Man sitting with daughter

CARBON MONOXIDE: POTENTIAL HAZARD

With winter coming on to cool much of North America, it’s worthwhile to address a potential hazard that arises with increased use of fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces and water heaters: carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas produced by the combustion of fuels such as natural gas, oil, and propane in… Read more »

Man running tests

NOVEMBER IS RADON ACTION MONTH IN CANADA

Any home can have a radon problem – old or new homes, well-sealed or drafty homes, homes with or without basements. Health Canada estimates that 1 in 14 homes in Canada has an elevated level of radon. Prolonged exposure to unsafe levels of radon can increase the risk of lung cancer; in fact, radon is… Read more »

Mother and son enjoying Christmas lights

Pillar To Post Newsletter November 2019

SAFETY SENSE Holiday & Winter Fire Safety Help keep your loved ones and your home safe during the holidays with these smart precautions. Check holiday light strands for damaged or broken wires and plugs. Enjoy indoor lights only while someone is home and turn them off before going to bed. Keep live Christmas trees in… Read more »

THE HEAT IS ON: FURNACE EFFICIENCY AND MAINTENANCE

You can almost hear the hum of furnaces in homes throughout North America cranking up for the colder months ahead. It is especially important to have furnaces inspected and properly maintained to ensure that they run efficiently and safely. Here are some pointers to get the most out of a furnace: SIMPLE WAYS TO IMPROVE… Read more »

  • Posted on 17 November 2019 | 7:00 am

    The Biggest Stressors When Selling? Time and Money

    Understandably, there’s a lot of stress involved in selling a home. From staging it to appeal to the biggest pool of buyers, to taking care of necessary repairs, to keeping it clean for last-minute showings, sellers are juggling a lot of responsibilities. But the two biggest stressors? Uncertainty about timing and price.

    According to the 2019 Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trend Report, a survey of U.S. homebuyers, sellers, owners and renters, while 95 percent of home sellers find some part of selling a home stressful, the largest percentage—56 percent—say the most stressful aspect of the process is not knowing whether or not the home will sell within the timeframe they need it to. The second largest source of stress, according to 53 percent of sellers, is concern over not being able to sell their home for the desired price, followed by 52 percent who stress about an offer falling through.

    Why are timing and price the most stress-inducing aspects of a home sale? Because the vast majority of home sellers (64 percent) are also homebuyers. According to the report, 51 percent of home sellers found it stressful to time the sale of their current home with the purchase of a new one.

    "The two most stressful questions when selling a home—what price it will sell for, and how long it will take—are top of mind from the very beginning of the home-selling process and can have a big financial impact," said Skylar Olson, director of economic research at Zillow. "Those outcomes could ultimately be the difference between retiring now or six months later, or having to pay a new mortgage and rent in a temporary home."

    Of course, the other factors involved in selling a home continue to cause their fair share of stress, as well. Not surprisingly, more than half (52 percent) of home sellers worry about making improvements to get a home ready to sell, and 43 percent find maintaining a “market-ready” home stressful. And 39 percent do indeed stress about having to vacate the premises for tours and open houses.

    To help alleviate the stressors involved in home selling, working with a professional real estate agent with deep, local expertise is key. An experienced agent will understand the market on a hyperlocal level, and, therefore, be able to advise you on the best price to list your home for, thereby helping you ensure your home sells for the maximum price in the shortest amount of time.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Posted on 17 November 2019 | 7:00 am

    Simple Money Lessons That Will Last Your Child a Lifetime

    Carrying cash is becoming less common these days, which can be a nuisance for parents and their children-especially when it comes to paying children their allowance each week. For many parents, cash allowances are becoming a thing of the past as they instead turn to prepaid debit cards that can be managed directly from their phones. In fact, by simply downloading an app onto their phone for the financial company they're working with, parents can load money onto a debit card that their child can use at stores, gas stations and anywhere else where debit and credit cards are accepted. Parents typically sign up for the account and then link their checking account or debit card to fund the child's debit card. Along with transferring an allowance, the app can be used to set spending limits, view expenses and automatically match money the child puts into a savings account. Taking this one step further, parents can receive a text message or email when their child makes a purchase-and they can even use the app to disable the card if the child loses it. Parents can allow children to use their debit card anywhere or can limit it to certain stores and websites. Once these settings are in place, the card will be declined if the child tries to buy something at a non-approved store, or if they try to spend more money than is available on the card. If the child has their own cellphone, they can get their own version of the app and check balances or get a parent's permission to buy a certain item. Better yet, some cards can be used at ATMs. Some financial services allow parents to set chores for the child to complete and then pay the child through the app when the chore has been finished. If you're looking to take advantage of this growing trend, some of the financial services that currently offer debit cards for children include Greenlight, Current, goHenry, FamZoo and Akimbo. TD Bank, American Express and Capital One also have debit cards for teens; however, some of these financial institutions require that teens have a checking account with the bank. The debit cards usually have monthly fees of $5 or so, and some have annual fees. They usually don't charge extra for adding money onto the card, though parents should carefully read the fee schedule before enrolling in a program because some charge fees for reloading, as well as other services. Before giving your child a debit card, make sure they understand how it works and how they can check the balance. Use it as a chance to discuss budgeting and saving, and to get them started on a solid financial foot that will hopefully follow them into adulthood. This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional or legal advice.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Posted on 16 November 2019 | 7:00 am

    Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

    You may think about air pollution while you're running alongside a busy road or strolling to your favorite coffee shop, but do you ever think about the pollutants inside your home? Between sleep and home hangouts, the majority of your time is spent between your own four walls. According to Aire Serv, you should regularly change the HVAC filter in your home to help improve indoor air quality. For ease, stock up on a few filters at a time and plan to check the filter monthly. Other considerations to keep in mind include:

    Dust and vacuum often. It's easy to put off dusting and vacuuming, but removing dust means you get rid of one of your home's most prevalent pollutants. Instead of a feather duster, use a wet rag or electrostatic cloth to trap debris instead of spreading it around. When you vacuum, turn the thermostat setting to ON so the fan blows continuously, drawing up dusty air and filtering it before sending it back into the air you breathe.

    Avoid chemicals. Everything from cleaning products and air fresheners to personal care items give off harmful vapors that become trapped in your home. Avoid chemically laden products and choose non-toxic, non-aerosol, unscented products instead to promote good indoor air quality.

    Utilize existing spot ventilation around your home. For example, run the bathroom exhaust fan when you shower and clean; flip on the kitchen range vent when you cook and clean; and turn on the laundry room exhaust vent when clothes are drying. These habits help you eliminate pollutants at the source.

    The air filter in your furnace should be cleaned or replaced at least once every three months. Irritants and allergens such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites and more build up in dirty filters, increasing exposure and worsening the effects on those with sensitivities.

    If your furnace uses natural gas, propane or oil to keep your house warm, the air quality in your home could become contaminated by dangerous carbon monoxide gas. If not properly and adequately ventilated, its build-up in your home can be deadly.

    Run an air cleaner. A small portable air cleaner is perfect for your bedroom at night while you sleep. This device collects airborne dust and debris, leaving the air cleaner than ever. If you opt for a whole-house model, it replaces the air filter. This type of installation is known to decrease asthma and allergy symptoms.

    Source: Aire Serv

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Posted on 15 November 2019 | 7:00 am

    5 Types of Gardens to Beautify Your Home

    These five gardens will add natural charm to your home... Formal Garden Though they require effort to keep perfectly manicured, they recall a bygone era of grandeur that always impresses. Container Garden A low-key option that works anywhere, fill pots, planters or reclaimed materials with greenery and flowers. Japanese Rock Garden Also known as a Zen garden, if you enjoy meditating, this will be your new favorite place. Kitchen Garden Grow your own fruits, vegetables and herbs right outside your home and live sustainably. Flower Garden From a classic rose garden to overgrown wildflowers, flower gardens can be designed to suit any personality.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Posted on 14 November 2019 | 7:00 am

    The Home Search Survivor Kit

    Looking for a new home means spending a lot of time visiting houses and apartments that are for sale. And in order to prepare for a day of house hunting with your agent, you should make sure you're comfortable and in a good frame of mind. Being tired or hungry while visiting and looking at houses can lead you to lose focus. Worse, you may even decide to end your day of tours early and miss out on discovering your dream home. With that in mind, here's how you can prepare for a long day of house hunting. Get a good night's rest. Sleep is an important part of staying healthy in general but before a busy day, be sure to get in some extra snooze time. Eat dinner early the night before and get to bed about a half-hour to an hour earlier than usual. Reading is a great activity prior to sleeping, but avoid watching TV or spending time on your phone. Eat a hearty breakfast. Get your day off to a good start with a bowl of oatmeal or some eggs with avocado toast. Yogurt, fruits, granola and multigrain bread also do an excellent job of filling you up and giving you a boost of energy. And, of course, your morning coffee will help. Dress for success. You want to look presentable, but that doesn't mean men have to don a jacket and tie and women have to wear fancy dresses. Wear comfortable clothing that suits the weather. With fall on the way, bring a sweater or jacket so that you can dress in layers. And, most importantly, wear comfortable shoes. Bring snacks. You're likely to get hungry now and then as you explore homes. Pack a few snacks, and make sure they're the kind that can curb your appetite: granola bars, trail mixes, cereal bars, and fruits and veggies are excellent choices. If you want to bring candy, make it something that has nuts. Also be sure to bring bottled water, especially if the weather is on the warm side. Following these tips will prepare you for a long and hopefully productive day of looking at houses.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.