LANDLORD AND TENANT

New rules for landlords and tenants
 

What does this mean for renters in Ontario?
 

Landlords in Ontario will have to provide their tenants with a new 13-page residential tenancy agreement and standardized lease that has been set out in strict terms by the Ontario Government.

No longer will each residential tenancy agreement look completely different than the next. One of the many benefits is that sneaky clauses (like no pets – unless condo rules prohibit) are not found in this document. There can be schedules to include duties of the tenant, for example, snow removal or trash removal.  Always be sure to understand the attached schedule before signing the agreement as there could be attempted liberties that contravene the Landlord and Tenant Board rules.

The provincial residential tenancy agreement does not have any illegal clauses. Hopefully, this will simplify the process when disagreements occur between tenant and landlord.

There is a provision that if a tenant requests a copy of their lease and doesn’t get it within 21 days, they can withhold one month’s rent. If the landlord doesn’t produce it after that month, the tenant wouldn’t be required to repay it.


UNLOCK



Guide to Choosing the Right Door Handle


There’s more to choosing the right door handle than just going to the hardware store and picking one out. Not only will you be choosing the style of door handle, you’ll also need to pick out an appropriate lock set and additional items as required. Whether you’re shopping for a front or interior door, there are three main things to consider: look, feel and cost. We’ll go over the most common types of door handles and how to lock in the right door handle choice for your home.

Types of Door Handles

Most people will use the terms door knob and door handle interchangeably. When talking to your neighbour about your new door hardware this interchangeable terminology is fine. However, when you’re dealing with a door expert, it’s important to understand the differences so you get the handle you actually want.

Door Knobs


The most common item you think of when it comes to the hardware on your door. The term door knob is used as a bit of a catch-all, but door knobs are classified as a round or square knob that requires a tight grasp and a twist of the wrist to operate.

Due to the physical requirements of knobs, they do not meet handicap ADA Barrier Free/Accessible Design requirements. While this is not required in homes, it’s something to consider when designing yours. Door knobs can also be more difficult for people with arthritis to use.

Lever Handles


A much better option for those who may find traditional knobs difficult to use. Lever handles are easier to grab and are an approved device meeting Accessible Design requirements. As we age, dexterity becomes more challenging, and gripping and turning door knobs can become an unpleasant but necessary task. If you’re planning on staying in your home for a long time and aging in place, consider updating your handles to levers now so there are no accessibility issues in the future.

Handleset


Most commonly found on entry or front doors, handlesets do not have a lock on the handle itself and instead come with a matching deadbolt. Handlesets require you to push down on the thumb latch to open the door, which can be uncomfortable for those with mobility limitations.

When purchasing a handleset, you will also have to consider what kind of lock looks and functions best with it. Usually these sets are sold together, but some stores offer options to mix and match.

How to Choose the Right Door Handle

There are three main things to consider when choosing your new door handles; look, feel and cost. Each one plays a different but important role in the selection process.

Look

While small, door handles can really impact the overall look of your home. Today, there are so many options when it comes to door handles that you might feel overwhelmed. Think about your door handle as another accessory in your home and not just a piece of hardware. Consider the overall look and theme of your home. If your home is modern and sleek, a vintage looking brass knob will not fit the overall look you’re trying to achieve.

Another design element to consider is the doors themselves. Will your home use the exact same door throughout, or will you have different doors depending on the floor or room it’s being used on? If you have the same doors throughout your homes, you’ll probably want to use the same door handles to create a uniform look. However, there are no rules when it comes to designing your home, so if you really want a different door handle on each door, go for it.

Feel

How the door handle feels in your hand may sound like a silly thing to consider but it’s actually quite important. You will likely be using this handle countless times every day so you want to ensure it feels good in your hand. Do not purchase a handle that causes you discomfort or you find tricky to use. Consider who will be using the door and if there are any physical limitations to take into consideration.

Cost

A common issue homeowners run into when replacing or upgrading their doors is the additional costs they were not aware of. A misconception about purchasing doors is that they already come with handles, latches and hinges. This is not the case. When you buy a door, you’re just buying the door itself. You will separately have to buy the rest of the pieces, collectively known as door furniture.

