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  • Preparing Your Home Before Your Winter Vacation
    the thermostat down to low but don t turn off completely which could put your pipes in danger of freezing Set designated lights throughout the home on a timer Outside the Home Garage Store all yard equipment and ladders in the garage Front Walkway Driveway Avoid an overstuffed mailbox while you re gone Get a neighbour to hold mail and newspapers until you re back Ask a neighbour to shovel the front walkway and driveway when they do theirs or simply drive in and out after a snowfall An occupied home and driveway looks lived in Don t leave garbage bins or recycling bins out the entire time you re away Ask a neighbour to take them out on designated days and bring back in Ensure any surveillance cameras exterior motion detectors are in working order Alert your security monitoring company you will be leaving if necessary If you don t have a home security system you know you can count on now is an ideal time to consider one Set Christmas lights on a timer so they come on at night Backyard Lock garden gates Store any outdoor furniture away in the garage or shed to preventing it from blowing over in wind or snow storms Your Vehicle If you re leaving your vehicle behind park it in the garage and consider covering with a lightweight car cover This will prevent dust and debris accumulating on the surface If you re storing your car outdoors a heavy duty water resistant car cover is necessary If you are driving to your holiday destination make sure it s ready for a long winter drive Install four snow tires and take a look at your car insurance policy to ensure you are adequately protected Print this list and refer to it when

    Original URL path: http://dgidirect.ca/home-tips/preparing-home-winter-vacation-checklist/ (2016-05-01)
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  • New Ontario Hydro Rates: What to Expect on Your Next Bill
    do this Run your dishwasher and do laundry during off peak times and save each run for a full load Unplug small appliances such as TVs computers printers and chargers when you re not using them Use power bars with on off buttons to make sure they are actually off and not using phantom power Where possible heat your home using your furnace sparingly Setting the furnace on a timer is a great way to reduce energy when you re not at home Treat your windows with caulk to protect your home against moisture intrusion drafts and heat leakage through small cracks Move furniture and rugs away from heating vents to ensure air is circulating properly and is not absorbing the heat you pay for Identify air leaks in your attic and add insulation where necessary to prevent drafts When buying appliances look for the ENERGY STAR rating which are designed to be efficient Other Helpful Resources for Ontario Energy Consumers Calculate your monthly bill These free online calculators one for residential consumers and one for small business consumers can help you calculate an estimated monthly bill and also see how your bill might look based on a contract with an electricity retailer Understand your bill This sample electricity bill image lets users move their mouse over the highlighted items to view a description for each line item You can also see a line by line comparison of your bill Help for low income energy consumers To assist consumers with limited financial resources the Ontario Energy Board has introduced the Low income Energy Assistance Program to offer emergency financial assistance and more To find out if you qualify and who to contact for help refer to the LEAP page Get in touch If you have a question about your bill

    Original URL path: http://dgidirect.ca/home-tips/ontario-hydro-rates-risen-expect-next-bill/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Helpful Information for Families Adopting a Child
    child in Canada You might choose to go with a private public or international adoption In public adoptions children become available for adoption because their birth parents decided to make an adoption plan or an Ontario court has decided the child must be removed from their birth parents For this type you must work through your local Children s Aid Society In private adoptions most children are newborns and there are relatively few babies available for adoption relative to the number of families seeking to adopt For private adoptions you must use an Ontario agency licensed by the government Refer to this list of approved private adoption agencies in Ontario In International adoptions children may be infants toddlers and school age and can be sibling groups Many of which have spent time in an orphanage Each type has its own unique sequence of events which follow an initial info session and mandatory training for families For this type you must use an Ontario agency licensed to facilitate adoptions from the child s country Refer to this list of approved international adoption agencies Be sure to ask lots of questions from the agency you are considering and seek information from people you know who have recently adopted a child Do keep in mind that rules for international adoptions in particular can change depending on the country so make sure you re getting the most up to date information Costs and Time Required The time it takes to adopt a child depends on a number of factors including the country the child is from and the priority of each case Depending on these and more the process may take up to 2 years or longer While there is no set time view the processing times for the majority of adoption cases that took place last year for an idea The most important part of the process and perhaps the most overwhelming is finding the right match In terms of cost all the services involved in a public adoption are free Private adoptions may cost approximately 15 000 to 25 000 and international adoptions cost approximately 20 000 to 50 000 Whatever your situation one thing is certain you can start preparing ahead of time to ensure your family s long term financial success If you are expecting to adopt a child an important part of assess your family budget Where to Find More Information Adoption information sessions are offered by the Children s Aid Society private licensed agencies and The Adoption Council of Ontario To find out more about international adoption you can arrange a consultation with an agency licensed for the country from which you wish to adopt a child After your adoptive process has been completed you have much to prepare Welcoming your child into your home is an exciting prospect Desjardins has many helpful resources for prospective families from financial preparation to planning for your child s future Let Desjardins offer the support you need to be the best

