Now that fall is rolling around, you may be thinking of tending to perennial home maintenance tasks before the snow comes. If you own or are responsible for your own home, you understand the level of upkeep that comes from simply maintaining a presentable facade; it’s safety that’s the real priority. All those tasks around the home and yard aren’t just for aesthetics — they’re to prolong the life of your household and make it safe for everyone under its roof, season through season.
As you’re raking, cleaning off gutters and downspouts, and sealing cracks for cold air, take a special look at your windows. The functionality of your windows is the most important means of exit in a fire if you can’t access a door. On the flipside, windows also pose a great risk to small children who don’t know better but to treat windows with dangerous indifference.
Take a look at our checklist of points to keep in mind as you’re looking your windows over for condition and ease of use:
- Make sure your windows are not sealed shut by either paint or nails. Windows are an important exit point in the event of a fire or other emergency.
- Be mindful of children around windows. Keep kid-accessible windows locked when little ones are around. If you’re going to open a window for fresh air, open a window that children can’t reach. Double hung windows open either at the top or the bottom, so use the top sash.
- Talk to kids earnestly about safety around windows. Even small children are mature enough for a sober conversation about dangers and risks around the house. Of course, you don’t want to scare them, but you do want to impress upon them that the window area is not an acceptable play zone.
- Set your furniture up strategically so that climbable items are not near any windows. Children are apt to crawl all over the furniture, inspecting everything for its play potential. If they can get to your windows, you can bet they’ll be curious about how they work.
Window guards and fall protection devices are available if you want to take preventative measures for your children. While they’re a great idea when you have rambunctious adrenaline junkies for kids, you do need to make sure they have a safety release to disable it. If you need to exit through the window during an emergency then the window guard will impede you.
- If the worst happens and someone does fall out the window, having a soft surface below could lessen the extent of an injury. Shrubs and bushes are good for absorbing falls, and even grass is better than concrete. Aiming for the swimming pool works best in movies, not in real life.
- A window screen is a flimsy piece of plastic, not a security measure. Pets and people can easily fall through window screens, so don’t rely on them to catch anything. If someone can seriously fall from a window, always enforce it with something sturdier.
- Make sure you have an emergency exit from finished basements. If there is not a door leading directly outside, then have an egress window that gives some means of escape.
- Have a window in the rooms you spend the most time in: sleeping and common areas.
- Have a solid safety plan in place, write it down, and put it up somewhere where your family can easily refer to it. Go through emergency procedures regularly, especially if you have young kids. Older kids have more common sense and can instinctively help themselves, but young children need to learn rules from the ground up.
Window maintenance is important because the consequences of inadequate maintenance are so devastating. The main purpose of checking over your windows is to make sure they meet your family’s needs in a safe and effective manner. Check your windows at least twice a year, preferably in the spring and fall. This gives you the chance to look in on how your windows held up after being pelted with the elements in our volatile summers and winters. If problems have manifested you’ll be able to solve them promptly.
If you own a home, and especially if you’re taking care of a family, having safe and secure windows is essential. While you’re making your house look great working away at seasonal tasks, make sure you’re thinking about both how it all looks from the curb, as well as how it functions within. That way everyone is safe and sound and you know you’ve checked all the boxes.
Smart Choice Windows and Doors Systems serves the Greater Toronto Area and Concord, Ontario. We perform the weighty jobs that require the know-how of an experienced professional. We proudly employ our own crew of skilled installers, making for a consistent and accountable job well done. Call us at 416 877-8508 or visit our contact page here.