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  • 7 Simple Green Home Upgrades - DGI Direct
    your home even further While there s no way to completely prevent heat from entering or escaping your home proper insulation can keep it to a minimum 3 Switch Out Those Lightbulbs If your home is still outfitted with incandescent lighting it may be time to switch over to compact fluorescent lamps CFLs or LED lights These use about 75 less energy produce less heat and last about 10 times longer than their traditional incandescent counterparts While you may pay a little more upfront you will save more energy and money in the long term while reducing your carbon footprint simply by switching out your light bulbs 4 Unplug Those Appliances Another very simple but very effective way of cutting down on energy use in your home is by turning off your appliances completely Many household appliances including laptops televisions and microwaves actually drain energy even when not in use or when in standby mode Turn off and unplug those vampire appliances when you re not using them to reduce your carbon footprint and save 5 10 off your annual utility bill just by pressing a button 5 Opt for ENERGY STAR When it comes to energy efficiency there s no better bet than ENERGY STAR Originally started as a government program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions ENERGY STAR has become a recognized symbol across the country and the best choice for homeowners looking to lessen their impact on the environment and on their wallets By opting for ENERGY STAR appliances you can reduce your water and energy consumption by 10 to 50 percent while opting for an ENERGY STAR rated HVAC system could make your home 9 more energy efficient 6 Install an Efficient Water Heater Another way to cut down on both energy costs and environmental impact is by installing a high efficiency water heater in your home These will keep your water hot for longer potentially saving you 15 25 off of your annual utility bill 7 Do Some Landscaping When you ve finished making your indoor eco friendly upgrades it s time to go green outdoors Proper landscaping can actual help make your home more energy efficient by acting as insulation in the winter and creating shade in the summer By planting deciduous trees on the southern and western sides of your home you can keep your home cooler in the summertime and warmer in the winter helping cut down your heating and cooling bill Besides helping to reduce your carbon dioxide emissions doing some landscaping in an otherwise empty yard also helps to filter groundwater pollutants blocks runoff from storm water and prevents erosion Get Rewarded By Your Insurer On top of the savings you can gain from these upgrades alone many insurers reward going green as well Desjardins Insurance has a complete offer for green home renovations including cashback a discount on your home insurance premiums and your monthly plan free for one full year Already outfitted your home with these money saving eco

    Original URL path: http://dgidirect.ca/home-tips/7-simple-green-home-upgrades/ (2016-05-01)
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  • 10 Memorable Ways to Spend a Family Staycation
    family Make it memorable by incorporating a theme such as Hawaiian luau country picnic Mexican feista Do some weekend renovations Completing a home weekend renovation during your staycation with the help of your child is a creative way to connect It also gives your child a chance to add their own personal touch to your home Children may be able to help by checking off the list at the hardware store marking level points on a wall and screwing in mounting screws and cup hooks Spend a day volunteering Volunteering as a family offers a way to get outside and give back to your community Drop into a community garden in your area and spend a day planting seedlings join a public park clean up or take animal shelter dogs for a walk To find an opportunity near you head to your local YMCA or neighborhood community centre Learn a new skill Your local public library branch offers programming like workshops and courses that run for up to days at a time These might include writer s workshops book clubs and crafting lessons Or dedicate your staycation to taking a course like canoe tripping certification or repairing your bicycles as a family Head to the beach Ontario has hundreds of beautiful beaches that combine sand sun and kilometres of shoreline for strolling splashing or sandcastle building Choose from one on Fun Ontario s 10 best beaches across the province See a show Add some culture to your staycation with a stage performance From amateur theatres to open air concerts to author readings a captivating show can come in many sizes and price ranges Find a show in one of the many festivals and events taking place in Ontario this summer Try geocaching Geocaching is like a real world treasure hunt

