The Ultimate Winter Home Preparation Checklist


Fall is the perfect time to winterize your home. As much as we may not want to acknowledge it, the snow is headed our way and Old Man Winter will soon be knocking on doors. Is your home ready for the visit? This week we’re helping you get ready with the ultimate winter home preparation checklist! Give your home a little TLC before winter starts and you’ll reap the benefits all season long.

Outside:

  • Trim any overgrown branches near the house and electrical wires to prevent iced-over or wind-swept branches from causing property damage or a power problem.
  • Clean your patio furniture and put it away or cover it with a heavy tarp to protect it from the elements. The same goes for any lawn equipment.
  • Clean out the gutters to prevent water damage to the roof and surrounding areas and make sure the gutters and downspouts are secure.
  • Clean any debris from your outdoor air conditioning unit and cover it with a protective tarp.
  • Clean out your planters and bring pots made of clay or other fragile materials inside.
  • Remove any attached hoses, drain them, and store them indoors to prevent damage.
  •  Wrap any outside faucets with covers to prevent water damage. Be sure to drain them first and then shut them off to protect against the pipes bursting.
  • Check your roof for any missing, loose, or damaged shingles. If you find any, be sure to have them replaced to prevent leaks.
  • Cut the grass and leaves so that the small cut up pieces will nourish the lawn over the winter.

Inside:

  • Schedule an appointment for furnace maintenance to avoid any surprises. Having a furnace check-up done before the cold weather officially hits is a good way to avoid waiting for an appointment if your unit conks out on the coldest day of the year!
  • Clean your whole home humidifier and replace the evaporator pad.
  • Check that all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order.
  • Check doors and windows for air leaks. Caulk inside and outside or replace the weather-stripping if necessary to help stop warm air escaping.
  • Remove window air conditioning units and replace the window.
  • If your sump pump only runs occasionally, be sure to test it to ensure that it is in working order to avoid floods when the snow melts. Do this by pouring water down to make sure the pump turns on when it should.
  • Replace your furnace filter for maximum efficiency and improved air quality.

The changing weather in the winter can wreak havoc on your home if you’re not prepared, so follow this winter home preparation checklist to keep things in tip-top shape!


Article by: HomeBridge Canada Inc.

3 Ways LED Lights Are Better Than Ever

The last 15 years have seen the biggest advancements in lighting since Thomas Edison brought his incandescent bulb to the market. Lightbulbs are now smart enough to listen to our voices and promote a better night’s sleep. Perhaps the most helpful advancement in lighting is the improved quality of LEDs. Today’s high-quality LEDs deliver impressive energy savings — near 90% — compared with incandescent bulbs, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. LEDs are also driving a lighting revolution with smaller sizes, improved brightness and wide-ranging colors.
Each of these advancements creates opportunities to illuminate your house in great new ways, making this a perfect time to rethink your home’s lighting.





















1. Smaller Size

LEDs can be as small as the head of a pin, and this allows us to light our homes more discreetly and with more precision than ever. LED strips can be hidden inside cabinets, drawers, closet rods, shelves and just about any place you can imagine. We can place light where it is needed instead of attempting to fill a room with a broad wash of light that often causes glare. 



















The small size of today’s LEDs also makes adding cove lighting to homes easier than ever. A few strips of LED lights tucked into a ceiling cove can make a classic ceiling feature even more dramatic.

Smaller recessed downlights are another result. It is now possible to get everything you need from a series of 1- or 2-inch downlights instead of the 6- or 8-inch cans of decades past. Many homeowners love the less cluttered ceiling that results.
























2. Brighter Light

While LEDs have become smaller in size, they have grown in brightness. The combination of small size and high brightness allows them to deliver functional light in new ways. 

Brighter LEDs allow us to provide all the light we need on countertops when placed discretely underneath upper cabinets. This can reduce shadows on the counter to almost nothing — a much better and safer approach.

Most LED bulbs available to the consumer are labeled with an equivalent incandescent bulb wattage, such as “60-watt equivalent.” This can be quite helpful, as you simply need a higher or lower number for the wattage equivalent if you want more or less light. As a basic guide, an LED bulb equivalent to 60 watts should produce about 800 lumens, a technical measurement of the amount of light leaving a bulb.




















