First Time Home Buyers can use RRSP to purchase or build a home

Expansion of the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) To provide first-time homebuyers with greater access to their RRSP savings to purchase or build a home, the Government of Canada has increased the Home Buyers’ Plan withdrawal limit to $25,000 from $20,000 per person for withdrawals made after January 27, 2009. To obtain more information on the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit and the Home Buyers’ Plan, call 1-800-O-Canada or visit the Canada Revenue Agency website at www.cra.gc.ca. Looking for More Homebuying Information? When it comes to buying your home, nothing is more valuable than peace of mind. That’s why for more than 60 years, CMHC has shared a wealth of knowledge and housing expertise to contribute to a positive homeownership experience for Canadians. Browse through our wealth of homebuying information. You’ll find everything you need, from homebuying videos, to mortgage calculators, to home hunting worksheets. CMHC also provides mortgage loan insurance that enables you to buy a home with a minimum down payment of 5%” — with interest rates comparable to those with a 20% down payment. Obtain a 10% premium refund and extend the amortization period without a premium surcharge when using CMHC-insured financing to purchase an eligible energy-efficient home. This can add up to savings of $1,688 for a typical $250,000 mortgage with a 5% down payment amortized over 35 years. Ask your mortgage professional about...

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Carbon Monoxide – CMHC

Carbon Monoxide The presence of carbon monoxide (CO) in our homes is dangerous. So, how can you protect your family from carbon monoxide? How do you choose the right CO detector for your home? The first step is to make sure that carbon monoxide never enters your home. The second step is to install at least one CO detector in your home. This About Your House answers often-asked questions about carbon monoxide to help you make the right decision to make your home safe. What Is Carbon Monoxide? Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless and odourless gas. Because you can’t see, taste or smell it, it can affect you or your family before you even know it’s there. Even at low levels of exposure, carbon monoxide can cause serious health problems. CO is harmful because it will rapidly accumulate in the blood, depleting the ability of blood to carry oxygen.1 Where Does Carbon Monoxide Come From? Carbon monoxide is a common byproduct of the combustion (burning) of fossil fuels. Most fuel-burning equipment (natural gas, propane and oil), if properly installed and maintained, produces little CO. The byproducts of combustion are usually safely vented to the outside. However, if anything disrupts the venting process (such as a bird’s nest in the chimney) or results in a shortage of oxygen to the burner, CO production can quickly rise to dangerous levels. The burning of wood, kerosene, coal and charcoal produces CO. Gasoline engines produce CO. CO production is at a maximum during the startup of a cold engine. Starting, then idling, your car or gas mower in the garage can be dangerous. The fumes that contain CO can enter a home through connecting walls or doorways and can quickly rise to dangerous levels. How Can I Eliminate Sources of Carbon Monoxide in My Home? The most important step you can take to eliminate the possibility of CO poisoning is to ensure that CO never has an opportunity to enter your home. This is your first line of defence. Review this list to minimize the risk of CO in your home. Have a qualified technician inspect and clean fuel-burning appliances yearly, before the cold weather sets in, to ensure they are in good working order. Have a qualified technician inspect chimneys and vents yearly for cracks, blockages (e.g., bird’s nests, twigs, old mortar), corrosion or holes. Check fireplaces for closed or blocked flues. Check with a qualified technician before enclosing heating and hot water equipment in a smaller room, to ensure there is adequate air for proper combustion. If you have a powerful kitchen exhaust fan or downdraft cooktop, have a qualified technician check that its operation does not pull fumes back...

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Removing Ice on Roofs

Removing Ice on Roofs The 1998 Ice Storm The ice storm that hit eastern Canada in January, 1998 was a laboratory for concentrated research into severe ice accumulation on roofs. Removing ice on roofs describes some of the techniques developed from the research for dealing with extensive roof icing and ice dam problems. Please note: Some of these techniques are for skilled tradespeople only. No ice problem on your roof is serious enough to risk broken bones — or worse. The balance between removing ice and damaging the roof Thick ice is hard to remove.You must decide if trying to remove it will cause more damage than leaving it on the roof. Tools, such as hammers, shovels, scrapers, chain saws, and devices such as shoes with ice spikes can damage roofing materials or the structure below. Chemical de-icers can discolor shingles, break down membranes and corrode flashings and drains. De-icers can also damage plants on the ground. What to do in an ice storm emergency First: Observe and evaluate the situation every day. Is the ice causing a structural problem? Is there water damage? Do you have to do anything? Second: Evaluate your capabilities and limits. Do you have the equipment, the agility and the help to work safely and efficiently? If you don’t, get professional help before the situation becomes urgent. Third: To prevent damage, do as little as possible.Total clearing has the greatest potential for damage to the roof and to people and property below. Often, clearing dangerous overhangs and icicles and making drainage paths is enough. Recommended Procedures for Sloped Roofs When is there a problem? The lower the slope, the greater the weight problem. During the ‘98 ice storm many flat roofs had 15 cm (6 in.) of solid ice, while most sloped roofs had little more than 5 cm (2 in.). Most of the ice collected at roof junctions, behind obstructions such as chimneys or skylights, and at roof edges. Drainage, not removal, solved the problem in most cases. The information in Signs of Stress will help you decide if weight is causing problems on your roof. If your house doesn’t show signs of stress, then there is no need to remove all the ice. Drainage On a sloped roof, your goal is to make drainage paths through the ice on the lower edge of the roof. That’s where most ice dam and water back-up problems occur. Always shovel off loose snow to expose the ice. If you have power and electric heating cables, making drainage paths is fairly easy. Attach loops of electrical roof de-icing cables to one or more long boards. With ropes tied to the board and thrown over the roof,...

