6 Tricks to Enhance the Energy Efficiency of Your House

Apart from making your home appear aesthetically beautiful, it is important to make it more functional too. One of the essential points that most of the homeowners’ miss is enhancing the energy efficiency of their house. They often fall prey to increasing electricity bills and stress that come along. Hardly anybody comes to a conclusion and solution of why is it happening to them?

Taking a few simple measures such as using electricity when needed, sealing the windows and doors with exterior shutters and drapes, repairing worn out windows and doors and improving the ventilatory tract of the house can save you a lot on your electricity bill, not instantly but gradually.

Here are some good reasons to make your home more energy efficient-

 

1) Insulate your loft- One of the major causes of energy wastage is the poorly insulated walls and roofs. Having your attic appropriately covered or insulated can help you save a lot every month. However, it totally depends on the walls and roof structure of your house and the type of insulation you go for.

2) Upgrade your heating and cooling appliances- Inefficient, old and tattered appliances such as heaters, coolers, air conditioners, and boilers can add a few hundred pounds to your electricity bills. Upgrading your appliances can cut the unwanted expenses of your bills. Markets are flooded with devices and machines made with the latest technology that reduces your home’s carbon emissions. Therefore, invest in a new one.

3) Repair worn-out windows and doors- Worn-out windows and doors lead to the escape of inner heat during cold winters. Cracks, broken bolts and loose hinges add to the same. Therefore, if your home has old windows, either get them repaired or replaced with new ones.

Do not just focus on the windows of your main floor, if your home has a basement, keep the windows and door closed when not in use and simultaneously inspect any breakage or leaks through windows.

4) Insulate your doors and windows- Sometimes sticking to simpler solutions can prove to be beneficial, such as hanging thick curtains, installing exterior shutters to block the inflow of air or sunlight, placing glass sheets and blindfolds. Such options can be used both in summers and winters to save energy.

5) Watch your energy consumption- You might have never thought about the amount of energy you consume on a daily basis. Monitoring your energy usage gives you a fair idea of your utilization and the bills associated with it. You become more resilient with the consumption of energy. One of the best ways of doing is to switch on lights and fans only when in use and the same goes with other appliances.

6) Other things to consider- Besides saving electricity, focus on saving water too. Replace buckets with showers and general faucets with dishwashers. Do not use a lot of water during cleaning. Look for green options around and you will see a gradual decrease in your bills.

Why is it Beneficial to Hire Commercial Gutter Repair Company?

When it comes to gutter systems, most of the people only pay attention to the ones installed at their homes. They don’t give importance to the eavestrough of their commercial buildings. But, in reality, residential as well as commercial gutters are of equal importance. You and your staff have to spend a major part of the day in the office because of which it becomes paramount to ensure that the gutters are installed rightly and are in proper working condition.

 

Unclean, leaky, damaged and clogged gutters can destroy the commercial building and can harm its foundation too. In the worse situation, mold can grow everywhere and the building can become an unhygienic, unhealthy and unattractive place.

 

Just give yourself a thought; can you afford replacing your gutter systems and fixing all the problems created by them that too amid your office work going on? Things will get messy off course. But if you keep a check on the maintenance of gutters and get them repaired on time; then you can save yourself from all the hassle and costly expenses.

 

To get the gutters repairs done makes sure to hire the most trusted commercial gutter repair contractor only. You will come across several gutters companies, but make sure to check their background and details before hiring. Check their license, insurance, reviews and website before reaching any final decision. Also, make sure to get the list of references of past clients to talk to them and to ascertain that you are hiring nothing less than the best. If you get successful at hiring the right gutter repair professionals, you can experience the following advantages.

 

Experts will perform the job efficiently – If the gutter repair contractor is experienced enough, he will surely do the task assigned to him efficiently. Moreover, for experienced and reputable companies, their profession is of utter importance to them, and they put their best efforts to make their clients happy. They understand that if they repair the gutters correctly, then their clients will refer them to others, and this way, they will gain popularity and success.

