It is the time of year to check your sump pump to ensure that it is working properly to avoid a spring flood in your basement. Sump pumps are a critical home safety system, particularly in certain areas in Winnipeg where the water table is higher. As a city we also experience occasional flash flooding and in these instances, your sump pump's ability to keep up with rising water levels is crucial. Your sump pump's job is to pump water out of the sump pit and away from your house so that your basement or crawlspace stays dry.
The sump pump is part of a drainage system. Perforated pipes along basement walls carry water to the sump pit basin. As the water rises in the sump pit, it lifts a float, which switches on the pump to force the excess water outside. There is a check valve in the discharge pipe that prevents the water from flowing back into the pit. It is very important to check the discharge pipe outside the house to ensure that it is not frozen or plugged, as you want to be certain that the water can flow out.
If the pump doesn't run make sure your sump pump is plugged in. If it is plugged in, ensure that the plug it is plugged into is working properly. If the outlet is dead, check the breaker in the main panel and if it is a GFCI, push the reset button. If the pump is getting power but won't run, you most likely need a new pump.
If the pump runs but the water level is not dropping, check the discharge pipe outside the house. If the pipe is clear, the pump most likely needs to be replaced.
Once you have established that your sump pump is working, it is a smart idea to consider a backup system. Wet weather and power failures go hand in hand. Your sump pump will not be working if you have a power failure. Options for backup systems include a battery backup and a water powered backup. A battery backup relies on a battery to power a second pump in the basin. A water-powered backup relies on a backup pump that siphons water out of the basin using water pressure from your home's water supply.
If you are not ready or willing to consider a backup system or think it is a bit excessive, a smart idea is to at least keep a replacement pump on hand. Several days of heavy rain can cause your sump pump to work overtime and can lead to pump failure. Having a backup pump ready to go will save you from scrambling around looking for a backup when you (and everyone else) need it most.
It's a new year and clearing clutter from your home will not only have it looking better, it will also help you feel better. If you are considering selling your home, clearing clutter will improve the value of your home as buyers want to see your house, not your belongings.
Clutter can affect your stress levels, bombard you minds and create anxiety and feelings of guilt, "I should be more organized." It can also cause embarrassment, especially when others unexpectedly drop by your home or workplace.
Fortunately, clearing clutter is one of the easiest life stressors to fix! Set yourself up for success by formulating a plan and targeting specific areas to declutter and organize. Consider decluttering one room at a time and realize that it can be an emotional process because of the sentimental value you may attach to items. It is necessary to separate yourself from those feelings. According to Lifehacker.com, three questions to ask are:
- What does the item do for me that nothing else does?
- Do I have anything else that does this better or just as well?
- Does this have sentimental meaning for me? Sentimental value is important but don't get weighed down thinking about how an item makes you feel when there is something else that does the same job.
After you have asked these questions, you will either keep, sell/donate or toss. Keep items you use regularly and have space to store. Sell or donate items that are in good, working condition and can be used by someone else but not needed by you. Toss broken items, papers etc.
There are so many organizations in Winnipeg that are always accepting donations and many that will pick up your donations from your home. Not only will you be helping others in need but you will be keeping items out of landfills. In no particular order, some organizations in Winnipeg that accept donations of small and large household goods and furnishings and clothing are as follows:
Habitat for Humanity's ReStore accepts decor and home building products and they are a registered charity so they will issue a tax receipt for most ReStore donations. Visit their website for a list of acceptable items and to make arrangments for drop off or pick up.
60 Archibald or 1081 Ellice Ave
Hands of Hope provides furniture and household goods to people in need. They will pick up good quality used furniture from donors and deliver to families in need.
Centre Flavie-Laurent distributes furniture, appliances and household items and clothing to people in need. They sort, store and distribute the goods and clothing received from donors. Donations can be dropped of at their Provencher location.
450 boulevard Provencher
Oyate Tipi Cumini Yape is a non-profit organization in Winnipeg which accepts donations of gently used household goods and furniture. Items are distributed to women and children who are trying to escape poverty and/or abusive situations. They do not accept large appliances or clothing but clothing can be dropped off at their partner agency North End Women's Centre - The Up Shoppe. You can schedule a pick up of household items and furniture by calling their donation line below. Visit their website to view a list of all items that are accepted.
384 Selkirk Ave
Oyate Tipi donation line: 204-589-2265
North End Women's Centre - The Up Shoppe
384 Selkirk Ave
Villa Rosa is a prenatal and postnatal residence in Winnipeg that offers a variety of programs and services for any single, pregnant women or new moms. They are in need of basic household items for their residents as they move into the community on their own. See their website for a complete list of accepted items. They accept donations by drop off between 8:30-4:30 weekdays.
784 Wolseley Ave
phone: 204-786-5741, ext.226
Siloam Mission collects donations of household items for community members that will be transitioning to greater independence. They have a list of items that comprise a 'Move Out' kit and ask that Move Out kits be donated as complete kits if possible, but they will still collect donations of the individual items. A Move Out kit consists of: a coffee maker, toaster, can opener, spatula, ladle, frying pan, pot, 20pc flatware, 4 dinner plates, 4 bowls, 4 coffee mugs, 6 glasses, pillow, blanket, 1 set of sheets and pillowcases, laundry hamper, hangers, broom and toilet paper.
