Thursday, 26 February 2015

How can I avoid frozen pipes during cold weather?

SMART TIPS   (Source: yp.ca)
Category - Plumbing

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to home plumbing; here are a few tips to prevent frozen pipes this winter.
Water freezing in your home’s pipes is a costly, inconvenient plumbing emergency for many home-owners—even more so if the cold weather comes at an unexpected time. The best advice is to try to make sure you’re ready for cold weather before it happens. Here are a few tips that might help you avoid this messy problem.
What causes frozen pipes to burst?
When water in pipes freezes, it expands and exerts a great deal of pressure on the plastic or metal pipe from the inside. It can break out of whatever space is confining it, even if the material is strong and otherwise durable. The pipes that freeze and break most frequently are those exposed to exterior cold, such as sprinkler lines, pipes leading to and from pools, and water supply lines in unheated parts of the home, such as storage sheds, garages, attics, crawlspaces, basements, and other rooms that may be exposed to below-zero temperatures. Pipes that run along exterior walls inside the home can also be at risk for freezing.
An ounce of prevention
There are ways to avoid having frozen pipes burst on your property and in your home. First, drain your pool or outdoor hot tub according to the manufacturer’s directions. Do not put antifreeze in the water lines. Antifreeze is toxic to humans, animals, and plant life and it can seep into the water table through the pipes. It is crucial to avoid using it unless specifically instructed to do so by the manufacturer or plumber.
Second, turn off the inside water valve that supplies outdoor hose attachments, but leave the outdoor tap open so residual water can leak out of the pipe and oxygen can be released. When the weather is unexpectedly very cold outside, let water run constantly through pipes with exterior exposure by opening the tap ever so slightly, so the water can drip on a continuous basis. Keeping water running through those pipes can help avoid freezing when you’re caught off guard and haven’t prepared them for winter.
A word of advice
Even if you think it’s a good idea to turn down the heat at night to keep your energy bill down, don’t lower the temperature too much when it’s very cold out. Turning the heat down at night, when it’s coldest, increases the chance of frozen pipes and bursting. In addition, when it’s very cold out, leave your garage door shut at all times to ensure any pipes in the garage don’t freeze. Inversely, during a cold snap, leave open kitchen and bathroom cupboards to let warm air into those spaces and keep pipes from freezing. If you’re not sure you've drained things properly, be sure to consult a local plumber. A plumber is always the best source of advice for anything involving your pipes and fixtures.

Be Home Smart: What to Know When Buying a Home -- RECO Video Series

Drink more water to change your life

(NC) According to a recent survey conducted by Brita, more than three quarters of Canadians admit they aren't drinking enough water and choose a sugar-sweetened beverage over healthier options.
Human bodies are composed of roughly 60 per cent water, so that means when we are dehydrated, it affects the performance of the majority of our body. Adding more water to your diet will not only improve your overall health and wellness, but it will help the body to function better. Here are four everyday things that staying hydrated will improve:


1. Headaches – Often head pain is caused by dehydration.

2. Less joint pain – Drinking water can reduce join pain by keeping the cartilage soft and           hydrated.

3. Glowing skin – Regular water consumption can improve the colour and texture of skin.

4. Weight Management – Staying hydrated is essential to maintaining a healthy diet and can     aid in weight loss.


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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

How Commercial Realtor Helps!

                                                     
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Saturday, 21 February 2015

How to be prepared for power failures

SMART TIPS

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Save money and energy this winter

(NC)

Most of the energy used by individual Ontarians goes to heating and cooling homes – and by now, our furnaces have been up and running in full force for the past few months. During the long and cold winter heating season, there are a number of ways to cut back and save on bills, so here are a few top tips to put dollars back in your wallet this year from Enbridge Gas Distribution:
In the kitchen
• Turn the oven off a few minutes before the cooking time is over. The heat remaining in the oven will finish the job.
• Only preheat the oven for baking – and then, only for about seven minutes. Most foods, such as roasts and casseroles, don't need a preheated oven to cook properly.
In the wash room
• Sing shorter songs in the shower. The average shower is about eight minutes. Try reducing to five or six.
• Install energy-efficient showerheads.
• The best temperature for your water heater is 54 degrees Celsius. That's hot enough for washing, showers and baths, and reduces the risk of scalding.
In the basement
• When you replace your old electric water heater, consider a tankless natural gas water heater – as it heats water only as needed.
• Replace the furnace filter every three months (or clean a permanent one). When the filter is dirty, airflow is restricted and the furnace must work harder, requiring more energy.
• Keep vents and air returns free of obstructions. Furniture, dust, or pet hair can block vents, reducing airflow and the efficiency of the furnace.
In the family room
• If you have a wood-burning fireplace, keep the damper closed when not in use. This helps prevent cold outside air from coming down the flue and warm inside air rising out of it.
• If you purchase a natural gas fireplace, consider a direct vent model. It uses outside air for combustion instead of drawing air from the home.


Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Benefits of a Buyer Representation Agreement (B.R.A.) - TREB




THE BUYER REPRESENTATION AGREEMENT

Guaranteeing You the Very Best in Real Estate Service

When it comes to just about every kind of contract, signing on the dotted line makes us all a little bit nervous. 
When selling a home, most people are aware they sign a Listing Agreement with a REALTOR®. There is, however, an agreement that REALTORS® ask their home buying clients to sign. It’s an agreement that works in favour of buyers, guaranteeing the very best in real estate service.
The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), a public agency formed to protect consumers and regulate the industry, introduced guiding principles mandating that REALTORS® ask their clients to sign a Written Representation Agreement at the earliest possible time.
When choosing representation, home buyers have the option to sign either a Buyer Representation Agreement or a Buyer Customer Service Agreement. 
The Buyer Representation Agreement signifies that for a designated period of time, the buyer has engaged a specific REALTOR® firm to work exclusively on his or her behalf at finding a property. The agreement confirms the REALTOR®’s commitment to making his or her best efforts for the buyer.
By signing the Buyer Customer Service Agreement the buyer acknowledges the Broker has provided him/her with written information explaining agency relationships including Seller Representation, Buyer Representation, Multiple Representation and Customer Service.
For more information on this important subject, call your local REALTOR®. The term REALTOR® is designated to those who have chosen to belong to local, provincial and national real estate associations, agreeing to adhere to a strict code of professional standards that ensures the highest levels of service and integrity. In Toronto, local REALTORS® belong to the Toronto Real Estate Board, Canada’s largest real estate board, serving more than 33,000 Members.

Watch this video- 

Benefits of a Buyer Representation Agreement (B.R.A.) - TREB




The Most Effective Stain Removal Products for Common Kitchen Stains

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Downsizing is easier with a guiding hand

(NC)
No matter whether you're an empty nester, a person looking to simplify your life, or someone who wants to help their ageing parents move into a more functional space, downsizing can be a stressful experience. A little guidance goes a long way however.
Designer Wendy Wilkinson of Oakville, Ontario specializes in helping people transition into smaller living spaces, so here are a few of her tips to make it easier:
Before you begin to pack: Take multiple pictures (from various angles) of every room in your house. Each photo will give you a record and act as a reference for what to get rid of and what to keep. Photos also provide good insurance information for any moving issues.
Decide ahead of time which items have sentimental value and will be making the transition with you. At the same time, if there are adult children, have them reclaim their belongings before the move. If going through sentimental items, such as photographs, is overwhelming, hire a professional organizer to help.
Place different coloured sticky notes on furnishings labelling them with an action plan like 'donate', 'new home', or 'sell'. Give yourself a few days to reconsider your decisions. Consult a designer to talk over what will work in your new space and what items should be kept to stage your home for sale. Wilkinson says that on one occasion she salvaged her client's children's furniture to create a play space that became a big selling feature.
Keep calm and carry on: Start de-cluttering in advance of your move, even if it is only one drawer or closet a day. Scale down by discarding what you don't use or wear. If you are not sure about anything, just drop it in a 'decide later' box.
Give books to your local library sale and dispose of electronic equipment. Think green and donate still-usable items to places like the ReStores of home-building organization, Habitat for Humanity. ReStores accept a wide range of household products and provide a tax receipt for the value of your donation. You can find one in your community at www.habitat.ca/restore.
Colour code rooms and corresponding boxes of the contents you'll be keeping, then colour code the doorway in the new space for an easy transition.
Draw up a floor plan and measure furniture pieces such as tables and sofas. They are often too large to go into a new downsized home.
Looking to the Future: Home-owners need to consider their furniture from an ergonomic standpoint. Is it too low or too big? Can you get in and out of it easily? It might be time to donate old furniture and invest in updated pieces that work with your new space.
Consider moving to a home that is within walking distance of stores, local library, and other favourite places. Depending on your age, think about a home with Accessibility Design Standards. This ensures that your new place will meet any possible needs in the future, such as wider doorways and additions to the bathrooms.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

How should you drive in winter weather?

How should you drive in winter weather?










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1. Buckle up before you start driving. Keep your seat belt buckled at all times.
SLOW DOWN! - posted speed limits are for ideal travel conditions.

2. Driving at reduced speeds is the best precautionary measure against any misfortune while driving on slippery roads. "Black ice" is invisible.Be alert. Black ice will make a road look like shiny new asphalt. Pavement should look grey-white in winter.