 

Experts will use their best knowledge to help you find the issue and repair it – This is another important benefit of hiring well-learnt professionals. Because of the knowledge that they have accumulated throughout their working life, they can spot the problem easily and thus can serve you with the best repair services. DIYing or hiring an amateur gutter contractor cannot prove to be helpful because of lack of knowledge and experience. But hiring highly trained and knowledgeable professionals can put your gutters in the right condition, and they can last longer.

 

Experts will take necessary safety measures – Gutter repair professionals have invested good time in learning installation and repair of gutter repairs. Along with it, they have learnt all the safety measures to be taken while fixing and installing gutters. Therefore, they can safely perform the job without any trouble. God forbid if some mishap occurs at your commercial property during repairs, the professionals will have insurance to protect you from falling under debts.

 

Why Install De-Icing Cables this Winter?

 

If you reside in the region which is prone to heavy snowfall and winters, there is a wide chance of witnessing ice dams over your roof. Even if the roof of your house is slanting, the ice tends to freeze over it. Do you wonder why and how? That usually happens when the melting ice doesn’t entirely flow into the gutters through roof and downspouts. As the temperature drops, the resulting ice blockage creates a dam that further resists the melting ice from flowing.

 

The ice does not only cause a nuisance but also results in damages of roof coverings, gutters and downspouts. The melted pool on the roof can leak into the building leading to the dampness of walls and ceilings, form icicles over ice-filled gutters and so on. The interior damage by the leaky ice water can result in expensive repairs or maybe reconstruction.

 

The old school way to deal with ice dams is, shovels and other ice eliminating tools, but using them can be dangerous if you are not a pro. However, with modern equipment and options like roof de-icing cables, you can get rid of the roof ice dams easily and effectively.

 

What are the De-icing Cables?

 

De-icing cables are installed by the edges of the roof. They do not keep the snow away from the roof; instead, these wires generate heat that melts the falling ice, prevents it from freezing further and creates a path for the snow to fall directly into the gutters and downspouts.

 

The reason for installing de-icing cables near the edges is as the ice dam begins to melt because of the low temperature, the melted ice refreezes near the sides of the roof, creating a thick barrier of ice along the edges of the roof. It is because of this reason that de-icing cables are fastened into position over the eaves (inside gutters sometimes) so that the heat from the wires can melt the thick layer of ice.

 

It is prudent to minimize your vulnerability by using affordable and most direct easy-to-install de-icing cables that can offer adequate protection where you cannot turn the weather conditions. Made to resist the exposure to weather conditions like storm, heat, sunlight and ice, de-icing cables provide long term dam ice prevention.

 

The Benefits Over Utility Costs-

 

Being a homeowner and running a home means paying daily bills which might make you think that installing de-icing cables means adding to the electricity bill. Many homeowners believe that they are simply driving up the cost of their electricity bill whereas these cables are only used during winters.

 

I would like to ask them to think otherwise- Would you rather like to pay for the damaged roof, for changing the roof drainage system or remodelling the walls of the house caused by ice dams? The constant repair work will cost you more than the little increment on your electricity bill. Save your home this winter by investing in de-ice cables and sit back stress-free.

 

Your Quick Guide to Ensure Full-Proof Home Maintenance During Winters

Winters can be quite harsh In Toronto, and you can see homeowners prepping themselves days in advance to combat the winter storms and snow. Special attention is given to the living spaces, i.e. homes so that there are any costly repairs after the offset of chilly months.

Of course, the fluffy snow and sparkling icicles does make one feel like straight from the wonderland, but considering the level of devastation that comes along; it is wise to handle the situation with a bit of preventive maintenance.

Here are a few tasks you need to carry out for making your home winter ready and successfully reduce possibilities of property damage and deep-freeze –

Inspect your Gutters and Drainage

Sometimes winters come with incessant rainfall, so you have to be ready to tackle it with ease. To start with, you need to clean out the eavestrough and rain gutters. Now, this may not sound a fun job to do, but it can potentially save you more money in the long-run.

