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Muskoka Builders’ Association Launches the COVID-19 Relief Fund

The Muskoka region has not been spared by the ongoing spread of COVID-19 that has confined millions around the world to their homes. According to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, the area has reported a number of positive cases since the outbreak was initially reported in early 2020. As proud members of the Muskoka Building Community, the Muskoka Builders’ Association (MBA) has launched a $100,000 COVID-19 fundraising campaign to benefit the area’s local food banks, shelters, hospitals, and hospital foundations. All proceeds raised by the fundraiser will remain within the community. Muskoka Window and Door Centre is a proud longstanding member of the MBA.

Some of the vital charities and services that will benefit from the MBA’s COVID-19 relief fund include:

To kick off the campaign, the MBA has pledged $10,000 on behalf of its members. Muskoka Window & Door Centre is a long-time member of the Muskoka Builders’ Association, and we take pride in being able to assist our community during its time of need. All funds raised will go towards giving food and other essentials to those in need, purchasing critical PPE for healthcare workers, and offering shelter and safety to ask-risk individuals during these uncertain times.

Every dollar helps in the fight against the COVID-19 crisis
Each and every donation made to the fundraising campaign goes a long way in helping those in the Muskoka region who have been affected by the crisis, and will ensure that our fearless healthcare workers, food bank volunteers, and other vital professionals have the resources they need to continue in their battle against this pandemic. They need our help now more than ever before – your donations allow them to continue working to keep us safe in the coming weeks and months.

The building and construction community in the Muskoka Parry Sound region cares deeply about each and every person affected by the ongoing crisis. We want to ensure that our fellow citizens remain happy, healthy, and strong throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Help us help our community by pledging any amount you can to show those around us that they’re not alone in this fight. Times may be tough, but when we work together, no obstacle is insurmountable. Together, we’ll get through this and come out stronger on the other side.

Remember, every donation to the COVID-19 Relief Fund makes a major difference to the community. Share the campaign’s GoFundMe page with your loved ones to spread the message about this important fundraiser, and donate to the campaign today – contributions of all sizes matter during these difficult times.

Muskoka’s Inspirational Response to COVID-19

COVID-19 has affected the world in an unprecedented way. The lives of millions of Canadians have effectively been put on pause until the end of the crisis, jobs have been lost, wages reduced, opportunities lessened, and yet we continue to persevere. The ongoing coronavirus crisis has brought out the best in us, with thousands coming together to raise funds and gather supplies for hospitals, food banks, and shelters in need.

The response here in Muskoka, particularly, has been nothing short of inspiring – from offering special services to those in isolation to making generous donations to local healthcare facilities, the people of Muskoka have come together as a community to take care of those in need, rising to the occasion in every way possible. During this time of uncertainty, we’d like to take a moment to acknowledge a few of the remarkable things made possible by the great people of Muskoka, and what you can do to make a difference.

Home deliveries in Huntsville and Gravenhurst
Those who are in self-isolation can take advantage of services offered by the Gravenhurst Caretageon Group and the Faith Baptist Church in Huntsville, both of which are offering local delivery services to help deliver essential supplies to those in need. These delivery services are available to those who are at-risk and unable to run errands or pick up groceries and medication.

Those who are interested or know of somebody who requires delivery services in Huntsville can fill out the application on the Faith Baptist Church’s website, and those in need in Gravenhurst can place an order by calling 705-710-4542.

These services are currently only available in Huntsville and Gravenhurst, though more volunteers could make expansion possible. Those interested in volunteering in Huntsville can fill out the Faith Baptist Church’s volunteer form, or inquire about assisting the Gravenhurst Caretageon Group by emailing gravenhurst2020@gmail.com.

Lunch for all thanks to Gravenhurst Against Poverty
Those in need continue to have reliable access to meals thanks to the fine people at Gravenhurst Against Poverty (GAP), who continue to offer regular take-out lunches with the help of volunteers and donations from local businesses. During the crisis, only bagged take-out options will be offered to patrons, featuring items like soup, sandwiches, and fruit. GAP runs their lunch program every Tuesday from 12:00 to 1:00 PM, and a supper and fresh food giveaway on Thursdays from 4:00 to 5:30 PM. GAP continues to run thanks to the generosity of volunteers and donors. To make a donation or volunteer your time with GAP, visit their website.