3.Do not use cruise control. Winter driving requires you to be in full control at all times.

4.Reduce your speed while approaching intersections covered with ice or snow.

5.Allow for extra traveling time or even consider delaying a trip if the weather is inclement.

6.Drive with low-beam headlights on. Not only are they brighter than daytime running lights but turning them on also activates the tail lights. This makes your vehicle more visible.

7.Lengthen your following distance behind the vehicle ahead of you. Stopping distance on an icy road is double that of stopping on a dry one. For example, from around 45 meters (140 ft) at the speed of 60 km/h to 80 meters (over 260 ft) on an icy road surface.

8.Stay in the right-hand lane except when passing and use turn signals when changing lanes.

9.Steer with smooth and precise movements. Changing lanes too quickly and jerky steering while braking or accelerating can cause skidding.

10.Be aware and slow down when you see a sign warning that you are approaching a bridge. Steel and concrete bridges are likely to be icy even when there is no ice on the asphalt surface, (because bridges over open air cool down faster than roads which tend to be insulated somewhat by solid ground.)

11.Consider getting off the road before getting stranded if the weather is worsening.
Be patient and pass other cars only when it is safe to do so.
               Either you are living in North America or anywhere in the world, winter driving needs maturity, patience, driving skills and common sense.Have a safe winter drive!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Quick tips to run your fireplace and furnace safely

(NC)

















               
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With any luck, spring will come soon to us anxiously awaiting Ontarians. While we're still depending on our furnaces and fireplaces to keep us warm, here are a few safety fast-facts to keep top of mind, courtesy of Enbridge Gas Distribution:
For your fireplace:
• Be careful near your fireplace – the glass window and ceramic surfaces stay hot long after the fireplace has been turned off.
• Teach your kids that touching natural gas appliances, especially a hot natural gas fireplace, is dangerous.
• Make sure your fireplace is cool before cleaning the glass – wiping hot glass with a damp cloth can crack it.
• Never use a fireplace with cracked glass until it's been inspected or replaced by a licensed Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) contractor.
• If your pilot light goes out, follow the manufacturer's instructions to safely relight it.
For your furnace:
• Check your furnace filter regularly (every three months), and clean or replace it when it is dirty.
• Have your natural gas furnace inspected annually by your licensed HVAC contractor.
• Keep flammable materials away from both your furnace and your fireplace.
• Make sure there's adequate air supply in your furnace room. Without enough fresh air, fuel doesn't burn as cleanly, which could cause it to release toxic gases like carbon monoxide.
Learn more about safety at www.enbridgegas.com/safety.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Condo market bounces back across Greater Toronto Area after 2013 slump.

By:  Business Reporter, Published on Mon Feb 02 2015 (From Toronto Star Tuesday,Feb.3)


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New condo sales soared back in 2014 from their 2013 slump, with developers across the Greater Toronto Area recording their third-highest level for sales ever, behind the previous highs of 2011 and 2007, according to market research firm Urbanation.
At the same time, construction hoardings came down and lanes of traffic reopened in spots, as a record 20,809 condo units were actually completed, some 86 per cent of which had been pre-sold.
Almost 52,500 new condos were under construction in some 198 new projects across the Greater Toronto Area as of the end of 2014, Urbanation said in a year-end report released Monday. An additional 28,447 units are in pre-construction projects that went up for sale last year and are already 69 per cent pre-sold.
Even the resale-condo market showed stunning strength, with sales up 14 per cent in 2014 to a record 17,819 units. Resale prices were also up, coming in 3.8 per cent by the end of 2014 over 2013, to an average of $431 per square foot or $389,000.
“After taking a break in 2013, new condo buyers were enticed back into the market as pricing and incentives became more competitive across a greater selection of available units,” said Shaun Hildebrand, Urbanation’s senior vice president, in a statement.
While developers have “cautious optimism” for 2015, fewer new projects are expected to be launched this year, even in the face of lower interest rates and the anticipated strengthening of the Ontario economy as Alberta struggles with the impact of slumping oil prices.
Rental demand was also up and investor interest in Toronto’s condo market remained strong as first-time buyers found themselves increasingly priced out of the low-rise house market across the Greater Toronto Area.
The average selling price of a new condo reached $560 per square foot across the Greater Toronto Area in the fourth quarter of 2014, the strongest rate of growth recorded in two years and up 3.6 per cent over 2013.
The average opening sale price on new condos in the sought-after down town core was well above the Greater Toronto Area average, at $716 in 2014. That’s still slightly below the record $725 per square foot recorded in 2012 before the 2013 slump in sales.
A few new trends took hold in 2015, according to Urbanation’s research.
More mid-rise, family-style projects were launched. Some 50 buildings between four and 11 storeys are in active development in the City of Toronto alone. Those buildings accounted for more than 1,000 condo sales in 2014.
Developers also started shifting their focus to construction of more two-bedroom units and the creation of rental apartments, although both trends are in the early stages, Urbanation stressed.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Create a cozy and clutter-free kitchen

