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Category: Tips & Tricks

Five Signs Your Home Is Poorly Insulated

Without proper insulation, hot and cold air will seep through the walls and make your heating and cooling system work twice as hard. It can also make it frustrating and uncomfortable for the people living in it. Proper insulation is crucial to keeping your home in good shape—and your bills low. Not sure if your home is well insulated? Here are five ways you can tell.

YOU AVOID SITTING NEAR YOUR WINDOWS

When the weather starts to get cold, stand by your windows and doorways and see if you can feel a cold draft. If you can, then your home is definitely in need of better insulation. Adding insulation will ensure your home stays warm throughout the winter and you’ll save money on the next energy bill.

YOU ARE WEARING SOCKS ALL THE TIME

Do the floors feel cold on your feet even though you’ve raised the temperature? It could be a sign that there is not enough insulation in your home. You can also test this by touching the walls and ceilings to see if they’re warm and dry. If they’re cool and slightly damp, it’s time to install more insulation.

YOU AVOID CERTAIN ROOMS

If it’s warm and cozy in the living room but freezing in the bathroom, then the temperatures throughout your home are not distributed evenly and could mean your home has not been properly insulated.

BUGS HAVE INVADED YOUR HOME

When it’s cold outside, insects and mice will do anything they can to seek shelter inside a warm space. If there are tiny holes and crevices around your doorways and windows, you bet they’ll invite themselves in! If there are more critters in your home than usual, it could mean there are openings in your home’s structure that are also allowing cold air in and warm air out.

YOUR HOME HAS GIANT ICICLES

Those large chunks of ice that have formed at the edge of your roof may look pretty, but they’re one of the telltale signs of poor insulation. These are known as ice dams and they occur when the heat from your home melts the bottom layer of snow on the roof, causing it to trickle down and freeze.

8 Questions to Ask Yourself When Decluttering

If you’ve ever embarked on a decluttering journey, then you know it’s a lot harder than it sounds. Logically you know that you’re better off having less stuff in the house, but it’s still a struggle to part with your belongings. If you’re ready to let go of excess and make more room in your home, here are 8 important questions to ask yourself when deciding what should stay and what should go.

1. Have I used this item in the past year?

Try to remember the last time you used this item. If you can’t, get rid of it.

2. Will I use this item within the next year?

If you can pinpoint an exact date or event when you will use this item, keep it. If nothing comes to mind, toss it.

3. Does this item benefit my life on a regular basis?

If you haven’t needed this item lately, then it’s not something that is all that necessary to you.

4. Does this item give me a profound feeling of joy?

Do you feel beautiful, inspired, happy, etc., when this item is in your presence? If so, then it’s worth keeping around.

5. If the item needs to be fixed, is it worth investing time and money to fix it?

Consider the costs of fixing this item versus getting it replaced altogether and ask yourself if you’ll actually get around to repairing it in the next two weeks.

6. Do I already own something like this that serves the same purpose?

No one needs 50 pens or three copies of the same book. Get rid of duplicate items that are only taking up space.

7. If I had to move across the country, would I keep this?

Few things will convince you to throw out something than the idea of having to pack it and move.

8. If I were shopping, would I buy this?

Ask yourself whether you would buy this item if it were brand new in a store. If you wouldn’t, then why would you keep it?

DIY quick and easy home repairs

No matter what your level of expertise, there are plenty of small fixes you can do around your home with relative ease. Our experts have compiled advice for four common repairs that any homeowner can do.

Fill cracked drywall

Using a taping knife, smooth a piece of nylon drywall tape over the crack, working from the centre toward the edges. Cover the tape with a thin layer of joint compound and let dry. Apply a second coat, feathering at the edges. Sand, prime, and repaint the area.

Silence squeaky floors

Scrape the joints between your floorboards to remove dirt, and then sprinkle a little baby powder between the squeaky ones. Bounce up and down on the area to work the powder into the joint.

