Stuff happens! That’s especially true during the holiday season. With guests coming and going, the fireplace regularly blazing, and packages arriving at your front door by the truckload, this is a particularly precarious time.

Now, new data reveals that fires, frozen pipes, and porch pirates (aka nefarious folks who sneak up to your doorstep and steal your packages) are among the most dreaded holiday-related mishaps, according to a survey from home security company SimpliSafe.

Almost half (45%) of the respondents reported they have had packages stolen from their front porch or home. Not enough to worry about? Well, a majority of respondents (70%) confessed to setting off their smoke alarms while cooking.

But home-related hazards don’t have to cast a pall on your holiday season.

“This is certainly a time for cheer and celebration, and with proactive planning, homeowners can ensure a burst pipe or a burnt turkey does not interrupt their holiday fun,” says Brenda Bynarowicz, senior vice president of marketing at SimpliSafe.

So why on Earth are fires, frozen pipes, and porch pirates the most common holiday mishaps right now? Here’s what you need to know, including how to avoid them.

Home fires

Home fires are often caused by faulty wiring, old appliances, or cooking mistakes. And one of the biggest kitchen fire culprits is the deep fryer.

If you are planning to deep-fry a turkey or ham this holiday season, make sure it is properly thawed. This is critical.

“A frozen or partly thawed turkey or ham placed into a deep fryer can explode, sending oil splattering on nearby surfaces that can result in an oil fire or oil burn injury,” says Tom Gissler, president of Restoration 1.

Fryers should be operated outside on a level surface, away from people, structures, and flammable objects. Those doing the frying should wear flame-resistant clothing, gloves, and protective eyewear.

For all the other cooking you’ll be doing in the kitchen, be sure to never leave gas or electric stovetops unattended.

A less obvious—but equally dangerous—source of fires during the holidays is the decor you display such as string lights, stockings, candles, tinsel, and wreaths.

Gissler says to keep all decorations at least 3 feet away from heat sources. You should also unplug lights and put out candles before sleeping, inspect string lights before use, and water your live Christmas tree every day.

Plan for the unexpected by making sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning correctly. Replace the batteries in your detectors every six months.

Leaks caused by frozen or burst pipes

A drop in the temperature can do all kinds of damage to your pipes, and a frozen or burst pipe can put your whole household out of business.

Older homes are more likely to have frozen pipes, but it can happen in any dwelling. Whether or not you’re likely to experience frozen pipes is largely determined by where your pipes are located and the type of insulation that’s protecting them. Indoor pipes in cold garages, attics, or basements can be insulated with a heated reflector light or expanding foam.

It’s a smart idea to prepare for a potential mishap.

Bynarowicz suggests installing a temperature sensor to monitor for low temperatures and a water sensor to alert you of leaks immediately so you can prevent further damage.

Bynarowicz also recommends cleaning out your gutters to prevent flooding outdoors that can seep its way in.

Porch pirates

The United States Postal Service estimates it delivers more than 13.2 billion parcels between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. And with more people doing their holiday shopping online, there are virtually limitless opportunities for porch pirates to stake out neighborhoods, tail delivery trucks, and snatch packages from front doors.

To make sure the Grinch doesn’t strike at your home, Bynarowicz advises monitoring your front stoop with a video doorbell and keeping close tabs on your package delivery updates to make sure you’ll be home when it arrives.

If waiting at home is not feasible during this busy season, schedule in-person pickup at a store or have packages delivered to a neighbor’s house.

Customers who have had packages stolen that were delivered by companies such as Amazon or FedEx can fill out a stolen package claim. Depending on the nature of your claim, the companies might issue a refund. If you’re purchasing a one-of-a-kind item, a good option is to have it insured.

The post How To Fend Off Porch Pirates—and the Other Home Mishaps That Can Ruin Your Holidays appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.


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