Friday, 19 December 2014

3 clever steps to a much warmer winter

Layer upon layer of bulky winter gear helps Canadians to ward off the season's bite for a time, but there are other ways to keep the persistent cold at bay for the long term. The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) recommends a winter regime of exercise, a hearty and healthy diet, and natural health support to keep you warm, even through the worst of the season.
Regular exercise gets the blood pumping and blood vessels dilating, helping to distribute warmth to our extremities. A good workout also burns calories, a process that produces lasting heat, so keep moving. The rush of endorphins we get from exercising is another important benefit, especially in winter, because they help to balance our mood and combat the “winter blues”, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). If the gym is not your thing, try Ashtanga yoga, an activity that teaches special breathing techniques to promote internal body heat, as well as mindfulness to combat stress.
Hearty Diet
What we eat and drink has a lasting effect on our ability to keep warm. In particular, spicy foods help to raise our metabolism, which allows our bodies to produce heat faster. Try using ginger, cayenne pepper, and more garlic when you prepare hearty meals, as well as other nutrient-rich ingredients like tomatoes, leafy greens, and beans. In addition, water is great at retaining heat, so drinking eight to 10 cups of water a day, will keep you hydrated and warm. Drinking herbal teas or infusing your water with seasonal fruits adds nutritional benefits and flavor.
Natural Health Support
Despite our best efforts, it is rare that we are able to get all the nutrients we need from our food alone. Supplementation is a convenient way to fill those nutritional gaps, especially in winter. To start, make sure you get the recommended daily dose of all B vitamins, which helps to increase blood flow and maintain our body's internal temperature. A vitamin D supplement, essential for disease prevention and many of the body's vital functions, is universally recommended for Canadians during the winter months. And, adding a quality omega-3 supplement to your regime not only contributes to heart health, but it has also been associated with reducing the risk of a number of chronic diseases, and helps to keep skin moisturized from the inside out through the cold, dry winter.
It is always a good idea to consult your healthcare provider for more personalized health advice, including the specific supplements and dosages that are right for you. Assistance to find a health food store in your neighborhood is available online at

Winter Home Care & Maintenance Tips: Empire Communities

Winter Home Care & Maintenance Tips: Empire Communities

The weather outside isn’t frightful quite yet, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t prepare for when it is. Seasonal maintenance of your home should be a top priority especially at the start of any season, be it summer or winter. Now that we are approaching the winter solstice, here are a few tried and true tips to get your home through the frigid temperatures!
Drain exterior water lines…shut off the hose bibs on the interior, remove hoses and protect exposed water pipes to prevent them from freezing. Before the first winter chill comes, make sure you take the necessary steps to ensure that outdoor pipes and faucets don’t freeze and burst. Another tip is to wrap exposed piping with a weather-resistant, insulated material made to keep them from freezing.
Test and Change the Batteries in Your Smoke and Carbon Dioxide Detectors…The start of winter is a good time to test all smoke and carbon dioxide detectors in your home. These units stop working after 7-10 years, so make sure you’ve got properly working detectors and 
shopping replace any non-working units.
Check and Replace Worn Weather Stripping…Proper weather stripping around doors and windows is important to reduce the amount of cold air that enters your home. At the start of the season check for cracked or worn stripping, and replace with new, more efficient stripping.
Seal Gaps…Take a close look around the exterior of your home and cover any and all gaps you find. Use caulk to seal small gaps near the foundation of your home, or around windows. It’s best to take care of this before the first snowfall hits. If necessary, call a window professional if you’ve got loose frames or cracked panes that need replacing.
General cleanup…A thorough cleaning shouldn’t only be done in the spring. Get rid of any excess at this time of year, such as the accumulation of old newspapers and any leftover hazardous household chemicals. Store flammable materials and poisons in approved, clearly labeled containers. Keep a clear space around heaters, furnaces, and other heat-producing appliances.
Change furnace filter regularly…and clean your ERV (Energy recovery ventilation).
Ensure soffit, eavestroughs and roof vents are clear…and clear excessive snow from roof to prevent ice damming, roof leaks and ice sliding off your roof
Ice and icicles…are a natural occurrence on roofs, they occur when the roof surface is warm enough to melt the snow but the air temperature is cold enough to refreeze the melted water.  Professional removal of build ups of ice and snow can help reduce the likelihood of water leaks.
Concrete Slabs…Do not use salt or de-icers on any concrete surfaces, the salt will eat and deteriorate the concrete.
Air Conditioner…switch off the air conditioner before the winter season and cover the unit on the exterior
Winter Home Care Maintenance
Check that snow has not accumulated…in air intake and exhaust vents of your furnace during heavy snow falls.
Monitor and adjust humidity levels…in the home to minimize window condensation. As a result of new and improved building practices, new homes are tighter, better sealed and better insulated.  However these improvements have the by product of increasing the humidity in your home.  If not controlled, this could lead to mould.  That is why its important to maintain and control the humidity levels as soon as excessive humidity occurs on inside windows surfaces.  Increase ventilation, stove fan, bathroom fan, turn up ERV, purchase a dehumidifier, turn furnace fan “on” not “auto”, open all drapes and blinds to allow air flow and do not keep blinds or heavy drapes closed.  A hygrometer can be purchased at any local hardware stores and kept at around 40 %.
Check exterior electrical GFCI outlets...and reset to make sure they are working before the holiday lights are installed
Apply lubricant…to garage door rollers and tracks
During the first full winter in your new home, the home will settle and dry.  Keeping the home well ventilated during the process will assist in less drywall nail pops and shrinkage.
Prepping your home is a year round task, not just for winter, so start with these tips before we settle into the long winter months ahead.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Easy 'clean-as-you-go' quick tips for holiday entertaining

(NC) Whether you are hosting the big family event, out-of-town guests or scrambling to entertain unexpected drop-ins, you want to spend time enjoying the season, not fussing about the clean-up.