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Replacing Your Furnace Windsor Real Estate

Replacing Your Furnace There are usually two major reasons why you are choosing another forced-air furnace. The first is that your furnace does not function. It has just broken down, irrevocably, or it has been “red-tagged” or condemned by gas inspectors. If it is winter, and your house is getting colder quickly, you may not have the luxury of making a reasoned choice on what to buy next. The other situation is that your furnace is getting old, or your fuel bills are becoming too excessive to tolerate. In this case, you have the time to shop around and get the best furnace and fuel for your situation. This About Your House is written to address both situations. If you have a dead furnace and a chilly house, you will probably take some shortcuts in your selection process. Choice of Fuels For many years, CMHC and others could offer sound advice on what fuel choice would be the most economical. During that period, heating systems based on electricity or propane cost the most to operate. Heating oil was somewhat more economical, and natural gas (if available in your community) was the least expensive choice. Since 2000, the prices of these commodities have been fluctuating, and it is difficult to offer reliable advice on pricing. At one point in 2001 – 2002, heating with electricity in Manitoba was as economical as heating with natural gas. Predicting these prices over the next two decades (a common life span for a furnace) is nearly impossible. The best advice is to make a calculation based on the current prices quoted to you in your locality. See the text box entitled “Calculating fuel costs.” Calculating Fuel Costs Here is a rough comparison of the relative costs of heating an older house in Ottawa. You can put in your own fuel prices and the efficiencies of the appliance that you are choosing to compare relative costs. Note: It is often difficult to isolate the cost per unit of fuel, be it gas or electricity. Include all the costs that relate to the m³ of consumption forgas (for example, gas supply charge, gas delivery charges, gas surcharges). Electric utilities often also have a bewildering range of charges. Apply all the charges except fixed charges (for example, $10/month connection charge). For oil appliances, use an energy content of 38.2 MJ/litre of oil. For electricity, use 3.6 MJ/kWh and 100-per-cent efficiency. Note: 80 GJ (or 80 gigajoules) is the energy required for heating the example house over the winter (heat load). Your own house will likely be different. However, the relative costs calculated for alternative fuels and furnaces in the example house should help you make a selection...

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Painting: Walls, Ceilings and Floors Windsor Real Estate

Painting: Walls, Ceilings and Floors Painting is not the chore it used to be. A professional look is now easier to achieve. Whatever your project, talk to the paint experts where you purchase your paint. They are a valuable resource. If you are having a hard time visualizing the colour, inexpensive computer software programs can allow you to try out different colours. Or, there may be a decorating service where you buy your paint. Selecting paints There are two main types of paint depending on the thinners and binders used; water-based (or latex) and oil-based (or alkyd). Water-based paints use water as a thinner. They are often called latex paints even though they don’t use real latex, since rubber is not used as a binder any more. Today synthetic latexes are used, most commonly acrylic or polyvinyl acetate. Paints with a high acrylic content tend to have a tougher skin and can perform almost as well as oil-based paints. Latex paints can be easily cleaned up with soap and water. Oil-based paints use a solvent thinner. Despite the name, oil-based paints are usually not made with oil. Instead, most use polyester resins, called alkyds. Although alkyds may be more durable and achieve a higher gloss finish, they are usually a less healthy choice than latex. Alkyd paints require mineral spirits for cleaning up. Because paints are applied wet, and because they cover such a large area, paints can create a significant health problem during a renovation project. The problem is mainly caused by alkyd or solvent-based paints. They give off a number of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as the solvent evaporates after painting. These VOCs can be a strong irritant and can add to air pollution. Once the paint has completely dried and formed a tough skin, the emission levels drop. However, some paints can emit odours at low levels for a long time. Exposure to VOCs varies from person to person. Effects include coughing, headaches, dizziness, or more serious conditions. It is especially important for respiratory sufferers, those with allergies, asthma, and households with young children or pregnant women to avoid paints with VOCs. Comparing the VOCs of one paint to another is not an easy task. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are helpful, but manufacturers don’t have to list components which make up one per cent or less of their product’s weight. This means that some toxic components may not show up on the MSDS. The only sure way to know what the paint contains is by asking the manufacturer to list trace compounds. There are some paints on the market that are solvent and VOC free. Look for the key words: Low VOC, or better yet....

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