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September 24, 2021

THE PRESS

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s ns n e ch ditio t i K Ad i n g • el s h d Bat Remo

CREATE YOUR DREAM BATHROOM

Transform Your Home:

• Complete design service - concept through construction drawings • Top Quality craftsmanship • Personalized material & product selection • Firm start and finish dates • 5-Year Written Guarantee

ENTERTAIN FRIENDS AND FAMILY IN A KITCHEN YOU LOVE Call 877.734.6404 or visit www.CareyBros.com to schedule your virtual or in-home design consultation

CA State License #442880


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HOME & GARDEN

SEPTEMBER 24, 2021

HELOC or Reverse Mortgage Line of Credit – Aren’t they all the same?

T

he simple answer is no. They are different. A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) from your local bank, or credit union,

is completely different from a Reverse Mortgage Line of Credit. They differ in how they work, their purpose, and how they are repaid. Each is appropriate at different times in people’s lives. The biggest difference is in how and when payments need to be made. Traditional Home Equity Line of Credit: With a HELOC from your bank, you have to make a monthly payment. Often it is an interest-only payment for a period of time, usually for the duration of the draw period, which is normally 10 years. This payment is usually small and, therefore, enticing on the surface. Remember because it is interest-only your balance never goes down. So, let’s say you are 65 and thinking about retiring but you know you want to take out a Home Equity Line of Credit. Since you have to “qualify” for a HELOC you want to get it set up while you still have income. At 67 you decide to pull the trigger. You announce your retirement, there is a party, and you get a gold watch. All is good. You are ready to have some fun now. There has been a pretty dramatic reduction in your income, but probably not a huge reduction in your expenses. You are still young. You want to travel, enjoy life, go to the city, the beach, out to dinner, skiing, etc. And what better way to supplement your early retirement years than by drawing on the conveniently placed HELOC. I often see people borrow from the HELOC for vacation, monthly bills, car repair, etc. which is why they took it out but the devil is in the details. What I see happen all the time is they also borrow against it to make the payment. Each time they borrow against it, the balance goes higher and, therefore, the payment is higher. Then people borrow more to make the higher payment. This goes on until the borrowing limit is reached at which point there is no more money to borrow but there is still a payment to be made each month. This is scenario number one. When they reach out to us, we hope there is enough equity remaining to allow the reverse mortgage program to pay off both the first mortgage and the HELOC. It is unfortunate that frequently the HELOC is the deal killer. There just is not enough reverse mortgage loan available to pay off both loans. The option is to sell the house. Scenario number two. The draw period is only for the first 10 years. After that comes the repayment period, which is most often 20 years. The real kicker is that the HELOC resets at the end of the 10-year draw period. The initial 10-year draw period is the time during which you can pull money from your line of credit and pay just the interest-only amount. At the end of that draw period, the loan resets to a fully amortizing payment over a 20-year period. The double-whammy is that you now have to pay enough principal and – of course, the interest – to fully

pay off the loan over a relatively short period of time – 20 years. This can result in a huge payment increase virtually overnight. Again, once you reach out to us, we can just hope that there is enough equity to still do a reverse mortgage. If there is not, the option is to sell the house. Keep in mind, the traditional HELOC can be frozen, reduced, or closed at the whim of the lender. When property values get a little wobbly, the first thing the banks do is lock up those lines of credit, and the second thing they do is close them. When the economy starts to tremble a bit, even if values are solid, yep, you guessed it, the banks freeze your line of credit, likely when it would be most beneficial to you. Reverse Mortgage Line of Credit: In the reverse mortgage world, the phrase “the option is to sell your house” does not exist as long as you do these five things; Pay your property taxes, homeowners’ insurance, and Homeowner Association, if any; And Live in your home and maintain your home. Once you have the reverse mortgage, it is really simple. Do these five things and you are now in control of your own future. And because there are no principal and interest payments due, you do not ever have to worry about falling behind in your payments and losing your home. Talk about flexibility, with the reverse mortgage line of credit, you can make payments if you want to but you do not ever have to make a payment. Also, it does not ever reset, so there is no double whammy where your “payment” could increase dramatically. A Reverse Mortgage Line of Credit allows you to access your funds as often as you like with no fee to do so. One of the greatest features of the FHA insured Reverse Mortgage Line of Credit is that it cannot be reduced, frozen, or closed as long as you meet the terms of the loan – do those five things. As long as you do those five things your reverse mortgage line of credit will remain available to you regardless of the value of your home. YES! Even if values decline and you even end up underwater, as long as you are doing those five things, your line of credit will still be accessible to you. The cherry on top is that the unused portion of the line of credit grows. Yes, that is right – it grows. Each month there is a little bit more available to you. The rate at which it grows is your interest rate + .500%. If your interest rate is 3.00%, your line is growing at 3.50%. A $200,000 line of credit will grow by approximately $7,000 per year. That is $583 per month. It is clear, without any doubt, that a Reverse Mortgage Line of Credit is the better solution for most seniors. Seniors are living on fixed income, likely less than what they were bringing home when they were working. The last thing they should consider is a loan where the payment is going to increase over time just based on loan amount, then sky rocket once it resets, and… access to the funds is in jeopardy even if you hold up your end of the bargain. The traditional HELOC is a great product for younger people whose career is on the upswing, their income is increasing, and they can afford the increasing payments. If you are looking for ways to increase your cash flow, or to set up an emergency safety net, please give me a call. It is so important to look at all your options

