General Topics

How to get Rid of Fruit Flies in the Kitchen

How to get Rid of Fruit Flies in the KitchenEver wonder where fruit flies come from and how did they get into your home and how to get rid of fruit flies in the kitchen? These are the tiny flies that most people find very irritating. They seem to come from nowhere getting into your eyes, ears and nose. In the majority of cases, these fruit flies or their eggs have come home on the fruit that you have purchased at the local grocery store. Anytime there is any fruit that is beginning to ferment, you can be sure that there will be fruit flies around laying eggs on the surface of the skin of the fruit.

If you have fruit in the backyard such as apples, pears or plums for example, any that are beginning to ferment will also attract fruit flies which will end up in your home. Aside from the obvious of disposing of any fruit that is beginning to go bad, how do you get rid of them?

How to get Rid of Fruit Flies in the Kitchen

The answer is quite simple really as shown in the picture above. All you need to do is place a piece of fruit in the bottom of a glass or jar. This will attract the fruit flies that are in the surrounding area. The next thing to do is to prevent them from getting out of the glass.

The next step is really simple. Just take a piece of paper, curl it into a funnel and place it in the glass with the narrow inside the glass, just as shown in the picture. The fruit flies can get inside the glass through the narrow hole because they are attracted to the fruit. They become confused and cannot find the narrow opening to get out. They will eventually die inside the glass. This is the best way re how to get rid of fruit flies in the kitchen or anywhere else around your home.

Now you do not need any chemicals or other harmful materials around your home to deal with fruit flies.

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Why is My Insulated Shed Cold

Why is My Insulated Shed ColdA client was recently asking why his shed was always cold. He had spent over $1000 insulating it with insulation, proper windows and doors. He was quite frustrated and felt that he had wasted his money. He was wondering what he should do and how he could recover his investment. The questions of why is my insulated shed cold is a common one. Yet it has a relatively easy answer. Insulation placed in walls, floors and ceilings of any structure do not generate heat. The insulation slows the passage of heat through the wall, preserving the temperature of the room or structure at whatever level it is at.

The key word here is that it slows the passage of heat through the insulated barrier. In the summer time the interior can be cool because the insulation is keeping the outdoor summer heat from penetrating through the walls. In the winter, the reverse is true. However unless you have a heat source there will be no heat to pass through the insulation. Windows and doors have different insulating properties. For example, a window will allow the suns rays to pass through the window. The radiation from the sun will heat up the interior of the room in the winter as well as the summer.

Solutions for Why is My Insulated Shed Cold

In the winter time, use a small electric heater if you are able which will add sufficient heat to make a small insulated room comfortable. If you do not have an electric heater or there is no electricity, you can use a gas stove, a propane stove or a wood stove for example. In all cases make sure there is proper ventilation for the stove to the outside. Your shed will remain warm for a longer period if the walls and ceiling is well insulated.

The summer time is quite different. You may want your shed to remain cool and it will as long as the doors and windows are closed and the windows do not allow the suns rays to penetrate. The insulation in the walls etc, will prevent the heat of the summer months from penetrating. On cool nights you can open the windows to cool off your shed since some heat will always pass through the walls, windows and doors depending on how well they are insulated.


Hanging out with Rich Friends

Hanging out with Rich FriendsThey say good friends can enrich your life, but what happens when hanging out with rich friends leaves you feeling broke? This is a pretty common feeling among many people. You feel that you need to keep up with them in terms of paying your share when it comes to going out for dinner, going on vacation or just hanging around. Unfortunately if they have a larger bank account than you do, chances are you are going to end up feeling that you are spending money that you do not have and you may even begin to resent your friends.

How does this topic blend with home maintenance costs? It is all about managing money and saving money for other priorities. One of the issues we all have to deal with is about how we spend our money when it comes to hanging around with friends.

Hanging out with Rich Friends

Diverse Group of Friends

In my thirty five  years, we have met many people and become friends with a wide assortment of people from various professions. We tend to gravitate to groups of people who are in similar situations as ourselves from a financial perspective. While we hang around with a fun, diverse group of friends they are very different when it comes to how much money we have or earn. We are all smart, hard-working people, we are compensated very differently and we may have inherited different amounts of money. Some are high-priced lawyers, bankers and people of the corporate persuasion. And then there are those of us who are slugging it out in the service industry, fulfilling unpaid internships or freelancing for pocket change. Some have inherited from wealthy parents and really have no need to work while others are supporting parents who do not have sufficient funds.

