Archive for the ‘Winter’ Category

Winterizing Hose Bibs

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Here is the step by step directions for winterizing your hose bib correctly, to ensure no breakage or bursting when spring rolls around.
Step One: Take Off The Hose
You can’t winterize the hose bib with the hose attached to it still. No brainer right? Detach the hose from the hose bib and drain it completely. Frozen water in hoses can cause holes and leaks too, so to keep your hose over winter it needs to be properly drained. You can lay the hose down and walk the length of it, picking up small sections and letting the water flow out. Imagine a tube of toothpaste, and try not to miss any spots. Once it’s empty, roll it up and store it for the winter months.
Step Two: Drain the Faucet
This step is quite like the steps you take to winterize faucets in your home. You’ll locate the shut off valve for the outside water line (if you have any trouble here contact a plumber to help you locate it) and shut the water off. Once the water is disconnected go back outside and turn the faucet all the way on. This will drain out any water currently sitting in the line.
Step Three: Drain the Valve
Go back inside to where the shut off was, and locate a small brass looking plug or cap. Unplug that cap, so that the valve itself will drain. Draining the water out, without emptying the valve, is useless. You must do both. Once that valve and all the water in the line have been drained, you can close the valve and shut the hose bib faucet off.
You’re Done!
It’s a simple 10 minute job, but it can save you hundreds in plumbing repairs when spring thaws the frozen winter water.

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.

Winter Emergency Kit 2.0

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Winter Emergency Kit 2.0 | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam | NewsCanada.comIf you’re a resident of Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or the Edmonton area who is traveling on Alberta roads this holiday season, this information is for you! Canadians know that winter driving can be summed up in one word: Preparation. But what does being prepared include?

According to Lacey Elliott, car expert and spokesperson for autoTRADER.ca, aside from the requisite items such as a snowbrush and ice scraper, booster cables and road salt, motorists today should consider adding several other items to their vehicle emergency kit this winter.   “A regular emergency kit for summer may include staples such as a first aid kit,” she says. “But as weather conditions change dramatically in the winter, assembling a next-level kit is all part of being prepared.”

The Visibility Factor

Needing to pull over to the side of the road during the winter, especially during whiteout conditions, means making yourself as visible as possible. Elliott says this means that an absolute must-have in your winter emergency kit are road flares or high-visibility roadside triangles that will signal your distress to other drivers. “Many accidents occur as passers-by simply do not see your vehicle pulled over until it’s too late,” she says.

Portable Power

Cell phones are indispensable in an emergency, but if your phone battery is fading fast and your car battery is itself dead or dying and unable to charge it, your phone won’t be of much use. “A portable power pack that’s sold in many consumer electronic stores is a good idea to have in-hand,” Elliott says. “The ability to charge your phone, even without the aid of your car, is worth its weight in gold if you’re stuck roadside during the winter.”

The Blanket Solution

Elliott says an extra set of clothes— especially wool socks, gloves and a warm toque—in which to keep warm is also advisable, should you find yourself stuck in the cold waiting for help. If space is an issue, another option is to include an emergency blanket, which are thin and metallic—not unlike the ones used to keep marathon runners warm post-race. “They don’t take up much room in your trunk and might just save the day in frigid conditions.”

Emergency road kits can be purchased pre-made at many retailers, such as Canadian Tire, or from the Alberta Motor Association. Definitely worth it! Check out also the AMA’s “Advice to Get You Winter Ready”.

Do you have winter stories or tips to share? Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

(Most of the content of this article is courtesy of www.newscanada.com)

Winter Energy Saving Tips for Your Spruce Grove Home

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Winter Energy Saving Tips for Your Spruce Grove Home | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

For most of us in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region, winter means a spike in our power and gas bills as we use more energy to heat and light our homes. Check out the tips below to save some money and help the planet.

