Advice tips and ideas for home owners
Friday, October 25, 2019
House and Home
Whether you prefer to stay indoors during the chilly winter weather or get outside and get active, it’s nice to have your home be a warm refuge after a long day. As we transition from fall to winter, the air becomes cooler and the humidity begins to drop. While our heating systems in our homes increase the temperature, many do not add moisture to the air. Winter heating costs can vary depending on how you heat your home, so here are some money-saving tips to help keep it cosy all season long:
- Maximize the power of the sun. If you have south-facing windows, take advantage of the sun and leave the blinds or curtains open during the day and closed at night. Attach the edges of your curtains to the wall or window frame using Velcro or magnetic strips. By doing this you can reduce heat loss from one side of your house to the other.
- Raise the humidity in your home. Dry air feels cooler, so try to add some moisture to help bring up the temperature and retain heat. Aside from a humidifier, you can add houseplants and spray them with a water bottle once or twice a week to promote moisture in the air. Dry your laundry on racks indoors or even leave out a dish of water near heat sources, although be mindful of pets and kids when leaving out bowls of water. Even running the shower or bath with the door open if your family or roommates allow it. Sometimes boiling a large pot of water on your stove or kettle will help add more humidity to your kitchen or home.
- Inspect and seal all doors and windows. You can save up to 25 per cent on your heating bill by weather-stripping around windows, doors and air ducts. Cracks that allow cold air to pass through will remove heat and even moisture from your house. Not only do cracks add to the dry skin problem in the winter but it also ups your heating bill. Be eco conscious this season by taking care of your doors and windows with proper weather stripping and sealing. This is one of the most efficient and effective ways to manage your heating costs.
- Keep a steady temperature. Setting a higher temperature on the thermostat won’t heat your home faster. Remember to cool it down at night when you’re going to bed and increase the temperature during the day. Better still, use a programmable thermostat so you can set it and forget it.
- Change it up. Cosy can mean temperature, but also lighting can help make a space cosy. Switch out old bulbs for Energy Star LED lightbulbs labelled warm white or soft white. They have a traditional warm, cosy feel and are best for living spaces. As well, LED lights tend to have a longer life so you’re not only being cost effective, but you are reducing your waste and energy costs in the long run!
- Don’t forget blankets! Blankets of all shapes, sizes and materials can help you stay cosy and warm this season! Whether it’s an electric blanket or grandmas old knitted afghan, blankets can help make a room feel cosy and add more personality to a space. Throw a few extras on your bed at night and you’ll feel much warmer without having to hike up the heat. It’s affordable and fun!
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
House and Home
This time of year isn’t just about books and backpacks – it’s also about giving your interiors an update. Here’s a look at the top trends this autumn and how to try them at home to create beautiful rooms you will love.
Rich, luxurious spaces. After years of the cool, restrained style of minimalism, we are now embracing maximalism with interiors that are bold and dramatic. This trend means spaces that are warmer and richer, as we move to surround ourselves with our favourite things and mix and match elements and aesthetics. Think deep jewel-tones for wall colours and furnishings and layers of cozy, natural fabrics and materials.
Bold and artistic pieces. Similarity is out and incorporating unique, interesting items that tell a story and bring out your own personality is in. This means opting for more handcrafted or statement pieces that create visual interest and are anything but bland and boring. Get the look at home by letting your creativity shine with furniture and décor that inspire you or you’ve always wanted to try, like a traditional clawfoot tub, luxe canopy bed or one-of-a-kind rustic tables made from reclaimed wood.
Conscious consumption. Forget buying something without a second thought as to where and how it was produced. Today it’s all about ethical and intentional shopping for items that are sustainable and well-made. When it comes to fluffy duvets, blankets and pillows, it’s never been easier to find locally sourced, humane and ethical down. However, if that’s not your taste, there are tons of other options that are not only warm but completely natural and plant based, like cotton, bamboo, hemp and silk. Do your research if you’re eco and ethically inclined!
