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Make the Most Out of Your Fireplace This Winter

Make the Most Out of Your Fireplace This Winter...

For a lot of us, the winter brings temperatures down below a bearable temperature. Though it is true that the holidays bring joy, the weather outside can certainly be frightful! What’s even more frightening is the cost of gas combating the sub zero temperatures outside. That’s why many people have begun to take a step back and consider another alternative. We find ourselves heading back to the era of simple or complex fireplaces. Though fireplaces can be both beautiful and cost effective, many people forget the maintenance and safety precautions that must go into it. It doesn’t matter how much money you save if you end up burning your house down to the ground. Let’s take a look at how to coexist with your fireplace in a safe and sound manner. Safety First Never Leave a Fire Unattended With Children   If there are children in the house, it is very unsafe to leave a fire unattended. It is normally not recommended to leave a fire without supervision burning, but when it comes to children the possibilities of disasters increase exponentially. Even if adults are close by, it is not recommended to allow children to play near the radius of the blaze.  If you have young children and safety is a concern, consider getting a wall mounted fireplace, there are many styling electric models available on the market.   Prevent the Smoke   Before you even begin to make the fire, it is best to make sure that the room won’t fill up with smoke. To make sure the smoke will go up the chimney, begin by opening the damper and then opening a window only a few inches. Light a match and blow it out quickly to see whether the smoke is going up the chimney or not.  Proper ventilation is vital when using an indoor wood burning fireplace.   The Dos and Don’ts Basics: Always use Fireplace tools to handle burning logs. You should never use a vacuum cleaner to clean up ashes as the lives coals you may accidentally suck up could cause disaster. A nonflammable rug put in front of the fireplace proves most effective against sparks that could melt and/or damage the flooring or carpet in front of it. Get a certified chimney sweep to inspect and clean the chimney at least once a year or after roughly 80 fires. Have him show you how to inspect yourself to allow you to get a better grasp on chimney maintenance. Investing in a chimney cover makes both your fireplace and chimney safer. This will prevent most debris like leaves and trees from getting inside your chimney. Most importantly it will keep pests and other animals safely out of your home. Save Time and Money An important factor in keeping your chimney running at maximum capacity is to consider the type of wood you are burning. Dry wood burns best and tends to be the most effective for keeping your fireplace and chimney clean. Wet wood causes the majority of creosote buildup and can create more smoke than is safe. If you’re going to use any firewood, kiln dried firewood “smokes” the best. Not only does it possess a low moisture content that is guaranteed to burn, but it is free of insects, bugs and molds. This wood is energy efficient as well, producing up to 35% more heat than seasoned wood. Enjoy the Weather Though winter has many drawbacks and plenty of people suffer, don’t...
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Easy HVAC Tips To Save You Money This Summer

Easy HVAC Tips To Save You Money This Summer...

This summer has been one of the hottest on record in the United States.  With the heat comes rising cooling costs.  If you have an aging HVAC unit or you’re someone who doesn’t do regular maintenance on your unit, you may find your energy costs going through the roof. There are some simple things homeowners can do to keep their HVAC unit running efficiently, keeping your home cool while at the same time keeping costs in check. Below are 4 areas that you should check on a routine basis to ensure an efficient HVAC unit and to help keep the repair man at bay. 1 – Change filter monthly.  This easy tip alone will lead to better airflow and reduced strain on your unit and only costs a few dollars a month to keep running in top shape.  Think of it like changing the oil in your car, it’s something that needs to be done on a regular basis. 2 – Clean your air vents.  You may find over time that the vents get clogged with a buildup of dust.  Keeping these vents clean will allow air to flow better and keep the cool air circulating through your home. 3 – Weeding around your condenser unit.  Keeping the area around your outdoor condenser unit will keep air flow into the unit optimal.  Sometimes weeds and other debris build up around the unit, restricting airflow into the HVAC system and causing undo strain on your system, in addition to poor air flow. 4 – Clean condenser coils.  Sometime during lawn maintenance, a buildup of dead grass and dirt can build up on the coils, leading to poorer performance and reduced output for your HVAC unit.  Also, household pets may find your condenser unit the perfect spot to pee on (I’m looking at you dogs!).  Try and keep your outside unit free of these things to keep air flow and performance optimal. George Lloyd, of Lloyd HVAC, a Toronto based HVAC company, says that many times issues with HVAC units result from a lack of regular maintenance and care.  He says homeowners should keep a regular inspection and maintenance schedule for their HVAC unit to keep it running smoothly and to minimize costly repairs. Below is an infographic that shows a nice visual of some easy things homeowners can do to keep they HVAC unit running at peak...
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What You Need To Know Before Refinancing Your Mortgage

What You Need To Know Before Refinancing Your Mortgage...

