home fall Improvement
2 l SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2016
FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT
Aili Concrete moves to Kimball site By RALPH ANSAMI
KIMBALL, Wis. — Aili Custom Concrete in Kimball is a company for all seasons. When outdoor concrete work isn’t possible in the winter, the employees snowplow and perform inside masonry work. Owner Dan Aili, who relocated from Ironwood Township to Kimball, said he was driving along U.S. 2 one day and noticed the former Hawk Hollow property owned by chainsaw carver Jeff Prust was for sale. The large building fills the needs for Aili and his 12 to 14 employees and he may expand it in the future. There’s been a lot of landscaping done on the property and there’s more to be done for a parking lot, Aili said. As of now, he’s working on the showroom in the front of the building and when it’s complete, he plans a grand opening for next year. The workers at the company
pour concrete into forms. There are flatwork, forming and mason crews and Aili said the workers are specialized. Summer and fall are the busiest seasons for job sites that can range up to an hour and a half away. Most of the concrete work is closer to home, however. “It’s a lighter concrete that’s a special mixture for winter,” Aili said. “It’s able to expand and contract.” There’s a large room that contains the form trays where the cement is poured in various shapes. The company offers what is called Freedom Stone that can be made to look like any kind of real stone, inside or outside of a building. There are styles such as fire hall, clay, castle rock, weathered copper, birch and tobacco. Stamped concrete is designed to resemble brick, slate, flagstone, stone, tile and even wood. It can be used to beautify pool decks, driveways, courtyards and
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Ralph Ansami/Daily Globe
DAN AILI displays a tray for forming concrete at his Kimball, Wis., business along U.S. 2. patios. Concrete flatwork is less expensive than stone or brick
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masonry, Accessories include hearth stones, sills and electrical and faucet trim. As the business expands, Aili said he’d like to get into selling different kinds of products next
year. Aili, whose father, Jim, is an Ironwood taxidermist, said he has been in the business for the past 11 years, previously with a partner. He was home-schooled before
learning the concrete business. Most of his work comes from word of mouth, he said. “The area’s been good to us. I’ve been blessed,” he said. Aili Custom Concrete can be reached at 715-561-2288.
Tips to soundproof your home (METRO) — What’s the first step in soundproofing your home? Finding which rooms have the least amount of sound resistance. To do this, make sure everyone is out of the house, unplug all electronics and close all doors and windows. Take a quick walk through your house and pause for a few moments in each room to evaluate which ones are the noisiest. Now consider if you’re installing a media room or teenage recreational room where volumes will be blasting on TV’s and stereos.
With this information, you should have a good idea of where you need to soundproof and create barriers against noise. Here are some tips to help you achieve the optimal result of peace and quiet: —Plant trees and hedges along the exterior of your home, perhaps along a fence. Not only do trees and hedges help with the environment and provide a good amount of privacy, they also slow down the travel of noise from the neighborhood into your home. —Insulate your walls and ceilings. Better insulation in your
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interiors and exteriors won’t just drive away excess noise, it will also reduce your heating and cooling bills during the hot and cold months. For the best sound proofing and easy installation quality, a professional-grade product by ROXUL called Safe’n’Sound is very popular. —Seal up all cracks and holes around windows and doors, and add double glazed windows to your current glass panes. Once you’ve selected the best soundproofing method, implement it and enjoy the bliss of silence throughout your home.
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*20% down, 0% A.PP..R. financing for up to 84 months on new Kubota BX, B (excluding B26), L (excluding L39/L45/L47) & MX tractors is available to qualified purchasers from participating dealers’ in-stock inventoryM through aso9/30/2016. n, WisDealer conParticipa sin 5tion 48Required. 56 Example: An 84-month monthly installment repayment term at 0% A.P..R. requires 84 payments of $11.90 per $1,000 financed. 0% A.PP..R. interest is available to customers if no dealer documentation preparation fee is charged. 71574with 72sta4te7la7ws. Inclusion of ineligible equipment may result in a higher blended A.P.R. 0% A.P.R. Dealer charge for document preparation fee shall be in accordance and low-rate financing may not be available with customer instant rebate offers. Financing is available through Kubota Credit Corporation, U.S.A., 3401 Del Amo Blvd., Toorrance, CA 90503; subject to credit approval. Some exceptions apply. Offer expires 9/30/2016. See us for details on these and other low-rate options or go to www.kubota.com for more information. **Six year or 2,000 hour (whichever occurs first) limited powertrain warranty on new B, BX, L (excluding B26/L35/ L45/L47 models) and six year or 3,000 hours (whichever occurs first) on new MX tractors. For non-commercial, home and residential use only. Eligible units must be purchased and registered 1, financing AlaskaL (excluding and Hawaii.L39/L45/L47) inning0%June 2016. Avvaila to 84 customers in 48 States,B26), Only terms and conditions *20%beg down, A.PP..R. for ble up to months on newcontiguous Kubota BX,United B (excluding & MX tractors isofaKubota’ vailablestostandard qualifiedLimited purchasers t th i dParticipa Kubota Dealers. l equipment i An 84-month t ma b monthl K bdealers’ t ’ Li in-stock it d W inventor t t y through k b 9/30/2016. K b t tion D Required. l O titional h © K b t T repa t CCorpora ti a2016 W t l F t t participating Dealer Example: y installment yment term t 0% from A.P..R. requires 84 payments of $11.90 per $1,000 financed. 0% A.PP..R. interest is available to customers if no dealer documentation preparation fee is charged. Dealer charge for document preparation fee shall be in accordance with state laws. Inclusion of ineligible equipment may result in a higher blended A.P.R. 0% A.P.R. and low-rate financing may not be available with customer instant rebate offers. Financing is available through Kubota Credit Corporation, U.S.A., 3401 Del Amo Blvd., Toorrance, CA 90503; subject to credit approval. Some exceptions apply. Offer expires 9/30/2016. See us for details on these and other low-rate options or go to www.kubota.com for more information. **Six year or 2,000 hour (whichever occurs first) limited powertrain warranty on new B, BX, L (excluding B26/L35/ L45/L47 models) and six year or 3,000 hours (whichever occurs first) on new MX tractors. For non-commercial, home and residential use only. Eligible units must be purchased and registered beginning June 1, 2016. Avvailable to customers in 48 contiguous United States, Alaska and Hawaii. Only terms and conditions of Kubota’s standard Limited Warranty apply. For warranty terms, see Kubota’s Limited Warranty at www.kubota.com or authorized Kubota Dealers. Optional equipment may be shown. © Kubota Tractor Corporation, 2016.
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FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2016
Home improvement projects for fall to-do list (METRO) — Homeowners know that maintaining a home can be a year-round job. No home is immune to wear and tear, and homeowners who want to protect their real estate investments should try to stay two steps ahead to ensure their homes do not succumb to the elements or become outdated and unappealing to prospective buyers. Fall has become a season that’s synonymous with home improvement, but homeowners need not wait until the leaves begin changing colors to start planning their next projects. The following are a few items homeowners can add to their fall home improvement to-do lists.
Less precipitation tends to fall during the warmer months than during the late fall and winter. As a result, homeowners may not be aware of leaky roofs until autumn has come and gone. But waiting until winter to inspect the roof can prove disastrous, as weather conditions will not be conducive to inspection and increased precipitation may result in potentially costly damage. Leaky roofs can be easily identified by looking for water stains on interior ceilings. Once you see a stain, you can climb onto the roof to identify the location of the leak and fix it before winter rains and snowfall turn the problem into something
much larger. Inspect your ceilings for signs of leaking after a strong rainfall, and then address any leaks immediately.
While some homeowners prefer to delay their gutter cleaning projects until late fall, those whose homes are surrounded by trees may need to schedule two such projects. Gutters clogged with leaves and other debris can cause serious roof damage, and that damage can extend all the way inside a home. In addition, clogged gutters make great nesting areas for insects or critters. Always stand on a ladder when cleaning gutters, wearing gloves to remove items by hand and
dropping leaves and debris into a trash can below. Standing on the roof and leaning over gutters greatly increases your risk of injury. If the gutters are clear when you first examine them in early fall, you can wait until later in the season to give them a complete and thorough cleaning. Once you have finished clearing the gutters, you can use a hose to run water through them and the downspouts to confirm everything is functioning properly.
Window, doorway inspection
Before temperatures start dropping once again, homeowners will want to inspect their windows and doorways for leaks. Over time, cracks can develop
around windows and doorways, and while such cracks are rarely noticeable when the weather outside is warm, they can be quite obvious and very costly if they remain unsealed come the start of winter. Cold air can enter a home through cracks around windows and doorways, and many homeowners who don’t suspect leaks may respond by turning up the thermostats in their homes. That can prove quite expensive over a full winter. Choose a windy autumn day to place a hand by windows and external doorways in your home to see if you can feel drafts. If you can, seal these cracks as soon as possible.
