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Archive for April, 2010

Recent changes to Canada’s mortgage rules announced by the Minister of Finance, the Honourable Jim Flaherty, will take effect April 19, 2010.
The changes have three different components:
• Requiring that all borrowers meet the standards for a five-year fixed rate mortgage even if they choose a mortgage with a lower interest rate and shorter term. This initiative will help Canadians prepare for higher interest rates in the future.
• Lowering the maximum amount Canadians can withdraw in refinancing their mortgages to 90 per cent from 95 per cent of the value of their homes. This will help ensure homeownership is a more effective way to save.
• Requiring a minimum down payment of 20 per cent for government-backed mortgage insurance on non-owner-occupied properties purchased for speculation.
For more information, visit the Department of Finance Canada’s website. http://www.fin.gc.ca/n10/10-011-eng.asp

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Mortgage Insurance
The purpose of mortgage insurance is to provide your loved ones with a way to pay for the mortgage if something were to happen to you. Purchasing your coverage through an Independent Insurance Broker will ensure you get the very best price available and your policy is fully underwritten at the time of application. You will know up front that you are covered. When you apply for insurance through the bank the
underwriting is not done until the time of claim, which could mean that you are NOT eligible for a pay-out even though you have been paying your premiums.
The other benefit in purchasing your mortgage insurance through a Broker, is that the policy is paid out directly 100% to your beneficiary and they can decide what to do with the insurance money. The bank insurance simply pays the bank.
Contact me to find the name of a qualified Insurance Broker

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TSSA mandates CO detectors for Residential Natural Gas Boilers

Heating contractor technicians are legally required to check CO (Carbon Monoxide) levels when they enter a building with a natural draft boiler. This check will be performed, even if this is not the reason for the service call.

The TSSA requires a CO check to be done annually on boilers.

Upon completion of the test, the equipment, showing the inspection date and when the next inspection is required.

TSSA now also requires homeowners to install CO detectors as a second line of defense, when the home is equipped with a natural draft boiler.

The TSSA’s order reads:

September 2009, Mandatory Inspection of Gas (Natural Gas and Propane) Fired Natural Draft Boilers Equipped with a Draft Hood

Attn: Property Owner/User
The Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) has the mandate to maintain and improve safety for Ontario residents in the fuels and other regulated sectors. TSSA is officially designated by Ontario’s Ministy of Consumer Services to administer and enforce the Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000, which governs fuel safety in Ontario.

TSSA has determined that the use of natural gas and propane burning natural draft boilers equipped with a draft hood may result in a carbon monoxide (CO) safety hazard in the home, that may cause personal injury up to and including death.

CO is a colourless gas produced when fuels such as natural gas and propane burn incompletely. CO itself is odourless and tasteless but it may be accompanied by an abnormal odour of incomplete fuel combustion. Symptoms of CO poisoning include nausea and vomiting, dizziness, burning eyes, difficulty breathing, confusion and loss of consciousness.

Investigated CO incidents have shown that key contributing causes of the incidents are that:
– many boilers are not being maintained in accordance with the boiler manufacturer’s instructions. It is imperative that boilers are cleaned properly on a regular basis to reduce the likelihood of CO production.
– Chimneys intended to evacuate CO and smoke from the boilers to the outdoors, are not properly operating due to other exhaust systems (such as wood fireplaces, dryer exhausts, new kitchen exhausts, etc.) and the installation of new, more energy efficient windows and doors. These systems and home upgrades limit the outside air infiltration into the home and cause the house to depressurize.

To address this situation, TSSA is legally requiring that all heating contractors perform a CO safety check when a technician enters a home with a boiler. The technician is obliged to take action when an unsafe condition is identified. These checks will be required when a technician enters a home with this type of boiler regardless of whether the homeowner/user has requested service on that boiler. This check is only required once during the heating season. The gas technician is also required to visually examine the boiler and if there are signs of poor operation, additional steps may be required including a home depressurization test or non-compliance’s corrected by adding combustion air, make-up air, installing a water bypass, etc..

TSSA is requiring that CO alarm(s) be located in the vicinity or withing the sleeping quarters of the home.

The technician is required to ensure that the alarm(s) is/are present. If alarms are missing, the technician is required to issue written notification that the alarms must be installed. If the alarms are not installed within the notification time limit, the fuel supply to your home will be shut off.

As an equipment owner/user, TSSA and industry remind you of your responsibility to properly maintain and operate your boiler and all other fuels burning equipment.

Annual maintenance, as a minimum, by a qualified contractor is the best method to fulfil this requirement.

If there are safety issues identified during this mandatory inspection, the boiler will need to be serviced and depending on what type of service is necessary, the cost will vary. To best ensure the continued safety of you and your family, you should allow the technician’s inspection / evaluation, and that you have your boiler maintained on a regular basis.

If you do not allow the inspection or non-compliance’s are identified such as a no CO alarm(s) present, your boiler will be identified as requiring compliance within a specified time. If that time lapses and the inspection is not completed or non-compliance’s are not corrected, the fuel supply to your boiler or home will be shut-off. If there is an immediate hazard identified during the inspection that cannot be corrected, the fuel supply to the boiler will be immediately terminated.
TSSA and the associated industries thank you in advance for your co-operation in this regard.

If you require further clarification or have questions, please ask the gas technician performing the inspection, your fuel supplier or TSSA at 1-877-682-8772, Web site: http://www.tssa.org .

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