Keeping Your Home Secure

Unfortunately, it is a fact of modern life that burglaries and home invasions are going to happen. What’s important is how you are prepared for them. We have put together an infographic which outlines a number of ways that you can secure your home. First and foremost, having secure windows in place is of paramount importance but read on for some more actionable advice.

Keeping Your Home Secure

Being More Energy Efficient – Infographic

Our windows and doors are of excellent quality and it’s a given that they provide insulation to your home whereby you won’t have draught issues (or wastefully lose heat). Solving your windows and door draught concerns is just one way of being more energy efficient and conscious in the home though because there are a number of other ways that you can follow this through. We have put together this infographic below which outlines a number of ways to be energy efficient. While some of these might require investment on a varying scale, being more energy efficient means that in the long run, you will actually end up saving money through lower heating, electricity and/or water costs. Furthermore, there are many grants available in Ireland from the likes of the SEAI for this type of work so that’s worth looking into too before you undertake one of them. Check out all the details below.

Being More Energy Efficient – Infographic

The World’s Most Energy Efficient Countries

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy is a non-profit agency whose aim it is to promote and advance energy efficiency related policy. They annually publish the results of the countries performing best in terms of their emissions and other environmentally related factors. We have put together the below infographic which details the most recent findings and it explains in greater detail the work that the ACEEE does in relation to promoting a more environmentally conscious world. Check out the full details below.

The World’s Most Energy Efficient Countries

How to Prevent Home Burglaries

A home invasion is hugely stressful and upsetting whether there are many valuables taken in the incident or not; the thought alone of a stranger entering your home and being amongst your possessions is unnerving. Home burglaries are an unfortunate fact of life in both rural and urban Ireland and prevention and precautions are key. It’s hugely important to put in place preventative actions to halt a burglary happening in the first place and that can be done through obvious incorporation of secure burglar alarms and reliable doors and windows such as our PVC windows and doors which have 100% reliable security systems. We’ve also put together some advice on other ways to prevent home burglaries which you can check out in the video below.

Protect Your Home, Tips for Home Security

Protect your home, tips for home security

When it comes to securing your home from potential threats, there are a number of things that you can proactively do to ensure your home is the most secure version of itself that it can be. From acknowledging your attitude to your home’s security and taking basic measures to protect it, to identifying your most cherished possessions and safeguarding your windows and doors (the key points of entry to your home), we have the top tips to help you take action.

Public Attitudes to Home Security in Ireland

According to nationwide research conducted by Zurich Insurance and published in their Home Security Study in early 2016:

  • Three in five people do not have their most cherished household possessions insured.
  • More than two in five people ignore basic security measures when they leave their homes.
  • More than one in two people do not set a house alarm every time they leave their homes.
  • More than one in five people only set their house alarm when they go on holidays, or are away for several days.

A chart illustrating public attitudes to home security in Ireland. Protect your home and keep yourself informed.

Insights into Cherished Household Possessions

  • Almost one in five people say that the electronic devices they own, are the most cherished possessions in their homes.
  • The average value of these devices is €1,513.
  • More than one in ten people say that the jewellery they own, is the most cherished possession in their homes.
  • The average value of these items is €3,621.
  • This also makes jewellery the most expensive of the cherished possessions found in Irish homes.
  • In fact, almost one in five people cite a value of €5,000 or more for their jewellery.
  • Outside of electronic devices and jewellery, other cherished household items include paintings, homeware, sports equipment and designer clothes.

An image showing the most cherished items in Irish homes. Protect you home and its possessions, stay informed.

Burglary Rates and Risk

According to the Central Statistics Office, there were 26,259 recorded cases of burglary and related offences in 2015. While the vast majority of these related to non-aggravated burglaries, there were 270 recorded cases of ‘aggravated burglary’ and 598 cases of ‘possession of an article with intent to burgle, steal or demand.’

When it comes to burglaries, there are a number of measures that can be taken to minimise a burglar’s opportunity. These focus on securing the main points of entry into your home. According to An Garda Siochana, burglaries increase by 25% during the winter season and more than 40% of winter burglaries take place between 5pm and 11pm, so now is the time to act.

 Key Points of Entry That Burglars Target

There are key household entry points that burglars target. Read our tips for home security and learn how to secure your home’s entry points.