What are Your Priorities for Your Friends

So what is the price of being good friends with people who earn significantly more than you? Surrounding yourself with financially successful individuals can be both motivating and inspiring. In fact you can learn a great deal from these friends and often be exposed to opportunities that you might not consider other wise. However, there are times when trying to fit in with friends who earn super-sized salaries can also leave you feeling jealous and insecure. Everyone wants to feel successful and feel that other people look up to them. At the same time it is all about having fun and enjoying the people around you without taking into account how much money they have. In other words there is a balance to achieve if you can define it and then achieve it with your friends.

Living Beyond Your Means

It is very easy  to live beyond your means when trying to keep up with your friends in a  social circle that has rich friends. Whether you’re splurging on a lavish night out or expensive wedding presents, there’s plenty of room for financial tension when budgeting for your friends’ expensive tastes. None of us want to be made to feel cheap or be embarrassed about how much we spend on gifts or dining out.

Sometimes, well-meaning friends can be insensitive to the diverse income brackets that exist within the group. They may not even realize that they are making some of their friends feel inadequate.  Hosting your birthday party at a pretentious resto with heart-attack inducing prices is one thing. But ordering a pricey bottle of wine plus an expensive  platter for the table and expecting everyone to split the bill is ridiculous.

Managing Get Together

Going to restaurants and parties can be challenging when you have rich friends. While you might order a salad and tap water to drink, they order wine and expensive appetizers for the table.  If they then suggest that the table split the cost of the meal, you may feel that your spending a lot more than you planned. One group friends we go to dinner with always orders desert with their meal and often do not even finish them. We have started telling the waitress that we want split bills right at the beginning to make sure that everyone pays for what they order.

This seems to work well for our group, and everyone feels free to order as much or as little as they wish because it will show up on the bill of the person ordering it. Parties can be the same. We always like to host dinner parties at home, while another couple are not good at hosting and are uncomfortable as a result. They are the ones that tend to pay for everyone when we do go out to dinner, since it is their way of paying everyone back for the dinners they have been to at our homes.

Never Discuss Money Other Than in General Terms

We can talk about all kinds of things with our friends even investments, but we never discuss how much we make. This is just taboo for most people. Although there is one couple who has a business that has become very successful and he likes to tell us how much money his business has generated a year. We are very happy for him since he started from nothing, however sometimes it can get a little tiring to hear it. The point is that circumstances change for everyone, sometimes good and sometimes not so good. We all need to look beyond this and focus in on why we are friends. Good rich friends will the thoughtful too and not make their less successful friends( in terms of money) feel uncomfortable.

If you have comments and would like to add to this post, please feel free to leave a comment which we will add to our post. Spam comments will be deleted.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that while good friends might be priceless, friendship doesn’t have to come at the expense of your financial security.

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Canadian Tire Hours of Operation in Ottawa

We recently have had a lot of people looking for information about the Canadian tire hours of operation in Ottawa. We decided to include a short page on this site to provide that information. Store hours for Canadian tire stores will vary based on location and also if there is a holiday or not.  You should really check with your local store to confirm if they are open.

For example the Canadian Tire Store in Orleans which is just outside of Ottawa on the east side is open during the following hours.

  •            Store                                   Auto Center
  • Mon 08:00 AM – 09:00 PM 07:00 AM – 09:00 PM
  • Tue 08:00 AM – 09:00 PM 07:00 AM – 09:00 PM
  • Wed 08:00 AM – 09:00 PM 07:00 AM – 09:00 PM
  • Thu 08:00 AM – 09:00 PM 07:00 AM – 09:00 PM
  • Fri 08:00 AM – 09:00 PM 07:00 AM – 09:00 PM
  • Sat 08:00 AM – 07:00 PM 07:00 AM – 06:00 PM
  • Sun 08:00 AM – 06:00 PM 08:00 AM – 05:00 PM

Each store will be slightly different. For example the Canadian Tire store in Gloucester, on Ogilvy road which is also part of Ottawa on the east side has the following hours. Each store is independently owned and operated under the general franchise and they keep their own hours based on the market need in their area. This store stays open longer on Saturday nights for example.