    Original URL path: http://dgidirect.ca/general-tips/helpful-information-for-families-adopting-a-child/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Ontario Law Makes Carbon Monoxide Detectors Mandatory
    continue breathing in carbon monoxide until it leads to long term damage or death The long term dangers associated with carbon monoxide exposure can be severe It can result in brain damage organ dysfunction memory problems personality changes and many other permanent issues Keep Your Alarm Properly Maintained Install and maintain your CO detector according to the manufacturer s instructions and when you do so mark the product s expiry date on it with a marker Replace the battery annually or opt for models with 10 year sealed lithium batteries Replace the unit entirely every 7 10 years Check the expiry date of existing detector and replace any devices built before 2008 If you have older parents or relatives help them inspect their detectors and keep them maintained Other Ways to Protect Yourself Be sure to properly vent and maintain all fuel burning appliances Never use any kind of fuel burning camping equipment inside the home or garage unless it is specifically designed for use in an enclosed space Keep your chimney clean and well maintained Never leave a car running in a garage that is attached to the home even with the garage door open Keep an eye out for the signs of carbon monoxide problems in your home excess moisture found on windows walls or other cold surfaces in the home orange or yellow flames in combustion appliances they should be blue streaks of soot around fuel burning appliances Know the symptoms of CO poisoning in humans For most people the first signs of exposure to low concentrations of CO include mild headache and breathlessness Continued exposure can lead to flu like symptoms including dizziness nausea irritability and poor coordination The new law indicates that significant steps have been made toward enhancing public safety in Ontario Is your

    Original URL path: http://dgidirect.ca/home-tips/new-ontario-law-makes-carbon-monoxide-detectors-mandatory/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Guide to Buying and Using Car Covers
    the body and be difficult to put on and take off A custom car cover is your best bet if you plan on storing your car away all winter Like a tailor made suit custom car covers hug every part of your vehicle they re made specifically for the year make model and style of the vehicle it was purchased for They last longer than universal covers and are available in a wide range of materials Applying Your Car Cover If your car cover comes with mirror pockets most custom fit patterns do it s important that they be placed over the side mirrors before the cover is stretched over the bumpers Next identify the front and rear of the cover the front will be market front and the rear has a loop sewn into the hem Hook the loop around the licence plate or inside the trunk Cover your vehicle front back to front securing firmly over the front and rear bumpers Secure if with grommets if included with your car cover To uninstall reverse the process and unroll the cover back along the car and fold down the sides Car Cover Cleansing Maintenance The performance of your car cover can be compromised if it becomes dirty Cleaning properly when necessary helps to extend its life Instructions vary depending on which fabric your car cover is made of but generally car covers are best spot cleaned with soapy water using a mild detergent and cool or lukewarm water Most car covers can be washed in a washing machine but it is best to avoid using one with a centre agitator using fabric softener or drying any type of specialty cover in a dryer A high quality car cover can be a helpful accessory to preserve your vehicle s appearance

    Original URL path: http://dgidirect.ca/car-tips/guide-buying-using-car-covers/ (2016-05-01)
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  • 6 Things Small Businesses Need to Succeed
    media when used effectively can also be a great tool for publicizing your expertise humanizing your brand and attracting new business Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook can all be useful marketing tools Try them out to find out which one works best for your objectives An Optimal Pricing Strategy One of the main factors that influences how your products or services and their quality is perceived is price Hence your pricing strategy is a key part of your overall marketing plan To determine the right price for your product consider your financial needs what your prospect is willing to pay and the competitive landscape Your pricing strategy should turn a profit but should also be sustainable in the long term Consider the most common pricing methods Cost plus pricing If you know your fixed and variables costs you can add a reasonable profit margin for the business and its customers Cost plus price fixed costs variable costs profit margin Dynamic pricing Although difficult to manage a dynamic pricing strategy in which price varies by season according to supply and demand for your product or service can give your business increased flexibility Promotional pricing In order to penetrate a market a common goal for new businesses special limited time offers can be invaluable Competitive pricing You could opt for a higher price than the competition which works with products and services that have a distinct competitive advantage that positions them as high end within a market segment Or you could set your prices at the same rate which is a typical approach when the market is competitive or at a lower price point than your competitors which is often used to gain a large market share in the short term A Payment Management System To ensure that your business runs as efficiently as possible it is important to have systems in place to accept payments from customers and pay your suppliers Offering a diverse set of payment solutions to your customers including in store payments online payments phone payments and financing options will ensure that you are not turning away any business opportunities Find out how Desjardins can help with your accounts management A Business Growth Strategy In order to grow your business you will need to determine whether you want to increase your sales volume or boost your profit margin and then choose the appropriate strategy given your resources and objectives Some of the most common growth strategies include Innovation Developing new products or services Market penetration Consists of selling you product or service outside your local market Market concentration Focusing efforts on convincing potential customers in a given market to buy your products Diversification Introducing a new product or service The most important tip of all is to secure the right type of coverage for your business Find out how Desjardins can help you stay adequately protected so you can work and rest assured that no accident will come between you and your dream Sections Auto Insurance Home Insurance Pet