Patios are popular hangouts during spring and summer, and that can result in a lot of wear and tear. Once you store patio furniture for the winter, inspect your entire patio to determine if it needs any refurbishing. While certain patio projects may be best left for spring, you can still clean any stained areas around the grill and look for cracks in the sidewalk that need to be addressed. Preparing for fall home improvement projects ahead of time can help homeowners complete projects in a timely manner and ensures they won’t be forced to brave the winter elements when refurbishing their homes.
Home safety: New ways to protect family (StatePoint) — While you may think of smart home technology as a convenience -- something to save you a few steps of walking between the couch and the nearest light switch, smart home offerings also include important preventative measures that can help you protect not only your valuables, but your home itself and everyone in it. Take some time to learn how to use new technology to help protect your family:
Beyond the burglar
A fireplace can become the centerpiece and focal point of any room, adding to the value of the home.
The first thing that comes to mind when most people think about home security is almost certainly burglary. But intruders aren’t the only thing you have to worry about entering your home. Water damage is the second most
common cause of property loss and accounts for a quarter or more of homeowner’s insurance claims. A good early detection device, such as a flood sensor, could be the difference between a damp inconvenience and a soaking wet catastrophe in your home, especially when combined with a smart shutoff valve.
Sensors are a great way to keep you alerted to potential dangers — especially on days when the kids get home earlier than you do. A few placed judiciously around the house — on liquor or medicine cabinets, for example, or even the knife drawer, are a great way of keeping your mind at ease. And those same sensors placed on entry
points could alert you in the event of an invasion.
When it comes down to it, though, the best way to deal with home invasion is to deter intruders altogether. When you’re out of town for a vacation or business trip, it’s important to make sure your home still looks lived in, and rigid pre-programmed lighting timers aren’t fooling anyone. Newer smart light bulb systems go one step further by recording and playing back your daily lighting routines, and even include a sophisticated listening system that can respond to a doorbell, by turning inside lights on organically, one at a time, exactly the way you would if you were home.
Smart home technology is becoming more versatile than ever. To learn more about how it can be used for keeping people, pets and property safe, visit ZWave.com and BeONHome.com for DIY videos, how-tos and live customer assistance. While there’s no replacement for a caring neighbor’s watchful eye, these days there are a great number of ways of taking home security into your own hands — no matter where you are. Smart hubs, combined with sensors in and around the home, can take the worry out of being away from home by alerting you when something goes wrong. With a connected home, you can better keep tabs on your home and family, even when you’re not there.
Fireplace adds New technologies can improve a kitchen glow, but also value (StatePoint) — When considering home renovations, it’s important to be choosy, as some projects can end up costing you a pretty penny with little return on investment. Some fast facts can provide answers to this age old consideration. Here are three compelling reasons to think fireplace. —A gas fireplace will add between $2,950 to $5,900 to a home’s value, according to the “Marshall & Swift Residential Cost Handbook.” —New homebuyers rank fireplaces as the number one most desired decorative appearance product in a new home, according to the National Association of Home Builders. —Today, homeowners have an
opportunity to differentiate their homes with a fireplace in different ways. Both traditional and modern fireplaces are now offered with innovative technologies that push the boundaries of where fire can go and how it can look. Consider brands that designers, architects, builders, and remodelers trust, such as Heat & Glo, which leads the industry in design and innovative technology. More information about how a fireplace can improve home value and differentiate spaces is available at www.heatnglo.com. For those looking to renovate, a fireplace presents an attractive choice — whether a sale is in the cards or you simply want to enhance appeal and comfort.
(StatePoint) — Modern technology is improving every facet of our lives and the kitchen is no exception. By carefully outfitting your kitchen, your appliances can be safer, more efficient and give you versatility and precision as a home chef. One technology, which has been popular in Europe for years but is still relatively new to the United States, is induction cooking which uses electromagnetic energy to heat foods quickly and precisely. Like a gas burner, an induction cooktop or range-top surface can handle the rapid shifts in heat settings required in a busy kitchen. And because the burner does not heat unless cookware is detected, ventilation can operate more efficiently. Other efficiencies in induction cooking are exemplified in such appliances as the new 36inch Induction 5-Zone Cooktop from Verona, which includes a fast boil setting for rapid cooking as well as a low power setting for delicate meals. A pan detection system saves energy by sensing the size and shape of cookware and
NEW TECHNOLOGY has made cooking in the kitchen a whole new experience. intelligently heating only the needed cooking area. Features like a residual heat indicator and an automatic shut-off in case of spillage make cooking with this induction cooktop
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Safety checklists an important part of home maintenance
Paint home exterior like a pro (METRO) — Painting is an inexpensive way to transform just about any space. Many people paint the interiors of their homes, but home exteriors also can undergo dramatic makeovers with fresh coats of paint. Consider weather forecasts when planning an exterior painting project. Choose a time of year when there is little rain and low humidity, such as autumn. Keep in mind that the paint will require a couple of days to dry completely and cure, and that can be difficult in damp weather. Paint may not adhere to unprepared surfaces, and dirt and other debris may show through and mar the finished product. Repainting a home’s exterior will likely involve removing peeling or chipping paint. Primer provides a smooth, even surface upon which to put your paint color. Rent a paint sprayer for large surface areas. The sprayer will produce a more uniform application and is less time-consuming than painting everything with a brush or roller.
CHECK FAULTY wiring and replace any outlets that are not working.
(METRO) — A new kitchen or a bathroom remodeling job might be dream projects for many homeowners, but the right home improvement project at a given moment is not necessarily the most glamorous project. Sometimes safety upgrades around the house must take precedence over more popular projects. Accidents or injuries can occur in any part of the home, but homeowners who take certain preventative measures can greatly reduce their injury risk. The security resource A Secure Life points out that more than 18,000 Americans die every year from injuries that take place in the home. Unintentional injuries account for millions of medical visits each year. Home injuries also are prevalent elsewhere in the world. In the United Kingdom, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents reports that there are approximately 6,000 deaths every year that result from accidents at home. Periodic inspections for potential hazards can keep everyone safe. The following are a handful of ways for homeowners to ensure their homes are as safe as possible. —Check for sturdy handrails
and prevent tripping hazards. Falls are one of the leading causes of home injuries. Falls can be a particular threat for youngsters and the elderly. To help prevent falls, make sure that staircases feature sturdy railings and that there is ample lighting in walkways. Remove obstructions from frequently used paths inside and outside the home. In addition, insert nonslip padding beneath runners or throw rugs. —Check for frayed wires or faulty outlets. Address any electrical problems around the house, including frayed wiring and faulty outlets. Sparks can lead to fires, and poor wiring may cause unforeseen problems behind walls. Repair or replace any loose or frayed wires on all electrical devices. Be sure that cords do not run under doorways or rugs. Replace outlets that are in disrepair and install ones with ground-fault current interruptors as an added precaution. If small children live in the home, use plastic safety covers over unused outlets. —Practice window safety. Young children are curious and do not always recognize the inherent dangers around them.
Children excited to see the great outdoors may climb up to peer out windows, and open windows are falling hazards. Screens do not offer an adequate barrier against falls. Consider locking windows or use safety bars to guard against falls. Test to see how easily screens can be pushed out, replacing any that do not provide adequate resistance to curious youngsters’ hands. —Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors at least twice per year, and test them to make sure they’re in good working order at least once per month. The National Fire Protection Association recommends replacing hard-wired smoke alarms every 10 years. Battery-operated alarms may need to be replaced even sooner. Many carbon monoxide detectors work for five to seven years. Check the back of alarms for a date stamp that indicates how old the product is and when it expires. Safety checklists are an important part of home maintenance. A proactive approach can prevent both injuries and damage to the home.
Key projects protect pipes from freezing this winter (METRO) — Freezing pipes are a concern for homeowners who live in cold climates. When temperatures dip below freezing, the risk that pipes will freeze rises. Should a pipe burst, the damage that results can be extensive and costly. Any pipe can freeze, but those that are directly exposed to the cold are the most vulnerable. These include pipes that feed outdoor hoses, swimming pool supply lines, pipes in unheated indoor rooms (i.e., basements or garages), and any pipes that run close to the outdoors through uninsulated walls. ]Water expands as it freezes, and that expansion can place pressure on whatever is trying to contain it — including pipes. To avoid serious damage,
homeowners need to prepare for the arrival of colder weather and be smart about how they protect pipes. —Drain water from swimming pools and water sprinkler supply lines prior to the onset of cold weather. Drain water before freezing temperatures arrive, and don’t forget to drain outdoor garden hoses and store them inside after watering season has come and gone. —Close indoor water valves that feed outdoor spigots/bibs. Open the spigot outside to allow water to drain out. Keep the outside valve open so that any water that has accumulated will continue to drain and expand outward without damaging the pipe. An insulated bib dome also can help prevent
frozen pipes. —Open cabinet doors to allow heat to reach pipes inside of cabinets. Keep the doors open to spaces that may not be heated or insulated as well as other areas of the home so that heat can find its way inside. Consider wrapping these pipes with an insulating material as well, such as heat tape or pipe sleeves. —Maintain a consistent thermostat temperature. Ensure the temperature inside your home does not drop below 55 F; otherwise, problems can arise. Use a programmable thermostat to keep the house comfortable even when you are not home. Individuals who are traveling should set the thermostat so that it will keep the home at the recom-
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mended temperature to avoid frozen pipes. —Open one faucet. When it is very cold outside, particularly at night, let water slowly drip from one faucet to prevent freezing. Choose the sink that is furthest from where water enters the house so water is flowing through all of the pipes to reach that faucet. —Increase insulation around where pipes enter the house. Use insulating foam to seal any drafts where pipes enter the house from the outdoors. Frozen pipes cannot always be avoided. Therefore, it is important that everyone in the household knows how to shut off the main water valve in the event a pipe bursts. This can prevent expensive damage to a home.
