Posts Tagged ‘home infrastructure’

How to Improve Your Spruce Grove Home’s Indoor Air Quality

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

How to Improve Your Spruce Grove Home's Indoor Air Quality | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThe quality of the air in our homes in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region is something we tend to notice more at this time of year when doors and windows are shut tight against winter’s blast.

When we think of air quality we often think of air pollution from cars and factories or smog, haze and ozone. But the air we breathe can be contaminated where we live and work as well.

Find out from an experienced HVAC contractor who is well versed in the movement and control of heat, air, and moisture in buildings. This type of technician will also diagnose and resolve any indoor air quality issues.

For example, to find out whether the air in your home may be affecting your family’s respiratory system, ask yourself the following HVAC questions:

• Does anyone in your household suffer from asthma, allergies or respiratory problems?
• Do their symptoms appear to be worse when they are at home or in specific places at home?
• Has your home undergone significant changes such as the replacement of windows, a complete renovation of the basement, or an addition in the last few years?
• Do you notice excessive window condensation in winter, or is your basement damp or musty in the summer?
• Do you feel the need to use air fresheners or scented candles on a regular basis to keep your home feeling fresh?
• Do you find that odours linger in your home?
• Do you notice stains, spotting or dampness on walls or excessive dust on floors?
• Do visitors to your home suffer from allergic reactions?
• Do pets live in your home?

If you answered yes to more than 2 or 3 of these questions, then ask for a diagnosis to resolve the underlying issues. There are many things that you can do on your own, but there are items that should be left to a qualified professional. Usually, air quality improvements require a systematic and integrated approach – it is unlikely that any one measure solves all problems – and HRAI contractors (members of the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada) have the training and experience to help you find the most cost effective ways to ensure the air you breathe is as healthy as possible.

In the Consumer Tips section of www.hrai.ca, take a look at the simple things you can do to improve the air quality in your home. The website also has a contractor locator to help you find a local professional.

If you are trying to sell your home, be aware that one of the first things potential buyers will notice is the smell and the quality of the air so it’s worth working to improve it.  I’m happy to help!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

(Content of this article 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.

 

Lights Out: Five Reasons to Consider Installing a Backup Generator for Your Home

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Lights Out- Five Reasons to Consider Installing a Backup Generator for Your Home | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamBackup generators provide peace of mind in the event of extended power outages. Installed directly on homeowners’ properties, backup generators are connected to the electrical panels and supply needed power whenever the utility power is interrupted. Having backup power is particularly important during extremes in temperature when an inability to use furnaces or air conditioning units can lead to dangerous in-home conditions. People living in or thinking of moving to the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region would do well to contemplate the issue. As such, here are five reasons to consider installing backup generators.

Frozen Pipe Headaches

While installing backup generators will cost thousands of dollars per household, the cost could end up being quite the bargain for homeowners in Spruce Grove real estate when considering the headaches and costs associated with damaged pipes. If the power goes out during the dead of winter, for example, Stony Plain real estate owners who do not have backup generators might run the risk of frozen pipes that could burst and lead to costly repair-related expenses.

Hotel Rental Expense

Extended power outages that occur when the temperature is either too hot or too cold may, if backup generators are not installed, force homeowners with Parkland County real estate to flee to hotels. The costs can certainly add up for power outages that last for weeks at a time. Recent cases of natural disasters across North America have demonstrated that lengthy power outages are a real possibility.

Keep Food Fresh

People with Edmonton real estate who lose power for even a few days can end up losing everything stored in fridges and freezers. They would not only have to dispose of hundreds of dollars worth of spoiled food, but would also have to replace what was lost as a result of the power outage.

Unhooking the Tether

One of the best advantages of installing backup generators is that they automatically turn themselves on whenever there’s a power outage. What this means is that people with Parkland County acreages won’t have to be tethered to their homes. Whether they’re out of town and can’t get back quickly or have to go to work, homeowners can rest assured that their backup generators will provide their homes with the power they need to operate as per usual.