Clogged gutters on the roof often overflow and break that can put unimaginable strain above. You can also find ice built up in them that can be extremely bothering and challenging.

So, you should check them often and swap them with good quality eavestrough and drainage pipes for better performance.

Be Persistent with Snow Removal

Your valuable home stands on a foundation, and if that isn’t robust enough, there can be a question mark towards the architectural integrity. The problem during winters is that heavy snow accumulates around the premises and starts seeping in the soil making way to the foundation of the building.

As a result, there arises immense deterioration, expensive repairs, and lots of hassle to undo the damage of pooled water at the base of the house.

That is why you should try focusing your efforts at the foundation, decks, basement areas, windows, and concrete steps (if any).

Protect your Flooring

Areas of and around Toronto can get very snowy and cold. More snow means more ice melt on the sidewalks, more salt on the roads, and more dirt tracking-in, leading to the beating of your entryway floor.

The chemicals in ice melt substances can impact the look and longevity of flooring in no time and even leave permanent damage that can be expensive to repair.

So, you better use high-quality floor mats at the door. Also, use a boot scraper or brush outside so anyone can remove excess snow before entering the home.

Install De-Icing Cables

Ice dams can be a huge nuisance to deal with. During heavy snowstorms, the ice gets accumulated on the roof, and before it begins to melt and runoff, it freezes again near the edge (over the eaves).

This repeated cycle over the months leads to the formation of thick barriers of ice hanging along the roof that constantly leaks or may even fall.

However, there is a smart way of prevention, and that is de-icing cables. These cables are installed on the roof to release heat and stop the melted snow from refreezing; hence allowing easy runoff the roof, into the storm drainage, and finally into the garden.

5 Tips to Maintain a Healthy Drainage System

People are mindful about keeping the exteriors of their house clean, but one thing most of the homeowners tend to forget is maintaining their drainage system. Maybe they lack time for inspecting their drainage system or are simply afraid to handle the cleaning process.

 

However, taking care of the drainage system is not that tough. The best way of doing so is through prevention. Usually, if you take preventive measures during what goes down your gutters, there will be no need for cleaning them very often. Apart from taking preventive measures, certain things can happen, especially clogs and blockages, that need to be restricted by cleaning the gutters regularly.

 

The clogged gutter could be a result of garbage clutter, leaves, dirt that might accumulate near your gutters during storm or breeze. If you do not clear this clutter from the exteriors of your house frequently, it could result in clogged gutters and a disrupted drainage system. If the condition worsens, then it may lead to costly damages which will result in calling eaves trough experts for the services.

 

Here are some tips for maintaining healthy drainage system-

 

1) Spruce up your gutters-

 

The only way to keep your gutters clean is by cleaning them twice or thrice a week with the right equipment. Sometimes the small leaves, dust particles and hair can go deep down to block the inner pipelines, and all this debris can only be extracted using the right equipment and tools.

 

Another important thing to use is the drain cleaner while cleaning the gutters. Bacteriological drain cleaner could be used to keep your channel free from growing bacterias that may later result in the dispersion of spores and growth of molds ion all the places.

 

2) Use leaf guard or gutter protection-

 

Install leaf guard and gutter protection on all the plug holes to limit the amount of waste that gets down the pipelines. Leaf guards prevent the rotten leaves and plant debris to get inside the gutters and downspouts during the time of rainstorm, allowing only the water to seep through it; thereby, omitting blockages.

 

3) Look for the signs of trouble-

 

Problem with the drainage systems is not entirely noticeable until you inspect them intricately. Maybe it is not the leaves and garbage that is causing the stagnant water around your house; it could be the water leakages from certain pipes or the channels being invaded by the rodents who have damaged the drainage system. Leaks and white patches are the signs of mold and mildew that can be a sign of definite nuisance and such problems must be solved immediately before the things get worse.

