Saturday, 27 February 2016
(NC) If you're like most homeowners, on more than one occasion you've found yourself looking around and thinking…“Have we really been in this house that long?”
Along with the happy memories, and the dated paint or wallpaper, are two devices essential for your family's safety - smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. And just like the decorating, these too need a refresh every so often.
Smoke and CO alarms monitor the air non-stop with advanced circuitry and highly accurate sensors. They even self-check themselves continuously to make sure they will be ready should danger strike.
As they stand guard over the years they also have to contend with pet hair, dust, cooking grime and other airborne contaminants. So is it any surprise that, whether battery powered or wired into your home's electrical system, these potentially life-saving devices eventually need to be replaced?
To be certain your family is safe, check the age of all your alarms. Look for a date of manufacture sticker on the outside edge of the alarm or, for older models, on the bottom. You may need to unplug or remove the alarm from the ceiling temporarily to find it. Once you know the age, follow the guidelines of the National Fire Protection Association: Replace smoke alarms immediately if they are older than 10 years (or if you can't find a date of manufacture) and CO alarms if they were manufactured prior to 2009.
Canada's leading alarm manufacturer, Kidde, offers a complete selection of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms with the longest lifespan – a full 10 years.
To keep your family protected, follow these replacement rules whether your alarms are battery powered, plug-in or hardwired.
Wednesday, 24 February 2016
(NC) Heating bills can be one of your family's largest expenses. Homes are typically heated by natural gas, electricity or heating oil. In Ontario, natural gas is the most affordable choice for heating your home – rates change based on the market every three months, but natural gas still costs less than half the price of electricity or oil.
About 60 per cent of your annual natural gas use goes toward keeping your home warm. Since many natural gas costs are passed through directly to the customers, reducing your natural gas consumption can help to lower the bills. Here are some tips from Enbridge Gas Distribution on how you can keep your energy costs low.
• Check your windows and doors. Is the caulking or weather stripping doing its job? Look for cracks, feel for drafts, and replace the caulking or weather stripping as necessary.
• Lower the temperature on your thermostat by three degrees when you're sleeping or out of the house.
• Is it a sunny day? Open the curtains to let the sun shine in. Not only will you get some needed vitamin D, but the sun will help to warm your home.
• Close the air vents and doors to rooms that you don't frequently use – like guest bedrooms or basements. Considering making a DIY draft-stopper to use at the bottom of these doors.
• Check with your natural gas utility to see if they have billing programs – such as Enbridge's Budget Billing Plan which allows you to distribute your charges fairly evenly for the majority of the year.
• See if you qualify for low-income assistance programs – like Enbridge's Home Winterproofing Program.
More energy efficiency tips are available online at enbridgegas.com/energyefficiency.
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