Peace of Mind

Having the power shut off with no warning can be a disheartening experience. Installing backup generators will help to alleviate anxiety or worry in the event of extended power outages. This benefit is all the more important if children or elderly people living on Edmonton acreages are home alone when there’s a power outage.

There are many good reasons for homeowners to consider installing backup generators, and the aforementioned are just five of them.  Please also read my blog post “Should I Buy a Generator?”

I’d be honoured to provide you with any advice on your real estate needs in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, and Edmonton. For a free consultation, please call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here. I look forward to helping you with your real estate needs!

Do You Know How (and When) to Inspect Your Own Roof?

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Do You Know How (and When) to Inspect Your Own Roof? | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you own your own home in Parkland County, Stony Plain, Spruce Grove, or the Edmonton region, it’s to your benefit to know how and when to inspect your own roof. Whether your Spruce Grove real estate property is new or old, inspecting your own roof can save you money and extend the life of the roof. Your Stony Plain real estate agent would surely agree that it’s easier than ever for homeowners to inspect their own roofs. Here is how you can find out how and when to inspect your own roof if you own some Parkland County real estate.

Tips on How to Inspect Your Own Roof

Inspecting your own roof involves so much more than just climbing up there and glancing around. Inspecting your roof depends on checking out specific issues. For starters, inspect the flashings on the roof; these are metal pieces that cover the roof plane’s interruptions. It’s best to fix damaged flashings immediately, since snow can get into the interior. If the roof has wood shingles, check for indications of dry rot. If one-third of your shingles have dry rot, it’s time to replace the entire roof! If your Edmonton acreage’s roof is high-end and has clay or asbestos shingles, then you can inspect them without having to get on the roof. Just stay on the ground, use binoculars, and look for signs of chipping and missing pieces.

Tips on Easy Fixes for Roof Problems

If the problem with your roof is relatively simple, you can handle it yourself on your own Edmonton real estate property. For instance, loose shingles can be easily repaired by simply hammering in the popped nails. You can even replace both caulk flashing and shingles. $24 or so will get you a bundle of shingles, while roofing caulk costs around $6. You should set aside half a day for work on the roof. If repairs are more complicated, you’ll need to get in touch with professional roof repair companies.

Tips on When to Inspect Your Roof

Parkland County acreages boast some nice properties, and, sometimes, roof inspections should be done more frequently than just once a year. The rule of thumb is yearly or twice a year, but if there have been extreme weather situations (such as snowstorms or wind storms), you should check the roof more frequently. It’s recommended that a homeowner checks his roof after every severe snow or windstorm. Checking your roof more frequently can lead to spotting damage earlier, which makes it less costly to fix.

Now you know exactly how and when to inspect your own roof. It is not necessary to have someone do the job for you if you’re a homeowner. Inspecting your roof really has a lot to do with being proactive, and this can and will save you money in the long run.

I am always available to answer any roof-related questions you may think of. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Plumbing First Aid

Monday, August 19th, 2013

 | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamPlumbing First AidIt’s 2 AM in your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton area home, and some sense of foreboding has you heading down the basement stairs.  You explore the basement, wondering what could have awakened you.  Suddenly…  Uh, oh.  Your bare foot encounters a puddle of water that has no business being there, and you realize in horror that your hot water tank has sprung a major leak.  Would you know what to do?

Knowing  how to turn off the water heater ranks Number 2 on the list of the “Top 5 DIY Plumbing Fixes Every Homeowner Should Know”, from Today’s Homeowner.com, right after knowing how to turn off the water to your whole house and to individual plumbing fixtures.

