Give your home a gift this holiday season

Have you ever considered giving your home a Christmas present? The benefits can last an entire season! The Eastern Connecticut Association of REALTORS® suggests that by providing your home with the following, you will be giving its occupants with one of the very best holiday gifts of all: safety.

Among the most important gifts you can give your home is a smart smoke detector. Fire safety experts say that many lives could be saved each year if every home had at least one smoke detector. These proven, protective devices are relatively inexpensive, easy to install and readily available in a wide range of prices.

Another great gift for the home is a home fire extinguisher. This is an especially smart buy for homes that have fireplaces or wood burning stoves. Unlike industrial models, home fire extinguishers are compact and attractive. Most importantly, however, they are easy to use.

Another good investment is an automatic timer to help keep your home in the limelight. An empty, dark house is an open invitation for uninvited holiday visitors. But automatic timers can turn your house lights on and off at predetermined times to give your home that "lived-in" appearance that is sure to discourage thieves. Use smart technology to program your lights to go on and off at scheduled times, very efficient!

How well stocked is your house if a power emergency should hit? Winter weather can cause area power failures that may leave you and your family in the dark for hours, or even days. Items that will help in such an emergency make great holiday gifts for the home. Good buys include an ample supply of candles, matches, flashlights, extra batteries, hurricane lamps and fuel, as well as a battery-powered radio and a good first-aid kit. Families who enjoy camping know that summertime gear such as camp stoves, heaters and lighting devices can be pulled into emergency use in any season.

To help prevent accidents in the home, invest in items such as rubberized, no-slip mats and grab bars installed around tub or shower areas, to help avoid falls. Most people don't realize that falls are the number one cause of accidental deaths at home. But for a modest amount of money and effort, you can help remove many of the hazards that cause falls.

In addition to the bathroom, stairs—both indoors and outdoors—can also pose dangers. On inside steps, rubber treads can reduce slipping accidents, while a few well-placed tacks can secure carpeted stair surfaces. Before inclement weather hits, treat your outside stairs to some sand and paint. Mix the two together and apply to your outside stairs to give them a new gripping surface.

Finally, don't be afraid to buy your home a checkup for the holidays. Have your home's heating equipment and electrical wiring system checked by a professional. Remember, cold weather and entertaining team up during the holidays to put added burdens on your home's energy system.

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