Tips to Help You Trim the Tree Safely This Christmas

The holiday season is here New York! With the excitement and anticipation of this magical season, we want you to remember a few safety tips when trimming your Christmas tree. Although beautiful to admire, overloaded lights and dried-out trees are a recipe for fire disaster. According to the National Fire Protection Association, here are some scary facts:

FACT #1: Fire departments respond to an average of 210 structure fires caused by Christmas trees each year.

FACT #2: One of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical failures.

FACT #3: Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur they are more likely to be serious.

FACT #4: A heat source too close to the tree causes roughly one in every five of the fires.

We advise you to take the necessary steps to ensure you and your loved ones stay safe during the holiday season.

1.  How to choose the right tree for your family:

  • Artificial Tree: Make sure it’s labeled, certified or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
  • Live Tree: Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that don’t fall off when touched.

2. Where to place the tree in your home:

  • Cut 2” from the base of the live tree trunk before placing it into the tree stand.
  • Make sure the live or artificial tree is at least three feet away from any heat source such as a fireplace, radiator, candle, heat vents or lights, and not blocking an exit.
  • Add water to live tree stand daily.

3. How to safely light the tree:

  • Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety.
  • Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections.
  • Do not use more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.
  • Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house, walls or other firm support to protect from wind damage.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed. Lights could short out and start a fire.

4. How to dispose of the tree after the holidays:

  • Get rid of the live tree when it begins dropping needles. Check with your local community to find a recycling program for your tree.
  • Bring outdoor electrical lights inside to prevent hazards and extend the life of the lights.

At Sentry Window Guards we make it our mission to help keep families safe in New York. While our business is to help prevent falls from windows, we also recognize the importance of preventing potential fire hazards in the home. For more information regarding our window guard products and our experience and leadership in understanding New York City safety requirements, contact us today!

Prevent Frozen Pipes With These 4 Tips

Having a busted frozen pipe in the middle of winter isn’t pleasant. Many don’t realize how much damage it can cause to a home. Here are 4 tips to take some preventative measures to help avoid a frozen pipe disaster this winter:

  1. FAUCETS: Let your faucets drip. The slow drip reduces the pressure in the water system. If a pipe freezes, it’s less likely to rupture when the pressure is lower. Especially focus on letting the faucet that is furthest away from the main pipeline drip because this line brings water into your house. More pipes will benefit from the main line being allowed to drip.
  1. OUTDOOR SPIGOTS: If you are in house, you should protect your outdoor spigots. Make sure all garden hoses are disconnected from outdoor spigots. Shut down the water supply to outside if possible and drain remaining water. Purchase inexpensive insulated domes to be placed around each spigot for optimum protection. If you are living in an apartment, you may want to confirm with your building manager that any outdoor spigots are protected.
  1. PIPES: Insulate pipes and exposed water supply lines. Look for pipes in unheated areas and those needing extra insulation such as in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under cabinets. Again, if you are living in an apartment, check with your building manager.
  1. GARAGE: If you have a garage, close it! Keep water supply lines in the garage warmer by minimizing length of time the garage doors are open. Do the opposite with kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors. Leave them open to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.

As the temperatures continue to drop, practice these 4 tips to help prevent frozen pipes and potential damage to your home. Even a small burst pipe can become costly. If you live in an apartment, check with your building manager to see what preventative measures they are taking to avoid a frozen pipe disaster.

At Sentry Window Guards we make it our mission to help keep families safe. While our business is to help prevent falls from windows, we also recognize the importance of avoiding a frozen pipe disaster this winter. For more information regarding our window guard products and our experience and leadership in understanding New York safety requirements, contact us today!

Keep Warmer this Winter | Tips to Keep Your House Warmer

Winter is officially upon us! The Sentry Window Guard family is pleased to offer these tips to keep your home warmer this winter season, saving you money and making your friends and family more comfortable.

  • Program your thermostat: Technology has come a long way, baby, and that includes when it comes to programming your home’s temperature. In fact, there are several thermostats that “learn” and automatically create programs optimized for your home and family needs. This Old House recommends programming your thermostat in the following manner. They also recommend keeping your home at a chill 55 degrees if you are out on vacation.
    • 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. = 68 degrees
    • 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. = 60 degrees
    • 5:30 to 11 p.m. = 68 degrees
    • 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. = 60 degrees
  • Keep warm air in by sealing leaks: The rising warm air in a home will pull in cool air from the outside through any gap it can find. Gaps are most commonly found in windows and doors. Old weather stripping, rickety doors and ill-fitting windows, especially in historical townhomes or in tall homes, can create quite a chill as the warm air moves further up and the cold air moves in. Replace your weather stripping and use door snakes or other tools to seal the leaks. You’ll be quite surprised at how much warmer an area will feel with the leaks sealed.
  • Close those doors: If you are not using parts of your home, whether for a few hours or several days, close the doors to create a warm space. You could even close off a room overnight so it will be toasty warm first thing in the morning.
  • Reverse your ceiling fans: Most ceiling fans have a switch that reverses the blade movement, thus pushing the heat down instead of up, up and away. Don’t waste that heat; leverage your existing fans to push it back down into your room.
  • Consider a portable space heater (carefully): notes that it is a myth that portable space heaters are energy hogs. In fact, they can efficiently and economically heat a small space quickly. Stay safe, though, but doing what the National Fire Association suggests and clearing a 3 ft area around the heater, turning it off when not around, and not using an extension cord.
  • Redecorate with energy efficient window coverings: You probably put away flannel sheets and thermal clothing in the spring, but do you bring out the heavier window coverings in the winter? Covering your windows with heavier drapes can keep the warm in and the cold out. reminds us to not let that fabric lay on radiators, floor registers or floor heating units.

Here at Sentry Window Guards, we know that a home is where your heart is, especially during the chilly winter months. Safety and comfort make staying in a pleasure! Consider using these tips to save some money and create a toasty environment, too.