How to insulate your house quickly for winter

(NC) The Canadian climate gives us four unique seasons with a significant range in temperature and humidity. This presents a challenge for heating and cooling, but insulation can be the best line of defence to ensure a comfortable home year round. Proper insulation will keep you warm throughout the winter and cool in the summer.

On the other hand, a poorly insulated home can result in wasteful expenses. In the winter, there are a few signs that your house does not have adequate insulation, including:

• Walls that are cold to touch;

• Cold floors;

• High heating costs;

• Uneven heating levels within building;

• Mold growth on exterior walls;

• Heat spots on your roof after a fresh snow fall.

To make sure you keep as much heat in as possible and reduce your energy waste, now is the time to winterize your house. The attic can be the greatest source of heat loss so a simple solution to increase your home’s energy efficiency is to top up your existing insulation in that space.

Over time, attic insulation may settle or compact creating gaps and loss in R-value, but with the right tools, fixing and upgrading is an easy DIY project. Opt for an easy-to-use, loose stone wool insulation, such as a product called, Roxul RockFill. It is designed to be spread by hand throughout the attic on top of the existing insulation.

To apply it simply open the bag, aerate the insulation with your hands (loosen it up) and spread it over the existing insulation. Make sure you fill in spaces around ducts, wiring and piping converting these awkward spaces into energy saving areas.

Scott McGillivray is a full-time real estate investor, contractor, television host, writer, and educator.

David Rocco warms up with Tomato Lentil Soup

(NC)-No one knows the ins and outs of cooking with tomatoes better than celebrity chef David Rocco. As a “Tommalier” – a tomato expert – Rocco uses tomatoes as the base ingredient for the freshest, most flavorful dishes, from sauces to soups and stews. When selecting the best tomatoes for a memorable meal, Rocco advises cooks need not feel guilty for using canned tomatoes or tomato paste – the tomato harvest season is short in Canada, and the ones in the can are picked at their peak so they’re ripe and flavorful.

Tomatoes form the base of David Rocco’s warming soup, a deliciously simple one-pot meal ready to serve in a little over 20 minutes.

David Rocco’s Tomato and Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

4 tbsp (56 ml) extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

2 fresh chili peppers, chopped

2 cans (28 oz/796 ml) peeled plum tomatoes, such as Hunt’s Original Diced Tomatoes

1 can (19 oz/540 ml) lentils, drained and rinsed

Salt, QB

Pepper, QB

1 tbsp of tomato paste, such as Hunt’s Original Tomato Paste

Water

Directions

In a saucepan, heat olive oil. Add garlic, parsley and chili peppers and sauté for a few minutes until the garlic has started to turn golden.

Pour in the diced tomatoes. With the back of a wooden spoon, break up the tomatoes into little chunks. You can decide the consistency. Then add in the rinsed lentils, salt and pepper. Add tomato paste, and then add water about 1/2 an inch above the lentils; stir well. Bring to a boil, then lower to medium heat and cook for 20 minutes until the soup has thickened.

Hunt’s Tommalier Tip:

It’s a tradition to make tomato lentil soup with sausage on New Year’s Day as it is supposed to bring good luck for the year ahead. For a heartier version that does not betray the soup’s cucina povera roots, break up some sausage and let it slightly brown, just before you add in the tomatoes.

Courtesy of Newscanada

How to choose a chainsaw

Millions of chainsaws are sold every year and – although not every purchase is punctuated with a Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor grunt – it is clear Canadian men (and some women) still love their chainsaws.

So is Tim right? Is it always just about “more power”?

 

Not according to Edward Andria from Husqvarna, a company that is reported to be the world’s largest producer of outdoor power products: “There are many factors to consider when buying a chainsaw, but the first question you should ask is: What kind of work do I need the saw for? Models range from full-time professional saws to leisure or hobby saws and you want to make sure you get the right one.”

 

Here are few more tips to help you choose the right saw:

 

• Unless you are very experienced with a chainsaw, go for a lighter saw which will be much easier to handle.

 

• Ergonomic engineering and design, such as low vibration levels in the handles and a slim and well-balanced saw body, are welcome features, even if you only use the saw part-time. Good ergonomics can be just as important as low weight.

 

• Efficient kickback protection is a requirement in most countries. Also pay attention to small details. For example, how easy it is to replace a simple part like a chain catcher stud? Do you have easy access to controls?

 

• Is the saw easy to maintain and service? Good access to the air filter and spark plug, and easy chain tensioning save time and effort.

• Look for approved protective equipment like safety trousers, safety boots, helmets with visors, hearing protection, and gloves.

 

• And don’t forget, your saw will appreciate regular service by a qualified professional, so look to purchase one from a dealer that can service it.

 

More information is available online at Husqvarna.ca.

Courtesy of Newscanada

DIY home improvement fixes to create a healthier home


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You might not be aware that your home may pose some hidden risks for you and your family. But you don’t need a fat budget to give your home a safer and healthier boost. After all, there is nothing more important than keeping your family safe.

