Tips on how to prepare your Ontario home for winter!

Its that time of the year again! Winter!

Preparing Ontario home for the winter can be daunting. Starting early before snowfall and taking time between jobs will make it much more manageable.

Winter preparation keeps you out of the cold, keeps money in your pocket through energy savings and keeps your home running efficiently.

Below are 6 ways to winterize your Ontario home; 

1. Maintain machines and appliances

Having your furnace and ventilation system serviced by a professional in the fall can prevent potential emergency calls when the temperature drops. 

For improved air quality throughout your home, have your ducts cleaned annually before the onset of cold weather. Outdoor air conditioning units should be covered properly and their power disconnected during the off-season. While you’re at it, cover any lawn furniture or landscaping that will be exposed to the elements.

Conduct a thorough inspection on your yard tools too – drain fuel from your lawn mower and water from your pressure washer, and complete a maintenance check on your snowblower. This will prolong their lifespan and ensure they work efficiently when you need them. If you heat your home with wood, oil or propane, be sure to top up your supply before the cold months hit.

2. Seal windows, doors, decks and concrete

If the caulking or weather stripping around your windows and doors is cracked, it can let cold air and moisture in, damaging window sills while causing mildew, mold and significant heat loss. Repair and replace what is necessary and cover older windows with a protective window film until they can be replaced.

Decks, driveways and concrete surfaces are not impermeable. Purchase proper sealants or stains that you can apply yourself before ice and snow arrives, or hire a professional. Preserving the integrity of these large surfaces will only serve you in the long run, saving you from major repairs or full replacements.

3. Outside water

Before draining your pipes, disconnecting hoses or winterizing your  sprinkler system, always turn off the outside water supply. Leaving the outside water on during winter can cause pipes to burst, leading to flooding and damage to your property. If you haven’t already, you may want to consider insulating your water pipes, especially if you leave a summer home unattended off-season or vacation for extended periods of time in the winter months.

4. Check your gutters

Make sure the gutters are in good condition and properly secured to your home. Prevent damage by clearing out debris to allow snow to melt and drain easily, and point the downspout away from your home. Water should always be moving away from your property to avoid flooding and water damage.

Gutter guards are a worthy investment, as they can help to keep debris and pests out. Clogged gutters can result in leaks that lead to mold and mildew, and act as a breeding ground for mosquitoes and bacteria.

5. Tend to the attic

Pests can cause damage to your home and your health. Safeguard your attic from birds and rodents who may move in during the winter by checking for access points and placing a screen under any vent. Contact pest control if you suspect an infestation.

To keep warm air from escaping through your roof, determine the R-Value of your current attic insulation and add more to areas not properly insulated, or completely replace the insulation if needed. For added warmth and energy efficiency, you can add insulation to your garage doors and basement.

6. Inspect your smoke detectors

This important task is not limited to just one season… Inspect your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly, replacing batteries and cleaning them when necessary. Smart home devices can be installed to continuously monitor smoke detectors (and much more), providing added peace of mind.

If some of these tasks are not within your skillset or you simply don’t have the time, hire a general contractor for the small jobs and a certified technician for specialized tasks, such as inspecting the furnace.


Top paint colours of 2022

Finally! Spring is just around the corner, GTA friends!  After two long years of pandemic-related lockdowns, there’s never been a better time to brighten up your home with a fresh coat of paint. We’ve got all the latest colour trends covered.

This year, some paint experts are recommending deep and eccentric colours to help breathe new life into the place that has substituted your office, classroom, gym and entertainment space for the last 24 months. Others are taking a softer approach, with palettes of earth tones and colours inspired by nature. 

Here are the 2022 colours of the year, according to some of the top paint companies in North America:

Pantone’s colour of the year is the bold and deep Very Peri (PANTONE 17-3938). After many months in isolation, this soft yet spirited shade of violet-blue is meant to inspire curiosity and spark creativity.

Inspired by the shades of a sunset and the beauty of the sea, Valspar’s 2022 collection of colours provides a range of timeless options that will inspire calm and serenity in any room.

In recent years, grey has all but replaced white as the neutral of choice in modern décor. In 2022, several top paint producers have crowned silvery-green shades of this staple as their top colour, representing new beginnings and hope for the future.

Benjamin Moore’s October Mist (CC-550) provides a clean, crisp backdrop for virtually any accent colours. Behr’s Breezeway (MQ3-21) is cool and fresh, meant to uplift and expand even the smallest spaces.

October Mist, Benjamin Moore
Evergreen Fog, Sherwin Williams

Sherwin-Williams’ Evergreen Fog (SW 9130) is a refreshing and versatile colour, perfect for pairing with greens, blues and greys. Laurel Leaf, a warm and floral shade, has been chosen as the first-ever paint colour of the year from the Better Homes & Gardens’ collection.

If you’re looking for something a bit edgier, you’ll appreciate Glidden’s top pick for 2022: Guacamole (PPG1121-5). This rich and soothing shade of grey-green can bring a splash of sophistication to any room in your home.


This tax season! Take advantage of Canada’s home office rebate

The percentage of Canada’s labour force that works mostly from home has increased nearly eightfold since the spring of 2020.1 If you belong to this group of people, you’ve likely noticed that while you are spending far less money on transportation costs, your monthly bills have increased. Spending an additional eight to 12 hours per day at home – with the lights on, heat up, computer plugged in and increased internet usage – has increased your monthly utility bill.

