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7 tips to make your home a safe haven

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7 tips to make your home a safe haven

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Want to make your home feel like a safe heaven? These seven tips will help you make your home a safe environment for you and your family.

You know what they say, “There’s no place like home.” And, this couldn’t be any truer because our homes are the environment where we feel comfortable and protected. Or, at least that’s how your home should feel, too.

Your home is the place where you spend most of your time. It’s the place where you eat, sleep, spend time with your family, and relax. Such a place must be your safe haven and a refuge for well-being – the place where you feel comfortable and protected from all hazards.

1. Install fire and carbon monoxide alarm

According to the National Fire Protection Association, three out of five deaths caused by home fires happen in homes that aren’t equipped with a smoke alarm or have a non-functional smoke alarm. In fact, people without smoke alarms are more than twice as likely to die as those in homes with functioning smoke alarms. So, installing a fire alarm in your home can literally save your life in case of a fire.

There are various causes of home fires that lead to deaths, including electrical fire or unattended cooking.

As for carbon monoxide, it can leak and become a threat that you can’t see, smell, or taste. Since it is a poison gas with no odor, colour or taste, it can be really difficult to detect it on your won. And, unfortunately, it can be fatal when inhaled. It can come from any fuel-burning appliance in your home that isn’t functioning correctly, including your boiler, fireplace, gas stove or furnace.

So, a carbon monoxide alarm is essential on every level of your home, including, or most importantly, in the sleeping areas.

Fire and carbon monoxide alarms will keep you and your family protected in case of a fire or a gas leak. So, not only that you must equip your home with these alarms, but you must also check them every week to make sure they function correctly.

2. Have a fire extinguisher

The fire alarm will only let you know that there’s a fire burning in your home. However, the fire alarm doesn’t stop the fire from burning. So, that’s why you need a fire extinguisher in your home to react promptly if there’s a fire happening.

When you promptly put out the fire, you save you and your family, but you also protect your property from getting more damaged.

Place the fire extinguisher in a place that is easy to reach, preferably near your kitchen because the kitchen is the room where most fire hazards can start in a home.

In case you will use the fire extinguisher anytime in the future, remember: Pull the pin and aim the base of the fire, then squeeze or press the handle. Next, sweep from side to side at the base of the fire until you put it out.

3. Install a driveway alarm

According to Statista, burglary affected all 50 States in the U.S. and was the third most common type of crime in 2018. Moreover, a recent report from FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Services, there are roughly 2.5 million burglaries every year, and 66 per cent of those are home break-ins. The same report shows that burglars are most attracted to homes that don’t have a security system, and only 17 per cent of properties actually have a system in place.

With home security being so important to protect your family and belongings, you should definitely not neglect to install some security alarms. For example, a driveway alarm can prevent any unwanted entry. This sensor-based device will detect all sorts of motion that cross their path, including vehicles or people entering your property.

4. Hide toxic substances

Every year, millions of kids are injured or die due to toxic chemicals that are right under their own roof. This means not only cleaners, medications or caustic cosmetic items such as nail polish remover, but also substances such as perfume, bath oil or aftershave. In fact, data shows that one million kids are poisoned by ingesting common toxic household substances every year.

So, if you want to protect your family, keep these items that can be toxic hidden from your children. You can keep them in a closet out of their reach or locked. This way, you’ll have control over these substances and protect your kids from getting injured or even worse, die.

5. Test for radon

Data shows that nearly one in 15 homes has a high level of radon. A substance that is medical specialists believe is a common cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Radon is a gas, a radioactive one, that gets released when uranium naturally breaks down in soil, rocks and water.

Radon is a substance that you can’t see or smell, so it’s impossible to know that you and your family are being exposed to it. Therefore, it is essential to test your home for radon. If you discover that your home’s levels are high, you’ll need to have a certified radon-mitigation specialist install a piping system in your home to vent the gas out.

6. Avoid tripping hazards

Tripping and falls are probably the most common causes of injuries. Places such as the stairs in your home and the bathroom are the areas in your house that are most dangerous when it comes to the risk of tripping and falling.