  • Store                                   Auto Center
  • Mon 08:00 AM – 09:00 PM 07:00 AM – 09:00 PM
  • Tue 08:00 AM – 09:00 PM 07:00 AM – 09:00 PM
  • Wed 08:00 AM – 09:00 PM 07:00 AM – 09:00 PM
  • Thu 08:00 AM – 09:00 PM 07:00 AM – 09:00 PM
  • Fri 08:00 AM – 09:00 PM 07:00 AM – 09:00 PM
  • Sat 08:00 AM – 09:00 PM 07:00 AM – 09:00 PM
  • Sun 09:00 AM – 06:00 PM 09:00 AM – 06:00 PM

Canadian Tire Hours

We cannot possibly list all of the stores along with their hours, however we wanted to give readers an example of two stores and their general hours. I think that you can be pretty safe in going to any of the Canadian Tire stores between 8am and 6pm. You may want to check with the store closest to you if you need to go to the store after 6pm, especially if you are thinking about getting some work done on a vehicle.

They may have to keep it in the garage over night before they can fix it. Many of the stores will give their customers a ride home under these circumstances. This is a really great service if you have to drop your car off to be worked on and cannot wait for the car to be completed.

Canadian tire is not typically known for selling hardwood floors which is what this web site is all about. It is known for car parts and repairs and of course tires. Recently they have expanded into a broader market offering small appliances, sports equipment, paint, Christmas products and much much more, including plumbing, electrical and hardware related items for most repairs around the home.

You can find a lot of the tools that you may need for work around your home at the Canadian Tire store including the tools you may need for laying a hardwood floor. Compare prices and warranties. Some items although they may be a bit more expensive, have a life time warranty on them and this can be valuable for items that are more expensive. this store in Orleans is close to us and we tend to go there a lot to get whatever we need for general items for our vehicle and our home repairs. On top of that, this company is Canadian and we should support Canadian companies who are competing with the big box stores from the US. This is a Canadian Company and represents the very essence of Canada. Let’s support it.

We hope you have found this short post useful. leave us a comment if you did.


Money Savers from the Past

energy foot printsA humorous but serious post about going green and saving money at the same time. This post represents a time that is not too long ago and demonstrates just how much our lives have changed in the last 50 years. We  thought our readers might enjoy this simple explanation of what it really means to go green:

Stories from the past that are so true!!!!!!!

In the line at the store, a young cashier told an older woman that she should reduce her energy foot print and  bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags take a lot of energy to produce and are not goof for our environment

The woman apologized to him and explained,“We didn’t worry about energy foot prints back in my day.”

The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today…….

Your generation did not care enough to reduce energy consumption and save our environment.”

He was right — our generation didn’t worry about energy foot prints.

Back then, we recycled milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store returned them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But we didn’t worry about energy foot prints back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an elevator or an escalator in every store and office building.

We walked or biked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But he was right. We didn’t worry about energy foot prints in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that clerk is right; we didn’tworry about energy foot prints back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Texas .

In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us.

When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, we didn’t  burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power.  We shoveled snow by hand and did not use a gas guzzling pollution spewing snow blower. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But he’s right; we didn’t worry about energy foot prints back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water.

We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t worry about energy foot prints back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service.

We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t worry about energy foot prints back then?


Home Monitoring While on Vacation

Home Monitoring While on VacationThere are a number of basic things you can do and should do prior to going on vacation. This will help to ensure that your home is well looked after and no damage occurs to your home while you are away. Home monitoring while on vacation can save you money. So how does this fall under the general mandate of saving money? Well if you are going to be away, you will want to make sure that your home is looked after with the least cost. You also want to make sure so that your home insurance does not become null and void.

There is much more to it that just having your neighbor look in on your home once and a while. We will discuss a few of the requirements. Also how you can make sure that your cost is minimized, while keeping your home covered and safe.

Why Home Monitoring While on Vacation is Important

Insurance Requirements for Vacant Homes

Many people do not realize it , but their insurance companies have a number of requirements about how homes should be looked after while you are away from home. Most companies require that the water be turned off to avoid any possibility of damage from running water if water pipes are broken somehow and start leaking.

This is particularly important in cold climates were the water could freeze in the water pipes could freeze if the heat is shut off for some reason.

Most home insurance companies will specify time frames for homes to be checked to confirm that security has not been compromised, that the heat is still on and that the water pipes have not frozen. Some will request that they are checked every 48 hours if the water is left on, while others are ok with an entire week if the water is turned off.