Plumbing emergencies happen, often at inconvenient times, and they almost always need attention long before a plumber can arrive on the scene.  There are also situations that call for minor repairs, ones which any homeowner should be able to undertake on his or her own.   The article contains detailed information for dealing with each of the following:

Plumbing Fix #1:  How to shut off the water (includes turning off all the water in your house and turning off water at plumbing fixtures)

Plumbing Fix #2:  How to turn off a water heater

Plumbing Fix #3:  How to fix a leaky pipe (includes repairing a leak with epoxy putty and repairing a leak with a pipe repair clamp)

Plumbing Fix #4:  How to stop a toilet from running (includes how to adjust the water level in the toilet tank and how to replace a toilet tank flapper)

Plumbing Fix #5:  How to fix a dripping faucet (includes how to replace a washer on a leaking compression faucet and how to repair leaking cartridge or ball faucets)

Top 5 DIY Plumbing Fixes Every Homeowner Should Know” won’t make you a master plumber but this article just might save you a little money and hassle!  Worth a read.

I welcome your comments and questions on any topic related to the home!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Aging in Place

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

If the phrase “aging in place” is new to you, it probably won’t be for long!  I predict in the next few years, we’ll be hearing this phrase a lot.  How does it apply to those of us living in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton areas of Alberta?   

Aging in place means stayinAging in Place | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynamg in our homes as we get older, and adapting the home to meet our needs as we age.  For most of us, aging will bring about certain predictable physical changes, such as diminished eyesight and hearing or decreased mobility.  Some people will elect to move to accommodate these changes, whether to a one-level apartment-style condo or to some kind of retirement lodging.  But most of us want to stay in the familiar surroundings of our well-loved homes as long as we possibly can.  And that may mean renovating our homes to make them as functional as possible.  Other terms often used for homes that have been modified to accommodate special needs are “universal design” and “barrier-free  homes”. 

Many of the features of a typical modern home (such as an open floor plan, especially one where the main living areas – kitchen, living room, master suite, laundry room – are on the main floor) work well with the concept of aging in place.  Other features, such as hardwood flooring instead of wall-to-wall carpeting, and venetian blinds instead of draperies, are less successful.  Those hard surfaces often don’t help a home’s acoustics, and a hard and slippery floor can be treacherous for people who are unsteady on their feet. 

When we think about accommodations for seniors, things such as grab bars in the bathroom, walk-in bathtubs, stair lifts or even elevators may come to mind.  But there are many other simpler and cheaper changes that can have a huge effect on our comfort and safety.    

Eyesight and Lighting.  Adding more lamps and upping the wattage of light bulbs throughout one’s home can make a big difference in improving visual perception.  The most important areas needing better lighting are hallways and stairs.  Consider also changing the contrast between light and dark areas in a room in order to make things easier to see.  A monochromatic bathroom may be artistically beautiful, but if there isn’t a clear demarcation between the white tub and the light-colored floor, someone might have trouble judging where one ends and the other begins, resulting in a nasty fall.   

Furniture.  Consider replacing hard-edged glass coffee tables with dual-purpose softer-edged ottomans.  Consider also replacing squishy upholstered pieces with those that provide more support, making them easier to get into and out of.  Rearrange furniture so that there is plenty of room to maneuver around individual pieces (especially if wheelchairs and walkers will be used), but also place furniture in such a way that people will be sitting closer together and/or directly facing each other to aid hearing. 

FlooringCarpet is easy to walk on and safer if falling may be an issue.  But carpet may not be the best choice if walkers or wheelchairs will be used.  The best multi-purpose flooring may be non-slip tile throughout the home.  If tripping isn’t a concern, area rugs can add soft support as well as visual interest and contrast between dark and light.  Just be sure that the edges are well taped down. 

Monitoring and Assistance.  If you live alone, you probably have a support network of people to call in an emergency and you no doubt have a telephone or cell phone in easy reach at all times.  You may have an arrangement with family, friends or neighbors to check on you each day.  Perhaps you’ve considered a service such as Lifeline that connects you to 24-hour emergency monitoring via a bracelet or necklace style communicator.  While none of these things relate directly to home modifications, all of them contribute to keeping you in your home. 

