The Edmonton Real Estate Blog, Market Information, Advise & Opinion
September 25, 2013
Replacing ceiling lights is easy and affordable
Replacing Your Edmonton Home Ceiling Lights is Easy and Affordable
Changing your ceiling lights is a great way to improve the look and feel of your space and you have more options than ever before in terms of selection and price. Most projects will only take a little bit of your time, even if you're a DIY novice, and they really do make a big impact on the level of comfort people will experience in your Edmonton home.
Changing out an old ceiling light to a new one is easy and only takes seconds. Underneath the cover, at the base of the lamp will be a couple of screws that hold it to the ceiling. After turning off power to the room, unscrew the unit and detach the wires from it. Once you do this, you can simply reattach the new ceiling light, restore the power and enjoy a whole new effect in the room. It really is that simple for most installations, so the only thing to seriously consider is the look you want your light to give off.
One option is to also install a dimmer switch. This is also a simple procedure, and the switch is very inexpensive and can be found in almost any lighting accessory retail location as well as online at your favorite dealer. This will allow you to control the brightness of your ceiling lights, and is perfect for areas such as the dining room, study or even the bedroom.
Chandeliers are a great way to accentuate rooms that have high ceilings, but they can also be small enough to fit over any existing fixture. Whether you are looking to use a chandelier as the focal centerpiece in an entryway or a small accessory for the dining room, there are plenty of models to choose from, and the designs can range from contemporary to classical. The only thing to remember is that your ceiling will need to support the weight of the chandelier, so it is very important to know what those limits are before installing a new piece. You may need to reinforce the mounts or consider an alternative that is less heavy.
If you do install a chandelier in a room it's also worth considering placing a large mirror on one wall, this will give the impression of greater space in the room and will accentuate the impact of the chandelier.
Ceiling fans are also exceptionally beautiful and can add a lot to a room, especially kitchens and bedrooms. Most come with or without light fixtures, and you have the option of choosing a simple fan or one with a light attachment. A double benefit of having circulating air as well as light is that it can make a stuffy or crowded room much more pleasant to be in. Just as easy to install as replacement ceiling lights, it can be a simple weekend project that most people can do in about an hour. Finding the right one will depend on need, space and personal taste.
Whether looking for ceiling lights or fans, there is a wide selection to choose from for prices you won't find in traditional stores. A trusted online retailer should be a one stop resource for not only products, but for service and coaching as well. If you have a project, you can find a lighting accessory retailer that can help you to transform any space into an inviting place. Just give yourself some extra time for your order to be shipped.
Styles don't last forever, and changing ceiling lights is easier and less expensive than most people think. From simply replacing a cover to switching to a whole new light entirely, there are more options than ever to transform that dull room into a luminescent space that is warm, inviting and comfortable. Whether you want to install ceiling fans or chandelier lights, there are many design options to choose from, and knowing what the effect is that you want to create will help you to make satisfying choices.
If you have further Edmonton ceiling lights replacement tips, please share below or thru my contact page.
September 24, 2013
Common outdoor lighting mistakes and their solutions
Common Outdoor Lighting Mistakes and Their Solutions
Upgrading your Edmonton home's exterior lighting is a surefire way to increase your home's curb appeal and resell value. And a well-lit front lawn can also deter would-be burglars. Most of the outdoor lighting of one's home adds a welcoming touch for family and guests. Here you can learn about outdoor lighting trends, common lighting problems and their solutions, and things to consider when selecting outdoor lighting fixtures.
First and foremost, it's important to give a considerable amount of thought to the placement of your outdoor lights. Just as you would not place several lighting fixtures like table lamps or wall sconces in a single area of your living room, you don't want to place exterior fixtures too close together either. This is a common problem when integrating pathlights into your outdoor lighting solution. Too many pathlights, too close together can make your walkway look more like the runway at an airport. Instead of placing the lights directly opposite one another on either end, try a staggered approach. The light will flow less harshly.
Another common mistake in selecting outdoor lights is in finding the proper lighting direction, or limiting "light pollution". Outdoor lights should not obstruct one's vision or interfere with one being able to see the entire landscape of a yard or area clearly. On a similar note, the lights should not shine directly into the road or an Edmonton neighboring yard either. To avoid such issues, look for spotlights with glare guards.
Just as it would be boring to find the same exact lamp in every room of one's home, it's boring to see the same outdoor lighting fixture repeated throughout the yard. It can make the home appear institutional as opposed to personal. Use a wide variety of fixtures to light your yard; it will enhance the character and charm of your home.
Be sure to balance your home's exterior lighting. Another common mistake in outdoor lighting placement, is to inadvertently divide the yard by placing too many lights in one area and too little in another. You want to evenly distribute light throughout the canvas of your home. You don't want your yard looking like a parking lot.
Finally, like most things in Edmonton home décor, less is more. Outdoor lighting should call attention to the beautiful and unique features of your home. It should not be intrusive. Proper outdoor lighting calls attention to various parts of your home's exterior, not the entire surface area. Over illumination is never attractive indoor or outdoor.