 

5) Plant your trees away from the roof-

 

Trees must be planted away from the exteriors and roof since the branches can lean on and stick to the walls of the house, causing the leaves to fall either on the rooftop or directly into the gutter during a storm or heavy breeze. Try to trim the branches of your trees if they were planted long back.

 

 

 

 

Signs That Your Gutters Need Professional Attention

Gutters are the most crucial part of any house. They play a vital role in ensuring that your home stays protected and look attractive. They take rain water away from home and prevent any water damage. Your home is incomplete without gutters as they are extremely beneficial. They protect your home from roof leakage, foundation cracks, rust and other issues that can decrease the value of your home. Therefore, it is important to ensure that gutters are working properly.

 

There are a number of signs that tell your gutter system is not working correctly, and you need professional help. You must pay attention to them if you don’t want your home to face water damage. Remember repairing water damages can be challenging and costly if you don’t look into the condition and working of your gutters.

 

So, let us discuss two common signs that indicate your gutters need professional attention.

 

Clogging

Rain gutters that are clogged don’t work properly, and the chance of water damage increases. To find whether the gutters are clogged or not, check – If water leaks from your gutters, does rain water gets accumulated around your house causing water marks, does your gutter overflow when it rains?

 

Generally, rain gutters get clogged with leaves, dust, branches of tree and debris. If you don’t clean the gutter on time, then water starts accumulating inside the gutter, and it begins to deteriorate. The rusting on the gutters reduces their lifespan, and you have to expend a considerable amount of money on its replacement.

 

So, if you find that your gutters are blocked, the first thing that you should do is to clear out all the dust and debris. Then check whether water drains or not. If it does not drain out then most probably downspouts are also clogged. However, sometimes the problem is so severe that you have to adjust the slope so that water drains out properly. In such a scenario, you will need the help of eavestrough repair professionals. Experts have the right equipment to clean the gutters. They can also cover your gutter with leafguard to ensure that leaves and twigs don’t gather in the gutters.

 

Sagging

Gutters hangers are responsible for keeping the whole installation in place so that it stays safe during strong winds. But with time, hangers become lose and get displaced. It puts the entire gutter system in danger as it can collapse. Sagging hangers may cause mess because of the weight of the gutter system and weight of water during the rainy season.

 

So, take a look at your gutter system and check if the hangers are loose or sagging. In order to fix the sagging gutters, make a call to gutter professional as soon as possible. It is because experts have complete knowledge about the gutters and can help you in adjusting the sagging gutters. Because of their expertise, they can also give some tips to maintain your gutters.

Five Crucial Things to Discuss with Your Vinyl Siding Installer

Choosing to install a siding for your home is not something that should be taken lightly. Upgrading to new siding is a huge decision as you have to encounter significant expenses and a pretty long construction process. In short, there is just too much stress involved, and without the right kind of contractor on board, it is sure to increase.

Vinyl siding installation can get messy real quick and has to be executed perfectly in the very first time. So, to ensure that you get quality services that satisfy your needs and offer you worry-free experience, the following is a list of things to discuss with your potential contractor –

  1. Experience and Expertise

Every work, whether or not it is related to home improvement, requires a sufficient amount of experience and skills. And fortunately, most of the siding installers you find in Toronto have a decent experience in the industry, making them fit and knowledgeable enough to handle the challenges faced in all kinds of siding jobs.

So, when you are going through a siding contractor’s details, ensure that they have adequate work experience and know clearly as to what they are doing.

  1. Siding Brand and Material

It is vital to ask about various vinyl siding brands and other materials your contractor offers to the clients. That will give you a surety that the installer is using the best brand/product on the market, built to last for the longest time and resist all the extreme weather conditions.

So, discuss with your contractors about the vinyl siding brands they use and if they are properly trained and certified to install them.