Check with your home insurance companies requirements and get it in writing so that you fully understand what is required if you are going to be away from home for an extended period of time.

Make Your Home Look Lived In

The old cliché is that a house that is vacant is an invitation for someone to break in, or something like that. The whole point of this is to re-enforce that you need to make your home looked lived in. Keep the grass cut the weeds pulled, the leaved picked up etc. If you live in a cold climate and plan to be away during the winter, have someone keep the snow cleared, the walk shoveled and advertisements picked up.

Place timers in rooms that you typically occupy and have the lights come on at regular times. Have someone check the timers regularly in case the power has gone off to make sure that they turn on the lights at regular hours. Even having a neighbor place garbage our on garbage day is a good idea.

Who Should You Ask to Check On Your Home

This is a really tough question to answer, since it really depends on your situation. If you have good friends, neighbors or family that you can depend on. Have them check on your home on a schedule and keep a record. Then you probably want to go that direction.

If you plan to be away for many months, having friends etc check on your home can get to be a bit onerous. They may not want to make that commitment. Perhaps they will also want to go away as well during that time frame.

Another approach is to hire a company to check on your home on an agreed to schedule. They should keep a record and notify you if there are any problems. If you do go this route, there are a number of safeguards that you want to consider here as well. Make sure you have a contract. Make sure that it is clearly spelled out what this company is supposed to do for you. Check security, check the heating system, water plants, take in the mail, maintain landscaping. Also arrange for snow removal, check the lights, respond to alarm system alerts etc.

Summary

A quick summary of what you need to consider when leaving your home for an extended period of time:

  • Check with your home insurance company regarding requirements
  • Turn the water off before you leave
  • Ask your home sitter to run the water every two weeks to fill toilets and water traps
  • Establish a schedule for checks in accordance with insurance requirements
  • Ask home sitter to maintain a written record of checks
  • Make your house looked lived in e.g. snow clearing, lawn maintenance, lights
  • Have a contract with a professional home sitter
  • Make it clear exactly what you need to be done and make it part of your contract.
  • Stay in touch with your home sitter and ask the neighbors to also keep an eye on things.

Enjoy your vacation and save money. Avoid having any damage or break-ins while you are away on your extended vacation.


Do It Your Self!

Do It Your SelfThe theme of this post is ” do it your self” ! This is by far the best way to save money on home maintenance costs and annual upkeep. Consider that if you need to pay someone to do something around your home and he or she is charging $50 an hour plus dispatch fees etc, you are really paying approximately $70 or $80 and hour before taxes. In other words depending on what tax bracket you are in you have to earn this much in pre-tax income to pay for a handyman to come around and do this work for you. Can you do it yourself safely and meet the quality level that you and your family look for? How about learning how to do this yourself?  Can you teach yourself how to do this work yourself?

Most people can answer yes to these three questions.

Most trades people are very competitive and you can sometimes negotiate how much they will charge, however recognize that there is usually a dispatch fee plus an hourly rate after they arrive. Sometimes the dispatch fee will include the first hour. The dispatch fee or call out ( they use various names ) can be as much as $100. Before asking tradesmen to come over, if you decide to go this direction, make sure you understand the costs first so there are no surprises!

Do the Math When You Decide to hire a Contractor

Now if you are quite rich and can afford it or you can make this much and more at your work, while the handy man is doing what ever you need, then it is a different scenario. For most of us we cannot make $70 or $80 and hour and so it makes sense for the average consumer to do the work themselves!

Another major advantage is the satisfaction of completing something on your own and doing a great job at it. There is a real sense of achievement in completing a small project at home which many people find rewarding when they are finished.

I do not Know How to Do These Things

But, many will say they do not know how to do this type of work. There are so many ways to learn how to do basic repairs that most people can pick up what they need to know to do most jobs. Sure it may take you a bit longer to complete a job, you may need to buy some extra parts or tools, but the combination of reward and reduced costs to you more than pays for the extra time and tools you need.

The internet is an unbelievable resource to find all kinds of basic help on a whole variety of tasks.  Some people though need the confidence of actually talking to an expert to completely understand how to complete a job. While others may have a specific situation that needs some discussion and thought about how to complete the job.

Most home improvement stores such as Home Depot, and many others have experienced staff that have spent many years doing this type of work. For example, if you are changing a tap, there is a plumber who has hung up his tools to work in a Home Depot store and will be more than happy to give you some pointers on how to complete your task. They will even help you pick put out all of the parts and the tools you will need to complete the job.

