Breaking news at calgaryherald.com
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Calgary SW Edition
July 2012 99¢ CALCH080950_1_1
exclusions is longer than your arm?
Alan Waters INSURANCE IS BORING is the theme of a new advertising campaign. Another TV ad has a new insurance agent up in a tree with a couple, as they watch a bear menacing their campsite below. The agent throws the insurance policy in the campfire because it’s too hard to read. (He doesn’t seem to care that he is throwing away the only insurance policy that will pay the claim). If you watch U.S. television, you’ve seen a talking gecko pitching insurance and an insurance supermarket where you can “name your own price.”
David Swartzenberger My final ‘Ask The Experts’ article concerns having your projects independently inspected prior to issuing the final contractor payment. Very few contractors warrantee their workmanship for life; usually they offer customers a period of time in which to discover work deficiencies. The onus is placed upon the customer to do the Project Management that the contractor should be doing, and they should not take offence when you tell them that you are going to have the project inspected by an independent party because they are giving you ‘X’ amount of time for their warranty to remain in effect –and, you are not an expert. They will usually take offence, and they can remedy the situation by changing your warranty to a Lifetime Warranty. The cost to have a renovation project inspected, and to have a report (with photos) prepared for your perusal usually varies from a few hundred dollars, upwards to over a thousand dollars. When we do a roof inspection we normally charge 5% of the contract amount for doing a thorough inspection which reflects the roof inspection difficulty. That 5% cost can save thousands of future repair dollars, and
a lot of frustration. Often, the ‘finishing stages’ are cosmetic cover-ups for very serious work deficiencies. When moisture problems begin to show, a lot of structural damage can cause the future repair costs to be well over the original renovation cost.
These ads play on your emotions to grab your attention. They are often misleading by leaving out facts. The remarkable thing is they never actually say they have a good product.
be soffit venting, and the other 50% should be roof peak venting). The attic air movement principle is that when attic air warms it will rise out of the roof peak venting to cause replacement air to come into the attic through the soffit venting –thus resulting in 100% air flow (air movement that is essential to sublimate hoar frost, and to keep the home warmer during cold periods and cooler during hot periods). Roof gable-ends should be completely closed-off prior to installation of vented soffit if a continuous ‘look’ is desired by having the same vented soffit throughout; but, the industry norm is not to block-off the gable-ends prior to installation of the vented soffit. NOW… the replacement air is being ‘pulled-in’ from the closer attic openings thereby negating the total eaves-to-ridge air flow that should occur.
We have been astonished by the lack of proficiency of trades people working in their choice of specialty, when building and/or renovating our home projects. We have presented documents readily available on the Internet –in their chosen fields of endeavor - that should be common knowledge to them… and they will strongly argue that the way they have done the work is the industry standard for the area! When we have checked with other contractors in their industry we have found that they are often correct! A very common illustration is the way vented soffits are installed.
It isn’t that insurance is boring or funny or a gimmick. Protecting your family is absolutely necessary – not at all boring. But realistically, most insurance policies are too complex to explain in a short TV commercial. Insurance is a lot of money paid out for a piece of paper and a promise. Unlike buying groceries or paying your heating bill, there is nothing tangible about insurance unless you actually need to make a claim. Insurance companies aren’t all the same. They can all make promises but its how they fulfill the promise that matters the most. It’s really buyer beware! How can you ever know, especially when policies are intentionally complex and the list of
The Internet is a positive event that can combat the dismissive attitude of our poorly-trained trades people if you are going to do your own Project Management. Have a very good year my faithful readers, and I wish you much luck with the completed renovation projects you are undertaking this year.
Attic ventilation is approximately onethree hundredth of the ceiling area (50% of that venting should
This Weeks Tips 1) Ask your insurance broker which companies give the best claims service and have the best insurance policies for you. 2) Don’t believe a broker if they only represent one insurance company. They can’t give you an unbiased answer. Do your own research or call a broker who represents more insurance companies. 3) Be sceptical if the price seems too good to be true. If you, ‘name your own price’ as the ad proclaims, you probably will not have all the insurance you need. 4) Ask your broker for prices from several different insurance companies and ask which one is a better choice for you, besides the small price difference.