Beth Miller-Rowe has been in the mortgage industry for 38 years specializing in reverse mortgages for the past 12 years. Beth has degrees in economics and business administration. and educate yourself. Don’t listen to myths and rumors. Give me 20 minutes of your time and let me explain the program and process, go over the costs, and talk about what your goals are. Then we can talk about whether a reverse mortgage can help you to achieve those goals. I am low key. I will explain everything and then leave the package with you so that you can review it, mull it over, talk it over. Then if you decide it is right for you, give me a call back and we will move forward. – Advertorial

Let’s take a look and see if we can Make Your Retirement Dreams Come True.

Beth Miller-Rowe NMLS: 294774

Branch Manager and Reverse Mortgage Specialist

The Reverse Mortgage Group • A Division of American Pacific Mortgage Corp.

Office: 925-969-0380 Cell: 925-381-8264 Beth@YourReverse.com

3478 Buskirk Ave., Ste. 1000 Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

Your Retirement Dreams Can Come True! A Division of American Pacific Mortgage Corporation NMLS 1850

DRE: 00950759/01215943 • NMLS: 294774/831612/1850 Licensed by the Dept of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act

*Reverse mortgages are loans offered to homeowners who are 62 or older who have equity in their homes. The loan programs allow borrowers to defer payment on the loans until they pass away, sell the home, or move out. Homeowners, however, remain responsible for the payment of taxes, insurance, maintenance, and other items. Nonpayment of these items can lead to a default under the loan terms and ultimate loss of the home. FHA insured reverse mortgages have an up front and ongoing cost; ask your loan officer for details. These materials are not from, nor approved by HUD, FHA, or any governing agency. **American Pacific Mortgage Corporation is not financial service company or licensed tax advisors; the material provided is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment, tax and/or mortgage advice. Although the material is deemed to be accurate and reliable, there is no guarantee it is without errors. We are not financial or tax advisors, please contact your financial professional for your personal financial situation.


HOME & GARDEN

SEPTEMBER 24, 2021

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Carey Bros. reflect on nearly 40 years in business Pittsburg natives move remodeling business to Brentwood DAWNMARIE FEHR

J

ames and Morris Carey have put their energies into growing their business -- Carey Bros.

Remodeling -- for nearly 40 years. James said though some things have not changed for the Pittsburg natives – Morris still creates designs, while James prefers meeting with clients to take measurements and gather information – other things have changed a great deal. “There were three tools we always had when we would go to an appointment,” said James. “The first thing we needed was a Thomas Guide to tell us how to get where we were going. The second thing we had ON THE COVER: James and Morris Carey have been in the remodeling business for nearly 40 years. Displayed is some of their work.

was a pager, and if we were contacted, we could go to a pay phone or ask the client to use their phone. The third thing was a Polaroid camera, with lots of film.” In addition to building their remodel business, the brothers also embarked on media careers in 1987 that included a nationally syndicated home improvement radio program, “On the House;” a nationally syndicated newspaper column published by the Associated Press; and a local and network television show entitled “Home and Family.” They also wrote “Home Remodeling for Dummies” and the first and second editions of “Home Maintenance for Dummies.” “Although we don’t have the time and energy to devote to the media that we once did, we still do the radio program and podcast,” said James. “We tape it from the state-of-the-art broadcast studio in my home, and my sister-in-law, Carol, is the producer.” In their show, the brothers discuss dealing with construction professionals, tips to find the right contractor, evaluating a construction bid and contract, and managing expectations. Morris said Carol’s work as producer on the show is invaluable. “We don’t say a word she hasn’t scripted for us.” Morris laughed. “She does all the research and hard work, and we come in and look like we know everything.” Over their nearly 40 years in business, Carey Bros. Remodeling has worked on many

