Wet, Hot Canadian Summer

Wet, Hot, Canadian Summer 

We still have a few more weeks of summer left and as the temperature continues to stay hot, we thought we would provide you with some tips for conserving water this year. These tips help the environment and your wallet!

INSIDE

  • Keep a jug of drinking water in the fridge

This simple idea can make a substantial difference to you and your family’s water intake. Nothing satisfies like a cool glass of water when you’ve been out in the hot sun, but to get your tap water as cold as you’d like it you often have to run your tap for several seconds. The water lost as you wait for it to cool down may seem inconsequential, but when you think about the amount of water you and your family consume, it starts to seem more relevant. Having a jug of water ready in your refrigerator lessens the water you waste, and means you’ve got cold water when you want it – win, win. Try it out today and see what a difference it makes!

  • Fix leaks

Dripping faucets and running toilets sometimes seem more frustrating in terms of noise pollution rather than water consumption. The “drip…drip…drip” will keep you awake at night, not with worry about your water bill, but simply because it’s annoying. However, these little leaks can make a big difference when it comes to water waste. To see the approximate extent of your leak place a bowl or bucket in your sink overnight, measure the water in it and extrapolate. Determining the severity of a toilet leak is more complex. Try putting dye in your toilet tank – use a prominent colour, like red or purple. The saturation levels in your toilet bowl the next morning should give you a clear visual of the issue.

  •  Be smart about hygiene

After an afternoon of gardening in the hot sun, what could be better than a cold glass of water and a nice, long shower? Very little, that’s what, but it’s important to be smart about your shower usage. When going about your daily hygiene routine, note that baths use a lot more water than the average 20 minute shower. We encourage homeowners to be aware of the time they and their family spend showering. Quick showers make for happy wallets.

 Tip: Some families use an egg timer to ensure that no one exceeds the 20 minute mark.

  • Upgrade your appliances

This is a more extreme solution to the issue of water waste. Yes, inefficient washers and dryers, dishwashers, and toilets use more water than their energy-efficient counterparts, but replacing them is expensive. High-end, energy efficient appliances will save you money in the long run, but are a costly investment. We advise pursuing this option only if your appliances are end-of-life.

 OUTSIDE

  • Water your lawn the smart way

Is there really a good time to water your lawn? Short answer: yes. Watering your lawn early in the morning limits the amount of water lost to evaporation. A healthy lawn typically requires watering about once a week – not every day, as popular opinion would have you believe. It’s also important that you do not drown your lawn. You should soak down to the roots, but do not douse your lawn to the point that runoff occurs. Again, a healthy lawn usually needs about 2.5 cm of water.

 Tip: Remember, during times of extreme heat and low rainfall, a brown lawn is normal; it does not mean that your lawn is dead. Lush, green lawns are arguably more aesthetically pleasing, but it’s important to be savvy with your water usage.

  • Be aware of the weather

If there is a forecast for rain, put off watering your lawn or washing your car. When possible, let Mother Nature be your sprinkler. This approach will help in limiting water usage and over-watering of your lawn. It also means one less chore to worry about! You can also collect rainwater in a barrel and use it to water your lawn and garden. If you decide to do this, it’s important to keep your barrel covered when it’s not raining to make sure not to attract insects or other pests.

 Reminder: If you’re washing your car at home, please be smart and considerate about the way you dispose of your used, soapy water. This guide from the City of Toronto will give you the information you need
  • Fix leaks (again!)

Leaking garden hoses and hose connections are a major contributor to water loss outside the home. This is an issue that often gets overlooked as you only encounter it when you use your sprinkler or hose, which is usually on a weekly basis. However, we encourage homeowners to address this problem as soon as they can to curb their water loss. Typical fixes usually involve replacing the hose or sprinkler. Check to see where exactly the leak is coming from to determine your best course of action.

  • Use a broom not the hose

When cleaning off your patio or driveway, a broom can be just as effective as the hose. Instead of using a lot of water to rinse off the dirt and debris, save the water and sweep everything away. This may seem like common sense, but it can make a significant difference when it comes to the amount of water you use.

We hope these tips help you and your family to enjoy summertime activities without breaking the bank or being irresponsible with your water usage. For more summer maintenance advice connect with us on Twitter orFacebook.