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Do you need a Volume Control? This is a very legitimate question which I’m asked on occasion. Before I give the “expert” answer, there needs to be some preamble towards clarification. Before the coming of digital circuits, analog circuits ruled the hearing aid world. There were adjustments on the aids, but were very limited as to how they performed. A volume control (or VC) of some kind was mandatory in order to be able to adjust the sound. The VC had to be adjusted when things got to loud or too soft. Next came programmable analog hearing aids. Finally with the assistance of a computer, you could adjust the hearing aids closer to the hearing loss. Some of the programmable aids had an excellent adjustment for volume on their own and some did not. Therefore, on some a VC was still a necessity. Now we have the digital hearing systems which are like having mini-computers in your ears. The hearing aids are doing thousands of calculations every second to identify sound around you as speech or noise and doing the filtering of those sounds depending on the situation in which you find yourself and we are able to adjust for your hearing loss closer than ever before. So the answer to the question is NO. You could never get your finger on the VC fast enough to do all adjustments your digital hearing device does in seconds. There are multi-memory systems that can be added to some aids which will help with difficult listening environments. And there are those of you out there who even though they don’t need it, want a VC because it was on their old one.
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Thursday, July 19, 2012
on Family Dentistry Dr. Joey Woo
Dr. Luke Szott
Breaking news at calgaryherald.com
Overcome dental fear with sedation dentistry
Drs. Joey Woo and Luke SzotSzott of Springbank Dental Centre are general dentists with 16 years of combined experience. At Springbank Dental Centre our goal is to provide beautiful, lasting dental work in a comfortable and welcoming environment. We offer a wide range of dental treatments including fillings, crowns, veneers, implants, Invisalign™, extractions, root canals, and pediatric care. We are conveniently located at the west end of the new LRT between the Ernest Manning High School and Ambrose University. Everybody knows somebody who is fearful of going to the dentist. The statistics vary but as much as 30% of the population is so fearful that they avoid going to the dentist completely. This fear can be the result from a prior traumatic experience or can even be a learned behaviour from someone else such as a parent or sibling. In some extreme cases an individual can be so afraid of undergoing dental treatment that he or she will endure pain from decay and infection for years before seeking treatment. The good news is that apprehensive patients do not have to let their anxiety keep them from maintaining optimal oral health. Sometimes anxious patients can be coached through an appointment. Often after a few pleasant appointments their anxiety can be lessened or alleviated entirely. For others’ sedation is a great option. Sedation allows a patient to be relaxed and comfortable and to undergo dental treatment without any anxiety. These, and other, options allow apprehensive patients to restore their oral health which positively effects their overall health! As discussed below, sedation can be beneficial to people other than just those with dental fears. Who would benefit from sedation? -Fearful/Anxious patients: Fearful and anxious patients will be in a relaxed state during their sedation appointment and will not remember much of the appointment -Gag Reflex: People with a severe gag reflex are unable to have dental treatment done because they cannot have anything in their mouth. The gag reflex is suppressed during sedation and dental treatment can be performed without any issues -Extensive work: If there is a lot of work to be done, sedation allows all of the treatment to be completed in less appointments (often in just a single appointment). Because the patient is unaware of time during sedation appointments a long appointment will seem like a few minutes to the patient -Time Constraints: Everybody has a busy schedule these days and sometimes it is an advantage to complete all dental work in a single appointment. -Difficulty Freezing: Sedation patients are easier to freeze because of their relaxed state so those who usually have difficulty freezing become routine under sedation Advantages of Sedation -Fearful patients become relaxed patients; -Sedation patients do NOT remember much of the appointment because of the amnesiac effects of the sedatives; -The appointment seems like it was only minutes even if the appointment took hours; -The patient drifts in and out of sleep during the appointment so they wake up feeling well rested; and -Sedation is very safe Please feel free to contact Dr. Joey Woo or Dr. Luke Szott to make an appointment, or if you have any comments or questions!