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FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2016
Appliance upgrade can improve energy efficiency By JUSTIN LIBERTOSKI
IRONWOOD — As the weather begins to grow cooler and the leaves begin to change from green to orange and red, many people may be looking to get in some last-minute home improvement projects. One of those projects may be upgrading the appliances used every day in the home. With new appliances coming out regularly, it can be tough to keep up with what kind of features are out there. The first thing to look at when buying a new appliance, whether it be a washer, stove, refrigerator or television, is the energy efficiency and the possibility for an Energy Star rebate. According to Mark Wesenberg, of Northstar Electronics on Cloverland Drive, there is a lot of emphasis on energy savings in Michigan and most appliances have energy rebates. If you are looking to upgrade laundry equipment, something to look at is going back to the toploading units. Front-loading washers and dryers have been popular for awhile, however people are starting to move back to the top-loading models because they breed fewer germs than the front loaders. “They create a lot of mold and mildew because the door actually seals on the washing machine and it doesn’t allow air to mix in,” said Wesenberg. “The top loaders eliminate that problem and are still very good at cleaning. They do a great job cleaning and use less water and less ener-
gy.” Another popular laundry product is the Purewash Pro. The product is a soap substitute, so instead of using detergent, the Purewash Pro infuses oxygen, or ozone, into the cold water of the machine and washes clothes that way. According to Wesenberg, it is similar to OxiClean, but it uses electricity, instead of chemicals, and it is very good for the fabric and the environment. Upgrading kitchen appliances is another way to improve your home before the cold weather hits. Refrigerators have been getting more energy-efficient, as well as bigger and better, with some as big as 28 to 30 cubic feet. The features are also getting newer, with things like dual icemakers on some models, as well as twin cooling, which means there are two evaporators — one in the refrigerator which needs a higher humidity to keep things like fruits and vegetables fresh and one in the freezer part, with a lower humidity to keep things cooler. Dishwashers are a convenient appliance to have in the kitchen. According to Wesenberg, Bosch products are the most energyefficient and save the most water. “They’ve been rated number one 15 years in a row by an independent testing laboratory,” he said. Color is also important to look at when choosing appliances. Stainless steel has been a popular choice for awhile now, however it needs regular cleaning as it gathers fingerprints. GE’s new
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MARK WESENBERG shows off new features on a top-loading washing machine. slate color doesn’t show fingerprints like stainless and has been very popular since it has come out and it gives people an alternative to the basic black or white colors. Fingerprint-less stainless is
an option that is coming out more and more, but it is more expensive than the slate color and not many models have that option. Moving on to the living room, TVs have moved away from plasma and LCD screens and now
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almost all new models are LED. These TVs are extremely energyefficient and it only costs around $10 to $15 per year to run a TV set. Finally, security is becoming more and more important to fam-
ilies. Surveillance cameras and recorders are more popular now than ever. They are inexpensive and can be accessed from anywhere, as long as you have cell phone service or access to a computer.
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FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT
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How to stay safe when digging on property
(StatePoint) — Whether you are a “do-it-yourself” homeowner or a contracted professional, before starting landscaping or home improvement projects, it is essential to protect yourself and stay safe when digging. Most people are surprised to learn that there are more than 100 billion feet of underground utilities in the U.S. This equates to more than one football field’s length of buried utilities for every man, woman and child in the country, according to the Common Ground Alliance, an organization dedicated to protecting the safety of people who dig near underground utility lines. Every six minutes in the U.S., an underground utility line is damaged because someone did not call 811, the national “Call Before You Dig” phone number, or connect online at call811.com. It’s important to dial 811 or connect online to have the approximate location of underground utilities and pipelines marked, whether you’re installing a fence, deck or swimming pool; planting a tree; or beginning any excavation project
at home or on your property. Protect yourself and those around you from injury by contacting 811. Not only is it the law, but knowing where pipelines and underground utility lines are buried prevents unintentional damage, service interruptions, potential fines and costly repairs. You must contact 811 every time, even if you have done so previously for a similar project, as the depth of utilities can vary, and there may be multiple utilities located in the same area.
When you contact 811, information will be collected about your digging plans, and local pipeline and utility companies will be notified about your project. Representatives will be sent to mark the approximate location of underground utilities using color-coded paint, flags or stakes. If there are no underground utilities in the area, they will mark “clear.” The advance notice required to have underground utilities marked varies by state, although
most require 48 to 72 hours (excluding weekends, holidays and the day the call was made). You can find state-specific information or place an online request to have utilities marked at call811.com.
—Regardless of the depth of your digging or your familiarity with the property, always contact 811 before starting a project that involves digging. —If a contractor has been hired, confirm they have done so. Don’t allow work to start until all utilities have been marked. —After you have waited the required time for markings, if utilities have not been marked, you must contact 811 again to check the status of your request before digging. Also confirm whether the markings have an expiration date and when they will need to be re-marked. —If your project is located near the paint, flags or stakes, contact the underground operator for the specific steps you should take. Protect your safety, the safety of the community and the environment by digging with care.
A CLEAN kitchen is vital to safe and healthy food preparation.
7 helpful hints for quick kitchen cleanup
Top things every renter should know (StatePoint) — Renters may be free of some of the concerns and responsibilities of homeownership, but there are a few considerations they should make for financial security and greater peace of mind.
Read your lease
Whether you’re moving in to a new place or have been occupying your unit for some time, knowing the ins and outs of your lease is crucial. Be sure there will be no curveballs or surprises that you have not accounted for in your budget.Is your rent subject to an increase? By how much and how often? Cross-check local regulations to ensure rent increases are in accordance with the law. Read your lease in order to get a handle on what your responsibilities and rights are as a tenant.
Get renters insurance
Many apartment communities require renters to carry personal liability insurance to cover the property and surrounding structures as a result of damage caused by the renter. This cover-
age does not extend to your personal property, however. To cover your personal property, a standard renters insurance policy is recommended. Otherwise, unexpected events such as fire, theft, vandalism or other perils could mean a substantial financial loss to you. However, the small monthly investment of renter’s insurance could save you thousands of dollars down the line.
Research different policies
Many insurance providers, such as Assurant, offer free online calculators to help you take inventory and determine the level of coverage you need. The company also offers its more than 1 million customers nationwide the ability to buy insurance, pay bills, change coverage and file claims online by computer or a mobile device, as well as the option of automatic payments, or even setting the billing date. These convenient options are designed with young people in mind, including some 100,000 Assurant policyholders living in student housing. For more information or a
(StatePoint) — Prepare. Eat. Clean up. Repeat. In the kitchen, it’s a never-ending cycle of conquering messes. These seven simple cleaning hacks, tips and products that will cut down time spent restoring order in your space.
as a spoon rest, a strainer or a wrap for ice cream cones to catch drips, and can be placed under greasy foods like bacon or french fries to soak up excess oil and cut down on cleanup (and calories).
Before cooking, always empty the sink to make space for washing dirty items, including your hands. Combat lingering odors from garlic or onions by rubbing your hands on your stainless steel sink to remove the smell. Be sure to disinfect the sink first, as research shows that Salmonella and E. coli are found on 45 percent of kitchen sinks.
Tired of the constant fingerprints and streaks on stainless appliances? Ditch harsh cleaners for a simple solution: water and a microfiber cloth, which feature microscopic fibers that pick up more than regular cloths. Better yet, choose faucets and appliances with finishes that repel these unsightly marks, such as Moen’s exclusive Spot Resist faucet finish, which helps resist fingerprints and water spots.
Start with the sink
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Perform a careful inspection
Before moving into your new rental unit or signing a lease, do a careful inspection, noting any existing damage or necessary maintenance. Communicate concerns to the management company or landlord in writing. Free online checklists can guide you on what to look for and record. For example, buckling floors and water stains could indicate water damage — a condition that could lead to property damage. It’s also helpful to take photographs with a timestamp. Do these inspections periodically, as well as when you renew your lease. And remember to also photograph your belongings — or keep your receipts — because any insurance provider will ask for proof of ownership in the event you have to file a claim. You may not own the property, but it is still your home. Staying on top of the space in which you live can offer you greater comfort and greater peace of mind.
