Collins & Demac Real Estate



Posted by Collins & Demac Real Estate on 8/24/2017

Many of us take for granted the safety of our homes from asbestos. Some of us have grown comfortable at home and would never guess there could be potential dangers like asbestos or lead paint lurking behind our walls and under our floorboards. Others assume that since these dangers have been known for decades they must have already been taken care of in our homes. Unfortunately, many homes, especially homes built before the 1980s, still contain potentially harmful asbestos. Here's everything you need to know about detecting and removing asbestos from your home.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is a known carcinogen--meaning it is capable of causing cancer. Asbestos has been utilized throughout history for a number of practical uses, dating back to Ancient Greek and Egyptian societies who used asbestos in the embalming process and in candle wicks. In 1900s America, asbestos was used in a range of industries from automobiles, the military, and in building our homes. The benefits of asbestos are many. It is a great insulator and is also fire retardant. So for homeowners trying to keep warm but also concerned about their house burning down, asbestos offered two highly sought after services. It wasn't until the 1970s that the U.S. government began warning about and regulating the use of asbestos.

Risks

In spite of its many uses, asbestos has one--huge--disadvantage: it causes cancer. More specifically asbestos exposure can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma (a cancer of the lining of the chest and abdominal cavity). The cancer is a result of inhaling the fibers of asbestos mineral that are released into the air. In extreme cases where asbestos exposure becomes cancer-causing, some common symptoms include:
  • pain or difficulty breathing
  • coughing blood
  • a cough that doesn't go away or worsens
  • shortness of breath

Detecting asbestos in your home

The ways in which asbestos can make its way into the air are innumerable. Sometimes drilling into a ceiling that is blown with asbestos insulation causes the fibers to fall into the home. However, there are other places asbestos has been used in homes such as in flooring, paint, and wallpaper used around wood-burning stoves. According to the EPA, you generally can't tell if something contains asbestos just by looking at it. If the asbestos containing material is in good condition it is recommended that you leave it alone. However, if you are planning a remodel that will disturb the material (work which involves breaking ceilings, walls, or flooring) it is recommended that you seek out a certified inspector.

Removal or repair?

If an inspector deems part of your home unsafe due to asbestos fibers they will help you determine if the asbestos needs to be removed or simply repaired. In minor cases, a contractor will be able to repair the fix that is causing asbestos fibers in such a way that it doesn't need to be removed entirely. In more severe cases, the asbestos may need to be entirely removed by a contractor. It is important that you don't attempt these repairs or removals yourself as they require safety equipment and precautions that only accredited professionals have access to.





Posted by Collins & Demac Real Estate on 11/24/2016

Kids, since they are naturally curious, require special measures to ensure their safety. Whether this is your first child, or your fifth, everyone can use a refresher course about kid’s safety in the home. By being vigilant and following a few simple rules, you can help ensure that your kids stay safe in their own home. Cover it Up Those seemingly benign electrical outlets might not seem like they are out of the ordinary to you, but to your child, they might as well be magical. They seem to beg to have something, anything, poked into them. In order to protect you child from being shocked, or even electrocuted, invest in a couple packages of outlet covers. It is best to keep a few around since they tend to get misplaced when they are removed. Just be sure to keep loose outlet covers out of the reach of small children who still put things in their mouths. They can be a choking hazard. Gate it Up Baby gates, as they are commonly known, are also called safety gates. Unlike the ones popular in the past, these safety accessories no longer feature triangular shaped openings. Instead, many of them are made of a mesh pattern covering that eliminates the ability of the child to put their head through the opening. While safety gates are often used to block the ability of the child to go up or down a set of stairs, they can be used for much more. You can keep your child in a particular room while you are busy with chores. Conversely, you can also keep your child from accessing a particular room by placing a safety gate at the opening. These days, safety gates come in a variety of different widths, with many of them able to accommodate a range of openings. In addition, there are also many options when it comes to the latches that open the gate. This allows people with limited mobility to choose the gates that enable them to easily open them. Safety Latches Latches will keep your child out of the drawers and cabinets where you store your pots and pans, as well as any hazardous materials.  They help to keep your child safe while still allowing accessibility to the tools you need to complete your daily chores. Today, you can find many different tools and resources to keep your kids safe in your home. After all, you want your home to be a source of comfort for them.  