New Home Construction When you buy a new home and have it built for you, the builder does not generally take into consideration the landscaping aspect unless you request it. When you hire a builder, most of the people involved are sub-contractors hired for a specific purpose. There may be a dozen or more sub-contractors working on your new home. The unfortunate part of residential home construction is the fact the builder is not required to compact the foundation during or after backfilling. The builder then creates what is called a “structural slabs”. They attach the driveway and sidewalks to the foundation of the house so they won’t move when the soil moves. They do this because they know that the soil that is backfilled will sink on all sides of the house. If your house was backfilled during the winter months, your soil settlement can be much more than in the summer due to frost lumps. It can also take longer to see the settlement due to the fact those lumps can take a couple years to thaw. Quite often when the soil does settle, the home builder will just add more topsoil to return to the proper grade. The problem with this is that your sub-soil (clay) creates a water barrier. Once the clay sinks near the house where the basement was excavated and not compacted, there becomes a trough where water can sit. Topsoil has organic matter within it and will retain moisture. That means now you have water sitting near your foundation that is hard to drain away. Many people do not realize that concrete is actually porous and moisture and odours can penetrate through it. I have to mention this due to the fact
that many landscape contractors are blamed for sub-soil movement when we do our installations. Even though your soil may not settle in the first couple years, it could still settle. It always seems to settle after the sod is in place. Many of my clients ask me to install paving stone patios near their newer homes. Many customers want a nice walkway down the side of their houses, but I always tell them the consequences of the soil movement issues. Unless I am involved in the beginning of the construction phase, I usually do not warranty my work near the house unless I excavate all the way to the footings of the house and compact back to grade in layers. This becomes very costly for the customer if not planned ahead of time. If a customer plans the landscaping of their new home before construction begins, they could save thousands of dollars. Hire a Landscape consultant during the building process and they can advise you in the planning of you outdoor living spaces. If you are going to be building a new home, ask the builders to have your foundation compacted to at least 95% proctor. (98% is better). It will cost you more money but then you can show your landscaper the engineered compaction results, he should warranty your outdoor construction. This will cost you less in the long run because if the patio has to be re-installed due to sub-soil settlement, it will likely cost more than the original installation itself. The price of the paving stones is in-consequential compared to the labour involved in removing and cleaning, materials and re-installing the stones. The re-installation of the old stones will not always fit exactly back the way they came out, so there may need to be a few new stones purchased. Quite often the old stones are not even manufactured anymore. So now you can see the problems you can face and the added expense if you do not plan ahead.
Although I do shop in the big box stores, I will not buy trees and shrubs from them. It has nothing to do with the fact I am a landscaper. I do sometimes buy my annuals from them since they only last for one year anyway. Many of these places do not have qualified staff taking care of their plant materials. When you buy your trees and shrubs from tree farms, greenhouses and nurseries, almost every person working there actually has some degree of education that can better advise you. The plant products that they bring in or grow here will be hardy here. Even though the local home building centers, grocery stores and department stores will warranty their products, do you really want to dig them up, return them, plant a new one next year and lose a year’s growth? Some trees and shrubs will grow better in certain areas of your yard. Even though a plant may be hardy here, it could be subject to wind burns or not good in shady areas. There are a vast number of reasons to consult a professional from the growers directly. These garden centers, green houses and nurseries are usually available year round as well if you have a problem with your plants.
Consider your outdoor living space as well as your indoor; after all, you did pay for both.
HARD WALL o u td o o r l i v i n g
Retaining Walls Paving Stones Irrigation Systems Decks & Patios Night Lighting Trees & Shrubs
116-30 Springborough Blvd SW • 403-277-7464 (2-SPRING) Springbankdental@gmail.com • www.springbankdental.ca
403-807-6040 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.hardwall.ca CALCH077302_1_1
ardwood As an ever popular natural ﬂoor covering option; there are many things to consider prior to selecting the hardwood that is right for you and your home. High trafﬁc areas in the home are not recommended to having natural products installed simply due to the more trafﬁc, the more wear and tear that eventually leads to reﬁnishing or replacing the product sooner than some may expect.
Different wood species are valued differently on what is called the Janka Hardness Rating. This is a test preformed to see how much force is required to embed half the diameter of a small steel ball (0.444” in diameter) in a plank of wood. Measured in pounds of force per square inch, the higher the number the harder the wood is. The hardness of the wood you select is very important as it will determine the species
susceptibility to scratches or indentations. For example, if you have a dog with long nails then scratching the ﬂoor is a consideration and you should select a species with a higher rating such as hickory. Another consideration is the makeup of the hardwood you desire. Although many home owners look strictly for the resale value of a “solid” hardwood over an “engineered” it is crucial to consider the environment of your home. A humidiﬁer is a must if owning a hardwood ﬂoor as well as keeping temperature within the home as constant as possible. Solid hardwood is much more likely to swell and contract under different humidity and temperature then an engineered wood. Engineered hardwood is becoming increasingly popular in our city due to the very low levels of humidity. Engineered hardwood is compiled of a hardwood, laminate, or HDF core and then a top layer of hardwood veneer that is adhered to the top surface. This product thus has the natural characteristics of the species as opposed to a laminate, which is usually a photographic layer. The engineered product has been designed to create a greater stability than solid woods feature, particularly where moisture and heat pose issues in the environment.