Handles, latches and hinges are not always sold together so you may need to buy them separately. If you’re updating your doors and not starting from scratch, it’s likely that you’ll be able to use the existing furniture with your new handles. If you are designing a new build home or are adding doors to a room in your home for the first time, you will have to buy and decide on the style of these pieces as well.


ROCK ON


Landscaping with Rocks


If you haven’t considered using rocks in your landscaping before, this article may change your mind. Rocks add organic and textural elements to your landscape and are also durable and low-maintenance. If you’re looking for something to help tie everything together or hide problem spots, landscaping with rocks might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Ways to Incorporate Rocks into Your Landscaping

Anchor Plant Beds

This home already has some beautiful landscaping elements, but what really ties it all together is the rocks at the front anchoring the plant beds. Not only do the rocks draw attention to the plants at the front, they also help to tie in the stones used throughout the rest of the home, garage and driveway. Something as simple as the addition of a few rocks takes this landscaping from good to great.

Protect Your Flowers and Plants


In addition to anchoring the look of your landscaping, smaller rocks can be used to create a border from your grass to your flower and plant beds. Not only does this create a beautiful border that helps to visually break up your yard, it also helps physically separate your plants from pets, children, and clumsy neighbours who may be walking through your yard.

Low Maintenance, Low Cost

One of the best things about landscaping with rocks is how easy they are to take care of. Unless you want rocks that look like they’re polished daily, you really do not have to do anything to your rocks once they’re in place. This makes them a great choice for lazy-landscapers. In addition to their low maintenance, rocks are also considerably cheap. In fact, you may already have the perfect rocks for your yard on your property! Take a look around and see what you can make use of.

Aid in Drainage

If you’re looking for an attractive way to direct your water runoff, consider incorporating rocks. Oftentimes drainage solutions are seen as unattractive but necessary. By adding rocks to your garden, you can easily and beautifully disguise your drainage system. Your garden rocks are able to handle constant contact with water, unlike many other materials. This makes them a smart material choice for the job.

Beneficial to Plants

Did you know that adding rocks to your plant beds can actually be beneficial to them? The addition of rocks to plant beds helps hold in and distribute moisture. Because of this, your plants will get the right amount of water they need and help them thrive and grow. The addition of rocks also helps the plants stand out and add some diversity to this homeowner’s very green lawn.

Fix Problem Spots


Rocks are great at being place fillers. They can help make an awkwardly shaped plant bed look purposeful and beautiful. Whilea slope might have been a challenge to navigate at first, the addition of large boulders and smaller rocks help create visual levels that make the backyard look lush and interesting.

Grass Alternative

If your yard has a hard time keeping grass alive, you should consider switching over to a rock garden. Not only are they beautiful and easy to maintain, a rock garden gives you unlimited options when it comes to looks. Choose from small pebbles, fine gravel, or statement-making boulders, all in a variety of colours and textures. We love the use of multiple rock materials in this backyard.


BBQ SEASON

Summer BBQ Tips


For any experienced grill master, the summertime is less about relaxation and more about flexing one’s skills and honing one’s craft. But for the uninitiated, “grill culture” can feel like a really exclusive club with a list of rules and rituals dating back to the paleolithic era. Whatever your level of grilling experience is, we’ve put together a list of tips and suggestions for you to take advantage of the short but savory grilling season. All that’s left for you to do is find a witty apron and you’re all set!

The Big Question


Long before the world was divided by iPhones and Androids, there was one burning question: charcoal or propane? There are many grillers who swear by charcoal and wouldn’t touch propane with a ten-foot pole. Charcoal grills have the advantage of heat, in that they can get hotter than standard gas grills without infrared burners, which means your meats will reach the fine balance or crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside with a greater accuracy than with propane. More importantly, charcoal grills give off stronger smoked flavours that their propane counterparts can’t touch. On the other hand, charcoal grills have a slightly higher risk of starting a fire and many apartment buildings do not allow them on the premises. Coals and sparks can fall through the vents or chimney starters, but with a propane grill you just turn the knob and the flame is dead.

