Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

Be sure to check the roof for damaged shingles! 
As we move from winter into spring, a number of home maintenance issues can arise. To help you through this process, we have compiled a checklist of things you should do after spring has sprung.
  • Have a qualified HVAC inspector give your air-conditioning a tune-up. This will ensure your system is running efficiently, saving you money on your home energy bills in the long run.
  • On your own, take a peek at your air conditioning unit’s condensation drain hose – it can become clogged and may require more expensive repair if not dealt with immediately. Use a wet-vac to suck out the blockage.
  • Inspect your water heater and check to see if there are any leaks. Be careful, as leaking water can be extremely hot. If leaks or rust are found around the bottom of the tank, strongly consider replacing it. If no problems are found, drain off a dishpan full of water from the clean-out valve at the bottom of the tank to remove any sediment that may have built up.
  • Check your basement for foundation water leaks. If it smells musty, there’s a chance you could have some minor basement flooding. Check around the walls and look for moisture.
  • Inspect the foundation for cracks, splits or other leaks.
  • Clean the gutters and eavestroughs around your home of any debris that may have collected over the winter. Ensure that your downspouts are directing water away from the house, to ensure that you won’t experience any spring-time flooding.
  • Inspect your deck for any warping, stains or discolouration. If you find any, you may want to reseal the deck. Drop a bit of water on the deck – if the water beads, you probably don’t need to reapply.
  • Clear your lawn of winter debris and leaves. In your garden, till the leaves into the soil for extra nutrients.
  • Inspect your roof for any damaged shingles and replace as needed.
 Taking these tips into consideration, your home will be ready for whatever summer brings! 

Monday, 13 February 2012

The Importance of Business Interruption Insurance

As a business owner, you probably have some form of property insurance or another. Ensuring that your business is protected against fire, flood and other perils is simply part of doing business -- you wouldn't want to leave your life's biggest investment exposed to such risks!

What many people tend to forget, however, is that claims are not processed overnight. It may take weeks before your place of business is repaired and fully operational again. In the meantime, you could lose thousands of dollars in profit and may also have to move to a temporary location to resume business, which will incur rental and moving costs. Finally, there may be additional expenses you will be paying while your business is closed down, such as property tax and mortgage payments.

Business Interruption Insurance covers you for all of these. You will be reimbursed for the lost profits and the additional expenses you incur moving to a temporary location, and any other expenses you continue to pay to maintain your damaged or destroyed property. This is not only important from a fiscal perspective, but also in terms of customer service. If your place of business is destroyed, you will want to ensure that you don't lose any customers in the interim -- knowing that a move to a temporary location will be covered means you can continue to serve your customers without fearing a serious financial loss for doing so.

As an intelligent business owner, Business Interruption Insurance should certainly be on your radar. For some businesses, a week or two of lost profits can be a serious detriment to the overall bottom line. Give yourself the peace of mind you deserve by investing in Business Interruption Insurance!

Friday, 3 February 2012

How To Save On Home Energy Bills During Winter

During winter, home energy bills can skyrocket. As the temperature outside decreases, your home heating system has to compensate by consuming more energy to heat your home. Thankfully, there are a number of ways you can save on your home heating bills this winter.

  • Get a programmable thermostat. You can save yourself a lot of money by down the heat when you're away from home. Have the programmable thermostat turn the heat down when you leave the home and turn it up just before you return. 
  • Change furnace filters. Be sure you change your furnace filter every 1-3 months. 
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents. Compact fluorescents use considerably less power and are well worth switching over to. 
  • Don't keep devices plugged in. Toasters and laptops, for instance, use power when they're plugged in. Unplug them after usage. Or, to make life easier, plug a few devices into a power bar
  • Fix leaks. Assuming your walls are well insulated, the biggest source of heat loss from your home will be from windows and doors. Check for leaks around your door's and window's by holding a lit incense stick near the caulking. The smoke will tell you whether there's a leak or not! Fix the leaks with caulking or weatherstripping. 
  • Plastic film your windows. Install plastic film on the inside of your windows to reduce heat loss. Special film for your windows can be purchased at most home supply stores. 
With these tips in mind, you can reduce your energy consumption, and -- most importantly -- your energy bill this winter!