There are many different species of hardwood as well as a limitless amount of finishes and stain colours. Whether you are looking for wide plank white oak such as the US Floors Castle Combe or Navarre that create a very rustic feel or are in search of a clean look such as a birch floor with a high gloss finish and thinner planks; the desired look is dependent on the home owners taste.
hardwood • tile • vinyl • cork/leather • custom wall tile mintfloorcoverings. com
6010 12th Street SE 403.255.MINT (6468) CALCH083295_1_1
Breaking news at calgaryherald.com
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Are you a leader in your field of expertise?
on Draperies Karen Saunders
Interested in becoming an exclusive expert in your categor y of business?
Well, if you have been faithfully reading my Ask the Expert columns, you would already know how to keep the heat inside your homes in the winters and outside of your homes in the summer along with adding power to your window coverings for ease of use and child safety. This column is going to tie this all together as well introduce a couple of new components into the mix.
YOU SHOULD FEEL AT EASE WITH YOUR ACCOUNTANT Professional advisors are an essential part of small business success, providing expertise and knowledge that may not otherwise be available. If you do not already have an accountant, now is the time to consider one. First, understand the service they provide. The accountant’s role is to monitor, assess and report on the financial health of your business and help you reduce business risk and taxes payable. They can help set up the systems and controls needed to run your business. They can prepare and interpret your financial statements, determine your breakeven point, identify problems and advise on improving profitability. They can provide advice as to whether you should buy or lease. They can provide tax advice and help develop strategies to minimize the tax you pay. Next, ensure your accountant is qualified. Here unfortunately, buyer beware, in Canada anyone can call themselves an accountant without any qualifications or experience and without being subject to any form of regulation or accountability.
Though the numbers of persons professing to be accountants is staggering, qualified professionals are not difficult to identify. In Canada there are currently three recognized professional accounting designations: Chartered Accountant (CA), Certified General Accountant (CGA) and Certified Management Accountant (CMA). Each of these accountants are governed by provincial statutes and are regulated by their respective associations with regards to education, qualifications, practical experience, professional standards, continuing professional development, conduct and discipline. Before persons can call themselves a CA, CGA or CMA they must first undergo an extensive period of formal education and practical experience and successfully pass a series of rigorous examinations. There are several ways to find an accountant. One method is to ask an associate, a fellow business owner, your banker or your lawyer for a referral. You can also check the Better Business Bureau, yellow pages, or Internet.
Maximizing your Heat & Light with Window Coverings
In the USA there is an incentive program for companies to use products that make their businesses more energy efficient. I was in a training centre down in Denver, Colorado where the company had taken the bull by the horns and included the window coverings in their energy reduction program with the government. They had a computer system in place that, as the sun passed over their head office at different times of the day during summer, their blinds automatically closed to keep heat gain to a minimum and, as the sun passed by, the blinds rose to allow the maximum amount of natural light to enter the offices thus limiting the need to turn on any lighting. They programmed the system to work oppositely during the winter-let the sun in during the day to heat and light the offices and close them at night for privacy and security. Now as you can imagine, this was an extremely costly system to implement but over several years the energy savings combined with government incentives outweighed the initial costs. We can applaud this company’s effort in attempting to reduce their carbon footprint with their endeavors but for the average home owner, this approach is a little over the top. So what can a home owner do to reduce their carbon footprint when it comes to heating and cooling their home?
Call Laura at 403-235-7214 to discuss becoming an Expert with the Ask The Experts team.
The key is to ensure the person or firm you contact is appropriately qualified. Professionally designated accountants will almost always advertise their designation. You may want to meet with more than one accountant. Prepare a list of questions in advance. Ask about their qualifications, experience with businesses of your type and with any unique issues you may have. Discuss the types of services offered and how they meet your needs and expectations. Ask about fees, what they include and how they are determined.
The system that I mentioned in the open paragraph is extreme effective but something that most average home owners would find over the top with regards to technology and cost. At Sheila’s Drapery, we do have options that can achieve similar results that are more within the needs and budget of the average homeowner. When it comes to powering up your blinds, the basic methods of adding power is either by battery operated motor or wiring a blind’s motor directly to your home’s electrical system. While battery operation is more cost effective, it also has more restrictions in size of blind, programming and options that can be added to the system. Hard wiring a blind may cost more per blind but the programming abilities, sizing and available options are dramatically increased.