Propane grills also have the upper hand in convenience and control: they’re easier to start, easier to clean, easier to maintain the temperature or change it quickly. Many gas grills have rotisserie sets as an option as well. More than 60% of grills sold are gas and it’s easy to see why, although they tend to be more expensive than comparable charcoal grills and there are usually more parts to repair or replace.

If you’re serious about grilling and have the time to make use of both, consider investing in gas and charcoal, or a hybrid of the two.


Tools Of The Trade


It seems that there are more grilling tools and accessories on the market these days than foods you can grill. If we boil (or broil) the list down to the essentials, it would look something like this:

Tongs and spatulas – choose utensils with long handles that allow you to keep a wide berth between yourself and the grill.
Multiple cutting boards – Make sure to use separate boards for raw meat, cooked meat and vegetables.
Meat thermometer – Especially with thicker cuts of meat, a thermometer may mean the difference between “That was the best chicken I’ve ever had!” and “Remember that time you gave the whole family food poisoning?”
Trays and serving platters – Taste is paramount, but give your guests a multi-sensory experience with fun, summery dinnerware.
Aluminium foil – For items that burn easily like fish or corn-on-the-cob, aluminum foil is non-negotiable.
BBQ scrubber – The price of any delicious home-cooked meal is the inevitable cleanup, but a heavy-duty scrubber will make sure you end your grilling adventure on the right note.
A barbecue mitt - Leather mitts, while reminiscent of everyone’s other favourite summer pastime, offer great protection from heat and flames, but silicone mitts often have stronger grip and are a breeze to clean.
Meat Preparation
The first thing to make sure of is that your meat is thawed and room-temperature before cooking. The key to cooking meat - steak in particular - is to cook it at high temperature for a short amount of time. The colder meat is when it hits the grill, the longer it will take to cook - and the tougher it will be.

Contrary to what many grillers believe, make sure to oil the meat itself and not the grill. As for seasoning, for a one-size-fits-all solution use thyme, rosemary or sage, dip it in oil and lightly brush it over whatever it is you’re cooking for a fool-proof simple marinade.

It’s incredibly important to avoid cross-contamination with any raw meats. Always store raw meat separately before cooking and use different utensils when handling and preparing. Don’t be tempted to use marinades that have been in contact with raw meat on cooked food.

Make sure to turn meat regularly to make sure it’s cooking through - charred does not equal cooked! Don’t be afraid to cutt into the meat to make sure it’s not pink on the inside and juices are running clear. If you’re feeling nervous about timing and temperature with chicken in particular, it may be a good idea to cook it in the oven before giving it that final “finish” on the barbecue, that way you’ll still get that smoky flavour without any worry.

Grilling Steak
Once again, never grill a steak from frozen - you want the raw steak to be at least room temperature by the time it hits the grill. With that being said, you still want the inside of the steak to be a little bit cool before you grill it.

You can season a steak one million and one different ways, but sometimes the simplest solution is the best, and steak often needs just a bit of Kosher sea salt and pepper to truly bring out the flavour. You would be wise to prep the steak with butter instead of oil, or use a combination of both

In order to achieve a nice outer crust and visible grill marks on a steak, cook it briefly over high heat (this is known as searing). To bring the inside to the proper temperature without charring the outside, move it to a lower heat temp until you reach the desired level of “doneness.”

Searing should take 2 minutes for a 1-inch-thick steak and 4 minutes for 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick - this includes flipping and searing times.


Grilling Hot Dogs & Hamburgers


Most packaged hot dogs come cooked, so they only need around 5-7 minutes on the grill to get that char flavour. Hamburgers should be seared over high heat for 2 minutes on each side, with 2-3 minutes added for every level of “doneness” desired.

Grilling Pork


Cook pork chops over direct heat and flip halfway through - for thicker cuts, move to indirect heat to finish cooking. Cook a tenderloin as if you were cooking a steak - searing and all - until the internal temperature reaches 145 F.


