Tips for Homeowners to Improve Safety and Sustainability

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The International Code Council’s 43rd annual Building Safety Month campaign has begun, and week one’s theme: “Building Safety Starts at Home” highlights how building safety impacts our everyday lives.

According to InjuryFacts.NSC.org, about 16 out of 100 people were injured in a home or community venue in 2021. The leading causes that contribute to these injuries, such as drowning, fire smoke, and general home maintenance, can be prevented by acting ahead of time.

As the leading global source of model codes, standards, and building safety solutions, the Code Council is passionate about educating homeowners on fire safety, home maintenance, and sustainability practices. Here are some safety tips from the Code Council to help prevent accidents and keep your family and community safe:

Fire Safety Tips:

• Put a smoke alarm on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area, and inside every bedroom. Test each smoke alarm regularly and replace it every ten years.

• Install home fire sprinklers. They are relatively affordable and can increase property value and lower insurance rates.

• Make an escape plan with a meeting place outside so everyone knows how to get out fast.

• Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from portable heaters.

• Keep all items that can burn away from your home. Remember to clean leaves from your gutters and clear dead leaves and branches from shrubs and trees surrounding your home.

Home Maintenance Tips:

• Never overload electrical cords or power strips.

• Don’t use appliances that have damaged cords.

• For mold prevention, watch for leaky pipes, condensation, and wet spots, and fix sources of moisture problems as soon as possible.

• Keep in mind that there are several materials and items that should never be flushed down the toilet, including medication, disposable wipes, coffee grounds, and more.

• To prevent your pipes from freezing in the winter, drain water from the swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following the manufacturer’s or installer’s directions.

• Make sure all pedestrian gates in the barrier fence of your swimming pool are self-closing and self-latching.

According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, the average U.S. family can spend $2,000 a year on energy bills. This means that reducing your home energy use is the single most effective way to save money and reduce your home’s contribution to greenhouse gasses. The Code Council recognizes that for many people, it’s unclear where to start, and suggests the following tips to help communities forge a path forward.

Energy and Sustainability Tips:

• Install water-saving shower heads and low-flow faucet aerators and use your water meter to check for hidden water leaks. These steps can improve water conservation.

• To prevent stormwater runoff pollution, never dump anything down storm drains.

• Change the filters in your home’s heating and cooling system regularly to increase energy efficiency.

• Replace your light bulbs with LEDs, which use up to 90% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

• Build green and design your home with materials that are easily recyclable, reusable, renewable, durable, affordable and low maintenance.

• Build a rain garden to capture roof drainage and divert it to your garden or landscaping to recycle non-potable water. Be sure to check your local rules on rainwater harvesting prior to installation.

For more information, check out the Code Council’s Safety Tool Kits and additional resources at iccsafe.org.

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