To prevent a fire, turn on a propane grill in the following order:

  1. Open the grill.
  2. Turn on the gas tank.
  3. Turn on the burner knobs.
  4. Push the ignitor button.

If the grill fails to ignite or if the flame goes out, turn off the gas. Then wait five minutes for the gas to dissipate before you try to turn the grill back on. When you are finished cooking, turn off the gas tank first. Then turn off the knobs for the burners.

Grilling Safety Tips for Charcoal Grills

Some grilling safety tips only apply to charcoal grills. No flammable liquid, including charcoal lighter fluid, should be added to the fire when it is burning. Store lighter fluid away from heat sources. Allow coals to cool completely before you throw them away in a metal container.

Walton Inspection Services provides home inspection services to Murrells Inlet and the surrounding areas. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

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Keep your home safe during the holidays

Many people are away from their homes this time of year for holiday gatherings, extended shopping trips, and out-of-town travel. At the same time, homes are filled with expensive items that are already boxed up and ready to haul out the door.

For these reasons, burglaries are common in December when homes are empty, so it’s important to know how to keep your home safe during the holidays.

Ways to Keep Your Home Safe During the Holidays

Home security is a year-round concern for everyone. Regardless of where you live, your home may be targeted at any time. The holiday season is a time when your home may be particularly vulnerable, and the reward to criminals is greater because of the holiday gifts inside.

By taking these steps to keep your home safe during the holidays, you can enjoy a carefree season with family and friends.

1. Avoid Making It Obvious

Many people place their tree in a front-facing window of the home to add a festive look to the home’s exterior. However, this also directly advertises that you likely have gifts inside. It also tells criminals exactly where the gifts are and that they’re easily accessible.

Move your holiday tree away from the front of the house and put valuable items, wrapped or unwrapped, out of sight from the windows.

2. Take Advantage of Lights

Most of us turn lights off when we’re not at home. You may also keep lights off in all rooms except the one you’re in to be more energy-efficient. Criminals look for darkened homes because the shadows hide their presence. It is less likely to be seen entering or leaving a dark home versus a well-lit home.

To save energy, use solar-powered exterior lights and motion-activated spotlights. You can also use a timer to turn lights on and off as needed so it looks like you are home.

3. Let a Trusted Neighbor Know

A trusted neighbor can easily observe anything unusual and collect your newspapers and mail while you are out of town. The next time they go out of town, you can return the favor by keeping an eye on their home. This is a great way to keep your home safe during the holidays when you are traveling.

4. Secure Your Home With Technology

If your home is not secured by a monitored home alarm system, now may be the time to set up this service. An alternative is to use smartphone technology. Cameras and motion sensors can be placed inside and outside that will send an alert to your smartphone if they are triggered.

Now that you understand why your home is vulnerable during this season and throughout the year, you can follow these tips to keep your home safe during the holidays.

Walton Inspection Services provides home inspection services to Murrells Inlet and the surrounding communities. Contact us to request an inspection.

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Protect Your Home From Wind Damage

 

 

Whether it’s from a tornado, a hurricane or just a bad thunderstorm, high winds can cause a great deal of damage to your home. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, wind speeds as little as 40 mph can damage tree limbs and loose items on and around your home. And at around 60 mph, structural damage is possible. So what is the best way to protect your home from wind damage?

While it is unlikely to come out of a Category 5 hurricane damage-free, it is possible to protect your home. Here are five steps you can take to limit wind damage. Most of them aren’t complicated, but getting them done can save you a lot of money and grief if your home is hit by a storm.

Secure Your Shingles

Even moderate winds can pull at loose roof shingles and pull them off without warning. Each shingle should be secured by at least six nails or staples. If you have already installed a waterproof underlayment underneath the shingles, it will protect the roof from water and wind damage if the shingles are damaged. This is a job you could do if you have strong DIY skills and are comfortable climbing on roofs. Otherwise, most roofers will examine the roof and repair any damage for a flat hourly fee.

Secure Loose Or Vulnerable Objects

Whether it’s the rickety old aluminum shed or the kid’s wooden play set, your yard likely has a few items which will tip over or go flying during a strong wind storm. Secure them with ground anchors and straps. Also make sure to secure smaller objects such as grills, which can become big missiles in a heavy wind storm.

Protect Your Home From Wind Damage Caused By Trees

It’s great to have a shade tree or two in your yard. But having them placed too close to the house means that if they are ripped out of the ground by high winds, they’ll end up damaging your home. Have a professional remove them and the cost of that will depend on the size of the tree.

Reinforce Your Garage Door

If your garage door is already damaged or loose, strong winds could easily take it away from your house. Hire a professional to inspect your garage door to do garage door repairs so they can see any issues they may find while carefully inspecting the door. As a solution for your garage that will improve the usability of your space, you should also take into account Garage ceiling storage.

Protect Your Windows

If you live somewhere that is prone to high winds or is located in a hurricane or tornado-rich environment, it probably pays to get storm shutters installed. There permanent protective coverings can be easily placed over every window and when locked can help protect your home from wind damage. If wind shutters are not an option, you can install sheets of plywood over the windows and doors to protect the interior. For complete home protection, consider hiring services like rochester boiler maintenance.