Grilling Poultry


With any kind of poultry except for whole birds, cook over direct heat flipping halfway through. Add any sauce within the last 10 minutes of cooking time to maximize the flavour.


Grilling Fish


Fish often needs more attention that other meats as it’s inclined to go dry in minutes.

For fish or shellfish you generally want to use a medium-hot grill, but if you’re cooking a whole fish, grill over low heat. Peeled shrimp, calamari, and scallops should be cooked on a hot grill. Treat tuna steaks as you would a beef steak and sear it first, then cook over medium heat.


Grilling Vegetables


While there’s less risk involved in grilling veggies as opposed to meat, there are still so many factors to take into account. One of the biggest differences between cooking veggies and meat is to NOT brush them with oil before throwing them on the grill. Cooking them dry and adding oil and seasoning afterwards guarantees they won’t go soggy or too soft. Garlic, fresh herbs, vinegar or lemon juice to gives vegetables a flavour boost prior to serving. Cook until tender and lightly charred, which should only take about 4-6 minutes.09


IN THE GUTTER

How to Clean Gutters & Eavestroughs like a Pro
 

Clean gutters and eavestroughs are necessary to maintaining a well-functioning home. While cleaning them is one of the least fun tasks associated with homeownership, failing to keep yours clear can result in a number of problems. Save yourself the headache and costs that come with these issues by taking the time now to learn how to properly clean your gutters and eavestroughs like a pro.

While your gutters and eavestroughs are located near the top of your home, we’re guessing they’re rarely top of mind. Ignoring your gutters and eaves can result in many costly and annoying home issues. For example, if you let various dirt, debris and plant matter build up in your gutters this could lead to things like mould, leaks, pests and worst of all, structural damage to your home. It’s easy to see why keeping your gutters and eaves clean and clear is so important.

Experts recommend that gutters and eavestroughs should be cleaned about twice a year, once in the Spring and again in the Fall. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. The weather and environment will greatly impact how hard your gutters and eavestroughs are working and will dictate the frequency of cleaning. If you live where there’s little rain and there are no plants near your home, once a year is may be enough. If you live in a rainy or snowy climate, near lots of trees and nature, your gutters will need to be cleaned more often.

Before we begin, make sure you feel comfortable doing this work yourself before you start. Cleaning your gutters and eavestroughs is work for those who consider themselves handy, aren’t afraid to get messy, and also don’t mind heights and working on ladders. If this doesn’t sound like you, you can always hire a professional to take care of it for you. It will be money well spent knowing a trained professional is taking care of the work, and you can sit back and relax.

Gutter & Eavestrough Cleaning Equipment

If you’re comfortable handling the job yourself, let’s get started. First, you will need the following items:

Gloves. Sharp and broken objects may have fallen into your gutters over time. To avoid scrapes and cuts, make sure you wear protective gloves.
Safety goggles. There’s a lot of gunk that builds up in there and you certainly don’t want any of it flying into your eyes.
Garden trowel. Use this or any other similarly shaped tool to scoop out debris.
Drop cloth. Lay one out below you so you and easily collect fallen debris.
Ladder. Unless you are exceptionally tall, you’ll probably need some help reaching your roof.
Spotter. Do not risk falling off; make sure you have someone helping you to hold the ladder while you work.
Garden hose. Running water will help clear blockages. Make sure your hose can reach your gutters and eavestroughs before starting.
Once you have all of your items, you can begin the process of cleaning your gutters and eavestroughs.

Gutters & Eavestroughs Cleaning Instructions

Step 1

Position your ladder at the end of your eavestroughs opposite the downspout. Climb up the ladder and have your helpful assistant/spotter hand you the garden hose. Run some water through the gutter to help see where debris collects and where blockages are.

Step 2

Using a garden trowel and your hands, scoop out all the dirt and debris onto the drop cloth below. Make sure to avoid getting the debris on your spotter.

Step 3

Once the gutter is free and clear, run some more water through it to help spot any damage or leaks that may have occurred.