Find a fabulous faucet
Rethink your faucet. Simplify cleanup with a high-arc pulldown spout, which provides extra room for large pots and pans, and the ability to reach all corners of the sink. Plus, new spray technologies, such as Moen’s Power Clean, can provide more spray power while containing splash and minimizing mess. Greater force means faster cleanup and less water used on tough-to-rinse foods, like peanut butter.
Make microwave miracles
Your sink and faucets are the workhorses of the kitchen, but your microwave is probably next in line. So, what happens if your eggs explode or your sauce splatters? Place a bowl of water with cut lemons in the microwave and run it until the water boils. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the steam to loosen the splatter and then wipe clean. In the future, always cover your items with a microwavesafe lid, paper towel or even a coffee filter.
Get creative with coffee filters
Coffee filters are perfect for many cleaning (or mess prevention) hacks in the kitchen. They work
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Don’t trash food — Dispose it
More than 60 million homeowners rely on garbage disposals to assist with daily kitchen cleanup, according to Moen Consumer & Market Insights. This handy appliance can significantly reduce the amount of trash you create, which means sending less to the landfill and fewer smelly garbage cans! Choose a powerful, dependable garbage disposal, such as Moen’s complete line that quickly and powerfully grinds food scraps, allowing you to spend more time at the dinner table and less time at the sink.
Protect the pantry
Most pantry doors are shut for a reason — there’s a mess lurking in there. From sugar spills to syrup leaks, many shelves are a sticky situation. Non-adhesive shelf liners are an ideal solution for easy cleanup. The solid surface will help contain spills and, since they’re machine-washable, you can toss the liner in the wash and re-use it. Life in the kitchen is messy, but with a few tips and updates, cleanup can be a breeze.
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FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT When buying a home don’t underestimate ‘location, location, location’
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(StatePoint) — If you are in the market for a home, you are probably weighing a range of factors, including size, amenities and architectural style. But experts say that the old adage “location, location, location” should never stray from one’s thoughts. “Location not only affects your daily life in countless ways, but it also has an unquestionable influence on the current and future value of your home,” says Charlie Young, president and chief executive officer for Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Young points to The Coldwell Banker Home Listing Report, billed as the most extensive home price comparison tool in the US, as a good place to begin your research. The report, which can be found by visiting bit.ly/coldwellbanker2016HLR, analyzes the average listing price of more than 50,000 four-bedroom, two bathroom homes on ColdwellBanker.com between January 2016 and June 2016 in more than 2,000 markets. The findings reveal that while
the national average listing price for a sample size home of $320,120 can buy a similar home in nearly 1,300 markets across the country, there are some major outliers on both ends of the price spectrum. In Detroit, the country’s most affordable market, the average listing price of a sample size home is less than $65,000. However, in Saratoga, California — the most expensive market — that same size home costs nearly $2.5 million, fueled by the region’s high-tech enterprise. But Young says not to view home prices as a yardstick for quality of life, “You can find a great place to live in most markets. In fact, Detroit has been experiencing a renaissance in the last few years. An invigorated community, culture and a resurgence of young professionals, is making it an affordable, viable city in which to settle down and build roots.” Another major location factor homebuyers should take into consideration is the local school system. Even if you don’t have a child in the family, schools can
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2016
ping off of trees when the wind blows, the leaves actually fall off deliberately. Left untouched, fallen leaves can contribute to lawn problems such as poor aeration, mold growth and moisture issues. Leaves also can cause staining on driveways and walkways. Prompt removal can help prevent any problems. To make faster and easier work of leaf removal, keep these tips in mind. —Mow over thin leaf coverage. If only a few leaves have fallen, use a mulching mower to shred the leaves until they are small enough that they won’t suffocate the lawn. The small pieces will decompose in the lawn, reintroducing nutrients as a result. —Use an ergonomic leaf rake. Ergonomic rakes can prevent back and arm pain, much in the way that ergonomic shovels do when shoveling snow. —Invest in a quality leaf blower. Using a rake is good exercise, but homeowners with large properties might want to use a leaf blower. These machines can dislodge leaves from bushes and
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play a major role in home value. But remember, location matters beyond pure finances and can affect every aspect of your life, like the length of your commute, the presence of parks, the walkability of the surrounding area, and the relative safety of the neighborhood. Other factors to consider may include doing a bit of research. How large is the community and does it fit with the type of place in which you want to raise your family? Will your new home be situated near key shopping destinations for daily staples like groceries, dry cleaning and other necessary services? Will your new community wind up costing you more in local taxes or other municipal fees? A bit of advance checking can help you make the best choice for your needs. So while you are counting bathrooms, admiring a newly shingled roof or imagining yourself enjoying a prospective property’s pool, don’t forget location and its potential impact on your lifestyle and your wallet.
Simplify fall leaf cleanup (METRO) — Apple pie, pumpkins and blooming chrysanthemums are symbols of autumn. But nothing signals the arrival of fall more than the millions of leaves that begin to cascade from the trees as the temperatures dip. Many people feel nothing is more beautiful than the yellow, red, purple, and orange leaves that coat neighborhoods and countrysides each fall. But in spite of their beauty, leaves might be a nuisance to homeowners tasked with removing the growing piles of them from their lawns. Those with large oak and maple trees in front of their homes understand the seemingly endless work of leaf removal. As the days begin to grow shorter and colder, these changes trigger a hormone release in trees, prompting them to drop their leaves. This chemical message causes the formation of abscission cells where the leaf stem meets the branch, say botanists at the Missouri Botanical Garden. So rather than merely drop-
hard-to-reach crevices, and they work faster than rakes. —Use a tarp. Rake or blow leaves onto a tarp and then drag the tarp to the curbside or to the back of a truck for proper disposal. Special leaf scoopers enable you to grab more leaves if they need to be picked up and transported. Otherwise, you can use the covers from two garbage pails to achieve a similar effect. —Work with the wind. Rake in the direction the wind is blowing and downhill if your property slopes. This way it will be easier on you, and you won’t be working against Mother Nature. —Spread out the job. Do not attempt to remove all fallen leaves in a single day. Schedule a few cleaning days during the season to make lighter work of the job than if you tried to do it all at once. Keep in mind that leaves will continue to fall throughout the season and you may need to spend a few days removing leaves from your yard. Removing leaves is a large part of fall home maintenance. Employ these tips to make this task less strenuous.
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HOPE ANIMAL Shelter Assistant Manager Kathy Zumbrock plays with Blue, a Labrador/Husky mix, on Monday.
Shelter, breed important concerns as winter comes for dog owners By TOM STANKARD
During winter, many dog breeds feel cold, much as their owners do, while other breeds are bred to deal with cold better than humans. Shelter and water are of prime concern. To keep a dog warm, Hurley Animal Hospital veterinarian Heidi Jahnke said it’s important to consider its breed and health. Siberian huskies are an example of a breed that thrives during the winter’s cold weather, however she said dogs that have little or no hair find it harder to bear the cold. Even during cold Northwoods winters, Jahnke said the animal hospital “very rarely” sees dogs that have frostbite. But she said it’s a good idea to keep an eye on dogs which are outside in sub-
freezing temperatures. Dog breeds, such as Huskies, can be outside all day if they have a shelter. Jahnke said shelters for outdoor dogs should be insulated on the floor with straw to provide a barrier from the cold ground. HOPE Animal Shelter Assistant Manager Kathy Zumbrock added that blankets don’t serve as an effective barrier from the ground because they can collect water and become stiff. Cold weather can cause pads on dog’s paws to dry out. After taking a dog for a walk, Jahnke said to check the dog’s paws for cuts, cracks and debris and then give it a bath indoors. “Longer hair dogs need a blow dryer to make sure the coat is fully dry,” she said. To prevent debris from collect-
ing in dogs’ paws, Jahnke advised owners to keep the hair around the paws trimmed. She said doing so will help prevent ice and snow from collecting between the the dog’s footpads. She said owners can also apply vaseline to their dogs’ paws to condition them, but said to beware of sticky paw prints around the house. As another method to help keep their dog warm, Jahnke said some owners like to put clothing on them or booties on their paws, however she said dogs normally don’t care for wearing booties. Jahnke said to also keep winter-time toxic items, like antifreeze, away from dogs. She said dogs can find the items to be sweet, but can die from ingesting them.
