Family Water Saving Ideas At Home & Away From Home

In our modern, world we have seen many of our natural resources used and sometimes abused. Resources such as air, trees and water have been taken for granted by everyone. For centuries, people have been using these resources without giving thought to whether this is hurting the environment. Over the past few years, we have come to understand that abusing our natural resources can have a negative impact on the environment.

Because of the need to be alert to the environment and the natural resources, people need to help by saving these resources whenever possible. One of the best ways to save resources is by all family members helping out. These include saving water, both at home and while away from home.

To help families learn about conserving water, we have put together the following information. We hope this helps your family save water and help the environment.

Recycling Appliances & Electronics

Consumers recycle their electronics and appliances for a number of reasons, ranging from wanting to upgrade their devices to desiring more energy-efficient items. Smart choices when recycling electronics can save the ground and water from contamination. As e-waste grows, the recycling and donating of these common home and personal items offers a practical solution to a modern and potentially dangerous problem. Going green with future electronics and appliance choices can help reduce environmental impact while also lowering energy bills. With a few great recycling strategies in hand, consumers can make conscientious decisions to help protect the environment now and in the future.

The Problem With E-Waste

Modern technological conveniences often make our lives easier, but improper disposal of these devices can negatively impact the environment. Developing countries are especially susceptible to the environmental ravages of old electronics, as a large percentage of the developed world’s e-waste is exported to these countries. Since regulation can be less stringent in developing countries, environmental laws protecting the earth and the region’s inhabitants can be rare. While ridding your house of unwanted or old electronics could be considered home improvement, the environmental costs of irresponsible disposal can negate any freed-up space.

  • As E-Waste Piles Up, Disposal Issues Grow
  • Replacing Old Smartphones With Newer Models Creates Environmental Problems
  • E-Waste in Developing Countries Endangers Environment, Locals
  • India’s Electronic Waste Problem
  • Children’s Environmental Health: Electronic Waste
  • Bringing Harmony to Electronic Waste Disposal

Going Green & Recycling Your Electronics

One of the benefits of recycling electronics is that the act can allow for a remodeling of your environmental consciousness. When purchasing new electronics, you’ll have the ability to choose Energy Star-rated products or other resource-economical items. Reading energy labels on electronics before you purchase them can give you the opportunity to select products that use a reasonable amount of electricity. Recycling your electronics can reduce construction processes and ensure that your electronics’ new owners can enjoy your items without the need for brand-new materials or the manufacturing wastes they might cause.

  • Greener Gadgets
  • Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics
  • Guide to Recycling (PDF)
  • Electronic Waste (E-Waste)
  • Recycling Your Electronic Waste
  • Electronics Recycling Laws and Guidelines
  • Demanufacturing and Shredding During the E-Cycling Process

Specific Appliances

In recycling terms, appliances that are designated for recycling are often referred to as “white goods.” Certain brands of electronics may also have specific recycling guidelines or programs associated with them. Components of electronics, such as printer cartridges, often come with recycling instructions contained within their retail packaging. Generally, it can be a good idea to check with the manufacturer of specific appliances or electronics for guidance on how to recycle items. Local recycling centers or city websites may offer further suggestions if manufacturers don’t run in-house recycling programs. For particularly large or heavy items, consider hiring a private curbside recycling service to take electronics or appliances on your behalf.

  • Advice About Recycling Appliances
  • Recycling TVs
  • Call2Recycle: Rechargeable Battery and Cellphone Drop-off Locations
  • Safe Disposal of Refrigerated Household Appliances: Frequently Asked Questions
  • What Do I Do With Appliances?
  • Printer Ink Cartridge Recycling Information

Donation

 

Giving appliances and electronics to charities is a great way to relieve yourself of your old gadgets in a truly positive manner. Aside from giving a person in need the opportunity to use the appliance and helping to conserve the environment, your donation may also be tax-deductible. Donating large items like appliances can also offer you the opportunity to engage in a bit of home improvement or remodeling and invest in electronics or appliances that are more energy-efficient and environmentally sound. Matching yourself with an appropriate charity to donate to can be easy. Start by determining which charities local to you accept appliance donations, and then choose the charity that speaks to your personal philosophies, philanthropic causes, or interests.

