Tag Archives: Winter


Winter-ready maintenance tips

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Winter-ready maintenance tips

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is an international trade association that represents power equipment, small engine, utility vehicle, golf cart and personal transport vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. OPEI offers maintenance tips for preparing for upcoming seasonal changes.

“Doing good maintenance in the fall means that your lawn mower will be in ready when spring arrives and you are eager to tackle landscaping projects,” said Kris Kiser, President and CEO of OPEI. “As you get ready for winter, now is also the time to do snow thrower and generator maintenance. You should also review safe handling procedures, so you know how to use your equipment and are ready when snow falls.”

  1. Re-familiarize yourself with how to handle your equipment safely, along with any maintenance needs. If you lost your manual, you can usually find it online. Save a copy so that you can consult it when needed.
  2. Before storing equipment that you won’t need during the winter months, clean and service it yourself or take it to a small engine repair shop. Drain and change engine oil, then safely dispose of old oil. Service the air filter, and do other maintenance activities as directed by your service manual. Check all winter equipment to see what maintenance and repairs are required.
  3. Handle fuel properly. Unused gas that’s left in gas tanks over the winter can go stale. It can even damage your equipment. Before you store your equipment, add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank, and then run the equipment to distribute it. Turn the engine off, allow the machine to cool, then restart and run until the gas tank is empty. For winter equipment, be sure that you use the fuel that your manufacturer recommends. Most outdoor power equipment is designed, built and warranted to run on 10 per cent, or less, ethanol fuel.
  4. If your equipment has a battery, remove and fully charge it before storing. It’s important that batteries are not stored on metal shelves or touching metal objects. Store the battery on a plastic, or wood, shelf in a climate-controlled structure.
  5. Store your spring and summer equipment in a clean and dry place, such as a garage, barn or shed. Winter equipment should be kept away from the elements, but be easily accessible for use when needed. Always keep your outdoor power equipment out of the reach of children and pets.
  6. Clear the paths the are regularly used in your yard, especially during the winter months, and put away warm weather items. Clear space in your garage and basement (before the weather changes), so that you have room to store larger yard items, like patio furniture, umbrellas and summer toys.
  7. Familiarize yourself with your winter equipment and make sure that you know how to turn the machine on and off the machine, along with safe handling procedures.
  8. Buy the type of fuel that is recommended by the manufacturer no more than 30 days before required. You should use fuel with no more than 10 per cent ethanol in outdoor power equipment. Also, fuel goes stale and will need to be replaced if you have not used it within a month. Use a fuel stabilizer, if recommended by your manufacturer.
  9. Keep heavy duty, weatherproof extension cords on hand for your generator.



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How to prep your roof for Canadian winters

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How to prep your roof for Canadian winters

At the height of winter, temperatures in Canada sink below anything you’ve ever experienced. While people in the South don’t have to worry about freezing temperatures, those from Eastern Canada experience short, harsh winters. Cars don’t start and you get snowfalls almost at any time. If you want to live comfortably when the temperatures plunge, get things taken care of. More precisely, prep your roof for the cold months of the year.

Don’t ignore this very important task. This will help reduce many of the costs and dangers associated with cold winter weather. There’s no better time than now to assess the wear and tear on your roof and prepare for the cold season. Use this practical checklist. It won’t do the work for you, but it’ll remind you of all the tasks that need to be completed.

Clean the eavestroughs like a pro

The eavestrough is meant to remove the water from the roof and make sure that it drains away from the building. If until now you haven’t paid to much attention to this essential part of your home, do it now. Eavestroughs have a tendency to collect debris. If you don’t keep them clean, the dirt will fall along the foundation of the house, which can lead to cracks. In extreme situations, the debris can cause fracture and excessive deformations. If the water should happen to build up, the outcome is serious damage to the roof, siding, and trim. As you can see, inspecting and cleaning out the eavestroughs is of paramount importance.

Something to look out for when you’re concerned about the surface water collection channel is overflow. This is usually the result of a blockage which can be corrected immediately. Remove anything you can find. This includes leaves, shingle granules, and broken tree limbs. Equally important is to pay attention to the fasteners. Are they a little bit loose? Do the fasteners look damaged? If the answer is yes, you need to do something. Secure them with the help of steel screws and plastic ferrules. Simply insert the screws in the existing holes in front of the eavestroughs.