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*Manufacturer’s mail-in rebate offer valid for qualifying purchases made 9/17/16–12/12/16 from participating *Manufacturer’s articipating dealers in the U.S. only only.. For certain rebate-eligible e-eligible products, er units than the required m ultiple you will not be entitled tled to a rebate; the purchase of multiple units of such productt is required to receive a rebate. If you purchase fewer multiple cludes HDOrigins HDOrigins and Nantucket™ Window Shadings, a collection of Silhouette® Window Shadings. Rebatee will be issued in partial rebates will not be awarded. Offer excludes the form of a prepaid reward card and mailedd within 6 weeks of rebate claim receipt. Funds do nott expire. Subject to applicable law law,, a $2.00 monthly feee will be assessed against card balance 6 months after card issu uance and each month thereafter ns may apply issuance thereafter.. Additional limitations apply.. Ask participating dealer for details and rebate form. ©2016 Hunter Douglas. All rights reserved. All trademarks marks used herein are the property of Hunter Douglas s or their respective owners.3 249955 owners.3249955
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*Manufacturer’s mail-in rebate offer valid for qualifying purchases made 9/17/16–12/12/16 from participating *Manufacturer’s articipating dealers in the U.S. only only.. For certain rebate-eligible e-eligible products, er units than the required m ultiple you will not be entitled tled to a rebate; the purchase of multiple units of such productt is required to receive a rebate. If you purchase fewer multiple exccludes HD Origins and Nantucket™ Window Shadings, a collection of Silhouette® Window Shadings. Rebatee will be issued in partial rebates will not be awarded. Offer excludes HDOrigins the form of a prepaid reward card and mailedd within 6 weeks of rebate claim receipt. Funds do nott expire. Subject to applicable law law,, a $2.00 monthly feee will be assessed against card balance 6 months after card issu uance and each month thereafter ns may apply issuance thereafter.. Additional limitations apply.. Ask participating dealer for details and rebate form. ©2016 Hunter Douglas. All rights reserved. All trademarks marks used herein are the property of Hunter Douglas s or their respective owners.3 249955 owners.3249955
FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT
8 l SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2016
R-value: A story of insulation
Owning a home can be affordable
(StatePoint) — If homeownership feels like it’s beyond your reach, don’t throw in the towel just yet on the American dream. In the face of an ever-widening housing affordability gap, there are options you may not have considered, say experts. “Manufactured homes are commonly available at lower monthly payments than what it costs to rent, providing an affordable path to homeownership for millions of Americans,” says Richard Jennison, president and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). Indeed, nationwide, there are 8.6 million manufactured homes, representing nearly 10 percent of the nation’s housing stock, according to MHI. These days, manufactured homes are being built with quality construction to meet up-todate federal standards for extreme weather safety, wind resistance and energy efficiency; and boast modern design elements with features like luxury bathrooms, wood-burning fireplaces and state-of-the-art kitchens with energy-efficient appliances. What’s more, many are often situated in communities with swimming pools, playgrounds and club houses. While these amenities may sound like they come with a hefty price tag, manufactured homes provide quality housing at a lower cost. Indeed, the average price of a new, single-section manufactured home is less than $45,600 (excluding land), compared to $177,000 for a traditional home, according to MHI statistics. “It’s important to remember that the affordability of manufactured homes is not a product of lesser quality, but rather the efficient way building materials are produced, a savings that is passed on directly to the homebuyer,” says Jennison. “Furthermore, they appreciate in value, just like site-built homes.” The terms of a manufactured home purchase differ from sitebuilt homes. Be sure to ask the right questions at signing, including whether the home and its components come with warranties and what the terms are. Manufactured homes can be found anywhere in the country, in rural, suburban and urban communities. To learn more about the benefits of investing and living in a manufactured home, visit Facebook.com/ManufacturedHousingInstitute. If you are ready to take the step of saying goodbye to writing rent checks, do your research to discover the varied paths to affordable homeownership available today.
Keep projects safe (METRO) — Home improvement projects can inadvertently expose homeowners to hidden dangers. For example, lead paint may be lurking underneath layers of existing paint in older homes. Exposure to lead dust or fumes may cause brain damage or other adverse health effects, especially in children or pregnant women. It is essential that homeowners control their exposure to lead or other hazardous substances through the use of protective equipment, such as a properly fitted respirator. If lead is discovered, it may require professional containment and cleanup. Contact your local health authority if you have questions.
A SOLID roof with proper materials and maintenance will help a home last generations.
Solid roof with proper materials key to protecting home (StatePoint) — Between strong winds, heavy rains, and threats like fire and natural disaster, simply having a roof over one’s head is not always enough. When choosing a strong roof designed to protect your home and its occupants, here are some things to consider:
Real wood shake roofs can be extremely combustible and serve as kindling for wildfires. If you live in an area with even a remote possibility of wildfires, consider investing in a roof that resists flame spread. While no roof will resist a “ground up” fire that engulfs the entire home, polymer roofing tiles that are installed with proper underlayments can help protect a home from wind-driven embers that can ignite the roof.
Whether you live in an area prone to direct or indirect threats of tornadoes or hurricanes, or you simply live in a region that experiences strong storms, take note: flying debris associated
(METRO) — Trees may require pruning for a variety reasons. Storms may have damaged branches, necessitating a pruning. In other instances, trees may have outgrown their yards, overpowering the landscape. Autumn and winter, when trees largely go dormant and fallen leaves make it easier to see the branches beneath, may be prime times to prune. Pruning during the dormant period also minimizes sap loss and stress to the tree, and can help cut down on the growth of fungi. In addition, insects are less likely to be problematic during the colder months of the year. Trimming and pruning can be handled by do-it-yourselfers if the branches are smaller and more manageable. Practice on thinner branches before moving on to thicker ones, which may require extra help. Branches may be heavy, and it takes a guided hand to ensure the branches fall in a safe manner so they do not cause damage or injury. Branches also need to be trimmed properly to facilitate
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with severe weather can become dangerous in high winds. Damage from airborne tree branches and flying loose items can be devastating to a roof not equipped for impact. Having a synthetic roof that has achieved the highest ratings on impact resistance tests can help protect your property. “Even if your roof has stood up to strong weather conditions in the past, it’s important to make sure it’s still in shape before the next round of bad weather hits,” said Mark Hansen, vice president of sales and marketing for DaVinci Roofscapes, which makes high-performing polymer roofing products that have achieved the highest grades possible on multiple industry tests. Examine the roof yourself or have a professional roofer assess for damage you may not be able to see from the ground. They can make repairs or recommend a new roof replacement.
No matter where you live, it’s important that roof tiles can handle wear and tear. Ideally, roof
tiles should resist curling, fading, cracking, mold, algae, fungus and insects. Roofing products that come with a strong warranty can offer you peace of mind.
Protecting your home and family should be your number one consideration. Luckily, durable synthetic roofing options abound that offer the authentic look of real wood or slate beauty, as well as environmental sustainability. For the benefits of an eco-friendly roof, it’s a good idea to seek out products that are completely recyclable and meet standards set by organizations like the Cool Roof Rating Council and the U.S. Green Building Council. For a complete free guide on upgrading roofing to protect a home long-term, visit ThisOldHouse.netline.com. For an important, lasting home project, evaluate your roof and consider making an upgrade that will protect your house from everyday wear and tear, as well as the worst case scenario.
Guide to proper tree pruning
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good healing. Trees will form a callus bark covering over cuts to keep out disease and decay, much as a scab forms over a person’s wound. Damaging the bark on a tree while pruning may interfere with that process, so doit-yourselfers need to take the time to prune correctly. According to Danny Lipford, home improvement expert and host of the radio program “Today’s Homeowner,” larger limbs may require three cuts instead of one. The first cut is a small notch in the bottom of the limb, around two to three feet from the trunk and about onequarter of the way through. This helps prevent the bark from splitting. A relief cut is then made a few inches away from the notch cut, and goes all the way through. This removes the weight of the branch so that the final cut can be made without the branch splitting and falling. The final cut is made right where the limb extrudes from the branch collar, or the swollen bump that then forms into the tree limb. Follow the slant of the branch collar when making the
cut. Smaller or thinner branches may not require the same three steps, but every effort should be made to reduce injury to the tree. When deciding how much to prune, less is usually more. All pruning can put some level of stress on the tree and increase its vulnerability to disease and insect infestation. A good rule of thumb is to never prune more than 25 percent of the crown. According to experts at TreeHelp.com, living branches should comprise at least two-thirds the height of the tree. In some instances, the rules may need to be bent if trees are interfering with utility lines or to meet community laws. However, always prune minimally to avoid damaging the tree. The right tools also make the job safer and easier. Use a pole pruner and lopper, rope saws, folding pruner, and a bucksaw. A chainsaw can be used in some instances, especially when pruning larger limbs. Always disinfect pruning tools after you’re done to prevent the spread of disease to other trees.
