Seasonal maintenance tips in and around your home…

(NC) Although some of us may be hanging on to warmer temperatures, it’s inevitable that cooler weather is on its way. With the change in seasons comes a change in home maintenance that’s needed to prepare for the cooler climate. So, get ahead on your chores while the sun is still shining and follow these four simple tips to stay on track.

  1. Clean out your gutter and downspout. Once leaves begin to fall, they will fill your gutter and downspouts blocking water that is draining off your roof. While this step may need to be repeated more than others, cleaning out your gutter regularly until all leaves have fallen will benefit your home long term. If you come across little friends nesting, safely remove them to avoid them calling your attic their new home.
  2. Check your windows and doors. With cool, breezy air upon us, it’s important to check windows, doors and cracks that need to be fixed. Feel around for any drafts that may be coming through and try caulking around these areas to repair any broken seal. Not only will this keep you warm, it will reduce energy use and save money on your heating bill.
  3. Inspect your furnace. Hire a professional to inspect your furnace before the cold weather arrives. Since the heat has been turned off for months, it’s important to complete a general maintenance to ensure your furnace is ready for another winter. Remember to clean out your filters regularly and replace as needed; this will benefit the air quality in your home and keep your furnace running efficiently.
  4. Make the switch to winter tires. It’s important to make the switch from all-seasons to winter tires so that your vehicle is prepared for winter driving conditions. Even before the first snowfall, the drop in temperature requires a different type of tire to grip the road. Winter tires should be replaced every two to three seasons. If you have old tires that are no longer in use, drop off up to four for free at a registered Ontario Tire Stewardship collector. Recycling used tires helps keep the circular economy rolling by turning your old treads into sustainable products manufactured in Ontario.

www.newscanada.com

Keep your home cool all summer long

NC) No matter how much we enjoy spending time outdoors during our short summers, we always want our homes to be comfortable spaces for living. But even with an air conditioner, this can be tricky during the hottest days of the year.

Use these tips from Health Canada to create a more pleasant indoor environment for your family and guests:

Simplify your cooking. When the weather is gorgeous out, who wants to be in the kitchen making big, time-consuming meals? Keep temperatures down by preparing meals that don’t need to be cooked in the oven.

Do It Yourself shade. If you live in a house, plant trees on the side where the sun hits the house during the hottest part of the day. Tree-shaded spots can be as much as 5ºC cooler than the surrounding area.

Work with your windows. Paying attention to what’s going on outside can make a big difference if you adjust your windows and coverings accordingly. Block the sun by closing awnings, curtains or blinds during the day. Harness the evening breeze by opening your windows at night, if it is safe, to let cooler air into your home.

Fine tune your air conditioning. If you have an air conditioner, make sure it works properly before the hot weather starts. Otherwise, find an air-conditioned spot close by where you can cool off for a few hours during very hot days. This will help you cope with the heat better.

Stay informed about local weather forecasts and alerts so you know when to take extra care.

Summer Home Maintenance Tips

(NC) Now that you’ve pulled out your lawn furniture, uncovered the barbecue and put on your flip flops, you’re eager to enjoy some fun in the sun. But if you’ve recently moved into a new home, don’t forget it still needs love and attention beyond just cutting the lawn once in a while.

Even with today’s energy-efficient, high-tech homes, seasonal maintenance is important because it helps protect your new home warranty. By failing to regularly maintain your home, you risk causing damage that may not be covered by your warranty.

When you’re planning your summer fun list, make sure you find some time for this home maintenance checklist:

June:

  • Inspect air conditioning
  • Check roof
  • Check sheds and garages
  • Check sealing around windows and doors
  • Check septic system and clean if necessary
  • Fertilize lawn
  • Check water heater
  • Check and reset ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI)
  • Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors

July:

  • Air out damp basements on a dry, sunny day
  • Clean air conditioner
  • Check exhaust fans
  • Check water heater for leaks
  • Check and reset GFCIs
  • Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors

August:

  • Clean air conditioner filter
  • Air out damp basements on dry, sunny days
  • Inspect driveways and walks
  • Inspect doors and locks
  • Check and reset GFCIs
  • Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors

Find more seasonal maintenance tips online at tarion.com.

