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HomeHomes
Published: Thursday, 9/21/2006

No Tools Required: Make Your Bathroom Safe Without Calling a Contractor

(ARA) - Sometimes it seems like you have an endless list of home repair projects in need of outside assistance. Now, you can check home safety off of your list. In fact, there are some simple, inexpensive and easy-to-install things you can do - without calling a contractor. It's as easy as 1-2-3.

Step One: Take a Look Around

"Isn't my bath already safe?" That's the question many homeowners ask. However, more accidents happen in the bath than in any other room in the house. And don't think that because you don't have children or seniors in your home that having a safe bath isn't important.

According to the U.S. Home Safety Council, "The combination of water, medications and electrical appliances make safety precautions in and around the bathroom essential for every family member. Safe storage of supplies, constant adult supervision around water and swift cleaning of slick surfaces should be common practice to help reduce the risk of home injuries."

But before you head off to the nearest home center with a list of bath safety items to be purchased, take a look around your bathroom and assess your situation. There are many safety precautions you can take before even leaving your house. A few questions to ask yourself include:

* Is the water heater set at 120 degrees F or less to prevent scalding?

* Are electrical outlets equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) that cut off the power source when shorted?

* Are your bathtubs and showers equipped with non-skid surfaces?

* Do you use liquid soap instead of bar soap to prevent falls in the tub?

* Do you have a phone in and/or near the bathroom in case of emergencies?

* Is there a nightlight in the bathroom to make it easier to see at night?

Step Two: Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

After taking time to review your bathroom, start with the big items first - your tub and shower. The combination of water and slick surfaces can be an accident waiting to happen.

To ensure a safe environment in the tub/shower, begin by applying textured strips or non-skid mats to reduce the chance of falls. If possible, look for rubber mats that secure to the floor with suction cups so they stay secure and in place.

Sliding glass doors in a shower should be made of shatter-proof, safety glass or heavy plastic. Many older homes use standard glass, which if broken can cause serious cuts and lacerations. If your glass door is not made of shatter-proof glass or plastic, it is simple to replace the door with an updated version.

Grab bars create the safest environment in your tub/shower. If you're leery of a complicated installation process, don't be - there is a new product on the market that makes it possible to quickly, easily and securely install a grab bar anywhere on the wall with one stud, or no studs - the SecureMount Installation System from Home Care by Moen.

"Grab bars have grown to be one of the most widely used bath safety items. But complicated installation can deter homeowners from installing and fitting them properly," says Kevin Jones, senior product/brand manager at Home Care by Moen. "The SecureMount Anchor's unique design completely eliminates the most common concerns of conventional grab bar installation, including liability concerns, as well as the time and money it takes to complete such a job."

Step Three: Ask for Advice

The best advice of all? Don't be afraid to ask for advice. There are a number of excellent resources which can provide assistance when tackling any home improvement project. These include:

* Local home improvement retailers, many offer free DIY clinics

* Websites, such as: www.homesafetycouncil.org

* Home improvement resource books and magazines

And when in doubt, call a professional contractor. Many times, a simple phone call can save hours of frustration - and expense. Courtesy of ARA Content



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