From making delicious messes in the kitchen to building creative crafting projects in the living room, your home is bound to see a little dirt over the holidays. This year instead of fretting, do it differently. Strategically-timed clean-ups during your favourite mess-making entertaining endeavours alleviates the pressure of hosting duties and allows for maximum time making special memories.

A little pre-planning goes a long way. Keep in mind the following tips to clean as you go:

Keep an all-purpose cleaner in your hall closet: It happens every year. Salt stains dragged in from outdoors. To keep the dirt at bay, an easy-to-use solution like Green Works Naturally-Derived All-Purpose Cleaner can be kept by the front door to remove salt and other unexpected "gifts" family and friends may bring into your home.

Give your bathroom a 60-second touch-up: Make no mistake, your main floor bathroom will see a lot of foot traffic during the holiday season. Pre-plan a 60-second wipe down of bathroom sinks and counters with compostable wipes to prevent messy build ups. Keep them under the sink for handy access.

Build in a per-dinner breather: In that precious gap that exists between cooking and plating your food, use that cooling-off period to give your kitchen surfaces a preliminary wipe down. This will prevent any spills from drying out and make your post-meal clean-up that much easier.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Five Tips for Properly Winterizing Your Home

(NC) Try as you may to ignore it, winter weather is on its way in Ontario, putting your home's energy system to the test.
“Bitter cold temperatures may not be universally welcomed,” says Bob Betts, a spokesperson for the Ontario Natural Gas Alliance. “But homeowners should consider the seasonal change as a good opportunity to think of ways they can keep their home's energy use in-check and performing at an optimal rate.”
The very low natural gas energy prices that we are seeing now can make us complacent and cause us to forget that there are further savings that can be achieved through simple conservation. Betts says keeping just a couple tips in mind can help homeowners save their hard-earned dollars on heating bills this winter by reducing their consumption levels.
1. Furnace fitness
Think of winter as your annual time to take a good check on your furnace, says Betts, who adds that considering a two-stage natural gas furnace is a great way to save. “Two-stage furnaces are smarter because they use less energy to heat your home, automatically using less gas until it determines that 100 per cent of its capacity is needed to maintain the desired temperature. That might only happen a few times each winter, meaning that you effectively are using a smaller furnace for the remainder of the winter.”
2. Let the sun shine in
During daylight hours, pull the curtains back and let the sunshine heat your home. Says Betts: “It's free energy that you can take advantage of to prevent your furnace from coming on as often.”
3. Dial it down if you're not around
Lower your thermostat during the hours that you may not be home and save up to six per cent on the average bill, Betts says.
4. Install a natural gas fireplace
It may not have the same nostalgia as a wood-fired fireplace, but when it's freezing outside, nothing beats the ability to flick a switch and feel the warmth, Betts says. “And there's no need to get hands dirty with chimney dampers and ashes.” Gas fireplaces are proven to be much safer that wood fireplaces and most models can operate when the power goes off, providing emergency heat in prolonged electricity outages.
5. Pipe check 1-2
Betts says that if you're away from
 the home for an extended period of time during the winter, as snowbirds tend to be, it's worth considering wrapping pipes with pre-molded insulation found at most hardware stores. “Aside from the inconvenience, a burst pipe can be expensive to fix. In the event of unexpected temperature issues inside your home, investing in pipe insulation is a cost-effective way to achieve some peace of mind.”



Thursday, 11 December 2014

Before you Invest in a property
Before  you invest in a  property,
(1)  For new house or condominium, one  must check the developer's/builder's reputation , rating and market share in the particular segment.  Don't rush into buy  condominium, new or resale house  before consulting your real estate agent.
(2) One must check title of the property. It must be free from encumbrance ,lien or any burden.
(3) One must check zoning restriction and please check that it is not belonging to any heritage property otherwise it will affect your future value. One must check it from competent authorities.
(4) Investment property should be generating enough cash flow or capital gain more than current or possible inflation in the market.
(5) Check documentation required at the time of  sale of property and must check  requirement,

conditions or restrictions existed  on title before putting it for sale on that property.
(6) Most important step before searching property is  look for a  real estate agent who can make your dream true by his/her professionalism and his/her team of experts including  surveyor, lawyer, home inspector, mortgage agent, handyman etc.
         Enjoy the  journey of ownership through a expert real estate agent . Writer of article is a real estate agent practicing in Residential, Commercial & Investment properties including Pre construction and Resale Condominiums in Greater Toronto Area.
         Hope this information will help you in real estate investment.

Spring cleaning tips to organize your home and life (NC) The end of winter and beginning of spring signal new beginnings, so use this time to breathe new life a...