Get Your Home Ready for Winter

As the temperatures drop and days get shorter – old man winter is right around the corner. Before you know it, snow and ice will be here. Sigh…

Extreme weather can put your home to the “test”. Getting ready now, will help protect your home from any potential problems and damage. Nobody wants to be without the heat in the middle of the winter, or get a burst water pipe. Or to find out their energy bills are super high, because the windows weren’t properly insulated.

Weatherproof windows

Here is a list of essentials to do around your house to ensure you’re ready for winter!

  1. Furnace – get your furnace inspected by a professional HVAC company, to make sure it’ll run smoothly and efficiently. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, get one! They will pay themselves off withing one winter season.
  2. Doors & Windows – preventing heat loss means your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard, which means you’ll use less energy. So take some time to check all doors and windows to make sure no gaps, air leaks, drafts, etc. Any home hardware store sells all kinds of weather sealants.
  3. Chimney – if you have a fireplace, and plan to use it, get a professional to check it and sweep it. Last thing you need is a chimney fire or a build up of carbon monoxide in your home.
  4. Gutters – clean out the gutters so there is no leaves or dirt in there. You want water and snow to be able to freely drain. Also, consider extending your downspouts about 5 feet away from your house – this helps prevent basement water damage.
  5. Roof – inspect the roof for any damaged shingles, or worn out caulking around the chimney and air vents. This helps prevent water damage and mold, as a result saving you from having to do big repairs in the future.
  6. Outdoor Water Taps – turn off outdoor water taps and faucets to prevent them from bursting when it gets really cold, because water can turn to ice and ice expands. Disconnect the garden hoses and drain any leftover water. Also drain your lawn irrigation system too.
  7. Insulate Pipes – save yourself money by insulating the pipes that are in unheated areas. Even then, by insulating a pipe you’re preventing heat loss, which helps cut down on energy costs.
  8. Snow Removal – now is the time to also test out your snow blower, get yourself some salt, and that shovel. You don’t want to be caught without one in the winter, because the demand for such products goes up and when that happens… price goes up too!
  9. Bushes and Trees – if you have any big bushes or large trees with branches getting too close to cable lines, power line, or your house. Consider trimming them to prevent power loss when the freezing rain makes those branches super heavy, and they break. You don’t want them coming down on your windows, or cables, causing property damage.
  10. Smoke Alarm – Lastly, test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they’re functioning properly.
  11. Ceiling Fans – by reversing your ceiling fans, your pushing air down.. and we all know hot air rises up so this will help you feel warmer.

Lori VanDinther, Burlington RE/MAX sales representative and a team leader, is a long time resident of Burlington and has been helping real estate buyers and sellers in Burlington, Oakville, Carlisle, Kilbride, Waterdown and surrounding areas for 23+ years!

Saving On Energy In The home

There is perhaps nothing more annoying than receiving a high energy bill, especially when you have had as many heat waves as we have had this summer.  While some of this might be obvious, we thought it might be a good idea give refresher on a couple ways to cut energy costs.

  1. Close the blinds and curtains

    While it may make it a little dark in the home, closing the blinds and curtains will keep the sun and any excessive heat out. This action will in turn prevent the air conditioner from having to run more frequently and for longer periods of time. If your home doesn’t have an air conditioner, it will also help keep the room temperature at bay in the home.

  2. Appliances

    Try running them on off peak times. Hydro companies charge less during these hours – check your service provider for rates and times.

    Also, if budget permits, consider purchasing or replacing your appliances with green energy efficient products.  You may also find that there are added incentives and discounts from manufacturers when purchasing such products.

  3. Power Bars, electronics and lights

    Make sure to turn off power bars, unplug electronics and turn off lights when not in use. You may be surprised at the amount of energy being used by them.  Making this simple change will help to decrease your energy usage, helping to lower your costs.

  4. Water Heater

Turn down your water heater! While  we all enjoy having hot water, you may be surprised to find that you can still achieve the water temperature you desire even with your water heater set at a lower temperature. Remember: keeping it at a high temperature requires a significant more amount of energy.

  1. Maintenance

    Maintaining your home, its devices and appliances play an important role in energy efficiency. When your appliances aren’t maintained properly, they don’t run as efficiently and this can contribute to increased energy costs.

For coupons and more tips on saving energy visit www.saveonenergy.ca.  This is a great resource for any home owner.

Ever Wonder After The Sold Sign Goes Up, How Soon You Should Start Packing?

What is the absolute worst part about moving? Packing! Whether it be the actual task of boxing something, making sure breakables are wrapped and protected or simply taping up the boxes, no one enjoys packing for a move.  What if we told you we had some advice and tricks that could help you with the process – good news, we do!

Jewelry

Jewelry is always a tricky one.  When it comes to valuables, personally escorting it from and to your new location might be a good idea. When it comes to the less valuable every day jewelry such as earrings and necklaces, consider packing them in old egg cartons, before places in a box.  This will not only keep them organized, but will also protect them.

Another great idea is to thread your necklaces and bracelets through a straw to prevent tangling.

Kitchenware

When packing plates, we would recommend purchasing a roll of bubble wrap for added protection.  This can be purchased at an office store or even the post office.  When placing the plates in the box, try placing them standing up instead of lying flat.  This will allow you to fit more in the box.  To give them added protection, wrap them individually and then in groups of 6 to 8.

Glasses and cups

Ever wondered what to do with that solo sock whose partner has somehow gone missing?  Use them to stuff inside the glass to prevent from breaking.  Other tricks include turning handles inward when packing to maximize space.  Another great alternative when packing cups and glasses is to use beer and wine boxes from the liquor store, which are free.

Clothing

When it comes to moving clothing from dressers and hutches, consider leaving the clothes in the drawer and protecting it with plastic wrap.  You already have to move the drawers, so why create double the work for yourself.  When it comes to your closet wardrobe you might want to invest in moving boxes that allow you to keep your clothing hung.  This will allow for a simple transfer back into the closet and save you loads of time.

Electronics

Electronic cords are a frequent frustration when packing and unpacking.  To keep the cords organized and to remember what electronics the cords are for, invest in zip ties and plastic tabs for labeling.  While it might seem like a little extra work at first, it could save you hours in the long run.

Packing always takes longer than you think, so make sure you start immediately – especially with purging and donating!