Top Home Maintenance Tips for Spring

 

(NC) As warm weather approaches, spring is the perfect season to assess whether your home is in tip-top shape after a long winter. Below are four home maintenance tips every homeowner should consider to help keep insurance claims at bay while increasing the value of your home.

Get those gutters clean. With warmer weather and a greater likelihood of flash rain storms, now is the time to make sure your eavestroughs are clean. Removing any debris like leaves and dirt will prevent gutter backup and reduce leaks when it rains.

Keep the roof over your head. Roof damage — including loose shingles, leaks and cracks — is common during the winter due to the heavy weight added by snow and ice and icicle formation. As winter melts away, inspect your roof and attic to determine if any repairs are required.

Check the drainage of your property. Receding snow and ice may unveil eroded landscapes or pond-sized puddles on your property. Take advantage of the changing season to ensure your property is fitted with appropriate drainage fixes. This may be as simple as extending your downspout to drain into the lowest area of your yard.

Make sure you’re covered. Now is a good time to look at your home insurance plan and make sure your coverage is adequate. Summer weather events, social gatherings and time away can make your home more susceptible to damage or break-ins. You can easily manage your policy online with companies such as Esurance, freeing more time to enjoy all that summer has to offer.

www.newscanada.com

5 Smart Tricks to Make Cleaning Faster and Easier!

(NC) Get a jump on your spring-cleaning with some tips that’ll leave every corner in your home spotless in no time.

Make it part of your routine. If you wait to clean and tidy up once a week, a month or even a season, you’re setting yourself up for a long, heavy chore that you’ll only dread and procrastinate. Instead, try incorporating easy tasks like wiping the kitchen counters, straightening out the living room and freshening up your bed with linen spray into your daily schedule and you’ll have a much easier and quicker time of it when you deep clean.

Choose appliances that tackle the dirty work. You may already have a self-cleaning oven or laundry machine, but that self-cleaning magic is more valuable than ever when you can have it in the bathroom. The new VorMax Plus self-cleaning toilet from American Standard is a huge time-saver that cleans and freshens your toilet every time you flush. Available at Home Depot, it features an innovative design that uses a Lysol fresh infuser that reduces dirt buildup and an antimicrobial surface that inhibits the growth of stain- and odour-causing bacteria.

Set tidying up on autopilot. It’s a lot easier to clean when you have a system that keeps your house clean. Keep your mud room area in top shape by encouraging everyone to sort their coats, shoes and mitts as soon as they set foot in the door with designated hangers and pretty storage boxes. Eliminate unattractive packaging and clutter in the bathroom and kitchen with mason jars and decorative canisters for your toiletries and dried goods.

Have items work double duty. Get creative and think outside the box to find things that can do some of the cleaning for you. For example, your dishwasher can do much more than just clean your plates, pots and pans. Load it up with plastic toys, light fixtures and toothbrush holders and have it run while you work on everything else. Using dryer sheets to prevent musty odours in clothing storage boxes, linen closets and shoes means you won’t have to do extra cleaning or laundry just to get rid of unwanted smells.

Add some inspiration. Sometimes tasks feel like they take forever simply because they’re dull and repetitive. Time flies by when you’re entertained, so listen to a podcast or stream re-runs of your favourite show in the background for cleaning that seems speedier. You can also use the time more efficiently by multitasking and squeezing in a workout while you clean. Make every step count with a fitness tracker and throw in a few exercises like pushups or squats every time you switch rooms and easily meet your daily physical activity goals.

www.newscanada.com

Top 10 Ways to Revive Your Dated House…

(NC) Our homes are where memories are made, our retreat from the world. However, daily living, growing families, and time can leave your home looking less than its best. Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to breathe new life into a well-loved space. These top DIY projects will ensure your home looks and performs its best.

Clean. A neat and tidy home instantly brightens the space, creating a great foundation for other improvements.

Paint. This is the easiest way to quickly transform the look of a dated room. Don’t forget to paint the trim to really make it pop.

Consider replacing worn flooring. Update with hardwoods or choose more affordable options such as laminate or vinyl plank flooring. Eco-friendly options like bamboo or cork flooring have grown in popularity, while today’s assortment of tiles can also create a stunning look.

