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HOME IMPROVEMENT Important to keep gutters clean




(METRO) – Every autumn, trees and shrubs take on their brilliant display of reds, oranges, purples, and yellows that mark the end of the growing season. Fall foliage may make for ideal photo backdrops and scenic days in the countryside, but closer to home leaves may be more of a hindrance than an aesthetic pleasure. The hundreds of leaves that adorn the maples, oaks and other trees near homes will eventually fall as autumn turns into winter. Some will float down to lawns, while others will get lodged in gutters and downspouts, posing problems that can cause substantial and potentially

costly problems for homeowners. Homeowners know that gutter cleaning is an important part of fall home maintenance, but they may not completely understand why. Gutter cleaning can be a messy and time-consuming project, making it a project many homeowners are apt to put off. Waiting to clean gutters can lead to considerable problems, so it’s best to tackle the job well in advance of the winter. Gutters guide rainwater and runoff from the roof so it drains properly away from homes. When gutters are clogged with leaves, a number of problems can occur.

–Leaks: Water will take the path of least resistance. When clogged gutters do not allow the water to drain away properly, water will find other ways to the ground. It may work itself right into the walls and ceilings of the home. In addition to damaging walls and ceilings, moisture inside the home can promote mold growth. It also makes interior spaces more appealing to pests. –Excess weight: Gutters are meant to hold the weight of traveling water and not much more. Gutters filled with leaves and other debris can quickly become heavy. This stresses the entire gutter system and can cause the gutters

to fall off of the home entirely. –Nesting areas: Clogged gutters can serve as nesting areas for insects and birds. Mosquitoes and other insects lay eggs in pooling water. Gutters can quickly become breeding spots for harmful pests. Furthermore, birds may nest in gutters, creating unsightly messes and more damage. Seeds that sprout in clogged gutters can grow unchecked. –Ice-damming: Left untreated, pooled water and leaves in gutters can freeze over. Blocked water can back up and push against the roof, lifting shingles and destroying the roof in the process. –Foundation trouble: Clogged gutters also may contribute to flooded basements and cracked foundations. Leaking water will pool around the foundation, expanding when frozen and causing cracks in basement and crawlspace walls. It also can cause driveways and


other cement areas around the home to sag and crack. Gutter cleaning should be scheduled in the spring and fall of each year. Homeowners can hire guttercleaning services to handle


the job or do the job themselves. Rinse the gutters with water from the hose afterward to ensure good runoff. Take the time to seal any leaks as well.

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(METRO) – Refrigerators that inform their owners when it’s time to buy more eggs and thermostats that learn homeowners’ heating and cooling preferences may once have seemed like futuristic ideas straight out of a sci-fi movie. However, such products are no longer a dream but a reality. The term “smart home” refers to a residence that has appliances, HVAC, lighting, entertainment systems, security, and many more devices that communicate with one another. Such devices can be controlled remotely, according to SmartHomeUSA, an automation product retailer. Proponents of smart home technology say features can help people save money on utilities and conserve natural resources, all the while providing peace of mind to homeowners. In 2016, 80 million smart home devices were delivered worldwide. That marks a 64 percent increase from 2015, according to the research data firm IHS Markit. The smart home trend is only expected to grow in coming years. Although there’s interest in smart home technology, the industry remains fragmented. Consumers are trying to figure out which devices are simply fun and which provide practical benefits. Furthermore, the range of smart devices is expanding rapidly, making potential compatability issues a concern. Companies that plan to educate consumers further

about the advantages of smart home features and are open to standardization may have the best chances of survival. Those interested in dabbling in some smart home technology and testing the waters may want to start with the following household items. –Smart bulbs: Manufacturers offer various types of smart light bulbs. Some are color-changing, others react to doorbells or alarms, and others can simulate typical lighting patterns when homeowners are away. Integrated apps enable remote access to scheduling so people can arrive home to a well-lit house. –Home security: Wi-Fi enabled doorbells with video capabilities allow residents to see who is at the door without having to open it. Cameras can even be accessed remotely, simulating that someone is at home at all times. Never wonder if you’ve locked the door again with smart locks that can be engaged via a smartphone. Make sure that homes are secured or that pets are behaving while out with smart cameras. –Flood sensor: Get peace of mind against damaging floods with Wi-Fi flood sensors. –Appliances: A new breed of smart appliances can make it possible for users to turn on the washing machine while out of the house, close refrigerator doors from afar or even start their vacuum cleaners remotely.



3 HOME IMPROVEMENT Painting projects come with many considerations




IRONWOOD – Choosing to paint a home is no small decision, especially when it comes to getting the process started. Homeowners have many things to consider other than simply selecting a color for the space, even if they do not know it. Local businessman Justin Zell, of JZ Painting and More, shared with the Daily Globe some advice for those who are thinking of undertaking a paint job.