  • Donate Goods to a Habitat for Humanity ReStore
  • Salvation Army Appliance Donation Value Guide
  • Guide to Donating to Goodwill
  • E-Access
  • Donate Computers to the United Way

Before You Recycle or Donate

Once you decide to recycle or donate your electronics and appliances, certain steps should be taken to reduce your liability and protect yourself from unnecessary problems. To guard your privacy, data on electronics like computers and cell phones needs to be deleted. Reformatting electronics so that they are returned to their factory state can ensure that devices are wiped clean of all personal information. It can also be a good idea to remove the batteries of any electronics that you want to recycle. Batteries can contain dangerous acids that need to be handled carefully and recycled in special centers. Similarly, major appliances like refrigerators and air conditioners need to have the Freon removed before they are donated, recycled, or disposed of. Local municipalities, scrap yards, or even a contractor from an appliance repair store may be able to help you to rid your appliance of this potentially troublesome chemical.

  • E-Cycling Central: Find a Recycler
  • EPA Refrigerant Recycling Rules (PDF)
  • Appliance Recycling Guide (PDF)
  • How to Properly Dispose of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Equipment (PDF)
  • CFC Appliance Recycling and Recovery Practices (PDF)
  • Preparing Your PC for Reuse or Recycling: Protect Your Private Information (PDF)
  • How to Donate Your Computer to Charity
  • Safely Dispose of Computers and Other Devices

Getting Your Property Tenant Ready

If you currently own a home and are thinking about using your basement or condo as means of generating some extra income, you are not alone. According recent statistics about 1 in 20 Canadian households own some form of income property. The perks of leasing a property can far outweigh the negatives, if done properly.

Before you decide to post an ad on Kijiji or contact a real estate agent, it is very important to understand what leasing a portion of your property may entail. This quick list will get your property rental-ready in no time.

  1. Fire and Carbon monoxide poisoning prevention

    Ontario law requires all homes to have a working smoke and carbon monoxide detector and it is your responsibly as a Landlord to ensure that your property is equipped with these essential products. Make sure you hire a licensed contractor to install the detectors if you are not confident in your ability to do so on your own. This may cost you a few dollars but it will protect your tenants from harm and will absolve you of any responsibility for damages that may occur from fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

  2. Plumbing

    If you are leasing a property which requires use of a basement, you will want to take an extra step to find a reputable plumbing company that can assess your home and determine if it is at risk of experiencing water or sewage damage. Repairing damage caused by flooding can be incredibly expensive and in this case it is always better to be safe than sorry.

  3. Electrical

    Have you ever walked in to a room and noticed that the lights are flickering or that the on switch actually turns off the lights? Not only are these electrical issues annoying, but they pose safety hazards as well. No one wants to live in a home with unpleasant lighting, so do not subject your tenants to such conditions. Electricians can install attractive and high efficiency lighting to suit your style and budget.

  4. Mold and Asbestos Removal

    Most homes, new or old will likely have instances of mold build up due to moisture or poorly ventilated spaces. Although a little mold in a bathroom can easily be removed through regular cleaning methods, there are instances in which mold contamination requires professional removal. Attempting to clean large areas of mold with bleach is ineffective and can be dangerous.

    Exposure to Asbestos is also very dangerous and has been known to cause lung cancer, mesothelioma and many other health problems. Various companies offer testing for asbestos within your home. If you plan to do any type of renovations on your income property, Health Canada highly recommends you research the ways in which you can lower human exposure to the harmful chemical.

  5. Add some Pizazz

    A beautifully designed space with eye-catching features will convince potential tenants to put your income property at the top of their list. Find a competent contractor that can help you transform your property. By adding shiny new faucets, trendy artwork that can be found at IKEA and installing crisp white baseboards you can create a space that adds value and also feels like home.