 

Save Power

  • Install timers and power-saver cords for automobile block heaters and interior car heaters.
  • Adjust lighting timers as daylight hours decrease and then increase throughout the winter.
  • Incandescent light bulbs are being phased out this year. Replace them now with the newer more energy-efficient CFL and LED bulbs.
  • Yes, we need more light during the winter, but light up just the spaces you are using. Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
  • Run appliances at out-of-peak hours, such as late at night, and turn off everything when not in use.
  • Think low-tech solutions. For example, use a clothesline for drying some clothing items instead of your dryer. This has many advantages: saves power and money; better for many garments; adds moisture to your home.

Your Home Heating System

  • Get a qualified contractor to check the heating system to make sure it’s operating at optimum efficiency.
  • Check air supply vents and return air vents to make sure air is circulating freely. Keep furniture and appliances away from vents, and plan to have your furnace ducts professionally cleaned late in each summer.
  • Clean your furnace filter regularly – at least once per month – and replace every 3 months. Doing this can save you up to 5% on heating costs. Did you know you can install a special alarm on your furnace that will let you know when it is time to change your filter? These alarms will make a whistling sound when they sense that the filters are dirty.
  • Turn down the thermostat at night and during the day when you are away by up to 4 degrees C. Every 1 degree C. set back can save up to 2% in energy costs!
  • Keep that thermostat turned down a degree or two and bring out the sweaters and blankets.
  • Consider installing a programmable thermostat to make those set-backs automatic.
  • The new high-efficiency furnaces can save mega bucks! But if you’re not ready to replace your furnace, at least consider a tune-up which can save 3-10% on your heating bill.
  • Avoid heating uninsulated spaces such as the garage or cold storage room. Check doors leading to these spaces and replace with insulated doors if necessary.
  • Close doors and air supply registers in unused rooms.
  • Reverse your ceiling fans in winter to circulate warm air down.
  • Take advantage of whatever natural heat there may be by opening draperies during the day on south-facing windows and closing them at night.

Keep the Heat in Your Home

  • Have your home’s insulation assessed to determine if you need to add to it. Proper insulation will save money in heating costs during the winter and keep your home cooler in summer. DIY tip: Measure the thickness of your attic insulation. If there is less than R-22 (7 inches of fibreglass or rock wool or 6 inches of cellulose) you’ll benefit by adding more. Also, consider installing some roof vents and inlets to improve ventilation.
  • Look for dirty spots in your insulation. These may be signs of air leaks which can be repaired by stapling sheets of plastic over the holes and caulking the edge of the plastic.
  • Place clear plastic sheeting on your windows sometime in the fall to keep out the cold air and prevent warm air from escaping for very little cost. Use weather stripping on doors and windows and seals on exterior wall outlets. Put caulking on window and door frames, and seal around vents and cable or wire wall entries.
  • Did you replace your carpets with laminate and hardwood and now the floors are cold? Oops. Put down an area rug to add a little warmth and cut down on noise.
  • If you have a fireplace, make sure the damper is closed when the fireplace is not in use to prevent warm inside air from escaping up the chimney. Check the seal on the flue damper and make it good and tight. Tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warm air into the room will also help preserve the warmth.
  • Not exactly insulation, but something else to warm up your home. Moist air is warmer than dry air so add humidity to your home with portable humidifiers or an attachment to your heating system, as well as an aquarium and houseplants.
  • Keep the doors (interior and exterior) to your attached garage closed as much as possible. This keeps your garage warmer and also lets less cold air into the house.
  • If you have an unfinished basement, heat could be escaping along the joist cavities. Insulate the walls for major savings in money and comfort.
  • Even though window blinds and shutters are more fashionable at the moment, quilted curtains and insulated draperies keep your home warmer.
  • Plant some trees in your yard in the spring! Besides beautifying your yard, they’ll protect your home from winter wind and summer sun, as well as helping the environment by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.

Want even more tips on this topic? Read my previous blog article “Winter Isn’t for Wimps!