There are risks to not keeping your eyes on the eavestroughs. If you don’t monitor this important part of the home’s exterior, you’ll have to deal with clogs. As you know very well, clogs lead to leaks. Water pooling around your dwelling is one of the worst things that can happen. Needless to say, the water can damage the foundation and compromise the integrity of your home. The building is made of concrete and concrete absorbs water. You get the point. Just so you know, the damage is irreparable.

Schedule a roof inspection

Maybe you need a new roof before winter. There’s no way of knowing for sure until you have an inspection performed. A professional assessment, executed by technicians with experience in this area, will unveil if there are issues and if it’s necessary to carry out reparations. Is this really necessary? Yes, because it’s not easy to tell in what condition the roof is from the way it looks. Before the winter comes, get a professional up on the roof. The professional will look for signs of deterioration and degradation, such as rust spots, shingles which are curling or blistering, cracked and worn vent pipes, black algae stains, and the list doesn’t end here.

It’s not recommended to wait until you see serious damage to replace the roof. According to the experts at Cherry and Clark Roofing, getting a full replacement is necessary, especially if the roof is more than 10 years old. The reason for this is that it has reached the age limit. Trying to repair the roof will do more harm than good. It’s better to have a new one. A new roof means advantages for the homeowner. If you don’t see the point in this course of action, maybe these arguments will change your mind:

  • Increased property value – Adding a new roof increases the resale value of your home. A bad roof, on the other hand, won’t allow you to maintain good value.
  • ROI – Sure, a new roof will cost you a couple of dollars, but it’s totally worth it. the estimated ROI is about 70 percent.
  • Energy efficiency – Replacing your roof can increase its efficiency. The less cold gets into your home, the more comfortable it will be. Invest in a new roof and save on your heating bills.

Know when it’s time to replace your roof. Just so you know, you can have it replaced in the winter as well. It’s just that it’s a little bit more complicated, as the temperatures fall below freezing. If you do decide to install a new roof, work with licensed professionals. They will know if it’s required to use hand-sealing and how to deal with the abnormal air temperatures. You may be tempted to do this yourself, but keep in mind that it’s not a good idea.

Inspect the attic insulation

What insulation does is prevent the warm air from escaping during the winter. In the summertime, it does the exact same opposite. Attic insulation is a great place to start when making adjustments for the upcoming season. Check the insulation in the attic and determine if it’s due an upgrade. If the insulation is ineffective it doesn’t prevent heat loss from the home and neither does it allow you to control temperatures.

Ineffective insulation can lead to something that is called the chimney effect. It refers to the movement of the air inside and outside the building. It’ll increase your heating bills and make your home a lot draftier. Winter is just around the corner, so you’ll want to check the insulation and look out for signs of damage.

How are you supposed to know if there is enough insulation in your attic? Well, if you live in an older home, chances are that there are some issues. Carry out a visual inspection to be sure. If the level is below the joists, it’s necessary to add more insulation. Blanket insulation is the best choice. The R-value is somewhere between 3.1 and 3.8.

A well-maintained roof will save a great deal of trouble. So, get to work.

Cherry and Clark Roofing


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6 ways to enjoy your backyard this winter

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6 ways to enjoy your backyard this winter

We may live in the Great White North, but far too many backyard-loving Canucks eagerly countdown to 30C days before enjoying their outdoor oasis. In actuality, there’s far more outdoor time to be had before the ice melts. It’s time to stop giving the winter months the cold shoulder. Even in Canada there is a way to make the most of your exterior living space in every season.

Pulling from the National Home Show’s list of experts in everything from decor aesthetics and technology to horticulture, here are six ways to use your backyard in any of the four seasons:

Light it up

On chilly nights, investing in a chic firepit or heat lamp can help extend your outdoor time. Footpath lights and twinkling patio sting lights add additional ambiance and just enough luminesce to keep things from getting too dark on shorter days, and in the summer will help with pesky mosquitoes. But remember less is more. Don’t feel the need to over illuminate, as too many lights may ruin the view of a perfect starlit night sky.

Bring the indoors, out

For those who love to lounge but are worried about the elements damaging furniture, making the investment into water resistant fabrics for couches, cushions and throws from retailers like Andrew Richard Designs will be what will be what keeps things homey and fuss-free. You can even find fabulous, low maintenance outdoor accessories such as rugs that will help tie everything together.