Address the comfort factor. Taking measures to make your home more energy efficient can dramatically improve everyday comfort and save you money. The easiest way to start is by simply topping up your attic insulation. Many contractors recommend a fire-safe, mould- and water-resistant stone wool insulation like Rockwool Comfortbatt. Made from stone, it’s durable and easy to install. This important update can potentially save you hundreds in annual heating costs, and it only takes about a day or so to complete.

Make simple swaps. New light fixtures or hardware on cabinetry can provide your room with an instant refresh. Give cabinets a new coat of paint if they look tired or dated.

Let there be light. Replace heavy drapes with sheer window coverings or blinds to flood the home with as much natural light as possible.

Open up the space. Remove excess furniture and all signs of clutter. Organize closets and pantries. Open windows to allow fresh air inside.

Accessorize. Add inviting elements like fresh flowers, throws or toss cushions. Does your room have a distinct focal point? Carefully chosen and placed accents or artwork can really make it stand out.

Create curb appeal. Clean and pressure-wash the driveway and walkways. Cut the grass, pull weeds, and trim shrubs. Consider planting annuals to add colour. Paint your front door and house numbers.

Reboot your entry-way. It’s simple, but it sets the tone. Make sure it’s bright, open and functions effectively. Install some clever storage solutions –– there are plenty of options even for small spaces. It should always feel good to walk through the front door. After all, there’s no place like home.

www.newscanada.com

Hidden Health Hazards That Could Be Lurking In Your Home

(NC) Many of us like to make our homes cozy retreats during the chilly winter season, stockpiling blankets and firewood. But another important way to prepare for spending so much time indoors is to make sure our homes are safe and healthy places to live. Here are some common risks that could be present and what you can do about them.

Carbon monoxide. This gas causes illness and can lead to death. Carbon monoxide can be present in your home or cottage at any time of the year, but the risk is greater in winter months because homes in Canada are usually heated by furnaces, wood stoves, water heater or boilers and other appliances that run on fuels — devices that can release the gas if they are not installed correctly or malfunction. Protect yourself with a carbon monoxide alarm and by properly ventilating your home.

Radon. This is an invisible, radioactive gas that causes lung cancer and comes from uranium in the ground. The only way to know the radon level in your home is to take a simple and inexpensive test that can be done by using a do-it-yourself kit or by a certified measurement professional. If the level in your home is high, it can be fixed at an affordable cost. A radon mitigation system can be installed in less than a day and in most homes will reduce the level by more than 80 per cent for about the same cost as other common home repairs such as replacing the furnace or air conditioner.

Wood smoke. Whether your wood stove is your main source of heat, a back-up or a fun way to add some warm ambiance, wood smoke contains a number of pollutants that can be harmful to your health. You can help reduce the environmental and health impacts of wood smoke by maintaining your stove, cleaning your chimney and using your dampers. Choose dry, seasoned wood, let it breathe and burn smaller pieces of wood. If renovating, consider switching your heating source or purchasing a low-emission stove.

Find more information at www.canada.ca/radon.

www.newscanada.com

Fall Yard Maintenance!

School is back in and Summer is coming to an end! I love the fall season but with it comes a checklist of outdoor maintenance. Here is a compiled list of to- do’s for your yard this fall!

  1. Clear Out Flower Beds- clean all debris out of the flower beds, trim down the plants that may need pruning.
  2. Till the Garden- Do you have a veggie garden? Now is a great time to pick your last crops and till the rest. This preps your vegetable garden for the coming year.
  3. Trim the Trees- This must be done every year, it is always good to know which branches are getting out of hand, these can cause major damage to your home, or worse the neighbors!
  4. Drain Out the Water- from your hose, your irrigation system or any temporary pools you may have up. Store them in a dry place until next Spring/Summer.
  5. Clean Out your Gutters- No one wants to do this but it is necessary to avoid build up and damming in the gutters.
  6. Rake/Mulch the Yard- If you do not have tons of leaves it wouldn’t hurt to use your lawnmower to mulch them, however if you have a yard full of leaves I would rake up the majority first.
  7. Fertilizer- Spread a great fall fertilizer if you want a great lush lawn in the spring.
  8. Plant Fall Bulbs- Any shrubs/fall annuals and bulbs that are to be planted in the fall now is the time to do it. Ask your local garden center for help deciding which plants are best in the fall season.
  9. Protect Plants- The plants that are cold-sensitive must be wrapped with burlap or cloth, the shrubs you would like to keep their shape make sure you use a protective shield such as a tree tepee or make it a DIY project!
  10. Protect the Deck- Power wash the deck and then seal it with a weather proof seal. This will help make it last years longer!