  1. Subcontractor Involvement

Many contractors outsource their projects to third parties to gain better efficiency and reduced costs. And while there is not much of an issue here, it may not be a good thing for homeowners who have contacted a company for its trustworthiness.

Hence, it is best to hire a contractor who has a full-time team to complete the work. That way, you know who you are dealing with and avoid total strangers to step into your property.

  1. License and Insurance Coverage

Several state authorities require siding installers to hold a specific kind of license to operate within the community and take up big projects. These licenses are evidence of their familiarity with the building codes, which if they fail to comply, saves you from all sorts of legal troubles.

Similar is the case of workers compensation insurance where you are safeguarded against every liability that may arise as a result of an accident or mishap on your property. Thus, find the contractors that carry insurance and offer full liability insurance coverage.

  1. Past Referrals

The most assuring way to know if you are dealing with a reliable siding contractor is to ask for references. Doing that can help you draw a clear picture of the contractor’s workmanship and his quality of customer service.

Ideally, you should ask for at least four to five referrals and contact any of them randomly to get an idea about the installer’s actual reputation.

Rain Barrels: Why are They Important for Your Home?

Though water is available in our homes and can be used for various purposes but how nice it would be if we make the most from other natural resources and save our bills. One of the best ways of saving water is to use rain barrels for storing rainwater.

 

Rainwater is the purest form of water that is considered to be freshwater. If you reside in a region where rainfalls are frequent, then having rain barrels to store the rainwater can be beneficial.

 

Using the tap water for your plants, garden and cleaning the outdoor living space can cost you a lot on your water and electricity bills. This is when these rain barrels come to the rescue.

 

What is a Rain Barrel?

 

Rain barrels serve as a reservoir to collect rainwater that runoffs through downspouts from the roof during heavy storms. Rain barrels can include special features like filters spigots for attaching garden hoses, insect-proof mesh, child and animal proofing. Rain barrels can store up to 80 gallons of water depending upon the size and shape of the container. Mostly the stored rainwater is used for gardening purposes because it is healthy for plants and soil as it is free from chemicals.

 

Rainwater harvesting is becoming popular in many other ways as well that has lead people to install rain barrels with the help of experts. Let us look at the advantages of rain barrels-

 

1) Reduction in Rainwater Runoffs-

 

Rainwater runoffs are a huge problem in urban areas that causes the clogging of gutters and downspouts exerting force on the roof. Apart from blocking the drains, rainwater runoff carries all sorts of chemicals and dirt that pollute our waterways. This could be stopped using rain barrels that can collect rainwater and help in clearing the streams so that plants and animals can rely on them.

 

2) Prevention of Soil Erosion-

 

Soil erosion caused by fast running stormwater can damage the foundation of your house and wash away the nutrient-rich topsoil from your garden. Therefore, runoffs could be prevented by deploying rain barrels near the roof, that will preserve the topsoil for your plants and prevent damages to your landscaping.

 

3) Provides Water During Droughts-

 

With the change in weather conditions and the onset of summers, having water for serving the needs of your garden is essential, especially during the driest part of the year. Watering your plants in the sweltering heat will not be enough and plants can dry or die. Collecting and preserving rainwater can serve the purpose by providing extra moisture to the plant for the betterment of their growth.

 

This is useful, especially during drought and water restriction period. Without having to rely on limited community resources, you can make your landscape green and bountiful.

 

4) Saves You Money-

 

It is a free supply of water that gets replenished whenever there are showers. Apart from saving tap water, it helps you save on your electricity and water bills.

 

A Complete Guide to Custom Build Your First Home

There is nothing as exciting as building and living in a house that is specifically tailored to your visions and needs. From selecting an appropriate piece of land to constructing it with the best materials and decorating it to represent your personality and style – the entire process is indeed worthwhile. However, if it is your first time then there might be plenty of challenges you would have to go through before getting to slide the key into the lock of your new house.