Stuck in a mortgage you’re not happy with? Did you get your mortgage several years ago and you’re looking at those sexy low interest rates with envy? It’s easy, refinance that old bloated mortgage for with a nice shiny new one!  Many homeowners think that once they go through the odious process of getting a mortgage that it’s an experience they’d like to not have to repeat.  But believe it or not, refinancing isn’t nearly as difficult or painful as getting a traditional mortgage. Rates are at a historic low in both the U.S. and Canada.  If you’re short on time in researching the lowest rate, a good mortgage broker can help you through the process of refinancing your home as they work with dozens, sometimes hundreds of different lenders. Since you already have the home and hopefully have equity in it, the home itself can be used as an asset in determining whether you can refinance or not.  Having an asset like that is a lot easier than going for your first mortgage. Some of the things you’ll need to understand before you start the process are: Rates can vary, wildly.  Make sure that you spend a lot of time doing your homework and researching lenders.  Multiple credit inquiries won’t hurt your credit score as long as they are done in a short period of time….you don’t get penalized for shopping around. Get lots of quotes.  Go to your local bank, a mortgage broker or an online lender.  Look at the rates and use an online calculator to determine how much it will cost you each month as well as for the life of the loan. Understand all of the fees.  Make sure you know all of the fees involved, including any penalties that might occur from your current lender if you pay it off early.  Some lenders may try and squeeze in random fees at time of signing so make sure they are transparent about all fees involved. Refinancing your existing mortgage can save you thousands over the life of the loan.  Despite being a headache, the current rates may make it worthwhile to start looking at your refinancing options. Check out this infographic from Mortgage Choice, it’ll help you understand the refinance process and help you decide if refinancing your mortgage is right for...
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Home Equity Line of Credit – Helpful Home Equity Financing Guidelines

Home Equity Line of Credit – Helpful Home Equity Financing Guidelines...

We have  all been there: life bargains you a bad hand, and suddenly you need money you don’t have.  One of the best places to borrow money from is your own home.  Getting a home equity line of credit, or HELOC, not only gives you rates much lower than a bank, the interest may be tax deductible. Just what is a Home Equity Financing? For example, some home equity financing could credit settlements just against the passion due on the loan, leaving the borrowed amount to be paid in complete at the end of the financing duration. Other financing may just have a larger-than-usual settlement, called a balloon payment, as the last repayment. Nonetheless, it may be useful to note that the passion you pay is usually tax-deductible, suggesting that you will obtain it back on your tax returns; if managed appropriately, this “reward” money can stabilize the influence of a big last settlement on the financing. In comparison, taking out a second home mortgage on your house will offer you the borrowed cash at one time. Home mortgages usually have dealt with passion prices, which may be set somewhat more than the initial fees on a home equity financing. On the brilliant side, though, the prices and settlements on a 2nd home mortgage will not transform, whereas the changeable rate of interest of a home equity loan might imply a payment that improves steadily over the years. Looking for a Home Equity Financing Looking for a home equity line of credit is like searching for nearly anything else: great deals of different loan providers supply great deals of different options. In order to make the choice that will finest serve your needs, you should be readied to get and contrast quotes from lots of various loan providers. The majority of home equity payday loans have changeable interest prices, which are figured out by an index. When comparing home equity payday loans, you ought to understand the index that each loan utilizes to establish your rate of interest. Variable passion prices likewise have a married couple of caps that are essential for you to know, as they restrict how much and exactly how quickly the passion rate can rise. The routine cap limitations how much the fee can alter at one factor in time, and the life time cap limits just how much the rate can alter over the life of the financing. It’s likewise vital to recognize whether the price you have actually been estimated is a discounted initial rate; if so, make sure you understand just how long the initial period is, and just what the rate will climb to when it mores than. If you are reviewing a home equity line of credit to a second mortgage, understand the differences in between them. Largely, when contrasting the prices of both, recognize that the APR priced estimate to you on the 2nd mortgage will certainly be the only cost of the loan, whereas home equity loans also have account fees and other fees that are not built into the APR Utilizing Your Home Equity Line of Credit Wisely “Because the home is most likely to be a consumer’s largest property, lots of homeowners use their credit report lines only for significant things such as education and learning, residence improvements, or clinical bills and not for day-to-day costs.”. This declaration, made by the Federal Reserve Board in their file, “When Your Residence is on the Line: Exactly what...
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4 Alternatives to a Traditional Divorce

