Checklist: A winter ready home and garage

With winter on its way, now is the perfect time to make sure your home and garage are ready for the months ahead.

The cooler months brings an increase in the amount of time we spend indoors, so we’ve put together some practical ways to check your home’s safety.

Test your smoke alarm

Preparing for winter is the perfect reminder to check your smoke alarms. Batteries need to be replaced once a year, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t test them. According to Fire and Rescue NSW, every month you should test your alarm by pressing the test button for at least five seconds until you hear the beeps.

Remember that your alarm won’t last forever, replace every five years (or earlier if advised by the manufacturer).

Check your heater

It can be tempting to get your heater out and switch it on at the first sign of cold weather. First, you need to check that it is still safe to use. Look for any physical signs of wear and tear, and as suggested by ELGAS, have your heater serviced by a qualified professional before the start of each winter.

Remember to exercise caution when using heaters. While it might be tempting to sleep with the heater on or try to dry your washing in front of the heater, both of these can be dangerous.

Look at your escape route – in case of an emergency

In the event of an emergency, knowing how to operate the manual release cord on your garage door can get you and your family to safety quickly if the power is out. To find the manual release cord on a roller door, look near the motor on the side of the door. For sectional and tilt doors, it can be found in the middle of the garage ceiling.

How to operate your manual release cord:

1.    Pull the red cord down firmly once to manually release the door’s locking mechanism, the opener should make a clicking noise.

2.    Walk over to the door to push it up manually. Do not try to pull the door using the manual release cord as it will snap under the load.

3.    Take care when operating the manual release when the door is open, as it may fall rapidly due to weak or broken springs.

4.    When power returns or it is safe to do so, re-engage the opener by pulling the red release cord down firmly.

Check your garage door

It’s also important to test your garage door opener by performing a safety reversal test. This can easily be undertaken by following these steps:

1.    Place a 40mm object under the door (like a block of wood)

2.    Operate the door to come in contact with the object

3.    Door should bounce back from the object in less than a second (or two seconds if Safety Beams are installed)

4.    If you incur any troubles with these tests, homeowners should contact Merlin Customer Service on 1800 638 234.