The Ecological Impact of Buying Used Appliances vs. New

It would be great – for us and our budgets – if refrigerators, dishwashers, washers and dryers, and other high-end appliances never broke down. Unfortunately, that’s not the case – a fact that leads to plenty of questions for environmentally conscious homeowners. In many cases, going for used items is the best choice for the environment, but the very nature of appliances makes them a bit of a game-changer when it comes to going green. So when you’re faced with the task of replacing an appliance and want to make the most environmentally friendly choice possible, should you buy used or new?

Benefits of Buying New

Newer appliances offer certain environmental benefits that many older appliances cannot. For example, new refrigerators consume 75 percent less energy than those manufactured in the late 1970s. If you look for an Energy Star label, you’ll use even less energy as the refrigerator will offer better insulation, precise temperature control, more efficient compressors, and other features that help lighten its ecological footprint.

A new Energy Star dishwasher uses only about three-quarters of the energy used by those manufactured in the early 1990s and earlier. Because newer dishwashers are better at getting dishes clean, you won’t have to “wash them before you wash them,” meaning you’ll also conserve water.
A water heater is yet another example of an appliance with newer versions that are kinder to our planet. Because heating water accounts for around 14 percent of a typical home’s energy expenses, replacing an aging water heater can make a big difference – especially because when you consider that as water heaters age they function less and less efficiently.

Benefits of Buying Used

While new appliances typically tend to be more energy efficient than used ones, there are still many situations where buying used might be the better choice for both the environment and your wallet. For starters, used appliances are often also “new” – at least, in terms of the technology that’s been used to produce them. If you can find an appliance that’s no more than a few years old, in good condition, and with the Energy Star label, you can reap the same benefits of purchasing a brand new Energy Star model. The only added carbon footprint is the CO2 emitted in transporting the appliance to its new home.

An important point to consider is that every purchase of a used appliance reaps three major benefits.

1. Gives the used appliance new life
2. Keeps one more appliance from being adding to the pile at the landfill
3. Keeps a new appliance from being manufactured

This last point is especially important because the process of manufacturing a new appliance uses tremendous amounts of energy.

The environmental burden of buying used is limited to the cost of (and energy used by) transporting the item. Just be sure to buy a ‘newer’ used appliance. If the appliance is old enough to be an extremely poor steward of energy, these benefits may not be enough to offset the environmental benefits offered by energy-efficient new appliances.

Get the Most Environmentally Friendly Bang for Your Buck

Whether you decide buy new or used appliances, there are things you can do to ensure you cause the least amount of harm to the environment as possible.

• Look for the Energy Star label. Many new and used appliances alike bear this label, which means they are more ecologically sound than those without the Energy Star rating. They use less energy and water, and they emit fewer greenhouse gases.
• Buy the right size. Buying a bigger water heater, air conditioner, or refrigerator than you need is a waste of both energy and money.
• If possible, choose natural gas appliances over electric. It’s more energy efficient to burn natural gas in your home than for power plants to burn it, convert it to electricity, and send it to you.

Conclusion

There are a lot of factors that play into deciding whether to purchase new or used appliances. One of the biggest points to keep in mind is that even if you decide not to purchase new, ‘newer’ used appliances are still better, especially if they come with an Energy Star label attached. This holds true whether you are purchasing a refrigerator, air conditioner, washing machine, or any other high-end appliance.

Sources:

http://www.energystar.gov/about/

http://www.nrdc.org/air/energy/fappl.asp

It’s Raining Feral Cats!

You may know Pharrell Williams. Probably Will Ferrell too. But have you heard the term “feral cats” before? If you aren’t quite sure what a feral cat is, don’t worry, you aren’t alone!

A “feral” cat is a cat who has reverted in some form or another to a wild state. Feral cats originate from former domestic cats who were lost or abandoned and then learned to live outdoors or in environments involving little human contact. In the Greater Toronto Area alone there are estimated to be over 100,000 feral cats roaming the streets. Now that’s a lot of cats!

Luckily, the Ontario SPCA has created three innovative programs to help the kind people that care for the feral cats of our communities rain or shine! The first is a Feral Cat Trap Depot Program where the Society loans out cat traps to feral cat caretakers at no charge. The hope is that these cats will undergo the TNR program (Trap, Neuter and Return) and will rejoin the stray cat population without the possibility of having more babies.

The second is a Free Feral Food Bank which provides a steady support of food to help out the feral cat caretakers. Without this program, the dedicated caretakers use their own money to personally care for these cats that have unfortunately been abandoned by our society.