Article provided by Carson Dunlop

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Protecting Your Home Against Termites

Spring’s arrival brings a smile to most, but warmer weather can also bring homeowner concerns in the form of unwanted guests. With the start of the spring housing market, we reached out to our Specialty Services partner, Orkin Canada, to help educate clients about termites and why it is necessary to be aware of these damaging insects.

One of the major things termites require to thrive is warm temperatures. As the temperature rises, it is important to recognize the conditions conducive to termite infestation and how you can protect your property. Dan Dawson, National Marketing Manager at Orkin Canada explains the magnitude of the threat posed by termites: “Subterranean termites typically cause the most structural damage and are most prevalent in the southern coastal areas, the dry climate of the Okanagan areas of British Columbia, southern Ontario, southern Quebec, and the Maritime provinces.”

Enjoy our interview with Dan below to learn more about termites and how to protect your home.

Carson Dunlop (CD): What are the most common neighborhoods for termites in the Greater Toronto Area?

Dan Dawson (DD): “Termites can be found throughout the GTA. Though each species of termite thrives in different climates and eats different types of food, all termites require four things to survive:

  1. Food
  2. Moisture
  3. Shelter
  4. Optimal Temperatures

These conditions can be found in all buildings, regardless of their construction type. However, older homes typically face increased termite threats as wood rot is more common in them.”

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CD: What simple steps can homeowners take to prevent termite infestation?
 
DD: “Known as the ‘silent destroyer’, termites can be very difficult to detect. Like other pests, the best way to prevent a termite infestation is to reduce access to food and water sources. For termites, this means eliminating moisture and removing wood sources, including wood piles and mulch close to the home. Rotted wood is by far the most common way for termites to gain entry into the home. The soft, pulpy material gives termites easy access to both food and moisture. Tips to keep in mind include:
 
  • Remove all wood debris in contact with the soil, and store any firewood away from the house and off the ground
  • Fix any leaks in pipes and drains. Damp wood creates ideal conditions for a healthy, large and robust termite colony
  • Make sure the soil around the structure is sloped away from the home and drainage from the roof doesn’t collect near the property
  • Dense vegetation should never grow against siding or the foundation of a home
  • High humidity in the crawl space can lead to termite problems. Insulate or put down a moisture barrier to help reduce humidity and condensation
  • Replace mulch that is close to the home with gravel. If mulch is used around the home, make certain to keep the mulch layer as shallow as possible. Thick mulch beds create soil moisture conditions that encourage termite activity

It is highly recommended to schedule an annual inspection with a licensed pest control provider to ensure that termites don’t invade your home.”

CD: What are some signs that you might have termites in your home?
 
DD: “Termites are very hard to detect compared to other common pests. With the exception of annual swarms, when reproductive termites move to start to new colonies, they live entirely out of sight, chewing their way silently through the home’s infrastructure. However, there are some signs of termite presence that can be found in and around the home, including:
 
  • Hollow-sounding wood: If wood sounds hollow when tapped, it may be because termites are eating the wood from the inside out.
  • “Swarmers” (a group of winged insects) or discarded wings: Reproductive termites called swarmers take flight to create new colonies. Subterranean termites typically swarm in the spring. A swarm of insects or groups of discarded wings is typically a sign of termite presence.
  • Mud tubes on walls: Termites construct mud tubes to travel between their home in the soil and the wood that they feed on. These tubes also provide moisture while they search for food.
  • Frass: Termites produce wood-colored droppings as they eat their way through wood rot. This is another sign of their presence.”

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CD: What is the average cost and process for a termite extermination?
 
DD: “Termites can cause the most structural damage of any insect and, based on the extent of damage, remediation costs can run well into the thousands of dollars. Once termites find their way into a structure, they can be very difficult to control, so preventative steps and measures are recommended. Treatment methods vary based on the species of termite, size of infestation, and other factors. The required chemicals for termite treatment are not for sale to the public and must be used under strictly controlled conditions. Your licensed pest management professional can set up the best corrective steps if you have a termite infestation.”
 
As a professional Home Inspection consulting company, our aim is to help homeowners stay safe, warm and dry. We believe that knowledge is the best tool when it comes to protecting one of the biggest investments of your life – your home. Our recently launched Specialty Services program helps us to provide our clients and real estate partners with fast, easy and cost-effective access to qualified specialists, like Orkin Canada, all with a single call. To learn more about the Carson Dunlop Specialty Services program, please click here, or call 800.268.7070 to schedule a termite inspection.
 
Article Provided by Carson Dunlop