Keep the home fires burning safely


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During crisp, cold evenings, a warm blanket and well-equipped fireplace are all you need for a cozy night in.

 

However, a fireplace brings more than comfort. According to Fire Prevention Canada, fire kills over 400 people a year nationwide with residential fires causing 73% of those deaths. With winter around the corner, it’s important to be aware of fire prevention and what your insurance policy offers.

 

“Fireplaces create a nice setting for homeowners to relax with loved ones,” says Wayne Ross, insurance expert at Aviva Canada. “Unfortunately, they can also add to serious fire risks, but taking simple measures can help avoid traumatic situations.”

 

Ross offers the following pointers to ensure that your fireplace remains a place of enjoyment in your home:

 

1. Get it ready: To avoid fire and smoke damage make sure that the damper opens and closes properly. If your chimney hasn’t been cleaned in a while, call a chimney sweeper.

 

2. Remove flammable materials: Clear the area next to your fireplace of all flammable items including newspapers, carpets and fabrics. Even a small spark of fire can quickly spiral out of control.

 

3. Stay equipped: Install smoke detectors throughout your home. Time is of the essence when dealing with fires and a smoke detector can help avoid major disasters.

 

4. Fireplace accessories: Invest in a few tending tools. These can be used to rotate logs, ensure oxygen flow and clean up ashes-small steps that go a long way in fire prevention.

 

5. Check your insurance policy: Know your insurer’s guidelines and coverage so there are no surprises if you need to file a claim for damage. For example, many companies only cover fire damage if fireplaces are installed professionally.

 

Following these simple tips will ensure that your fireplace only leaves your family with pleasant memories this season.

More information is available from your insurance broker or online at avivacanada.com.

Courtesy of Newscanada

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Four DIY projects that can make your home more secure


If spring makes our thoughts turn to love, the cooler temperatures of fall make many of us think about nesting – and, often, how much more we would love our home if we improved it a little. A sense of security is one of the most comforting aspects of home, so this autumn, why not focus on home improvements that can make your home more secure?

Improving the safety of your home doesn’t have to be an expensive or time-consuming proposition. Here are four simple DIY projects that can help make your house safer:

1. De-clutter, inside and out.

Most home improvement projects are either about creating space or improving the usability of existing spaces. De-cluttering inside your home can open up rooms and offer more flexibility in how you use and decorate the space. De-cluttering the documents you store in your home can help improve its security. Getting rid of sensitive documents you no longer need can reduce your overall exposure to identity theft. Be sure to shred all documents before discarding them. On the outside of your home, de-clutter around access points. Shrubs, trees and debris that obscure your windows and doors not only look bad, they can provide cover for burglars who might try to enter your home.

2. Upgrade your appliances.

While a new dishwasher or clothes dryer may make your life easier, when it comes to improving security, think about appliances like your paper shredder or home security system. Bizarre as it may sound, identity thieves have been known to pick through trash and reassemble poorly shredded documents. Fall is a great time to invest in a cross-cut shredder that will make such an identity theft tactic virtually impossible.

3. Lock it up

The dog sitter, babysitter, house cleaner, house sitter – how many people have had access to a key to your home in the past year? It’s prudent to switch out the locks in your home every now and then – especially if you have reason to believe your security might have been compromised. It’s even easier to lock up sensitive personal information. Invest in a locking file cabinet or fireproof lock box to store important documents. Lock up your technology by changing passwords and creating strong new ones that can help deter hackers, phishers and other scammers. Keep your computer security software up-to-date.

4. Enlist assistance

If you were building an addition onto your house, you would ask for help if you needed it. Sometimes you need help with security as well, especially identity theft prevention. Despite all the safeguards you’ve already taken to make your home more secure, identity protection is a round-the-clock job, and most of us could use some help with it. A comprehensive identity theft detection, protection and resolution product like ProtectMyID can help prevent the damages caused by identity theft.

Home improvements aimed at boosting your security don’t have to be big and expensive. Simple, cost-effective steps can help improve your home’s security. They key is to be proactive and focus on preventing a problem, rather than just repairing damage after it occurs.

Courtesy of BPT

Life is loud but you can enjoy a quiet home

Home life is changing, so sound dampening is more important than ever. Life is getting louder inside and around the home. Televisions, home theaters, computers and video games blare from almost every room. Family cell phones ring or buzz, making life loud.

 

Your home’s insulation can do more than keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. With the right selection, your insulation can help transform your home into a quiet retreat and sanctuary from the outside world.

 

Sound dampening is becoming a requirement for modern families, so if you have the opportunity to re-insulate your home, sound-proofing insulation is an excellent choice to escape the everyday hustle and bustle. Stone wool insulation, for example, is a top choice for professional recording studios. This material is an excellent acoustic barrier that actually absorbs the sound. For homeowners, retailers point to a performance tested product called, Roxul Safe ‘n’ Sound mineral wool insulation. It provides higher sound absorption against low frequency (bass) ranges that other types of insulation struggle to block.

