Nothing says fall and winter quite like cozying up by the fireplace, but you’d better think twice about using it if you haven’t had a certified chimney sweep inspect your fireplace this season. Today’s Homeowner host and home improvement expert Danny Lipford joined me for an interview yesterday to dish on how you can protect your home this season, tips on on how to make your home more fire-resistant and DIY ideas we can all use this winter.
Candace Rose: Now that fall is officially here, homeowners across the country are firing up their fireplaces and furnaces across the country. Do you have any safety advice you can share with us?
Danny Lipford: “Well, I’ll tell you what, hopefully by now since everybody is firing up those fireplaces and furnaces, that they’ve taken a little time and had the certified chimney sweep come out and do a good and safe inspection of their fireplace to make sure it’s ready to go. It’s the same way on your furnace and your heating system – make sure that it is working safely and efficiently.
This time of the year there are so many times we want to make sure that we remind people to change the batteries in their smoke detectors, it’s so important. Something else to be aware of is a smoke detector only lasts 10 years, so you may want to go ahead and change your smoke detector if it’s anywhere near that 10 year mark to be perfectly safe for your family.
Another thing that’s very frustrating that we’ve found over the years that a lot of homeowners talk about – if your smoke detector goes off or if your carbon monoxide detector goes off and you’re not at home, how does it really help you? Well, that has just changed because Kidde who has been around for a long, long time is developing a remotelync product line and it starts off with a monitor that plugs right into the wall, then you download the free Kidde app (it’s free to download and there’s no monthly charges) that way if your smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector goes off, it’s going to send you an emergency alert to your smartphone or your tablet or email to let you know something is happening at your house. This is available right now at Home Depot, so you can get that in no time and get it set up, it’s very easy to do.
Before the end of the year they’re (Kidde) also going to have a home security camera that works in a similar fashion but it is triggered by motion. It’s a motion detector type camera that you can set up and that way it will alert you and send you a video – a five to 30 second video to let you know if there’s any problems around the house. This can be used for a lot of different reasons.
These are some great ways to spend a little bit of money on technology that can make a big difference in the comfort of your family.”
Candace Rose: Are there any products we can use that will make our home more fire resistant?
Danny Lipford: “Well, there’s definitely a lot of them out there. If you’re building or remodeling it surprises a lot of people how many different products are designed to be more fire resistant – even drywall for your walls and your ceilings are now available that are fire resistant, as well as insulation for your attic which is a good thing because a lot of fires start in the attic space of a home and it can spread very rapidly before you even know there’s a fire there. The stone wool insulation that we’ve used a lot on my television show from Roxul is a great option. It’s so easy to install. You can cut it with a cerated knife and be able to install another layer right over your existing attic.
Again, not only is it going to provide that fire resistance and give you the every second counts if you have a fire there to help get your family out safely. It’s also going to make your home a lot more energy efficient.”
Candace Rose: Is there anything else we can do to lower our energy bill?
Danny Lipford: “It surprises a lot of people, Candace, that the second biggest user of electricity and gas and your general utility bill in your home is your water heater. Just to get hot water out throughout the year, it’s 13% of your total utility bill. It only makes sense to focus a little attention on your water heater to make sure it’s as efficient as you possibly can have it. Here’s a fun way to do it – there’s a website that’s set up by the Propane Education and Research Council that’s called KnowYourWaterHeater.com. It’s got a simple little quiz there that can help guide you a little bit as to whether or not you need to consider upgrading your existing water heater. There’s a lot of changes in electric water heaters and the requirements by the government this past year, so it’s good to know a little bit more about that important system in your home to see if maybe you need to do a little upgrading there.”
Candace Rose: What are some projects you’re working on around the house this year?
Danny Lipford: “Well, I’m doing a lot of projects around here and of course I’m focused this time of the year on trying to prevent that air from sneaking into my home, and I found something recently that you might want to check on yourself there around the house, I have a gap under my front door but it’s mostly because of a lot of traffic in and out around here and wearing down the threshold and the door sweep. I’m just going to take the door sweep off, do a little adjustment on the door, seal that gap up, and then I’m going to do what I always tell people to do – take a slow walk around your house and see if you can find any cracks or gaps that will allow that cold air to sneak in over the winter months. You seal them up, it’s very inexpensive but it’s going to return some very good dividends and energy savings over the winter, as well as the summer months that are right around the corner.”
Candace Rose: Well, thank you for the great tips, Danny. Where can we go for more information?
Danny Lipford: “We’d love for you to drop by our website: TodaysHomeowner.com – thousands of videos and articles waiting on you right now to help you have the best looking house on the block.”