Step 4

Climb down the ladder and reposition it to the next segment of your gutters and eavestroughs. Climb back up and repeat steps 1-3 again until all your gutters are clean.

While time-consuming and cumbersome, cleaning your gutters and eavestroughs is relatively easy once you get into the habit of it.


GET OFF THE FENCE


Finding the Right Fence Style for Your Yard


There are many reasons you build a fence. Sometimes it’s for separation or privacy from your neighbours, sometimes it’s to hide an unsightly view with a nicer one. No matter what your reason for installing a new fence is, there’s one major decision you have to make: what style of fence is right for your yard? Take a look at these popular fence styles to help you narrow down your final choice.

Functional

When you’re looking for a basic fence to get the job done, these fences are your best options.

Chain Link

Easily the most economical and functional of all fence styles. A chain link fence is a great option if you’re looking to keep your pets in and your neighbours’ pets out. If you’re concerned about durability or rust, chain link fences can also be installed with a weather resistant vinyl coating.

White Picket

One of the first images that comes to mind when fences are mentioned. A classic in its own right, white picket fences are loved for their simple style and durability. Traditionally made out of wood, modern picket fences are made out of PVC.

Aluminum

Metal fences look great but come with a big price tag. Depending on how big your yard is, a metal fence may end up costing more than you bargained for. Luckily there’s a much cheaper alternative, aluminum! Aluminum is one of the least expensive metals used for fences and is durable and long-lasting.

Privacy

If you’re looking for a practical way to keep your neighbours’ eyes off your backyard, privacy fences are the way to go.

Bamboo

This privacy fence may cause people to stop and stare, but can you really blame them? Not only does a bamboo privacy fence make your backyard more discrete, it also looks beautiful. Another benefit of a bamboo fence is that they’re environmentally friendly and can be easily stained. While you may not think bamboo could work for your home, you may be surprised to learn that bamboo is resistant to both excessive heat and snow! A real win-win for our unpredictable Canadian climate.

Slatted Wood

This slatted wood privacy fence not only looks great but it also helps to keep nosy neighbours out of your business. These fences are designed to allow some air and light to get through its thin horizontal slats. This way you can enjoy your privacy without feeling like you’re completely closed in.

Sheet Metal & Wood Combination

Can’t decide on one material for your fence? Why not combine a couple to create your own custom look. This fence incorporates modern and classic design, creating a completely original look. Get creative and mix and match your materials for a look that’s unique to your home.

Decorative

Sometimes the need for a fence is less practical and more aesthetic.

Vertical Garden

This option doubles as a great privacy fence while also giving you something beautiful to look at. Turn your fence into a vertical garden by incorporating crawling plants and flowers. You can also add shelves to display little succulents. If you plan on going big with your fence, you might as well put that space to good use and create something beautiful to look at.

Custom Metal Designs

If you’re looking to really wow your neighbours, a custom metal designed fence may be just what you’re looking for. Metal fences are among the more expensive, and once you add on the custom detail work, this decorative fence could end up costing a pretty penny.

Painted Concrete

Looking to make a statement without breaking the bank? Then why not paint your way to a new fence. This painted concrete fence adds a fun pop of colour to this homeowner’s lush backyard. If your current fence is in good condition but is looking a little blah, try updating it with a fresh coat of paint to give it new life. Painting an otherwise unsightly fence is also a good option if you can’t afford a completely new fence right now.


KEEP COOL


10 Easy but Critical Air Conditioning Maintenance Tips


Not only does a bit of air conditioning maintenance lower the chances of your AC unit breaking down unexpectedly during a summer heatwave, but it can also extend the life of your unit and reduce your power bill by maximizing efficiency.

If you’re not sure where to get started, simply follow the ten easy-breezy air conditioning maintenance tips listed below.

10 Air Conditioning Maintenance Tips to Try This Spring

For your own safety, remember to turn the unit off before you tackle any of these maintenance tips. There should be an exterior shut-off box located near the unit itself and you should also switch off the breaker that sends power to the unit. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to get started with these ten easy but essential AC care tips!