Looking for a great energy-efficient home? Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

Don’t Get Towed This Winter! Pay Attention to Winter Parking Regulations in Edmonton

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Don't Get Towed This Winter! Pay Attention to Winter Parking Regulations in Edmonton | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamEdmonton is home to a number of fantastic neighbourhoods filled with great homes and many amenities. If you’re planning on moving to areas like Stony Plain, Parkland County acreages, Spruce Grove, or any other area in the Edmonton region, it’s important to learn as much as you can about the neighbourhood that you’ll soon be calling home. One issue you might want to learn about is parking enforcement, especially in the winter when snow tends to take over the roads. If you want to avoid getting ticketed or towed on a regular basis, here is the low-down on winter parking regulations in Edmonton.

Edmonton Offers Blading Services to Clear Roadways

Those who own a piece of Edmonton real estate know how harsh winters can be. It doesn’t take long before mounds of snow start covering the roads and walkways, making it tough not only to drive, but also to find a parking spot. The City of Edmonton offers a 24-hour ploughing operation for blading the streets. Every time a bus route or road has been fully bladed, the City informs residents. The city makes a new snow blading schedule after every major snowfall.

Windrows Take Up Parking Spaces and Create Parking Bans

Ploughing is necessary to clear the roadways and bus routes, but the end result is usually huge mounds of snow, called “windrows”, sitting on the sides of the roads and in parking spaces. After the city clears the driving lanes, the next step is to widen the narrowed roadways. In order to do that, cars need to steer clear of parking along these roadways to make room for city workers to get rid of these windrows and open up this much needed space.

Seasonal Parking Ban During Winter

In order for city workers to be able to get rid of these massive snow piles on Edmonton city streets, a seasonal parking ban is placed on designated bus routes after a big snowfall. Residents will be notified at least 8 hours in advance through a news conference, radio announcement, postings on Twitter and Facebook, email messages, and on the City of Edmonton’s Transportation webpage. Once this seasonal parking ban is in effect, cars that are parked where “Seasonal Parking Ban” signs are placed must be moved right away.

Targeted Parking Ban After Major Snowfall

A targeted parking ban is slightly different from a seasonal parking ban. These parking bans are put in effect in Edmonton areas only during times when specific roads need immediate ploughing. ‘No Parking’ signs will be temporarily placed on targeted routes 24 hours before the ploughs come out. This targeted parking ban will be enforced with tickets or towing if vehicles aren’t moved between 7 AM and 7 PM.

Parking Tickets Issued During Winter Parking Ban

A parking ticket isn’t the best to wake up to in the morning in your Edmonton home. Yet hundreds – if not thousands – of drivers get slapped with a ticket during every winter parking ban. The City of Edmonton does everything they can to get the message out there to motorists about the parking ban, including its schedule. But for those who don’t comply, parking tickets and even car towing will be enforced. Parking enforcement usually comes in the form of a $50 ticket. If you don’t move your illegally parked vehicle after a certain amount of time, it could be towed, at a further expense.

The winter parking regulations in Edmonton are just a fraction of what there is to know about this great city and its suburbs. I’m happy to help you sort through any queries you might have about Edmonton acreages, or any other real estate queries. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

5 Easy Ways to Cut Your Heating Bill This Winter

Friday, February 21st, 2014

5 Easy Ways to Cut Your Heating Bill This Winter | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamWhen it comes to the winter season in Alberta, some definite certainties are snow, ice, and freezing cold temperatures. But just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean it has to be cold inside. While the elements can make it more challenging to keep warm in a cost-effective way, there are things that homeowners in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region can do to lessen the amount they pay to heat their homes. Here’s a list of five easy ways for homeowners to cut their heating bills this winter.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Homeowners with Spruce Grove real estate or Stony Plain real estate—or consumers interested in the region—can help to lessen their home heating bills by heading over to their nearest home improvement store and picking up programmable thermostats. Once the thermostat is installed, homeowners will be able to program the units to bring the temperature down a few notches when their homes are unoccupied or when people are sleeping. By keeping things nice and toasty only when homes are occupied, homeowners can take a little bit of the sting out of their next home heating bill.