Thursday, August 29, 2019
House and Home
Tidy up landscaping and paint any features that look worn. If it’s in your budget to buy some new items for an even bigger wow factor, consider new garage doors, house numbers, and new light fixtures. Remember to remove all cars from the driveway on the day of the open house.
Keep it clean. Hiring professional cleaners is money well spent, especially if cleaning isn’t your strong suit or you simply don’t have the time. This could include house cleaners, window washers and carpet cleaning services.
Declutter. Make all rooms in the home look as spacious as possible by removing some furniture and knickknacks (pack them away so they’re ready for your new home). A clean, uncluttered space gives buyers a better idea of the home’s features.
Stage the home. Paint in neutral colours and, if possible, replace cabinets and faucets with new hardware. Add in a few small touches such as crisp new towels in the bathrooms, and vases of fresh flowers throughout. No matter the weather on open house day, open up all blinds and curtains to let as much light in as possible. Also remember to hide toothbrushes and toiletries by stowing them under the sink. Remove anything personal. Items such as family photos, certificates and awards should be packed away. This allows homebuyers to visualize their own family in the home.
Keep pets at bay. If you’ve got a dog, it may be as easy as taking them out with you on the day of the open house. Other pets such as cats should be confined to less trafficked areas. Remember to put food bowls away until you return home.
With these tips in mind, you’ll be providing a more marketable home that’s ready to show any and all potential buyers.
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
House and Home
Since the sun’s powerful rays are very effective at heating up a structure, the first step is to consider how you can effectively block some of those rays and deflect some heat away from your home. A strategically placed awning, pergola or a few trees will block the sun from hitting your windows and doors 12 hours a day.
One of the easiest ways to keep the heat out is by closing blinds, drapes and shutters during the hottest part of the day. For those looking for a more permanent solution, exterior rolling shutters might be a good option. They are effective at helping to maintain a comfortable interior temperature, will reduce noise levels and also add an extra layer of your security to your home. The only downfall is price – good quality rolling shutters are expensive. Solar screens, which look like standard window screens, will cut glare in addition to heat. “Double glazing” your windows can cut the intake of summer heat inside your home by as much as 30 per cent.
Another simple and inexpensive option for keeping cool is oscillating fans. Lightweight and portable, fans have come so far in the past 20 years, style-wise, and are still an extremely effective way of keeping a room cool. Place fans in a few rooms throughout the main level of your home to keep air circulating. During the summer, ceiling fans should rotate counterclockwise to push cool air down. This evaporates perspiration, creates a cooling wind chill effect, and makes a room feel up to eight degrees cooler without changing the temperature in the room!
Still feeling the heat at home? Before you switch on the A/C, get rid of all the incandescent light bulbs in your home, barbecue as often as possible instead of turning on the oven, always use the bathroom fan to remove hot steam after showering and open the windows after the sun goes down to let in the cool evening breeze!
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
House and Home
You've done a lot of work to get to this point, between preparing your home for sale, sealing the deal and packing up all of your worldly belongings. The last thing you need is unnecessary stress on your closing date/moving day.
First, ask around for a moving company recommendation. Check with friends, colleagues, neighbours and family for referrals. If you're not able to get a good referral from a trusted source, check online websites like Kijiji, but proceed with caution! Ask the company to provide at least three recent references and follow-up with them. Request a meeting ahead of time to get a feel for the individual. Are they professional, prepared and courteous? Did they show up on time?
Once you've chosen a mover, get everything in writing. It's the law. According to Ontario's Consumer Protection Act (CPA), all moving contracts worth more than $50 must be in writing. Under the CPA, your contract must include:
1. The mover's name, address and contact information
2. A description of the service(s) and their prices
3. The total cost that you will have to pay, additional charges that may apply and taxes
4. Start and end dates for the service
5. The terms of payment (cash or cheque)
Other items that should be included in the contract are size and value of items, who is responsible for loss or damage, the number of staff and vehicles that will be provided and the name of the person who holds their insurance policy.
Hopefully with a little research ahead of time, you can help ensure a stress-free moving day!