Posted by Collins & Demac Real Estate on 9/1/2016

Working in your attic may not be a chore you perform frequently but it is one that must be done on occasion. Whether you use yours as a storage space or are performing an energy assessment in your home, safely accessing your attic should be a top priority. Below are some tips you can practice the next time you need to go up into the attic to ensure a safe working experience. Before you begin working make sure you have dressed appropriately. Wear a long sleeve shirt tucked into pants and gloves to avoid materials sticking to your skin which can cause irritation. You will also want to wear a dust mask and protective eyewear to avoid inhaling airborne fibers or other harmful debris that could be airborne in your attic. Attics can house mold and mildew among other hazardous materials that can bring you harm and/or make you sick when not properly protected against them. If your attic requires a fold-down ladder to access it check that the ladder is safe to support your weight. Look for any missing or loose screws that are intended to hold the ladder together and tighten/replace them before using it to get into your attic. You will be climbing up and down it as you work so you want to make sure that it will be safe to use. Adding a railing around the opening of your attic access will also add extra safety measures against falling. If your attic is unfinished and/or has potentially unsupportive flooring consider installing a safer floor by laying plywood down. Add walk boards or temporary platforms to an unfinished attic that doesn’t require permanent flooring. Always be cautious of where you step to avoid stepping on wires, ductwork or areas lacking trusses and joists. This precaution will save you from accidentally breaking through the ceiling which will put you at risk of serious harm and some major repairs. You will also want to be aware of any roofing nails poking down or old faulty wiring that requires repair. Be sure to check for signs of any animals that may have decided to move in over the winter months. If you do discover unwelcome tenants take the proper course of action by hiring a professional to rid your attic of them safely for both you and them. Some animals, like bats, may be protected by federal law so you will want to rid your house of them responsibly. When you are finished working in the attic for the day be sure to change and wash your clothes to avoid spreading hazardous debris over the rest of your house. Before you begin working spread an old sheet under the hatch and vacuum the surrounding area afterward for easy clean up. Attic safety practices are crucial to avoid harming yourself and preventing damage to your home. With some simple preparations and an active awareness, you can get chores done in your attic effectively and safely!




Tags: home safety   safety   attic  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Collins & Demac Real Estate on 12/17/2015

Protecting your home from burglars may seem like a no-brainer to some. Unfortunately for many homeowners, it takes an actual break-in for them to turn their attention to securing their homes against intruders. Here are a few preemptive steps that you can take in order to put your mind at ease. 1. Install a security system. Many modern homes come equipped with some form of security alarm. However, if you find yourself purchasing a home that doesn't already have a security system in place, you should consider your options for outfitting your home with one. There are many different types of security systems to choose from, and picking the most expensive plan doesn't always mean you are getting the most protection for your dollar. If you live in a rural area, for instance, focusing on a deterrent-based form of home security might better suit you than one that places police response as their most-prized feature. If it will take 15 minutes or more for a police officer to respond to your property, then you may need to consider a plan that places emphasis on loud alarms, or even a form of motion-sensor lighting to deter a break in. TopConsumerReviews.com has compiled an up-to-date list of some of the most comprehensive security plans on the market today. http://www.topconsumerreviews.com/home-security/ 2. Keep your doors and windows locked. Many break-ins don't actually require anything being "broken" in order for an intruder to gain access to your home. Keeping your windows and doors locked may seem like an obvious step, but you'd be surprised at the number of burglaries and home invasions that occur from homeowners ignoring this very practical safety measure. Also, if your home doesn't already come equipped with them, consider purchasing deadbolts for all of the exit doors in your home. Additionally, consider installing a peephole in your door if you don't already have one. Sometimes, all it takes is opening your door in response to a knock that can set off a home invasion. Never open your door to a stranger unless you are comfortable and secure in doing so. Don't feel foolish asking for credentials when opening your door to someone claiming to work for the water or gas company, either. Many times, a burglar can shut off certain things in your home from the outside to pave the way for knocking at your door, claiming to be there to help restore your services. 3. Alert a trusted neighbor when you go on vacation. Having a trusted neighbor pick up your mail and newspapers will give your home the appearance of being occupied, and will take the attention away from the wandering eyes of a potential burglar. Also, if the neighbor sees suspicious activity, it will give you an extra line of defense in the event that your security system and safety measures happen to fail. 4. Leave an electronic appliance on that is visible through a window. Many burglars prefer to do their work in your home while you are away. Leaving a television on in a room, or a light on in a window visible from the outside will give them the impression that your house is currently occupied. Many former burglars have stated that they avoid break-ins where there is an obvious risk of coming into contact with the homeowner. 5. Keep track of your spare keys. Putting a spare key to your home under the mat isn't the smartest option, and is in fact one of the first places many burglars check in order to ensure they can get into your house quickly and quietly. Consider hiding your spare key under a rock, away from the front door. This will ensure a tougher hunt for the potential burglar. 6. Landscaping. Many people haven't considered landscaping being an enabler of home invasions, but many landscaping options we use for our privacy concerns can actually end up HELPING a potential burglar gain access to your home. Privacy bushes and fences outside your first-floor bathroom window might seem like a good idea at first, until you consider that you are also giving a potential burglar an easily concealed place to work on entry into your home. Consider more sensible options, like window tinting or decorative cling wraps instead. If you must have a privacy hedge, consider one that loses it's concealment capabilities when viewed from the front yard. This will ensure that your neighbor cannot see you get out of the shower, but would severely limit the amount of concealment a burglar could take advantage of. For more information on how to secure your home, as well as tips for protecting yourself against home invasions, please visit the following links. http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/household-safety/security/home-security-tips.htm http://www.statefarm.com/aboutus/_pressreleases/2010/burglary_is_probably_the_most_preventable_crime-az.asp http://www.crimedoctor.com/homeinvasion.htm





