Happy Holidays!

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The holiday season: a time for family, friends, reflection.

I love Christmas, sure there can be frenzied schedules, it’s always a challenge to fit everyone in, but the pace of days slows, the world seems to take a deep pause December 25th (I love that!), there’s food, drink, merriment and time for gratitude. Many of us have so much to be thankful for, particularly in Canada.

The first image here is my living room of the past few years, a holiday picture perfect house, with real fire, in Dundas Valley/Hamilton. My return home to Toronto presents a different way to enjoy the holiday, out in my city, with my fellow urban dwellers, like visits to my neighbourhood Toronto Christmas Market at Distillery.

It’s what I love about big city living, the energy of diverse groups coming together, and, my space being a fraction of what it once was, we’re enjoying a mini-me Christmas at home and a bigger celebration on the streets of Toronto  🙂

Happy Holidays and all the best for 2017

 

brad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Looms Large

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Yes, I know here in this part of Ontario we’ve skipped through winter with nary a frigid temperature and very little snow but still, it’s Ontario, spring always looms large. Personally I have projects and purging inside that I’ve managed to avoid, but any day now we’ll be outside looking at gardens, yards and exteriors—what’s on your hit list? Here are five tips to get you in the mood—’in the mood’ wrong expression perhaps, does anyone’s mood take them to spring maintenance? we’ll just say tips to get you started 🙂

Your roof: take a look, did you lose shingles over the winter, given our extremes of temperature in Ontario what state are the shingles in, do you see cracking, buckling, are shingles losing their granules? I had several shingles blow off, my roofer replaced for free ’cause I will need a new roof in the next few years and he wants to quote on the job; if your shingles are looking a little long in the tooth you might want to start budgeting for replacement. And don’t forget the flashing around the chimney, any vents, if it appears to be failing have a pro take a look, faulty flashing will allow moisture to penetrate.

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Your concrete/foundation: Winter can be brutal, that old freeze/thaw cycle, a very small crack will let moisture in and then…a bigger crack. My home is concrete block foundation and is solid, two years ago I had a new sidewalk installed and though our winter here wasn’t terrible I have a crack to deal with. The sidewalk of course is obvious, do take a walk around your home to inspect the foundation, if you have a concrete porch take a look at the slab, I have a small repair to do on a corner of mine.

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Gutters: Ideally you cleaned them after all the leaves fell last fall but take a look to see if they’re clear before we get those April showers, or downpours. Beyond being clean though check to see if securely attached, any corrosion, if you had snow where you are any build up of ice dams may have loosened your trough.

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Damage possibly due to clogged gutter/trapped water/freeze/thaw cycle or ice damming

Central air unit: Conventional wisdom was to cover over the unit for the winter but that’s no longer recommended. If you do, and I still do, cover the unit early winter and remove late winter/earliest spring, like now. The unit benefits from airflow, you don’t want to trap all that moisture inside. I use the cover that came with my new unit several years ago, it still allows some airflow; sealing the unit, wrapping it in heavy plastic is not recommended. As you do your furnace, have your A/C unit inspected in spring, if your unit is newer your warranty will likely depend on an annual inspection as mine does.

Windows: Yes they likely all need a good cleaning, inside and out. Also, check your screen situation (DIY screen replacement is really quite easy), any caulking needed?  And if, like me, you know you have some outdoor painting around windows on your to-do list this spring your walk around will give you a good idea of just how much time you might be investing…

 

Happy Spring from core!