East County Homes. James and Morris have both worn many hats, though Morris still prefers designing and drafting, while James enjoys helping their clients develop their home improvement dreams. James said their team makes their work stand out the way it has. “We have a competent team of designers, and we have, of course, a very well qualified crew in the field that performs the work,” he said. “We have a marvelous team of people who are the best in their field. We are just a part of something bigger and I think my brother and I both feel very honored and fortunate to be surrounded by so many talented people who share our passion and love what they do. We love what we do, we love our clients and we love seeing and experiencing the transformation.” The brothers have grown their business in East County since its establishment in 1984, and spend their days loving their work. “The interesting thing about our business is that we are a design, build, remodeling contractor,” James said. “That means we design, and we conceptualize, everything that we build.” James and Morris both grew up in downtown Pittsburg in their grandmother’s house, built by their grandfather in 1911. They lived there with their grandmother – affectionately referred to as Nana – their parents and two sisters. Morris, the eldest,

learned the basics of design and architecture at Pittsburg High and Los Medanos College and entered the construction field in the 1970s. James, younger than Morris by 12 years, joined him in his work in 1981. As the pair began to accept more and more remodeling contracts, they decided to go into the business officially and together formed Carey Bros. Remodeling, launching their business Jan. 1, 1984. “When we began, our office was in a bedroom in my brother’s home in Pittsburg,” James recalled. “Things began to grow, the demand for our services increased, so my brother’s wife said she wanted us out of the bedroom, so we looked for a new home for our office.” That new home ended up being the Liberty Hotel, also in Pittsburg, and built by their grandfather in 1921. Business was good, and they soon moved into larger rooms at the front of the hotel, then increased their space again. In 1987, they moved into a light industrial area of Pittsburg where they created an office, showroom and warehouse that would be their home for three decades, until they moved the company to its present location in Brentwood. James and Morris had both moved to Brentwood by that time, so bringing the business made sense. For more information on Carey Bros. Remodeling, or to book an estimate, call 877-734-6404 or visit https://careybros.com/.

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HOME & GARDEN

SEPTEMBER 24, 2021

How to create a winter-friendly outdoor living space

F

or many homeowners, the arrival of fall and winter marks an end to time spent lounging

and dining al fresco on the patio. But cold air does not necessarily mean patio furniture must be packed up until flowers bloom anew in spring. In its 2017 Home Design Trends Survey, the American Institute of Architects found that consumers continue to emphasize practical features that expand the functionality of their homes via heavy investment in outdoor living spaces. The survey found that the popularity of outdoor living spaces increased by 72 percent between 2012 and 2017, highlighting just how much homeowners enjoy spending time outdoors. By taking measures to make their outdoor living spaces winterproof, homeowners can enjoy these areas of their homes even more.

♦ Cover your deck A covered deck may appear to make the space less enjoyable during spring and summer. However, covered decks can protect residents from the sun on especially hot days while also making the space more functional in winter. An overhead shelter on a deck can be outfitted with heaters (and fans to provide a cooling effect in summer) and enable residents to sit outside and watch rain fall without getting wet. ♦ Plant the right trees Coniferous trees prevent wind, which can be especially harsh in winter. Homeowners who are unsure about which direction wind typically comes from can consult a landscape architect to determine where to plant the trees to ensure they’re most effective. ♦ Fire up the patio A firepit or fireplace can warm up an outdoor living area, making such a space warm and cozy even on a cold winter night. A patio with a built-in firepit can cost a pretty penny, but such an addi-

Photo courtesy of Metro Creative

Covering a deck or patio and/or adding a fire feature are two ways to make outdoor living spaces more winter-friendly. tion can withstand winter weather better than a standalone firepit, which might be vulnerable to being tipped over by winter winds. ♦ Install lighting The sun sets early in winter, so homeowners won’t be able to rely on natural light to illuminate their outdoor living

spaces well into the evening like they do in summer. Heat lamps can be used to both warm and illuminate a space, serving dual, budget-friendly functions. With the right adjustments, outdoor living spaces can be enjoyed throughout winter. – Courtesy of Metro Creative

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HOME & GARDEN

SEPTEMBER 24, 2021

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SEPTEMBER 24, 2021

Saving money, other benefits of going solar JAKE MENEZ

S

olar energy is sometimes thought of as a newer energy source, but the first solar cell There are several benefits to putting solar on your home or business.