Key Insight

Securing doors and windows is a crucial aspect of protecting your home. 20% of burglaries that occur are as a result of access via an unsecured window or door. Jewellery and cash are the most common items stolen by a burglar.

Protecting Your Home from the Inside Out

Securing your front door is a crucial aspect of protecting your home.

Doors

With front doors being the most common point of entry that burglars target to enter our homes, it is imperative to invest wisely in the front door you choose for your home. A key element to look for when purchasing a front door is the door handle mechanisms that are in place to prevent against common types of attacks. These include:

Handle Snapping

Look for a door handle that includes steel reinforcement technology within the backplate. This will provide ‘jemmy resistance’ to prevent a burglar from snapping the door handle. Right-angled edge or corner backplate shoulders will also provide anti-grip protection.

Cylinder Snapping

Look for a door handle with an integrated cylinder guard which is visible within the raised backplate design. This encases the cylinder to protect it from being tampered with.

Cylinder De-plugging

Look for a door handle that incorporates an integral anti-plug disc within the backplate that is located directly over the cylinder face to shield it from burglars’ attacks.

Cylinder Drilling

Look for a door handle which houses a mechanism to allow for anti-drill disc spins if attacked with a drill. This will prevent a burglar’s drill bit from penetrating the cylinder.

Protect your home and prevent burglars from entering through your windows.

Windows

With rear, front, and side widows acting as key points of entry for potential thieves, it is important to choose the right frames and hardware for the windows in your home. One of the main security considerations to take into account when choosing windows is their locking mechanisms and how reinforced the glass is. Window security features to consider include:

Locking Mechanisms

Whether you have casement windows, sliding sash windows, or tilt and turn windows, additional security window locks, safety catches and sash jammers are available to suit most window types for added security. For the ultimate in locking mechanisms, look for windows with shoot-bolt locking mechanisms which have been proven to exceed the latest performance requirements in the window security industry.

Internal Glazing/Safety Glass

If you are considering upgrading your windows for security purposes, look for those with internal glazing and toughened safety glass.

Push Buttons

Check that the turn handles on your windows include push buttons. These allow for the person closing the window to listen for an automatic click of the button indicating that the window is in fact locked.

Do and Do Nots: Top Tips for Home Security

There are a number of do and do nots when it comes to top tips for home security.

  • Do have sensor lighting outside your home. If a potential burglar walks around your house to case it, your neighbours will be alerted to their presence.
  • Do not leave spare house keys under your welcome mat, or under a pot plant outside your front or back door. Get an extra key cut and leave it with a neighbour, friend, or family member instead.
  • Do find out if your community has a neighbourhood watch facility in place. By adding a neighbourhood watch sticker to one of your house windows, it may deter unwanted intruders.
  • Do not make it public knowledge that you are not at home by sharing images or updates about your location on social media, especially when you are on holidays for an extended period of time.
  • Do set an alarm on your radio so that it comes on and off while you are not at home. Invest in timer lighting for the same purpose. These suggest to an outsider that you are at home when they hear noise or see lights coming from your home.
  • Do not leave any items of value on display that can be seen from the outside of your home. This is especially true for money and jewellery which are high value targets for burglars.
  • Do install an alarm system that is approved by your home insurance provider. This adds an extra layer of security for peace of mind, as well as availing of a possible discount on your home insurance policy.
  • Do not leave any garden shed, garage, or outbuilding unlocked. These buildings often contain gardening and DIY equipment that may be valuable enough to steal, but may also be used as tools to break into your home.

Home Renovation Incentive Scheme extended until end December 2018

Not only will you save money on your heating bills by installing Senators fantastic range of energy efficient windows and doors, but with the Home Renovation Incentive Scheme you have the added benefit of getting the equivalent of the VAT back, saving you up to €4,050!

Finance (No 2) Act 2013 and Finance Act 2014 provide for a Home Renovation Incentive (HRI) Scheme, which runs from 25 October 2013 to 31 December 2018 for Homeowners and from 15 October 2014 to 31 December 2018 for Landlords. The Incentive provides for tax relief by way of an Income Tax credit at 13.5% of qualifying expenditure on repair, renovation or improvement works carried out on a main home or rental property by qualifying Contractors. Qualifying expenditure is subject to the 13.5% VAT rate. The supply and fit of new windows and doors is eligible. 

