Home Maintenance Tips for the Summer

Keeping up with seasonal repairs upkeep not only shows pride of ownership, but can reduce the risk of costly and preventable home expenses. Prepare your home for the summer with the following considerations.

Home Exterior

  • Check all window and door locks to make sure they are secure. Open and close them, and apply lubricant when they are hard to open.
  • Inspect your roof and gutters, clean out gutter debris and check shingle integrity.
  • Inspect your home’s foundation, sealing cracks, and leveling yard depressions with compacted soil.
  • Check wooden structures, such as decks and steps, for rotting, loose wood, or exposed nails.

Home Interior

  • Hire a qualified heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) contractor to tune up your air conditioning unit.
  • Examine electrical outlets and cords for potential fire hazards, such as frayed wires.

Garage

  • Examine your garage door to ensure that it is in proper working order.
  • Declutter by reviewing the contents of your garage. Donate or dispose of items you no longer use or need.

Driveways and Walkways

  • Inspect your pavement for cracks and holes, and remedy them. This can go a long way in preventing accident slips, trips, and falls.

These tips are brought to you by Scrivens Insurance and Investment Solutions.

The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide¬†(CO) is a toxic gas that’s produced by the incomplete burning of any fuel, including gas, fire, and wood. Many of the appliances in your home produce harmless amounts of CO. However, if these appliances aren’t properly maintained or ventilated it could lead to a hazardous buildup of CO. And, because the gas is colourless, odourless, and tasteless, it can be easy to remain unaware of potentially dangerous levels of CO in your home.

Symptoms of mild CO poisoning can include flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, and weakness. However, exposure to large amounts of CO far an extended period can be fatal. Follow these steps to prevent a buildup of CO in your home:

  • Install CO detectors on every level of your home. Also, never assume that your home’s smoke alarms can also detect CO.
  • Check your appliances every year to ensure that they’re in safe working order and have sufficient airflow around them. Appliances that emit CO include fireplaces, water heaters, portable generators, power tools, lawn equipment, and gas- or wood-burning cooking appliances.
  • Never leave a car or other motorized vehicle running in an attached garage, even if the garage door is open.
  • Never rely on ovens, gas grills or other appliances to heat your home.
  • Contact a specialist to ensure that your chimneys, vents, and flues are providing sufficient ventilation to your home.

For more information on protecting your home from CO and other dangers gases, such as radon and natural gas leaks, visit our website at www.scrivens.ca or call us at 613-236-9101.

Earthquake Preparedness Tips

Earthquakes, one of Mother Nature’s most unsettling phenomena, are unpredictable and can strike without warning. That’s why it’s important for you and your family to learn how to prepare for an earthquake, and develop a plan to react quickly and safely if a disaster strikes.

Preparing for an Earthquake

  • Locate and learn how to use the shutoff valves for water, gas, and electricity in your home.
  • Prepare an emergency earthquake kit with warm clothing, non-perishable food items and bottled water to last you and your family for at least 72 hours.
  • Bold down and secure your water heater, refrigerator, furnace, and gas appliances to the wall studs.
  • Hold earthquake drills with your family members: Drop, cover, and hold on!

During an Earthquake

  • Remain inside of your home and seek shelter under a heavy table or desk; brace yourself inside a door-frame or inside wall.
  • Stay at least 2 metres away from windows and out of kitchens and garages, if possible.
  • Stay under the structure that is protecting you. If the shaking causes the table or desk to move, then you should move with it so you remain protected.
  • Do not panic, and anticipate what you should do next to remain safe.

Follow these guidelines to remain safe after the ground stops shaking:

  • Remain in your safe location for several minutes in case there are any aftershocks
  • Do not leave your home unless it is absolutely necessary to do so
  • Check your family members for injuries and administer first aid
  • Establish a temporary shelter area in your home away from areas that have severe damage

Dos and Don’ts for First-time Homebuyers

Purchasing your first home is an exciting milestone. However, home buying is not simple task, and many first-time purchasers fall into common, sometimes costly, traps.

So, before you start searching for your dream home, keep in mind the following dos and don’ts.

First Time Home Buyers DOs.jpg

Get Pre-Approved – When shopping for a home, it’s important to know what kind of credit you have and your overall budget. In some cases, real estate agents won’t even work with you until you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage.

Get a Real Estate Agent – While it’s true that real estate agents aren’t required for buying a home, they can be invaluable – especially for first-time buyers. A good agent will walk you through the necessary steps and offer market insight and specific advice.

First Time Home Buyers DON'Ts

Get over excited – It’s common for first-time home buyers to act on their emotions. But when it comes to such a large purchase, acting on impulse can be dangerous and commonly leads to overspending. Experts recommend that buyers only close on houses they can see themselves in for at least five years.

