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Be More Energy Efficient - Winterize Your Home

Even homes with adequate insulation material and water pipe heat tape can be further fortified for winter months. Regardless if winter is already well under way, it still isn't too late to winterize your home. The following steps can save you time, money, and help you avoid inconvenient cold-weather emergencies.

  • Check insulation: be sure your attic, basement, and exterior walls are properly insulated and up to code. Depending upon insulation product used, replace or add to batt insulation (also known as blanket insulation) or other insulation material. If you have blown in insulation, a building contractor can determine whether or not more is required.
  • Check for cold air entry ports: give your house the once-over; look for areas where cold air can seep in, and inside heat escape — adding to fuel costs. Check external wall electrical outlets, switch-plates, and gaps around windows and doors. Foam insulation made for outlet and switch placement is inexpensive, a breeze to install, and effective. Door weather stripping and window weather stripping made from metal, vinyl, sponge, felt, or foam can also help considerably. Caulk draft areas where weather stripping is not appropriate.
  • Check furnace: this may not fit under the winterize your home category, but replacing the furnace filter every 4 to 6 weeks will help your furnace run more efficiently and cut down on heating costs. If you suspect your furnace isn't running at top performance, have a heating repair contractor inspect it.

A programmable digital thermostat is another fuel bill cost cutter. They are not difficult to install and are more temperature precise than older types of thermostats. They can be programmed to automatically lower temperature at night when everyone is asleep, and during times when the house uninhabited.

  Of course, prior to winter months make sure your gutters and downspouts are free from debris. And outside hoses should be disconnected and stored away; insulate outdoor faucets.


More Pre-Winter Ways to Cut Down on Fuel Costs

Aside from adequate home insulation, the use of either foam insulation pipe or electric heat tape, and the suggestions listed above to winterize your home, consider the following:

  • Install an overhang above the entry way into your home to reduce ice build up on steps and make them safer.
  • A double efficient energy pane window can help cut heating and cooling costs year round. An insulated window treatment, such as an insulated window shade or insulated window curtain, will also prove effective.
  • Have chimneys, fireplaces, and woodstoves cleaned before winter sets in to avoid problems caused by accumulated soot and other debris.
  • Acquire the services of a roof repair contractor to check loose gutters, damaged shingles, or other repair needs.

One other tip — avoid applying rock salt or calcium chloride to your roof to melt ice and snow. Use of either can damage shingles, and possibly void the shingle manufacturer's warranty.If you want to winterize your home and make it more energy efficient, TrustedPros.ca can help. Post your project online without cost. It's the fast, easy, obligation-free way to locate a reliable building contractor in your area.

Service provider members are on standby, waiting to bid competitively on your winterizing home project. To help you keep freezing temperatures outside of your home, where it belongs!

To locate a reliable contractor in your area, post your project online for free and receive bids from qualified professionals, ready to compete for your business.

5 Minute Tips for Preparing Your Home for Viewing

5 Minute Tips for Preparing Your Home for Viewing

Obviously, your home should look its best when potential buyers arrive. However, time is not always on your side. There may be times when you have only a few minutes to get things ready. What you do with those minutes can mean the difference between an interested buyer… and one who crosses your home off the list.

Here are some things you can do to help your home look its best in just five minutes or less:

  • Put away coats, hats, and shoes. Clean up, especially around the foyer. You don't want clutter to be the first thing a buyer sees.
  • Turn on all lights and lamps. A home that is bright looks larger.
  • Put on some soft music. Easy listening is the best choice. Don't play rock or jazz music because some people might dislike it. Think elevator music.
  • Make sure the toilet lids are down. Even when a washroom is sparkling clean, a raised toilet seat gives the impression – however incorrectly – that things are less than hygienic.
  • Relocate the pets. Put pets in the backyard or basement, or at least segregate them in a separate room. Better still, take them away from your home entirely.
  • Close the garage doors. Most garages don't look great on the inside.
  • Hide the waste bins. Keep them out of sight.
  • Wash the dishes. If possible, don't leave them on a drying rack.
  • Put them away. Put away personal items. Put family pictures, bills, and other personally identifying information away. You want the buyers to visualize themselves living in your home, not you.
  • Open all curtains and blinds. This makes rooms look bigger and brighter, even at night.

10 Inexpensive Decorating Ideas

  • Lighting can make or break a room.
  • Invest in lower-wattage bulbs to change a room's mood from restful to romantic. 
  • Check out remnant tables at your local fabric stores.
  • Remnants are perfect for recovering pillows, banding drapes and other sewing projects around the house. They're usually 1/3 of the price and look just as good. 
  • Don't forget about greenery.
  • Having plants in any room makes you feel more alive. Simple green foliage often lasts longer than flowers, and the overall design of a single leaf can make more of a striking effect. Try a single palm leaf or a slender flax in a giant vase. It has simple yet modern appeal. In your kitchen, add a small herb garden to your windowsill to add life to the room. Plus, they taste great! 
  • Focus on your floors.
  • Just like walls, floors need your attention, too. If you're able to completely change the surface, consider sanding or staining wood floors, or replacing old linoleum or carpet with tile. For a quick fix, add an area rug. There are so many options, making it easy to find the perfect style, shape and color for your space. By making your floors stand out, your walls can only look better. 
  • Storage, storage and more storage.
  • Living in small spaces presents two options: building up or building under. Consider using tall bookshelves for a more dramatic effect, or take advantage of the space underneath your bed to store things you'd love to keep out of sight. 
  • Fabric is an easy and inexpensive way to combine all the elements of your room.
  • Have fun by combining patterns, styles and different textures of fabric in everything from window treatments to accessories and furniture. 
  • Fake architectural detail.
  • This can be done in a variety of ways. Using painter's tape, you can paint horizontal or vertical lines, which can make the room look bigger. You can also make shapes like rectangles and squares, creating a box on the wall for framing out furniture, sconces or your favorite picture. With molding, you can give the illusion of added depth and dimension to the walls. Like painter's tape, making a small box with molding can create a look that's certainly classic. 
  • Anchor your room by investing in substantial furniture pieces.
  • Buying a timeless sofa or kitchen table will save you money as your style changes. It's better to switch out the little things than buy a couch every two years! 
  • Consider simple fixes before you get rid of something.
  • Inexpensive solutions: Bring life back to leather furniture with a little olive oil; make your kitchen chairs new again with a little spray paint and some fabric; get the scratches out of your wood floor and furniture by rubbing them with an almond. 
  • Don't overlook the Internet.
  • There are so many great deals for every room in your home on places like Craigslist and eBay. After all, one person's trash is another person's treasure.