Stay safe at home this spring: Our top 4 tips
Each year Technical Safety BC receives reports of electrical and gas incidents which have resulted from homeowners doing work that should have been left to licensed contractors, or work that was done by individuals doing regulated work without the proper licenses, qualifications or permits. Stay safe this spring and summer by following these helpful tips before you get started on home or garden projects.
- Call Before You Dig – Brighter, warmer days have many of us itching to get out to the garden. But remember: Buried utilities can lurk only a few inches below the surface of the soil. At least two days before you uproot trees or shrubs, install or dig up fence posts, or start building a deck, contact BC One Call at 1 800 474 6886 to confirm there are no issues in the vicinity you are planning to excavate. And if you are hiring a contractor, make sure they have done the same before they begin.
- Schedule Gas Appliance Maintenance – Gas-fired appliances such as furnaces, boilers, fireplaces and stoves need annual maintenance to ensure they are running safely and not posing the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) exposure. Most people schedule this work in the fall and contractors can be very busy at this time. Try scheduling a licenced contractor for this work now instead. You can find a list of gas contractors at www.technicalsafetybc.ca/find-contractor.
- Spring Clean, Safely – If you are doing spring cleaning, we have some specific tips for you that will keep you and your family safe.
- Have your dryer vents and ducting professionally cleaned to prevent the risk of electrical fire.
- Ensure appliance and fresh air intakes on the exterior of home remain clear and unobstructed.
- If you have a gas fireplace, avoid the temptation to remove the glass front to clean it. If it is not replaced properly, it can cause the risk of carbon monoxide exposure. The same applies for rearranging logs which, if done incorrectly, can cause incomplete combustion and lead to carbon monoxide exposure. Have a licensed gasfitter do this work for you.
- If you haven’t done so recently, conduct a test of your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. It’s also a good time to check end of life date on both.
- Bring out the Barbecue – Before you fire up the grill this spring, take some basic safety precautions! If you haven’t used your barbecue for a while or it has been in storage, check the burner for any obstructions and make sure the gas supply hose is in good condition. If you spot any cracks or abrasions, have it replaced. Once you have your propane cylinder or gas supply hooked up, check the gas connections for leaks using a solution of 50% dish detergent and 50% water. Brush the solution onto the connections with a paint brush and watch for any bubbles to appear, indicating a gas leak. If required, tighten up the connections again and re-test until no bubbles appear. If a leak cannot be stopped, do not attempt to light the grill. Never use matches or lighters to check for leaks. Review the owner’s manual and appliance rating plate for specific warnings, lighting instructions and clearance to combustibles for safe operation.
Worried about a hazard in your home? Report it to us!