If you are tackling a more major activity such as laying hardwood floor for example, most of these same stores will put on training courses from time to time, based on demand to show people how to properly set up hardwood flooring installations and complete the job.

Do It Your Self! – Making Mistakes

Of course you are going to make mistakes! If this is the first time you are trying to complete a repair on something, drywall a basement, paint, install wall paper or lay hardwood floors, you are going to make mistakes. This is just part of the learning process and it will depend on how much preparation you do and how much training you get in advance.

There will be some extra expense due to your mistakes since you may need to buy extra tools or parts. However in most cases this extra cost will not come anywhere close to the cost of labor. If you have to purchase tools, you will have these tools for many other jobs. Their costs are not wasted in any manner.

Summary

Doing the work yourself can save you lots of money. Especially when you take into account what it costs you in before tax dollars.  Always find out the charges will be if you do decide to call someone in to do the work. The money you save will more than pay for the tools and the parts you need. Learn how to do various tasks by talking to the experts. A good source can be found at many hardware stores like Home Depot. Even if you make mistakes, it is ok. You have saved more than enough money to fix your mistake in most cases.

For more do it yourself ideas and general maintenance ideas, click here.

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Reduce Your Homes Operating and Maintenance Costs

Your Homes Operating and Maintenance CostsWe decided to start this blog about how to save some money while maintaining our homes. After watching many people lose their homes due to the economic down turn. Also the significant economic hit that everyone took over the 2008 and 2009 period. Your Homes Operating and Maintenance Costs represent a large portion of your monthly expenses. A large repair can sometimes make the difference between staying and leaving. They are only now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Everyone is trying to conserve their funds until they get a new job or even if they have a job. Every dollar in your pocket is one that can help you and your family in the future. Keeping your homes operating and maintenance costs to a minimum over the long term will help maintain the value of your home.

This is the first post and I guess it is pretty general in nature. But that is ok, we wanted to introduce the topic and set the stage for more posts to come. Some people can literally save thousands of dollars every year ! That is more than enough to enjoy a nice vacation or pay off a few extra bills that we all have.

If you could fix something yourself or complete an upgrade without having to call a repairman, wouldn’t that be a nice thing! Imagine having a repairman come over to fix a tap to replace a 50 cent washer. Then be charged $50 or $75 for the guy to show up! Some even charge more than that.

One of my motto’s, even if I screw up the first time, or have to buy a new tool, I am ahead of the game. Since I have saved money or I have a new tool I can use for other jobs or both! Over the years I have reused those tools many times. As well for various maintenance related activities and saved a bundle of money. You can do this too, just remember to always use the right tools and do the job in a safe manner. If you are uncomfortable with doing a particular job do not hesitate to hire the experts to do the job for you.

Your Homes Operating and Maintenance Costs

Monthly Operating Costs

We hope to be able to post a new blog post every week. Covering topics on how to reduce your homes upkeep costs and your annual maintenance costs as well as annual operating costs. There are a lot of common sense things that can be completed. Then there are areas that fall into the upgrade area which will not only make your home more sale able, but they will also reduce your monthly utility costs. We sometimes call this monthly operating costs.

Either way there is a real trade off between money saved and the amount of money you need to spend to save that money. Spending a $100 to reduce your heating costs by $200 a year would be a reasonable deal. However if you need to spend $10,000 and it takes 10 years to pay it off with savings, you may want to reconsider unless there are other reasons to spend the money. Maintenance or repair of some thing is usually a trigger, so you may as well invest in something that will save you money. Low flow toilets are a good example of this sort of thing.

This particular post is general in nature. However we plan to complete posts each week about Your Homes Operating and Maintenance Costs, which will fall into one of the major categories:

  • Energy Savings
  • Cost Savings
  • Repair
  • Maintenance
  • and more as we complete posts.

Initially we will focus on summer time issues. However as we draw closer to the fall, there will be more posts aimed at the fall and winter. People in northern climates must pay a great deal to heat their homes and run their lights.

Send in Your Thoughts and Ideas

This is a great opportunity for people to follow us and contribute to any of the posts that we put out on our blog. If you have a particular subject that you would like to hear about, please leave a comment. We will glad to consider it for our blog.  As time permits we want to also cover energy saving devices that are just coming onto the market. Such as windmills and photo optic systems that generate electricity and push power back onto the grid.


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