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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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What you need to know about Radon – even in new homes

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What you need to know about Radon – even in new homes

You can’t see it, smell it or taste it, but radon – a naturally occurring radioactive gas – may be present in your home. Radon can be found virtually everywhere. It is created by the breakdown of uranium found in rock and soil, and when it escapes from the ground and mixes with the air, it is diluted to very low levels. The problem occurs when radon seeps into a home, often through cracks in basement floors and foundations, and gets trapped in enclosed spaces such as basements or crawlspaces.

Since November is National Radon Action Month, let’s share discuss some important facts about radon. Let’s start with the fact that almost every house in Canada has some radon. Concentration levels can vary widely from area to area, and even among different homes in the same neighbourhood. Radon is not the result of a defect in the way a home is constructed, and there is no way to determine if radon is going to be a problem before a home is built.

With proper ventilation, however, radon will dissipate, causing no problems at all. Unfortunately, enclosed spaces without good airflow can develop dangerously high radon levels. Long term exposure to excessive radon can increase the risk of lung cancer.

Similar to carbon monoxide, radon can be detected and measured. Radon is measured in units called becquerels, and Health Canada has set 200 becquerels per cubic metre as the safe limit for radon in a home. The only way to determine levels of radon is to test the levels using either a do-it-yourself radon test kit or by hiring a radon measurement or mitigation professional.

It’s important to note that radon levels can change from year to year, and even throughout the year due to a number of factors. This is something that should be taken into consideration when determining when and how often radon testing should be conducted. For example, seasonal changes can cause radon concentration levels to vary within your home. Health Canada recommends testing for radon between October and April, and using the three-month test. With the changing temperature levels, the weather and air pressure can produce different readings during certain periods.

Major renovations that affect your ventilation or the soil beneath your home can also create new opportunities and routes for radon to enter your home, so if you are planning any structural modifications, such as turning your basement into a living space, it is important to test for radon before beginning renovations. You should also have your home retested after the renovations are complete to determine whether the levels have changed.

If you’re an owner of a new home and you have excessive levels of radon, the good news is that your statutory warranty includes coverage for a full seven years. In fact, Ontario is the only Canadian jurisdiction that covers radon remediation under the new home warranty. To be eligible for coverage, radon levels must be tested over a three month period and whether you use a radon professional or a do-it-yourself test kit, both must be certified through the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program. Test results showing levels in excess of 200 becquerels should be submitted to Tarion along with the applicable warranty form.

To learn more about radon and your warranty coverage, visit tarion.com or watch our video on YouTube. If you are looking for do-it-yourself radon test kits or for a radon measurement or mitigation professional, contact the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program at c-nrpp.ca. If you have questions about how to make a warranty claim, you can contact us at 1.877.9TARION or email customerservice@tarion.com.

Howard Bogach is president and CEO of the Tarion Warranty Corp. tarion.com Facebook.com/TarionWarrantyCorp

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Radon gas in your home a threat to your health

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Radon gas in your home a threat to your health

As a homeowner, you understand that a build up of carbon monoxide in your home can be dangerous and you’ve installed a carbon monoxide detector as an early warning system. But did you know radon gas is also a potential hazard to your health?

Since November is National Radon Action Month, I thought it would be good opportunity to share what every new homeowner should know about radon.

Here are five basic facts:

  • Long-term exposure to excessive radon can increase the risk of lung cancer.
  • Almost every house in Canada has some radon. Concentration levels can vary widely from area to area and even among different homes in the same neighbourhood.
  • Radon is created by the breakdown of uranium found in rock and soil. When it escapes from the ground and mixes with the air, it is diluted to very low levels.
  • With proper ventilation, radon will dissipate causing no problems at all. Unfortunately, enclosed spaces without good airflow – such as basements and crawlspaces – can develop dangerously high radon levels when the gas becomes trapped.
  • Radon is not the result of a defect in the way a home is constructed. There is no way to determine if radon is going to be a problem before a home is built and most homes are not tested after they’re built.