Read below the step by step guide to learn about the process and planning to have your home ready to move in. Following is a detailed description of how to build a custom home:

  1. Purchase a Land

When it comes to choosing the right home site, you have to do ample research and then buy a land real estate that accommodates your needs. Even if a piece of property seems perfect, there are a lot of things your seller might not tell you right away. However, asking these questions can give you a clear path further –

  • What is the property size?
  • Who are the neighbors?
  • What kind of utilities and facilities does the property have?
  • What is the orientation of the property?
  • Are there any back taxes, debts or liens?

 

  1. Finalize the Home Design Essentials

The second phase of custom home building involves designing a home to match your preferences and tastes. It is the most exhausting yet a thrilling experience – to give your family and kids a home that caters to their specific requirements. These are some important considerations while deciding a home design –

  • Room size and arrangement
  • Open or segmented floor layout
  • Cabinets and countertops
  • Type of HVAC system, etc.

 

  1. Contact Professionals for Support and Guidance

The next phase is all about assembling your custom home team to give life to your dreams. This team aids in putting the plans into action and executing the project well in the first go. Here is the list of experts you would need in the process –

  • A custom home builder or general contractor
  • An architect
  • An interior designer
  • A landscaping contractor

Once you are done with hiring a specialized team, apply for building and electrical permits. Also, get homeowner’s insurance to insure it from the start.

  1. Start Building

When all your plans are approved by the reviewing committees or other concerned authorities, you can finally ask the builder/contractor to begin the construction of your home. Of course, there can be highs and lows during this phase but if you break the entire project into these milestones, it can become less of a hassle –

  • Site preparation
  • Foundation and framing
  • Installation of heating and cooling, plumbing, and electric systems
  • Flooring and paint
  • Fitting the cabinets, countertops, and kitchen appliances
  • Giving the exterior finishing touches like rain gutters and decorative mouldings
  • Landscaping

 

 

 

Simple Ways to Improve the Exterior of Your House

Are you looking for some easy ways to enhance the beauty of the exterior of your house? If so, then this post is for you. In this article, we have jotted a few ways that can help in bringing charm to your home’s exterior.

 

The exterior of your home is like the cover page of a book. It set standards for what’s inside. So, it is crucial to have a splendid outer appearance of the home. And for this reason, necessary improvements are a must. Moreover, if you are interested in selling your home in future, it will help in boosting its value.

 

Now, let us see what the simple changes are that you can bring to the exterior of your house.

 

#1. Stain the garage door – Installing a new garage door may be an expensive option, so you can go for staining it with a different color to get a new look. Don’t forget to power wash the door completely before staining the surface. Just painting the old looking and dull garage door can contribute a lot towards improving the outer look of your property.

 

#2. Have a clear and attractive walkway – A well-defined and clear driveway make your home more inviting. So, make sure to sweep all the leaves, debris and dirt off your paths on a regular basis. You can also rent a power washer to remove dirt and stains that don’t get cleaned with a hose.

 

To make walkway visually appealing, you can use stones, bricks and rocks in the bedding area to create artistic and unique exterior appeal.

 

#3. Add some lighting – The right light can improve the ambience of your house. No doubt, they can lit only at night, but they have the power to change the entire feel of your property.

 

Landscape lighting is the best and the cheap way to enhance the exterior curb appeal of your house. These lights look amazing and give warm and welcoming feels.

 

#4. Have clean gutters – If gutters are not looked after timely, they can bring you the chaos. Dirt, leaves and debris accumulated in the gutters for a long time can lead to water damage and mold. So, it is highly recommended to keep a check on the gutters and get them cleaned when necessary.

 

Remember, this is the most essential step if you want to have a properly functioning and a good looking home inside out.

 

#5. Frieze boards and decorative mouldings installation – Frieze boards and decorative mouldings are innovative products that have the power to beautify the exterior of your house.

 

Frieze board is the trim detail installed horizontally below the soffit, and its size ranges from 1×6 to 1×10. Moreover, they provide a design with a colonial appeal and are pocket-friendly too.