Archive for February, 2016

9 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Your Home

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

9 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIs your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton area home making you sick? If you find yourself experiencing a variety of symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes, a cough that won’t go away, constant sneezing, chronic sore throat, frequent headaches, shortness of breath or asthma, the culprit may be the air in your home.

Indoor air pollution can be caused by a long list of things, including:

  • Smoke, especially tobacco products used indoors
  • Other burning items, such as candles, incense, wood-burning fireplace, gas stove
  • Heating or cooling systems.
  • Off-gassing from building materials (new carpets, new cabinets made of pressed wood, etc.) and other industrial chemicals, such as radon, formaldehyde, fire-retardants, and the like
  • Household chemicals of various types (cleaning supplies, paint, air fresheners, etc.)
  • Personal products such as hair spray, scented soaps, etc.
  • High humidity
  • Poor circulation of fresh air
  • Mould, mildew and dust mites

Winter, when our houses are closed up tight, makes the situation worse. Luckily, there are many things we can do to improve the quality of the air and our health without resorting to camping in the open air in the backyard

1.  No smoking in the house!

2.  Keep your house clean.

  • Vacuum often.
    Choose a vacuum cleaner with strong suction, rotating brushes and a HEPA filter to get rid of all sorts of nasty things. Clean your floors and also walls, carpet edges, draperies or blinds, and upholstered furniture at least once a week. Vacuum mattresses every couple of months.
  • Damp mop the floors after vacuuming.
    Use a microfiber cloth and plain water to pick up dust that the vacuum did not capture. Furniture, baseboards, interior doors and cabinets can also be cleaned of dust using just a damp microfiber cloth.
  • Put a large floor mat at every door and have people remove their shoes to keep outside dirt and chemicals from coming in.
  • Consider getting rid of the carpet in your home (a haven for dirt and dust mites). Replace it with natural materials like solid wood, bamboo or cork. Avoid vinyl floor coverings due to their carcinogenic properties.
  • Launder bed coverings and pillows frequently, especially if you have pets in your home.
  • Clean often or replace filters in your furnace, humidifiers and portable air conditioners. Also clean bathroom and kitchen vents.

3. Store household chemicals, such as paint, solvents, glues and pesticides, outside the home.

Items such as these emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are harmful to people and the environment. There’s a reason containers for these products come with the warning to use only in a well-ventilated area.

4.  Banish artificial fragrances from your home.

Pine, lemon and flowery scents in cleaners, laundry products and plug-in air fresheners may smell pleasant, but those things are loaded with nasty chemicals that can make you sick. Gases emitted by these products contain VOCs and petroleum derivatives that have been determined to be hazardous and toxic. Instead, look for fragrance-free products. Use natural cleaning products, such as baking soda and vinegar. Stop using aerosol sprays such as deodorants, hair sprays, furniture polish, and air fresheners. Use sliced lemons or vanilla extract dabbed on light bulbs or your furnace filter for a lovely natural smell.

5.  Stop household mould.

Mould occurs in areas prone to high moisture such as kitchens and bathrooms. Use exhaust fans and a dehumidifier to keep the humidity down and the air moving. Keep a healthy level of humidity in your home of 30-50%. Repair any plumbing leaks. If you spot mould on surfaces, treat it and remove it while it’s small and manageable. This article from The Family Handyman tells you how.

6.  Invest in an air purifier.

High-quality air purifiers remove dust, dust mites, pet dander, pollen, smoke and other allergens, as well as cooking odors. Some may even remove VOCs. Read what Consumer Reports has to say about these machines.

7.  Increase ventilation in your home.

Fling open all the windows? Sure, if the outside air is fresh – or if it’s not the middle of an Alberta winter! During Alberta’s other seasons, consider using “trickle ventilation”, a special window screen with extra filters that allows fresh air in while filtering out pollutants from both outside and inside the home. Use air conditioning in the summer, if you have it in your home, to move the air and remove mold-causing moisture. Run ceiling fans all year-round for more air-moving experience. Make sure that fuel-burning furnaces, fireplaces, heaters, range tops and the like are vented to the outside well away from windows and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) intakes.

