Home is one of the first safe spaces a child knows. But what if your home actually isn’t so safe for your family? Parents may unknowingly put their children at risk by neglecting the very foundation of their home. Ultimately, determining whether your home is structurally safe for your children comes down to maintaining your home’s bones. Chimneys and fireplaces, roofing, and remodel needs are some of the most common elements to look at if you want to preserve your home’s structural integrity and provide the safest possible living space for your family.
Chimney and Fireplace Maintenance
The EPA estimates that around 13 million chimneys and fireplaces are used every year. That’s a lot of opportunity for children to burn or injure themselves or for a chimney fire to wreak havoc on a home. If your home has a fireplace, taking precautionary security measures and performing regular chimney maintenance is critical to ensuring the home remains structurally safe for your children.
Fires are one of parents’ biggest worries when it comes to child safety in a home, and for good reason. Fires and burns are one of the primary causes of injury-related death in children. So, how can parents minimize this risk?
- Childproof the fireplace surround: Hearths can pose injury risk to children, so consider the materials you’re using or if you need a hearth at all. Keep children away from flames using a fireplace screen or a gate.
- Ensure the chimney stays clean: Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and chimney fires caused by creosote and soot buildup by having the chimney professionally cleaned at least once a year. Make sure your smoke detectors remain in working order as a backup, and check the batteries regularly.
Roofs are highly durable when they’re well-maintained, however, 23% of homeowners admit that they’ve never had their roof inspected or maintained. The roof is one of the most important structural components of your home when it comes to protecting it from the elements and unwelcome pests. To ensure your roof remains structurally sound and continues to protect your family, you should have it inspected regularly. When, exactly, should you have it inspected?
- Annually: You should have your roof inspected at least once a year. Depending on the materials your roof is constructed with and the types of weather the roof endures, you may want to have it inspected twice a year in the spring and the fall.
- After any major weather event: In addition to an annual inspection, it’s best practice to have your roof inspected after severe inclement weather, including snowstorms and hailstorms, hurricanes, and even high winds. This will help you to identify and remedy any cracks, leaks, or other minor issues with the roof before they become larger and more costly problems.
General Wear and Tear
Remodeling your home periodically is a great way to keep it up to date and safe for your family. All homes sustain wear and tear as they get older, with the most used rooms requiring more frequent updates and repairs. In fact, roughly 29% of homeowners remodeled their kitchen because it had deteriorated or broken down. It goes without saying that any deterioration in your home can pose a safety risk for your family, so remodels can serve a much greater purpose than just enhancing your home cosmetically.
All parents want to make sure they’re providing a home that’s safe for their children. There are a lot of factors that contribute to your home’s structural soundness. Performing regular inspections and maintenance on fireplaces, chimneys, and roofs, as well as remodeling any outdated features of your home, are a few ways you can help ensure your home remains structurally safe for your children.