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Home insulation – why it’s important and how to hire the right contractor

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Home insulation – why it’s important and how to hire the right contractor

When it comes to making a few adjustments around the house, you might have a wide variety of projects to consider. However, if your home isn’t insulated, or your current insulation is faulty and old, this should be the home improvement to cover first.

Considering the fact that reinsulating a house does come with certain financial demands, you should first be certain that this is the type of investment actually worth making. Why is home insulation so important? The following details will provide you with a bit of clarity on the matter, helping you understand how you can benefit from new and qualitative insulation, as well as how you should handle the contractor hire process:

Lower utility costs

Because cost-saving opportunities should always be taken into account, one of the first things to know about insulating your house is it will allow you to lower your monthly utility bills. Because the temperature in your home can be more easily maintained to optimal levels, you won’t longer have to spend as much as you did until now on heating and cooling.

Electricity tariffs are known to increase from time to time, especially during winter. With the right type of insulation materials, however, you can keep your home warm, while using less energy, and thus you will notice a decrease in your monthly utility bills.

Reduced your carbon footprint

If you’ve been focusing lately on pursuing a more environmentally conscious lifestyle, you should acknowledge the importance of insulating your home from an eco-friendly perspective. This type of project gives you the chance to reduce your carbon footprint, being a green action more homeowners are considering.

A house that isn’t properly insulated can lose about 20 to 30 per cent of its energy, which means a higher environmental impact. By resorting to a spray foam insulation contractor, you can lower your energy consumption, without compromising on your comfort. Less energy means reduced carbon footprint and air conditioning unit chemicals released into the environment. This is an easy way to green up your household and lifestyle at the same time.

Increased comfort

During harsh days of winter, even if you turn your heating system to its maximum capacity, if your home isn’t properly insulated, drafts will still appeal, affecting the indoor temperature and your comfort. Keeping your home sufficiently warm becomes much easier when the walls and ceilings are adequately insulating. You will no longer be wasting energy, and the temperature inside your house will always be well-balanced. Insulation will be a key factor in ensuring comfortable temperature during both summer and winter, allowing you to rely less frequently on your heating and cooling systems.

Higher home value

While insulating your entire house means spending a bit of money, this type of project is worth every dime. Besides long-term cost saving advantages, insulating your property can also boost your home’s value. What does this mean? If you ever intend on selling your house, buyers will be willing to pay more if you have your insulation in check. The returns of your investment will then pay off more than you may have anticipated. Homebuyers are always searching for appealing home improvements, and this is one of the areas they usually focus on.

Soundproofing

If you live in a crowded neighbourhood with a lot of traffic, perhaps, noise pollution might be an issue. Insulation could also be useful in absorbing sounds and turning your household into a quieter environment. When your walls are insulated, less noise will be heard indoors, which can lead to a higher quality of life.

Selecting a home insulation company

Now that you know the main benefits of home insulation, maybe you’ll decide to carry out this type of project in the near future. This means finding a contractor who can help you tackle this home improvement. Since many companies provide the same level of service, when you are comparing offers and trying to make a choice, look into these few details first:

  • License and accreditation
    • Always work with a licensed and accredited firm. The contractor should have the training and qualifications necessary to provide this type of service. Holding a license is the first sign of professionalism, so make sure to ask about it from the start.
  • Experience
    • An experienced contractor will be able to perform the job better than a novice. If you want to be 100 per cent sure the project is being handled by the book, and the outcomes are of high-standard quality, hire someone who has been providing this type of service for a long time. Companies with industry longevity are also usually more reliable.
  • Workmanship and product warranty
    • If something goes wrong with the project, if you notice any damage shortly after completion or have complaints in regards to insulation material quality, a warranty will cover any potential extra costs that may arise. Hire a contractor that can offer workmanship and product warranty.
  • Reputation
    • Do some research on the contractor. See if you come across any complaints from their past clients, or if they have a good reputation in the industry. References will help you decide whether you’re making the right choice here.
  • Insurance
    • If an accident happens on your property while the insulation project is being carried out, you probably don’t want to be the one in charge of covering for potential costs. Collaborate with a contract that is insured, to keep yourself protected against any unforeseen expenses.

Insulating your house comes as a priority home project to invest in, considering the range of benefits it brings to the table. The factors underlined in this article clearly show why you should consider pursuing this type of home improvement. Analyze these few factors and you will be able to reach a conclusion. Remember that in order for the results of your insulation project to meet your standards, you have to work with an experienced and qualified contractor. Use the tips to hire the best services for your needs.

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Condo Finance

Finance: Condo Is The New Starter Home

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Finance: Condo Is The New Starter Home

Home prices in the GTA have been consistently rising.

Currently the cost of a single detached home in Toronto, for example, is more than $1.8 million, a price tag far out of reach for many families.

With home prices up significantly many couples with kids are now looking towards condominium living as a more convenient and economical option. No doubt condo living has perks that many families recognized years ago, but rising home prices have encouraged others, who may not have seen it as an option, to think beyond the typical detached home as a place to raise kids.

According to the latest data from Statistics Canada one out of eight Canadian dwellings were condos. More than 42 per cent of them were occupied by couples, many with children.

Family friendly condos are available across the country at every price point. Many feature dedicated play rooms, kid friendly swimming pools and easy access to childcare. Raising kids is expensive, and the added bonus of the cost effectiveness of communal living is attractive to many couples with kids. Here are some things to consider when making condo living a choice for your family.

Smaller space

A condo is not going to have the same elbow room as a detached home. It may also not have direct access to greenspace, like a backyard. But smaller space means a lot less to furnish and that is a money saver. Pick a condo that has easy access to parks and libraries to keep kids occupied and outside. When searching for your new home ask if the condo has any dedicated places for kids to play. This can make your small space feel much bigger once you move in.

Lower utility costs

One of the biggest money savers is your utility costs, which will be much lower than if you lived in a detached home. Hydro, water and gas will all be less. Condominium living comes with a monthly maintenance fee that should be figured into your overall budget. This often covers the cost of maintaining the communal areas, paying for concierge service and upkeep of the parking lot. This is no different than maintenance costs on a home that owners would pay out of pocket.

Community

One of the most overlooked aspects of condominium living for families is the sense of community. Living in close quarters means you meet your neighbours regularly, in the hallway, in the lobby, in the communal fitness and entertainment areas. This can make it easy for parents to arrange play dates with other parents, find out what family friendly events are happening and even arrange your own family focused parties. There is an intrinsic benefit in knowing there are people just like you in such close proximity.

Greater security

Condo living can give families a sense of security that a single detached home may not. Most condos have a security system that you need to ring before you can get it. Many have a security guard or concierge around the clock. These features means no one who doesn’t live in the building or is their guest can get access inside. This in and of itself can create a sense of security, not only for your kids but also for you. Also, when you take a long family holiday, as many do over the Christmas break, you know there is always someone keeping a watchful eye on your home.

Living in a condominium can be a huge money saver for families. It’s not for everyone. But with more builders focusing on larger units with kid friendly spaces, it is becoming a possible option for many families with kids.

RUBINA AHMED-HAQ is a journalist and personal finance expert. She is HPG’s Finance Editor. She regularly appears on CBC Radio and TV. She is a contributor on CTV Your Morning and Global Toronto. She has a BA from York University, received her post graduate journalism diploma from Humber College and has completed the CSC.

Follow her on Twitter @alwayssavemoney.

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