Prepping surfaces Preparing surfaces for paint is important in making sure that application goes as smoothly as possible. For the exterior of the home, weather damage can leave the paint peeling and faded, it is vital that these areas be treated before


applying new paint. “One thing that a lot of people do is they wait too long to redo the paint on their homes,” said Zell. “Even if those areas are Justin Zell sanded down and repainted, it will still show that there was chipped paint underneath, it leaves indentations.” Zell spoke about the various things he does in order to make a surface able to be repainted when a homeowner waits too long, and the paint is peeling. “The process of smoothing the surface takes longer than the painting does in some cases,” he said. “It can easily double the amount of time you

put into a project.”

Choose the proper paint The type of surface being painted can change what type of paint one uses, especially with regards to exterior paint and odd surfaces. “Some paints don’t adhere to some siding well, especially vinyl,” Zell said. “And because of that, its important to choose a paint that will stick.” It is recommended to read the paint can, or speak to a sales representatives when choosing paint, keeping in mind what kind of surface is being painting.

Right tools for the job When asked about what tools one should use for at-home painting, Zell said it may be tempting to purchase the most expensive or high-quality brushes and

Plumbing Plumbing and pipes may be vulnerable to cold weather. Frozen pipes may burst and cause substantial damage to a home, potentially causing flooding and structural damage. Homeowners should disconnect and drain garden hoses before winter arrives. Water to outdoor hose bibs should be turned off, though the valves on these outdoor faucets should be left open to drain. Also, outdoor faucets can be covered with insulating foam covers. The Red Cross says pipes that freeze most frequently include pipes in unheated areas, such as basements, attics, garages, and crawl spaces. Close vents to the outside in areas like attics and basements to limit the amount of cold air that gets indoors. Think about insulating unheated areas, as well as using pipe sleeves, heat tape or wraps on exposed

Prioritizing painting Repainting rooms can be a daunting task, especially with the fear of dripping paint on the floor or furniture looming overhead. One of the things homeowners can do to minimize such mishaps is prioritize how they plan to paint a room.

pipes. By opening kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors, homeowners can allow warm air from a home to reach pipes under the sink. During extreme freezes, keep cold water dripping from a sink to prevent pipes from freezing.

Service HVAC systems It’s important to ensure that heating systems are working properly prior to the cold-weather season. It may only take hours for the interior of a home to reach dangerously low temperatures without adequate heat. Homeowners should schedule annual checkups of furnaces and hot water heaters. Inspect the heat exchanger for cracks, install a clean air filter and make sure all thermostats are working properly. Have fuel ready Homeowners who heat their homes with oil, wood or coal should make sure they have plenty of fuel on hand in advance


of winter. Shortages can occur, and it may take some time for new fuel to arrive in the midst of a cold snap. As a precaution, homeowners can rely on portable space heaters to fill in the heating gaps during freezing temperatures. Exercise extreme caution with these devices, turning them off when leaving the room and remembering to avoid overloading outlets.

Protect outside Drain birdbaths, clean out downspouts and remove water from other items where water can freeze and cause damage. Inspect roofing prior to the snowy season, but stay off roofs during freezing weather. Remove snow shovels and other winter gear from storage and make sure the items are easily accessible during snowstorms. Winter’s bite can be severe. Homeowners can protect themselves and their properties when the freeze sets in.

(METRO) – Many people decide to upgrade from their apartments or condominiums out of a need for more space. But even after moving into a new home, homeowners may soon begin to outgrow the room they have. Rather than looking for a new home, some homeowners consider expansion. Expanding a living space can be expensive, and a more affordable option may be converting existing basement or garage space into something more livable. Garages already are built on a foundation, have four walls and a roof overhead, so a garage-conversion project is merely a matter of turning this utilitarian area into a living space. Before beginning the renovation, homeowners should consider the benefits versus the cost of converting the garage. For those who are planning to grow old in a house, a garage conversion can be a worthy investment. But those who intend to sell their homes rather than retire in them may learn that a converted garage can affect home value and make it less desireable at resale. Compare your home to others in the area and see what your neighbors have done. If converted garages are the norm where you live, your own renovation may fit in with others. Always apply for the proper permits and learn the zoning laws to see if a garage conversion is acceptable in your town or city. It’s best to go by the book so that work can be done in a proper manner and be inspected for safe-

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Covering furniture with a tarp or plastic sheet can minimize paint damage to surfaces that cannot simply be wiped off. “I usually start with the ceiling, and work down.” Zell said. “That way, any drips on the walls will be erased by the roller later on.” Whether one plans to paint the entire house or just a single room, homeowners want to make sure their paint lasts as long as possible. It’s important to ask a store clerk about the paint and read the label on the can. Use the paint as directed. Choosing the right finish – flat, egg shell, satin, semi-gloss or gloss – is also a key decision. Sometimes a second coat can make all the difference in the world when looking at the finished wall. Contact Zell and JZ Painting and More at 715-562-0156.

rollers. However, this isn’t entirely necessary. “It’s mostly up to personal preference,” Zell said. “For small jobs, it may not be worth it to buy the expensive (brushes and rollers), although if you have a large space to paint, it’s not a bad idea to aim for something more middle-of-the-road.” The quality of the paint job isn’t purely dependent on the tools used, it is also tied in with the technique in which one paints, he said.