1. Clear Away Obstructions

Look for any debris, plants, or objects near your outdoor condensing unit that could potentially block airflow. If the condenser is unable to draw enough air into the system, there won’t be any conditioned air to circulate and cool down your home. So, remove any objects and trim back any tall grass, leaves, or weeds that might obstruct the unit.

2. Remove Debris from Inside the Unit

Debris and dirt can also collect inside the unit, decreasing efficiency and costing you more money. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much effort to clean it out and rinse it off at the start of the season.

After double checking that the power is off, unscrew and remove the fan cage from the outdoor condenser so you can access the interior. Put on a pair of garden gloves or use a vacuum to remove any leaves stuck inside the unit.

3. Gently Rinse the Coil Fins

Before putting the fan cage back over the unit, use a garden hose – and definitely not a power washer – to carefully rinse off the coil fins. This should remove any gunk that’s had a chance to build up over the past year. However, if the fins still seem dirty after a quick rinse, you can pick up a fin cleaning spray from your local home improvement store.

4. Straighten Any Damaged Fins

The coil fins can get damaged or warped over time, which can reduce efficiency. So, if you notice any bent fins while cleaning them, grab a butter knife (or similar tool) and gently straighten them out. Just be careful not to damage to the tubing inside the fins.

5. Make Sure the Unit Is Level

If the condenser unit or the pad it sits on is tilted or uneven, you might experience problems with your compressor or other components. Since the ground beneath the unit likely shifts and settles as it freezes and thaws over the years, you should do a quick annual check to make sure it’s still sitting level.

6. Clean the Evaporator Coil

It’s not just your outdoor unit that needs a bit of springtime love. The furnace unit inside your house also benefits from some light seasonal maintenance.

To clean the evaporator coil, locate and remove the coil door from the indoor unit. Then, lightly dust the coil and spray it with a no-rinse coil cleaner. Wait for the spray to foam and drip into the pan below. You can then wash out the pan with a mixture of soap, hot water, and a bit of bleach.

7. Clean or Replace the Air Filter

The air filter in your HVAC unit collects dust and allergens to prevent them from being circulated throughout your home. The dirtier the filter gets, the harder your system must work to maintain the same level of airflow – which is why it’s important to clean or replace your filter about twice a year.

If you live in a dry, dusty climate, you may need to change it more frequently. If you have a reusable filter, you won’t have to replace it as often, but you should still try to clean it out once every few months. Regardless of how often you replace it, make sure the new filter has the same airflow rating as the original.

8. Check Your Thermostat

At the start of every summer, it’s a good idea to make sure your thermostat is still working. Switch it to cooling mode, lower the temperature, and listen to make sure the AC kicks in.

If you have a particularly old thermostat, you may want to consider replacing it even if it’s still functional. There are plenty of new programmable models that allow you to set a schedule, so your AC turns on or adjusts the temperature at certain times of day.

9. Do a Test Run

After you’ve gone through the basic maintenance tasks listed above, crank up your AC and let it run for an hour or so. This isn’t just to cool you down now that your chores are done – it’s to make sure the unit is working properly. Listen to both the indoor and outdoor components for strange noises and make sure the conditioned air coming out of your vents matches the temperature set by your thermostat.

10. Report Major Issues to a Professional

Performing basic air conditioning maintenance ensures your unit runs smoothly all summer, lowers your chance of costly repairs, reduces your power bill, and extends the life of your AC unit. So, if you’re not comfortable performing any of these tasks on your own (or if you come across a problem that can’t be solved by simple maintenance), call up a professional ASAP.


EASY CARE


The 10 Easiest to Maintain Landscaping Ideas


Seeing your home at the end of a long day should be one of the most comforting experiences you have, and nothing can spoil this more than a lawn in desperate need of care.

Whether you’ve never put any effort into your home’s landscaping or it once looked magazine-ready but has gradually become unsightly over the years, many homeowners simply don’t have the time, patience or finances to devote to lawn care — and that’s totally fine!