Get a Furnace Tune-up

An annual furnace tune-up performed by a certified professional will keep furnaces working optimally. When furnaces are working properly and efficiently, the end result will be savings on the home heating front for homeowners with Parkland County real estate. Routine maintenance will also lower the odds of system failure at the worst possible time.

Remember Furnace Filter Maintenance

Homeowners with Edmonton acreages should, in addition to having their furnaces professionally serviced, be sure to either replace or clean their furnace filters as per the frequency recommended in manuals that came with their units. Failing to do this will compromise the efficiency of the equipment and lead to higher heating bills. Some filters can be cleaned and reused while others need to be thrown out and replaced. It’s up to homeowners to determine which type they have.

Insulate Against the Cold

Improperly insulated homes will cost more to keep warm, since furnaces will have to work harder to compensate. Whether independently or with the help of contractors, homeowners with Edmonton real estate should insulate any areas requiring insulation. Key areas where heat can escape homes include attics, walls, and crawl spaces. Once their homes have been properly insulated, homeowners will find not only that their residences are cozier, but also that their heating bills are lower than usual.

Seal the Leaks

Homeowners with Parkland County acreages would probably be surprised to learn how much cold air can enter their residences through cracks and gaps. Fortunately, they can pick up some sealant solutions sold at home improvement stores to seal out the cold air. Areas to watch out for include doorways, window frames, and duct work.

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean that homeowners have to settle for chilly climates inside their homes. Following the aforementioned tips will help to keep homes warm and reduce heating bills.

I am always willing to answer any home-related questions you might have! Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Christmas in Spruce Grove’s Central Park

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
Christmas in Spruce Grove's Central Park | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

Central Park and Lions Log Cabin on King Street. Photo from City of Spruce Grove website: http://www.sprucegrove.org/programs_events/events/annual_events/christmas.htm

Those of us who live in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Parkland County know that the tri-municipal region has much to offer residents no matter the season.  One of my favorite things in December as the darkness closes in and the days get shorter is to drive past the magical light show that is Central Park.

Christmas in Central Park is an annual FREE event sponsored by the City of Spruce Grove.  Lots of activities for the whole family help kick off the festive season and get Spruce Grove residents into the holiday spirit.  This year, the celebration runs from 2:30 to 5:30 pm on Saturday, November 30, 2013.  Take a stroll through the lights, strap on the blades, enjoy a hot beverage and experience the beauty of the park.

2:30 to 4:30 pm:

  • Photos with Santa (bring a camera)

2:30 to 4:45 pm: 

  • Skating with the Spruce Grove Saints
  • Cookie decorating for the first 500 guests
  • Crafts and games
  • Sugar Shack (Cabane à sucre)
  • Complimentary hot dogs and brats from Johnsonville (while supplies last)

2:45 to 4:45 pm:

  • Wagon rides

4:30 pm:

  • Stage entertainment with Jeff Miller on guitar

5:00 pm:

  • Light up ceremony begins, followed by a mini fireworks show

Spread the Christmas cheer by bringing an unwrapped gift item for the Kinettes Christmas Hampers and/or a non-perishable food item for the Parkland Food Bank.

Want to get more involved?  Volunteers are always welcomed to assist in the City’s events.  Contact the Event Coordinator at 780-962-7634, Ext 143, or send an email to events@sprucegrove.org.

I’d love to tell you more about what makes our region so special and a great place to call home!  Phone or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

Winter Isn’t For Wimps!

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Winter Isn't For Wimps! | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIn the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Parkland County region of Alberta, we know it comes every year, and we spend about half the year in winter-like conditions.  Still, it always seems to catch some people by surprise. 