Garage conversion can add valued living space

Protect home from winter’s freeze Freezing temperatures may be good for ice skating or building snowmen, but sub-freezing temperatures can be dangerous for the average person and his or her home. Cold weather often leaves people scurrying to do whatever is necessary to safeguard themselves from the big chill. But it’s important homeowners also protect their homes in cold weather.


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Many homeowners hope their garage-conversion projects will make their garages seem like a seamless part of the rest of the house. To do so, you will need to remove evidence the space was once a garage. Slab floor will need to be raised and insulated. Walls also will need to be insulated and finished to improve comfort and soundproofing. Many garages do not have windows, so for the garage to function as a renovated space, windows may need to be added. One of the biggest transformations will come by way of modifying the garage door entry. Some homeowners prefer to leave the existing door so that the home still has the appearance of a garage from the curb, while others remove the garage door and rebuild the exterior wall so that it has a window or another architectural element. An architect can help suggest design elements that will camouflage the original garage look and make the space seem like it was always part of the main living area of the home. Landscaping work also can minimize the appearance of an old garage. Rather than having the driveway end at the wall of a home, shrubbery, pavers and other techniques can blend the garage renovation into the rest of the yard design. Transforming a garage into a living space can add several hundred square feet to a home. Hire a reputable contractor and follow the municipal guidelines for modifying the space to ensure the job is done right.

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HOME IMPROVEMENT 5 budget-friendly projects that boost a home’s value l



(BRANDPOINT) – Whether you plan to sell your home soon or you simply want to make your property more modern and livable, there are many things you can do to increase the value of your house. The good news is you don’t need a massive budget to make a big impact. Here are five affordable things you can do to boost your home’s bottom line.

Update the entryway Updating the entryway provides a warm welcome to guests. Clean the space of clutter and consider adding a new sturdy doormat and plant or wreath to add a splash of style. Of course, the focal point of the entryway is the front door, so if yours is looking drab, a fresh coat of paint can go a long way. If it’s dented and worn, consider a replacement that doesn’t cost a ton but has great return on investment: Remodeling Magazine’s 2019 Cost vs. Value reports an average national job cost of $1,826 with a 74% ROI.

Replace appliances A kitchen remodel certainly boosts a home’s value, but even a minor kitchen remodeling can surpass $20,000, with upscale remodels costing $100,000 or more. To get that new kitchen look and feel without the big

price tag, consider putting funds toward new appliances instead. Coordinating appliances for a cohesive look enhances the aesthetic of the room. Stainless steel continues to dominate in interior design, but choose the right colors for your kitchen’s unique look and you’ll love the results.

Add a bathroom A bathroom addition certainly boosts a home’s value, and if you are strategic about the remodel, it doesn’t have to be costly. Don’t feel limited if the space where you want to add a bathroom doesn’t have existing, below-floor drainage. There are devices that pump drainage from the fixtures up to the sewer or septic-tank line. Keep in mind, a mid-range bathroom addition recoups 60% of cost, according to the 2019 Cost vs. Value report. Swap out hardware Sometimes it all comes down to the details to make a space more visually appealing. It’s costly to get new vanities and cabinets in bathrooms, kitchens and entertaining spaces, but you can give the space a new look by updating the hardware. Knobs, handles, hooks and more become dated and dingy over time. Head to your local home improvement

store to select new hardware in a design and finish that reflects your personality and the home’s style. Satin chrome and oilrubbed bronze are trending in 2019. Add crown molding If you think crown molding is reserved just for upscale homes, you’re mistaken. Crown molding

is an affordable way to add a touch of luxury to any space, boosting value and enhancing the interior design. Crown molding is available in a variety of materials, including wood, plastic and foam. You can paint it to the color of your choice, although white is always a classic crown molding hue that adds a clean, eye-catching appearance.


Not only does crown molding boost design, it also is a clever way to cover any gaps that can emerge over time between the walls and ceiling. You don’t need a big budget to give your home’s value a big boost. These five projects are a great way to enhance your property today with a great return on investment tomorrow.

Easy tips for staining wood

(METRO) – Staining wood can transform the look of everything from fencing to decking. While wood can be beautiful in its natural state, staining can protect the wood and com-

plement landscaping and other home design elements. Staining can seem like a simple project, and that is often true. However, certain woods, such as pine,