The website SeniorResource.com contains a wealth of information about aging in place.  Particularly helpful is a Home Assessment chart that matches home modifications with a specific physical infirmity.  Most of the suggestions below are from that chart: 

Limited vision:

  • Edge of counters a different color than the top
  • Edge of each step is a color that stands out
  • Contrast colors between floor and walls
  • Stairs are well-lit
  • Increased wattage of light bulbs
  • Lights in all closets
  • Outside walkways and entrances are all well-lit
  • Stove controls clearly marked and easy to see
  • Stove has big numbers that can be seen from across the room
  • Stove uses different colors to tell which parts are hot
  • Under-cabinet lighting over kitchen counter

Hearing impairment:

  • Increased volume on phones
  • Smoke detectors have strobe lights
  • Furniture arranged to facilitate hearing
  • Soft surfaces to improve acoustics
  • Ultra-quiet dishwasher to reduce background noise

Balance and coordination problems:

  • Bath seat in tub or shower, or walk-in shower with pull-down seat
  • Bath tub with transfer bench
  • Temperature controlled shower and tub fixtures
  • Rounded counter edges
  • Grab bars near bath and toilet
  • Handrails extend beyond top and bottom of stairs
  • Stairway handrails on both sides
  • No stairs to bedroom or bathroom
  • Phone in bathroom

Limited reach:

  • Hand-held shower in bathroom
  • Electrical outlets are 27” above floor
  • Light switches at 42” instead of 48”
  • Cabinet shelves no more than 10” deep
  • Closet organizer or Lazy Susan to reach belongings
  • Closet rods pull down to comfortable level
  • Kitchen and closets have pull-down or pull-out shelving
  • Upper kitchen cabinets 48” from floor
  • Cook top has easy-to-reach controls at front
  • Microwave oven no higher than 48” above floor
  • Oven doors swing to the side
  • Side-by-side refrigerator
  • Lowered kitchen counter tops
  • Sink controls on the side
  • Front-loading washer and dryer

Poor hand and arm strength:

  • Automatic garage door opener
  • Easy to open and lock doors and screens
  • Cabinets and drawers have D-shape handles
  • Doors have lever handles
  • Counter tops smooth so heavy pans can slide across them
  • Heat resistant counter near microwave oven
  • Push button controls on appliances
  • Garbage disposal or trash compactor to reduce trash
  • Rocker light switches
  • Sinks with lever faucet handles
  • Special hardware to make drawers slide easily
  • Spray hose to fill pots on the stove
  • Dishwasher 8” from floor

Trouble bending:

  • Elevated toilet or toilet seat
  • Lower kitchen cabinets 6” above floor
  • Sink no more than 6” deep
  • Carpet is low pile and firm pad
  • Clutter and electric cords are out of pathways
  • Counter top that can be used while sitting
  • Doors are wide enough for a walker to get through

Trouble walking and climbing stairs:

  • Driveway smooth but not slippery
  • Floors are smooth and slip-resistant
  • Knee space under sinks; can sit while washing
  • Knee space under stove; can sit while cooking
  • No area rugs
  • Ramp to front door with handrails on both sides
  • Stairs have slip-resistant surface
  • Thresholds on entry doors no higher than ¼ inch.

Uses wheelchair:

  • Peep hole at low  height
  • Lower window sills especially for windows on the street
  • Hallways, doorways and closets wide enough for wheelchair.  Doorways 36″ wide with off-set hinges on doors
  • Appliances have controls at the front
  • Can use counters, sinks, stove top while sitting
  • Can wheel from car to front door and then inside; no steps
  • Ramp to front door with landings at top and bottom
  • Can wheel to bedroom, bathroom, kitchen
  • Pathways clutter-free
  • Enough floor space near doors to move wheelchair
  • Roll-in shower with multiple showerheads and/or way to transfer to tub
  • Space to transfer from wheelchair to toilet
  • See all above sections 

If you decide to remodel your current home, remember that you probably won’t have to make all of the modifications listed here.  Instead, focus on those of most benefit to your individual situation and make other changes as the need arises.  

Other resources:

See also this article by Mike Holmes:  “Renovate now so that you can live well later“.

