HVACs, breaker panels are potential hazards
By Adam Groff
Disaster can hit home at any time and when it comes to potential hazards in your customer’s house, there's plenty to be aware of.
Everything from the home's heating and cooling system to any number of small electronics can cause fire damage as well as water damage and mold issues.
So, in order to keep your customer’s homes a safe haven, here are some common hazards within their abode as well as some home disaster statistics:
Home Mishap Stats
No matter how up-to-date the home is, any number of electrical malfunctions can occur causing thousands in fire damage and threatening their safety. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, of the more than 7,000 home structure fires in the past five years, 2,500 where due to malfunctioning HVAC systems.
In particular, more than 30 percent of all fires related to air conditioners are due to the faulty insulation of wires and cables. This percentage takes into account heating related fires considering most HVAC systems are equipped with heat pumps. Regardless of the cause, these stats are sobering.
Structural fires are one of the most common home disasters. They not only cause the most damage, they also claim the most lives. Here are some common causes of home fires:
· HVAC - As stated before, a home’s central heating and air conditioning system can malfunction, causing a fire at any time. It's best to have the system checked once a year for any exposed wires, overheating components, and faulty parts.
· Electronics - Any number of household electronics can cause a fire to break out in the home. Old refrigerators, clothes dryers, microwaves, and especially space heaters are prime suspects in home fires.
· Breaker Panels - If the breakers are tripping on a regular basis, it's likely due to overloaded circuits. And, overloaded circuits can cause a breaker panel to overheat and catch fire.
On the other end of the disaster spectrum is flooding and, minus natural disasters, there are also a number of things that can cause a house to flood. Here are just a few:
· Burst Pipes - A burst pipe can happen at any time and for any reason. In winter, if the home's heating system isn't up to par, pipes within the walls can freeze and burst even if they aren't exposed to the outdoors.
· Leaky Pipes - Although a leaky pipe won't flood a house as quickly as a burst pipe will, it can cause significant damage over time. A drip every other second will add up to gallons of water a day, which can collect unnoticed under the floors and in the basement.
· Plumbing Backups - If the pipes don't drain properly, there's nowhere else for that water to go other than into the house. Many drainage problems are caught early, but some can take homeowners by surprise like an upstairs bathtub draining out of the downstairs toilet.
The leading cause of household mold is excess moisture and humidity.
Dangerous black mold spores can grow behind walls from either interior or exterior water leaks. But, mold also commonly grows in air conditioning ducts due to increased moisture levels, making it more likely to circulate through the entire house.
By knowing what to look for with home hazards like the ones above, your customers can better avoid disaster.
About the author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of copy. He writes on a variety of topics including personal safety, Finding a Yahoo Education, and home improvement.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.