If you're dreaming of sunny summer days, February is the ideal time to plan your garden, shop for accessories and get quotes on renovation and maintenance projects. Here are a few other tips to get through the rest of the winter:
The recent freeze/thaw cycles put a strain on your home's roofing system. Check interior ceilings near outside walls for staining caused by moisture damage. Watch for flooding or moisture damage in the basement. Check basement walls for signs of cracking and moisture damage. Check the hidden corners of your basement for signs of flooding.
Help your furnace do its job this month. Cleaning air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators regularly can boost the efficiency of your heating system by 10 per cent. Clean or replace the furnace filter every month. Seal air ducts with duct tape to increase the efficiency of your heating system (use metal duct tape, not the cloth kind.)
Keeping your chimney clean reduces fire risk. Minimize creosote build-up by burning dry, well-seasoned wood, burning a brisk fire for at least part of every time you use your fireplace and opening the damper a half hour before lighting the fire to warm the chimney and improve the draw.
Prevent excess humidity from causing damage in the home by keeping your humidistat below 40 per cent. Watch for condensation and damp areas on walls or ceilings.
Conserve electricity this winter - Turning your thermostat down just one degree can save you three per cent of the energy your furnace uses. Every few months, take off the cover of your thermostat and gently dust. Recommended settings are 21 degrees when you are at home relaxing, 18 degrees when you are sleeping and 16 degrees when you are at work or away.
Periodically check the gas meter at the side of the house for snow and ice buildup. Keep your walkways safe for visitors by using ice melter.
Spring is still months away and the weather outside is dreary – welcome to the February in Toronto. A great way to banish those blues is to tackle some of those decorating projects you’ve been putting off. Nothing gives your spirits a lift like a change in home décor.
Cleaning or replacing carpeting, wallpapering, painting, upgrading moulding and doors, adding new lighting, replacing kitchen cabinets, redoing a bedroom, and kitchen, bathroom and basement renovations are all good winter projects.
Why wait until spring? A major advantage to winter renovations is the availability of contractors. The winter months are slower for most contractors and by beating the spring rush, you just might find their prices a little lower as well.
If you know you want to freshen your décor, but are not sure how to go about it, consider having a consultation with an Interior Decorator. A decorator can help you assess your needs, plan your project and select colour schemes. They can take your current furnishings and mix pieces up, suggesting ways you can use existing furniture to create a new look. They can also advise on new purchases and suggest which pieces could be changed or replaced to update your décor. For just over $100, this is a wise investment that can save you countless hours of dithering and prevent costly design errors.
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