Rock Garden

Don’t have time to water or mow the lawn? Why not skip the lawn altogether? Install a stone or rock garden for a unique look that will turn heads while requiring almost no upkeep on your part!

Hardscaping

Similar to rock gardens, hardscaping is an install-once-and-enjoy-forever solution. Simply cover your lawn with large stones and tiles for a smooth surface that’s ready hundreds of activities — except watering and regular upkeep!

Lighting

While you’ll only get the full effect at night, lighting will add sophistication and drama to any lawn. Some light designs can also function as stylish pieces on their own, improving your lawn’s aesthetic when they’re not even on.

Potted Plants

Once you install a garden bed in your lawn, you’re then obligated to keep plants growing or be stuck with an empty plot of land. With potted plants, if you find you don’t have the time to properly maintain your plants then simply remove the pot and it’s like it was never there!

Outdoor Seating

Not only will outdoor seating fill up more space on your lawn that you won’t have to upkeep, but it will probably also ensure that you’ll actually spend more time outdoors enjoying your yard.

Automatic Sprinklers

Can’t find the time to water the grass? Install automatic sprinklers and you’ll never have to think about it again.

High-Quality Soil

Despite your best efforts, it will be very difficult for plants and vegetation to survive in sub-par soil. Set your lawn up for success by using the right soil from the beginning. Words like organic and chemical-free are your friend here.

Mulch

Good-quality mulch will easily fill up space on your lawn and provide a nice contrast to whatever else is there. Besides its visual appeal, it’s one of the most practical things you can add to your lawn. Mulch will retain the moisture in your soil, meaning that you’ll have to water the area significantly less.

Perennials


Don’t want to plant new plants every year? Fill your lawn with perennials, which will keep coming back year after year. Popular options like sedum, coneflower, monarda and coreopsis are nice additions that will survive whatever winter throws its way.

Artificial Grass

If you truly want to do nothing but have a vibrant green lawn, then artificial grass is your best bet. Although it may be a polarizing option with some people in favour and others strongly opposed, if you never want to worry about watering, seeding or mowing then, by all means, go for it!


HOT AND COLD


How to Fix Uneven Temperatures in Your Home


Hey, is this thing on? Your thermostat, that is.

Anyone who’s ever had trouble heating up their house in January or struggled to cool it down in July knows the misery of dealing with uneven temperatures at home.

Whether the basement is freezing, your kitchen is always too warm, or there never seems to be enough airflow upstairs, you shouldn’t have to settle for uneven temperatures in the comfort of your own home. So, today, we’ll talk about what causes these discrepancies and how you can fix them.

What Causes Uneven Temperatures at Home?

There are a few main reasons you might feel like your thermostat isn’t doing a great job. But chances are it’s not the thermostat that’s the problem. If your rooms all seem to be different temperatures, here are the most likely culprits.

Leaky Ductwork

A leak in your ductwork doesn’t need to be huge to cause problems. Your ducts can lose up to 30% of their airflow to leaks, which means air from your AC unit or furnace might not be reaching the furthest rooms in your house.

Poor Insulation

Whether your insulation is too old or too thin, poor insulation makes it much harder to regulate temperatures throughout your home. Plus, you’re likely wasting energy and money by paying to condition air that isn’t being contained within the house.

Inefficient or Poorly Sealed Windows

It’s no secret that the sun beating down can increase the temperature in a room with lots of windows. Likewise, cold air outside can affect your temperature indoors if there are large windows in certain areas of your home. Both of these effects increase exponentially if the windows are not properly sealed.

The Wrong Size AC or Furnace System

The bigger your house, the bigger your AC unit and furnace system must be to maintain an even temperature. If your unit is the wrong size or outdated, you’ll struggle to get enough airflow to cool or heat your entire home.

5 Solutions to Fix Uneven Temperatures in Your Home

1. Make Sure Your Vents Are Clear

This is the easiest way to fix uneven temperature in your house. Move any furniture that might be blocking airflow from floor and wall vents. Check to make sure all the vents are fully open or facing a direction that maximizes airflow. You can also consider closing some of the vents in rooms that have reached your desired temperature to push conditioned air to other areas of the house.