(METRO) — Insulation serves dual purposes in a home. In the winter, insulation prevents heat loss and keeps homes comfortably warm, while in the summer it buffers a home from the heat and prevent cold air from escaping. Insulation also is one of the most cost-effective ways to make a home more energy-efficient. Homeowners may recognize the importance of insulation, but be unaware of how to recognize when insulation needs to be replaced or even if they have adequate insulation in their homes. According to the United States Department of Energy, a qualified home energy auditor can check a home’s insulation as part of a whole-house energy assessment. An energy assessment, also known as a home energy audit, also helps to identify areas of the home that are in need of air sealing. Homeowners also can do their own visual assessments to determine if their homes need more insulation. The following are a handful of signs that indicate you may have an insulation deficit in your home. —If the snow melts on your roof but not on your neighbors’, this may be a sign that you need
more insulation in the attic. Melting snow means heat is escaping from the attic or under the eaves. —Bare spots in the attic and insulation that does not extend to the edge of the roof may indicate a need for more. —Check the level of insulation in the attic. If it is level with or falls below the ceiling joists, an extra layer should be installed. —If energy bills are higher than normal for the time of year, that may be due to a lack of insulation. Notice whether the HVAC system is running more than usual. —An unusually warm second story during hot weather also may be indicative of an insulation deficiency. Such a situation suggests hot air is infiltrating the home through the roof. When adding insulation, choose the right R-value for your home. R-value measures how well certain materials, such as insulation, resist heat. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulation. Therefore, insulation with a higher R-value will perform better than insulation with a lower rating. Colder climates may require a higher R-value than warmer ones.
Employ simple fire prevention measures to maximize safety (METRO) — Did you know that, according to the National Fire Protection Association, most people have a false sense of security regarding house fires, believing that they would have approximately six minutes to evacuate their home in the event of a fire? In reality, smoke and fire spread rapidly and can overcome occupants in less than three minutes. When a fire occurs, there’s no question that time is critical. The good news is there are several important steps you can take to maximize your escape time. With the following measures in place, you’ll create critical protection for what matters most –– your home and family.
Install smoke alarms
You should have one in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement. For the best protection, make sure all smoke alarms are interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
Inspect and clean smoke alarms monthly. Replace batteries in spring and fall. To clean the alarm, open the cover and gently vacuum the interior.
Make a plan
Prepare and practice a fire escape plan. Draw a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of every room — especially sleeping areas. Discuss the escape routes with every member of your household, and agree on a meeting place outside your home in case of emergency. Practice your escape plan at least twice a year.
Select building materials that provide passive fire protection. Passive fire protection is part of the core of the building and helps control fire by limiting its spread. One very effective form of passive fire protection is the installation of insulation. When adding or upgrading insulation, look for products made from naturally fire-resistant, inorganic materials. A favorite among builders, contractors and homeowners is a stone wool insulation called Roxul Safe ‘n’ Sound, which offers fire resistance up to 2,150°F. Its melting point is higher than the temperature of a typical house fire, which means it will stay in place longer to provide passive fire protection when every second counts, allowing more time for safe evacuation and for first responders to arrive.
Crafters find many uses for fallen leaves (METRO) — There are many creative ways to use leaves gathered from lawns and gardens. —Scarecrow: Gather a decent pile of leaves and the makings of a scarecrow, which include hay, old clothing, string, and canvas. Use the leaves to help stuff the body of the scarecrow and make him a bit more plump. —Vases: Fill an empty flower vase with different leaves that you have gathered. This makes for an engaging centerpiece
when entertaining. —Pressings: Press leaves between two pieces of paper to make a leaf silhouette. Some of the pigment will transfer to the paper, and these natural pieces of artwork can be displayed or shared. —Laminate: Laminate leaves so they can be used as place cards when hosting guests for holiday feasts. Many of these ideas make great projects for kids.
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FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2016
Corullo adds fire rings to iron offerings By ISABELLE KLEINSCHMIDT firstname.lastname@example.org
HURLEY — Jeff Corullo, of Corullo's Ornamental Iron, has been working with iron for more than 35 years. He does repairs on various metal fixtures including hitches, trailers, railings and other odds and ends. Along with wrought iron and welding repairs, Corullo creates home and garden accessories with a variety of Northwood’s designs. This year, Corullo began making 36-inch iron pipe fire rings. The rings are decorated with an array of wildlife or nature designs, including pheasants, fish, humming birds, dear, fox, wolf, wolf paws, loons and moose. “They’re heavy duty,” said Corullo, “so they’ll last a while.” He also takes custom orders. Corullo also makes shepherd hooks which can be used to hang flowers, bird feeders and lanterns. He twists square pieces of iron to give the hook a decorative spiral look. He sells ground hooks, as well as hooks that can be mounted on a banister or railing. Coat racks are a great way to keep the
Isabelle Kleinschmidt/Daily Globe
IRON FIRE rings made locally by Jeff Corullo can help warm a fall evening. house tidy during the upcoming fall and winter months. Iron Works sells sturdy coat racks which come in a couple of different varieties and “they won’t tip over,” said Corullo. Corullo also sells flower planters. The
stands hold up to seven plants or flowers and have a spiral staircase appearance. The shop is located on U.S. 51 just south of Hurley. To place and order, contact Corullo at 715-476-0004, or simply stop by the shop between the hours of 6 a.m. and 5 p.m.
What to look for during roof inspections
GRAB BARS and shower benches can make bathrooms much safer for seniors.
How to prepare a home for elderly residents before they move in (METRO) — Upon reaching retirement age, new retirees may face decisions regarding their living arrangements. Some seniors may opt to stay put, while others may want to downsize their homes to save money and relieve themselves of the burdens of maintaining larger homes. But those are not the only situations seniors find themselves in. Some seniors realize they can no longer care for themselves without assistance. In such instances, seniors may opt for assisted living facilities or choose to move in with a relative, such as a grown son or daughter. While assisted living facilities are designed to meet the needs of the elderly, young men and women welcoming seniors into their homes may need to take on some home improvement projects to ensure their homes are as safe as possible for elderly residents. —Convert a room on the first floor into a bedroom. While this may not apply to all seniors, some men and women struggle with stairs as they age, and that can make it difficult for them to fully participate in a household. Homeowners with an extra room to spare can convert a room on the first floor of their homes into a bedroom so seniors won’t have to climb up and down stairs throughout the day. That ease of accessibility to the primary floor of the house encourages seniors to be active participants in a household. If possible, choose an area that is close to a first-floor bathroom. —Take steps to make bathrooms safer. The National Institute on Aging says that more than one in three seniors over age 65 fall each year, and 80 percent of those falls take place in the bathroom. Slippery tile floors can make it difficult for seniors to navigate bathrooms safely, and bathtubs and shower stalls present additional challenges. Install grab bars on bathroom walls and next to toilets to provide support. In addition, consider installing a shower chair or bench and removable shower nozzle in the shower or tub so seniors can sit down while they bathe and rinse without having to stand up on slippery surfaces. Make sure any mats around bathtubs and sinks are nonskid to reduce the risk of falls even further. —Install an extra phone line or two. While kids and adults between the ages of 18 and 50 may never use the landlines in their homes, many seniors still rely on traditional telephones as
their primary means of communicating with the outside world. Install extra landlines in your home, including in seniors’ bedrooms, so they can more readily access the phone should they fall and need to call for emergency help. Phones in seniors’ bedrooms may also provide some additional privacy to seniors who don’t want to carry on phone conversations in busy areas of the home, such as the kitchen or living room. Such lines may also reduce feelings of isolation. —Prioritize accessibility when storing items. When storing groceries, books, magazines, or other items seniors are likely to use, choose locations that are accessible to seniors. Avoid storing items on the top shelf of pantries, bookcases or entertainment centers, as seniors with limited mobility may not be able to reach them. Many seniors move in with their adult children to make their golden years safer and more enjoyable and manageable. Such a change in living arrangements may necessitate some changes on the part of homeowners so they can ensure their homes are safe for seniors.