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cherry, maple, and birch, can be difficult to stain. Boards with attractive grain patterns also can absorb stain differently, resulting in blotching and uneven tone. Before beginning a staining project, it is important for homeowners to test the stain chosen on a sample piece of wood to see how the color and absorption turn out. This gives homeowners the chance to understand what they’re dealing with and time to make any necessary accommodations to achieve a more even look. Begin by gathering the necessary supplies. A pair of latex or vinyl gloves will protect your hands. Drop cloths will catch any drips or spills. Safety goggles and a dust mask provide protection if sanding is required prior to staining. If sanding is necessary, homeowners will need an orbital sander, hand sander and sandpaper. Start with the coarsest grit sandpaper and move to a

higher grit for a smooth finish. Wood that is covered in paint may need to be stripped prior to sanding. Follow the directions carefully when using chemical strippers. Natural bristle paint brushes are handy for oilbased stain applications. Synthetic paint brushes can apply water-based finishes. Many do-it-yourselfers find that foam brushes or paint pads are the most handy because they provide a smooth finish and there’s no need to clean up the brushes afterward. Many professionals recommend using wood conditioners or pre-treaters so that the stain will not leave blotches on the wood. This is especially important for homeowners who determined their wood is prone to uneven color absorption. Allow the conditioner to dry according to product directions. Stain should be applied so that it is evenly coated. Wipe off the excess to get

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the preferred color. Apply more stain as necessary to get the desired color. Many stains only offer color, so you’ll need to apply a finishing coat to protect the wood. Otherwise, look for a product that combines


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Storing, caring for motors adds life to machines By TOM LAVENTURE


HURLEY, Wis. – Knowing what to do when storing summer equipment away and getting winter machines ready can help avoid costly issues, said Lacey Ofstad, of Ofstad Sales and Service in Hurley. A lot of things can go wrong during winter storage of lawnmowers, tractors and gas powered weed eaters and blowers, but it’s often a fuel or a battery issue, she said. “Definitely, the first thing you want to do when storing them is to add a stable gas treatment,” Ofstad said. “This keeps the gas from breaking down.” Regular gasoline last about 30 days and ethanol might last up to 90 days before breaking down, Ofstad said. A gas stabilizer will help maintain fuel for up to 24 months, she said. Adding the right amount and then running the motor until the stabilizer has worked its way through the lines is important, she said. Then clean the machine and motor of dirt and debris, and store it in a dry place, she said. A lot can happen over winter with moisture in grass and debris damaging a mower deck with rust and corrosion, she said. Remove batteries and store them separately in a warm place, she said. With any engine it’s important to check the fuel, oil and air filter, she said. If filters can’t be replaced then clear them of dirt and debris until they can be changed, she said. It’s always smart to use manufacturer fuel and oil products when available. The mixtures are designed for the respective motors and can extend the life of

the product, she said. “Every machine is different as far as breaking in a new machine,” Ofstad said. “Older equipment tends to burn oil faster than the new machines but there are a lot of things that come into play such as a leak.” Name brand products often have online product care videos to assist owner-operator maintenance. Many manufacturers have their own brand tools, she said. Small motors Pressure washers that aren’t drained completely of water and allowed to freeze over winter can result in severe damage to the pumps that are expensive to replace, she said. Generator engines tend to sit unused for long periods of time and so again, running the motor with a fuel stabilizer to ensure its worked all the way through the system will help make sure the motor starts when needed, she said. People often keep the leaf blowers handy in the winter to clear light snow from sidewalks, driveways and decks, she said.

Snowblowers Snowblower problems are mostly about cables freezing up or the engine not starting, Ofstad said. This happens after running the motor and the heat melts snow and ice which freezes again inside and outside the blower, she said. “It’s hard to avoid,” Ofstad said. Many people call to say they were just using the blower and now it’s not working, she said. Getting the blower to a warm location will allow ice to melt and most often everything will work

fine, she said. Snowblowers are pretty simple machines, she said. If a problem isn’t belt related then its usually a freezing issue, she said. Keeping up with falling snow to avoid pushing the blower through big drifts does help prevent ice and snow build up and from overworking the blower, she said. That’s not always possible with working people, she said. “Who wants to do that at 4 a.m.?” she said. “Unfortunately, we do live in a place where we get a lot of snow.” Choosing the right blower is important, she said. There are many different styles, brands and sizes and the bigger ones now have hydrostatic transmissions with variable speeds to walk the machine without as much effort, she said. Standard blowers come with an 18 to 22 inch wide scoop around the auger blades, while others run 24 to 30 inches or even up to 38 inches wide. Some prefer to add a blower attachment to a riding lawn tractor, she said. The extra wear on a tractor from snow removal in addition to normal summer lawn mowing will likely reduce the service life of the machine, she said. The bigger and more powerful the machine the more risk there is to scoop up grass, rocks and other things outside the width of driveways and sidewalks, she said. People sometimes find that part of spring is spent repairing damage to the yard, she said. Choosing the right blower depends on the amount of surface to clear and the terrain, she said. Other factors For hilly yards and driveways,

Tom LaVenture / Daily Globe

LACEY OFSTAD, of Ofstad Sales and Service in Hurley, shows how simple it is to check the oil on a lawn mower, something she said is often overlooked before running the motor and vital to operation. especially with blacktop that can be slippery, there are larger tractors with locking differentials and the weight to make moving snow with an attachment easier, Ofstad said. Smaller tractors with an attachment will likely need wheel weights and chains on the back tires, she said. “Tractors without it will have a problem with slopes and steep inclines,” she said. As for smaller yards it is more of a time and money factor, she said. People have so much time they want to spend moving snow and some people will opt for a bigger machine.