was created back in 1883 by New Yorkbased inventor Charles Fritts. Fritts’ cell was too impractical to be used as a reliable energy source, but it kicked off an interest in solar energy that continues to this day. The science and technology behind solar have advanced considerably since the 19th century, making it one of the fastest growing energy technologies. The U.S. Department of Energy predicts that 1 in 7 American homes will be outfitted with rooftop solar panels before the end of the decade. “One of the biggest benefits of converting to solar is energy independence,” says Josh Aldrich, an industry veteran of 17 years and founder and CEO of Brentwood-based solar company Del Sol Energy. “More than anything, going solar is a chance to escape the rapidly rising costs of utilities.” In addition to being a cost-effective

Photo courtesy of Metro Creative

option for homeowners, solar energy has the added benefit of being more environmentally conscious than traditional energy sources. A solar energy system reduces a household’s carbon footprint by offsetting usage of conventional energy used by utility companies to power homes. Only one-third of the energy generated by Pacific Gas & Electric comes from renewable resources while switching to a solar model for one’s home can potentially power that home completely

on renewable energy, depending on the weather and time of day, according to PG&E. To that point, one of the most common myths about solar energy is that it only works when the sun is shining, leaving some would-be converts skeptical of what happens on a rainy day or during the winter months. “A home with solar is still tied to the electric grid,” Aldrich explains. “Think of solar as having a piggy bank on your

roof. Your panels store energy and sell the excess to the utilities company. If you need to use their electricity because it’s rainy or nighttime, then that offsets its cost.” His company makes it a priority to look at the energy used by a home over the past 24 months in order to determine how best to outfit a home to match those energy needs. For more information contact Del Sol Energy. Call Today 925-378-4107, www. DelSolEnergy.com

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SEPTEMBER 24, 2021

HOME & GARDEN

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How to maintain hardwood floors

H

ardwood floors are attractive to

homebuyers for many reasons. And they look even more stunning, and last

much longer, when homeowners make an effort to maintain them. They have long been sought after by home buyers. In its 2019 ‘Remodeling Impact Report,’ the National Association of Realtors revealed that new wood flooring was the fourth most popular project to attract buyers. “Of course, hardwood floors aren’t just for buyers. Homeowners who already have hardwood floors know just how impressive these floors can be, especially when they’re well maintained. Maintaining wood floors is not necessarily as straightforward as it may seem, and homeowners may benefit from a tutorial on how to keep the floors looking good.

To polish or not to polish? Polishing floors is an inexpensive way to keep them looking good. But the home improvement experts at BobVila.com note that not all floors can be polished, and determining which ones can depends on the finish. Floors with waterproof barriers such as urethane will benefit from routine polishing. However, floors with penetrating finishes like tung oil will need to be waxed rather than polished.

What finish is on the floor? The Hardwood Distributors Association (HDA) recommends a simple way for homeowners to determine which

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type of finish is on their hardwood floors. Homeowners are advised to rub a finger across the floor. If no smudge appears, then the floor is surface sealed. If a smudge is created, then the floor has been treated with a penetrating seal. The HDA also notes that recently installed wood floors are likely surface sealed.

How often should floors be polished or waxed? Wood flooring professionals recommend polishing floors that can be polished once every few months. Waxing wood floors does not need to be done as frequently, and most can benefit from a fresh coat of wax every 12 to 18 months.

What can I do on a daily basis? Some simple tricks and daily maintenance can help wood floors maintain their impressive look. ♦ Use floor mats. The HDA notes that floor mats near entryways can reduce the time it takes to clean hardwood floors and reduce the wear and tear they endure. For example, tiny particles like dirt can scratch the floor and contribute to the kind of minor damage that adds up to significant scarring over time. Floor mats near entryways ensure that most of that dirt never makes it to the wood floors. ♦ Vacuum without a beater bar. Some vacuums contain beater bars, which are designed to pick up human hair, dog hair and other things that conventional vacuums may not be able to pick up. The HDA advises vacuuming without the beater bar, as it can contribute to small scratches in the floor. Sweeping with a high-quality broom or microfiber cloth is another way to pick up dirt without damaging floors.

