Winter prep tips for your home

Winter prep tips for your homeAs the weather gets colder, it’s important to make sure your home is winter ready. Here are a few simple tips on how to prevent exterior winter damage from Jack Rende, senior merchant of building materials at the Home Depot Canada.

Inspect your roof. Then, apply roof repair glue to any loose shingles in order to help avoid leaks or damage in your home.

Choose durable, weather-proof shingles. GAF Timberline High-Definition shingles can withstand category three hurricane-force winds of up to 246 kilometres an hour.

Install roof-heating cables. This will cut down on snow or ice buildup, saving your home from expensive long-term damage. Before installing, make sure your eavestroughs and roof have been well cleaned. Then, attach roof cable clips to your roof in a zigzag pattern. Finally, secure your heating cable to the clips.

Prep eavestroughs and downspouts. Seal any cracks with a silicone sealant and install a filter to prevent leaves from clogging.

Reapply exterior caulking. It’s important to do so in any gaps between your siding and window or door frames.

Turn off exterior faucets. Be sure to drain water from outdoor pipes, valves and sprinkler heads to prevent pipe bursts. If your home is 10 years or older, consider installing frost-proof faucets.

How to put out a fire at home before it starts

How to put out a fire at home before it startsFor many of us, the aesthetics of our home –– a colourful garden, new furniture or trendy appliances –– often become our primary focus. But this can leave little time for unseen elements that can become a safety hazard.

Something overlooked like a loose or frayed cord can spark a house fire, and this happens most frequently during the winter months, according to the Canadian Red Cross.

It doesn’t take much for a fire to start in your home, but it doesn’t take much to prevent one. That’s why around this time of year, it’s crucial to take small, precautionary measures that will keep your family out of harm’s way. Here are four easy steps for a fire-free home:

  1. Develop a fire escape plan. Should a fire occur, it’s important to evacuate the home as quickly as possible. Creating a fire escape plan and practicing that plan twice a year will help ensure the safety of your loved ones in the event of a fire.
  2. Check smoke detectors frequently. A functioning smoke detector can be the difference between a false alarm and a life-threatening scenario. Install them on every level of the house and take the time to test them monthly, replacing batteries at least twice a year; daylight saving time always serves as a good reminder.
  3. Store and recycle batteries the right way. Once you have changed the batteries in your devices, be sure to recycle the old ones. Used batteries that are disposed of or stored incorrectly or damaged can be a safety hazard. Keep your home and the environment safe by recycling all your old batteries. Call2Recycle Canada has more than 8,000 drop-off locations across the country, so one is bound to be close by. You can visit their website at call2recycle.ca and plug in your postal code to find one closest to you.
  4. Pay attention to detail. Have an eye for the little things. Make sure your home’s heating sources are clean, as many house fires are started by poorly maintained furnaces or stoves, or chimneys with buildup. Check wiring and cords and fix or replace any frayed extension cords, exposed wires or loose plugs. Finally, make sure to store combustible materials in open areas and away from heat sources.

4 ways to keep your home fresh as it gets colder

4 ways to keep your home fresh as it gets colderWith the chill in the air, furnaces are on and windows are closed for the next few months. But this can lead to dry, stale air inside the home. Here are some ways you can reduce dry skin and irritated airways without getting fresh air from outside.

Keep fabrics clean. Ensure a clean environment at home, especially in the rooms where you spend the most time. Sheets, blankets, pillows, rugs – all these fabrics are perfect allergen collectors. Wash them regularly and try to avoid down-filled duvets and pillows, especially if you are an allergy sufferer.

Keep pets out of the bedroom. Even though it’s winter and you want to get cozy with your furry friend, pet dander can wreak serious havoc on your body when you’re sleeping. To help with the transition, set up a sleeping area with toys and other items your pet likes, so you can feel confident they’re comfortable without you.

Reduce use of harsh, smelly chemicals. All winter, our houses are closed, which means anything with a harsh chemical smell can’t escape and we’re subjecting our airways to it. Experiment with all-natural cleaning products including white vinegar, lemon and baking soda.

Humidify your air. To keep the air in your house fresh, consider purchasing a humidifier. The Philips Humidifier Series 2000 has evaporative technology that spreads 99 per cent less bacteria compared to leading ultrasonic humidifiers. Plus, the 360° design evenly distributes humidified air throughout the room, making it the perfect solution for dry, stuffy air in your home.

How to get your home holiday-ready

How to get your home holiday-readyPrep your home for a flurry of activity with these simple steps.

1. Incorporate magical seasonal scents. Fill your space with holiday-scented aromas from candles, or simmer your own potpourri with ingredients like vanilla, cinnamon, pine or bitter orange.

2. Build a fire to create a warm and comfortable atmosphere. Keep fuzzy blankets and pillows on hand for both decoration and functionality and bring out a board game for a little entertainment. If you need extra warmth, cozy up in a Denver Hayes fleece robe from Mark’s and make some hot chocolate.

3. Be the best host and stock up on supplies that guests will use if they stop by. Essentials include towels, sheets, pillows and shower supplies. Make sure you keep these items accessible close to where guests are staying.

4. Make a grand entrance. Welcome your guests at the door with a fresh wreath and add holiday touches such as an entrance table with lighted tinsel trees, candles and ornaments. These details make a great first impression.

5. Don’t forget to make space in your home. Clear out your closet to make room for the influx of coats and winter boots and make space in your fridge and freezer for leftover food and beverages. Adding extra storage space will help keep you organized.

www.newscanada.com