4 Alternatives to a Traditional Divorce

All men and women marry because of love, at least they are supposed to,  but as time passes numerous things tend to happen which might show the two persons that they might not be as compatible with each other as they initially though. Divorce has become a very efficient way to perform this kind of separation, however there are different types of divorce alternatives that you need to take into account. Do it yourself divorce In this type of divorce, people tend to take the matters into their own hands and take care of all the legal and financial aspects themselves. However, you should always know that divorce is a complicated thing to go through and this is why mistakes can easily be made. The only situation in which a do it yourself divorce does make sense is that when a couple doesn’t have any assets to be divided and no kids, as this way the divorce is very easy to make. However, when kids and assets get involved, things tend to be much harder to solve and that is the main reason why using an attorney comes in handy in this regard. Mediation This is a widely used technique that involves the usage of a divorce mediator of a neutral nature in order to help both the parties to come to an agreement. The mediator can be a lawyer or a simple person that has a lot of knowledge in regards to family law and divorce. The mediator needs to remain neutral yet still provide both parties with unbiased information. Of course, it’s still recommended to have an attorney by your side during the divorce process if there are items to be shared. Mediation can be quite good, as it provides the means to make the divorce easier on children, brings a better post-divorce relationship with the ex and it even reduces expenses. On the other hand, mediation can be a little tricky because if the negotiations fail it will be a waste of money, not to mention that it can lead to legal complications and even fuel emotions. Collaborative divorce This collaborative divorce implies that the couple will try to work out the settlement without having to go to court. The attorneys will advise each member of the couple to negotiate the best possible settlement in this situation. Even If this type of divorce is successful, you will still need to encounter a judge in order for him to sight the agreement. The downside here is that the collaborative divorce can be quite hard to deal with if there are financial complications within the family. Litigated divorce This is by far one of the most common types of divorce. The settlement can be reached in court or before that, in fact numerous couples tend to solve the problem before going to the court. Finding the best child custody and settling the financial problems can be quite hard to perform as well, but thanks to the presence of attorneys into the mix things can be solved much faster, and this is why many people consider this as being the traditional way to get a divorce. As you can see, there are multiple types of divorce an each one is suitable to different categories. It’s all up to the couple to decide which is the best way, but all of the aforementioned ones have been widely used for decades now to settle a divorce...
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Health Benefits of a Hot Tub

Health Benefits of a Hot Tub

Hot tubs have always been seen as a relaxing and fun thing to put in your backyard, but have you ever considered all of the health benefits that are associated with their use?  Plus, with the recent popularity of swim hot tubs, you can even have a smaller sized swimming pool open to you during the winter months.  If you’re considering whether you should purchase one of the many swim spas available for home use, it’s a beneficial purchase even if it’s solely for the health benefits. Stress and Sleep Stress is one of the most dangerous difficulties that we go through on a daily basis.  Whether you are stressed about work or if you are stressed about the weeds that are growing in your garden, stress is everywhere.  Using a swim spa when you’re stressed will help to reduce any tension in your body.  This will help to not only relax your mind, but to also ensure that you are able to sleep well at night.  The more sleep that you receive will help your body to heal itself. Joint and Muscle Pain Think about all of the heating ointments and heating pads that you can buy from the store that help with muscle and joint pain.  Instead of having to purchase these products on a daily basis, you can easily slip into your hot tub when your body is sore.  There are generally a numerous amount of jets in a hot tub that will work with your body to relieve any pressure that may be on your nerves.  Plus, the buoyancy of the water helps to take any pressure off of your joints.  James Whitmore of FIT Physiotherapy in Newmarket Ontario says that a swim spa if a therapeutic and effective means to speed recovery after suffering joint or muscle injuries.As per a study conducted by The Arthritis Foundation, hot tubs and other forms of heat therapy have proven to be quite advantageous for reducing pain and stiffness in patients suffering from arthritis. Year-Round Fun As previously mentioned, home owners are provided with the opportunity to purchase regular hot tubs or more recently, swim hot tubs.  If you live in an area where there is a colder climate, imagine having the opportunity to swim in your backyard during the winter and the summer.  Swim hot tubs are perfect for individuals or families who enjoy spending time outdoors during the colder months but do not enjoy the feeling of being cold.  Perfect for not only relaxation but also for working out, swim hot tubs are incredibly...
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How To Choose The Right Winter Cover For Your Pool

How To Choose The Right Winter Cover For Your Pool...