Generous donations made to local hospitals
As COVID-19 slowly spreads throughout the country, our nation’s hospitals are at risk of becoming strained and overburdened. Generation monetary and equipment donations help to lessen this burden on our healthcare system, allowing hospitals to be better prepared for a possible outbreak. On Saturday, March 28th, Mayor Graydon Smith of Bracebridge announced that a generous $135,000 was being donated to the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital Foundation, which will be used for new beds in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

The donors wished to remain unnamed, stating that they made the donation to support the community they love during its time of need. Many other locals have contributed what they can towards local hospitals, offering monetary donations as well as personal protective equipment (PPE), which can be used to ensure that healthcare providers are adequately protected from the coronavirus.

How you can make a difference in your community
The best and most important thing you can do during these unprecedented times is to stay home and limit unnecessary contact. This helps to keep you and those around you protected, and reduces the risk of community spread.

Those who are healthy and able can go the extra mile by volunteering their time with local food banks and home delivery services, which help to provide essential services to those in need. Some of the organizations that currently need your support include:

These critical organizations rely on volunteers and donations in order to continue serving local communities. You can also make a difference through monetary and PPE donations to Muskoka’s hospitals:

In addition, the Muskoka Builders’ Association has launched the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a $100,000 COVID-19 fundraising campaign. The MBA has pledged $10,000 on behalf of its members, with all funds remaining in the community to benefit our local food banks, shelters, and hospital foundations. If you wish to make a donation to the ongoing COVID-19 Relief Fund, visit the official GoFundMe page for more information.

The outpouring of support seen over the last month should make Canadians everywhere proud. The continued efforts of communities around the country is truly inspiring. Whether you’re doing your part by self-isolating, volunteering with local food banks and services, or making donations to organizations in need, every little bit helps. When we work together as a community, we ensure that people of all walks have the chance to stay safe and healthy in these uncertain times. We’ll get through this crisis together and come out stronger than ever before.

What You Can Do to Make Your Cottage More Energy Efficient

The snow is finally melting and another gorgeous Muskoka spring season is quickly emerging. Now is the perfect time to get started on property improvements and free up your summer so you can soak up the sun and enjoy your retreat. Making your property more energy efficient is a project that will help you get the most out of your cottage by reducing energy bills and your carbon footprint. During these unique times, there are a number of easy, but effective, ways to make your cottage more energy efficient.

Check for inefficient old appliances
Home appliances account for a large amount of your energy bill – the more efficient your appliances, the lower your hydro bill will be. Old appliances like fridges and chest freezers often find new homes in cottages, but can be a major source of energy use. Upgrading to ENERGY STAR certified home appliances can make a huge difference in your energy consumption, using up to 10% less energy than standard or older appliances.

Take a look at your windows
Windows offer Muskoka cottage owners an unparalleled view of their beautiful surroundings, but can also account for a property losing up to a quarter of its heating and cooling if they are inefficient. This is especially true of older windows in need of maintenance or replacement. You can reduce energy loss through your windows by applying weatherstripping around window frames to prevent energy from escaping through the trim. Using window film during the winter months can be effective too, reducing air loss in older windows.

If your windows are more than 20 years old, have sustained damage, or are noticeably drafty, then it’s time to seriously consider replacing them with more energy efficient windows. Upgrading your windows can have a major effect on reducing your energy consumption, as they work to keep the heat during colder fall and winter months, and keep it out during the summer.

Take advantage of window treatments
Energy efficient window treatments like curtains, blinds and shades can have a major impact on reducing the amount of heat entering your home. This is especially useful during the summer months when your air conditioning or ceiling fans are working overtime. Using window treatments during the day will reduce the amount of energy used by your air conditioning unit, keeping unwanted heat out of your home and making you more comfortable on hot, sunny days.

Unplug to reduce phantom power
Your electronics and appliances draw power even when they’re off or otherwise not in use. According to Hydro One, the average Canadian household has up to 25 electronic devices using phantom power at any given time, accounting for about $150 in electricity costs each year. Phantom power can be easily avoided by unplugging electronics and charging devices when they’re not in use. It’s also recommended that homes use advanced power bars with timers to ensure that electronics and non-essential appliances are turned off while homeowners are at work or sleeping. Taking these simple steps will have a significant impact on your yearly energy costs.

