Alleyne Team 

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Friends to Lead, Friends in "Deed"


Home Energy Saving TipsDid you know that most realtors recommend to their clients who are purchasing a home that they request a years worth of utility bills?  This will allow home buyers to budget their utility costs for all four seasons.  Realtors do not want their clients to have any surprises once they take possession of a home.  

This November's bitter cold snap likely caught Surrey, South Surrey and White Rock homeowners off guard.  We had many days into late October warm enough for t-shirts.  The sudden change caused a chill that likely cost homeowners as thermostats were cranked, gas fireplaces flicked on and space heaters called into action.   

We know what we are in for now --- many long months of cold, rain, some snow and the odd sunny day mixed in just to keep us sane.  These months can be costly for Surrey and White Rock homeowners.   The reality is energy is wasted in many homes.  This translates to higher utility costs.  If your energy costs are above normal this can translate into problems for potential buyers of your home.  

Here are 10 tips to save you money on your home utilities in cold months:

1.  Turn your thermostat down a notch (2 degrees) and put on a sweater.  Also remember to turn the thermostat down at night. Or if you have a programmable thermostat, set it for lower temperatures at bedtime.

2.  Insulate your hot water tank and turn it down.  The temperature range should be 60 to 65 degrees Celsius.  Also timers can be purchased to turn your water heater off at night and back on again in the morning before you wake.

3.  Clean you furnace filter every one to three months 

4.  Weatherproof your  home caulking cracks, etc.  See Draft Proof Your Home for Winter.

5.  Keep heating vents clear of furniture, drapes and other items that block circulation

6. Replace doors that do not provide proper insulation

7.  Close off the heating vents and close the doors of rooms you do not use

8.  In the winter ceiling fans should be set to clockwise to push warm air down 

9.  Use area rugs to insulate cold floors.  This is also more pleasant to walk on during colder months

10.  Open all the south facing window curtains and blinds on sunny days

Your first benefit of having an energy efficient home during colder months is a lower energy bill.  A second benefit is that it is a great selling feature for your home.  Paying attention to utility usage and being energy efficient can set you apart from other sellers, particularly in the competitive Surrey, South Surrey and White Rock real estate market.


Mike Alleyne
Homelife Benchmark Realty, Surrey

Friends to Lead, Friends in "Deed"


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Ellen DeGeneres Real Estate Listing Humour The weekend is supposed to be so cold and maybe, if we are lucky, it will get above freezing.   I thought a laugh may warm us all up.   Both Janet and I are Ellen DeGeneres fans although we don't get to watch her show as often as we like.   Ellen often does segments on funny real estate listings.   It aired four years ago, so we watched it again.  It was just as funny today as the first time around.  Ellen just has such great expressions.

If you enjoy real estate humour (and given I'm in the business, I do), please watch this segment from the Ellen DeGeneres Show.


Mike Alleyne
Homelife Benchmark Realty, Surrey

Friends to Lead, Friends in "Deed"

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Old man winter will be in town soon, and that can be a bit of a headache for homeowners.  The single biggest utility expense in South Surrey and White Rock homes is heating and cooling.  These homes are particularly problematic because of the proximity to the ocean, rain and winter storms.  Usually heating and cooling account for about 60-70% of household utilities. This expense can be reduced by up to 25% if a homeowners draft proofs. As an added benefit draft proofing helps the environment by reducing carbon emissions (your footprint).

Save money and help the envirnonment, that makes the draft proofing decision easy.  Let's get started!

First you will need to find and assess the draft leaks.  One tried and true way is to burn incense.  The lit part will illuminate red when close to a leak and also smoke will trail towards the leak.  If you are anxious to get started and don't have incense then a candle will work.   Hold the candle near a suspected draft source, if the flame swirls (dances), you have a leak.  Another simple way is to run your hand over suspected leak areas and feel for the temperature change.

Caulking a window to draft proofMaterials Needed:

Good news.  Draft proofing materials are relatively cheap.  A quick trip to the hardware store (or shopping online) will do the trick.  You will need:

     -  caulking matrial or weather stripping

     -  window insulation film

     -  window coverings (blinds or curtains)

     -  door sweeps

     -  electrical outlet gaskets

     -  door snakes (which are also relatively easy to make for DIY'ers)

Roll up your sleeves, and get started:

     -  Remove any old weather stripping or caulking materials from windows and doors.  Install the new weather stripping or caulking according to material instructions

     -  Baseboards on the inside of exterior walls are often leak culprits as well, use paintable caulking on these.  If you are ambitious or worried about caulking showing, take the baseboard off and caulk behind it, then replace the baseboard.

     -  Do you have an attic hatch?  If so, caulk it.

     -  Install window insulation film (shrink wrapping) on the inside of any single pain windows (have your blow dryer at the ready - this is a project for two and you want to be styling) --- kidding --- you truly do need two people, and you need the blow dryer but it's for the shrink wrapping of the windows.

     -  In winter the temperature between a heavy curtain and the window is fairly cool or even cold. This is because curtains are a form an insulation.  Installing curtains or blinds will significantly reduce the heat loss through winters.  Better still, hang curtains with a roller blind behind them.

     -  Door sweeps can be installed on both interior and interior doors.  They are likely only warranted on interior rooms that you close off during winter.  So, more important to your heating costs, install on outside doors

     -  Install electrical outlet gaskets behind all electrical sockets and light switches. 

     -  The easiest of all to implement are door snakes.  Just lie them down and snug them up against the bottom of the door.  You can even make door snakes yourself.  These are predominantly on the inside of doors so are of limited value when no one is home to ensure they are in place.

If you are planning on renovating and making significant permanent changes to your BC home then there are rebates available that you need to become familiar with before you start.  That's a more expensive and more permanent fix and I'll write a blog about that in early December.

The good news is that doing some or all of the draftproofing ideas above will save you money.  Once you have done as many of the above draftproofing steps as are needed for gaps and cracks, you will stop that sneaky cold air from coming in and your precious warm air from wafting out. 


Mike Alleyne
Homelife Benchmark Realty, Surrey

Friends to Lead, Friends in "Deed"






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