Get careless about money – When purchasing a house, you want to avoid making other big purchases before you are approved for a mortgage. In addition, many first-time buyers forget to budget for closing costs. Consider putting aside anywhere from 1 to 4 per cent of the purchase price to cover them.

Keeping in mind the above tips will ensure that, when it comes time to sign on the dotted line, you made all the right steps to secure your dream home. Get a free home insurance quote from Scrivens Insurance and Investment Solutions.

Cancellation versus Nonrenewal: What’s the difference?

Receiving a letter from the insurance company concerning the status of your policy can be confusing if you are unfamiliar with the language. though it may be unfamiliar, it is important that you understand the difference between a cancellation of your policy and a nonrenewal. These terms are vastly different and require different responses on your part.

Nonrenewal

A policy nonrenewal occurs after the insurance company decides, or after you decide, not to renew your policy when it expires. If your insurance company decides not to renew, they must give you adequate notice under the law, and their notice must outline the reasons why they have chosen not to renew your policy for another year. If you think their reasoning is unjust, you may call the insurer for further explanation.

Here are some reasons why your policy may not be renewed:

  • The insurer does not carry that particular line of coverage any longer.
  • The insurer has decided to write fewer policies under that specific line of coverage in your area.
  • Your company committed an act that raised the insurer’s risks significantly (for example, too many claims during a policy period).

Canellation

Cancellation of a policy is slightly different, as are the laws that govern it. Be aware that your insurance company cannot cancel your policy that has been in effect for more than 60 days except under the following conditions:

  • You did not pay your premium.
  • You have committed fraud.
  • You have made serious misrepresentations on the application.

If your policy is going to be cancelled, you will receive notice well in advance. After a cancellation, it can be difficult to obtain a new policy, as other companies may see you as a risk because you did something to get cancelled from your original insurer. If you do receive a cancellation notice because you failed to pay your premium, you may be able to resurrect your policy with the insurer by paying for an entire year’s worth of premiums upfront. If that is not an option for you, then you may have to opt for a high-risk policy.

Understanding cancellation and nonrenewal can be tricky. Contact Scrivens Insurance and Investment Solutions for more explanation on these concepts or for assistance with your commercial insurance policies. We are always available to help.

GREEN Living Tips for Your Home

Live Green in Every Room in Your Home

Living green, building green, and surrounding yourself with earth-friendly products minimizes the negative impact you have on the natural world. By abiding by green principles, not only are you keeping your family from getting sick, you are also looking out for Mother Nature’s limited resources.

Here are some earth-friendly GREEN tips for your home this St. Patrick’s Day!

  • Use recycles, chlorine-free toilet paper, facial tissues and petrochemical-free cosmetics.
  • Use baking soda, vinegar, and tea tree oil to disinfect your bathroom as opposed to traditional cleaning products made with harsh chemicals.
  • Line dry your clothes instead of drying them in the dryer.
  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and only turn it back on to rinse.
  • Install natural linoleum, cork, ceramic tile, or recycled rubber instead of vinyl flooring.
  • Keep your heat low. For every two degrees that you turn your thermostat below 21, you can sage 145 kilograms of greenhouse gases (natural gas heat) or 107 kilograms of electric heat.
  • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) throughout your house to significantly reduce your electricity bill and the amount of energy used.
  • Increase insulation in your attic, walls, and flooring.

GREEN THUMB TIP

Growing native plans in your garden is much friendlier on the environment since they have evolved to survive in the climate in which we live. These plants do not need much help to grow and require less than half the amount of water to survive as compared to non-native plants.

Visit www.scrivens.ca, your home insurance experts!

Snow Blower Safety

Ottawa and the surrounding area is expected to get hit with more snow and we are going to have to bring out our snow blowers one more time (at least) this year. During times of heavy snowfall, snow blowers are essential for a quick and easy snow removal.

But, because snow blowers are heavy pieces of machinery outfitted with dangerous blades, they need to be treated with respect.

Most snow blower injuries – which often include severe cuts, broker bones or amputation – occur when the operator tries to dislodge debris or clogs. Thankfully, these serious injuries are easily avoidable when the proper safety etiquette is followed.

For example, you should never clear clogs with your hands or other limbs, instead, use a solid object like a stick while the machine is turned off.

In addition, take care not to run over debris while using your snow blower, as it can become a dangerous projectile when flung from a snow blower’s exhaust chute.

Combining the above safety tips with attentive operation is the key to safe and effective snow removal.

For added safety, check that your snow blower is approved by the Canadian Standards Association.

For more home and auto safety tips visit www.scrivens.ca.