Your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) system keeps your home breathing – consider it the lungs of your house. A strong, durable HVAC system keeps your home nice and healthy throughout the year. Homeowners play a big role when it comes to maintaining healthier homes, and it’s important to understand what’s in your mechanical room and how it’s affecting your indoor air.


The furnace (or utility) room is my favourite room in the house. It is the lifeline to your home and it often gets no attention. All the ductwork in your home is like the veins in your body. Cycling air throughout the house is the most important thing. If you unbalance the system, that will create a problem. 80% of all homes have poor indoor air quality. If you have spent your money correctly and invested in a house built by a good builder, you are protecting the health of your family. So what’s in your furnace room..


Heat Recovery Ventilator


A healthy home is one that has features that get rid of excess moisture. Although opening up windows is a good option for air exchange, that’s not practical during the winter. That’s why an HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilator) is just plain smart, and is part of the building code in most areas. It brings in air from outside, conditions it to the temperature inside the house and then feeds it throughout your home. That means a constant supply of fresh air. On top of that, an HRV is also wired to the furnace so it actually REMOVES stale air.


Some HRVs have a humidistat which should be installed in a central spot in the house. It’s usually set at around 35-40%. If the humidistat detects that there is too much moisture in the air, it starts up the HRV. How simple is that?


When it’s running well, your HRV can recover up to 80 per cent of the heat from the outgoing stream — which can go a long way to reducing your ventilation and space-heating costs. Now that’s smart.


Your Furnace Is The Heart Of Your Home


Think of your furnace as the beating heart of your home. Ducts are the blood vessels that carry heat to all parts of your home, and return cold air back to the furnace to be reheated. It’s important that you don’t restrict the airflow from your furnace through your home. A clogged furnace filter, furniture blocking cold air returns and heat registers will all help do that. A lot of people think that filters were created to help clean your air, but they were actually made to protect your furnace.


NOTE: A clean furnace filter will let your furnace work more efficiently, and work to protect the unit against circulating dust. If your filter is clogged, that means your furnace fan has to work overtime to pull in air through the filter. You’ll be making your furnace work overtime to compensate – and that means more energy output every month causing wear and tear on the unit more quickly, and a higher energy bill at the end of the month.


Managing Moisture In The Air with an ERV


ERVs manage the moisture in the air that’s being pulled into your home. Some builders install an ERV instead of an HRV. In the winter, your ERV will transfer humidity from the air being extracted from your house, keeping your humidity levels relatively stable. During the hot summer months, the opposite happens, where moisture is pulled out from the incoming air — which reduces the work your air conditioner and dehumidifier have to do to keep things even.


I love ERVs for Canadian winters, when the air coming into your house is dry. In extreme climates like ours, an ERV can take some of the load off your HVAC system.


Maintenance Tip: Pay attention to your HVAC filters. I change mine every three months – but during the summer and winter months (when our systems tend to work harder), I change them monthly. A clean filter really does make a difference in how well your unit works. That means money saved on your monthly energy bills.


By Mike Holmes

Mike’s Advice / Home Safety & Maintenance

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The temps are starting to drop; the smell of wood smoke is in the air. When temps are more chilly than warm, that's when veteran homeowners know it's time to do these six things if they want to avoid grief or over spending:

1. Buy appliances - Manufacturers bring out their latest models during the fall, and store owners offer big sales on appliances they want to move out - like last year's most popular dishwasher. So, the fall months are a great time to buy.

2. Switch the direction of ceiling fans - Most have a switch to allow the ceiling fan blades to rotate either clockwise or counter clockwise - one way pushes air down to create a nice breeze and the other sucks air up, helping to distribute the heat.

3. Clean windows - Clean off all the bugs, dust, and grime from your windows while the weather is still warm enough to do so.

4. Schedule a heating unit check-up - To ensure your family will be able to feel their toes all winter, schedule a service for your heating unit. As temperatures drop, service companies get busier.
 