300 Princess St.
Willow Place is a family violence agency which provides services for women and children who have experienced family violence. Their website has a wish list of items that they accept for donation, mainly gently used clothing and small household items. They do not accept large donations of clothing and household items.
Canadian Diabetes accepts donations of household items and clothing and they will pickup. For a complete list, visit their website and schedule a pick up by completing the form on their website or calling the 1-800 number.
The Salvation Army Thrift Store accepts donations and requests that they be dropped off at a Salvation Army Thrift Store or bin near you. They offer free pick up services for donations of multiple furniture items as well as 10 ore more bags or boxes of clothing and household items. To qualify for a pick up, email your phone number, address with postal code and photos of furniture to be donated to the email address below.
Bin locations: www.thriftstore/ca/manitoba/drop-bin-locations
Goodwill is another organization that will accept donations and will pick up. Complete the form on their website or call the number below.
Another alternative is using a service such as Just Junk Winnipeg for junk removal and furniture donation. They will do all the lifting and loading for you and they provide free estimates.
To have the complete list emailed to you, email me at email@example.com.
Moving is stressful at the best of times but moving in the winter months has its own challenges. With proper planning and preparation it can go smoothly. Below are my top tips for planning a local move in the winter.
- Hire movers - Hiring movers is always a great idea but especially in the winter months as you do not want to be driving an unfamiliar moving truck in the snow and ice. It is also best to leave the heavy lifting to the professionals to minimize your risk of sustaining personal injuries, causing property damage or damaging your valuable possessions.
- Pack well - Some extra effort will be required to pack temperature sensitive items. Dishes, glasses and china can crack when exposed to extreme temperatures and should be well wrapped in packing paper and bubble wrap. Electronics should be packed well and wrapped in moving blankets for extra insulation. Let electronic items return to room temperature before plugging them in to minimize damage from condensation. Keep extra towels and sheets on hand to protect furniture, artwork and other possessions if it starts to snow.
- Prepare your home - Check that all utilities (heat, lights and water) are working in your new home the day before you move. Clear snow and ice from all walkways on the property as well as the city sidewalk, the driveway, the entrance to the garage, and ensure there is a clear path from the moving truck all entrances. Salt or sand pathways and ensure they are free of ice. Take precautions inside both properties, as snow and ice will be tracked inside. Cardboard, plastic sheeting (taped down), or carpet remnants can be laid down to protect the floors and movers usually have carpet runners as well to protect the high traffic routes.
- Dress properly - Even with movers doing the heavy lifting, you will be busy. Be sure to wear appropriate winter clothing and dress in layers of clothing that will not restrict your movements. Wear winter boots with gripping tread and protect your hands with work gloves. Have extra gloves in case gloves get wet.
- Start early and have warm beverages - It is best to start your move day early as soon as it is light out as winter days are shorter and it gets dark earlier. The temperatures will also be more comfortable during the daytime hours. Consider picking up a box of coffee from a coffee franchise or leave your coffee maker unpacked so that you can make coffee for yourself and your movers. A slow cooker can also be used to make a large batch of hot chocolate or apple cider. Make sure you have disposable cups!
Be safe and stay warm - It will be worth it once you are settled in your new home!
The temperatures have dropped significantly in the last week but it's not too late to take some steps to prepare your home for the colder temperatures on the way.
One of the biggest hazards for winter in terms of the potential damage to your home, is the risk of pipes bursting from exposure to freezing temperatures. Identify problem pipes in your house that are prone to freezing - areas where it is not heated and where pipes run through crawlspaces, basements or garages. Use insulation sleeves on the pipes or heat tape in cases of extreme cold. Another option is to keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces. Be sure that everyone in the household knows how to turn off the water at the source should a pipe burst.
Unfortunately fires are also too common in the winter. Be sure to have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional, have heating systems checked, replace furnace filters and install a carbon monoxide monitor if you don't already have one. Be sure to test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide monitors and replace batteries.
To improve energy efficiency, seal air leaks. It is easy to add or replace weather stripping around doors and windows as well as repair caulking around windows to reduce drafts. There are many different types of programmable thermostats to choose from as well as wifi thermostats so that you can program, adjust or monitor your home's temperature even when you are not there.
Ice dams on roofs occur when heat collects in the attic and warms the roof, except the eaves. Snow melts on the warm roof and then refreezes on the eaves. Ice accumulates along the eaves forming a dam. The meltwater from the warm roof backs up behind it and can flow under the shingles and into the house. There are quick ways to prevent ice dams as well as permanent solutions. One quick fix includes installing heated cables with clips along the roof's edge to equalize your roof's temperature from the outside. In order to get rid of ice dams for good, the entire roof must be the same temperature as the eaves and this is achieved by increasing ventilation, adding insulation and sealing off every possible air leak that might warm the underside of the roof.
One final safety tip is to remove tree branches that may get weighed down with snow or ice and fall on your house or your neighbour's house and potentially cause damage.
The cold temperatures may be here but simple fixes can keep your home warm, less drafty and safe from potential winter hazards.