Summer Home Safety Tips

With warmer temperatures here, staying cool and safe while keeping home energy costs down is a top priority for Alberta homeowners. To enhance the safety of your home, spend some timepreparing for the summerwith our suggestedsummer home safety tips.

These include preparing your home for heavy rainfall and flooding, adding insulation and weather stripping, replacing or sealing windows and performing regular maintenance on your air conditioning system.Use ourhome maintenance tips for summerto keep your family safe throughout the season and beyond.

Prepare your home for flooding

Floods are Canada's most frequent natural hazard and can cause extensive damage to your home, according to. In Alberta,and therefore face the possibility of floods. As an Albertan, preparing for summer should include prepping your home and family in case of flooding.

To prepare your home for potential flooding before it happens, consider the following summer home safety tips:

  • Apply weather-protective sealant around basement windows and the baseline of ground-level doors.
  • Ensure your downspouts’ drainage path is a good distance from your home’s foundation.
  • If you don’t already have them, install a sump pump and zero reverse-flow valves in your basement’s drainage system.
  • Safeguard hazardous materials around your house such as natural gas, electrical or propane equipment.
  • Move important documents and items out of the basement to a higher level in the home.
  • Have a plan for your animals or livestock and know evacuation routes.

Develop a family flood emergency plan

Develop a family emergency plan to ensure your family’s safety during a flood. To prepare your family for potential flooding:

  • Ensure all occupants know how to shut off water, gas and electricity in the house.
  • Teach your kids how and when to call fire, police and emergency services.
  • Have emergency phone numbers programmed into or posted next to all landlines in your home.
  • Have everyone with a mobile device install thefor alerts and updates in case of an emergency.
  • Consider your family pet and decide who in your family will be responsible for evacuating it. Make or purchaseto place on your windows to let emergency responders know if your pet is still inside.
  • Practice evacuation procedures.

You should also prepare aif your family needs to evacuate immediately and cannot access everyday necessities. Minimally, the kit should include:

  • per person per day.
  • Non-perishable food items. If you pack canned goods, make sure to include a can opener.
  • Food and water for your family pet.
  • Clothing for all your family members.
  • A first aid kit.
  • Daily medications, if applicable.
  • Toiletries (e.g. toothbrushes, toothpaste, toilet paper, wet wipes)
  • A flashlight.
  • A list of emergency phone numbers.
  • An extra set of house and car keys.
  • Cash and/or a spare credit card.
  • Important family, financial and insurance documents.

Safely restore your home after flooding

After a flood, you’ll need to restore your home as soon as possible to protect your family fromand prevent further damage to the interior and exterior of your home.

Do not return to your home until authorities allow re-entry. When it’s safe to return, make sure your home is structurally sound, and leave immediately if you see buckles in the walls or floors. Do not usegas-powered or electrical appliances or drink water from a faucet until a professional inspect the premises.

Before moving back in, follow these steps provided byto prepare and restore your home:

  1. Have an inspector check the regular water supply and declare it officially safe for use.
  2. Have an electrician inspect your electrical system and appliances to confirm they function properly. Your home insurance company may be able tofor you.
  3. Have a gas fitter inspect your gas lines to confirm they are safely intact.
  4. Discard household items that have extensive flood damage.
  5. Thoroughly dry, clean, and disinfect all flood-contaminated rooms or surfaces. Consider hiring a professional cleaner for extensive flood damage.
  6. Disinfect all contaminated dishes and utensils using boiling water or sterilizing.
  7. Make sure all toilets function properly and consult your local health authority for more information if necessary.

summer rain with hail falls on the roof of slate

Stay protected from hailstorms

Because of its topography, in Canada.Hail can impact at dangerous speeds—a shocking—and can be life-threatening and cause severe damage to your home, property and vehicles. If hail is in the summer forecast, follow these emergency tips for preparing and securing your family and home from the storm.

How to Prepare for a Hailstorm

Get ahead of the storm with these summer home safety tips:

  • Be on alert for an upcoming storm.may include dark clouds, thunder, lightning, violent winds and pouring rain.
  • Pay attention to thunderstorm warnings. Consider buying a hand-crank or battery-powered radio to keep up with forecast updates in case the power goes out during a storm.Finally, add the to your mobile device for alerts in your area.
  • Cover your outdoor items. Place vehicles, boats, patio furniture andotherlargeobjectsin asecure location, such as a shed or garage.
  • Close all windows and doors. Make sure all the windows and doors in your home are shut. Close curtains tightly to contain any glass that may shatter.
  • Maintain your home. Inspect your roof and property to ensure you have proper protection against strong winds and hailstones.
  • Trim trees and bushes. Reduce potential damage from falling or wind-blown foliage by maintaining your yard.
  • Shelter livestock. If applicable, ensure you’ve provided some shelter for outdoor animals to cover under if a hailstorm happens.

