Our homes are our sanctuaries. They’re the refuge we seek after a long day at the office, the cool, comfortable enclosures we create to reflect our personalities, and most importantly, they’re where we keep our stuff.

Now, if somebody walked up to you and said, “Hey! I’d like to set your kitchen on fire,” or “I’m thinking it would be fun to flood your basement,” I’m going to bet dollars to donuts you would back away very slowly, and then very quickly call the police. You’re not going to let that happen! You have worked way too hard over the years to give your family a welcoming landing pad where everyone can reconvene and connect – not to mention the several months you were consumed with making sure your home was Feng Shui-compliant.

Just as you would never let an outside force come in and ruin your abode, so you should ensure the inside of your home is safe from potential hazards like fire and water damage, which can be costly and dangerous.

Don’t fret, friends! According to CNN Money, there are certain steps you can take to make sure your home isn’t in jeopardy due to preventable threats.

About 40% of home fires start in the kitchen. Simple steps such as regularly checking smoke detectors, keeping an eye on stove burners when in use, and storing combustibles – such as paper towels and potholders – a safe distance away from the stove can go a long way to ensure your safety. In other areas of the home, don’t forget to clean out the lint trap in your dryer every few months, and if you have a chimney, have it swept once a year.

Water damage can be a costly consequence of the ill-prepared home. Annual maintenance checks can help to keep your place in tip-top shape. Unclogging gutters in the spring and fall ensures that water will flow away from your home instead of pooling around the foundation, leading to a leaky basement. As it starts to get cold outside, turn off the water supply to exterior spigots and leave the taps open so pressure doesn’t build. Insulate water pipes with foam sleeves and check the hoses connected to your washing machine for leaks and loose connections.

Your home is your castle. A little planning and foresight can help you keep your place, and your family, feeling comfortable and protected.

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