 

The works must cost a minimum of €4,405 (before VAT) per property, which will attract a credit of €595 per property. Where the cost of the works exceeds €30,000 (before VAT) per property, a maximum credit of €4,050 per property will apply. The credit is payable over the two years following the year in which the work is carried out and paid for. The first year for HRI tax credits was 2015 for Homeowners and 2016 for Landlords.

The works must be carried out on or after 25 October 2013 and up to 31 December 2018 for Homeowners and on or after 15 October 2014 and up to 31 December 2018 for Landlords. Homeowners or Landlords must be Local Property Tax and Household Charge compliant in order to qualify under the Incentive. Landlords must also have complied with the Private Residential Tenancies Board registration requirements. Contractors must be VAT and RCT registered and tax compliant in order to qualify to carry out works under the HRI. The Incentive will be administered through Revenue’s HRI online which is available on myAccount (for homeowners) or on Revenue’s Online Service (ROS) (for contractors and homeowners) if you are registered for ROS. All works, payments and claims must be entered on HRI online. Both myAccount and ROS can be accessed on www.revenue.ie

Can you afford not to? Don’t delay, talk your local dealer today to find out more, call 1850 77 44 55. There’s never been a better time to buy Senator Windows.

For more information on the details of the scheme please refer to the revenue website www.revenue.ie

*Updated October 2016. Information correct at time of posting

Senator Windows unveils a new Online Door Designer and Visualizer

Senator Windows has unveiled an online tool that homeowners can use to preview Senators Sentinel Door range on photos of their own home or on sample images. The Door Designer and Visualizer is free to use, can be found on the website www.senatorwindows.ie and is available on desktop, tablet or mobile.

 

Take an active role in planning the look of your brand new dream door. In just a few easy steps you can experiment with colours and styles, select glass type and hardware and mix and match on-screen until you find the perfect choice for your property. Then select “visualize” and see it come to life on a photo of your own home. You can go back and forth between the steps, or hit the restart button to begin again.

 

When you are finished designing you can print the image, save it for later, email it to a friend or request a quote from your local Senator Dealer. To try out the Door Designer and Visualizer for yourself go to designer.senatorwindows.ie

banner-designer

How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

Most of the energy consumed in residential houses is as a result of fossil fuels. Burning fossil fuels produces CO2, a greenhouse gas which causes climate change. However, there are many measures people can take to make their homes more energy efficient. Have a look at our latest infographic below for our top tips on how to save energy at home.

How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: The Silent Killer

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: The Silent Killer.

Carbon Monoxide, which is also known as CO, is a colourless, odourless, highly poisonous gas. The incomplete combustion of organic fossil fuels including oil, gas, or coal, are common environmental sources of CO, as much as it is a by-product of appliances such as heaters, etc. that burn specific fuels. In normal situations, combustion and its processes (i.e. the addition of oxygen) will result in carbon in the particular fossil fuel to combine with the air’s oxygen to produce Carbon Dioxide (CO2), which we also exhale when we breathe. Problems arise however if there is a lack of air for the combustion process to occur, or if a heating appliance is faulty, which then means Carbon Monoxide (CO) can be produced.

In terms of how it causes the human body so much damage; this happens when CO is inhaled and it combines with the blood, but it prevents the blood from absorbing oxygen. The merging of the blood and the CO, causes a production of Carboxyhaemoglobin, which adversely affects blood vessels in the body, causing them to become faulty. This can lead to swelling in the brain, causing unconsciousness and neurological (nerve) damage and at times death. Detection of Carbon Monoxide by the senses alone is difficult as it is a gas that has no smell, taste, or colour. Although everyone is at risk for CO poisoning, it is particularly dangerous for children because they breathe faster and inhale more CO per pound of body weight. As a result it is often referred to as the “Silent Killer”.

Shockingly, in Ireland between 1 and 2 people (on average) die each year from unintentional CO poisoning in the home.

                                                       Carbon Monoxide Symptoms

Carbon Monoxide Symptoms A Headache

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning can be similar to those caused by other illnesses such as a cold or flu. However, unlike flu, CO poisoning does not cause a high temperature constituting a fever.