Up to 47% of Contractors may be Using Fake Reviews, Study Reveals

A study based on 10 years of reviews indicates up to 47% of home service contractors in some work categories may be using fake online reviews to attract homeowners. The startling revelation comes at a time when home improvement disputes and problems continue to dominate the consumer complaints received in Canada.

The findings were released by TrustedPros Inc. after analyzing the customer review data collected by TrustedPros.ca since 2004. The home improvement and contractor review website employs a validation team that closely screens each review after it is submitted, making sure that it’s not posted by the contractor themselves, their family, friends, or employees. Any review that fails to clear the screening procedures is flagged as “suspicious” and disapproved for publishing.

The current study segregates contractors planting fake reviews by industry, city and province. For each city, province, and service category, the total number of contractors suspected of posting fictitious reviews was divided by total number of reviewed companies in that area/category. The results disclose some interesting facts.

Moving companies top the list of fake reviews with 47.83% of reviews flagged as suspicious and removed from the TrustedPros website. Locksmiths, pest control, window cleaning, home theater, and duct cleaning businesses were close contenders, with 40% or more of their reviews believed to be bogus.

Detox Your Home in Minutes

Inside your home can be 5 times more toxic than outdoors. This is attributed to a number of different factors including poor air-quality, off-gassing from furniture, pesticides brought inside from footwear and harmful plastics in the form of food containers. We all want to protect ourselves and families from harm and ridding your home of dangerous materials and chemicals is great way to start.

The air quality inside your home is very important for your respiratory and overall health. Wondering where to begin? You can add a little more freshness to your home by opening up your windows, which in turn will allow the air in your home to flow out, helping to remove dust and mold spores that can occur in poorly ventilated spaces. After realizing the health benefits of plants, you may want to give your green leafy friends a hug. According to a study conducted by NASA in the 1980’s house plants are effective in removing harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, ammonia and other chemicals. Peace lilies seem to be the superheroes of all house plants as they are very inexpensive at about $14.00 for a medium sized pot and remove the top 6 most common and harmful chemicals found inside homes. When certain plants bloom they can add a beautiful fragrance to the air and offer a natural alternative to products like Glade and Febreze.

In keeping with this, labeling these particular products “air-fresheners” is actually a misnomer. If one were to take a look at the ingredients found in these products, freshness is the last thing that comes to mind because they actually add more pollutants to the air in your home. What’s the alternative? Natural essential oils emit pleasant fragrances without the use of chemicals. One such oil is Frankincense, which is extracted from the Boswellia tree commonly found in Northern Africa. This oil has an earthy smelling fragrant and is used in aromatherapy to aid in relaxation. It was also one of the gifts supposedly given to Christ at a young age by a wise man, so it also has spiritual and meditative connotations as well. Frankincense contains antibacterial properties and acts as a natural air purifier when diffused. If you are searching for a more perfume-like scent that is similar to the ones found in a Glade plug-in, Lavender oil will provide the smell of spring in your home all year long. If you suffer with asthma or simply have a stuffy nose, eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils are very effective in relieving congestion and clearing sinuses.

Perhaps the most obvious way to improve air quality in your home is to avoid smoking inside, since cigarette smoke contains thousands of poisonous chemicals that will negatively affect the health of humans and pets. Kicking the habit completely will also be beneficial as the chemicals contained in cigarette smoke can cling to clothing long after you’ve finished lighting up, further diminishing the air quality in your home. Fabric is notorious for trapping allergens and chemicals so you may also want to consider the way in which you choose to clean your clothes. Seeking an organic dry cleaning service can help you to avoid carcinogenic materials, but be aware that some companies have been fined for using organic labels without receiving proper certification. Wet cleaners also use industrial grade driers and mild eco-friendly cleaning solutions to remove stains and odour from clothing. Finally don’t be alarmed by the label that says “dry clean only”. Quite often, these labels are added by clothing companies to prevent lawsuits in the event that clothing is damaged but you can gently wash your dry clean only clothing to avoid the added cost of a professional cleaner.