Similar to carbon monoxide, radon can be detected and measured. You can measure radon using either a do-it-yourself radon test kit or by hiring a radon measurement and mitigation professional. The gas is measured in units called becquerels and Health Canada has set 200 becquerels per cubic metre as the safe limit for radon in a home.

If you’re an owner of a new home and you have excessive levels of radon, the good news is that your statutory warranty includes coverage for a full seven years. In fact, Ontario is the only Canadian jurisdiction that covers radon remediation in the statutory new home warranty.

To be eligible for coverage, radon levels must be tested over a threemonth period and whether you use a radon professional or a do-it-yourself radon test kit, both must be certified through the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program.

Test results showing levels in excess of 200 becquerels should be submitted to Tarion along with the applicable warranty form.

To learn more about radon and your warranty coverage, you can visit Tarion.com or watch our new video on YouTube. If you have questions about how to make a warranty claim, you can contact us at 1-877-9TARION or email CustomerService@Tarion.com.

Howard Bogach is president and CEO of the Tarion Warranty Corporation.

Tarion.com
Facebook.com/TarionWarrantyCorp

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Simply Tech: Is Your Home Safe?

Simply Tech: Is Your Home Safe?

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Simply Tech: Is Your Home Safe?

by Greg Gazin

Health Canada recommends that homes be tested for radon for a minimum of three months.

It lurks in your home, but it’s invisible. You can’t see or smell it, but it may just be putting your life at risk. It’s not carbon dioxide – it’s radon gas. Most of us have heard of it, but according to Health Canada, it’s the second leading cause of lung cancer – after smoking.

It doesn’t matter if you’re living in a new home or one from the turn of the century, every home has some level of radon – and it’s that level that determines the potential hazard.

Radon is produced naturally by the decomposition of uranium in the soil under your home. It travels in the form of an invisible gas that seeps into your home because of the differences in indoor and outdoor air pressure. It makes its way through openings like floor drains and sump pumps, as well as foundation and floor cracks, and tiny gaps around pipes that enter the home. As a result, it’s more likely to be more concentrated in basements and crawl spaces, rather than upper levels.

Don’t hit the panic button. Unlike carbon monoxide, or fumes from a fire, that pose immediate danger, radon is something that can be hazardous over time. A professional can test for radon levels in your home, or you can do it yourself with a detection system called Wave.

By Airthings, the Wave looks similar to a typical smoke detector. Once the Wave is installed, initial test results are available within an hour by simply waving your hand across the face of the device – thus the name. If everything is OK, a glow ring will turn green. Like a stop light, it will turn yellow for caution, and red if the reading is in the danger zone – exceeding acceptable standards, which according to Health Canada is 200 Bq/m3.

The beauty of the Wave system is that you get real results from the free companion app. Unlike other test kits, you don’t have to send the data to a lab for analysis. You simply pair the Wave with your iOS, or Android smartphone or tablet, and it will keep track of the radon levels, as well as the humidity levels and the temperature in the room. In addition to tracking current values, you can also plot an historical graph over the previous 48 hours, week, month or year. The app is also designed to track multiple Wave units, labelled as basement, dining room, etc.

You can receive notifications through the app, and receive email and audio alerts when the radon is too high, as well as sync current information when you are within Bluetooth range of the device.

Since radon levels are always fluctuating, the longer the test period, the more accurate your results. In fact, Health Canada recommends that homes be tested for radon for a minimum of three months – ideally during the heating season when windows are closed.

If radon levels consistently read high, call in a professional to help determine what remedial action should be taken to mitigate the situation.

Wave comes with a magnetic plate that can be mounted on any wall with a single screw, and is powered by two AA batteries (included). The Wave retails for $249.99, and is available at Best Buy and The Home Depot.

airthings.com

For more information on radon, and its risks, visit Health Canada’s web section at canada.ca.

Greg Gazin (a.k.a The Gadget Guy and Gadget Greg) is a syndicated tech columnist, blogger, podcaster (host and producer), and contributes to Canoe.com, Troy Media and Active Life.

GadgetGuy.ca


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