Is Your Electricity Bill Sky High?

Have you noticed a spike in your power bill lately? Here are some helpful tips that might explain why!

  • Do you have an electric water heater? It may be worth having someone look at this to ensure it is functioning properly. If it’s older, a failing element can cause it to draw much more power than usual.
  • Do you have electric baseboards? Cold weather will obviously cause these to come on more frequently, but check for air gaps & drafts in an effort to overcome heat loss.
  • Are you living in a duplex, condo or other apartment? It’s possible that a neighbour might have something wired into you by mistake (or intentionally!)
  • Some newer washers & dryers have an “automatic” mode which will cause them to turn on and off at odd hours without your knowledge. Make sure this feature isn’t turned on!
  • How old are your appliances? Older fridges and freezers, especially when beginning to fail, will draw obscene amounts of power. Additionally, check the seals for air gaps which will cause the unit to run more, and suck more juice.
  • Do you have any new gadgets in the house? New TVs, computers, stereos, etc can all contribute to your consumption.
  • It may seem silly, but check infrequently power outlets, for example, in the garage. Is something plugged in that never used? I discovered a radio in my garage that was plugged in all winter, on very low volume. It doesn’t seem like much, but this could have amounted to a lot of money in the long run!
  • Is there a gamer in the house? New video game consoles draw a lot of power and are running constantly.
  • Finally, if you’ve noticed a big power spike and nothing else seems to explain the problem, make sure your meter isn’t damaged or malfunctioning. Shut off all breakers and check to see that it isn’t still spinning!

Preparing Your Home for the Market

Studies have shown that a properly preparing your home does help sell at the best price, in a shorter period of time. In my experience, a lack of attention to detail makes buyers wonder what else might be getting neglected around your home. It sounds silly, but if the house isn’t clean, this can suggest to some people that this “neglect” could extend to regular maintenance of your home’s services (for example, the fireplace, furnace, eaves-troughs, etc).

Lawns & Yard

  • Remove clutter
  • Cut grass
  • Edge walkways
  • Trim hedges
  • Weed gardens

Exteriors

  • Paint &/or touch up any areas that need improvement
  • Repair and wash railings, steps, screen doors, gutters, etc.

Garage

  • De-­clutter
  • Organize
  • Paint interior.

Plumbing

  • Repair leaky faucets & toilets
  • Clean sinks & tubs.
  • Replacing old toilets will often produce a high return.

Furnace & Fireplace

  • Clean furnace & vents of dust and dirt.
  • Clean fireplace; set a small fire to demonstrate functionality if weather permits!
  • It is strongly recommended you have your fireplace WETT certified.

Electrical

  • Replace burned out bulbs, consider installing new high-­efficiency bulbs.
  • Replacing switch & receptacle covers can provide a big return on investment!

Carpets & Floors

  • Clean thoroughly. Give a quick sweep or vacuum before showings if necessary.

Hardware

  • Oil hinges, tighten door knobs, and polish shiny surfaces.

General Considerations

  • Dust, wash, paint, repair anything and everything that may have been neglected in recent years; store unneeded items and extra furniture off-­site.
  • Pets, children and adults can prevent buyers from feeling at ease; it is suggested the home be vacant for every showing, if possible.
  • Before a showing, open drapes, open windows (if a nice day), and avoid cooking strong-­smelling foods. Your home should be “fresh” for every showing.

RE/MAX has created a comprehensive package of videos and checklists on the top 10 priorities for preparing a property for sale. For more information, visit FitToSell.ca!