If any vents are visibly dirty, go over them with a vacuum attachment to remove dust and debris. Always make sure your vents are clear before tackling the more time-consuming solutions suggested below – it could solve your problem and doesn’t cost anything to try.

2. Seal Any Leaks in Your Ductwork

Blocked or leaky air ducts are one of the most common causes of uneven temperatures. If your air ducts are full of dust, hair, and dirt, you can try cleaning them with a vacuum hose or have a professional take care of them for you. Likewise, if the ducts are damaged, you can patch the leaks yourself with duct tape or call a professional to get the job done properly. Note that joints and fittings are the most likely areas to spring a leak.

3. Install New Insulation

If your insulation is old, thin, or damaged, you’re likely losing conditioned air through the walls. Adding new insulation to the rooms that never seem to reach the temperature set on your thermostat can fix leaks and stabilize the temperature throughout your house. Since hot air rises, it’s particularly important to make sure the insulation in your attic (if you have one) is up to par.

4. Invest in a Zoning System

Though this is a more expensive solution, installing an electric zoning system can mitigate many of your temperature-related problems. A professional should be able to install the system for you in a single day so it won’t cause any major disruptions to your home life.

How does a zoning system work? It divides your home into separate zones – typically upstairs and downstairs – to give you more precise control over the temperatures on each floor. You can then control the different zones from your main thermostat.

5. Replace Your Old AC or Furnace Systems

If none of the above solutions fix your temperatures, you might have to replace your heating or cooling system. This is likely the case if your AC unit is ten years or older.

Installing a new heating and cooling system is pricey, but definitely worth it in the long run. Plus, most newer models are more environmentally friendly and energy efficient – which means you’ll save money on your energy bill.

You should contact an installation technician and have them visit your home to determine the type of system you need. They’ll ensure you receive a properly-sized unit and, once it’s installed, you’ll have much more even temperatures throughout your living space.


WELCOME HOME




6 Ways to Update Your Entryway


It is official, Spring has sprung and that means it is time to give your home a fresh and colourful look. Start by clearing out all of your winter belongings from your main entryway, getting rid of old and unused items, and from there you can get into the fun part. These 6 effortless Spring updates for your entryway are bound to brighten your home, as well as your mood.

Indoor:

Lamps

Whether you lack natural light in your entryway, or you are just looking to add a stylistic element, table lamps are perfect for this kind of space. One or two matching lamps with somewhat low wattage give an inviting look and can offer a pop of colour with the lampshade you choose.

Entry Rug

Want to make a good first impression with your house guests? Entry rugs are the perfect way to do so. Spring is all about fresh colours so use this element to add some to the space with fun patterns and hues. When choosing a rug, be sure that it can withstand the mud and moisture from the various pairs of rain boots coming and going.

Fresh Flowers

I cannot think of a better way to add a touch of Spring to your entryway than to add some fresh greenery and flowers. If you feel as if you don’t have enough time or inclination to take care of real plants, buy some faux ones that will give you the look you want with no commitment required.

Outdoor:

Potted Plants

With the cold weather behind us, we can start thinking about planting outdoors. Adding a beautiful potted arrangements with greenery and flowers is a sure-fire way to add some curb appeal to your entryway, and draw people in. The best looking planters are ones that combine various textures, colours, and sizes.

Fresh Coat of Paint

Your front door should be the focal point of your entryway, yet many people tend to disregard it and its potential to add curb appeal. This effortless and cost effective update has the potential to completely change the look of your home, especially if you choose a bright colour. Shades or red, yellow, and teal and perfect if you are looking to make a statement. Wanting something less in your face and more traditional? Navy blue, charcoal grey and black are also good options for front door colours.

Spring Wreath

When we think about front door wreaths we tend to think of those we put up for Christmas, but Spring wreaths are another way to dress up the front door. Boxwood wreaths are vibrant and colourful, and require absolutely no maintenance.