Are you looking for a “universal design” home that will allow you to age in place?  I would be happy to help you find such a home!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

 

Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Save Energy and Money in Your Home | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamHow energy-efficient is your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton area home?  Chances are that no matter how well your home is doing, there’s still room for improvement, and that’s true even if you’ve taken advantage of government programs and grants to upgrade such things as the insulation, windows, heating system and the like in your home.

“Make your home an energy fortress”, published January 28, 2012 in the Edmonton Journal asks:  “where exactly should you invest when it comes to ramping up your home’s energy efficiency?”

The article quotes Christopher Straka from Ottawa’s Vert Design, a firm that deals with residential and commercial planning, design and development:   “Every home has its own energy strengths and weaknesses … based on age, construction and other factors. Only an energy audit, which you’ll need to tap into federal grant programs for upgrades, can pinpoint your individual energy issues.  … your best bet is still tightening up the building’s envelope: caulking and weather stripping to reduce leakage, more insulation, and better windows and doors.”

Many of the other things we can do, the article’s author, Patrick Langston, tells us, have an initial cost, but this may be offset somewhat by government grants, and will pay off the longer we remain in our homes.  Don’t forget also that each of these improvements will increase the resale value and saleability of your home.  While it will cost about $1 per square foot of attic to upgrade insulation and plug air leaks, doing so can save $400+ per year.  Spend $3000 to $6000 on a new high-efficiency furnace, and expect to save $500+ annually in heating costs.  Switch to a tankless hot water heater at a cost of about $3000, and save $150 per year.  Read the whole article for other upgrades that will save energy and money.

Planning to retrofit your home or buy a resale home?  Check out fact sheets available at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website that recommend upgrades for 11 housing types in 5 regions of Canada.

Also included in the article are notes on exciting new technologies that promise to do even more for the energy misers among us.  The article concludes with a reminder about the many gadgets most of us can’t live without that gobble up energy, and suggests ways we can reduce our dependence on these energy thieves.  Check out the full article.

Looking for a new more energy-efficient home?  Give me a call at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Fire That Old Furnace!

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Fire That Old Furnace! | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamMost of us don’t give much thought to the furnaces in our Spruce Grove, Stony Plain or Parkland County homes, as long as they keep us warm through the long Alberta winters.  An article in the October 29, 2011 edition of the Edmonton Journal, entitled “A new furnace can save money, and lives”, might just give you reasons to replace the old workhorse in your basement.

The article points out that, while the initial cost of the newer high-efficiency furnaces is a little steep [expect to pay around $5000 for the purchase and installation of a new, high quality furnace], you’ll save plenty of money over time.  A quote from the article:

“Natural gas prices have more than tripled in the past 10 years and many analysts are forecasting further price increases. Fortunately, the efficiency ratings of new furnaces have also been increasing. Most furnaces installed in the 1970s, ’80s and early ’90s, were only 60-to 70-per-cent efficient, and very old furnaces can be less than 50-per-cent efficient. A continuously burning pilot light can decrease these efficiencies by another five per cent. New furnaces are 90-to 95-per-cent efficient. They do not have pilot lights and can reduce your heating costs by up to 40 per cent.”

But it’s not just money you’ll be saving.  Older furnaces are not very good at filtering dust and allergens from the air in your home.  What’s more, older furnaces can emit dangerous levels of carbon monoxide within your home.

My assistant recently replaced the furnace in her 30-year-old Spruce Grove home and had this to say about the experience:  “We knew it was time.  We’d been reading and hearing a lot about how much better the new furnaces were.  Our old one was still pumping out the heat, with no trouble, really, but we knew it couldn’t go on forever.  What surprised us was how much better the air circulated through the house with the new furnace – far fewer cold spots.  We used to have to wrap up in blankets for TV watching in our basement family room, or turn on the gas fireplace, but no more!  The basement is as cozy as the rest of the house.  But what really sold us on the new furnace was something we weren’t expecting at all.  Our son always gets stuffed up and sneezy when he comes to visit because he’s allergic to cats, but the new furnace has taken all of that away.  Now, that’s impressive, and definitely made us happy about our purchase!”