5. Get a chimney sweep to inspect the fireplace - A professional chimney sweep will ensure your wood-burning fireplace burns more efficiently and will help prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning during the winter.

6. Insulate exposed pipes - The most at-risk pipes are often those in unheated areas such as attics, crawl spaces, and garages.

Source: Stacy Free

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Thinking about replacing your floors? Especially if you have carpet, the choice seems clear: Hardwood floors are preferred by home buyers and renters across the country. But consider carefully whether hardwood floors are the right choice for every room in your home—and what type you might want to install for the best resale value.

 

As you weigh investing in your floors, you’ll need to evaluate your budget, the preferences and traditions in your community and your own personal taste. Some people only want to step on soft carpet, while others prefer hard surfaces. In some warm climates, ceramic tile flooring rivals hardwood in popularity. In more traditional markets, tastes still lean toward oak floors, but some owners of more contemporary homes are choosing to stain their wood floors in different colors. Other trends in hardwood include wider planks, the use of reclaimed wood or hand-scraped wood that looks antique and exotic species of wood such as hickory or walnut.

 

Homeowners on a tight budget also may want to look into laminate flooring, which offers the look of wood at a lower price point. Keep in mind that people with allergies typically want a hard surface that won’t hold dust. You should also think about the care and maintenance required for your floor surface since you’ll need to take care of it for years. Hardwood flooring lasts longer than carpet, can be easier to keep clean and can be refinished. In the end, though, the decision about whether to install hardwood or carpeting in a bedroom should be based on your personal preference, at least if you intend to stay in the home for years.

Hardwood Flooring: It's What Buyers Want

According to HGTV, the top request of home buyers and renters when looking for a home is hardwood flooring. In fact, a study of homebuyer preferences using data from the National Association of REALTORS® found that 54% of home buyers were willing to pay more for a home with hardwood flooring.

 

Installing hardwood flooring can cost between $9 and $12 per square foot, compared with about $3 to $5 per square foot for carpet—so some homeowners opt to install hardwood only in some rooms rather than throughout their home. However, carpet typically needs to be replaced if it becomes stained or worn out. Good quality carpet can last about 10 to 15 years, while hardwood can last forever. The return on investment for installing hardwood will vary according to your market and other factors, but hardwood flooring can often help your home sell faster.

Reasons to Install Carpet

While many buyers and homeowners prefer hardwood flooring throughout their home, some people prefer carpet in the bedrooms—because they like a softer surface. When you live in a two or three-story home, carpet also helps reduce noise. If you would still prefer hardwood floors throughout your home, you could use put area rugs in your bedroom. 

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Homeowners risk coughing up big bucks if they're also smokers, a survey of Ontario real estate agents and brokers suggests. The survey suggested that smoking in the home can reduce the value of a resale property by up to 29 per cent.

 

The study was sponsored by Pfizer Canada, a pharmaceutical company. It estimates a potential loss of up to $107,000 on a home in Ontario, where the average price is currently around $369,000. The study showed that an overwhelming majority of 401 real estate agents and brokers surveyed agreed that it is more difficult to sell a home where owners have smoked.

 

1/4 unwilling to buy a smoker's home

More than half of respondents — 56 per cent — said most buyers are less likely to purchase a home where people have smoked, and 27 per cent said most buyers are actually unwilling to buy a home where people have smoked.

In Canada, an estimated 15 per cent of homes have at least one regular smoker. The study found that almost half, or 44 per cent of respondents, said smoking in the home affects resale value. Of these, one in three said smoking in the home may lower the value by 10 to 19 per cent and a further one in three said it may lower the value by 20 to 29 per cent.

 

"Smoking has a profound impact on how appealing a home is to a prospective buyer," said David Visentin, a real estate agent and co-host of the W Network's Love it or List program. "It stains walls and carpets, and leaves a smell that can be hard to eliminate. Many prospective buyers are really put off by homes that have been smoked in and they can be very challenging to sell."

 

Do people feel any different in British Columbia? Probably not..

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