Photo courtesy of Metro Creative

Homeowners may benefit from a tutorial on how to keep the wood floors under their feet looking good. ♦ Use manufacturer-recommended cleaning products. Local home improvement stores sell a host of hardwood floor cleaning products, but the HDA notes that many flooring manufacturers now sell their own hardwood floor cleaners designed specifically for their floors. These products are likely homeowners’ best bets. Homeowners who can’t find them can seek recommendations from a local flooring retailer. – Courtesy of Metro Creative


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SEPTEMBER 24, 2021

Savor these beautiful (and edible) flowers

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ultivating beautiful blooms is a popular pastime for gardeners near and far. While gazing at

a yard full of vibrant colors or enjoying the aroma of freshly cut blooms is enough for many gardeners, others may want to embrace a long-enduring tradition -- growing edible flowers. People have been cooking with edible flowers for centuries. According to Fleurs Gourmandes, the first recorded history of edible flowers occurred in 140 BC. Use of calendula in salads dates back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. Victorianera candied flowers and flower-encrusted sweets took edible flowers to new heights. Today, nothing may make a meal seem more gourmet than the inclusion of flower petals in the recipe. Of course, before delving into the expanded world of cooking using edible blooms, here are some notes of caution. Avoid flowers that may have been sprayed with fungicides, herbicides or insecticides. To verify safety, only use edible flowers grown specifically for this purpose, not flowers picked from roadsides or from landscapes.

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♦ Allium: These are blossoms from the allium family, which include garlic, chives and leeks. These flowers can be used to add flavor to foods. ♦ Basil blossoms: It may be customary to pinch off the blossoms of basil, which come in colors from white to lavender to stimulate growth of the leaves of the plant. However, the blossoms, which are more mild than the leaves, can be tasty as well. ♦ Calendula: Sometimes known as ‘poor

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Secondly, remember that not all flowers are edible. Some can be poisonous or cause severe gastrointestinal upset when consumed. That means all flowers should be carefully researched prior to experimenting with them in the kitchen. To begin growing -- and eating -edible flowers, refer to this list of varieties deemed safe and be careful to doublecheck against allergies and any interactions with medications prior to use.

G

Sodpeornslqyft

Photos courtesy of Metro Creative

Marigolds are just one of the many flowers that can be consumed.

man’s saffron,’ this yellow flower in the marigold family can taste like saffron when it’s sauteed. Uncooked, calendula can have spicy notes that add variety to salads and garnishes. ♦ Chamomile: This plant features small, daisy-type flowers that can be used in treats and teas. ♦ Cilantro: The flowers from the cilantro plant can be eaten, just as the leaves and the seeds that form the spice coriander. ♦ Fennel: Just like the plant itself, the flowers of fennel have a subtle licorice flavor. ♦ Hibiscus: Hibiscus blooms are famously used in hibiscus tea, which is tart and cranberry-like. ♦ Lavender: The sweet, perfumed taste of lavender works in cocktails and desserts. ♦ Marigolds: These tiny flowers may be used in vegetable gardens to repel animal and insect pests. Blossoms have a fresh citrus taste that can be used in cooking. ♦ Pansies: These vibrant early bloomers can take on a wintergreen flavor and look beautiful when glazed on cakes and other desserts. ♦ Roses: Beautiful to behold, rose petals can lend a subtle, fruity flavor to many different foods as well. ♦ Zucchini: The blossoms from this squash, which have a slightly sweet taste, can be enjoyed in many different ways. Some people batter and fry the blossoms, while others may stuff them with herbs and cheeses. – Courtesy of Metro Creative

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HOME & GARDEN

SEPTEMBER 24, 2021

Photo courtesy of Metro Creative

Homeowners can take steps to determine if it is in their best interest to take on a DIY demolition or leave it to the professionals.

Tips before deciding to do a DIY demolition

H

ome improvement projects

effort to make expensive projects more

can range from relatively

affordable, homeowners may look for

inexpensive undertakings

ways to pitch in, and do-it-yourself (DIY)

to complex endeavors that cost

demolition is a common way to cut costs.

homeowners thousands of dollars. In an

see DIY page 13B

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SEPTEMBER 24, 2021

Preparing homes for cooler, rainy weather DAWNMARIE FEHR

T

hough California’s warm fall weather makes winter seem like a far-off reality, East

County eventually will get its share of lower temperatures and winter rain. It may be November before you switch on that heater, but now is a good time to ensure your home is prepared. Homeowners can check outside seals and caulking on masonry or hard surfaces, look at paint on wood surfaces, and clean gutters. If you have an older home with a chimney, make sure it is clean and clogfree and your firewood is ready to go. For your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, now is a good time to make sure your filter is changed and everything will be in working order for that first frost. “Change the filter on your furnace because you’ve used it all summer long,” Robert Conner, owner of Fairview Heating and Air in Oakley, recommended. “And have a safety check on the furnace because if there is a gas problem, that can be a fire hazard.” One thing Conner said homeowners can skip: having ducts cleaned. He said his

Photo courtesy of Metro Creative

Experts say now is the time to begin prepping your home for winter, which includes checking outside seals and caulking on masonry or other hard surfaces. company has duct cleaning equipment, but generally does that type of work only when installing a new HVAC system. For those with solar panels on their home, Conner said he installs hybrid HVAC systems that use electricity for heat instead of gas. “We have put in quite a few of those now because electricity costs so much in California,” said Conner. “If you have solar, it makes sense to go to a hybrid system. They cost about 5% more than a standard system.”