3. Wider Range of Colors

With a simple push of a button, LEDs can be mixed together to change into nearly any color imaginable. Red, green, blue and white LEDs combine to create a rainbow of colors that can set the perfect scene for a romantic dinner and then change into your favorite team’s colors for watching the big game.While colored LED lights might seem like a novelty, selecting the right color “temperature” can make a dramatic difference for everyday lighting. A bulb’s lighting facts will use the term “color appearance,” which is another term for “color temperature.” This helpful metric is measured in degrees Kelvin, with lower color temperatures being warmer, or amber, and higher color temperatures being cooler, or blue.

Article from: Houzz

Halloween Safety


Halloween Safety

364 days of the year we tell our kids, 'Don't take candy from strangers!' And then on Halloween we send them out to take candy from every stranger they can find. And we call our children confusing!

Halloween can be fun, exciting and a whole lot safer if you review some Halloween safety tips and prepare a bit before they go out:

1. NEVER eat candy until your parents have had a chance to look at it.

  • As a parent this is very stressful' what the heck are we supposed to be looking for' I'm a parent, not a forensic scientist?!? If anything is unwrapped or if you are at all uncertain, throw it away. Have an extra stash of candy to replenish your child's supply. (To be honest, I throw a LOT away' I figure an extra $10 spent on replacement candy for my child's safety and my peace of mind is well worth it' ).
  • We are quite good friends with the neighbours on the block and we package special, big treats in closed paper bags for each others kids, complete with name, phone number written on the front. As an extra precaution, you could even distribute special stickers for the people on your block to use to ensure they were the givers of the treat bags. For most of the kids, the block plus the community center Haunted House is enough trick or treating for them anyways.

2. Stay with a big group (preferably including an adult!). Stress the importance of not splitting up (if 'Johnny' is cold and wants to go home, EVERYONE should walk him home before continuing to trick or treat). Just in case your child ends up being 'Johnny', let the children know before they go out that when the group returns safely with your child, there will be an extra special treat waiting for them (make it worth their while to stick together!)

3. Obey traffic laws, don't run out between parked cars, stay on the sidewalk, don't take shortcuts through back alleys or parking lots!

4. If your children are going out alone (without an adult), designate a route together before they leave.

  • Stress the importance of them staying on that route, so if something does happen there's a chance of finding them!
  • Talk to them about the fact that you are trusting them to go out on their own and that with trust comes responsibility!
  • If they are going out alone, make sure they have a flashlight and money for a phone call.

5. NEVER enter a stranger's house. They may have THE COOLEST haunted house and THE COOLEST candy on the block, but they are still strangers. TALK TO YOUR KIDS about this! If the child absolutely must see the house, let them know that you would be willing to accompany them later in the evening. Or, better yet, many companies, zoos, etc have started putting on haunted houses the day or two before Halloween' attend one with your children to get it out of their system.

6. Only visit houses that have lights on. Not everyone enjoys Halloween' talk about and respect the differences in people's views!

7. Wear a bright costume. If your costume is not bright enough (or even if you think it is!), put some reflective tape on the back and front. This can be done in a way that goes well with the costume'
  • in the shape of a bat for batman, a witch or a vampire,
  • as an outlined fringe on a cape,
  • as moon shapes for a witch or a wizard,
  • in a skull and crossbones shape for a pirate.

8. Don't wear masks -- use makeup instead. If the costume comes with a mask and the child MUST wear it, have them put it on top of their head (like a hat). They can then bow their heads to show the mask.

9. For those of you in colder climates (like us), make sure you think of the season when you are making or buying the costume!

  • Hats and mittens are a must has a lot of costume ideas with baseball caps' these can be easily modified to use winter hats.
  • Cloaks can be used instead of the capes that come with store bought costumes. They're VERY simple to make (they have to be... I can't sew *grin*) and can be made with fleece or other warm fabric. I highly recommend adding them to any cold weather costume!! How to make a No-Sew Cloak

Full article here: Halloween Safety

Have a Fun & Safe Halloween Everyone!