9 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam8.  Improve air quality with house plants.

Best air-filtering plants, according to a study done by NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America:

Bonus:  These plants are among the easiest house plants to grow, even for those without a green thumb!

9.  Test for radon.

This cancer-causing radioactive gas is colorless and odorless. It is produced through the natural decay of uranium found in soil. It gets into homes moving up from the ground through cracks in the home’s foundation. Granite countertops might also be a problem. Read Health Canada’s article on testing for radon.

Do you have other ideas to improve home air quality? Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Try a Bike Day 2016 with You Can Ride Two

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

Try a Bike Day 2016 with You Can Ride Two | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

You Can Ride Two is back at Broxton Park School in Spruce Grove on March 4, 2016 (1-7 PM), adapting bikes for kids with special needs and teaching them to ride. Haven’t heard of this unique organization? Check out my previous blog article detailing the great work they do.   The Rotary Club of Spruce Grove is proud to be involved with this organization.

Exhibits and Vendors

You Can Ride 2’s Try a Bike events include exhibits by many groups supporting children with disabilities, such as the Children’s Ability Fund, Sport Central, Variety the Children’s Charity, Free 2B Me, the Cerebral Palsy Association in Alberta, the Paralympic Sports Association, KidSport, and many others. In addition, select vendors such as Renu Cycle, Trivel and others will be present.

Sponsorship

Sponsorship of exhibits and vendor tables goes a long way in allowing You Can Ride 2 to cover the cost of assigning, maintaining and modifying bikes to meet the needs of children. If your business or service club can help out, please contact You Can Ride 2.

Volunteers

Volunteers (individuals, service clubs, school groups and the like) are urgently needed for a variety of tasks. Bike mechanics in particular are wanted for the March 4 event. Please visit You Can Ride 2’s “Support Us” page for a list of volunteer opportunities.

Donations

You Can Ride 2’s loan pool now has about 120 bikes, and can always use more. Anyone wishing to donate a used bike to the program is asked to bring it to the event. Each bike donated enters you into a draw for a signed Edmonton Eskimos football and helps allow another child to experience the joy of riding a bike. Donations of cash are always welcome as well!

Registration

Currently there are around 110 kids registered for the Try a Bike event on March 4! Parents of kids with special needs are invited to contact You Can Ride 2 for information about this program.

One final thing:  Name You Can Ride 2’s new mascot (supplied by the Rotary Club of Spruce Grove), and you could win a $100 MEC gift certificate!

As a proud Rotarian, I’m delighted to be able to help this worthwhile organization.  Comments or questions? Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

16 Tips to Cozy Up Your Spruce Grove Home

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

16 Tips to Cozy Up Your Spruce Grove Home | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County real estate | Barry TwynamOur unseasonably mild winter in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton region might have you wanting to fling open the windows to let in the bright sunshine and spring-like air, but not so fast! Experience reminds us there is still plenty of winter left, along with the need to keep your home warm and cozy.

Sure, you can crank up the thermostat, put on a warm sweater and brew multiple cups of hot chocolate, but why not try a few of these strategies to make your home snug and welcoming?