Ofstad said some homeowners use a single stage snowblower that is lighter weight and helps to clear decks and hard to reach areas. These machines use rubber augers that do not present as much a damage risk to wood as the metal snowblowers, she said. A rubber auger is extremely strong but with a smaller engine, it’s a good idea to keep up with the snow, she said. The construction of a single stage snowblower “is just not as beefy.” Contact Otstad Sales and Service at the Hurley store at 715561-5601 or in Gurney at 715893-2495.

Maximize fall and winter energy savings with simple tips

(METRO) – As temperatures decrease during the fall and winter months, energy usage and costs tend to climb. These five energy-saving tips for your home will ensure the comfort of your family and your wallet. 1. Adjust your thermostat. Lower the heat on your thermostat while you are away from home and before you go to bed. Better yet, invest in a programmable thermostat so you don’t have to give it a second thought. 2. Seal gaps around win-


dows and doors. Cracks and gaps around windows and doors can let cold

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areas and keep your home warmer, without having to turn up the heat. 3. Insulate well to protect your home from the cold. Add insulation to your basement walls, headers or attic to make a noticeable difference in the temperature of your home and its energy consumption. A mineral wool product specifically designed for thermal performance, such as Roxul Comfortbatt, is ideal. This type of batt insulation will also provide protection from fire, moisture and unwanted noise.

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Adding insulation is one of the simplest and most-cost effective ways to increase home energy efficiency. 4. Make use of natural sources of heat. Pull back your curtains to let natural light in. The sun can help to warm a room with its rays on a bright fall or winter day. If there are any large windows in your home that don’t receive much sunlight, keep the curtains closed to form a barrier from the cold. 5. Use ceiling fans to your advantage. In the win-

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HOME IMPROVEMENT Homeowners, renters insurance a key consideration







Often people’s eyes glaze over when they ponder homeowners insurance because of the maze of statistics and options. According to Shannon Anderson, insurance specialist at IB Insurance, located in River Valley Bank, there are many important issues to consider, some specific to the region that has a lot of older housing. Replacement vs. cash value One of the key components of homeowners insurance is whether their possessions will be fully replaced in the event of a problem. Insurance that covers cash value of possessions will cover what the items are currently worth, even if they are older and depreciated. Replacement value will cover replacing things to pre-fire (or other event) status. While cash value insurance is cheaper, replacement value insurance will cover the real costs of getting things back in order. According to Anderson, the area’s real estate market has a local effect on insurance decisions. “Because the market value of area homes is low, area customers often settle for cash value, but that doesn’t cover the cost of rebuilding,” she said. “While the house may not be that expensive, rebuilding costs more.”

Older homes Because most homes in the area are older, such homes may need different insurance. Replacement costs for house components are likely to be more expensive, and insurance that covers full replacement is more expensive, but considered by many homeowners. Some house components that homeowners may want special coverage for include water and sewer lines, furnaces and roofs.

Take a video According to Anderson, the best way to verify what is in your home for insurance purposes is to take a video and place it where it is securely available. “It’s the biggest tool insurers can look at,” she said.

Insurance group shares consumer tips

The Insurance Information Institute gives the following advice about saving money when shopping for homeowners insurance: 1. Don’t skimp—but do shop around Having homeowners insurance is undoubtedly an expense—but it is also your protection against potential disaster and financial ruin. Homeowners policy prices vary from company to company, so do some comparison shopping and get the best deal you can. Ask friends and relatives for recommendations for insurers and then do your due diligence. Contact the state insurance department to find out whether they make available consumer complaint ratios by company. If they do, check into the insurers you’re considering doing business with. Check the financial health of prospective insurance companies by using ratings from independent rating agencies and consulting consumer magazines for reviews. For price quotes, call companies directly or access information on the Internet. Your state insurance department may also provide comparisons of prices charged by major insurers. Get quotes from at least three companies. Don’t shop price alone. Remember, you’ll be dealing with this company in the event of an accident or other emergency. When you need to file a claim you’ll want an insurer that provides good customer service, so test that while you’re shopping, and choose a company whose representatives take the time to address your questions and concerns. 2. Raise your deductible A deductible is the amount of money that you are responsible for paying toward an insured loss. The higher your deductible, the more money you can save on your premium, so if you can pay above the minimum $500 or $1,000 deductible, for example, you may reduce the cost of your homeowners policy. If you live in a disaster-prone

Seasonal residents Homes of those who live in the area seasonally also need some special attention, she said. Some items to consider before leaving for the season are setting the thermostat, shutting off water, flushing drains and pipes and arranging for winter roof raking, if needed.

Electronics Protection for electronics and against cyber attack are becoming more and more in demand, according to Anderson. A key component of such protection is to find out if the protection has a deductible per each loss or each item of equipment. Identity theft protection is an option that is also available for those that choose it. Expensive items Most insurers have limits of coverage for jewelry and other big-ticket items unless asked. A homeowner with a lot more jewelry that is stolen could experience a loss that is not covered.

