November 10th, 2014 at 11:00 am
With the holiday travel season rapidly approaching, it might be wise to take a few moments to consider some of the most common ways to keep your home safe while you visit relatives and friends across the country or around the world. Statistically speaking, you’re at a higher risk of a break-in while you’re away for an extended period, but there are five simple things you can do to help ensure that your fall and winter holidays stay merry and bright:
- Arrange to stop your newspaper delivery. Nothing gives a bigger signal to criminals than a pile of papers on your front door.
- Have a neighbor or friend collect your mail for you while you’re gone. If that’s not feasible, contact the post office to halt delivery until you return.
- Notify the police that you will be out of town. Many municipalities have the ability to dispatch community patrols or officers who can take extra time to make sure your home stays safe. Also, if there are any incidents in your neighborhood or at your property, they can plan their response accordingly.
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September 30th, 2014 at 10:00 am
Becoming a homeowner is one of the best feelings there is – until something goes wrong. While home maintenance can be a fun learning experience, it also can be dangerous if you try to make a do-it-yourself project out of a tricky home repair. If you’re not experienced with electrical work, it’s best to use a certified electrician when experiencing problems. Much like finding a good mechanic, finding a qualified, reliable and reasonably priced electrician can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. Follow these tips to find an electrician that meets your standards.
- Define your project. Determine the tasks the electrician will need to perform. Make a list and be prepared to hand it over to the candidate. This will help you get the most accurate estimate ahead of time and allow you to compare multiple quotes.
- Get recommendations. Ask your family, friends, coworkers and neighbors. It’s likely that their experiences will be a good indicator of the service you can expect. Does a name keep coming up? That’s where you want to start.
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September 25th, 2014 at 10:00 am
Everyone likes to save money, especially if the savings can be deducted directly from your utility bill. When you move into a new home (or if you haven’t done so in your current home), address the home’s energy efficiency. A few small repairs or fixes could save you hundreds of dollars per year. Try some of the tips below and watch your utility bill shrink.
- Check your home for leaks. Check the attic, basement, crawlspace, windows and doors. Use caulk to seal any cracks and gaps.
- Inspect your heating and cooling systems. Older systems can be a black hole sucking the money right out of your pockets. Upgrade your heating and cooling system and you could save hundreds of dollars.
- Lower your water heater temperature to 120 degrees for best results. If your heater is set too high, it can eat up as much as 25 percent of your energy costs.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights, which use 75 percent less energy and last longer.
- Install dimmer switches on indoor lights and timers on motion sensors.
- Upgrade your appliances with energy-efficient models.
- Unplug electronic devices you’re not using.
- Install a programmable thermostat to manage your heating and cooling system.
- Skip the heated dry on your dishwasher cycle or air-dry your dishes.
- Wash only full loads of laundry.
- Switch your ceiling fan to turn in a counterclockwise direction in the summer; in the winter, run it at low speed, but clockwise.
- Change and clean your furnace/AC’s air filters at least once a month.
- Block the sun with drapes and shades during the day.
- Plant trees around the sunny side of your home to provide shade.
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September 16th, 2014 at 10:00 am
If you have hard water in your home, you’re no stranger to the white and brown spots on your sinks, tubs and glass. Any time your water is used, hard water spots can appear. Having hard water means it’s high in calcium, and the stains or rings you see are calcium deposits that remain after water has evaporated. However, these spots can be removed with little effort. Try any of these cleaning methods to get your kitchen and bathroom sparkling in no time.
- Try an oxalic acid-based cleaner. It quickly removes hard-water stains with minimal applications or continued scrubbing.
- Put lemon juice in a spray bottle and lightly apply to spots. Let stand for a few minutes before removing. This may take several applications.
- Spray vinegar onto the spots, let stand and scrub until removed. Another option is to combine the vinegar and lemon.
- Create a paste using vinegar and baking soda. Let the paste sit on the stain for about 10 minutes before scrubbing clean.
- LIME-A-WAY® and CLR® are corrosive and toxic cleaners, so use caution when applying on natural surfaces. Test each product in a small area before use.
One of the best things you can do is try several different cleaning methods. It can be difficult to tell which method will work best as ratios, dilutions and the severity of the calcium buildup all have an impact. Let us know your favorite cleaning tips and how you prevent hard-water buildup.
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