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Clutter can disrupt the flow of any home, causing unwanted stress and frustration, especially in the kitchen. As one of the busiest rooms, maintaining a clutter-free environment will create a happier and healthier space for your family. Here are a few tips to help you achieve and maintain a fully functional, chaos-free kitchen:
1. Look better, feel better. Whether you're entertaining friends or just hanging out with family, hosting others at your house is fun, but can also be stressful. Even if it's last night's dinner dishes or wine glasses from your latest soirée, allowing clutter to pile up in the sink can negatively impact the look and feel of the entire kitchen.
Finding a great faucet can make cleaning easier, while meeting your cooking and entertaining needs. Try installing the Etch pulldown kitchen faucet from Moen Canada. Its transitional style creates an elegant focal point at the sink. The high-arc pulldown spout and multi-function spray improve performance and the Spot Resist stainless finish resists fingerprints and water spots. The Etch line also gives you the innovative Reflex system, a Moen feature that offers self-retraction of the wand, as well as an exceptional range of motion, generous reach and secure docking.
2. Organize chaos. Unused items, like the waffle maker that you desperately desired 10 years ago (but have yet to use), need to go. To make some space in your kitchen, use three boxes: one for garbage, one for donations and one for belongings you want to keep. While separating items, ask yourself when you last used it. With the exception of holiday-specific dishes and tools, if it's been longer than a month, donate it or throw it away.
3. Get creative. Many kitchens suffer from countertop overload. This is where too many kitchen appliances and miscellaneous items, such as mail, phone chargers and car keys, seem to find a home. The solution to clearing this area is simple – get creative.
Dish towels are infamous for cluttering countertops. They don't have a designated home and therefore, are carelessly strewn about. Establish a special spot for this kitchen necessity: mount hooks, towel rings or towel bars on the side of an upper cabinet or the end of the island.
4. De-stress your life. It happens to all of us: your significant other informs you at the last minute that you're having guests for dinner, and the chores you need to complete before their arrival seem endless. It only takes 15 minutes each day to maintain a clean and orderly kitchen. Place dirty dishes in the dishwasher, wipe down the countertops, sweep the floors, put away toys and tablets and file mail. Simply staying on top of these little tasks will make it easier to accommodate unexpected company and allow you to enjoy their visit.
It might be difficult at first to maintain the new routine, but there are reasons to be optimistic. According to a study by The University College London, it only takes 21 days to form a new habit. So stick to it and make this change to an organized kitchen a permanent one.

How To Keep The Whole Family Active Throughout The Winter

(NC) We all know the drill: the winds get cold, the snow begins to fall, the ice piles up. No one feels like going outside to get the mail, much less putting real effort into working out or staying active.
But winter is no excuse to treat your body poorly or deprive your family of priceless memories. In fact, staying active combats feelings of restlessness, anxiety and irritation that are common in the winter months. Here are our top suggestions for fighting back against winter weariness:
1. Take a winter hike: Dress in layers and set out for a truly unparalleled adventure through your local woods or park. Fill a waterproof container up with your favourite snack and a thermos full of tea or hot chocolate and enjoy beautiful sunlight, stunning quiet and a blanket of fresh white snow.
2. Go skiing and snowboarding: Winter sports are fun for the entire family. Plus, they're a fantastic workout. Challenge yourself and test your limits at one of Canada's many world-class ski resorts like Blue Mountain. For hands-on learning at their own pace, little winter warriors can sign up for Discover Skiing & Snowboarding: Newbie. For more information, visit www.bluemountain.ca/dailylessons. Whether you're lapping the trails until the chairs stop turning or enjoying the scenery with the kids, you're guaranteed a winter for the books.
3. Have a snowball fight: Not much compares to a playfully competitive snowball fight after the first big snow of the season.
4. Shovel snow and make snow forts: Leave that snowblower in the garage and do some old-fashioned shoveling. Set the kids up with their own mini-shovels and assign everyone a task (the walk, the porch, one side of the driveway). Then use the newly-created piles to make snow forts!
5. Make snow angels: It's a classic for a reason. This seemingly low-key activity is actually a hearty workout, and is sure to provide a few memorable family moments too. 
To find out how families across Canada stay active during the winter, snap a picture and share using the #WinterWarrior hashtag!

Give your home new life with these tips

            Give your home new life with these tips (NC) As the change in weather has us retreating indoors, take some time to spruc...