Renters Landlords and renters also need to consider insurance. Those who rent need to be responsible for things that are their fault and affect others. The assumption may be that the landlord’s insurance covers such events, but that may not by true. Renters are also encouraged to document their possessions with video. Anderson challenges home-

owners and renters to “write down everything they touch” to understand how much they own and can lose.

area, your insurance policy may have a separate deductible for damage from major disasters, so be sure you take this into account when considering whether to raise your standard homeowners deductible. 3. Buy your home and auto policies from the same insurer Many companies that sell homeowners insurance also sell auto insurance and umbrella liability policies. If you buy two or more insurance policies from the same provider, you may be able to reduce your premium. To be sure you’re getting the best price, make certain any combined price from one insurer is lower than buying the coverages separately from different companies. 4. Make your home more disaster resistant If you live in a disaster prone area, you will have more insurance options to choose from if you take certain preparedness steps— for example, installing storm shutters and shatterproof glass or reinforcing your roof. Older homes can be retrofitted to make them better able to withstand earthquakes. Consider modernizing your heating, plumbing and electrical systems to reduce the risk of fire and water damage. These precautions may prevent excessive damage and the related work and stress involved in rebuilding. 5. Do not confuse what you paid for your house with rebuilding costs Your homeowners policy is based on the cost to rebuild your home, not its real estate value. While your house may be at risk from theft, windstorm, fire and the other perils, the land it sits on is not, so don’t include its value in deciding how much homeowners insurance to buy. If you do, you’ll pay a higher premium than you should. 6. Ask about discounts for home security devices Most insurers provide discounts for security devices such as smoke detectors, burglar and fire alarm systems or dead-bolt locks. As some of these measures aren’t cheap and not every system qualifies for a dis-

Review coverage A yearly review for renters and home owners is a good rule of thumb, said Anderson, as posses-

count, consult your insurance professional for recommendations. 7. Seek out other discounts Types and levels of discounts vary from company to company and state to state. Ask your insurance professional about discounts that are available to you—for example, if you’re 55 years old and retired, or you modernize your plumbing or electrical systems, you may be qualify for a price break. 8. Look into group coverage Does your employer administer a group insurance program? Check to see if a homeowners policy is available. In addition, professional, alumni and business groups may offer an insurance package at a reduced price. Whatever the offer, do your homework to make sure it is a better deal than you can find elsewhere. 9. Stay with the same insurer If you’ve been insured with the same company for a number of years, you may receive a discount for being a long-term policyholder. But to ensure you are getting a good deal, periodically shop around to compare your premium with the prices of policies from other insurers. 10. Review the value of your possessions and your policy limits annually Review your home inventory and any upgrades to your house or condo. Make sure your homeowners or renters policy covers any major purchases or additions to your home and also check that you’re not spending money for coverage you don’t need. For example, if your fiveyear-old fur coat is no longer worth the $5,000 you paid for it, you’ll want to reduce or cancel your floater and pocket the difference. Another great way to save money on your homeowners policy is to take into account the cost of insurance while you’re shopping for a house and before you buy. These home buyers’ insurance guidelines provide tips on the locations, types of construction and other factors that will help keep down the cost of your coverage.

sions grow or change. Contact Anderson at River Valley Bank in Ironwood at 906-9321550.

Prevent accidents and injuries in the home and community

(METRO) – Homes are supposed to serve as sanctuaries, but safety hazards may be lurking in many homes. Thousands upon thousands of people fall victim to unintentional injuries each year because of simple safety mistakes made around the house. According to the security company A Secure Life, unintentional injuries result in an average of 21 million medical visits each year in the United States. Many people may not realize that some of the more common home injuries can be prevented. The National Safety Council encourages everyone to be aware of home hazards and to take

proper safety precautions. Here are some of the more common causes of intentional injury and death at home and how to prevent members of your household from falling victim to them.

vention. Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid. Safer, more effective alternatives to pain management may reduce the number of deaths linked to opioids. All medications should be kept out of the reach of children. Medications should be kept in original packaging and taken only for prescribed reasons, and prescription drugs should never be shared.

Poisoning Many substances found in typical households contribute to poisonings each year. In recent years, prescription drug overdose has become one of the leading causes of unintentional poisonings. Prescription opioids and heroin killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, more than any year on record, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Pre-

Falling Falling is a concern at any age, but it is the No. 1 cause of death for individuals ages 71 and older, according to the NSC. Hazardous

conditions at home, and not necessarily age, contribute to many instances of falling at home. Removing clutter, rearranging furniture to facilitate movement around the house, improving lighting and visibility, and installing grab bars in high-traffic areas are just some ways to reduce the likelihood of falling inside a home. Drowning The CDC reports that, between 2005 and 2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (nonboating related) each year in the United States. That equates to

about 10 deaths per day. Drowning remains a major concern for children age 14 and under. Summer swimming and boating-related activities can increase the risk of drowning as well. Instances of drowning can be prevented by providing barriers between homes and pools. Children should never be left unsupervised in the bath or near bodies of water. Adults should avoid alcohol when swimming or boating. Homeowners who are aware of common home hazards and take steps to reduce such hazards can dramatically lower the risk of accidents at their homes.

