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Home Safety Checklist: 7 Items New Buyers Should Check

Updated July 2016 Home safety may not be the first thing you think about when moving into a new home. Sure, you may have had a home inspector check the property before you bought the place, but this inspection may not find every defect in a home. To help guide you, here's… Allstate https://blog.allstate.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/tools-with-mini-home_iStock.jpg
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Updated July 2016

Home safety may not be the first thing you think about when moving into a new home. Sure, you may have had a home inspector check the property before you bought the place, but this inspection may not find every defect in a home. To help guide you, here’s a home safety checklist you may want to consider when settling in:

1. Change the Locks

After taking the keys to your new home, you may want to consider changing all of the door locks and installing smart locks and secure deadbolts, says the National Crime Prevention Council. You don’t know how many people were given spare keys by the previous owners, and new locks may help deter any “drop-in” visitors. Also, if you install smart locks you may be able to unlock or lock your home with just your smartphone if you’re away.

2. Familiarize Yourself With Your Electrical System

When you move in, the DIY Network suggests becoming familiar with your new electrical system. You’ll want to learn where your meter and electrical circuit box (also known as a fuse or breaker box) are located. Also, it doesn’t hurt to understand how to shut off the electrical circuit box in case of an emergency.

3. Check the Pipes

Take a look at the pipes, wherever visible, for rust stains, corrosion and leakage, says the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety. If you see something out of the ordinary, you may want to contact a plumbing professional for a proper inspection. You should also learn how to shut off your water in case you need to do so. Don’t forget there are several sensors or other devices you may want to think about installing on your pipes in order to shut off your water if you are away from home and a pipe happens to burst.

4. Clean Air Ducts and Change Filters

Consider changing the furnace and air conditioning filters, and make sure that your air ducts aren’t full of dust bunnies and registers are not blocked, says the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

5. Inspect for Lead Paint

If the house you’ve purchased was built before 1978, it may have lead-based paint, which may cause a range of health issues, says the EPA. If you suspect that your home has lead paint, you can test it with an EPA-certified lead test kit. You may want to consider hiring a lead-safe certified contractor to deal with any problems, says the EPA.

6. Secure Cleaning Supplies

As you unpack, make sure to find a secure home for all cleaning agents, solvents and other hazardous materials that children might come in contact with, says the National Safety Council. Flammables can be another concern — and it’s not just gasoline or household chemicals you should be concerned about. After a move, you’ll have plenty of cardboard boxes sitting around, so make sure to keep them away from ignition sources and recycle them as soon as practical, says the National Fire Protection Association.

7. Test Smoke Detectors

Test all the smoke detectors in your new home. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there should be at least one on each level of the house. You should test the carbon monoxide detector, too, or consider installing one if there isn’t one already.

You also have the option to have your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors professionally monitored while you’re away from home so the fire department may be dispatched if an alarm sounds.

As a final step, you may want to get down on the floor and look around. What would your children or pets encounter that escapes your view when standing? Is there a sharp-edged table or any tripping hazards? There are plenty of things you might discover from this different perspective.

A little time spent checking on and improving your home’s safety in the beginning may help make your home ownership a happier and, hopefully, healthier experience. Best wishes in your new abode!

Story courtesy of ADT Security Services.