Thus, you should make sure that stairs and walkways in your home are always clutter-free to avoid tripping hazards. As for the bathroom, you can place safety non-slip bathmats to reduce the risk of slipping and tripping.

7. Have a first-aid kit in your home

Injuries happen all the time. If you are a parent, you’re most likely used to nursing your kids almost every day for small wounds.

Yet, while small injuries such as superficial cuts aren’t that dangerous, more severe injuries can even be life-threatening, and the faster you treat them, the less dangerous they are. So, make sure that you have a fully equipped first-aid kit in your home in case any accident happens.


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The must-do maintenance checklist for every homeowner defined by nature

The homeowner’s must-do maintenance checklist defined by nature

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The homeowner’s must-do maintenance checklist defined by nature

Elements of nature. Powerful and unlike anything invented by humans. In the end, nature always wins, so within here, we offer every homeowner a simple checklist to follow to ensure that you protect your investment, and everything inside of it, from falling prey to the forces attributed to the elements of nature.

Air, water, fire and earth – the four elements present different risks, and thus, different approaches to minimize those risks, when it comes to your property. To keep it simple and easy to remember, we will provide four tips for each element, for a sweet total of 16 maintenance items we can all get behind.



Roof – Inspect at grade and at roof for torn, missing or curling shingles as they can lift easily in high winds and expose raw sheathing. Check inside attic for proper ventilation and potential signs of moisture (mould on underside of sheathing, depressed or black insulation). Wind-driven roof damage may only otherwise show up when you notice ceiling damages on the inside.

Photography: bigstock.com
Photography: bigstock.com

Caulking – Window sills, joints between exterior cladding, door frames all bleed air. Insulation and caulking at basement floor joist headers can dramatically reduce air infiltration and exfiltration, resulting in energy savings and increased comfort.

HVAC – Have an annual furnace/boiler and AC service, replace filters every three months, clean ducts and ventilation fans inside grills.

Tie downs/weight – Lawn furniture, yard tools, anything left outside that is not overly heavy or tied down can become a dangerous projectile in a strong wind. Review these regularly before the storms blow into town.



Photography: bigstock.com
Photography: bigstock.com

Roof – Similar to wind risks, old or missing shingles cannot perform in keeping water out. Water inside the building envelope can create major finish damages, structural and health problems in a big hurry. Included with the roof inspection, we recommend cleaning eavestroughs twice per year to ensure proper flow and reduce ice damning risk in winter.

Caulking – Interior and exterior caulking should be inspected annually. Showers and sink edges, a crack the size of a credit card could result in major leak damage. Window and door sills should be inspected for bubbling and cracking of caulking, as well as roof vents to ensure reduced risk of water infiltration.

HVAC – Check hot water tank, furnace and air conditioners for leaking at floor, and drain lines to be free flowing. Ensure humidifiers are not overly scaled and flow as should.

Drinking water – Replace fridge or sink filter at least twice annually. Send test kit sample of tap water to municipality for testing annually. Also, turn off hose bibs on interior and open exterior by November 1st each year to avoid freezing damage (even on “Frost-Free” faucets!).



Courtesy of Nest
Courtesy of Nest

Alarm – Replace Smoke/CO alarm battery annually and test alarms monthly. We recommend the NEST alarms for their regular smart phone notifications and testing, as well as the neat night-light option.

Extinguishers – Check/recharge fire extinguisher(s) for the kitchen. Add a single sprinkler head or the Haven ceiling mount suppression device in the mechanical room (the location of most fires.)

HVAC – Clean or have annual service performed and check

Dryers – Remove and clean out ventilation grill, vent pipe and inside edge of appliance to prevent overheating.



Soil – Ensure positive slope away from foundations and fill any depressions around downspouts to ensure proper storm runoff.

Radon gas – Test kit or continuous monitor (preferred) and ventilate sub-slab in basement to depressurize against odourless carcinogen that naturally emanates from some soil types.

Fertilize – Early spring, mid-summer and late fall to ensure lawn and garden have adequate nutrients.

Sweep – Monthly cleaning of the hard surfaces around your house can highlight any rot or repairs needed to decks, porches and also reduce the amount of dirt dragged into your home.


