Chances are, you know that you should change the batteries in your smoke detectors at least once a year — even if you suspect the batteries are still good.


But that isn't the only fire safety check you should do annually. Here are some other recommended tips to help keep you and your family safe.


• Clean your stove burners and oven regularly. Hard grease build-up can become combustible.


• Check your cupboard for cleaning products, paints and other liquids that are flammable. Read each label carefully. Use and store each product only as recommended.


• If you keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen — and you should — confirm that it is still good. Extinguishers are like food. They have expiry dates!


• Go over your fire escape plan with your family. Make sure everyone knows exactly what to do if a smoke detector goes off or if there's a fire. (Don't have a fire escape plan? Make one!)


• Check that all windows open easily, especially upper floor windows.


• Check appliances you use often, such as hair dryers, for worn or frayed cords.


• Regularly clear away lint build-up in the clothes dryer. Check the outside dryer vent annually to make sure it's clear and working correctly.


• If you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove, get it cleaned and inspected by a licensed technician once a year.


Many local fire departments offer homeowners free tips and even in-home advice and inspections at no cost. Contact your fire department and ask about programs available to you.

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Why is making a big change in life often so difficult?


According to psychologists, maintaining the "status quo" is one of the most powerful motivations we have. If things are "okay", even making a change for the better can be difficult. Our brains resist.


You may have experienced this if you’ve thought about selling your current property and finding your next dream home. Your house may be "good enough" for you now and the neighbourhood might be "okay" too. So, even if your dream is to get into a better home that's more suited to your family and lifestyle, you may be hesitant.


That's just the way the psychology works.


One way to get around this psychology is to get your dream out of your head and on to paper. Write down the kind of home you'd love to live in next. For example, you may want a detached home, with 3-bedrooms in a family-oriented neighbourhood. Also jot down the specific features and characteristics of the property and neighbourhood such as a goodsized backyard, family-size kitchen, and an easy commute to work. That will help you see the real possibilities.


Next, find out whether getting into a home like this is doable for you right now. Avoid making assumptions. Get the facts. Find out what you can expect to get for your current property, and what you'll need to spend for the new home.


If you discover that moving to your next dream home is something you can swing this year, your hesitancy will likely vanish!


I can help you get the information you need to make the best decision. Call me.

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Data is supplied by Pillar 9™ MLS® System. Pillar 9™ is the owner of the copyright in its MLS®System. Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by Pillar 9™.
The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.