Friday, 13 January 2017

Winter Hacks You Need to Try.


Published on December 7th, 2016 | by Danielle Williams
Every winter you tell yourself you’ll be prepared for everything winter brings. But life gets busy and sometimes you forget to grab the extra things you need for winter driving.
Beyond getting fitted with winter tires, filling up on anti-freeze and replacing worn out windshield wipers, there are crafty tricks you should know about for your car. We’ve put together a fun video featuring four hacks you and your car need to power through ice, sleet and snow this winter.

One Can Never Have Enough Socks.

Grab a pair of socks (matching or not) and use them to cover your wipers when you park. This keeps ice off your wipers and prevents them from freezing to your window. Don’t go out and buy new thermal socks either. Grab an old pair and sock it to winter!

Get a Grip.

Use your car interior floor mats under tires to increase grip if you get stuck in snow. On icy and snowy surfaces you’ll need extra grip and traction to get your tires moving. Some people use kitty litter or even cardboard, but they take up way too much space in your car trunk.

Shine Bright Like a Diamond.

Clean your headlights with toothpaste to make them extra bright. You need to see the roads clearly in any condition and visibility is important, so wiping your headlights with a little toothpaste helps. You brush your teeth with toothpaste to make your pearly whites stand out and shine, so why not do that with your headlights.

Mirror, Mirror On My Car.

Nothing is more annoying than having to scrape ice off your side mirrors. Using sealable plastic bags keeps ice off your mirrors and it helps you see the road better from all angles. At night it might get a little windy, to make sure the bags are secure use a rubber band to hold it in place.
Plus here are some bonus hacks to try:
  • Spray a layer of shaving cream on the inside of your windows and wipe it clean to fog-proof your car.
  • If you don’t have an ice scraper handy, use a credit card.
  • To prevent icing on your windows spray vinegar and water (three parts vinegar and one part water) on your windows at night.
Check out our Winter-Ready Guide for more tips to help you survive the drive this season.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

3 questions to ask before a kitchen reno

(NC) The kitchen is at the heart of every home — and most home renovations. But a renovation of the most popular space in your home is a major undertaking, so it pays to plan ahead.
“As the saying goes, 'fail to plan and plan to fail,'” reminds Lyndon Madden, product manager at GE Appliances. “And it's completely true when it comes to kitchen renos. I've talked to countless people who don't pre-select their appliances, for example, and then don't have the right size in their space to accommodate their needs.”
So before you get out the sledgehammer, ask yourself:
1. How will we use the space? This applies for daily as well as special occasions. What are your unique needs? Do you prefer to cook facing guests? Do you want an island that makes it easier for people to gather around? Do you need more room for storage? What are some basic must-haves? What's on your kitchen design wish list?
2. Where will I want running water? Think outside the sink. A lot of people forget to consider other areas where they might want running water in their kitchens. Do you want a fridge with a water dispenser or an ice maker? Does your dream kitchen include a pot filler faucet above your stove? Think through all of your options now to avoid regret later.
3. Does size matter? Madden explains that when it comes to appliances, size most certainly does. The most common sizes of a lot of appliances have changed in recent years, so if you plan to place your new fridge in the same spot as your old one, you may be disappointed by the selections available in that size and shape when you go shopping. Avoid feeling restricted and bust out the measuring tape and research your top appliance picks.
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Monday, 2 January 2017

Take steps to prevent frozen pipes

Frozen Water Pipes

The pipes in your home can freeze in cold weather. This can leave you with no water or cause your pipes to burst, leading to expensive property damage. Take steps to protect your pipes from freezing and learn what to do if they freeze. 

Understanding your water service pipe 

Water service pipes are owned by you and the City. 
  • The part that the City owns runs from the watermain on the street to the property line.   
  • The part that you own runs from the property line into the home. 

Steps to help prevent frozen pipes 

  • Know where to find your main water shut-off valve and how it works (in case your pipes burst). 
  • Insulate pipes most prone to freezing, especially near outside walls and in crawl spaces, the attic and garage. This can be done with foam pipe covers available from building supply or home improvement stores.
  • Seal air leaks in your home and garage to stop cold air from getting in. Check around windows and doors, electrical wiring, dryer vents and pipes. 
  • Outdoor faucets are the first to freeze. Unscrew any hoses, turn off the outdoor water supply and let the taps drain.  
  • If your pipes are prone to freezing, there may be a problem you cannot see. Consider contacting a plumber for advice on how best to protect your home. 
  • Commercial water customers - protect fire lines by wrapping all lines exposed to the cold.

What to do when the temperature drops well below zero

  • Ensure areas that contain indoor water pipes are kept above 8OC, especially near the water meter.
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen, bathroom and laundry cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing.
  • If leaving for an extended period of time, turn off the water at the main service valve in the basement and open the taps to drain the water from your plumbing lines. You may also wish to have someone check your home regularly. 
  • For your own peace of mind, you can choose to run a pencil-thin stream of water to ensure some movement of water in the pipes. However, you will be charged for the water used if you choose this step.
    • Run cold water from the lowest point in the house, usually a laundry room sink or tub.
    • Ensure the drain is kept clear of debris to prevent overflowing or flooding.

If you have no water – how to thaw frozen pipes in your home

If you turn on your taps and have no water, the pipes in your home may be frozen. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
Here are some tips to thaw your pipes yourself, along with precautions to take:  
Important precautions
  • Do not use a torch with an open flame to thaw pipes, as it creates a fire hazard.
  • Ensure you know the location of your master water shut-off valve. If the pipe breaks you will need to immediately shut off the water in your house until the pipe is repaired.
Steps to thaw a frozen pipe
  • Turn on a tap in the basement, preferably the cold water faucet in the laundry room.
  • Apply heat to the suspected frozen pipe by warming the air around it or applying heat directly to the pipe. You can use an electric heating pad, hair dryer, space heater or warm towel or rag. 
    • Do not leave electrical devices unattended, or use kerosene or propane heaters, charcoal stoves or any open flame to thaw a frozen pipe.  
  • Depending on the outside temperature and the extent of freezing within the pipe, the thawing process could take between one and six hours.
  • Once the pipes have thawed, turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks and leaks.

If the above steps do not resolve the issue, you are unable to locate the frozen area, or it is not accessible, you may wish to contact a licensed plumber for advice.
You can also contact 311 and someone from the City will come to investigate. Please note that frozen pipes on private property are the responsibility of the homeowner (see the diagram). 

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