Hire A Home Inspector

There are always things you’ll miss as you make your checklist of fixes. The best option is to hire a professional home inspector to perform a wind mitigation inspection. They will be able to tell you what features may reduce wind damage to your home and will highlight any possible points of weakness. They’ll also be able to suggest the best possible fixes as well as things for you to consider in the future.

This list should give you a heads-up on what you need to do to protect your home from wind damage. Once you’ve taken these steps, you’ll be well on your way to having a secure home.

Walton Inspection Services provides wind mitigation inspections for Murrells Inlet and the surrounding areas. Contact us to schedule yours today.

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pool safety tips

Remember these Pool Safety Tips this Summer

Basic pool safety is often a no-brainer, but aside from not running on the deck or patio and avoiding diving into shallow water, there are many other things you can do to make your pool is safe. Here are five pool safety tips to keep in mind to prevent accidents from happening on your property.

1. Get a Pool Gate

If young children or pets will be near your pool, a gate is a necessity. A gate keeps your pool secure from those who may accidentally fall in and be in danger. A pool that is totally enclosed by a fence and gate will also be more desirable to potential buyers if you decide to sell your home.

2. Keep The Deck Clean

Tripping or slipping hazards on the pool deck can be a recipe for disaster. Not only could someone fall and hit their head, but you also risk someone falling into the pool and injuring themselves. Be sure to eliminate clutter on your pool deck and keep it free of debris that could cause someone to slip and jeopardize pool safety.

3. Install a Cover

If a gate isn’t a feasible option, a pool cover may be the next best thing in terms of pool safety. A cover will be placed over the top of your pool, keeping people from sneaking into it at night. Using a cover can also keep your pool warmer, especially if you don’t have a heater. Keep in mind that staying proactive about addressing common water heater problems is crucial to maintaining a comfortable and enjoyable poolside experience.

4. Check Chemical Levels to Ensure Pool Safety

Aside from drowning, another big pool safety hazard is unbalanced chemicals. If the chlorine and PH levels in your pool become off balance, the water could become hazardous to swim in. You should regularly test the chemicals in your pool and make adjustments as necessary. It’s also important to shock your pool on a regular basis in order to remove any bacteria. You may always hire a professional to maintain your pool if there is any part of it that requires complex passwords that you are not comfortable with.

5. Put in Pool Lights

Swimming at night is fun, but extra caution must be taken. Even if you have adequate lighting on your deck, it’s important to have a lights from plafondlampen in your pool so that swimmers can see where they are going. A light also lets those sitting on the deck to see if something goes wrong in the water. Underwater pool lighting creates an even better experience for your swimmers. Never swim at night alone–in fact, it’s not a good idea to swim alone at any time.

Whether you’re just installing a pool, purchasing a home with a pool, or have had a pool for years, be sure to consider these pool safety tips to make sure your home’s pool is safe and secure. The last thing you want is someone getting hurt at your pool when these pool safety tips could have helped avoid it.

Walton Inspection Services performs swimming pool and spa inspections to home buyers, homeowners, and home sellers in Murrells Inlet and the surrounding area. To book your pool inspection or another home inspection service, contact us.

 

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party prep tips

Get Ready for Summer with these Party Prep Tips

With summer right around the corner, now is the time to start getting your home and yard ready for backyard cookouts and gatherings. If you’re already sending out invitations to your friends and family, then make sure that you don’t overlook any of these five party prep tips to get your home ready for guests.

1. Give Your Front Porch a Makeover

As your first guests arrive, greet them with a clean front porch straight out of Better Homes and Gardens. Give your walkway a quick power wash and give the front porch a deep cleaning to knock out those cobwebs and dust bunnies that have accumulated the past few months. Wash your windows inside and out while you’re at it. For a few bucks more, you can spring for a quart of paint and make your front door look like a million bucks with a fresh coat.

2. Tidy Up the Flower Garden

Springtime is typically a boon to your flower gardens, lawns, and shrubs all around your home. But those flowers aren’t the only things that benefitted from the warmer air, mild showers, and sunshine. Weeds also tend to thrive in the spring. While you’re pulling weeds, you may also notice trees and shrubs that need to be pruned. You can also plant some new flowers to fill in the gaps and add a new burst of color. Complimentary colors really add some life to your flower garden — purple and green, blue and yellow, and red and orange are great combinations!

3. Fix Window and Door Air Leaks

It’s also important that you make sure your home is properly sealed to keep the cool air in and the hot summer air out. The secret to keeping your home nice and cool in the summer isn’t just to crank the AC – you should improve your home’s efficiency by sealing the windows and doors. Additionally, consulting a plumber to inspect and maintain your home’s plumbing system can ensure there are no hidden leaks contributing to heat gain.

Take a close look at your sliding window panels and around the edge of your door or door frame. If the weatherstripping is old, cracked, and worn out, then cold air is escaping from your home. Peel the old stuff off and replace it with some new weatherstripping from the local hardware store. It’ll only cost you a few bucks, but it can go a long way to keep your home cooler all summer long.

