Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Slimmed Down Heat

Keeping warm in winter months can lead to big fat heating bills – unless you slim down using some of these ideas.

Buy a Programmable Thermostat
Every degree you lower your thermostat cuts your energy bill by 3%. Turn down the heat at night or when you leave the house.

Reseal Windows
Weather stripping around windows and doors wear down allowing cold air to blow inside. Seal gaps with self-sticky sponge insulation.

Change the Filters
Replace or clean furnace filters four times a year to help your furnace run at peak efficiency.

Install Door Sweeps
Add sweeps to your exterior doors to help save as much as 5% on your heating bill.

Insulate the Attic
An attic needs at least 12 inches of blown-in insulation to keep the house warm. Your attic also needs to be sealed with a vapor barrier and ventilated so moisture can escape.

Seal the Ducts
Inspect for escaping air by running a hand along the metal ducts while the heating system is on, and bond any breaks with silver metal tape.

Go Tankless
Upgrade from a traditional water heater to a tankless model, which heats water only when you need it, not all the time.

Turn off Exhaust Fans
Leaving kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans on for too long can suck warm air out of the house.

Monday, January 11, 2016

New Down Payment Conditions - 5% to 10%

The federal government is boosting the minimum down payment for higher-priced homes in Canada effective in the new year.

Homebuyers are currently required to put down a minimum of five per cent to qualify for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation insurance - protection that lenders insist on when providing a mortgage worth more than 80 per cent of the home's value.

Starting in February, CMHC will require a 10 per cent down payment on the portion of any mortgage it insures over $500,000. The five per cent rule remains the same for the portion up to $500,000.

"We recognize that, specifically in the Toronto and Vancouver markets, we have seen house prices that have been elevated," Finance Minister Bill Morneau told reporters, "and we want to make sure we create an environment that protects the people buying homes so they have sufficient equity in their Once the new rules are implemented in 2016, someone looking to buy a $750,000 home would need to have a minimum down payment of $50,000, which is what you get when you add five per cent of $500,000 and 10 per cent of the remaining $250,000.

Monday, January 4, 2016

House Sense - Prevent Dryer Fires

Few people are aware of the danger that clothes dryers can pose which is one of the reasons that dryer maintenance is so often overlooked. Fires can occur when lint (a highly combustible material) builds up in the dryer or more commonly, in the dryer’s exhaust duct. This blockage causes excessive heat to build-up in the dryer.
Some warning signs that your dryer vent may be blocked are:
1. excessive heat in the laundry room
2. a musty smell
3. clothes that are still damp after a cycle
4. a large amount of lint and debris
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important that you take steps to clear your vent right away.
Keep Your Dryer as Lint-Free as Possible
1. Use a lint brush or vacuum attachment to remove accumulated lint from under the lint trap and other accessible places on a periodic basis.
2. Every 1-3 years, have the dryer taken apart and thoroughly cleaned out by a service technician.
3. Clean the lint trap after each load.
If you regularly clean out your dryer’s exhaust vent, you’ll not only significantly reduce a very common fire hazard but you’ll also save money as your dryer will last longer and run much more efficiently.
Before You Go…
1. Never let your clothes dryer run while you are out of the house or when you are asleep.
2. Thoroughly read manufacturers instructions regarding the safe use of their dryers.
If all else fails, you can always go back to an old-fashioned clothesline. There have never been any reported clothesline fires!

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