(METRO) — Cold weather can be tough on a home, and perhaps no part of a home is more vulnerable to harsh winter weather than its roof. Fallen snow can equate to several pounds of pressure placed on a residential roof. Roofs do not often collapse under heavy snowfall, but adverse winter weather conditions can compromise roofs in other ways. Water leakage and damage to the roof’s interior are just two of the potentially problematic issues that can arise when roofs are battered by cold, blustery weather. That’s why many home improvement specialists advise homeowners to conduct roof inspections prior to the start of winter. Many homeowners can conduct their own cursory roof inspections, but they may not know exactly what to look for. The National Roofing Contractors Association says that there are certain key areas to inspect that may reveal some telltale signs of roof damage. —Curled, cracked or missing shingles may prove troublesome. Inclement weather can test the strength of even the most durable roofs. Even though many roofs are designed to last up to 30 years, some may need to be replaced early, particularly when they have been exposed to harsh weather over a period of years. Individual shingles can be replaced as spot treatments, but if the damage is widespread, a new roof may be necessary. —Attic leaks or water elsewhere might signal issues with the roof. Figure out if water inside the home is coming from the roof. Water stains do not always indicate problems with the roofing, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. —Look for protective granules wearing off. If gutters are filled with the sandy granular material that coats roofing shingles, that may be a sign of an aging or damaged roof. —Inspect flashing. Professional roofers can recognize properly installed flashing, the material that connects the roof to other
INSPECT A roof each fall to get an idea of the potential damage and any necessary repairs that may be needed before nasty weather sets in. parts of the house that adjoin the roof, like skylights or a chimneys. Poorly installed flashing can cause leaks. Stains that appear below chimneys or near attic windows may indicate new
flashing, and not new shingles, is needed. —Gutters and downspouts should be in good condition. A roof is the sum of its parts, and that includes downspouts and
gutters. If the gutters are clogged or damaged, they cannot direct water away from the house properly. Snow, leaves and other debris needs to be cleared from gutters to help them function at optimal capacity. —Animals and insects can cause damage, too. It’s not just poor weather that homeowners need to consider with regard to roof damage. Boring insects and animals may cause problems with roofs as well. A roof inspection may shed light on potential pest problems. Holes or nesting materials may indicate that an animal or animals are using the attic as a shelter from the elements. Get to the root of issues with your home’s roof before they become bigger problems once winter arrives. A thorough inspection can reveal problems that may prove costly if ignored.
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Hard water hard on pipes, appliances
PLANTS CAN improve indoor air quality by helping to remove harmful irritants from the air.
House plants, HEPA filters help purify home’s air (METRO) — Homes tend to be stuffier in autumn and winter. As temperatures outside dip, windows are closed and air quality inside homes can suffer. Poor indoor air quality can not only be uncomfortable, causing residents to experience headaches, dry eyes and nasal congestion, but also can be unhealthy. According to the American Lung Association, poor indoor air quality can cause or contribute to the development of infections, lung cancer and chronic lung diseases, such as asthma. Though it’s not feasible or healthy to open windows when temperatures outside dip to near or below freezing, there are steps everyone can take to improve the indoor air quality in their homes. —Add to your décor with plants. Plants provide both aesthetic and practical appeal to a home’s interior. Houseplants can clean and purify the air in a home, helping to remove formaldehyde, benzene and other toxins that can make indoor air unhealthy to breathe. Benzene is an irritant that can cause dizziness, headache, nausea, and blurred vision, among other side effects. Formaldehyde, which is often found in homes thanks to its widespread use in a range of products, can cause watery eyes, nausea and wheezing. —Watch what you are lighting up. Many homeowners know that smoking indoors drastically reduces indoor air quality, putting even nonsmokers at heightened risk of developing various respiratory ailments. Homeowners concerned about the indoor air quality in their homes should ban smoking inside, no matter how low temperatures dip outside. In addition, homeowners with woodburning stoves and fireplaces
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should be especially diligent maintaining these features, as they can release harmful soot and smoke if they are not taken care of. Some people may also be allergic to incense and scented candles, so keep a watchful eye on residents and guests whenever you light candles or sticks of incense. If any symptoms of allergies appear, avoid lighting any more candles or incense, waiting until you can open the windows if you want to light any again. —Purchase an air purifier. Air purifiers are beneficial yearround, helping to remove allergens and particles from a home. High-efficiency particulate air filters, known as HEPA filters, are extremely effective at removing airborne particulates from the air inside your home. —Pay attention to pets. Like their owners, pets tend to spend more time indoors during the winter. That means more fur and pet dander, the skin flakes in an animal’s fur or hair that can trigger allergic reactions, is likely in your home during the winter than in the summer. To combat this, bathe your pets regularly in the winter, making sure to wash the animal’s bedding in hot water on a weekly basis as well. —Open the windows when possible. Winter does not typically provide many opportunities to open the windows, but you might get a few chances to let some fresh air in through the windows during winter. Make the most of these opportunities, and when possible crack the windows when you’re cleaning so dust and other particles that kick up have a path outside of your home. Clean interior air should be a year-round priority, but homeowners may have to go the extra mile to keep their homes’ interior air clean when winter arrives.
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(METRO) — Home ownership opens people’s eyes to many new experiences, even requiring homeowners to familiarize themselves with certain things they never encountered as renters. Homeowners become novice plumbers, electricians, horticulturists, and even chemists as they wade through the projects and repairs involved with owning a home. Outside of high school chemistry class, you may never have given thought to water composition and how it changes. However, once you become a homeowner, you may have to pay special attention to the type of water bubbling out of your faucets. Hard water is a common concern, and it can affect appliances and other parts of the home.
What is hard water?
Hard water affects about 85 percent of the United States, according to the Water Quality Association. Although not harmful to human health, hard water can impact one’s daily life in other ways. Hard water is formed when water moves through soil and rock. It dissolves very small amounts of minerals and holds them in a solution. Calcium and magnesium are the most common minerals to turn water “hard.” The more magnesium and calcium water dissolves, the harder it becomes.
From nuisance to damaging
Hard water can not only be a minor headache, but also something more serious. Hard water can interfere with various cleaning tasks and also personal grooming. Clothes washed in hard water may not be fully clean and may appear dingy. Hard water can cause a film on
surfaces, such as bath tiles and tubs. Some people find that their hair and skin can appear dull and sticky due to hard water. Hard water can have other effects, too. Over time, the water can deposit minerals on the inside of pipes, reducing water flow. If these deposits grow thick, you may have a plumbing issue on your hands. Furthermore, mineral deposits can harm appliances, such as water heaters, washing machines and dishwashers. Eventually, hard water may render these appliances ineffective, and they will need to be replaced.
Considering hard water is such a common concern, a number of treatment options exist. The main types of water-softening systems use either a packaged water softener or a mechanical water-softening unit. Packaged water softeners are chemicals that bond with the calcium and magnesium ions in the water so that they cannot interfere with cleaning efficiency. These chemicals fall into two categories: precipitating and nonprecipitating. Precipitating softeners are borax and washing soda and can affect pH levels of water and make water cloudy. Nonprecipitating softeners use phosphates. Alkalinity won’t be increased, and usually there is no cloudiness or buildup. These products are typically added to laundry loads and the like and are not recommended for drinking water. Mechanical water-softening systems are hooked up directly to the plumbing of the house. They are ion-exchange systems that will add salt to the water. Although it can be safe to drink,
HARD WATER can cause scaling, deposits inside of pipes, reduced cleaning ability, and several other problems. softened water may not be recommended for those who are on low-sodium diets. Hard water is a problem many homeowners have to face. It can affect a home’s appliances’ per-
formance and cleaning abilities. Water hardness can be managed, and it is best to consult with an expert water-softening system manufacturer about your options.
Many factors keep a home warm in winter (METRO) — With colder weather right around the corner, many homeowners are once again giving thought to their home heating needs and if it is possible to heat their homes more efficiently. The United States Department of Energy reports that more than half of the energy used in a typical home goes toward heating and cooling costs. With energy costs continually on the rise, many homeowners want to make the most of their heating systems and use the heat in the most efficient manner possible. A heating system is most effective when the home is free from drafts. Before investing in a new furnace or considering other drastic changes, determine if a few simple repairs can help your heating system perform more efficiently. Check around doors and windows for drafts that could force heating systems to work harder, and seal any leaks you find. This also will help in the summer when you are trying to keep the house as cool as possible. Determine if cold air is infiltrating the home elsewhere, such as from around pipes
leading to the outdoors. Caulking or foam insulation can remedy the situation. Adding extra insulation in garages and attics also can help. The DOE says if insulation is less than R-30, the home probably can use more. If after increasing insulation your home still feels drafty, it may require additional insulation in the exterior walls. Invest in a quality thermostat. Many modern room thermostats allow homeowners to set different temperatures for different times of day, and some even allow homeowners to establish a different heating schedule for the weekends. Programmable thermostats allow homeowners to keep their homes cooler when unattended or during sleeping hours. The heat can be programmed to turn on or increase in temperature when residents are expected to return home after school or work. While homeowners are improving heating efficiency, they should reverse the direction of ceiling fan blades. Having the blades spin clockwise will draw down the hot air that rises to the ceiling and allow it to better flow
through the home. In addition to these suggestions, homeowners can employ these other energy- and cost-saving measures. —Reuse oven heat. After cooking a meal in the oven, open the oven door and let the residual heat escape into the kitchen and the rest of the house. Note, it is not safe to heat a home with the oven, and the oven should be turned off before opening the door. —Add a little humidity. Moist air tends to hold heat better. Add some humidity to dry indoor air, particularly if the relative humidity of the home as measured with a hygrometer is below 25 percent. Houseplants and home aquariums can add some warm moisture to the air and reduce reliance on heat. —Limit use of exhaust fans. After showering or cooking, keep the exhaust fan on for as little time as possible so that warm air is not drawn out of the home. Heating a home efficiently means reducing drafts, programming the thermostat and making the most of other ways to warm up.
