Back in the day, holiday safety was all about remembering not to let hot holiday lights rest against crinkly, paper gift wrapping or dry branches and needles. Thanks to cooler LED holiday lights, those concerns are less of a worry. Contemporary holiday and winter concerns include things like online safety and coping with the latest cultural trends, as well as more traditional cold-weather home preparations.
Keep Halloween happy and safe for everyone
Keep your kids safe this year during their door-to-door, All Hallows’ Eve romp, by steering taller and older kids toward costumes without masks, and remind teenagers that disrespectful mischief and pranks will not be looked upon favorably by neighbors.
Other trick-or-treat safety and etiquette remains standard:
- Go trick-or-treating in a group with at least one adult chaperone.
- Only visit houses with patio or front door lights on.
- Chaperones should carry flashlights or wear a headlamp to help the group navigate in the dark.
- Carry glow sticks to increase visibility.
- For homeowners, keep your walkways, steps, and porches well-lit and clear of obstacles.
Home for the holidays
If you’re planning to get away during the holiday season, don’t broadcast your out-of-town status on social media. It’s all too easy to let slip a check-in or comment that leapfrogs through friends’ and friends of friends’ social media feeds, giving away that you’re not at home and your house is easy pickings for burglars. Keep travel plans offline, and turn off location tags when you’re sharing pictures from friend or family gatherings.
A little neighborly supervision is still one of the best insurance policies for protecting your home while you’re away. Ask a neighbor to pick up the mail regularly (or put it on hold yourself at the post office), and leave an emergency contact number in case anything unexpected happens while you’re away.
If you’re hosting friends or family for a holiday gathering, don’t stray too far from whatever is cooking in the kitchen. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors says unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the United States. When you’re busy socializing with your holiday guests, be mindful of these kitchen safety tips—and remember to keep an eye on the stove!
Keep an eye out for pets, too, whether you’re the host or a guest. Holiday chaos can be stressful for pets, especially if they’re not used to young children who may be visiting. Provide a safe place where pets can retreat from the noise and attention. Keep holiday treats, like chocolate, decorative holiday gift wrapping, ornaments, or electrical lights and cords out of reach—these items that can be harmful (even deadly) to your pet if chewed on or swallowed. Additionally, make sure your guests understand not to let pets slip out of the house or yard.
Wrap it up around the house
Crisp fall days are the ideal time to start running down the checklist of home maintenance tasks in preparation for colder weather and the bustling holiday activities ahead.
- Get the furnace checked. A professional tune-up for your furnace ensures your heating system is ready for the season ahead.
- Check the chimney. A full chimney sweep isn’t necessary every year, but don’t skip an annual safety inspection.
- Wrap pipes. Get ahead of freezing-cold nights by insulating pipes before they get the chance to freeze and burst. Cover outdoor spigots, and slip pre-slit foam insulation tubes onto water pipes inside unheated cabinets and in the basement or garage.
- Trim tree branches. Before the weight of snow and ice can cause them to snap, trim branches near your windows and roof and around where you park your car.
- Clean gutters. Clear dead leaves and debris from rain gutters to prevent blockages that can force water through the roof into your home.
- Check detector batteries. Every change of season is a great time to check all your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries.
Play it safe with PenFed mortgage financing
Are you thinking about refinancing your home this winter to help reduce expenses by lowering your monthly mortgage payment? Or, are you ready to size up into a bigger home—one that will accommodate all your year-round activities and holiday events with family and friends?
Here’s one more way to play it safe at home: Choose a mortgage lender that offers loan options and rates that help keep your finances solid and secure. The PenFed Home Ownership Center makes it easy to spend less time thinking about your mortgage and more time celebrating the season with friends and family.
Have a fantastic fall and winter!