Keeping your Home in Seattle, WA Safe from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Our homes should be places of comfort, relaxation and memories. That’s why it is important to protect your homes from dangers such as fires, theft and one people too often overlook: carbon monoxide (CO).

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is produced when fuels such as wood, oil, natural gas and propane are not efficiently burned. Carbon monoxide can be produced by your household equipment such as generators, lawn mowers, barbeques and your furnace.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that each year, 170 people in the United States are killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in their homes. These deaths can be caused when equipment malfunctions or when the products are used in areas that are not properly ventilated, such as a closed room.

The Center for Disease Control lists the common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning as headache, dizziness, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.

The good news about all this is that protecting your family from CO poisoning is relatively simple.

Follow these tips for Carbon Monoxide poisoning prevention:

  • Always have your home’s gas burning furnace, water heater and fireplace serviced by a professional. A professional will ensure the appliance is burning properly and is properly vented.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home (newly constructed homes, apartments and condominiums will likely already have these installed). For an extra level of protection, consider installing a CO alarm in every bedroom of your house.
  • Never leave a car idling in a garage
  • Keep portable generators at least 20feet from an open window
  • Never use a charcoal barbeque inside a home, tent or camper
  • Never use a gas oven to heat a home

Even a single carbon monoxide detector in your home could save lives. If you rent a home or apartment that does not currently have a carbon monoxide detector, ask your landlord to provide one. Many states require that homes have them installed. Review your state laws here.

If you have questions about your home, auto or commercial insurance, call the insurance agents at Secord Agency in Seattle, WA. They’re right on NE 45th right in the middle of the neighborhoods of Wallingford, Green Lake, Phinney Ridge, Fremont and the University District. They have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or business Insurance. They live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so they can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out their website, 24/7.

How to Keep and Maintain a Fire Extinguisher in your Home

Your home is much more than the place that you live or where you sleep. It is where you create memories, raise a family and have family and friends over to visit. Keeping everyone safe while they’re there should be a first priority. But, when was the last time you looked at your fire extinguisher to ensure it would perform if a fire broke out in your home?

A fire extinguisher is arguably one of the most important pieces of safety equipment in your home or apartment (second only to a smoke detector) and should be kept up at regular intervals. Just because you have a fire extinguisher in the home doesn’t mean that it will function in case of emergency. With these tips, however, you’ll be better set in case of emergency and in the event you have to use an extinguisher to put out a fire.

1.      Inspect your extinguisher once per month.

Inspecting your fire extinguisher will ensure the canister is charged and ready to work in case of a fire. You should inspect the extinguisher for damage and check the charge meter (typically a green to red meter near the top). Try to inspect your fire extinguisher monthly to ensure it is where you left it and that the extinguisher is in good shape.

2.      Maintenance

 Your fire extinguisher really doesn’t require much, but should be maintained at least one time per year. Like any pressurized system, the canister will lose pressure over time. Ensure that it is “charged” and if required, get it recharged or replace the extinguisher.

Other items that should be considered are:

  • Is your extinguisher accessible? Are there items in front of your extinguisher that would cost you time or block your access to it in case of emergency?
  • Is the needle pointing to green on your extinguisher’s gauge?
  • Is the nozzle in good shape (perhaps it was dropped and damaged). If not, replace the extinguisher.
  • Is the pin intact and appear to be in good shape?
  • Is the canister itself in good shape and free of dents, rust or obvious signs of leaks?

Keeping your fire extinguishers in your home in good working order is just one of the important steps to keeping your home and house guests safe. It is also a way to avoid a costly and emotional homeowner’s insurance claim. If you have questions about your home, auto or commercial insurance, call the insurance agents at Secord Agency in Seattle, WA. They’re right on NE 45th right in the middle of the neighborhoods of Wallingford, Green Lake, Phinney Ridge, Fremont and the University District. They have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or business Insurance. They live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so they can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out their website, 24/7.

Keep your Home in Seattle, WA Safe this Winter by Following Proper Fireplace Safety

A fireplace is one of a home’s greatest features and can bring an ambiance and warmth to a space to create that perfect night in on a cold evening. As important as they are for creating the perfect mood, it is equally important to ensure that you properly maintain your fireplace.

Fireplace Safety and Maintenance

Wood Burning Fireplaces

  • Ensure your flue is open and clear from obstructions. It is important to take a peek up your chimney (before lighting your fire of course) to be certain the chimney is not blocked. Often time birds or other animals will make shelter in your chimney in the off-season, so be sure to check if you haven’t used your fireplace in some time.
  • Keep glass doors open. If you have a normal, wood burning fireplace, keep the screens closed, but the glass doors open. The doors are usually designed to keep a room insulated when not in use, not to keep the fire in. A chimney requires air to be pulled through and up the chimney, so keeping the doors open allows this air to flow properly while your screen keeps debris and sparks from flying out onto your carpet or other flooring.
  • Install a chimney cap. Chimney caps keep rain from damaging your chimney and keeps birds and other critters out. You should also put a screen across the chimney to prevent sparks from flying out and onto roofs or lawns potentially causing a fire.
  • If you have burned 70-100 fires call a chimney sweep to come and inspect your chimney. They’ll clean out any build-up and do a visual inspection to ensure your chimney is healthy and structurally sound.

Gas Burning Fireplaces         

  • Install an oxygen-depletion sensor, commonly known as a “safety pilot.” These safety pilots will turn off the gas if they detect the fireplace isn’t functioning properly or if too much carbon monoxide builds up.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors near the fireplace and every floor of your home. A couple per floor would be ideal.
  • Maintain proper distance from the fireplace. Keeping objects away from the fireplace is the best way to avoid a fire or smoke damage. Keep curtains and other fabrics at least 3 feet away from the outside edge of the fireplace.
  • Contact your gas company or call 911 immediately if you smell gas in your home.
  • Clamp your fireplace damper open to prevent carbon monoxide from entering your home.

With all fireplaces it is important to keep your children and pets away. Burning fireplaces in a home can deplete the home of oxygen and replace it with carbon monoxide. Keep your carbon monoxide alarms in working order to ensure your family stays safe.

Keeping your fireplaces in your home in good working order is just one of the important steps to keeping your home and house guests safe. It is also a great way to avoid a costly and emotional homeowner’s insurance claim.

If you have questions about your home, auto or commercial insurance, call the insurance agents at Secord Agency in Seattle, WA. They’re right on NE 45th right in the middle of the neighborhoods of Wallingford, Green Lake, Phinney Ridge, Fremont and the University District. They have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or business Insurance. They live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so they can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out their website, 24/7.