    Original URL path: http://dgidirect.ca/home-tips/10-memorable-ways-spend-family-staycation-2/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Spring Gardens for Beginners in Ontario
    you have sandy soil it will be crumbly in your hand Sandy soils don t retain much moisture If you have clay soil it will form a lump or lumps when you squeeze it Clay soils get sticky and turn very hard when dry Loam the ideal type of garden soil will form into a ball when you squeeze it but it will break apart easily To improve any type of soil add compost This provide a nutrient boost and improve the texture of your soil Getting Started Plan Pick and Choose Plant and Design After that careful consideration it s time for the fun part planning and designing There are as many garden designs out there as there are gardeners roll up your sleeves and use your imagination For Vegetables Figure out where you want to plant your veggies taking into consideration the ground space as well as the vertical space needed for the largest yield Jot down and or sketch out your design plan Don t forget to leave spaces between your veggie rows so that you can reach all of your vegetables to work on them comfortably throughout the year For Flowers When it comes to flowerbeds wider is often better Make sure your flower bed is wide enough about five to six feet to accommodate any flowering shrubs you may want to include like rhododendron or Rose of Sharon Plant flowers in groups of three five seven or more to achieve that lush mass of blooms down the road Stick to harmonious colour combinations to create unity in your design Choose Your Plants or Vegetables For Vegetables If you want to stick to the basics opt for lettuce tomatoes peas carrots beans and garlic These are all easy to grow and maintain and are perfect for a beginner Kale arugula parsnips spinach beets radishes parsley and rhubarb are some of those rare vegetables that tolerate part shade stick to these if you know your garden won t be receiving full sun For Flowers Once again when it comes to flower options the sky s the limit Do you want some classic red roses Or would you rather go for bright peonies Some perennial favourites perfect for Ontario gardens include coneflowers peruvian lilies forget me nots gloriosa daisies hydrangeas geraniums fern leaf yarrows and astilbes Start Planting After the danger of frost has passed plant seeds of heat loving crops Use our guide to spring gardening to start exercising your green thumb Get a head start on your garden now and you ll be rewarded with a colourful spring bounty For Vegetables To make sure your vegetable seeds germinate make sure to plant them in the right medium and the right kind of environment If you purchased your seeds from a garden centre follow the directions on the package making sure to read instructions carefully For Flowers After you ve figured out what flowers you want to include it s time to start planting As always plant

    Original URL path: http://dgidirect.ca/home-tips/spring-gardens-for-beginners-in-ontario/ (2016-05-01)
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  • 3 DIY Summer Landscaping Projects - DGI Direct
    fixture is sitting above the grass Run your cable all the way to your outdoor electrical outlet then cut your cable and strip off a half inch of rubber insulation Slide the wires under the bottom of your transformer ensuring that the stripped part reaches your transformer s terminal screws Tighten the screws completely your cable should now be held firmly in place Drive your wooden stake into the ground by your outlet and screw your transformer onto the stake Lift the cover of your outlet then plug in your transformer Set all of your light fixture into position ensuring equal spacing between them Use the steel punch to make a hole in the ground for your fixture Find the two connector halves that are left hanging from the bottom of the light fixture you will need to slip these over the cable protruding from the sod Next pinch the connector halves together you should hear a clicking noise The fixture should now light up If not unsnap the connector then resnap it or check the fixture s bulb Now insert your light fixture into its metal ground stake then push the fixture and stake into the ground until the top of the stake stands flush with the ground Slip the connector and the cable under the sod burying them about 2 inches deep into the soil Use this same method to install each light fixture on your pathway After installing all of your fixtures smooth out the sod around each one firmly pressing down Soak the area with your garden hose Original Idea via This Old House Spruce Up Your Tree Add a decorative touch to the tree in your front lawn with a charming brick tree surround they re not only decorative though they also make it easier to mow the lawn You Will Need Brick pavers about 20 per tree A bag of mulch Sand A rope A spade A trowel How To Make a circle around the base of your tree Note to ensure an even circle tie a loop of rope around your tree when the top is taut the free end should sit where you want the edge of your surround to be Put your spade inside the loop with the handle facing down Make your way around the tree with your handle the rope will keep your spade the same distance away from your tree making a clean circle Cut the sod around the tree Remove your loop of rope Dig a 6 inch wide 8 inch deep circle trench around the tree Pour sand into the trench Place the bricks around your tree either laying them end to end or making a saw tooth effect Fill your brand new surround with mulch 2 to 4 inches should be enough Original Idea via House Logic Edge Your Flower Bed If your front yard flower bed is in need of some TLC why not give it an edge literally A metal or stone edge