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FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT 11 Proper winter garden prep key to successful spring
THE DAILY GLOBE • YOURDAILYGLOBE.COM
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2016
By RICHARD JENKINS
As much as Gogebic Range residents don’t want to admit it, cold weather is quickly approaching — meaning the end of the growing season for area farmers and gardeners. While there are some things that can be done to extend the growing season a couple of weeks, proper preparation before winter is key to ensure a successful spring. Darrin Kimbler, the horticulture educator with Iron County’s University of Wisconsin Extension office, said gardeners could use several things to protect against early frosts — such as a hoop-house structure or floating row cover, a “sort of a gauzy material to cover (plants) to help retain some heat on those light frost nights and so forth,” Kimbler said. While these will both help cold, hardy greens survive into winter and less hardy plants survive the early frosts the area experiences, Kimbler said the primary focus of fall gardening should be in cleaning the area around the plants. “The important thing about fall gardening is hygiene. You want to pull out all the dead plants, or dying plants, and you want to rake up as many dead leaves as possible as that’s going to be the repository for disease and insects — pests that will over-winter in that material,” Kimbler said. “The most important thing is to clean up around (the garden) — whether it’s your vegetable garden, flower garden or orchard trees. Because apple scab overwinters in the leaves that are underneath the trees, if you rake up the leaves and get them out of the area, you reduce the amount of disease and insect pressure you have next year,” he said. He also encouraged gardeners to rotate vegetable crops to help avoid these threats, but said this isn’t always possible for things like trees and flower gardens. Kimbler also said clearing mulch and debris from tree trunks is also an important part of fall maintenance. “If you mulch, you want to pull the mulch away from the trunks of smaller trees in particular, because you don’t want rodents to (live in it),” he said. With smaller trees, he explained rodents can “girdle” a tree — or chew through the bark around the entire trunk, damaging it. While mulch needs to be cleared from trees in winter, it can actually help other plants survive. “If you have sensitivity plants, that are at the edge of their cold hardiness up here, mulching them will often help protect them from the winter frost. This area’s snow also helps insulate plants,” he said. Kimbler said, in particular, he mulches his kale in the fall. “That way my kale will be ready to eat in the spring, it will actually over-winter in the snow,” he said. It is also important to not plant winter bulbs too early, Kimbler warned. He said garlic is generally planted in the second or third week in October, and most winter bulbs should generally only be planted a couple weeks before the ground starts to freeze. “You want a little bit of root development and then you want (the bulbs) to go dormant,” he said. While some people prune their trees in fall, Kimbler said he prefers to wait until spring — as damage over the winter can change pruning priorities. “The best time to prune is in the dormant season,” he said. “It’s kind of a preference for me ... the more options I have in the spring up here, the better.” In addition to certain bulbs, Kimbler said fall is also a great time to plant deciduous trees and shrubs — those that lose their leaves — after they lose their leaves and become dormant. He explained this prevents the drought stress and other problems than can negatively impact transplanted trees. While fall is a good time to plant deciduous trees, planting conifers should be avoided as they can suffer from “winter burn.” Some species, such as yews and white cedars, are more prone to winter burn than others. Kimbler also said he recommends against wrapping conifers
Richard Jenkins/Daily Globe
WHILE THERE are ways to prolong a growing season, such as a hoop house, above, or cold frame, right, some simple garden maintenance before winter lays the foundation for better plants in spring. Darrin Kimbler, horticulture educator with Iron County’s University of Wisconsin Extension office, said there are many things to do this fall to insure a better spring growing season. in burlap, as it increases humidity and fosters disease. It is also important to remember potted plants, Kimbler said, and either bring them into a house or mound dirt around them. “Cover the pots with something to make sure the roots don’t freeze from the outside in,” he said. He also warned that concrete and terra cotta pots can crack as they absorb moisture, which then expands as it freezes. Regarding lawns, it may be a good idea to skip a late fall lawnmowing, as Kimbler said the longer grass almost provides its own mulch to protect the grass through the winter. “You want (your lawn) to go into winter taller, and with good fertility but not over-fertile,” Kimbler said. “You don’t want to be heavily fertilizing a lot of stuff
into winter.” The season is also a good time to get a soil test done to know whether improvements need to be made. Kimbler said some can be added in fall and will take effect over winter, while others simply allow you to get a jump-start on work in spring. The tests can be done through the UW-Extension office. He also encouraged residents to touch up their tools before putting them away for the winter. “Fall is (also) a good time to do maintenance on your tools before you put them away for the winter. Sharpening and oiling them, cleaning them, so that they’re ready to go for the spring.” For more information on preparing for winter, contact Kimbler at the Extension office at 715-561-2695.
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3 important lawn care pointers to perform before winter
(METRO) â€” Winter weather can be harsh, especially on lawns. Homeowners who spend much of spring and summer tending to their lawns may fear the impact that winter will have on their once-lush landscapes, making the fall a great time to fortify lawns against any harsh conditions to come. Homeowners must take grass type into consideration before taking steps to prepare their lawns for the winter. Some grasses are best fertilized in late-summer, while others should be fertilized in autumn. Cool-season grasses, including fescue and bluegrass, are best fertilized sometime between the months of
September and November. Warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda or zoysia, should be fertilized between July and September. Once homeowners have gained a greater understanding of their lawns, they can begin exploring the various ways to prepare their lawns for whatever winter has in store.
Explore winterizing fertilizers
Homeowners who want to make their grasses more winter hardy can consult landscaping professionals to determine if winterizing fertilizers will work for their lawns. These specially formulated fertilizers, many of which are made exclusively for
cool-season grasses, contain higher levels of potassium and lower levels of nitrogen than early-season fertilizers. Potassium helps strengthen and harden plants, and cool-season grasses may need extra potassium as winter settles in. Homeowners who are not sure if they should apply winterizing fertilizer can conduct soil tests to determine the potassium levels in their soil. If the test indicates the soil has sufficient potassium, then applying a winterizing fertilizer is likely unnecessary. In addition, homeowners who have fed their lawn a balance of nutrients throughout spring and summer likely will not need to apply win-
Get rid of fallen leaves
While fallen leaves may be integral components of idyllic autumn landscapes, leaves left on the lawn throughout the winter may lead to disease in the grass. Leaves trap moisture and block sunlight and air from reaching grass, and that can encourage the development of disease. In addition, leaves can harbor insects that also may contribute to disease. While it might seem like common sense to delay leaf removal until the end of autumn when all the leaves have fallen, that, too, can prove harmful to lawns. Leaves left laying on
lawns for long periods of time can contribute to the same types of damage as leaves left on the lawn throughout winter, so do your best to remove leaves as they fall.
than gray snow mold because pink mold attacks the roots as well as the leaves. To prevent snow mold, continue mowing into the fall, even as lawns grow dormant, clearing the lawn of grass clippings and leaves after each mow. Thick lawns may provide a breeding ground for snow mold, so homeowners whose lawns have a history of developing snow mold may benefit from mowing their lawns into the fall. Winter is rarely easy on lawns, but homeowners can take several steps to prepare their lawns for potentially harsh winter weather.
Take steps to fight snow mold
Homeowners who live in regions where snow falls into spring or where spring tends to be cold and damp may want to take steps to prevent snow mold. Gray snow mold typically looks fuzzy and gray, and lawns infested with snow mold may develop unsightly gray or brown spots indicative of dead grass. Pink snow mold may be even worse
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5 quick, easy weekend projects to try around house (METRO) â€” Home improvement projects range from major construction overhauls like bathroom remodeling jobs to smaller renovations that may entail something as minor as painting the walls. Smaller projects can often be conquered in a typical weekend but still provide a strong sense of accomplishment. The following are five projects tailormade for weekend warriors. 1. Improve storage in the entryway. Home entryways are
the first places many people drop mail, shed their shoes and toss their keys upon arriving home. As a result, entryways can quickly be overrun with clutter. Storage solutions can include putting in a desk or hutch with baskets underneath to store umbrellas and backpacks. Or hang a coat rack and create a shoe rack to store shoes until the time comes to leave the house once again. 2. Shed new light. Add some design appeal to your home by
replacing an old lighting fixture with something more modern. Such a task is relatively easy, and you need not possess the skills of a trained electrician. 3. Add molding for a finishing touch. Dress up spaces with crown molding or a decorative chair rail that goes around a room. You can even use molding to frame new or existing artwork. Find a molding style that complements the architectural style. 4. Update hardware in the
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bath and kitchen. Switch the handles, draw pulls and knobs on cabinetry with new hardware. The time commitment is practically nil, but you might just give rooms a whole new feel. 5. Patch and paint walls. Spend a weekend filling in holes left behind by since-removed wall hangings. If the patches dry quickly, paint over them. If not, resolve to do your patchwork one weekend and paint the ensuing weekend.
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