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Fall Energy Efficiency Tips
Posted on Fri, 09 Sep 2011, 12:43:32 AM  in Home Maintenance

(NC)- As the weather gets cooler this Fall, giving the home an energy-efficiency tune-up can protect it from the drop in temperature and the rise in energy bills. Consider the following Fall energy efficiency tips from The Home Depot Canada.

Change the filters. Clean or replace furnace filters once per month or as needed. Dirty filters can be a costly oversight as dust and dirt can clog blower and coil assemblies, reducing the furnace's operating efficiency.

Warm up to water heating. Drain a pail of water from your gas hot water tank to remove any sediment. This ensures the unit is working efficiently. Repeat every three months.

Turn down the thermostat. Lowering the thermostat temperature not only lowers your energy bills, it also reduces emissions of greenhouse gases from coal, oil and natural gas that contribute to global climate change. Set the thermostat to lower temperatures at night or when away from the home for extended periods of time.

Check your appliances. Consider upgrading your appliances to ones that are Energy Star rated. The refrigerator is an appliance that uses the most energy. Check that the door seal is tight by closing the door on a $5.00 bill. If it is not held in the door, replace the seal.

Let the sun shine. Keep draperies open on sunny days during the day to allow sunlight in and naturally heat the home. Close the draperies at night to keep the chill from cold windows out.

Close the vents. Shut vents in spare bedrooms and rooms not in use. Why pay to heat extra rooms that are not being used?

Seal-it-yourself. Check the home for drafts of cold air to identify areas that can be sealed or insulated. Handy homeowners can seal holes, weather strip doors, caulk windows and insulate basements, attics and crawl spaces. If the job is too big to handle, have a friendly, local The Home Depot Installation Services expert do it for you.

More energy efficiency tips are available at The Home Depot in your community.

-News Canada

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How to be mortgage free faster!
Posted on Sun, 21 Aug 2011, 03:47:11 PM  in Sellers

(NC)—Think your house is comfortable now? Imagine walking through the door knowing that you never need to make a mortgage payment again. In addition to the satisfaction of being mortgage free, paying off your mortgage faster can save you money by reducing the interest you pay.

Farhaneh Haque, Regional Manager, Mobile Mortgage Specialists, TD Canada Trust, offers the following strategies that can help you pay off your mortgage faster:

Strategy #1: Increase the frequency of payments

• Take advantage of biweekly or weekly payment options rather than monthly payments.

Strategy #2: Take advantage of increased payment options

• Pay more with each installment. Some banks allow customers to increase their payments by up to 100% of their regular payment amount at any time throughout the term of the mortgage. Even increasing by 10% can make a big difference over time.

Strategy #3: Take advantage of lump–sum payments

• Most banks offer the opportunity to make lump–sum payments on your mortgage. Check with your mortgage provider about the maximum lump–sum payment you can make. It may be up to 15% of the original borrowed amount each year.

Strategy #4: Choose a shorter amortization period

• Most mortgages are amortized over a 25–year period, meaning that's how long it will take for your combination of principal and interest payments to pay off the outstanding balance. A shorter amortization period may dramatically reduce the amount of interest you pay over the shortened life of your mortgage.

Strategy #5: Do it all! Take advantage of flexible features

• A recent TD Canada Trust survey found that 55% of Canadians take advantage of increased payment frequency, four in five do it in order to pay off their mortgage as soon as possible and 60% would be more likely to make a lump–sum payment if their mortgage gave them the flexibility to pay less if something unexpected came up.

• Investigate the mortgage options offered by your bank. Flexible mortgage payment features can provide you with peace of mind and more control in the event you need to reduce your payments.

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Mortgages 101: Fixed, variable or hybrid?
Posted on Sat, 20 Aug 2011, 11:39:42 AM  in Home buying tips

(NC)—When considering your mortgage it's important to weigh all the options. A recent RBC Home Ownership poll found Canadian homeowners are equally split when deciding between a fixed rate (40 per cent) or a hybrid mortgage (41 per cent), with the remaining19 per cent opting for a variable rate mortgage.

"Selecting the right type of mortgage is dependant on individual needs and risk tolerance," said Marcia Moffat, RBC head of home equity financing. "Homeowners, along with the advice of a mortgage specialist, should choose the type of mortgage that they're comfortable with and will work best for them."

If you're uncomfortable with rate volatility and prefer to know exactly how much you're paying off each month, then a fixed rate might be the better route. If you don't mind variations in interest rates over the term of your mortgage and prefer a lower rate right now, then a variable rate would be a wise choice.

Unsure of where rates are headed? You can have the best of both worlds by splitting your mortgage into two - part fixed and part variable - with a hybrid mortgage to hedge your bets.

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