    Original URL path: http://dgidirect.ca/home-tips/3-diy-summer-landscaping-projects/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Spring Cleaning Checklist: Home - DGI Direct
    toaster tray and clean out crumbs Wipe down all counters and appliances Wash and sanitize cutting boards Deep clean the dishwasher Wash and shine sink and faucet Clean out drain Clear out pantries and cabinets and wipe down shelves Check for expiry dates and toss old items Dust above pantries cabinets and appliances Sweep and scrub floor Wash walls and trim Living Room Family Room Wash windows window sills and screens Clean television screen Dust any other electronics Vacuum sofas and chairs Toss pillows and blankets in the laundry Sort through all your DVDs magazines books toys and music Donate any you no longer use and organize the rest Dust all shelves furniture and surfaces Don t forget about ceiling fan blades Vacuum carpet or floor Wash walls and trim Dining Room Remove curtains and wash following instructions on label Wash windows Wipe down table and chairs and dust furniture Dust crown molding and wall corners Shine or polish silverware Polish table if necessary Wash table linens and seat cushions Vacuum and clean floors Wash walls and trim Laundry Room Wash windows and window sills Wash inside and outside of cabinets Organize cleaning products and get rid of unnecessary ones Clean inside of washing machine and empty drain pipe Dust behind and underneath washer and dryer Wash lint trap with soap and water Clean dryer vent Clean laundry sink and drain Shine faucet Sweep and mop floors Bathrooms Wash windows mirror and wall Wash outside of cabinets and vanity Empty all cabinets and vanity Wipe down shelves and walls and throw away any expired medications and cosmetics Scrub bathtub Wax if necessary Unclog and clean the drain Clean shower curtain and liner Clean shower glass and frame Clean and disinfect toilet including around the base under the seat and around hinges Clean sink and drain Shine faucet Sweep and wash floors Bedrooms Clear out and organize closet and dresser Donate any old or unworn clothes to charity Dust furniture corners wall hangings and crown molding Remove items from nightstand and clean the inside of the drawer Get rid of any unneeded items Remove any items from under the bed and vacuum Clean your mattress by sprinkling it with baking soda letting it sit for a few minutes and then vacuuming it up Flip mattress if it hasn t been done lately Wash bed sheets pillows and duvet Wash curtains Clean windows and sills Vacuum carpet and shampoo it if necessary Dust lights and vacuum lamp shades Clean mirrors Wash walls doors and doorknobs Don t be deterred if it takes longer than one weekend to get everything done The important thing is to be thorough Once you re finished you ll feel like you re living in a brand new home at least until the mess builds up again Happy cleaning Spring is also a great time to review your home insurance policy and make sure you re getting the coverage you need Sections Auto Insurance Home Insurance Pet Insurance

    Original URL path: http://dgidirect.ca/home-tips/spring-cleaning-checklist-home/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Spring Cleaning Checklist: Car - DGI Direct
    maps flashlights a copy of any road side assistance card you might have and emergency contact information 3 Check your tires Potholes and uneven roads in winter and early spring can take a toll on your tires and could also end up doing damage to your car s entire shock system Check for signs of bulging in tire s side walls and the more obvious sign your car s alignment Keeping your tires properly inflated can prevent pothole damage wear and tear and can also increase your gas mileage Although pressure checks are recommended at least monthly bear in mind that fluctuating temperatures may cause a quicker than normal decrease in tire pressure 4 Polish the windows and mirrors To get a streak free shine on windows and mirrors use an ammonia free glass cleaner and finish with a micro fibre cloth Cleaning the inside of the glass as well can help clear away any moisture build up from condensation so your defroster clear your windows quicker Gear up for April showers by checking and replacing your wiper blades if needed winter can be demanding on them with all that snow and ice clearing It can also deplete your vehicle of wind shield wiper fluid Ensure your reservoir is topped up to the correct level 5 Re stock your trunk Replace your winter survival kit with a spring survival kit Include a spare tire jumper cables warm blankets a first aid kit a shovel water bottles and high energy snacks Its a good idea to include your vehicle s owner s manual in your trunk or glove box in the event that you require instructions for a car specific emergency procedure like changing a tire 6 Assess your insurance policy Revisit your auto insurance policy and consider if it needs

