Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Are you ready?

Hello everyone.  Haven't had a chance to update the blog recently as summer has been crazy busy with house sales and renovation projects.  Been a great summer for real estate.  The market is HOT, HOT, HOT!  It's still very strong so make sure to contact myself if you are looking at selling or buying.

Speaking of summer we had quite a little surprise yesterday.  We went from sunny and +25 to +2 and snow in 24 hrs.  5-10 cms of the white stuff actually.

Enough for my kids to start singing the Disney's Frozen song "Do you want to build a snowman".  Yes, middle of Sept in Calgary.  It is forecast to get hotter (+20) by the weekend again but it also got me thinking...

It is never to soon to start getting ready for.....wait for it.......................winter.  Yes I said that.  There are a few things that as a home owner you want to take care of before the white stuff starts flying to make your home as comfortable as possible.

One of the first things that I strongly recommend, if it's within the budget, is new updated windows.  They will do 2 things for you: give you a great return on investment and make your home much more comfortable.  Buyers love hearing  "This house comes with newly updated windows".  The new windows that are available now are much more efficient than the ones manufactured 10-15 yrs ago.  You have many options available from dual pane to triple pane, low E glass, triple glazing, tinted, metal or vinyl colour matched brickmold for low maintenance, etc.  They will keep your house cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.  Your pocket book will thank you too!

The next thing I recommend is checking the insulation in your attic.  You know that square piece of drywall on your kids bedroom ceiling that you've always wondered about?  It's called an attic access.  Get a flash light, a tall ladder, dust mask and googles, if you like, and push the access up.  Take a look at the insulation.  Is it filled above the joists or does it look like it's settled over the years? 

You would like to optimally see about 14" of insulation to be adequate giving you an R50 value.  If it's less than 8" of blown cellulose you would be at about an R30 or less which would mean you could definitely benefit from adding more.  Again your home will not only be warmer in the winter but it will also be cooler in the summer.  The insulation in the attic keeps all the heat that builds up in your attic from transferring into your home.

Something else that one should also check on a regular basis is your furnace filter.  This is a very inexpensive piece that will definitely benefit from having regular maintenance.  It basically keeps all the dust and other pollutants from getting into your furnace and also your lungs.  Your furnace will last longer and run more efficiently if this is changed periodically.  Studies show that indoor levels of pollutants may be 2 - 5 times higher than outdoor levels. 

The typical guideline is every 3 months for changing your furnace filter.  If not, at least twice a winter is highly recommended.  There are other things that may cause you to need to change it more often.  If you are doing construction in your home (sanding drywall or wood projects), if you burn a lot of candles, if you use a wood burning fireplace, if you have pets with hair.  Any of these things can cause your filter to look like the one on the left, in the picture above, much quicker than normal.  Something else that will also help with the overall air quality of your home is to get the ducts professionally cleaned.  You would be amazed at what these guys pull out of your ducts.  Most have some super high powered vacuum system with a rotary brush that they insert into your ducts to suck out the ancient Cheerios and balls of Fluffy hair. 

With these few tips your home can be more comfortable in the coming cold months than before.  Your bank account will like it as well ;)

Stay warm everyone.

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