 

TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR HOME FROM WATER DAMAGE…

 

(NC) Did you know that water is the leading cause of home damage in most provinces? Just this past May, communities across the country had to cope with flooding as heavy rainfalls hit various regions over many days.

 

What can you do to protect your home? Here, Marc Barbeau, property claims manager of Intact Insurance shares his top four tips:

  1.  Water-resistant décor.  The next time you’re renovating your home, explore installing cement board instead of drywall in your basement. It’s typically used in showers and tubs and is less likely to absorb water. Cement boards are extremely moisture resistant and dry quickly when wet. For base moulding, consider a formed, paintable plastic material instead of wood. This way, even if water gets in, your home may be able to withstand excess water and mould damage.
  2. Install backflow valves and sump pumps.A sump pump may help keep your basement safe and dry by collecting and disposing the water from your home. Already have a sump pump? Think about adding battery backup for times where the power is out.

When there’s a heavy rainstorm, it may become too much for the sewers to handle, and waste can back up through floor drains, toilets and sinks. A backwater valve is a one-way valve that is installed on the main drain of your home. In the event of a backup, the valve closes to stop sewage from coming in.

  1. Consider overland flood
    insurance.
    It’s estimated that only 10 to 15 per cent of Canadians have insurance for overland flooding. New insurance products can help cover this. For example, Intact Insurance’s enhanced water damage package consists of up to four components: sewer back-up, water and sewer lines, overland water and ground water. It’s best that you talk to a broker to ensure you’re getting the coverage you need.
  2. Keep valuable items on higher floors.Store sentimental and valuable items on the upper floors of your home, away from the basement as many of these items may never be replaced if your basement floods.

www.newscanada.com

Spring into home maintenance!!

(NC) Renovating is great for increasing the value of your home, but regular home maintenance is the easiest way to preserve your investment. As the weather warms, it is a perfect time to do a quick inspection of your home and catch up on simple seasonal chores.
With a little effort, you can keep your home looking great and functioning well for years to come. Here’s a few tasks you should check off your to-do list:
Outdoors
• Clean out the gutters and remove any debris.
• Repair siding and peeling paint.
• Inspect your chimney and roof. Replace or repair loose or damaged shingles.
• Trim overgrown shrubs and trees, keeping branches two feet from the house.
• Inspect deck boards for possible deterioration and rot. Replace damaged boards and seal or re-stain, as necessary.
• Turn on the water supply to hose bibs and exterior faucets. Check for leaks.
• Clean windows and window tracks. Replace any damaged screens.
• Check around doors and windows for cracks and gaps. Caulk, as necessary.
• Clean your outdoor spaces (driveway, deck, porch, etc). Fix any damage. Reseal the driveway, if needed.
• Fertilize and aerate the lawn. Seed to fill any patchy areas.
Indoors
• Inspect the attic for poor ventilation, pests, damaged sheathing, mould or insufficient insulation levels. Top up insulation, as needed, with a mould and moisture-resistant product made of inorganic materials like Roxul Comfortbatt. Aim for a depth of 16 inches and an R-value of 50.
• Replace the furnace filter. Clean air vents, as needed.
• Clear out the dryer vent, removing any lint or debris which can pose a fire hazard.
• Check the washing machine and dishwasher fill hoses to make sure there are no cracks developing.
• Test ground fault circuit interrupters in the bathroom, kitchen, outside receptacles and on the electrical panel.
• Inspect and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Change the batteries and replace units more than 10 years old.
Since your home tends to be your biggest investment, maintenance is time well spent!
article thanks to www.newscanada.com