To most of us, electricity is simply flicking a switch or turning a dial to light up a room, cook supper or get instant entertainment. We take it for granted -- that is, until there's a power failure and we have to scramble to find flashlights, candles and matches in the dark.
Making your home safe and comfortable takes a deeper understanding. Let's start by remembering that the electricity we receive in our homes is part of a powerful, intricate system made up of power lines and generators. It generally enters our homes through power lines to a main switch at 120 to 240 volts. The main switch is clearly marked with an “on” and “off” position and controls all the power in the house.
All lighting or general use circuits in a home are protected by either “circuit breakers” in newer homes or fuses in older ones. You should always disconnect the power by moving the main switch to the “off” position when changing fuses or doing electrical work around the house. Never open the door of the main switch -- if you sense something is wrong, call your electricity supplier.
The panel box or fuse box from the main switch is the one that splits the power into circuits that go into all the rooms in your home. If you overload a circuit, say by plugging too many things in, the fuse may blow or the circuit breaker may trip, stopping the flow of power to that particular area.
In the basement
If you're looking for the breaker panels or fuse boxes in a home, you'll usually find them in the basement. They require little if any maintenance. Fuse boxes require the right type and size of fuses. Overloading circuits could cause power loss, or even lead to a fire.
If you detect rust in the fuse box, or if a fuse repeatedly blows for no apparent reason, if there is overheating, discoloration of fuses or flickering lights, contact an electrician to solve the problem.
Look after your cords
Use electrical appliances carefully
Other safety tips
Never touch power lines yourself or with any equipment. Take extra care when working near them. Before doing any digging, call your local hydro company to locate underground power lines. Cutting through one is dangerous and could black out an entire area.
When planting trees around your home, make sure they won't grow up into power lines. Don't attempt to prune or fell any trees near power lines yourself. Call your local hydro company. A tree falling into a power line can be very dangerous.
Power tools should have a three-prong plug or double insulation. Keep them in good condition and never use power tools on wet grass or other wet surfaces. If you need an extension cord, use a proper, three-prong, grounded cord.
Source: Ontario Real Estate Association
Location is the most critical factor affecting a home's value, so when buying a house it makes sense to buy in the best neighborhood you can afford. The most desirable neighborhoods tend to hold their value over time and that will play an important role in the resale value of the property and in your family's life.
The efficiency of a heating system depends on the amount of fuel consumed to meet heating needs. Using less fuel means your system has increased its energy efficiency. One way to maximize output using the least amount of fuel is to reduce air leakage. Before deciding to replace or upgrade your present heating system you will have to consider how much of your present system can be saved.
Color can make a big impact on the appearance of any room and at the same time is one of the easiest things to correct if you are not totally satisfied. They make difference and affect the way how we see space around us. Colors can alter our perception of a room's size and shape and make the difference in enjoying or feeling uncomfortable in a room.
Turning down the thermostat is a good way to save heat.
Replacing weather stripping will cut down on drafts and prevent furnace to work harder.
Close the curtains or window coverings at night so they act as barriers to reduce drafts.
Good insulation is sure way to reduce your heating and cooling costs.
Keep your heating or cooling registers clean and unobstructed for even heating or cooling.
Heating system work can be inexpensive or quite costly depending on how much efficiency you want to buy.
Upgrade thermostat - programmable thermostats can help you cut your energy bill by 10 percent or more.