Your pool is an amazing place during the summer, as you get to unwind and relax after a hard day at work. However, as time passes and winter sets in, leaving your pool uncovered can lead to a lot of problems, and that’s why you need to make sure that the water temperature will maintain the same. It’s also crucial to ensure that debris, leaves or twigs are kept far away from your pool, and the best way to do this is to purchase a winter pool cover. Such a cover can also help prevent your animals or kids from accidentally falling into the pool, especially during the winter, as this can have dramatic consequences. Pool covers are created out of different materials, and each one varies quite a lot. Some are made out of polypropylene, others out of weave mesh. In addition, the size and shape also depends quite a lot, some pool covers can be custom made if you want them to exactly match the size of your pool. Other pool covers even add some extra material that can cover accessories or certain areas near the pool you want to protect. Leaf Net There are different types of pool covers, but one of the most widely used is the Leaf Net. This type of cover was specifically designed to prevent leaves and debris from entering your pool, but it does leave enough space for water to pass through. Usually a leaf cover shouldn’t be used by itself, so a lot of people combining it with other types of nets. These nets are made from polycarbonate or polyethylene most of the time, and they really help increase the life of your primary pool cover. The debris is very easy to collect and dispose using this pool cover, so it’s recommended that you get on. Solid Cover A good idea is to purchase a solid pool cover, as this type of cover helps quite a lot when it comes to preventing algae from entering your pool. Most of these solid covers have a drain port which is very useful indeed. Furthermore, this type of cover works for above ground pools. Simply by adding an inflatable air pillow under the cover you will have the opportunity to collect and gather the debris much faster and easier, which is great. Safety Cover Just like the name suggest, this particular type of cover was specifically designed to prevent drowning and other hazards that might happen accidentally. This cover is usually anchored in place and secured so no matter what happens, it will keep the person/animal walking on it safe. There are various materials that can be used for this type of cover, so in order to choose the best one you will need to check out the type of decking that surrounds the pool. A lot of pool manufacturers actually create their own safety covers, which is really cool, as you can usually get them in a bundle with the pool. Solar Cover This type of cover doesn’t really protect the pool, instead it helps the water heat and keep a certain temperature which can be quite hard, especially during the summer when the temperature varies quite a lot. Not only that, but it also helps in reducing the amount of water that is lost during the evaporation process. The downside for this type of cover is that it doesn’t keep debris from falling into the pool, so you must use an...
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Using Physiotherapy to Treat Sports Injuries

Using Physiotherapy to Treat Sports Injuries...

Sports are physically intense activities that will take out body to its limits most of the time, and accidents might happen from time to time because of that. Physiotherapy for sports injuries is a practice that is specifically focused on the prevention, treatment and evaluation of such injuries. Prevention is a very important side of the sports physiotherapy because it’s better to make sure that an accident doesn’t happen in the first place or, if it does happen, then the athlete will know immediately how to handle the problem. This particular practice includes areas such as cardiovascular fitness, recommendations on selecting the right equipment, pre-participation screenings and so on. Sports physical therapists have a lot of experience when it comes to evaluating chronic and active injuries. They need to make sure that the injury is evaluated correctly because sometimes sports injuries require a surgical approach and the right diagnostic needs to be put into place. If everything is done correctly then a return to activity will happen much faster. Treatment and rehab for all the neuromusculoskeletal injuries is very important, because only this way the sport therapists can ensure that the athlete will be back to his normal life. This particular period basically requires the athlete to manage any disorders that appeared during the injury and come back to the state the body was before the accident, or at least the best shape possible in this situation. Educating the athletes and their parents is one of the best ways that physiotherapists use to prevent just about any type of injuries. Being able to know everything regarding the way the muscles and other parts of the body work is critical for an athlete as he can find out exactly what needs to be done in any type of situation, and that is very important. Allied with health professionals, sports physiotherapists can show the importance of a good diet and good workouts for an athlete. Sports physiotherapists can also help athletes with performance enhancement. This is not applied for those athletes that have suffered an injury, instead it’s suitable for those that are still active and want to be even better at what they do. First of all, the physiotherapist will evaluate the cardiovascular-pulmonary and the neuromusculosckeletal systems in order to find out the strengths and weaknesses. The results can show different areas of deficiency where the athlete needs to work on. These problems can easily be solved as long as the person undergoes a training regime suitable for that specific deficiency. Since the medical science is always having research breakthroughs, a sports physiotherapist always needs to know the results of the latest research or, if possible, even take a part in such programs. O As you can see, physiotherapy for sports injuries can easily improve or save lives, that’s why it’s really important to be implemented properly, because results won’t stop to...