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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 dropping 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 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.


Autumn is a prime time to tend lawns and gardens

(METRO) – Autumn is gardening season. That statement may not seem right to those who think of the spring as the peak time to care for lawns and gardens. However, autumn is an ideal time to get into the garden and ensure that flowers, trees and garden beds will over-winter successfully. A number of things make autumn a prime gardening season. The cooler days of fall enable gardeners to spend ample time outdoors without the threat of blazing heat. In addition, soil harbors a lot of residual warmth in autumn. Also, the colder temperatures haven’t yet arrived in autumn, nor have the leaves completely fallen, making fall a prime time to assess what’s already in the landscape, what needs pruning back and where to address planting for next year. Gardening enthusiasts

can focus their attention on these areas this fall. –Pamper perennials. As annuals and perennials start to fall back, mark the spots where perennials are located so they can be easily identified later on. This way, when planning spots for spring bulbs or other spring layouts for next year, perennials won’t be overlooked or covered over. –Prune shrubs. Look at shrubs and trees and cut out dead or diseased wood. –Clean up borders. Weed and tidy up borders and lawn edging. –Install pavers or rock wall. Embrace the cooler temperatures to work on labor-intensive projects, such as putting in a garden bed, retaining wall or walkway. –Remove spent summer veggies. Take out vegetable garden plants that have already bloomed and borne fruit. Tidy up veg-

etable gardens and start to sow cooler weather plants, such as onions, garlic, beans, and sweet peas. –Rake and compost. Rake the leaves and gather grass clippings to add to the compost pile. –Plant spring bulbs. Get tulips and other spring bulbs ready for planting so they’ll burst with color next year. –Dig up herbs. Relocate herbs like parsley or basil to indoor gardens. Otherwise, strip all leaves and freeze for storage during winter. mums. –Consider Chrysanthemum plants are perennials. While they look beautiful in pots, if planted, maintained and winterized, they can bloom every fall. –Fertilize the lawn. Fertilizing in autumn helps ensure grass will stay healthy throughout the winter. –Add mulch and com-

post to the garden. Replenish spent soil with mulch and compost so garden beds will be revitalized for spring planting. –Prune hedges. Tidy up hedges, as they won’t be

for spring and not lying out all winter. Autumn may not seem like gardening season, but there are plenty of lawn and garden tasks to tend to during this time of year.

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Potential indicators of roof trouble

(METRO) – With regard to home repairs, homeowners may be able to delay some projects until the weather permits or they find room in their budgets. But other areas, including the roof, may demand immediate action. Few homeowners give the roofs of their homes much thought until a problem arises. But learning to recognize potential indicators of roof trouble can help homeowners prevent potentially drastic situations down the road. Light Homeowners with attics in their homes can inspect the ceilings inside the attic for signs of holes or leaks. Light peering through the top of the house indicates a hole or leak, as does

stains or streaks on the ceiling.

Worn shingles Shingles should lie flat against the roof, so any that appear to be buckling or turning up are damaged and in need of repair. A single damaged shingle does not require a full roof replacement, but inspect all the shingles nonetheless. Another indicator of shingle problems can be found when cleaning downspouts or gutters. If the gutters and downspouts contain lots of shingle granules, the roof may soon need to be replaced. Moss Moss on a rooftop may give a home character, but that added character is costly. Shady areas of a roof can be susceptible to the

growth of moss and fungi because moisture can be trapped in such areas. If possible, remove moss or fungi from a roof with a stiff brush or hire a professional to do the job instead. Moss may come back even after brushing it off, so homeowners should keep an eye on areas of their roofs that get little sunlight. In addition, trapped moisture can be very harmful to a roof, so it may be wise to exercise caution and have roofs with mold or fungi growths inspected.

Age Another indicator of roof trouble may be the age of the roof. Even if there are no visible signs of damage, homeowners whose roofs have some years under their belt may want to consider

replacing them. Asphalt shingle roofs typically have life expectancies of 20 to 25 years, while roofs installed over existing layers of shingles may need to be replaced


after 20 years. Recognizing minor roof damage before it escalates into a larger problem can save homeowners substantial amounts of money.