  1. No fireplace? No problem! Electric baseboard heaters have been around for years, but today wall mounted electric fireplaces available at stores such as the Home Depot, Lowe’s, Costco, Canadian Tire, even Amazon can provide wonderful ambiance and warmth in any room for a reasonable price. Or, for instant pretend warmth, turn on the fire log channel on your TV, or put on a fire DVD!
  2. During the day when the sun is shining, open curtains wide to let in the heat and light. Make sure your windows are sparkly clean to let in every drop!
  3. Seal air leaks in your home at doors and windows (check your weather stripping), as well as plug-ins on outside walls, the basement where cement meets wood frame, kitchen hood vent, etc.
  4. Block drafts during the cold winter nights by covering windows with double-insulated blinds or insulated drapes. Warm up the room in a surprising way by covering a whole wall in curtains. You won’t have to break the bank to do this either; Ikea has tons of brightly colored and patterned panels for very little money.
  5. Darker walls in a charcoal gray or a chocolate brown create a cozy, cave-like atmosphere. (Surprisingly, darker walls seem cooler in the summer too.) Or, paint your walls in soothing blues, greens, grays and beiges.
  6. Soften up your home with furniture upholstered in touchable fabrics such as chenille. Position the furniture away from outside walls, if you can. Add pillows in bright warm colors and faux fur throws to make your spaces inviting and welcoming. Add more softness with a big fuzzy rug and textured wall hangings. And a big furry cat to cuddle up with, if you’re so inclined!
  7. Put blankets on display using a quilt rack. No need to buy an expensive blanket display rack; an old wooden ladder will do.
  8. Bed cold? Switch to flannel sheets during the winter, and add an extra blanket or a down comforter. Use an old-fashioned hot water bottle or an electric heating pad to warm up the bed in the evening.
  9. Lots of light! Turn on table lamps with the newer LED bulbs that now come in warm hues reminiscent of soft incandescent light bulbs. Hang strings of light for glow and warmth. Light the candles too.
  10. Run your ceiling fans on the “winter” setting. This reverses the fans to move the warm air that has risen to the ceiling down into the room where its warmth is needed.
  11. Use the oven! Bake bread and cookies, roast a chicken, cook a casserole! Add warmth and a wonderful aroma. Or fake the warmth and homely goodness by simmering something sweet-smelling on the stove top.
  12. Books add comfort and character to any room. Good for acoustics too. Create a reading nook with a comfy chair, a big fluffy afghan and a good reading lamp.
  13. Dry winter air often makes a room feel chilly. Run your humidifier to add moisture and warmth.
  14. Lots of green plants and fresh flowers for increased oxygen and moisture will lend a soothing air and make your home cleaner too.
  15. Hang art that pleases you and display family photos.
  16. Soft soothing music!

 

If you’re looking to sell your home in the winter, a warm friendly atmosphere appeals to buyers!
Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Celebrate! Reconciliation and Relationships

Monday, February 1st, 2016

Celebrate! Reconciliation and Relationships | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County real estate | Barry TwynamCelebrate as our local libraries, municipalities, and the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Parkland After Dark Rotary clubs share steps they are making to build relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal neighbours in our Tri-Region area.

As part of our desire to engage with our aboriginal communities, the Rotary Clubs of Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Parkland After Dark helped organize an event to celebrate reconciliation and build relationships with our aboriginal neighbours. We invite everyone to share in this event.

February 3, 2016
6:30 p.m.
Horizon Stage Performing Arts Centre
1001 Calahoo Road Spruce Grove, Alberta

Tickets $30, plus service fees

  • Join Shelagh Rogers, celebrated host of CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter, Honorary Witness to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and Chancellor of the University of Victoria, as she interviews local authors Patti LaBoucane-Benson, Esther Supernault, Tracey Lindberg and Dianne Meili to explore the importance of Indigenous literature.
  • Enjoy musical entertainment with Juno-nominated special guest Asani who will sing in Cree, French and English.
  • Sample traditional Aboriginal foods and visit with local artisans who will explain their creative process and have products available for purchase.

Thank you to our Sponsors:
Rotary Clubs of Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Parkland After Dark, together with the Rotary Aboriginal Partnership and Norquest College.

Tickets available at the Spruce Grove City Hall Ticket Centre, 315 Jespersen Avenue, by phone at 780-962-8995 or online at www.horizonstage.com/tickets
Proceeds will support the purchase of books by Indigenous authors. For more information, please call Lisa Smith at 587-986-8758.

There is always so much going on in the Tri-Municipal region, and as a proud Rotarian, I’m happy to promote important events such as this one. Comments or questions? Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
© Copyright 2011, Real Estate Websites by Redman Technologies Inc. | Privacy Policy | Sitemap
The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton
MLS® MLS REALTOR® Realtor
Trademarks used under license from CREA