Pretty Furniture, Ugly Chemicals

Sometimes the most attractive pieces of furniture are the most toxic. Perfluorinated compounds or (PFCs) and formaldehyde are just some of the chemicals found in furniture that is linked to cancer and other diseases. In order to prevent these chemicals from wreaking havoc in your home, you may want to revaluate your taste in furniture. Stain resistant fabric found on couches, curtains and clothing often contain PFCs as means of offering the consumer some convenience, but the health risks posed by the chemical far outweigh the benefits of not having to clean a stain. Where your furniture comes from may also be a factor as some countries do not have any regulations on the chemicals that are used in the manufacturing process. Investing in custom made furniture will give you the power to choose your own unique style as well as the chemicals you would like to avoid. Using solid wood with little to no varnishes or lacquer is best if you have small children in your home. Try to avoid using low quality laminate flooring, as formaldehyde contents in laminate flooring can sometimes exceed the emissions level recommended by the World Health Organization. Finally, it is important to remember that it can take up to 12 years for furniture to finish the off-gassing process, so careful consideration should be made before you purchase your next bedroom set.

No more Toxic Mess

It is pretty daunting to think about all the products in your home that pose potential health hazards to you and your family, but there are a lot of factors you can control such as the products you choose to clean your house. Most popular cleaning products contain bleach, parabens and ammonia but there are also alternatives that are becoming more available than before. Most supermarkets now carry household cleaners that are completely free of chemicals. They may be a bit expensive but the peace of mind is probably worth the money.

If you are into DIY’s you can also make your own cleaning solutions using vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda. Lemons are known for their ability to eliminate bacteria while leaving a pleasant citrus scent. Baking soda is also an excellent bleach substitute as it removes stains and eliminates even the most awful odours. Baking soda works miracles on stains left behind in coffee and tea cups. Simply let the affected dishware soak for about 5 minutes and you will see the stains magically disappear. Another effective way to avoid germs and harmful chemicals is to avoid wearing shoes inside your home. Even if you just forgot the keys make sure you take your shoes off before you re-enter as pesticides and other chemicals remain on your shoes for a very long time. Buy a mat with hard bristles so you can wipe off the excess dirt outside instead of on your indoor mat. If you have a bit of time once each month, wear gloves and use a hose to wash the bottom of the soles of your shoes especially if you keep them in your bedroom closets. Finally, make an effort to avoid antibacterial soaps that use chemicals such as triclosan. According to an article from CBC news “This chemical is highly toxic to organisms in … receiving waters and also persistent and bioaccumulative in the environment, as well as having endocrine active properties (in humans),

Ditch the plastic Tupperware

Many plastics even ones that are BPA free still contain harmful chemicals that can lead to cancer and disturb fertility. Try to stick to glass dishware only. If you use the microwave, you don’t need to use that generic plastic bowl to cover your food a glass plate cover is fine. If you have an infant, it is best to use glass bottles, that way; you won’t have to play the harmful plastic guessing game. If you drink purified water, you can install reverse osmosis or alkaline water filters that hook up to the tap in your home instead of using the big plastic bottle.

Just chill

The final and perhaps most important suggestion is to rid your home of negative attitudes and energies. According to Health Canada, illnesses like heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome and mental health problems can develop much faster when the person who is affected is under stress. Even if your home is chemical-free, having a negative and critical attitude can pollute the space causing you and others around you to experience anxiety and stress. The weight of the world can be overwhelming, whether you’re experiencing issues at work, financial burdens or simply annoyed with the daily traffic jams. Take some time alone each day to pray and meditate or listen to soothing music. The calm you will feel afterwards can empower you handle stressful events without making them dictate the atmosphere in your home. After all, your home should be a sanctuary not a war zone.

Décor Items That Can Inspire Your Next Travel Adventure

You don’t need to be a seasoned traveler to decorate your home like you’ve travelled the globe. Instead of waiting around until you’ve built your souvenir collection, why not have décor items that can inspire your next travel adventure? Infuse your home with décor items from places on your travel destination wish list. Doing this serves as a constant reminder of all the places you’d like to visit, but can also be a motivator to work towards your goal. As you work your way around the globe, you can incorporate actual souvenirs into your décor scheme and put your memories on display.