He said his company also installs systems that are run entirely on electricity for those with adequate solar systems already in place. He also noted the importance of checking carbon monoxide detectors. “Once they are 10 years old, you have to replace them,” he said. “This time of year is a good time to replace the batteries -- and at 10 years old, replace the unit -because the sensor goes bad.” Solar panels are already part of many

Brentwood-area homes and owners should expect a slight drop-off in production during the winter. Brentwood resident Ed Cotas owns Synergy 768, Inc., a solar installation company. He said darker days may inhibit electricity production, but those “bright, cloudy days” will make up for it. “The system will produce less during winter for sure, but there are days that are good, because the perfect solar temperature and weather is actually when there is a glare,” Cotas said. “When you go out the door and squint, even though it’s cloudy, and the temperatures are lower, that’s the perfect solar weather. The hotter the panels get, the less efficient they become.” Cotas said that solar systems don’t need to be winterized, but homeowners should take a look at surrounding trees so that winter storms don’t cause branches to fall on panels. Fairview Heating and Air has been in business in East County since 1987. The company is running a special with a mailin rebate for $50. For more information, call 925-625-4963 or visit https://www. fairviewair.com/. Synergy 768, Inc. is located at 9000 Brentwood Blvd., in Brentwood. For more information, call 510-388-0888 or visit www.synergy768.com.

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SEPTEMBER 24, 2021

Simple ways to improve a home kitchen pantry

A

pantry remodel can add valuable storage space and make one of the busiest rooms

in the house operate more efficiently. People have been spending more time at home in 2020 and 2021 than in years past, and certain projects around the house have become a priority. One home improvement idea that serves the double benefit of creating organization and making cooking at home more efficient is to reimagine the kitchen pantry. A pantry is a room or closet where food, beverages and linens or dishes are stored. Pantries can be highly useful spaces that provide ancillary storage in kitchens. Many modern homes are equipped with pantries, but older homes may require some modification to create more useful pantries. Whether starting from scratch or modifying an existing pantry, these tips can help projects go more smoothly. ♦ Maximize vertical storage. Utilizing vertical areas can help increase storage capacity. Build in extra nooks by investing in undershelf storage baskets. These baskets can instantly create designated areas for different types of ingredients. Homeowners also can look for ways to use the inside of cabinet doors or add extra shelves on walls or in eaves.

♦ Consider your needs. Figure out which items you would like to store in the pantry and then shop for corresponding storage systems. For example, storage solutions may feature wine bottle racks, baskets for potatoes and other produce, shelving for small appliances, and even pull out racks for baking pans or cutting boards. ♦ Use clear storage. Put ingredients in clear, airtight containers of similar dimensions so that you can easily find items you need. Transfer bulky items, like cereals and baking supplies, to storage containers for uniformity. ♦ Store bulk items elsewhere. Bulk shopping can be cost-efficient, but bulk items can quickly eat up real estate in the pantry. Designate another area for non-perishable bulk products, like paper goods or canned items, such as in a garage or utility room. ♦ Pull out drawers are convenient. Pull-out drawers can reduce the need to seek and reach for items. These drawers conveniently roll out so items in the back can be accessed without disturbing foods in the front. Drawers can be custom built for any pantry space. ♦ Make it accessible. Think about who will be taking items from the pantry. Put children’s snacks on the bottom pantry shelf where they can reach them, and then organize other shelves for adults in the home. – Courtesy Metro Creative

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Simple ways to reduce risk of disease in your garden

N

o garden is immune to

drain installed. Learn how much light plants need prior to planting them. Some can thrive in shady areas, while others require ample sunlight each day.

disease. Even the most attentive, experienced

Plant at the right time

gardeners have had to confront disease in their gardens, which can lead to significant damage and

Planting too early when the soil is not yet warm enough can make plants vulnerable to disease by weakening their ability to fight. Use a soil thermometer to determine soil temperature and only plant when the conditions for planting are ideal.

potentially kill plants. Various bacterial, fungal and viral diseases can affect gardens, and the University of Maryland Extension (UME) notes that fungicides, which are chemicals that destroy fungus, are only rarely recommended to combat disease. In fact, a proactive approach rooted in prevention is often the most effective way to reduce risk for disease in gardens.