It’s not too late to replace your old furnace before the really nasty winter weather hits.  Learn more about the benefits of the new high-efficiency furnaces by checking out “A new furnace can save money, and lives”.

Comments or questions about this article?  Call me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca or contact me here.

 

 

A Useful Website for Home Buyers

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

When it’s time to buy a house or acreage in Alberta, whether in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or elsewhere, do you choose a pre-owned home, or do you work with a builder to create a brand new model, modified to your custom specifications?  Whichever way you go, a great resource for all buyers, not just those thinking about building a home, is the Alberta New Home Warranty Program .

If you are looking to build a new home, this website can guide you through the entire process.   Click on sections entitled:

  • Choose the Right Builder
  • Understanding the Building Process (with emphasis on the building inspection)
  • Your Warranty Coverage (explains the various consumer protections for new home buyers) and
  • Finding Solutions & Settling Issues.

A Useful Website for Home Buyers |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

 

While the primary focus of this website is on brand new homes, all buyers can benefit from several of the publications:

  • Clicking on Single Family Guidebook takes you to a publication entitled Your Purchase to Possession Guidebook.   This guidebook is loaded with details and answers every question a new home purchaser might have.
  •  If your new home is a condo, click on The Way Home Condominium Guide for a road map to the purchase process from first notion, through construction, possession, and after you move in.
  • The Care and Maintenance Guidebook provides a very comprehensive tour of the physical structure of a residence and what you can do to keep your home looking like new.
  • For information on every aspect of the acceptable standards for “bricks and mortar” of home construction, click on the Workmanship & Material Reference Guide – great for new home buyers, but also an excellent resource for home renovators.

Questions or comments about this article, or about any aspect of purchasing a home?  I’d be happy to help.  Contact me here, phone me at 780-910-9669, or email me at barry@barryt.ca

Life Expectancy and Your Home

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Life Expectancy and Your Home |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamYou’ve just moved into your new home, whether in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or elsewhere, and you plan to enjoy and use your new property for many years.  The last thing on your mind at this time is the expense and aggravation of unexpected repairs.

Did you know that each element in your home has a predictable life span, an approximate time limit to a trouble-free operation?  If you know what this life expectancy is, you are in a better position to plan for the inevitable maintenance that comes with home ownership.

If the roof on your home has asphalt standard shingles, you can expect to have to replace that roof in 12 to 15 years after the home was constructed.   An asphalt premium shingle roof has more than double this life span:  15 to 30 years.  Wood shingles last only 10 to 20 years, while a slate tile roof, although much more expensive to install, is expected to last between 40 and 80 years.

What about home heating and cooling?  Most homes in Alberta have forced air furnaces for heating; 10 to 25 years is their life expectancy.  Central air conditioning will need to be repaired or replaced after 10 to 15 years, while window air conditioning may operate without problems for up to 20 years.

You might be surprised to learn that a hot water heater as young as 5 years may need to be replaced.  After 15 years, it might be a good idea to replace it simply as a precaution since that is the end of its normal expected life span.  Galvanized water pipes are expected to last between 20 and 25 years.  If you live on an acreage with a well and septic system, expect to replace your well pump after 10 years and your septic/sewer pump between 5 and 10 years.

Life Expectancy and Your Home |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamBudget for home appliance replacement also.  Expect 5 to 12 years of use for both an automatic dishwasher and a garbage disposal.  The range in your kitchen will generally run trouble-free for 15 to 20 years.  In the laundry room, 5 to 15 years for a washing machine and 10 to 25 years for a dryer are standard.

The above information comes courtesy of Pillar to Post Home Inspections.  Click on this link from their Living with My Home website for a detailed chart showing the life expectancies of other home components, as well as approximate repair and replacement costs.

Comments or questions about this article?  Phone 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
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