 

For the best soundproofing results, install the mineral wool insulation in your home theater, basements, home office, laundry room, furnace room and even the washrooms. Installing mineral wool insulation on the interior walls will control sound, delivering peace and quiet.

Courtesy of Newscanada

Stay connected to your home from thousands of miles away

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For years, Canadians have relied on house sitters and light timers to keep their homes safe and secure while spending time away from home. But with new technologies now available, residents can enjoy increased security when they’re out of town this holiday season.

“With the winter months quickly approaching, many Canadians may be looking to escape south or go away for the holidays. While away, people want to know their home is safe, secure and properly monitored,” says Ian Pattinson, Vice President, Smart Home Monitoring, Rogers Communications. “There are many new options out there that give Canadians that peace of mind that their home is kept safe and properly maintained whether they’re away for a weekend, or gone all season long.”

The advanced home security and monitoring system, Rogers Smart Home Monitoring, is backed by both cable and wireless networks to ensure the system never goes down.

Additional security benefits include features that monitor carbon monoxide levels and water leaks in the home, with free options to have automatic, real-time alerts sent via email or text message so you know instantly if anything happens when you’re not home.

Automation of lighting, thermostats and small appliances presents an opportunity to cut energy costs each month. Next generation home automation features will often allow you to program lighting and heat to turn on and off at certain times of day, and will further let you adjust settings on the go from a smartphone or anywhere you have a web connection. These are handy, convenient options right at your fingertips, whether you are 10, 200, or thousands of miles away from home.

“Holidays can be stressful and knowing that our homes are safe is something we should all strive for as we head into the busy season, so you have that peace of mind that you will return to your home just as you left it” says Pattinson.

Weatherproof windows and doors to keep winter drafts out

As fall approaches, we can expect temperatures to drop as old man winter prepares for his return. As homeowners get their houses ready for the frigid weather, it’s important not to overlook two main areas where cold air can seep into your home: windows and doors. Use the following tips to ensure your entrances and exits are properly weatherproofed this cold weather season.

Accessorize – and Prevent Cold Air Leaks

Add some flair – and block out the winter chill – with curtains. Hang (and close) drapes in a heavy fabric to help prevent cold air from seeping in through your windows. For doors, a fabric-covered bottom that slides between the door and the threshold will prevent the frosty air from entering your home. Retailers often suggest the Duck brand Double Draft Seal since it’s easy to install and provides two layers of protection against drafts.

Use Seals to Combat the Chill

When you close and lock your windows and doors, there’s often a crack between the top and sides and the frame or threshold. Opt for seals to place along the inside perimeter of your windows and doors to prevent drafts from entering. For the easiest installation, choose seals that are self-adhesive. Popular options for this are the Duck brand Heavy-Duty Weatherstrip Seals, made of durable EPDM rubber, or Self-Adhesive Foam Seals. Both are good choices for blocking drafts and they won’t freeze or crack in low temperatures.

Add Film to Block the Frost

Since windows can be found in almost every room, it’s worth giving them some extra attention. Use a clear film to create another layer of insulation on your windows. Simply tape a product like Shrink Film Window Kits (also from Duck brand) to the window edges and then give the film a once-over with a hair dryer to seal the plastic and make it tight. For even easier set up, use the Roll-On Window Kits. They come with a pre-taped edge for the simplest install.

Stop Drafts with a Storm Door

For an added barrier between the inside of your home and the winter weather, make sure you have a storm door installed. This extra amenity will provide an additional level of protection from the frigid temperatures of the cold weather season, allowing you to keep your thermostat – and your heating bill – low.

Breath of fresh air

(NC)-When it comes to cleaning products, cleanliness and toxicity have become synonymous, but today’s classic home care products have finally been exposed for what they are – dangerous. Traditional cleaners boast health and cleanliness when in reality they have been blamed for contributing to a slew of health problems while destroying “good bacteria” and making us more susceptible to illness.

It’s time to change the way we clean our homes. Harsh chemicals and dangerous fumes impact our overall health, and there are many natural solutions that can take care of whatever ails the cleanliness of your home. Here are some tips to help bring natural solutions to your home:

• According to a survey, 71 per cent of the population living with smokers is concerned about indoor air pollutants caused by cigarettes – instead of adding more by spraying air fresheners and chemical deodorizers, try using baking soda boxes in strategic locations.

• When polled, 45 per cent of pet owners are concerned about how their furry friends can negatively affect air quality. While vacuuming regularly helps, customizable air filters like the Bionaire AER1 System can improve and reduce problematic odors quickly and safely without having to make Fido spend the night outside.

• If you’re an at-home chef who enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, you know it is sometimes challenging to keep the colorful aroma where it belongs. Essential oils and diffusers help to neutralize overwhelming scents and replace them with inviting ones like cinnamon or lavender.

More information is available online at http://www.aer1system.com.

Courtesy of Newscanada