Monthly Archives: February 2016

10 Ways to Winterize Your Home – Part 3

This is the final installment of a three-part series that outlines how to properly winterize your home.  These final four winterizing tips will help you have the most winterized home on your block.

Insulate

A properly insulated house is a home that keeps the heat in and the cold out.  Unfortunately, most homes in the lower mainland contain the least amount of insulation possible.  This is because most people feel that the winters are relatively mild and short in the Greater Vancouver area.  This may hold true if compared to a northern British Columbia winter, but on a night where the thermometer dips below freezing, you will be wanting all of the insulation you can possibly find.

Most relatively new homes should be properly insulated.  The newer homes available in the real estate market near Simon Fraser University are well-built and will be well insulated.  If your home is not in that category, you should think about adding insulation especially in the attic or crawl space area.  This will help keep more heat in your home.

Flush Your Tank!

One of the past tips was to turn down the heat on your hot water tank.  While you are turning down your hot water, you may want to think about flushing the tank itself.  By thoroughly flushing your hot water tank you are not only increasing its longevity, you will also help it run better and be more energy efficient which will save you money in the long run, as those winter heating bills are brutal.

Clean Those Gutters!

This is not just a job to do once a year; you should properly clean your gutters every few months.  A clean set of gutters will ensure that no debris or water accumulates in them.  If there is water in your gutters and it freezes, the expanding water can not only damage your gutters, but it can also begin to damage the side of your house!  Either way, it is 100 percent avoidable, and this is a job that will not cost you a dime.

Check Those Pipes!

This final tip may be a bit over the top if you live in the lower mainland, but if you have ever had a water pipe that has split because of freezing, you may not think so.  It is a good idea to inspect all of your pipes to make sure they are in good working order; you may want to add some extra insulation around any pipe that is exposed to exterior walls.  Remember, never turn your heat completely off if you go away for the winter.  Instead, turn your heat down, but not off.  This should keep your pipes from freezing and splitting.

We hope you have enjoyed this three-part series on how to properly winterize your home.  Remember, a properly winterized home is also an energy efficient and cost-effective home!

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10 Ways to Winterize Your Home – Part 2

A properly winterized home usually means more than just turning down your thermostat or stopping a few leaky windows or doors.  Here are a few less known ways to help you thoroughly winterize your home.

Turn Down Your Hot Water!

Another great way to help you save money over the winter months is to simply turn down your hot water tank by a degree or two.  Most hot water tanks are set at a temperature that is too hot, so by turning down your hot water tank, you will not only save money, but you may save yourself a burn or two as well.  By lowering your heater by a few degrees, you can save up to 10% on your next heating bill.  A hot water tank with a lower temperature may also be a great incentive to help you take a shorter shower, saving you even more money on your energy bills.

Another option is to look into a tankless hot water system or even a solar powered way to heat your hot water tank.  Remember that there are tax incentives to move towards a more energy efficient way of heating your water and your home.  Many of the new homes in the real estate market near Simon Fraser University already have energy efficient water tanks installed so turning them down may not save you any additional money.

Inspect Your Furnace

Sometimes, to keep your furnace running in peak condition, you may need to do more than just change the filters.  It is a good idea to have your furnace inspected annually, usually at the beginning of the winter to make sure that everything is in good working order.  A properly working furnace can save you money on your monthly heating costs and can also save you big money in the long run because maintaining your furnace will cost you far less than having to replace your furnace.

Life in Plastic

Another often overlooked place when it comes to thoroughly winterizing your home are your windows.  A lot of heat can escape right through your window panes over the course of the winter, especially if you have single paned glass.  Although most new homes now come with double paned glass, it is still a good idea to add a layer of plastic to your window.  You can pick up a plastic window dressing for your windows at almost any hardware store.

These kits adhere right to your window pane and will not distort or harm the glass in any way.  What this kit will give you is an extra layer of protection against the outside cold.  By properly installing a plastic window dressing, you should help seal any drafts that are coming from the sides of your windows and increasing your homes ability to hold heat.