Symptoms include:

  • Headaches, chest pains, or muscular weakness
  • Sickness, diarrhoea, or stomach pains
  • Dizziness when standing up
  • Feelings of lethargy

Symptoms tend to appear less severe should one move away from the source of the Carbon Monoxide, but the longer you breathe in deadly gas, the more heightened the symptoms will get. As it progresses, balance, vision and memory are likely to all be impacted and eventually, you may lose consciousness.

Depending on the amount of CO in the air, all the above can happen within two hours. However, cases have arisen where patients have shown symptoms of CO poisoning a number of days or even months after breathing in the gas. Those later symptoms manifest themselves in the form of confusion, memory loss and/or co-ordination problems.

A comprehensive article on CO poisoning can be found on the HSE website here.

                                           Treatment of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: CO Damaging the Human Body

If you or someone else appears to have been in contact with CO, try to get out into fresh air as quickly as possible and away from the site of the gas. Call for emergency medical help if at all possible, indicate what is wrong to a neighbour, or try to phone someone. While mild Carbon Monoxide poisoning does not usually need hospital treatment, it is still important that you seek medical advice. A blood test will confirm the amount of Carboxyhaemoglobin in your blood. A level of 30% indicates severe exposure.

Once you are at the hospital, it is possible that you will be treated as follows:

> You will be given oxygen. If you are able to breathe alone, this will be done by placing an oxygen mask over your nose and mouth. If you are ill enough that you cannot breathe alone, then oxygen will be administered via a ventilator, which will effectively do the breathing for you. Both of these will help oxygen reach your organs and tissues.

> Hyperbaric oxygen therapy might be used. This is a pressurised oxygen chamber in which the air pressure is about two to three times higher than normal. This speeds up the replacement of Carbon Monoxide with oxygen in your blood.

                                                               Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Carbon Monoxide Alarm: A Preventative Measure

Prevention of Carbon Monoxide poisoning is obviously a priority and the best way to do this is to have a well ventilated house with good quality windows opened on a regular basis to allow fresh air to circulate and to install a reliable Carbon Monoxide alarm.

Energy companies in Ireland in conjunction with the National Safety Authority of Ireland have set up a website which has a helpful guide on what to know before choosing your alarm. They have also created a very useful list of Carbon Monoxide alarms that have recently been recalled rendering those alarms unsafe; it would be important to check this should you have an existing alarm.

                                    Other Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Measures

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: No Warnings

You can help to reduce your family’s exposure to CO and resultant poisoning, by following the recommendations below.

  • Fuel-Burning Appliances

All fuel-burning appliances (e.g. gas water heaters, gas boilers, gas stoves etc.) should be serviced once a year, or as recommended by the manufacturer. Pilot lights can produce CO and should be kept in good working order.

  • Fireplaces & Woodstoves

Fireplaces and woodstoves should be checked professionally once a year, or as recommended by the manufacturer. When using these, check to ensure the flue (an opening for expelling gases) is open. Proper use, inspection, and maintenance of vent-free fireplaces are recommended.

  • Barbecue Grills

Never use barbecue grills indoors, or in poorly ventilated spaces such as garages, campers, and tents.

  • Automobiles/Other Motor Vehicles

Regular inspections and maintenance of the vehicle exhaust system are recommended which your mechanic will likely do when the car gets serviced. Never leave a car running in a garage, or other enclosed space. CO can accumulate even when a garage door is open.

  • Generators/Other Fuel-Powered Equipment

Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when operating generators and other fuel-powered equipment. Never use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds, or similar areas. Deadly levels of CO can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.

  • Boats

Make sure to implement regular engine and exhaust system servicing and maintenance. Consider installing a CO alarm in the accommodation area of the boat. Be aware that CO poisoning can mimic symptoms of sea sickness. Never swim under the back deck of the boat as CO builds up near exhaust vents so you could be exposed, should you be in that region of the boat.

Carbon Monoxide Hazard Sign

Windows of the World – A StoryMap

At Senator of course, we love our windows and we take pride in providing our clients with stunningly beautiful, well-crafted and functional windows for their homes and businesses. However there are many windows in buildings across the globe which are truly awe inspiring. We have put together this interactive StoryMap which we hope you will enjoy which shows some of the many amazing window locations across the globe. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to actually visit some of these?