The final question to ask is, are you compatible? The relationship you will develop with your accountant is not unlike a marriage. He or she will become intimately familiar with your financial affairs and will be advising you on matters that are both personal and dear to you. It is extremely important that you feel comfortable. Are their views on business risk and tax planning the same as yours? Are they able to explain things in a manner you understand?
You can go high tech with your hardwired blinds. Blinds are tied into the home electrical system, connected to motor controllers which, in turn, can be connected to your home automation system. From there your blinds can be programmed to perform a myriad of operations. Add a timer or sun sensor and your blinds can operate throughout the day while you are at work or on vacation. Many people have their home automation system set up so that they can control any of their household programs from their Smart Phone or lap top no matter where they are in the world. Even though this sounds super cool and high tech, not all of us have the capability or desire of achieving such a goal. When a home is already built, it is hard to pull the proper wiring to each and every window and wall switch location after the fact. So unless you have an electrician in the family who is willing to work for dinner and a movie then I would suggest the next option would be to battery operate your blinds. No wires are needed to be pulled to windows, wireless wall switches or remote controls are used to operate the blinds, but there are limitations to programming options and greater size restrictions. With that said, these blinds and motors can be more cost effective while still achieving some of the high tech programming of the hard wired versions. For example, within the last year, Hunter Douglas has added timers, sun sensors and RF adaptors to their battery operated Platinum Technology Powerise lifting system. Home owners can add some of the high tech features to their new blind purchases or retrofit existing Platinum Technology blinds for a fraction of the cost of high tech, hard wired blinds. In fact, until the end of August 2012, Hunter Douglas is offering a manufacturer’s rebate on the purchase of their Silhouette and Nantucket Blinds with Platinum technology lifting system, a further enticement for home owners to get the latest in blind technology. Soon in the works, the ability to operate your battery operated blinds with your Smart phone. I can hardly wait!!!!! I could go on and on about adding technology to your window coverings and making your homes more energy efficient. As one of the few companies in Calgary who are Hunter Douglas Certified Motorization Specialists, we have both hard wired and battery operated blinds on display at our one and only showroom at 222-16th Ave NE, right across the street from Peter’s Drive Inn. Just ask for Karen, I’ll be happy to show you all we have to offer when adding power and technology to your blinds & draperies.
NANTUCKET™ Window Shadings
Don’t be fooled by the imitators, we are the original and only Sheila’s Drapery, serving Calgary since 1978!
• GST preparation • Payroll • PIckup and delivery for business • Tax preparation and advise • Financial statement preparation • Operation, internal controls efficiency and business process audits • Business advice
Visit us today and let our highly-trained professionals help you ﬁnd the right look for your home at the very best price.
Drapery • Blinds • Automation • Shutters • Upholstery North Calgary • 2 - 222 - 16th Ave. NE. (403) 277-4988 South Calgary (403) 253-3600 or visit www.sheilasdrapery.com
Monthly book keeping and Corporate taxes
Call Daniela Hops, CMA
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on Heating & Cooling
The benefit of addressing the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in your home has become the largest growing sector of our industry. As a homeowner there are a few simple things you can do to maintain the IAQ in your home. Start with a basic duct cleaning and sanitizing. This allows you to have a good starting point of knowing there are no molds, dust mites, pet dander, or construction dust being circulated throughout the home. Duct cleaning will also improve the efficiency of your equipment. Make sure your humidifier is operating normal. Humidity will allow you to breathe better and make the air comfortable. If you have stopped using your humidifier because it requires “too much maintenance” make sure you have removed the old pad so that you are not circulating the bacteria throughout the home. Invest in a better filtration system you can purchase an electronic air cleaner,
air purifier, ultra violet lamps, all of which can be easily added to a new installation of your furnace. If you simply have a standard 1” slide in disposable filter there are several different choices. A basic fiberglass filter is about 7% efficient but there are heavier pleated filters available for better air quality. The more restrictive or higher MERV rating a filter has the smaller the particles of dust it can remove. The acronym MERV stands for “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value”. The MERV rating is the standard method for comparing the efficiency of an air filter. The higher the MERV rating, the better the filter is at removing particles from the air. Consider running the furnace fan continuously, this will help IAQ by providing more air change in the home, filtering the air 24 hours a day giving you fresher, cleaner air. Regular maintenance and cleaning of your furnace and equipment are crucial in the life expectancy of the equipment as well. Think of your furnace the same way you would your car, a car requires regular oil changes and maintenance, so do furnaces. The better maintained a furnace the better and longer it will run for you.
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Published on Jun 12, 2013