Maintaining your home can be a never-ending project. Seasonal changes require you to perform the same tasks each year to ensure your home is ready for winter chill, spring rains, summer heat, and fall leaves.
Many folks save money by taking care of home maintenance tasks themselves. It’s important not to allow the routine of home maintenance to cause complacency—many home maintenance tasks can be dangerous. Follow these top home maintenance safety tips to avoid injury or exposure to hazards.
Before you open a new can of paint, varnish, stain, or cleaner, read the labels. Many products contain hazardous materials that require you to maintain good ventilation while you’re using them. Some cleaners create poisonous gases that can kill you if you’re unaware they should never be mixed with others. Read all the warnings before you get started on any project.
Check the Owner’s Manual
Just as you would read labels on cleaners, paints, or glue, read the owner’s manual for your power tools. There will be safety and troubleshooting information in there you’ll need to know to use the tools without getting injured.
Keep your tools in good condition, stored appropriately as the manual recommends. Don’t use dull tools that require you to add extra pressure – you’ll end up damaging your home and possibly injuring yourself in the process.
Use the right kind of mask to keep you from inhaling particulates if you’re sanding wood or generating other kinds of dust. Wear goggles to protect your eyes, and work boots with hardened toes if you’ll be using power tools.
Be Smart with Ladders
Any time you get up on a ladder, you’re risking a fall. Make sure your ladder is standing on level, firm ground. A general rule of thumb is that for every four feet of height, the base of the ladder should be one foot away from the wall. Reaching above the top or beyond the side of a ladder is a recipe for disaster. Keep your hips between the rails and your weight centered. Make sure your ladder is long and strong enough for your task. Never climb higher than the third rung from the top—don’t step on the top two rungs.
The best way to stay safe with ladders is to minimize the number of times you use one. Consider having a professional install gutter guards, to reduce the need to get up on a ladder or the roof to clean out the gutters each year. Gutter guards allow water to flow through but prevent debris from clogging the gutters.
Keep Things Tidy
An organized work area is a safer work area. Avoid creating trip hazards with electrical cords. Store tools out of reach of children, and lock up dangerous substances in a type of storage approved by the manufacturer. Don’t leave tools lying around in the open: keep only those you’ll need within reach, and store them safely when you’re done.
A top home maintenance safety tip is don’t bite off more than you can chew. Leave complex plumbing and electrical work to the professionals, and stay safe.