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Taking Care of Your AC

Taking Care of Your AC

Hot, sticky summers can be more bearable by cooling off at home with air conditioning (AC). To keep it running efficiently and properly, it’s important to observe proper maintenance. This will help you save money and increase its lifespan. With some regular attention, you can increase the efficiency of your AC unit. Here are a few ways to make sure it runs at its best for you this summer.

Professional inspection
Keep on top of maintenance and inspection. Having a professional inspect the unit will help find any problems to keep it working in perfect condition. You can also check for common problems yourself, such as weak airflow and leakages which could indicate that there’s a blockage in the unit itself or the filter is clogged.

Clean & clear
Clean the unit and keep the area around it clear. To clean the unit turn off the power and then remove the fan cage to clean away the debris from the interior by hand or with a vacuum. Next, clean the fins by using a brush attachment or a Shop-Vac to remove dirt. Then rinse the outside with a hose. Clear the area around the condenser unit by removing any debris that could be obstructing airflow from the condenser fan. Rake back leaves and cut back branches at least two feet in all directions.

No filter
Check the filter every three months and either clean or replace as needed. A clogged air filter can make the unit work harder, waste energy and shorten the compressor’s life.

By doing these easy steps you’ll keep your AC running smoothly all season.

Grass maintenance – how to have the perfect lawn

Grass maintenance – how to have the perfect lawn

The grass doesn’t have to be greener on the other (neighbour’s) side. With proper maintenance and care you can have the most glorious green grass you’ve always hoped for. There are several steps to a healthy lawn from watering, cutting, weed control, aerating and fertilizing:

Cutting Edge

Always ensure your mower blade is sharp enough. A dull blade can tear or rip the grass, rather than cut it, making your lawn more susceptible to disease and turning brown. Also the first few mowings of the season should be done on the mower’s lower (shortest) setting, allowing sun, water and nutrients to get to the base of the grass. You can then raise your mower height every one to two weeks until it’s around two and a half to three inches high.

H2-Grow

For a healthier lawn, it’s important to realize that grass should be watered deeply and less often. Watering is one of the most important factors for a beautiful healthy lawn. Water the grass three times a week early in the morning when the sun is starting to rise. Watering in the evening can leave the grass wet overnight which can lead to fungus growth.

Poking Fun

Aerating the lawn is another important step. This gives it the best chance to the receive the nutrients and water it needs to grow healthy all season long. Water the lawn one to two days prior to aeration (you can rent an aerator rather than doing it manually).  Apply grass seed to bare spots on the lawn and water the seeds to help them take root.

Fertile not Futile

Lastly, don’t forget to fertilize! Give it all the nutrients it needs. Once it’s properly aerated and seeded, an application of fertilizer will help feed the grass. With a little extra care, you’ll being enjoying the view of your green grass this summer before you know it!

Simple tips for home organization

Simple tips for home organization

An organized home is a happy home! Having everything properly organized helps the home stay clutter-free. Remember there should be a place for everything. Here’s how to get started in your home.

The first step is to tidy up the house and have everything cleaned and ready to start sorting. Go room by room and see what hasn’t been used in the last six months, as there are probably many items you can get rid of!

Create piles of garbage/recycling or to donate. Once you know what you want to keep, everything will need a proper spot. If you have something that doesn’t have a spot on a shelf or basket it will always be left out looking messy. So a very important key to organization is having proper storage solutions. You can never have too many baskets and bins. Storage has come a long way from hiding under the bed — there are stylish storage options available that complement your decor.

A great spot for extra storage is the back of your doors. This is useful especially in bathrooms, laundry rooms, and closets.

Loose papers and magazines are a very common thing that pile up in the home and add clutter. Set up a filing system and stick to it to keep piles of paper at bay. Keeping this organized will also help you know where everything is.

If you have young children then you know all about toys cluttering up the house. Choose one designated area in the corner of a room to keep their things organized in bins and shelves. It will keep your home looking better and also the kids will know what they have to play with.

Keeping the house organized can be done easily and makes a huge difference for the whole family.

Purchasing quality furniture for your home

Purchasing quality furniture for your home

Sometimes it feels like the easiest choice to go with is the most affordable option when buying furniture, but not all furniture is created equal. With a lack of durability the cheapest choice doesn’t always hold up. Here are a few things to look for to make sure you purchase long-lasting, quality pieces of furniture:

Couches
It is important to test the feel of the couch by sitting on it to first test its comfort. The springs should be hand-tied coil springs that are close together and have even resistance. If the cushions are removable, unzip a seat cover and look inside. You should see a block of foam that’s wrapped with padding and preferably with a protective inner cover. Foam-only cushions are both less durable and less comfortable. The denser the foam the longer it will last.