Repair a sticky sliding glass door

To clean the tracks, vacuum each door by moving it to one side and then the other. Afterwards, clean the tracks with denatured alcohol. Spray the upper track with silicone spray and rub paraffin wax along the lower one.

Re-caulk a bathtub

Remove the old caulk. Tape above and below the joint that needs caulking and fill the tub with water to weigh it down and open the joint. Squeeze a thin bead of caulk along the open joint. Use your index finger to smooth out the caulk; remove tape and wipe away excess with a damp rag. Let it dry according to the products instructions.

Popular Sustainable Flooring Options

Colour, surface texture, room usage and price all come into play when homeowners commit to a flooring style. One thing homeowners don’t have to compromise on is their selection of green options.

Here is a list of popular products

Salvaged wood. Buying reclaimed lumber continues to get easier for those shopping online. In some instances, it’s even less expensive relative to the cost of new hardwoods.

Bamboo. High abundance and a natural look make sustainable bamboo an attractive flooring option. Bamboo grows to maturity in three to five years, about a quarter of the time it takes to grow trees used for hardwood. It’s great choice for a room with low humidity.

Linoleum. Unlike vinyl flooring, which is a synthetic product made of chlorinated petrochemicals, linoleum is manufactured from natural compounds that include linseed oil, cork dust, various tree resins and ground limestone. With natural, renewable elements used in manufacturing, the popularity of this eco-friendly flooring option continues to rise.

Cork. Like bamboo, cork is quickly renewable. Cork has antimicrobial properties to reduce allergens, is fire retardant and provides a comfortable feel under foot. Cork flooring can be finished in a variety of paints and stains, complementing any room setting.

Understanding your Credit Report

What is a credit report and why is it important to know about it? Well, if you earn your income in cash and only spend pure cash, you would not need to worry about it. But it is not the case of most of us since we do lease or finance our cars, apply for a mortgage when we want to purchase a house and even use a credit card for most of our daily expenses. Hence it is important to know what a Credit Report is and what you need to do to keep it clean.

A credit report is simply a history of your financial obligations and payment habits. It is created when you start borrowing money or apply for credit and you will build it over time. It is the primary tool that banks and other financial institutions or creditors use to grant you credit.

All companies that lend or collect money or issue credit cards send reports to credit bureaus, such as Transunion or Equifax to name the top two, on a regular basis. Their communication includes the credit accounts you have opened, loans, mortgages, and information about leasing. It also shows when you opened those accounts or applied for them, the limit, the balance of payments, timelines of payments and if you have ever gone over your limit.

Every time that you apply for a loan, mortgage or credit card, you will need to allow that organization to check your credit history. This credit report provides them with a summary of the information about all different kinds of accounts you have which includes your revolving accounts like credit cards and lines of credit, Installment accounts lime mortgage and other loans, other accounts like cell phones and even collection accounts if any.

Your credit information is confidential and these organizations need your permission to access the report when evaluating your credit worthiness. However, it is important that you order your credit report from time to time (usually recommended once a year) to check for accuracy and if you need to contact the bureau for amendments and corrections.

When you receive your credit report it also includes a three-digit score. The credit score helps creditors decide to grant you the credit you are applying for. There are so many factors that affect your credit score including: Your track record for repaying your loans and credit card balance, How much money you currently owe on your credit accounts, How long your accounts have been open, The different types of credit you use or credit mix, How much credit you use compared to the amount of credit you have available, How often and how recently you have applied for credit.

TIPS TO REMEMBER
  • Make sure you have a credit history: you may not have a score because you do not have a record of owing money and paying it back. One way to build a credit history is by using a credit card
  • Always pay your bills on time
  • Don’t go over 50% of the credit limit on your credit card
  • Apply for credit in moderation

For more information or to order your credit report, visit: www.equifax.ca or www.transunion.ca

Information prepared by Saghar Darabnia.