    Original URL path: http://dgidirect.ca/general-tips/5-things-small-businesses-need-to-succeed/ (2016-05-01)
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  • What to Look for When Shopping for Snow Tires
    order to allow them to bite through snow with each rotation Many snow tires have Winter Wear Indicators horizontal rubber bars between tread blocks to confirm that a tire s tread depth is deep enough for performance in snow When a tire s tread blocks approach the Winter Wear Indicators it s a sign that the tire is wearing down and braking traction will be reduced as a result Tread Compounds Winter tires are made with compounds that improve traction and maintain elasticity in lower temperatures These might include stiffer rubber at the base of treads but more flexible rubber inside to allow for a better reaction upon contact with snow or different types of materials and combinations of materials There are numerous technologies used to enhance snow tire performance As you shop ask about the difference between compounds in order to find the best product for you Helpful Hints To help maintain control and stability of your vehicle in snowy conditions be sure to install winter tires in sets of four Having different sets of wheels on your vehicle means the front half and back half will grip the road differently which can lead to spinning out of control As snow tires wear their traction is reduced As stated above pay attention to the tread wear indicators For snow tires a tread depth of 6 mm is considered the limit Be aware of another sign that your tires are worn cracks appearing in the rubber Do not risk using worn out tires on snow covered roads Proper air pressure extends tread life and reduces fuel consumption Be aware that tire pressure decreases as temperatures drop so be sure to check tire pressure at least once a month when the tires are cold Installing snow tires is an important action

    Original URL path: http://dgidirect.ca/car-tips/what-to-look-for-when-shopping-for-snow-tires/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Chimney Cleaning & Maintenance Best Practices
    all the proper tools and assistance you need In preparation for cleaning your chimney purchase the following items at a hardware store A secure ladder tall enough to reach your roof A chimney sweeping brush and chimney brush extension pipes A plastic tarp for the inside of your home A broom and dustpan A dust mask and goggles Before you begin cover the fireplace and carpet indoors with a plastic tarp to minimize indoor cleanup Outdoors rest your ladder securely against your roof and check inside the chimney for animals like birds and squirrels that might be nesting inside Wearing protective gloves and a dust mask and goggles remove the flue cap to allow for unrestricted access from roof level The most common chimney cleaning method involves extending a brush at the end of a rod down the chimney flue and turning it with a swirling motion Keep turning the rods in a clockwise direction to ensure that they don t become separated and come loose in the chimney Once your brush reaches the bottom swirl it back up to the top Each cycle of the brush will knock more debris loose When fresh soot begins to appear on the brush look into the chimney and inspect for cleanliness Chimney Maintenance Tips Green wood wood that has been very recently cut dismantled furniture and any other questionable fuels should not be added to the fireplace If possible burn hardwoods like maple oak and ash These woods tend to burn long have less sap are cleaner to handle and result in less creosote buildup Build fires correctly place kindling in a criss cross pattern overtop of crumbled newspaper and place a couple of thin split logs on top allowing for air to circulate Make sure logs are properly supported so they don t slip Always open your damper all the way before a fire Clean your fireplace s interior including its floor regularly and monitor for signs of buildup Sweep out or vacuum up cold ashes Remember to wear a dust mask and gloves when cleaning Excess smoke coming from the chimney is a sign that a fire isn t burning correctly A proper fire will show only thin cloud of smoke If you see dark smoke adjust your dampers to allow for more air circulation Install a chimney cap This will keep animals from entering the chimney and also prevent rain from falling into the chimney flue A chimney cap can prevent heat loss in the winter and also protect your chimney s crown from the elements Homeowners with a fireplace should be sure to install and maintain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors inside and outside of bedrooms Replace the batteries each season and test the detectors regularly Every household with an active fireplace should ensure fire safety rules are in place so that all members of the family stay safe A fireplace is meant to be enjoyed and regular maintenance and safety precautions will ensure it is all winter

    Original URL path: http://dgidirect.ca/home-tips/chimney-cleaning-maintenance-best-practices/ (2016-05-01)
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