Here are a few decor items that won’t only serve as inspiration for your next adventure, but will add to the visual appeal in any room of your home.

A Personal Photo Wall

Even if you’re not the best photographer, displaying photos you’ve taken on your own can be a great way to showcase your memories. The photos don’t have to be perfect, nor do you have to be in them. Photos of landscape are just as beautiful. Get creative with your wall, try funky frames or sticking them directly onto your walls. Have it be an extension of your love for travel and don’t be afraid to experiment.

Repurposing Fabrics

Shopping around for vintage fabrics that can be incorporated into your home décor can be a fun activity for your travels. Be sure to inspect the entire fabric thoroughly. Look for sun fades, which cause the cloth to rot. Also, look out for stains, mold and mildew. These are things that aren’t fixable so really think twice before buying. These fabrics can be used to give your bedroom an updated look. With them, you can make blankets, quilts and even headboards that fit your design scheme

Vintage Suitcase Décor

Suitcases are like a traveler’s must-have staple. So, what better way to inspire yourself to save for that next trip? Search for hard case suitcases at your local thrift store and get creative with the décor possibilities. Try using it as a bedside table by propping it on a short bar stool. Decorate with contemporary lamps and vases filled with bright colored flowers. You can also try to create a suitcase sculpture. Be as creative as you’d like and let it be infused by your desire to travel.

Postcard Wall Art

Although, it may seem like no one buys postcards anymore, they make the perfect decor item that inspires travel. Because they cost little to nothing to purchase, they’re easy to get a hold of. And the best part, you don’t have to travel far to get them; postcards are made everywhere! Start your collection with a postcard from your hometown. Keep building your collection by visiting a local thrift shop to see what you can find. Create a decorative wall art with your favorite postcard taking center stage. And why not throw in some inspirational travel quotes in there as well. Wall art stickers are totally in right now.

Give Your Bed A Makeover

We’re all guilty of loving the cozy feel of our hotel bed just a little more than our own, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Invest in a quality duvet cover, super soft linens and some plush pillows and snuggle into your newly transformed bed. Nothing says getaway more than a relaxing room to unwind. So why not make your bedroom that space that you never want to leave?

Coffee Table Décor

Ok, I have to admit, I’m kind of a book nerd, so this idea is genius to me. Books are great décor pieces because not only can you get them in different sizes and colors, but it’s also easy to just grab a stack from your library and make your living space more comfortable. Try to incorporate as many travel photography books as you can; this allows you to add to your travel wish list while admiring the beauty of faraway places

Vintage Flags

Collecting flags from places you’ve visited or want to visit is a great way to add a bit of character to any room in your home. Flags usually consist of a variation of colors, which can be useful when trying to brighten your home. There are so many options when decorating with flags; you can put them in a frame and hang in your favorite room or you can add it to a pen holder in your office. Make sure that the flag is somewhere that’s easy to spot and reminds you of somewhere you want to go.

Scented Candles

 

An easy way to inspire your next travel adventure is to use scented candles. Because they’re made in a wide variety of scents, you can practically find any scent to suit your next travel idea. In the summer, we all want to lay in a hammock somewhere on the beach sipping on a piña colada, right? Why not find an ocean or sea breeze scented candle. Strategically place it in a room where you go to relax and light it whenever you need a stress reliever. This will allow the brain to associate sea breeze scents with relaxation and make it much easier to book that ticket to Cabol.

A Globe

A globe is one of those classic staples that a traveler needs in their home. You can invest in either a table or floor globe and really let it add to your room décor. A fun way to keep adding to it is to stick pins or stickers on places as you travel to them. Globes can serve as inspiration but also collects memories from your past travel experiences.

Time To Get Festive Decorating Your Windows For The Holidays

 

It’s December, so you know what that means; it’s the holiday season! Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, you may want to decorate your home. Each holiday has its own customs and decorations and what better place to show them off than your windows.

