Saturday, January 29, 2011

Is it Flu or Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The flu and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning share many symptoms: headache, dizziness, nausea, weakness, confusion and fatigue. However, while CO poisoning does not come with a fever, the flu does. If you have flu symptoms, but no fever, remind your physician about the possibility of CO poisoning.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that over 200 people a year die, while thousands more are treated for CO poisoning by hospital emergency rooms and private physicians.

How can you prevent becoming an annual statistic from CO poisoning?

* Have all gas burning appliances inspected and serviced annually by a professional technician.
* Have all chimneys and flues checked annually for loose connections, blockage, corrosion, etc. Also, make sure you properly open the flue on any wood burning appliance or fireplace when using them. (To avoid fire danger, make sure you have the chimney flue inspected and cleaned, each year).
* Make sure your heating systems have an adequate intake of outside air.
* Never use appliances such as a clothes dryer, range, or oven to heat your home.
* Don't leave cars running in garages, even with the door open.
* Never, never burn charcoal in a confined space.
* Finally, install CO detector/alarms in your home. These detector/alarm are similar in concept to the smoke alarms that are prevalent in today's homes.

There are two types of CO detector/alarms available: hardwired (using household current) and battery powered. Hardwired sensors usually purge themselves and resample for CO at a preset period of time. Battery powered sensors usually react to prolonged exposure to CO.

Ceiling mounted detector/alarm should be installed in the following areas:

* One on each floor of the residence (the detector/alarm should be placed in the hallway near each sleeping area)
* One in the vicinity of each major fuel burning appliance (but not within five feet)
* One in the garage.

Consult the manufacturer's installation instructions to ensure the right placement of the detector/alarm in each area.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Monthly Resale Housing Market for December 2010

Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 4,395 existing home sales for the month of December, bringing the 2010 total to 86,170 – down by one per cent compared to 2009.

“Market conditions were anything but uniform in 2010. We went from super-charged sales activity during the first four months of the year, to a marked drop-off in transactions in the summer and then in the fall saw sales climb back to levels that are sustainable over the longer term,” said TREB President Bill Johnston.

“New Federal Government-mandated mortgage lending guidelines, higher borrowing costs and misconceptions about the HST caused a pause in home buying in the summer. As it became clear that the HST was not applicable to the sale price of an existing home and buyers realized that home ownership remained affordable, market conditions improved,” continued Johnston.

The average home selling price in 2010 was $431,463 – up nine per cent in comparison to the 2009 average selling price of $395,460. In December, the average annual rate of price growth was five per cent.

“At the outset of 2010, we were experiencing annual rates of price growth at or near 20 per cent. This was the result of extremely tight market conditions coupled with the fact that we were comparing prices to the trough of the recession at the beginning of 2009,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

“Balanced market conditions in the second half of 2010 resulted in more moderate home price appreciation,” continued Mercer. “Expect the average selling price to grow at or below five per cent in 2011. With this type of growth, mortgage carrying costs for the average priced home in the GTA will remain affordable for a household earning an average income.”

Home sales in the GTA were spread across a number of different housing types in 2010. Detached homes accounted for 49 per cent of total sales. Condominium apartments accounted for an additional 25 per cent per cent of sales. Other housing types including townhomes and semi-detached houses accounted for the final 26 per cent. In some areas like TREB’s central districts the mix was quite different, with condominium apartments accounting for 61 per cent of total sales.

“Ownership housing is available in a diversity of types and price points across the GTA, allowing plenty of choice for first time buyers and experienced home buyers alike. This housing diversity is one factor that continues to make the GTA a popular choice for households and businesses,” concluded Johnston.