Take these steps now to make your house winter-worthy, and save some money and the environment at the same time:

Home heating

  • We’ve heard this before and it still works:  Turn down the heat a few degrees to save energy and money.  When you’re chilly, put on a sweater, socks and slippers, and sip a hot drink, instead of cranking up the thermostat!  Have you heard of the “Triple 8 Equation”?  Decrease the thermostat by 8 degrees for 8 hours each day and reduce costs by 8%.
  • Install a programmable thermostat and set it to raise and lower the temperature when needed.  For example, set the thermostat to lower the heat while people are away through the day, and raise it a little about a half hour before the family arrives home.
  • If you have a ceiling fan, you might have thought of it as a summer-only accessory.  Reverse the fan to a clockwise rotation so that the warm air is pushed downward and circulates more freely.
  • Let the sun in during the day.
  • Cook more at home!
  • It is possible to vent your electric dryer inside your home to take advantage of the heat and humidity.  (But be careful with this one!  Too much humidity could create a mould problem.)
  • Use your dryer for consecutive loads of laundry.  This conserves the energy that would be needed to heat up the dryer several times.

Furnace:

  • Clean and vacuum heating ducts, grilles, registers and ceiling fans.  Clean and replace the furnace filter in early fall and once a month during the winter months when it is in constant use.  Consider upgrading to an electrostatic filter for cleaner air.
  • Check your furnace’s humidifier, if it has one.  Clean the filter and ensure water is turned on.
  • It’s a good idea to have furnaces cleaned and tuned annually.
  • Make sure your cold air returns are not blocked. 
  • If your furnace is more than 10 years old, it’s a safe bet that it’s not using fuel efficiently.  Although initially pricey to install, a new high-efficiency furnace will pay for itself over time in lower heating bills and less harm to the environment.  Added bonus:  better circulation of air means fewer cold spots throughout your home, and cleaner air resulting in fewer sniffles and sneezes caused by allergies to dust and pet dander.

Winter Isn't For Wimps! | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamFireplace and chimney:

  • While your fireplace chimney may not need to be swept each year, it’s a good idea to at least have it inspected before you use your fireplace to ensure that nothing has become lodged in it.
  • If you use a wood stove for heat, your chimney will need to be cleaned regularly.  Not doing so can have serious consequences:  fire, carbon monoxide poisoning and the like.
  • When not in use, keep the chimney damper closed to keep out cold air.

Insulation

Attic:

Since warm air rises, a great deal of heat escapes from the top of the house.  If you can see ceiling joists in your attic, you don’t have enough insulation.  Besides the amount of insulation, consider insulation r value. The higher the r value, the more effective the insulation material is, both against incoming cold and movement of heat.

The most common types of insulation used in attics are fiberglass insulation in rolls, batt insulation, or blown insulation.  When adding insulation, remember the following:

  • Blow in insulation is most effective, but messy to install; hiring an insulation contractor is your best bet. By contrast, fiberglass batts laid sideways over existing insulation is a fast, easy DIY home project alternative. Handyman tip:  Most older homes have somewhere between 3 to 6 inches of fiberglass blanket insulation, roughly equal to an r value of 9 to 19.
  • When adding insulation, make sure soffit venting is not blocked.
  • Check around light fixtures and along the tops of interior walls in your home for air leakage.  There must be a tight air barrier to ensure warm moist air from inside your home does not get into the cold attic.  This causes condensation in the winter, increasing the risk of mould.

Basement:

Interior insulation can be used in a dry basement, whether finished or not. When finishing off the basement, use batt insulation in stud cavities for walls and ceiling, or extruded polystyrene insulation on the face of perimeter walls. For unfinished basements, install rolls of polyethylene-encapsulated fiberglass over the walls.

Keep in mind that insulating basement walls will help keep cold out and lower heating costs during the long winters, but there are disadvantages to consider.

  • Any moist air moving through the wall may cause condensation.
  • Due to the moisture barrier on the foundation wall and vapor retarder on the room side of the insulation, the wall’s drying potential will be hindered.

