Friday, 29 December 2017
1. Out of sight, out of mind. Wherever you choose to gather your gifts this holiday season, make sure that they are out of any sightlines to the street. Showcasing the goodies stocked under your tree will easily pique the interest of a potential thief.
2. Time your lights. If you're proudly displaying your outdoor lights all season, one sure-fire way to compromise your home security is to turn them off. Put your lights on a timer so they go on and off at the same time each day, giving the illusion you're at home.
3. Stop the presses. Nothing screams you're not home more than a bursting mailbox. Plan to suspend your mail service while away, or ask a trusted friend or neighbour to collect it while you're gone.
4. Take to technology. Invest in home security accessories such as a video doorbell or an outdoor light with a built-in security camera. These stealthy gadgets allow you to keep an eye on your home and will even send alerts to your phone when sensing motion or a ringing alarm, providing comfort and peace of mind.
5. Lock it down. Verify that all your home's doors and windows have functioning locks and latches and that they're in place prior to leaving. Faulty closures make home burglaries a breeze.
One final tip — make sure your home insurance is up-to-date before your holidays begin. Esurance allows you to revise your policy online, making insurance easy so you can get back to what matters most, spending time with family and friends.
(NC) Don't let the hustle and bustle of the holidays lead to distraction and accidents. Whether you're hosting a holiday bake-off or an adults-only cocktail party, it's important to remember that safety comes first. To safeguard your home from potential fire hazards, follow these tips and protect your family and guests:
1. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms regularly to make sure they are working. Replace the battery as needed. If the alarms are more than 10 years old, replace them.
2. Have an exit plan in case of fire, and make sure you identify multiple exit points.
3. Check all of your lights before hanging them on the tree or around the house. Throw out any sets that have been damaged or frayed. When purchasing new lights, look for the certification mark so you know the product complies with applicable standards for safety and performance.
4. Use a timer for outdoor lights so they aren't left on overnight.
5. Don't overload power strips with too many appliances or lightstrings. Make sure they aren't covered by fabrics or rugs, and don't leave the wire exposed in areas where it can be damaged.
6. Blow out candles when you are done with them, especially when leaving the room or house. When lit, keep them out of reach of children and pets and never walk with them.
7. Be careful when cooking and don't leave the kitchen if you're using the stovetop. Never leave the house if the oven is on and keep countertop appliances unplugged when you are not using them.
8. Have your chimney swept if you have a wood-burning fireplace, and make sure to use the safety screen when there's a fire going.
9. Fresh is best if you purchase a tree or any green garland. Freshly cut trees are more resistant to ignition and smell wonderful, adding to the entertaining vibe.
10. Keep a fire extinguisher in the house. Hopefully, you won't need it, but it's best to be safe.
For complete peace of mind, consult your insurance provider to make sure you have the appropriate home coverage. Companies like Belairdirect can guide you to assess and understand your coverage needs. Find more information online at belairdirect.com.
(NC) Prep your home for a flurry of activity with these simple steps.
1. Incorporate magical seasonal scents. Fill your space with holiday-scented aromas from candles, or simmer your own potpourri with ingredients like vanilla, cinnamon, pine or bitter orange.
2. Build a fire to create a warm and comfortable atmosphere. Keep fuzzy blankets and pillows on hand for both decoration and functionality and bring out a board game for a little entertainment. If you need extra warmth, cozy up in a Denver Hayes fleece robe from Mark's and make some hot chocolate.
3. Be the best host and stock up on supplies that guests will use if they stop by. Essentials include towels, sheets, pillows and shower supplies. Make sure you keep these items accessible close to where guests are staying.
4. Make a grand entrance. Welcome your guests at the door with a fresh wreath and add holiday touches such as an entrance table with lighted tinsel trees, candles and ornaments. These details make a great first impression.
5. Don't forget to make space in your home. Clear out your closet to make room for the influx of coats and winter boots and make space in your fridge and freezer for leftover food and beverages. Adding extra storage space will help keep you organized.
Thursday, 21 December 2017
The sky's the limit when it comes to configuration — top-mount, bottom-mount and side-by-side are just the beginning. Review your daily needs and consider special features such as easy access doors, multi-tier freezer sections, icemakers, second refrigerator drawer options, convertible freezer sections, wine chillers and even smart home-connected capabilities.
Think outside traditional white or stainless-steel finishes. Instead, bring a contemporary feel to your kitchen with slate, glossy or matte black stainless or even a warm, gold-hued veneer.
New designs have a host of convenient options available, like double ovens that cook at two different temperatures simultaneously and warming and baking drawers to help with multi-tasking and entertaining. If space is tight, also consider installing a separate cooktop for maximum flexibility in your kitchen.
If take-out is your regular go-to, a standard electric model will work for your needs. However, if you are an aspiring chef take it up a notch and consider going with either gas or induction, which both deliver intense heat for quick cooking and boiling. If you have small children, induction cooking is a safer alternative because the coils are underneath glass, protecting little hands.
Take the work out of washing dishes by opting for a dishwasher with multiple tiers and washer arms for full water coverage. To ensure your cycle doesn't stop until your dishes are clean, look for models with new sensor technology that monitor food debris in the water. Ensure the model you choose considers future changes to your family size so it grows with you, and look into getting a model with a third rack.
Energy efficient options can provide long-term savings to your monthly bills. For example, two-drawer dishwashers operate like separate dishwashers in one unit, offering increased flexibility and efficiency. To save you time, look for bonus features like quiet operation or advanced cleaning functions.
Get older trees inspected before ice storms
|Protect your dream home!|
(NC) In many Canadian neighbourhoods, older trees add character and a sense of heritage to streets and homes. But during severe weather, these trees often show their age and can break or fall, causing damage to property and even injury to people. Don't wait until after a major ice storm hits to inspect your trees — use this guide to spot signs of trouble and protect your family and neighbours.
Inspect. Check your trees for dead branches, peeling bark, cracks in the trunk, fungus near the roots and cracked or raised soil. Take a step back to look at the tree as a whole to see if it's leaning; trees leaning towards the East are more likely to fall because most winds blow from the West.
Prune. Tackle damaged limbs and branches to help balance leaning trees and distribute their weight more evenly. Pruning also opens up tree canopies to let in more light and air for a healthier tree.
Brace. Add some support to weaker trees with cables or bracing rods on either side of the tree. Protect tender bark with padding before attaching the cables.
Prevent. Keep trees healthy and stop problems like damaged branches before they start with year-round gardening and maintenance. Use appropriate treatments for pests and fungus, and water, fertilize and mulch regularly. Don't be afraid to call in a professional arborist or landscaper for help and expertise.
Find more information from your insurance broker or online at avivacanada.com
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