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Comfort & safety tips for a full house

  • Your office is on one side of the kitchen table—your child’s ‘classroom’ is on the other,
  • a science project is going on in the living room,
  • a game of shoot-the-rolled-up-sock-into-the-trash-can is happening in a bedroom,
  • in-and-out traffic is on the rise at Café de We Need a Bigger Kitchen and;
  • almost every electrical outlet is being used.

And, let’s not even talk about the toys on the floor and the fact that our world has been shaken up and turned upside down by a virus that we can’t see, but has us all on high alert.

Given that we’ve never found ourselves in this situation before, families of all sizes are finding creative ways to live out their daily lives at home. And now, more than ever, this is the time that we want—and need—our homes to be safe, comfortable and efficient.

We’ve put together some tips based on typical home insurance claims we receive to help you avoid household mishaps that can happen more easily with everyone being home.

Prevent accidents

With everyone homebound, there’s likely a lot of movement going on and different areas in your home are being used for a variety of activities or personal space. Here are ways to create more room and prevent accidents like tripping or other damage:

  • Make minor repairs if you’re able for things like broken stairs cases, loose railings, damaged flooring, broken handles or unstable shelving.
  • Clear your floors of tripping hazards, such as: toys, throw pillows, electronic devices, books or paperwork. If you’re using floor space for an activity, define that space to prevent others from walking through.
  • Tuck away breakable home décor items to make room for more people to sit and move about.
  • Keep an eye on the stove or other cooking appliances while you use them. Ensure anyone in the kitchen is aware when food prep like chopping is happening, the stove or toaster is on, or when a pot or pan is hot.
hand plugging in laptop

Be mindful of electrical use

Having too many devices and appliances plugged into outlets can pose hazards. Here’s how to keep electronics tidy and avoid power surges which can damage appliances and increase the risk of a house fire:

  • Connecting too many devices to a multi-outlet bar can lead to overheating. Unplug devices and small appliances when not in use. If you use a power bar, ensure it has a built-in circuit breaker that cuts off the power in case of an overload.
  • Keep power cords tidy and out of the way on the floor, counter and table tops. Move them off to the sides and if you can, secure them down properly with appropriate electrical tape or other fastening tools so that nobody trips or gets tangled up.
  • Ensure electrical cords aren’t hidden under carpets, rugs or furniture. Don’t have them running on top of anything flammable either, such as furniture or pillows. Over time, cords may become damaged and can cause a fire.
  • Inspect power cords from time to time. If they feel warm or hot to the touch, or look worn or frayed, replace them.
girl washing dishes with mother beside her

Protect against water damage

More people at home all day and night means increased water use and consumption. Our claims data tells us that water damage is the leading cause of home insurance claims in BC. Take these measures to help prevent water-related problems:

  • Don’t run the washing machine or dishwasher overnight while you’re sleeping. If a leak happens or water backs up, you won’t be awake to catch it.
  • Know the location of your main water shut-off valve and how to turn it off.
  • Don’t flush disinfectant or disposable wipes, or other non-flushable items, such as paper towels, hair and dental floss as they can clog your toilet and damage pipes.
  • With rainy days still in the forecast, try and remove debris and build-up from your gutters if you’re able to do so safely, and make sure external drains around your house are also clear of debris.