And last but not least, the Ontario SPCA and their volunteers build feral cat shelters for feral cat caretakers so that they can provide a safe, warm place for feral cats during our cold, harsh winters. We know how cold it can be for us (who have warm houses to deal with the extreme temperatures), so you can understand why the need for these cats to have a warm place to call their own is so important. No one wants to be stuck out in a blizzard with no where to take shelter!

So why are the numbers of feral cats so high? We think it’s from a lack of spaying and neutering. To give you some perspective, in seven years, just one unspayed female cat and her offspring can produce 80,000 kittens!

Shelters across the country are constantly taking in animals that are unfixed. According to the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, 25,000 cats and over 8,500 dogs were spayed or neutered while at shelters in 2013 (please note: this does not include statistics from the Ontario SPCA).

It’s been proven over the years that spaying and neutering pets can really make a difference in the number of homeless pets on our streets. For example, since the Ontario SPCA Marion Vernon Memorial Animal Clinic opened in Barrie in 2009, the Ontario SPCA Barrie Branch has seen shelter cat intake reduce by 53%! In six years, that’s definitely a lot less homeless pets on the streets! Overall at Ontario SPCA Branches across the province, shelter intake has reduced by 27%.

Doing your part to help manage the current pet overpopulation crisis makes such a large impact that it can be seen in communities across Ontario. Imagine what we could accomplish if everyone spayed and neutered their pets?

Want to learn more about the importance of fixing your pet? Visit fixyourpet.ca – it’s the kindest thing you can do!

Categories:Guest Post, Kijiji Pets

Teak Furniture Care: A Brief How-To

Teak furniture has long held the reputation of being a strong, long-lasting investment, however, cost and care are often the biggest factors for people who are hesitant.

What is it?

Teak itself is a type of wood from trees grown in South Asia. The material itself is dense and strong, with high oil content, which lends to its durability. It’s often used as outdoor furniture because it shields itself so well against natural elements such as insects or rain.

If kept well, teak furniture can last upwards of 80 years. This makes the initial investment worth it and it’s all about how you take care of it after you take it home.

Care Tip 1:

Teak greys over the course of several months as the natural oils evaporate. This is perfectly normal, and for some, the silvery-grey look works for them. However, for those who prefer the honey-brown colour, bringing teak back to that shade requires some work. Although it feels like common sense, do not oil your outdoor greying teak furniture. This can lead to mildew issues and gradual discolouration the longer you have it. The oil in commercial teak oil is not the same oil that’s found naturally in the teak itself. Although it will temporarily bring your teak back to its former glory, it can decrease its overall lifespan and oiling your teak once will result in having to oil it every few months, which can become tedious.

Oiling indoor teak furniture is a great way to keep it looking like new.

Care Tip 2:

If you’re looking for a DIY cleaning option, a steel wool or a soft-bristle brush combined with warm water and gentle detergent can help remove the build-up that’s causing the greying. It’s important that after you scrub the piece down, you give it ample time to dry before applying a teak sealer. There are also commercial teak cleaners on the market as well if DIY isn’t your style.

Care Tip 3:

Teak sealer is the preferred method of maintaining the look of your teak furniture. Unlike teak oils, sealer is applied after a thorough cleaning and drying of your piece. It acts as a layer of UV protection against the sun and it also contains ingredients that work against mildew and oxidization. It also needs to be applied much less than teak oil. Once a year is all you’ll need to dedicate to maintaining your teak furniture.

Care Tip 4:

Even with cleaning, oiling, or sealing, much of how well your teak furniture withstands nature and time is where you place it. Direct sunlight will speed up the wearing process whereas partly shaded or fully shaded areas keep it in its healthiest state longer. For added protection, you may also consider a breathable cover for the piece.

Categories:Kijiji for the Home

How to Recognize Fraud: Fake Buyers

It pays to be savvy about spotting fraud. From fake websites to fake buyers, there are plenty of opportunities to get hosed if you don’t have your wits about you. How can you tell when someone is trying to steal your money or personal information when all you are trying to do is sell some furniture (or sell your car, or house, etc.).

The first step is very nondescript reply from a sketchy email address, or a text message if you provided a phone number with your ad. The email likely has a few numbers in it, and is at a less commonly used domain, or a domain you have never heard of. The initial reply is probably something like “do you still have it“, “is this still available?“, or “I am interested in your item“. They save their usual pitch for later, as by keeping their initial reply simple, they are much harder to detect as a scam. They will usually pick a nondescript, typically English-Canadian sounding name to use (or at least, what they perceive as typical), but use poor grammar and spelling, as well as strange diction reveals that they are not the average Canadian they claim to be. If you receive a text message, they will generally ask you to email them.