What to Do During a Hailstorm

Follow these guidelines provided byand thefor protecting your family and home during a hail storm:

  • Take cover. Immediately move your family and pets inside the home. Stay away from windows that could potentially shatter.
  • Stay in the know. Listen for alerts, updates and instructions from local emergency responders and services.
  • Pull off the road. If you are driving, find a safe spot to pull over and face away from windows to avoid broken glass.
  • Look out for flooded areas. Excessive hail and rain can plug storm drains and create flooding areas. Look for flooded areas on the road and your property.
  • Watch out for lightning. Stay away from trees, towers, metal fences or poles that may attract lightning, and do not touch any metal objects in your home (e.g. stove, sinks, radiator).
  • Shield yourself outdoors.If you cannot find shelter, crouch down, protect your head and neck with your hands, and face away from the wind until the storm subsides.

Limit appliance and light use

Regarding summer home tips, your family’s safety and comfort are the two biggest priorities. While Alberta summers generally aren’t scorching hot, the temperatures can get high enough to warrant caution. Make sure your family stays cool by taking steps to regulate your home’s indoor temperatures.

To maintain lower indoor temperatures, keep your daytime appliance use to a minimum. Fire up the barbeque and enjoy extra outdoor cooking with your family this summer. If you need to use the oven or range in your kitchen, try to wait until the sun is lower in the sky and temperatures are cooler before cranking the heat on those appliances.

Similarly, you should try to use your dishwasher and clothes dryer when outdoor temperatures are at their lowest. When it comes to lighting throughout your home, reduce heat andby replacing high-wattage light bulbs with LEDs.

Use exhaust fans and dehumidifiers

This summer home safety tip could help your family avoid. Warmer temperatures and excess moisture create ideal conditions for mould growth in your home. To make your home more breathable and less susceptible to mould growth during summer, use exhaust fans and dehumidifiers to reduce the effects of excess humidity.

Make sure to turn on the bathroom exhaust fan after bathing or showering. When using the stove, turn on a fan to vent warm air out of your home and keep the temperatures down. Finally, youcan reduce the humidity in your basement by ensuring your gutters can move rain and water away from your home. If moisture problems persist, consider hiring a contractor to landscape your lawn to slope water away from your home.

Maintain your air conditioning unit

Air conditioner maintenanceis crucial when preparing your home for the summer. Natural Resources Canada saysyou should clean your air conditioner filter at least once each season. In addition to helping your unit run efficiently, a clean air filter will ensure the air your family breathes is as clean as possible.

Check your air conditioner’s coils, connectors and other components on a regular basis to increase your system's performance and keep your home safe. Without regular maintenance, your unit may malfunction and become a. Overworked and overheated air conditioners can cause electrical issues and catch nearby flammable items on fire.

Invest in central air conditioning

For optimal comfort and safety, consider investing in central air conditioning. Although the initial investment might be higher, you could potentially save on your monthly electric bill by opting for an ENERGY STAR®-verified model.According to Natural Resources Canada, central air conditioners with ENERGY STAR® ratings .

In addition, portable A/C units may posethan central air conditioning units. Portable units are typically smaller and have more difficulty keeping up with cooling demands. Air conditioners that are portable may be more dangerous than central air because they have a greater chance of overheating and short-circuiting, which can potentially cause house fires.

Open windows at night

Open the windows in the evenings to bring in the cool air at night. Airing out the house can improve air quality and reduce humidity in your home. Don't forget to turn off your air conditioner when you open the windows at night. In the morning, shut the windows and close drapes or blinds to keep in the cool temperatures and block sunlight.

worker installing new plastic pvc window

Upgrade your windows

Consider installinghigh-efficiency windows with low-e (low-emission) glass coatings, which reduce the amount of radiant infrared energy and heat entering your home. This filtering can decrease the demands on your air conditioning andfrom harmful ultraviolet rays. You can also install window coverings to keep sunlight from further heating your home.

For added protection against the summer heat, consider planting trees and shrubs near windows to shade your home from the sun. In the summer, leafy foliage can shield sunlight from your windows, ultimately keeping your family cooler and reducing stress on your air conditioning unit. Plant trees and shrubs around your house in areas that provide the best coverage, but make sure to keep them away from drainage areas and gutters.

Keep hot air from leaking into your home

Check windows and doors for gaps and cracks when preparing your home for the summer. Seal any openings with caulk or weather stripping to prevent warm air from coming into your home and air-conditioned air from leaving your home.Weather-protectant sealants and caulking around windows and doors can also help safeguard your home and family from potential flooding and heavy rainfall.

Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

You can and should perform our final summer home safety tipevery season. Grab a pack of batteries and check all the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home. You should have workingnatural gas and carbon monoxidedetectors near the kitchen and gas-powered appliances like furnaces and water heaters. Your home should have functional, inside and leading into bedrooms, common areas and the kitchen, at the very least.

As your Alberta energy provider and neighbour, we hope our guidance helps your home run efficiently and safely.