Never install interior insulation in a damp basement.  Address moisture entry problems before insulating.

Keep the heat in

  • Check for cold air entry points:  areas in your house where cold air can seep in and inside heat escape out.  Check external wall electrical outlets, switch-plates, gaps around windows and doors (especially sliding glass patio doors).  Outside of the house, check outlets, outdoor faucets, pipes, and along foundation walls.
  • Use felt door weather-stripping around the sides and tops of doors.  Install a door sweep along the bottom of the door on the inside. Make sure the threshold (or saddle) is in good condition; otherwise, have it replaced.
  • Replace window coverings with thermal drapes.  These not only keep the heat in during the winter, but they keep the heat out in the summer.
  • Although expensive, it might be worth it over time to replace the windows themselves with newer, energy-efficient models, especially if your home is more than 30 years old. If new windows are not an option, use window weather-stripping and/or purchase a window insulation kit – about $3 per window.
  • To seal up cracks around windows, perimeter walls, and around wall sockets, use standard caulking. Fortify drafty wall sockets with foam pads made for that purpose. To seal exterior cracks around the perimeter of the home, use caulking appropriate for use in temperatures below minus 40 degrees. Caulking will help to keep cold air from entering the house interior. While the estimated cost of caulk runs about $10 per tube, annual energy savings total up to $100 on average.

Lighting and power

Holiday lights:

  • Manually turn off lights, or better yet, put them on a turner so they turn off automatically, when everyone goes to bed.
  • Invest in LED strings of lights – 95% more energy-efficient than ordinary lights and last up to 7 times longer.

Winter Isn't For Wimps! | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamLightbulbs in lamps and light fixtures:

  • Switch to smart bulbs.  A 20- to 25-watt energy-saving bulb can last up to 10 times longer than a normal bulb, uses up to 75% less energy, provides as much light as a 100-watt ordinary bulb.  The new 7-watt LED bulbs have an added advantage:  no fire hazard because they give off no heat.

Electronics:

  • If it’s plugged in, it’s using power.  If you’re not using a piece of equipment, unplug it and/or turn off power bars.

Appliances:

  • Try to schedule the use of washers, dryers and dishwashers during off-peak hours (after 7 PM on weeknights or on weekends) when demand is lower and the cost of electricity is less.

Water and drainage

  • Drain and turn off outside taps.  Drain all garden hoses and neatly store for the winter.
  • Check and clean out eavestroughs and gutters and make sure the path is clear for spring run-off.  Spring does eventually come!
  • Check your roof while you’re at it.  Missing or worn shingles not only let water seep in during the summer months, they also allow heat to escape.
  • While not strictly a winter-time preparation, as long as you’re checking out various home systems, why not repair all water leaks anywhere in your home.  Better still, consider switching to efficient faucets which use up to 70% less water with the same pressure as traditional faucets, low-flush toilets, and low-flow showerheads.  If your water heater needs to be upgraded, consider installing a tankless water heater.

Just in case…

  • Check that you have workable carbon monoxide alarms and smoke alarms (test them with an actual bit of smoke) throughout your house, and put in fresh batteries.  Check your fire extinguishers also:  one for the kitchen, one for the garage, one for the basement, at minimum.
  • Buy indoor candles (or lanterns) and matches or lighter for use during a power outage, especially if you live in a rural area.  You might even want to consider purchasing a gas-powered electric generator.
  • Tape the phone numbers for your utility companies near your phone or inside your phone book.
  • Buy a battery back-up to protect your computer and sensitive electronic equipment.
  • Store extra bottled water and non-perishable food supplies (don’t forget your pets!), blankets and a first-aid kit in a dry and easy-to-access location.
  • Prepare an evacuation plan in case of emergency.
  • Before winter hits, round up all your winter gear:  snow shovels and brushes, sandbags, toques, mitts, boots….

Anything I can help you with?  Call 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