Recognizing Fraud

The scam pitch: They will often talk about god or religion, use words like “blessed”, make frequent reference to how “serious” they are, or babble about their job as a missionary, in the military, for green peace, or another position that they think will lend them credibility. The capitalization will be random seeming, and the phrasing will often be strange (as if it was typed in a foreign language and run through google translate). Here is a typical follow up reply.
Hello,
Thanks for the prompt reply.Well am okay for the
(insert title of your ad) i am highly interested in it,and i Don’t want you to worry abt the shipping because i have a shipping company that will be coming for the Pick up of the Advert at your residence as soon as payment has been made,The shipper will come for the immediate pick-up and make sure everything is clean up ok

I also want you to know that i will be paying via Money Order or Certified Check and it will contain both your asking price and the shipping fees via my shipping company and no pick up will be made until Money order is received and cashed by you i also want you to be serious about this so we can both finished this transaction in one mind, and here are the details needed so that i can mail the Money order without any delay,i lookup concluding the sale sooner.Thanks

FULL NAME:
ADDRESS :
PROVINCE,STATE:
POSTAL CODE:
TEL #:
SELLING PRICE:

As soon as this is received the payment will be mailed out with no further delay,Once the datas are provided to me,i can send payment immediately.I will be expecting your reply asap.? Kindly reply back with the requested question so the purchase can be completed

Best Regard,
Stay Blessed With Your Family

The reply seems odd, but since many don’t see how they could be scammed when they aren’t the ones paying, they might fall for it and continue to reply, which would lead them to a response like this one:

The payment which will be delivered to you 3 to 5 working days by next week. Kindly mark the ads sold on the site right now as well have it keep intact for me OK. And include an excess fund meant for my mover agent fee’s. As soon as you get it, take it to your bank for instantly cashed, You will deduct your selling price, And get the remaining balanced sent to my mover agent via western union money transfer or money gram store around you.

Which I will send you his information later. … I hope you do understand me clearly. I’m as well giving you $50 for the inconvenience and for the assistance. I await for your reply as soon as you got my message. I wish you a great day ahead.

Of course, they aren’t actually sending you real money. The cheque will bounce, or be found to be fake, in any case, you won’t end up with the money they send, and if you send the “mover” money, then you will lose more than you ever stood to gain.

If you are selling on any classified website, don’t agree to any transactions that are not face to face, and don’t send personal information to strangers online (except for what you need to tell people to coordinate a meet-up). Though the Kijiji community is full of friendly people who just want to save (or make) a few bucks with used goods or services, any time you are online you should keep your wits about you, and remember your own safety.

Cost of Renting in Canada and the Vacancy Rates by the Number of Bedrooms

Canadian apartment finder, RentSeeker.ca, released its annual Canadian Rental Housing Market Pricing and Vacancy Data infographic, providing a unique snapshot of the Canadian rental housing market.

The 2015 annual report covers pricing and vacancy rates of apartment rentals in major cities across Canada and includes Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary, Kingston, Hamilton, Edmonton, Victoria, London, Guelph, Kitchener, Windsor, Sarnia, and a number of other cities in Canada.

According to the RentSeeker report, Toronto and Vancouver had the highest prices for one bedroom apartments with Calgary and Edmonton following with the next highest prices. Toronto also had the highest prices on two and three bedroom apartments with rental rates for a three bedroom apartment reflecting upwards of $2,300 on average.

Gatineau and Windsor reflected the lower-end pricing for apartment rentals with one bedroom, in Gatineau averaging $630 and in Windsor $664. Two and three bedrooms in Windsor averaged $798 for a two bedroom and $912 for three bedroom apartments.

Vacancy rates for all cities were relatively low, especially compared to some cities in the neighboring U.S. The lowest vacancy rates were in Vancouver with a vacancy rate of only 0.5% for one bedroom apartments. Toronto and Calgary also had lower vacancy rates with Calgary at 1.3% and Toronto at 1.6% for one bedroom apartments. Windsor and Montreal had higher vacancy rates with Montreal averaging 4.2% and Windsor averaging 4.1% for one bedrooms. The highest vacancy rates were in Gatineau, which averaged a 6.4% vacancy rate.

Canadian Housing Market and Vacancy Rate

Canadian Vacancy Rate

View the full report here.