If your home is in need of more than a little routine maintenance and you are contemplating a new home or more extensive renovation, remember there is real value in working with a professional to design and build the space. Visit renomark.ca, the home of the professional renovator, to start your search when looking to start your project.

Brendan Charters is a Founding Partner at Design-Build Firm Eurodale Developments Inc., the GTA’s only four-time winner of the Renovator of the Year award.




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Fire Protection Recycling

Fire protection recycling – what it is and why it’s beneficial

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Fire protection recycling – what it is and why it’s beneficial

What is fire protection recycling?

Fire extinguishers help protect lives and property. There are different types of fire extinguishers for the different types of fires (Class A, B, C, & K fires). These extinguishers use different materials such as carbon dioxide and foam to suppress the fire. Once you use a fire extinguisher to extinguish a fire, you will need to refill or recharge the partially or completely empty cylinder. The refilling/recharging of fire extinguishers and other fire protection equipment is referred to as fire protection recycling.

Fire protection recycling also refers to the removal of fire protection equipment such as fire extinguishers that are defective or that you no longer need for other reasons.

Why do fire protection recycling?

It is possible to refill or recharge all metal-made fire extinguishers, no matter what they were filled with. Not having to replace metal-made fire extinguishers whenever they run out means you will save money, keeping in mind that the metal container of fire extinguishers, the nozzle, and other components are a big part of the fire extinguisher cost.

Getting rid of fire extinguishers and other fire protection equipment should only be handled by a fire extinguisher recycling Toronto expert to prevent injury to self and others since the containers are highly pressurized, to safeguard the environment since some extinguishing agents are harmful to people and the environment, and to abide by health and safety policies.

Even if you have access to the filling material such as carbon monoxide, you should never attempt to recharge the metal container yourself because this could cause serious injuries and even death. Fire extinguisher containers are highly pressurized and they could explode when improperly handled. A good fire protection recycling expert will have the tools and equipment necessary to refill/recharge the container.

Building codes require that buildings have firefighting equipment. These equipment have to be inspected regularly to ensure they are in good working condition. Refilling/recharging has to be done by a professional if the firefighting equipment is to pass inspection after first use.

If you care about the environment, fire protection recycling goes a long way in reducing your carbon footprint. Most fire extinguishers are made of Bismuth alloys that can be recycled into various raw materials. Fire extinguishers also have rubber and plastic components that can also be recycled. Some extinguishing agents such as phosphorous and nitrogen can be recycled into fertilizers.

If your old fire extinguisher is corroded, your local retailer or supplier will not accept it, but a fire protection recycling company will. Ensure that the recycling company you zero in is a licensed and registered waste carrier.

If you want to completely replace your old fire extinguishers with new ones, a good fire protection recycling company will supply the new extinguishers and get rid of the old ones free of charge.

If you leave end-of-useful-life or condemned fire protection equipment lying around or you entrust their disposal to a local retailer or your local garbage disposal company, there is a risk that it will re-enter service elsewhere, posing a grave danger to unsuspecting users.

Fire protection recycling companies offer convenience. Top recyclers in the Greater Toronto Area offer roll on, roll off collection, van collection, pallet collection, and skip container collection services everywhere, meaning you can find what is most convenient to you.

With a fire protection recycling expert, you do not have to research on the different laws governing fire protection equipment recycling in Toronto. An expert will know all the applicable laws and will abide by them to ensure you do not land into legal problems.

Proper disposal starts with checking the pressure gauge to determine if there is any extinguishing agent left, but there might be a problem with the gauge and this is not a go-ahead for you start removing the head. An expert will have the proper equipment to determine if the container is truly empty.

It is rare to find a fire protection recycling company that only does recycling. Top fire extinguisher recycling Toronto companies also offer such related services as fire extinguisher training, inspection services, alarm monitoring, first aid, and engineering and design. They also offer such related products as fire extinguishers, fire hoses, fire alarms, sprinkler systems, kitchen systems, emergency lighting, fire suppression systems, dry chemical systems, and fire safety plans. Getting all your fire protection services under one roof offers convenience and cost benefits. Your fire protection recycling expert will be one call away, no matter the fire protection problem you have.


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