Dining table and chairs
Check the quality of the dining table by making sure it sits firmly on its feet and does not wobble when you apply pressure. Poor quality tables may just be screwed together or stapled and you want to make sure it has dovetailed or dowelled joints. You also will want to go with solid wood instead of veneer.

Before you buy your chairs check them out to make sure they are structurally sound by moving it around to ensure the legs, arms, and back do not sway or move. If it has a wood seat it should be all one piece, not pieces glued together.

Furniture is a big investment, so be sure you’re making the right decisions!

Keep up with your lawn & garden maintenance

Keep up with your lawn & garden maintenance

After months of diligent care, the arrival of August hopefully brings with it a feeling of satisfaction as you sit back and enjoy your lawn and garden at their peak. Whether it’s sturdy rows of fresh vegetables, a beautifully manicured lawn or a garden full of summer blooms, you’ve worked hard to get to this point.

Now, it’s all about maintenance. Here are a few chores you can tend to in August to maximize the life of your annuals, give your lawn a jumpstart for next year and get the best yield from your homegrown produce.

Lawn care:

  • Continue with regular mowing. If you usually bag and dispose of clippings, stop. Leaving clippings on the lawn will provide extra nutrients for the long winter months.
  • Check your lawn for diseases and pests and address if needed. Look for brown spots, which could be caused by yellow chinch bugs or disease.
  • Late August or early September is the best time for overseeding your lawn. This helps keep your grass healthy, lush and green. After mowing, de-thatch with a thatch rake, taking care not to damage your existing grass. Then apply a good quality grass seed, rake lightly to help seeds settle into soil and water regularly over the next week or so to help seeds germinate. 

Garden care:

  • Divide and transplant perennials like peonies, daylilies and irises late in the month, if needed.
  • Deadhead as needed to prolong the life of annuals and perennials.
  • Prune your summer flowering shrubs, climbers and trees.
  • Pick your vegetables and herbs early in the morning – this is when their sugar content is the highest.
  • Cut tops off tomato plants in late August and remove new flowers in order to divert energy to fruit already growing. 
  • Freeze excess vegetables and herbs for use all winter long.

With a little extra care in August, you can make the most of your lawn and gardens well into the fall season.

Revamp your outdoor space

Revamp your outdoor space

Nothing beats relaxing on your patio, porch or deck after a long day. With just a few months of warm, sunny weather, Canadians do like to maximize their outdoor space come the summer months. But not every home comes equipped with the perfect spot for enjoying a warm, evening breeze. Here are some tips for making the most of your home’s outdoor space, no matter what the issue!

The blank slate: If you’ve recently moved into a home with a bare backyard and your budget is tight, try making small changes every year rather than tackling the entire space in one summer.  There are tons of affordable changes you can make to create a relaxing setting. The first mission to undertake is seating, a key element to any comfy gathering spot. Shop online garage sale sites and Kijiji to find a used patio set in good condition or look for some old, aluminum folding lawn chairs that you can upcycle. Simply remove the canvas or plastic webbing and replace by weaving some colourful craft cord across the frame! You can find step-by-step instructions online. Other options for DIY, budget-friendly furniture include pallets and cement blocks, tires and cable spools. You’d be amazed at what you can create with so little!

The fishbowl: Some homeowners are reluctant to use their backyards because there is little privacy, especially in newer subdivisions lacking mature trees.  If you’re feeling a little exposed, there are many ways to make your space feel like a secluded oasis. For an immediate solution, use wood, outdoor fabric or plants to create a wall that will create a partially enclosed seating area. Thinking long term, a privacy hedge is the perfect solution for an exposed backyard.  Good options include: arborvitae, boxwood, Golden vicary privet, forsythia and French lilac.

Small and compact: Even tight spaces can be turned into a wonderful place to kick back and relax after a long day. When creating more livable space outdoors and square footage is tight, think first about how you want to utilize the space and plan accordingly. Would you like an entertainment/eating area? A spot for kids to play? A meditating garden with a pond?  You likely will only be able to choose one function for a small backyard so take the time to consider how you can get the most bang for your buck!

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