    Original URL path: http://dgidirect.ca/car-tips/spring-cleaning-checklist-car/ (2016-05-01)
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  • 5 Steps to Spring Cleaning Your Finances - DGI Direct
    time to sit down and map out a monthly budget so you can keep track of where your money s going If you re already armed with a budget but aren t seeing the fruits of your labour it might be time to take a good look at its current state and perhaps change a few things around One way to do this is to break down your last six months expenses into necessities like groceries wants like Netflix and less thoughtful purchases like daily coffee Step 2 Update If your less thoughtful column is much longer than your necessities column it s time to weed out unnecessary purchases so that you can get back on financial track Your budget update could be as simple as forgoing that weekly shopping trip or as complicated as a total expenses overhaul it all depends on whether your budget s doing its job or not It s also important to note that when job related changes occur like promotions or moving from one to two incomes it s wise to revisit your household budget Once you have your budget stick to it a budget that s not being implemented is no use at all Be Insurance Smart If you re serious about tidying up your finances this spring it s not enough to just have insurance A savvy financial spring cleaning includes an insurance policy review If it s been a while since you took a good look at your insurance policies it may be high time to do some comparison shopping Paying a headache inducing car insurance premium Take a few minutes to compare rates and save Remember A little bit of research and effort now will be well worth it down the road For example if you ve thought about usage based insurance but never looked into it maybe it s time to do some investigation Separating myth from fact will help you make an informed decision and could save you some serious money maybe even thousands of dollars per year Keep in mind as you shop around make sure you re sufficiently covered Life changes like the birth of a child warrant a life insurance policy overview while major renovations around the house are a good cause to review and update your property insurance De clutter If you have piles of bills and financial documents laying around the house it s time to clean house literally Throw out and or shred all unneeded financial documents like cancelled checks ATM deposit slips and withdrawal receipts just make sure that the transactions are properly documented on your bank statements What should you keep Hold onto bank statements and pay stubs for a year and keep tax documents for seven years Also keep tax related receipts such as charitable donations made by checks as well as tax payments that you ve deducted To keep the paper from piling up in the future go paperless with as many things as you can not only

    Original URL path: http://dgidirect.ca/general-tips/5-steps-to-spring-cleaning-your-finances/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Your DIY Guide to Natural Spring Cleaning
    in aromatherapy essential oils are more than just a way to make your home smell fantastic Adding a few drops of essential oils to your DIY cleaning solutions helps to neutralize the smell of vinegar and leave your home smelling lemony fresh without the added chemicals The Recipes For an all purpose spray mix two tablespoons of vinegar with one teaspoon of baking soda and one cup of warm water Add your favourite mix of essential oils to cut through the scent of vinegar such as a mixture of twenty drops of orange twenty drops of lavender and five drops of rosemary essential oils for example To make a simple glass cleaner mix a quarter cup of vinegar with one teaspoon of lemon essential oil and four cups of water pour it into a spray bottle and shake before each use For an all natural oven cleaner mix one and a half cups of baking soda with a quarter cup of vinegar and twenty drops of your favourite essential oil such as lemon For a DIY furniture polish use three quarters of a cup of olive oil mixed with about three and a half litres of hot water and a tablespoon of essential oil To make a furniture and room spray simply add about forty drops of essential oils to a spray bottle filled with water and use it in any room in your home The Green Cleaning Tips To get rid of dust wipe your dust filled surfaces with a damp cloth preferably a microfiber cloth instead of using harmful cleaning products Why a damp cloth Because a dry one will simply release the dust back into the air rather than trapping it For a quick and effective alternative to your chemical filled all purpose spray cleaner pour your vinegar solution in a reusable spray bottle then use it to clean everything from kitchen appliances and countertops to bathroom sinks and even tile grout To get rid of mildew pour pure white vinegar on the mildewy surface then let it sit for at least 30 minutes before rinsing it with water To help stop the spread of bacteria and fungus in heavily soiled laundry add a teaspoon of tea tree oil to each load The typical toilet bowl cleaner is full of harmful chemicals avoid using this most toxic of home cleaning products by pouring a cup of vinegar into the toilet bowl and letting it sit for several hours before flushing Have you noticed scuff marks on your floors Remove them without the use of conventional cleaning products just sprinkle baking soda on the scuffed surface then wipe it with a damp cloth Not sure where to start your natural spring cleaning project Use our home spring cleaning checklist to make sure you clean and de clutter your whole home from the front hall to the bathroom then take your spring cleaning outside to your car with the help of our car cleaning checklist Sections Auto Insurance Home

    Original URL path: http://dgidirect.ca/general-tips/diy-guide-natural-spring-cleaning/ (2016-05-01)
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