Posted by Collins & Demac Real Estate on 11/19/2015

                                                                                                                                        Not that long ago, most people didn't think twice before grabbing a glass, and filling it up with tap water from their kitchen sink. But in the past few years, concerns over water quality have prompted people to look for safer alternatives. While some regions are plagued with tap water having a "bad taste" (usually due to water treatment agents like chlorine), other areas have more serious issues to deal with, like bacteria proliferation and industrial pollutants. While some people don't mind the cost of purchasing bottled water, others have tried to be more economical, installing water filters on their tap faucets, or in many cases, outfitting large, expensive water filtration systems for their entire house. By understanding your family's water needs, and doing a quick bit of research, you'll be able to get a better idea of the quality of water in your area, and the steps you can take to ensure your family's safety. 1. Do your research - Sites like http://water.usgs.gov and http://water.epa.gov/drink/ compile up-to-date statistics on a wide variety of water measurements in your area. 2. Look into cost - If you find yourself living in an area where the tap water consistently receives low marks, then it just makes good sense for you to explore your water filtration options. While there are many options to choose from, it really boils down to your peace of mind. Water Filtration Pitchers - The classic Brita pitcher is what usually comes to mind for most, but there are actually quite a few of these types of water filtration systems on the market now. And while they are definitely the most convenient kind of water filtration system, many don't offer the same guarantees as some of the more advanced systems you have the option of choosing from. Not to say that these simple fill-and-pour systems should be overlooked, though. These pitchers are great for areas that have those "bad taste" kind of water issues. In these areas, many people are content with just a pitcher. However, you will have to buy replacement filters on a regular basis, and that often overlooked expense can leave many regretting that they didn't just spend the money on a bigger system. Faucet Filters - These come in two varieties. One variety attaches to your actual faucet, and the other is installed under the sink, purifying the water before it reaches the faucet. Each have their pros and cons, but most of them are better equipped to remove a wider variety of contaminants than the classic water filtration pitcher. If you live in an area where hard water is a problem, many of these undersink varieties offer water softening options as well. These systems are ideal for people who are looking to only purify their sink water. Installing one of these in your kitchen will give your family superb drinking water, while providing you crisp, clean water for cooking purposes. Whole House Water Filters - These are attached at the "point of entry" water source of your house, and will filter all of your home's water, from the shower to the ice maker. Many people find that this option is the best, as all of their water quality concerns have the capability of being met by only one filter. These systems require the least amount of maintenance, but have the heaviest price tag out of all of the systems outlined thus far. If you have municipal (city) water, then a decent whole house water filtration system will cost you an average of 700 dollars or more, and well water systems can set you back into the thousands. However, this is the best way to ensure that all of the water flowing into your home is safe, soft, and tasty. For more information on the kinds of water systems available to you, please visit http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/water-filters/buying-guide.htm







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