Did you know all Canadians who worked more than 50% of the time from home for a period of at least four consecutive weeks in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic can claim $2 for each day, up to a maximum of $500? If your home doubled as your office last year, be sure to take advantage of the Canada Revenue Agency’s deduction opportunity this tax season.

Who is eligible for a tax rebate? Anyone who spent at least 50 percent of their full- or part-time hours working from home for at least four consecutive weeks last year qualifies.

How does it work? There are two options for employees: The temporary flat rate method and the detailed method. 

The temporary flat rate method allows anyone who meets the eligibility criteria to easily apply for a $500 maximum rebate, provided they are not claiming any other work-related expenses on their tax return (i.e. motor vehicle expenses), and have not already been reimbursed by their employer. This method is only valid for 2020 (max. $400), 2021 and 2022. There is a simple form you can fill out to make the claim, and your employer will not have to sign off on anything.

The detailed method is more complex in that you will have to calculate the square footage of your home office and submit receipts to support your claim, including for heating, water, electricity, internet, phone, etc. Your employer will also have to complete as part of this method. However, you may be eligible for a tax return greater than $500. If you are claiming other work-related expenses, this may be the right option for you.

Consult this page of the CRA’s website to help you determine which method is best for you.

1 Statistics Canada,


Moving? Tips for packing your kitchen ahead of a move

Of all the rooms in your home, the kitchen might be the most daunting one to pack up. When it’s time to move, follow these four important steps to make packing your kitchen easy and stress-free!

  1. Get organized. Before you start packing mugs and bowls into boxes, take inventory of each cupboard and drawer in your kitchen. Use this opportunity to purge or donate any items you do not intend to take with you. Next, gather all the packing materials you will need, including packing paper or bubble wrap, strong tape, boxes in various sizes, and a marker.
  2. Set aside your essentials. You can’t leave everything to the last minute, so you’ll want to pack up the vast majority of your kitchen ahead of time and leave out only a few essential items to be used in the final days and weeks leading up to your move. Keep out one dish, bowl, mug, glass and set of cutlery per person, along with any small appliances used daily (i.e. a coffee maker). You may also need to hold back one multi-purpose pot or pan. On moving day, carefully pack all these items into one box and label it ‘essentials’.
  3. Pack it in. Place similar items together, and organize your kitchen contents by size and fragility. For example, all flat plates should be packed together with a few sheets of packing paper in between each one. The same goes for bowls. Remember, most of these items are heavy and breakable, so be sure to use strong boxes or bins with snap-tight lids, and fill in any empty space with extra paper or bubble wrap.

    Tips for boxing breakables:
    • Double-tape the bottom of any cardboard boxes to support heavy items. Place a dishtowel or some scrunched-up packing paper at the bottom of each box to provide extra support for heavy dishes.
    • Clearly label each box or bin, identifying not only the room it belongs to (kitchen) but also the contents of the box (pots and pans, mixing bowls, cutlery, etc.). You’ll be glad you did when you’re looking for your favourite coffee mug.
    • Use special glass dividers that can be inserted into packing boxes to transport your stemware safely.
    • Fill the empty space inside the boxes with dish towels and other linens in order to keep items from shifting and potentially getting damaged. They have to be packed anyway!
    • Wrap your entire cutlery tray in packing paper or table cloth and place it flat inside a box.
    • Always wrap knives separately in paper or bubble wrap first and then in a  dishtowel. Place them on their side inside the box – never pointing up. And, be sure to clearly label this box.

4. Reduce food waste.  Before you move, take stock of the contents of your fridge, freezer and pantry. In an effort to minimize waste, try to think of easy recipes you can make to use up as many of these items as possible. On a moving day, but the remaining items in a cooler with cold packs. These items should be packed last before you leave, and unpacked first when you get to your new place.


Planning to buy a home this spring?

Are you in the market for a new home in the York Region area (Richmond Hill, Aurora, Newmarket, Uxbridge, Simcoe and surrounding GTA area?

Before you start attending showings, there are several things you can do to prepare yourself and your family for one of the largest purchases you will ever make. With housing stock at historic lows and tight competition among buyers, you may be able to give yourself a competitive advantage by being prepared. 

Follow this list of tips to help you be as successful as possible when shopping for your new home.

Create a wishlist. List and rank all of the things you are looking for in a home. Consider things like the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and parking spaces you need; whether you want a home on one level or multiple; open concept or defined rooms; and your accessibility needs. Think about your priorities outside the home as well. Do you want to live near restaurants, parks, a particular school or a place of worship? Identify the things you are and are not willing to compromise on.

  1. Choose a neighbourhood. One of the biggest questions you’ll have to ask yourself is where you want to live. If affordability is a concern, as it is for many in the current market, you may need to consider areas outside your preferred location. A real estate professional can help you identify neighbourhoods that will satisfy both your wishlist and your budget.
  2. Create a budget. It’s important to assess your household’s weekly and monthly expenses before deciding what size loan you are comfortable taking on. It’s about more than simply what size mortgage you qualify for. Remember to take into consideration extra expenses associated with a home purchase, including moving costs, land transfer taxes, closing costs and potential renovations.
  3. Get pre-approved. Once you’ve identified the size of your down payment and what you’re comfortable spending on a monthly mortgage, get it in writing. A professional mortgage specialist can offer you a pre-approval letter, outlining what you can afford to offer on a property. This can eliminate the need for a financing condition in your offer, which may make your bid stand out from other potential buyers.
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