Harvest on time

When planting vegetables, it’s imperative that the vegetables are harvested on time. The University of Georgia Extension notes that fully mature vegetables left on the plant attract disease and are vulnerable to insect infestations.

Choose the right varieties of plant The UME notes that choosing diseaseresistant varieties is an effective way to prevent disease in gardens. Gardeners who have confronted disease in their gardens in the past should do their best to identify which diseases were present and then choose plants that are considered resistant to those diseases. A local garden center professional can help gardeners who are uncertain about what to plant.

Photo courtesy of Metro Creative

A proactive approach rooted in prevention is often the most effective way to reduce risk for disease in gardens.

Plant in the right spots

The choice of where to plant is significant. Avoid wet areas with insufficient drainage. The home renovation

experts at HGTV note that wet soil can decrease plants’ chances for survival because of excess water and a lack of oxygen. If the only spots available for planting tend to be especially wet, consider planting in raised beds or having a French

HOME & GARDEN

Control insect infestations Certain insects can spread disease, so it’s important that gardeners learn to recognize which insects pose a threat to their plants. Speak with a local gardening center about invasive insects and how to address infestations without harming the plant. – Courtesy of Metro Creative

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No DIY demolition should ever be done alone. The risk for accident and injury is simply too great for homeowners to go it alone. Homeowners who can’t enlist some volunteers to pitch in should leave the job to the professionals. DIY demolition can save homeowners a lot of money. But such projects are not necessarily as simple as they seem. Homeowners should take steps to see exactly what they’re getting into before they volunteer to take on demolition duty. – Courtesy of Metro Creative

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Demolition projects seem simple, but they often require the use of equipment most homeowners don’t have on hand. Rentals can be considered in such instances, but the cost of renting equipment can reduce the amount of money homeowners are saving by going it alone. For example, homeowners may be able to pull up vinyl or tile flooring on their own, but not all floors are installed the same. Some floors may have been glued more effectively than others, making it hard and/or time-consuming to pull them up by hand. A walk-behind floor scraper can make it easier to remove such floors, but that equipment must be rented. A cost analysis comparing the contractors’ demolition cost estimate and the cost of DIY, complete with equipment rental

Prior to saying they’ll do the demolition work on their own, homeowners should speak with their contractors to get an accurate idea of what the project will entail. Demolition projects may seem simple enough, but contractors can illustrate the correct way to do things so as to minimize potentially costly damage. Some contractors may offer to help homeowners start the project and then leave them to their own devices once they get a knack for what to do. Once homeowners see what it will take, they can then decide if DIY is best for them.

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projections, can give a more accurate picture of how much money homeowners will save by going it alone. If the savings of DIY are negligible, homeowners should probably let the contractor handle the demolition.

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Due to geographical fluctuations in price as well as the scale of a project, it’s hard to pinpoint just how much homeowners can save by doing demolition work themselves. HomeAdvisor estimates that the average small interior demolition project costs just over $3,000, though more significant demolition projects can cost considerably more than that. Given the cost, it’s no surprise that so many homeowners volunteer to do demolition on their own. Though it’s possible to do so safely, homeowners can take steps to determine if it’s in their best interest to take on a (DIY) demolition or leave it to the professionals.

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DIY from page 9B

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SEPTEMBER 24, 2021

How ergonomic tools can help gardeners

G

Choosing the right tools

ardening is a rewarding activity that has been found to provide a host of benefits

The West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disabilities (WVUCED) notes that gardeners will know they have chosen the right ergonomic gardening tool for the job when they do not have to adapt the tool. Ergonomic tools should match gardeners’ heights, fit their grip and feel comfortable when in use.

beyond ensuring readily available access

to fresh fruits, vegetables and awe-inspiring blooms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many gardening tasks qualify as light to moderate exercise, which means raking the leaves and cutting the grass can be just as beneficial as cardiovascular activities like brisk walking or jogging. In addition, a 2017 study published in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports found that gardening can help aging men and women offset age-related weight gain. And the health benefits of gardening go beyond the physical. In 2014, a systematic review of randomized controlled trials published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine concluded that horticultural therapy may be an effective treatment for people with dementia. Gardeners have a host of tools at their disposal to help turn their lawns and gardens into awe-inspiring landscapes. Among those options are ergonomic tools. Ergonomic tools can benefit gardeners of all ages, but they may prove especially valuable for aging men and women.

