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Safe at Home: Smoke Alarms

by Kijner & Sons International Realty


Smoke alarms are an important defense against injury or death in house fires. The National Fire Protection Association states that nearly two-thirds of home fire fatalities happen in homes with non-working or missing smoke detectors. Most building codes now require smoke detectors in all residential structures, which has resulted in a steep drop in fire- and smoke-related deaths. Homeowners should check with their local public safety office or fire department for specific information on these requirements.

  • As in real estate, location is important! Smoke alarms should be in installed every bedroom, outside every sleeping area, and on each level of the home.
  • Alarms should be placed high on a wall or on the ceiling. It’s best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement. High, peaked ceilings have dead air space at the top; in these instances smoke alarms should be placed no closer than 3 feet from the highest point.
  • For areas close to the kitchen, use a detector with a “hush button” that can be used to silence nuisance alarms triggered by cooking smoke or steam. Alternatively, consider installing a photoelectric alarm, which is better at detecting smoldering fires (vs. flames) near the kitchen. Never remove the unit’s battery to stop or prevent nuisance alarms.
  • There are two primary types of smoke alarm technology: ionization and photoelectric. According to the National Fire Protection Association, ionization alarms are more responsive to flames, while photoelectric alarms are more sensitive to smoldering fires. For the most comprehensive protection, both types or a combination unit should be installed.
  • Alarms should be tested monthly. It’s helpful to put a reminder in your calendar to do this on the first or last day of the month, for example. The units have a test button that will sound the alarm for a brief time when pressed. Any alarm that fails to sound should have the battery replaced. If the test button fails with a new battery, replace the entire detector immediately. Monthly testing is also an ideal time to dust off the unit so that it continues to work properly.
  • Replace the batteries at least once a year. A common rule of thumb is to do this when changing to or from Daylight Saving Time in fall and spring. Some alarms come with 10-year batteries; for these, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for battery replacement. Remember, a non-working alarm is no better than no alarm at all.
  • If the alarms are hard-wired to the home’s electrical system, make sure they are interconnected for maximum effectiveness – meaning that if one alarm is triggered, all of the others will sound as well. Any hard-wired alarms, interconnected or not, should be installed by a licensed electrician for safety and proper operation.

Questions? Comments? Looking to buy or sell a house in Miami or Sarasota, Florida? Contact Kijner & Sons International Realty at info@kijner.com

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Source: 31st Edition of CRS Consumer Article (August 19th, 2013) - CRS-Pillar To Post Partnership - Article courtesy of Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspection

NAR Global Perspectives: International Investments June 2013

by Kijner & Sons International Realty


Kijner & Sons International Realty
is pleased to share with you the latest report from the National Associations of Realtors® (NAR), entitled "NAR Global Perspectives: International Investments June 2013". "
This issue takes a look at some of the forces that drive money into international investments, including five major factors that motivate people to invest abroad and five major destinations for international money".

As you will see from this extremely interesting read, the United States make the list of the five major investment destinations for international buyers thanks to being the world's most solid economy - despite the recent recession - and a country where one has a great quality of life in a welcoming environment. But even more interesting, Thailand and Costa Rica are seen as the next international real estate hotspots for investors looking for safety and return. 

To read the full June 2013 NAR report, click here or on the image below.


Looking to invest in or move to the Greater Miami or Sarasota area in Florida, Thailand or Costa Rica? Contact KSI Realty at info@kijner.com

Controlling Allergens in the Home

by Kijner & Sons International Realty


Household allergens can cause a variety of symptoms in many people, including sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, and shortness of breath. Allergens may also be a contributing cause of asthma, especially in children. However, it is possible to minimize the effects of such allergens by taking steps to control their presence and dispersal in the home.

The most common household allergens include dust mites, mold, mildew, pollen, and pet dander (dried flakes of skin shed by pets, particularly cats and dogs). Effective control relies on a combination of measures that, when used properly, will reduce the levels of allergens and allergen exposure.

  • Increase ventilation to the home. Opening windows whenever possible promotes good air exchange and will reduce the concentration of airborne allergens, especially pet dander.
  • Wash bedding and stuffed toys once a week in hot water to control dust mites and cat allergens in particular.
  • Keep pets clean and well groomed to control dander.
  • Use mite-resistant mattress covers and pillow covers and wash these frequently.
  • Dust and vacuum regularly, and use microfiltration or HEPA filter vacuum bags. The jury is still out on whether bagless vacuum cleaners are more effective in removing allergens than those that require bags; some studies indicate that many bagless vacuums are not sealed tightly enough and can actually make the problem worse. Wearing a dust mask while dusting and vacuuming is also a good way to reduce exposure.
  • Consider removing wall-to-wall carpeting and replacing them with easily-cleaned area rugs, particularly in bedrooms.
  • Make sure bathrooms, especially those with showers, are well ventilated. Open the window and use exhaust fans that vent to the outdoors to prevent moisture buildup, which can encourage mold and mildew growth.
  • If possible, reduce indoor humidity to 50% or less by using room dehumidifiers or the dehumidifier feature available with many central air conditioning systems.
  • Clean or replace furnace and central air conditioner filters on a regular basis. Make sure that air conditioner drain pans are clean and that they allow the water to drain properly.

Taking these simple steps can mean breathing easy in a healthier, more comfortable home. 

Questions? Comments? Looking to buy or sell a house in Miami or Sarasota, Florida? Contact Kijner & Sons International Realty at info@kijner.com

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Source: 31st Edition of CRS Consumer Article (July 30th, 2013) - CRS-Pillar To Post Partnership - Article courtesy of Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspection

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