Get smart about landscaping
In addition to adding character and curb appeal to your property, landscaping can be used to enhance energy efficiency and comfort. Planting deciduous trees on your property can provide shade during the summer months to reduce solar gain, and let sunlight in through your windows in the winter after the trees have lost their leaves. Planting trees to the south and southwest will be the most effective way to shade your property from the peak summer sun, and can go a long way in reducing heating and cooling costs, as well as property damage caused by ultraviolet rays over time. Shrubs, too, can be used effectively to insulate your home’s exterior and even to shade outdoor air conditioning and heat pump units, improving their efficiency by up to 10%.

Make the best of the COVID-19 quarantine by focusing on how you and your family can work to improve your cottage property. When it comes to energy efficiency, even the smallest upgrades will go a long way. To find out more about the energy efficient window and door products offered by Muskoka Window & Door Centre, contact us today.

When You Should Replace Your Cottage Septic System

Cottagers around the province are about to learn a hard lesson about their septic system. With COVID-19 keeping Canadians home and cottage bound for the foreseeable future, many cottage owners are going to be faced with the challenge of a failing septic system designed primarily to handle only weekend and vacation use. This means that due to the increased strain on your septic system, it may be time for a much needed upgrade – especially if you want to keep your property free of sewage backup.

It’s important to note that your septic system might simply need some TLC, rather than a complete replacement. Replacing your septic system can be an expensive affair, so it’s important for you to be able to make an informed decision so that your time and money is spent wisely. Before you panic and decide on a replacement septic system, here’s how you can know if it’s time to replace it.

How old is your septic system?
It’s not unheard of for a septic system to last more than 40 years with regular maintenance. Septic systems can be extremely resilient, and can last for decades without many problems. Older homes and cottages, however, may require a replacement septic system sooner rather than later. If your system is getting up there in age and you’ve noticed that you’re pumping it more often than you used to, or that you’re constantly experiencing issues with it, your septic may simply be on its last legs. Additionally, it may be possible to repair the septic bed rather than replacing the system entirely, which is far less costly. You really only want to replace it if your septic system professional says it is beyond repair and/or you have outgrown its size.

Have you outgrown your system?
If your cottage is seeing an uptick in use, you may have outgrown your septic system. Since septic systems have a limited capacity, a significant increase in its use can mean that it’s time to replace your system with something that better accommodates the use of your cottage. This also applies to cottages that have recently seen expansions or additions, causing your water usage to overwork your smaller septic tank. For example, if you had no dishwasher when you moved in, and added one, that could be enough to tip over the capacity of an older septic system. Replacing your system will prevent future headaches and let you enjoy your time at the cottage distraction-free.

Puddles in your yard and foul odors
If you’ve recently noticed standing water in your yard, it could be a sign that your septic system is failing – especially if it hasn’t rained or snowed recently. Puddles in your yard near where your septic tank is buried may mean that wastewater is backing up and flooding your property. It could also force raw sewage to backup into your home and around your property. Smelling a foul odor near your tank or drain field is another sure sign that your septic system is failing and that sewage is being backed up into your yard. An additional sign that your septic is starting to go (this usually happens before you see puddles and backups) is if you walk over your septic bed and the ground is soggy during the height of the summer. If you’re experiencing any of these problems, get a septic system professional to assess the situation to see if you need a repair or replacement.

Greener grass in your yard
One of the less discussed signs of a failing septic system is that you may suddenly notice that the grass around your septic tank or drain field is greener than the rest of your yard. This is usually caused by a failing system, causing excessive moisture levels to seep into the soil, which can cause greener grass. You may also notice that the grass around where your tank is buried is growing faster than the rest of your yard. This is usually caused by backed up sewage acting as a fertilizer, causing grass to grow quicker than normal.

Replacing your septic system is generally a worst case scenario measure – especially if your use hasn’t outgrown the capacity of your system. If you think that your septic system may be experiencing issues, it’s best to schedule an inspection by a professional, who will be able to properly diagnose your problems and recommend the best course of action.

For more about the products and services offered by our full team of window and door installation experts, contact Muskoka Window & Door Centre today.