If you have further outdoor lighting tips, please share below or thru my contact page.
September 17, 2013
Simple solutions to common landscaping issues
Simple Solutions to Common Edmonton Landscaping Issues
There's one in every Edmonton neighborhood - the house with the bright green grass, perfectly trimmed shrubs and flowers in full bloom. As you look at your own lawn, plagued with weeds and sparse patches, you wonder how your neighbor is able to achieve such a beautiful outdoor space. The secret isn't in how much time or money can be invested, but rather taking the right steps at the right time to eliminate lawn and garden problems.
Here are some common landscaping issues and the easy steps any homeowner can take to correct them:
Sparse, brown lawn
If your Edmonton lawn is looking sparse and brown, the likely culprit is thatch. Thatch is the layer of dead grass, leaves and stems that block water and nutrients from reaching the roots. To revive your grass, you need to remove this layer and prime your lawn for strong regrowth.
A dethatcher, also known as a power rake, is the easiest way to get rid of the layer of thatch. Then you'll want to use an aerator to poke small holes in the dirt so that nutrients, air and moisture can get to the roots. These two pieces of equipment are critical for repairing sparse, brown lawn, but purchasing them outright is costly. Consider renting them from your local rental store.
No single method will eliminate all weeds, so the best action really depends on what types of weeds you have. Here are some tips on the most common:
- Dandelion - It's imperative to dig out dandelions before they go to seed. You can also spot treat dandelions with a broadleaf weed killer. If you do this, make sure your product does not kill grass.
- White clover - This weed can spread quickly on undernourished lawn. Combat by watering regularly and applying nitrogen fertilizer. You can also use a broadleaf weed killer for spot treatments.
- Crab grass - If it's early in the season, consider applying a pre-emergence crabgrass herbicide. Because crabgrass thrives on shorter lawns, set your mower to a higher setting, about 2.5 to 3 inches.
Overgrown hedges, shrubs and trees
Meticulously trimmed hedges and trees make a yard look perfectly manicured. The tools of the trade will make the job a breeze, but you don't need to purchase a tree trimmer or chainsaw. You can easily rent those at your local rental store for a fraction of the cost of buying them.
The most important consideration when operating a chain saw or trimmer is safety. When you rent, you get personalized training on the equipment. Tell the rental professional what you want to accomplish and they will help you find the equipment you need to get the job done, while providing you with tips on how to use the equipment and safety.
When you're done trimming and clearing out your area, renting a chipper can make cleanup quick and easy.
Wilting, dead plants
No matter where you live in Edmonton, if your outdoor plants start to wilt or turn brown, it's likely that they need water. Sounds simple enough, but it's also easy for plant novices to overwater - which can kill your plants and flowers just as easily as under watering them.
Start by always watering during the early morning or late evening hours. Watering during peak sun hours will cause most of the water to evaporate and little will reach the plants' roots. Research the recommended watering schedule for your lawn and plants so that you can create a weekly watering schedule. Some plants may only need watering once a week, while others may need it daily. You can also ask your local nursery for planting and watering recommendations in your area.
Nothing is more frustrating than the Edmonton homeowner who spends lots of time on yard work only to wake up one day to a striped lawn. If you have healthy lines of green grass that alternate with yellow or brown stripes, likely the cause is uneven fertilizer application.
The trick to fertilizing evenly with a drop spreader is overlapping wheel tracks by an inch or two. This will help ensure no area gets missed and any potential for stripes is eliminated.
If you have further Edmonton landscaping tips, please share below or thru my contact page.
September 11, 2013
Going green has never been more high tech
Going Green has Never Been More High Tech
Think going green will cost too much or take too much time? You might be surprised at how much time, energy and money you can save by making a few changes in your home to make it more energy efficient. And don't worry that it will be too much work because some new high tech tools are making it easier than ever.
Take stock of the situation
Do you really know how much energy you use to run your household? Think about everything you run or turn on during the day. Consider your heating and cooling systems, appliances and electronics. The average single-family household racks up more than $2,000 in energy bills each year. Home electricity monitors make it easy to see how much energy you use and what you spend on it. A device called The Energy Detective can monitor the energy your home consumes in real time and the exact amount it's costing you. You can chart 10 years' worth of data and even review your information remotely. The basic model costs around $200.
Hit the energy hogs
Now, that you know how much energy you're really using at your Edmonton home, it's time to hit those energy hogs hard. Start with making your heating and cooling systems more efficient. So-called "smart" thermostats are now available and are easy to use. The Nest thermostat is one such device that actually learns from your family's behavior. Soon after installation, it will automatically begin to lower or increase the temperature when you go to bed or leave the house. It even allows you to look at its daily energy use and access the thermostat from your computer or smartphone.