And, don’t forget that your living room isn’t the only space you can take outside. Mancaves, playrooms and even office spaces now offer outdoor weather-resistant materials that will withstand the elements. Fully heated and lit, these spaces can have all the comforts of their indoor counterparts with an added outdoor wow.

Do more than grill and chill

Your senses are heightened in the cold, so what better time to throw some savoury bites on your outdoor grill and get your guest’s mouths watering. Pizza ovens and smokers are often overlooked champions for outdoor entertaining, not to mention an outdoor rated sink, fridge, dishwasher and even a beer tap like those at TA Appliance. No more need to rush back indoors when entertaining.

Call the landscape experts

Even when the greenery of your backyard is covered in snow, it may still be time to call in the experts. Landscaping can be used for so much more than giving your grass a trim. Peter Bonanno of Curb Appeal says bringing in an outdoor expert in the off season can help better determine how to best define and split up a space. Without any clutter of pre-set furniture, you’ll get a better picture of how to maximize your square-footage and determine what you want to use your backyard for. Landscaping can help define exterior areas into separate “rooms” like the inside of your home, leading to a better utilized outdoor area.

Embrace the elements

Patio enclosures are a perfect way to take in all the elements you love and close yourself off from the undesirables: wind, rain and pesky insects. From sleek retractable glass walls to more traditional screened in porches, you’ll be covered no matter what Mother Nature has in store.

Make a spa day, every day

Being outdoors shouldn’t be all about roughing it. Investing in your backyard is an investment in you. Not just a 1970s fad, hot tubs and jacuzzis have come a long way. From swim spas to saunas and so much more, you can find an option to pamper yourself that will fit in just about any backyard, and at every price point.

If you’re looking for even more inspiring home and garden ideas, and to see these backyard tips come to life, visit the National Home Show presented by ReMax and co-located with Canada Blooms from March 8 to 17 at The Enercare Centre in the Exhibition Place in Toronto.



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A Beginner’s Guide to Winter Firewood Storage

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A Beginner’s Guide to Winter Firewood Storage


If the meteorologists are right, Canadians are in for a particularly daunting winter. Reports of extreme cold and tons of snow are in the air, all destined to arrive sooner than usual. But that’s ok, we’re Canadians. No one has to tell us that winter is coming. The question is, are you properly prepared?

If you own a wood burning fireplace, winter preparation definitely means proper firewood storage. While this practice may be second nature to those who’ve owned a wood-burning fireplace for years, for those who have just purchased a home that came equipped with a wood-burner, the ins and outs of firewood storage might not be obvious.

Here are some firewood storage essentials

  1. Choose a good location

Find a good spot in your yard to stack a wood pile. This should be someplace easily accessible, approximately 30 feet away from your house. If you wish to keep a few pieces of wood outside the back door, or on a deck, make sure that those pieces are only there for a short period of time.

Wondering why it’s a good idea to keep your firewood 30 feet from the house or stored on the deck for only a short period of time? Critter interlopers! Wood piles are notorious gathering places for rodents and insects. That means, if you’ve stacked your wood pile right next to the house, if could make it easier for those little creatures to find their way into your home.

  1. Keep it off the ground

When building your wood stack, be sure to start with a good base. This can be a store-bought firewood rack or even a few palettes. This will help keep your wood nice and dry.

  1. Keep it covered

Keep your firewood nice and dry with a good cover. While a basic tarp can certainly do the job, your best bet is to opt for a firewood storage rack cover. Choose one that property fits the size rack that you have. It should also feature access zippers, that allow your wood to remain easily accessible.

  1. Don’t store wood in the garage

Yes, many people do it, especially in places where the winter can get bitterly cold. However, a word to the wise, if you bring firewood into your garage, chances are, you’re also bringing pests that can find their way into your things, your car, or even your house.

  1. Don’t store wood in the house

Have you seen those gorgeous, built-in firewood installations that are popping up on home reno shows and in magazines? Picture this, a floor to ceiling recess beside the fireplace, stylishly stacked high with wood, in all of its rustic glory. Now picture sitting in that same space one evening, by the roaring fire and imagine an army of beetles pouring out of the wood pile, or termites making their way to the other tasty areas of your home.

This same thought goes for wood stored in the basement or any other place inside your house. You can store a few pieces in a fireside log rack, but plan to use them as quickly as possible.

*Article courtesy of EiEiHome


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