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Creative Storage Spaces for Your Home

Regardless of the size of your home, there comes a point when you will feel you need more room to store all of the items you have managed to accumulate over the years.  This is especially true if you have a family and an active lifestyle.  A garage and crawl space can only hold so much.  So you have a choice: either downsize or try these creative storage tips for your home.

Shelving

If you feel that you have run out of floor space and are not all that inclined to start stacking boxes on top of each other, you may want to think about shelving.  Shelves are a great way to make use of wall space.  In any room, and especially in the garage, chances are you have a bare wall or two.  Think about running shelving the length of the wall, or if space is a real issue, add more than one shelf on each wall; the more, the merrier!  You may need a step ladder to get to the highest shelf, but this should give you lots of extra room to store some of your goods.

Shelving can also be an ideal space saver in your pantry or in your closet.  In your closet, you can run a shelf above where you hang your clothes that can take the place of your already overstuffed dressers.  In your pantry, you can neatly organize your food items without having to stack or store them on the floor.

Totes

Totes or bins should take the place of boxes in all rooms of your house.  Totes will not have the bottoms fall out of them unexpectedly, nor will they break down.  Another great feature of the tote is that you can stack them on top of each other without any fear that the heavier one will crush the one underneath it.  Slap a label on the outside and stack to your heart’s content.

Under the Stairs

Almost all homes, especially the new ones in the real estate market near Simon Fraser University, have untapped storage potential under the stairs.  If you do not have a crawl space or if you have not turned that empty space into shelves or cupboards, you may want to explore that option.  Talk to a contractor or if you feel handy, undertake a do-it-yourself project that is sure to give you more storage space in your home.

With a little foresight and perhaps some creativity and organization, you should be able to find all the room you need and more in your home to store all of your items.  Good luck!

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10 Ways to Winterize Your Home – Part 1

Even with an El Nino winter, it is important to make sure that your home has been winterized properly.  A thoroughly winterized home will not only make your home more comfortable, but it can also help you save money in the long run.  Here are the top ten ways to help you properly winterize your home.

Stop the Drafts!

One of the quickest and cheapest ways to keep the heat in your home is to stop the drafts around the windows or doors.  Drafts can account for up to 30% of wasted energy in your home, so it is important to seal any leaky doors or windows.  There are many products on the market to help you with this task and are great weekend do-it-yourself jobs.  For a quick, temporary fix, roll up a towel or old blanket, and set it against the bottom of your door.

Turn Down Your Thermostat!

Although this sounds counterintuitive, smart management of your home’s thermostat can save you big money over the course of a winter.  Turning down your thermostat by 1 degree can save you 3% on your next heating bill!  Proper thermostat management can quickly add up to big savings.  A programmable thermostat is a great investment as it will allow you to program when and how you heat your home.  It will pay for itself in its first winter and will allow you to manage your home’s heat in a more responsible and cost-efficient manner.

Clean Those Filters!

During the winter months your furnace will be doing most of the heating, so it is a wise choice to make sure that the filters in your furnace are clean.  Dirty furnace filters can restrict your furnace’s airflow and thus increase your furnace’s energy demand.  If dirty filters are left unchanged, this can eventually place unneeded and unwanted stress on your furnace.  It is advisable that you check and replace your furnace filters monthly to keep your furnace running at its peak performance.

Use Your Fans!

Use your fans in the winter months?  This sounds absurd, doesn’t it?  However, your ceiling fans have the ability to run both clockwise and counterclockwise.  During the summer months, run your ceiling fan in a counterclockwise direction; this helps keep us cool.  If you change your fan’s direction to clockwise, your fan will circulate the warmer air that is trapped near the ceiling back down into the center of the room.  Give it a try!

By properly winterizing your home, you should enjoy a comfier and warmer house.  Most of the new homes in the real estate market near Simon Fraser University have already been winterized.  These homes offer some of the most energy efficient homes in all of the lower mainland.  By following the previous tips, you too should be able to realize a more cost-effective way to enjoy the winter months.

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