Hazards may be lurking in your home, and for $100 or less, you can make the home improvement precautions needed to protect your family from common household dangers. Danny Lipford, home improvement expert and host of the nationally syndicated show “Today’s Homeowner,” recommends these budget-friendly DIY projects for a safer and healthier home:

* Mount smoke detectors: There should be a smoke detector on each floor and in or near every bedroom in the home. Installing them is as simple as mounting them 4 inches from the wall on the ceiling. Smoke rises, so opt to place the detector at the highest point of the ceiling if you have an angled ceiling.

Estimated cost: $30

* Install a water filter: If you’re concerned about lead, VOCs, microbial cysts and pharmaceuticals in your tap water, or even if you just don’t like the taste or smell of it, install a DIY water filtration system such as the High Performance Drinking Water System that comes with a dedicated faucet and will provide your family with cleaner, better tasting water.

Estimated cost: $100

* Secure heavy furniture and appliances: Children are susceptible to bookshelves, televisions or other furniture falling over and causing harm. Use furniture brackets or straps to secure dressers, the stove, audio equipment and more to the wall to ensure passersby are safe from falling and tipping items.

Estimated cost: $10 or more, depending on number needed

* Install carbon monoxide alarms: Carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas, is a result of improperly vented or defective home systems such as heaters, furnaces and fireplaces. Carbon monoxide does not rise to the ceiling like smoke, so the alarms can be mounted anywhere, such as plugged into wall outlets or affixed to walls and powered by batteries.

Estimated cost: $50

* Install a bathroom vent fan: Poor ventilation in the bathroom can lead to a buildup of excess moisture, which is a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Install a bathroom vent fan to push the moist air outside the home to avoid creating unhealthy conditions in the room, as well as fogged-up windows, steamy mirrors, and eventually ruined walls and ceilings.

Estimated cost: $100

For more information and other tips, visit FiltreteWater.com.

Courtesy of BPT

Budget-friendly ways to refresh old outdoor spaces

(BPT) – Indoors or outdoors, your home decor needs some TLC to look its best. Replacing worn or dated furniture or flooring inside your home is considered fairly easy. But when outdoor spaces start to appear shabby, do you decide to live with the tired look because you think freshening the space will be too time-consuming or costly?

A few budget-friendly improvements and decorating touches can revitalize worn outdoor spaces and help them look new and inviting again. Here are some common challenges, and tips for overcoming them:

Worn decks, patios or porches

Decks, patios and porches are popular spots for home improvements – ones that create a staging place for outdoor entertaining or just relaxing and enjoying nature. When a wood deck becomes old and worn, or concrete patios crack, you may think the only solution is to replace them. But before you take that costly step, consider alternatives that can revitalize the existing surface without the need to replace it.

According to Scott Richards, senior vice president of marketing at Behr Paints, BEHR DECKOVER Solid Color Coating is a smooth finish resurfacing product that brings old, weathered wood or concrete surfaces back to life with a unique solution that hasn’t existed before, and it’s a budget-friendly alternative to replacing deck boards, railings, porches, boat docks, pool decking or patios.

“BEHR DECKOVER protects against the elements, while refreshing the appearance of wood and concrete,” says Richards. “With just two coats and no primer needed, the thick coating covers splinters and fills cracks up to a quarter of an inch, spreading as easily as paint. We’ve created a way to achieve a low maintenance deck that resists the elements, repels water and creates a smooth, slip-resistant finish that is comfortable for bare feet.” It’s available at The Home Depot stores nationwide and comes in 54 colors. Visit http://www.behr.com to learn more.

Adding accents like decorative railings or lighted post caps can also revive the look of older decks. Deck manufacturers offer a variety of options for railings, from carved wood to metal and even glass. In most cases, you can add these railings to your existing deck boards, allowing you to replace just part of the deck and achieve a brand-new, designer look.

Tired furniture

Replacing sun-faded, weather-damaged cushions on outdoor furniture is a good start, and easy enough to do. But what do you do when the furniture frame has seen better days? Depending on the type of construction, you have several options including painting and reupholstering.

Landscaping and lighting

Modern outdoor settings allow nature and technology to meet. Give your exterior living space a new modern look by upgrading both landscaping and lighting. Improving your landscaping can be as easy as planting a few container gardens around your deck or patio and filling them with flowers that will bloom throughout the season. Nothing looks fresher and livelier than flowers.

Next, look at how your outdoor space is lit. Adding lighting allows you to enjoy the space safely after the sun goes down, but dated lighting can make your deck or patio look dull. Plus, older lights are often not as energy-efficient as newer options. Upgrade lighting by replacing old fixtures with newer options, such as solar-powered lights or ones that use energy-sipping CFLs or LEDs.

Making your old outdoor space look like it belongs beside a new showcase home doesn’t have to be difficult or costly. With a few budget-minded tips and tools, it’s possible for any do-it-yourselfer to make everything old new again.

Courtesy of BPT