There are several ways to decorate your windows for the holidays. Whether it be candles, wreaths or other options discussed below, your windows present a big opportunity to show your holiday pride. See several ways you can decorate your windows for the holidays.

Light Up Your Home

Show your holiday spirit with lights! Whether they’re red and green for Christmas, the traditional Kwanzaa colors of red, black and green or a wide array of different colors, stringing lights around your windows looks great for any holiday. They’re also good for drawing attention to other attractions you may have inside of your window.

Speaking of inside your window, you can also hang image-shaped lights. Most designs you can imagine have been made into a light display, such as snowflakes, The Star of David or even Santa Claus. They hang inside of your home and can be easily seen from far away.

Use Your Window Treatments to Decorate for the Holidays

Your window treatments are a great way to decorate your windows from the inside. Seasonal and holiday curtains can add a festive touch to your home.

If you don’t want to buy new curtains to only hang them up for a couple months per year, there are other creative ways to use your window treatments. Hanging garland or homemade crafts from your curtain rod is a creative way to show your holiday spirit.

Hang A Wreath in Your Window

While wreaths are traditionally made from flowers, leaves and twigs and are typically door decorations. They can be made from almost any material and can be hung anywhere. Since they’re usually large, they are visible from both inside and outside your home. Many wreaths also come with lights built-in so they’re easier to see from outside. Wreaths are great to add in combination with other decorations as well.

Wreaths are usually associated with Christmas, but they can be used for any holiday. Many homeowners are creating their own wreaths now so they can be almost any shape and size to celebrate any holiday.

There are Many Display Options with Window Seats

One of the many benefits of bay and bow windows are the window seats they create by extending beyond your home’s façade. The additional space is perfect for adding holiday flair. There are several different ways you can use a window seat to decorate for the holidays

Christmas Scenes

One of the most famous images associated with Christmas is the nativity scene. It includes baby Jesus in his crib in the manger with Mary and Joseph. It’s popular to recreate this scene using statues and figures. The window seat created by a bay or bow window is the perfect place for it to be displayed. By adding a few candles or lights, it’s easily seen both inside and outside your home.

Another option is to create a Christmas village. You can purchase various buildings, people and item statues to create a small town on your window seat. Christmas villages are popular, but can take up large amounts of space. With the window seat, it will be contained to a designated area.

Candles are Perfect for Any Holiday

Many holiday cultures center on the theme of lighting candles. For instance, while celebrating Hanukkah, you light one candle of the menorah each day for eight days to symbolize the miracle of the oil. What better place to display your menorah than right in your window. The addition of a window seat allows you to proudly show your Jewish faith.

Same can be said for a kinara. Kinaras are used during Kwanzaa to hold seven candles, three red candles on one side, three green on the other side and one black in the middle. The seven candles represent the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Like Hanukkah’s menorah, showcasing your kinara on your window seat or in front of your window is a great way to demonstrate your pride during Kwanzaa.

Putting candles on your window seat will enhance your decorations. They can create some mood lighting that is perfect for the holidays. However, be very careful when using candles for your holiday display. Don’t let the flame touch any window treatment and keep them away from pets and children.

Stick on Some Window Clings

An easy way to decorate your windows is by using window clings. There are sets of window clings featuring iconic images associated with any holiday. The only issue is that they aren’t easy to see from outside, but the addition of lights might help.

Fly Your Flag

Most holidays don’t have a flag associated with them, but Kwanzaa is the exception. The traditional red, black and green flag is a staple of the holiday and can be hung throughout your entire home. Each color symbolizes something different – black for the people, red for the struggle and green for the future and hope that comes from the struggles. What better place to hang your flag than the window.

Placement Can Make A Difference

You can decorate your windows without putting anything in them. Think of your window as a picture frame. The way you place decorations inside your home could create a beautiful look from the outside. For instance, if you put your Christmas tree in an area that could be seen from the outside, it can have the same effect as actually hanging something in your window.

The same can be done with menorahs and kinaras. Putting them on a mantle or shelf that can be seen outside will have a similar look to putting them in your window. While your decorations aren’t front and center, your entire home becomes the display.