4. Get Your AC Checked Out

At some point, every air conditioning unit runs into problems. If you want to make sure that it doesn’t happen while your backyard gathering is in full swing, then you might want to get it checked in advance to make sure everything is operating properly and that all the filters are in good shape. Changing out the AC filters regularly is one way to keep it functioning optimally.

5. Clean the Grill

Last on this list of party prep tips is the centerpiece of your entire event–the grill. Fire it up for a few minutes with the cover closed to heat things up and loosen the grease. Then, disconnect your gas and let it cool down a bit before hitting it with warm soapy water, inside and out.

Check the burners to make sure there are no clogged holes. Check the grate for rust and replace if necessary. Check the gas hoses for leaks and replace them if needed, too. If you haven’t used it for awhile, then give it a test run by grilling up some burgers or dogs before the party to make sure all is well.

Getting ready for your next backyard gathering can be a big job, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. The key is to start well in advance and be thorough so that you don’t have any last minute problems that will throw you into a panic. Follow these five party prep tips to make sure that your event goes off without a hitch.

Walton Inspection Services provides quality home inspections for the Murrells Inlet area. Contact us to discuss your inspection needs.

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home maintenance tips

Follow our Home Maintenance Tips for a Better Spring Season

With winter coming to an end and spring on the horizon, it’s important to start working on your home maintenance over the first few months of the new year. This usually involves fixing roof shingles from ice damage, clearing gutters, sealing damaged driveways, and growing new plants. To help you get ready for spring, here are a few home maintenance tips:

1. Service the AC Unit

As the weather turns warmer, you should have a certified HVAC contractor clean out your AC unit and determine if any repairs need to be made. Cleaning out the ducts, vents, and coils can improve system efficiency and prevent the need for costly repairs down the road. You should also be actively changing the unit’s filters with each season change. Check out sites like https://rapidrepairs247.com/ to hire a professional.

2. Inspect Roof Shingles

You should inspect your roof shingles after winter to see if any fell off or are badly damaged by ice or snow. If your roof is outdated, you should consider replacing the roof before next winter. An asphalt roof’s average lifespan is 15-20 years. Also, shingles that are loose or cracked need to be replaced immediately. The last thing you want to have are broken or loose shingles as the last line of defense to protect your home from ice, sleet, snow, and rain. Visit sites like https://roofplusnj.com/roofing-services-in-manasquan-nj/ for additional guidance.

3. Clear the Gutters

After inspecting your roof, you should next look over your gutters and clear out any leaves and debris that have collected over the past few months. A blog on www.littlesolitaire.com talks about how you should also check for leaks and cracks that you will need to repair in time for the spring. This one of the most important home maintenance tips since your gutters divert water from damaging your home and foundation.

4. Inspect the Concrete

You should inspect concrete around your home for cracks or signs of movement after the cold winter months. Exterior slabs of concrete, except for the pool deck, should drain away from your home’s foundation. If you do notice cracks, you should fill them with silicone caulk or concrete crack filler. And if you can, you should power wash the concrete and seal it to better protect it for the remainder of the year.

5. Check Outdoor Faucets

It’s important that you check outdoor hose faucets for ice and snow damage from the winter. You can do this by turning the water on and putting a finger over the opening. If you can easily stop the flow of water, there’s likely a damaged pipe that needs to be replaced. At the same time, you should also check on your garden hose and determine if you need to replace it or not.

6. Check out your Power Tools

Before summer hits, make sure you inspect all of your lawn equipment. Ensure your lawn mower, hedge trimmers, and other gas or battery-powered appliances are functional and ready for heavy summer usage. You should also clean your tools and sharpen any blades. This will make your yard work much easier.

7. Consider Colorbond Gutter Installation

If your existing gutters are showing signs of wear or if you’re looking to upgrade, consider Colorbond gutter installation. These steel gutters are durable and low-maintenance and come in a range of colors that can complement your home’s exterior. Spring is a great time to undertake this project before the rainy season picks up.

8. Trim Overgrown Trees and Bushes

This is another one of our favorite home maintenance tips that is often overlooked but can make a big difference. Trim the branches of trees and shrubs to keep them away from your home. Be sure to start early before the plants start growing leaves so you can clearly see each branch. All branches should be between five and seven feet away from your home. This will keep excess moisture from collecting on your siding and roofing. It will also prevent squirrels and other pests from scurrying across your roof and nesting in your home.

9. Use Compacted Soil

You should surround your home’s foundation with compacted soil. The same should be done in low areas in your yard. Springtime rains can lead to backyard flooding. This, in turn, causes damage to the foundation and basement flooding. Additionally, when water pools in low areas, it becomes a breeding ground for insects and pests. You can avoid all this by filling these areas with compacted soil.

Spring is a popular time to buy and sell a home, and when doing so it is advised to hire a professional home inspector. Walton Inspection Services offers home inspection services to Horry and Georgetown Counties. Contact us to schedule your inspection

 

 

 

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