How ergonomic tools differ from traditional gardening tools Ergonomic gardening tools are designed to ensure that using them has as little effect on the body as possible. Ergonomic tools align with how a person naturally moves

Specific benefits of ergonomic tools

Photo courtesy of Metro Creative

Ergonomic tools can benefit gardeners of all ages, but they may prove especially valuable for aging men and women. his or her body, which can reduce the likelihood that gardeners will suffer any strains or sprains while gardening or experience any aches and pains after a day spent tending to their landscapes.

Ergonomic gardening tools are designed in a way that can reduce stress on the body while performing various tasks. Gardeners know that aches and pains can add up after a day spent kneeling in the garden, raking soil and carrying supplies from a shed or garage around the property. But the WVUCED notes that ergonomic tools do more than just reduce gardeners’ risk of injury. ♦ Ergonomic tools increase efficiency. Wasted motions are less likely when using ergonomic tools. That can improve efficiency in the garden, allowing gardeners to get more done in the same amount of time. And because ergonomic tools are designed to work with the body, gardeners likely won’t need to take breaks due to aches and pains, which also makes it easier to be more efficient when working in the garden. ♦ Ergonomic tools increase gardeners’ capabilities. The WVUCED notes that principles behind ergonomics keep gardeners using the tools in natural positions. That means gardeners won’t lose power to bending and twisting, enabling them to do more in the garden than they might be able to do when using non-ergonomic tools. – Courtesy of Metro Creative

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15B

How to create a sunroom – no matter the season

T

hough winter might compel the masses to huddle up inside, there’s still a way to take in the great outdoors on cold

winter days and nights. Sunrooms are a great place to take in nature no matter the weather. Spring, summer and fall provide ample opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, but such chances are few and far between once the winter freeze settles in. It might not prove an exact substitute for summer nights around the firepit, but a sunroom affords homeowners a chance to marvel at snowy winter landscapes without venturing out into the cold. Sometimes referred to as ‘all-season rooms,’ sunrooms can make for a great retreat on quiet summer mornings or crisp autumn afternoons. Sunrooms can be treated as blank canvases, which makes decorating them more fun. But a few tricks of the trade can help homeowners turn their blank canvases into welcoming spaces to take in all that nature has to offer throughout the year. ♦ Define the purpose. The experts at Better Homes & Gardens recommend homeowners decide how they want to use the sunroom before they begin decorating it. When the weather gets too chilly to dine outside, will the sunroom serve as an alternative dining space in the same way patios and decks do during the warm weather? Or do homeowners want to turn their sunrooms into reading rooms? Though it’s possible to make sunrooms multipurpose spaces, it may be hard to create a relaxing vibe in rooms that are too crowded with furnishings or too busy. Defining

10%

F OF

Photo courtesy of Metro Creative

A few tricks of the trade can help homeowners turn their blank canvases into welcoming spaces to take in all that nature has to offer throughout the year.

ly.

app ons

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how the space will be used also makes it easier when shopping for furnishings. ♦ Define when the room will be used. In addition to defining how the room will be used, homeowners should consider when the room will be used. A yearround sunroom will need to be heated, while a threeseason sunroom likely won’t require heating. Cooling might be a concern on hot summer afternoons, but many homeowners will likely spend such days outside anyway, so cooling the room may be as simple as installing a ceiling fan and ensuring windows can be opened to let fresh air in. Homeowners who want a year-round sunroom should install insulated glass to keep the room even warmer when the mercury dips. ♦ Opt for bright colors. Bright colors can make sunrooms feel all the more inviting and make for a perfect match with all the natural light already in the room. The renovation experts at HGTV note that white walls and ceilings can maximize the warm illumination of the natural light that will be pouring in from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Better Homes & Gardens adds that brightly colored cushions, pillows and area rugs with similarly hued colors and patterns can add visual interest and texture to a sunroom. ♦ Make use of a view. Homeowners needn’t direct too much of their focus on decor if their sunrooms come with a view. Art on the walls and other decorative items around the room are less important if a sunroom affords a view of the ocean or a lake or dense woods that attract local wildlife. In rooms with a view, arrange furniture so residents and guests can comfortably look outward and take in all the surrounding landscape has to offer. – Courtesy of Metro Creative

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Profile for Brentwood Press & Publishing

Fall Home and Garden 09.24.2021  

The Press special edition for home and garden care in East Contra Costa

Fall Home and Garden 09.24.2021  

The Press special edition for home and garden care in East Contra Costa

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