There are also other intuitive devices to help you reduce your energy consumption at home. A power strip for sale by Belkin will shut down power going to a series of electronics by simply turning off one of the components. This is a great solution for home offices and entertainment centers. And here's another smart tip: For those items at your Edmonton home which run off batteries, invest in reusable ones. They will cost a little more than regular batteries but more than make up for that cost in the long run. A gadget that will easily help you make the switch is the Energizer Universal Charger. This device will charge AA, AAA, C, D, and 9V batteries, so you also reduce clutter by only having one charger for all of your battery charging needs.
Put it all together
Once you have the information you need, you can easily put it all together to analyze. EnergyHub has a product that works as a command center for your home. You can access all your energy information in one place so you can control your thermostat, lights and appliances from a central home location or remotely. General Electric is also rolling out a hub system called the Nucleus that does the same thing and is compatible with smart meters.
Knowledge is power! When you know how much energy your Edmonton home is using, it's easier to come up with strategies to lower your energy usage and lower your utility bills. It's another important way to do your part without wasting your energy.
If you have further energy saving tips for your Edmonton home, please share below or thru my contact page.
September 11, 2013
Finding your path to a secure financial future
Finding your Path to a Secure Financial Future
Trying to find a secure savings path through market swings is similar to being on a safari. Imagine that you've just embarked on the adventure of a lifetime: a safari in Kenya. Now, imagine again if you had to choose between two ways of enjoying this adventure:
• Walking along a bush path in single file with an armed guide at either end, ready to protect you against any wild creature that might pounce from behind the high grasses. Of course your guides are well-trained, but there's always the chance that they might miss the shot.
• Up high off the ground in a large caravan truck with an open roof, safe and sound from any of the dangerous animals. Now you can enjoy the ride, secure in the knowledge that you'll be back to camp in one piece with a camera full of memories.
The second option is best, don't you think? And shouldn't your savings plan be just as secure? The simple answer is yes. While he admits that market fluctuations can make it hard to stay the course, it is possible to achieve the future of your dreams. These ups and downs can be compared to the peaks and valleys of a mountain range. At least that's what market yields look like nowadays when you plot them on a graph. We all want to reach the top of the mountain and have different ways of getting there. Some of us like to tackle the steep slope without a harness or ropes. It'll be an exciting climb for sure, but the fall could be pretty brutal. This is why more cautious climbers will set solid anchors at regular intervals as they make their way to the top. So if they lose their footing, their fall will only be as far as the last anchor. They've built in peace of mind and security.
This analogy is particularly true for those looking to securely grow their retirement nest-egg. One solution that promises predictable returns is a term investment sold by insurance companies. Its key features are:
- Guaranteed minimum return or principal guaranteed at maturity
- Risk-free exposure to securities of well-established companies from the healthcare, financials and consumer staples sectors
- Higher return potential than fixed-interest term investments
- No portfolio management and no management fees
- Principal is 100% guaranteed at death
- Eligible for RRSPs, LIRAs, RRIFs, TFSAs and non-registered savings
For more information about this market-linked investment, speak with your financial advisor.
If you have further Edmonton financial tips, please share below or thru my contact page.
September 3, 2013
Start with nutrition under the vegetable garden
Start with Nutrition Under Your Edmonton Home Vegetable Garden
Making a vegetable garden is more than just creating a planting bed in the ground and then picking up plants or seeds. Starting with the right soil is key to healthy crops and a beautiful garden environment.
Growing vegetables in a raised bed is the easiest way to create this perfect soil, as it is full of nutrients and the healthy microbes that your plants need to grow. However, raised beds may not be practical for your space. Here are a few easy tips to help you create your own backyard plot:
First, pick a sunny spot in the lawn where the grass is healthiest. This is an excellent indicator that the soil and the location are right for vegetables. Next, aggressively turn the soil with a pitchfork, removing the largest clumps of grass and weeds as you go.
Some of this plant material is important to keep in the soil because it will add nutrients as it naturally composts under the ground. To ensure that the weeds don't continue to grow, cover your plant bed with seven layers of newspaper. This will naturally break down in time with the elements, but until then, it acts as a fantastic weed barrier. Cover the newspaper with three inches of compost or manure rich top soil and then follow that up with two inches of chemical-free mulch. By creating this 'layer cake' on top of the existing soil you are effectively preparing the soil for spring planting. Leave your vegetable plot alone for at least three months, preferably during the rainiest part of spring.
Once the warm weather arrives, it's time to cultivate. Most vegetable roots grow 6 to 8 inches deep and this is how deep you need to turn your soil. The mulch, newspaper and compost are all the amendments you're going to need to grow big and healthy plants. You need to remember to keep this soil clean by staying away from chemical pesticides and toxic insecticides. Change your gas and oil power tools for battery-operated alternatives.
One of the most popular gardening tools for this year is a battery-operated cultivator from Black & Decker, the 20V MAX* Lithium option. Not only is it easy to use, but the company offers a recycling program for the batteries. Since plants act as a sponge, absorbing chemicals and toxins as they grow, keeping batteries out of landfill is a no-brainer. Who wants any of that on the dinner table?
If you have further Edmonton vegetable garden tips, please share below or thru my contact page.