7 smart steps to improve indoor air quality at home

(BRANDPOINT) – Think about how much time you and your family spend inside versus outside. From your home to the car to work and to school, it’s not uncommon that the majority of your day is spent indoors. This modern phenomenon means increased exposure to indoor air pollution. Fortunately, with a few smart, proactive steps, you can help protect yourself and your family. People vastly underestimate the time they spend inside, assuming just four hours, when in actuality they are inside more than 21 hours each day, according to a study by the Velux Group. Homes are also being built and sealed tightly to meet the demand for increased energy effi-

ciency. This is great for energy efficiency but not so great for fresh air exchange, which is necessary to maintain healthy indoor air quality. The resulting polluted air is locked in and can have health consequences: Moldy and damp air inside the home can increase the risk of asthma by 40%. Poor indoor air quality can contribute to irritated eyes, nose and throat, headaches and fatigue. Long-term indoor air pollution can even lead to the development of respiratory diseases and heart disease. Here are seven smart steps homeowners can take to make their living conditions healthier:

Vent air while cooking Always remember to turn on

Install a skylight Adding a skylights is a simple renovation project that drastically improves your home’s health. The latest models come with a remote control to open and close the skylight and its blinds.

Use natural air flow Hot air rises and cool air stays closer to the ground. You can take advantage of this natural air

exchange in your home by opening a skylight or window higher in your home while also opening one below it or on a lower level. As fresh, cool air is pulled in, the warmer, polluted air will escape at the top.

Avoid burning candles Candles provide ambiance and often a pretty scent, but they can have a negative effect on indoor air quality. Try opting for beeswax candles, which produce fewer airborne toxins. Alternatively, check out battery-operated candles that look close to the real thing. Clean regularly Create a home and pet cleaning schedule, and stick to it as

much as possible. Vacuuming can help eliminate dust and dander.

Dry clothes outside Not optimal for winter, but when the weather is nice outside, take a cue from your grandparents, and dry clothes outside naturally with the sunshine and breeze. Eliminating use of the dryer or dryer sheets decreases air-polluting fumes and moisture buildup in your home.

Air things out daily Even if the weather only allows you to air out your home for a few minutes, it can make a world of difference. Make a habit of opening windows and skylights daily.

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.


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1. Install smoke alarms. You should have one in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping

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3. 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.

4. 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.

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Pros offer advice on trimming trees By RICHARD JENKINS


IRONWOOD – With fall quickly approaching and winter behind it, professionals say now is the ideal time of year to assess whether any tree trimming needs to be done before the ice and snow comes. Doug Foley, co-owner of 906 Tree Service in Ironwood, said property owners can look at their deciduous trees, or those with leaves that fall off, to look for bare branches or spots without leaves. “While your tree is still leafed out, it’s real easy to do an assessment from the ground,” Foley said. “When you get spots … where there’s no leaves this time of year on the trees, that’s a pretty good indicator that (there may be a problem),” he continued. A dead branch of tree limb may not immediately fall off, but Foley said it will happen eventually. These dead limbs are what are especially susceptible to breaking during ice storms as they aren’t able to hold the extra weight, according to Tom Mott, who co-owns the tree service company with Foley. Foley also advised that dead spots closer to the center of the tree are more worrisome than dead spots out on the edges of the tree’s canopy. Although late summer and early fall is a great time to trim the dead parts of a tree, Foley said later in fall

is ideal for pruning – or cutting away live parts of the tree – as the tree is dormant. “That would be the optimum time – mid-October, November – when the leaves are off, then you can start doing that,” Foley said. “You can do that all year long, but fall and winter – dormant times – are better times of year to do that.” He explained work in the dormant period is one way to reduce the chance of introducing pathogens, disease or insects to the tree. On coniferous trees, Foley said people can look for brown spots or empty spaces on the perimeter of a tree’s canopy to determine whether work needs to be done. He said this advice doesn’t usually apply to the very bottom branches of a conifer, as often they die from the upper branches simply blocking the sun from reaching them and aren’t reflective of the health of a tree. “If you look at any pine trees, when you go look, you’re going to see knots all the way up (the bottom of the main trunk) and those are just branches that have … been abandoned by the tree,” Foley said. Other warning signs of potential problems with the health of a tree include the presence of mushrooms or fungus and woodpeckers – although Foley

noted that the accusation that woodpeckers kill trees is wrong. Although woodpeckers may put holes in living parts of a tree, he said it’s to access the rot and bugs underneath. “The reality is the woodpeckers come in after the tree (already has disease or rot present),” he said. “The woodpeckers are there because of the bugs.” If nothing else, he said their presence means the property owner should keep an eye on the tree.

When to hire a professional Once it has been determined that work needs to be done on a tree, Foley said the decision on whether to use a tree service or a DIY approach can depend on individual comfort levels – although he cautioned people that they should always be careful when working on their trees, especially if the work accessible from isn’t ground level. “They make really good pole saws nowadays that you can run from the Foley said, ground,” adding he and Mott are hesitant to work on ladders. “We will use a ladder occasionally, but not very often. We have a bucket lift (we prefer),” Foley said, saying ladders and power saws usually don’t mix well. Along with individual comfort levels, it’s also

Richard Jenkins/Daily Globe

DOUG FOLEY, left, and Tom Mott of 906 Tree Service say this is an ideal time of year for home owners to trim trees before winter. important people know what they are doing if they are going to do the work themselves to ensure they don’t cause lasting harm to the tree. “If they’re going to prune it themselves, they really need that knowledge base of what they’re cutting and where they’re cutting,” Mott said, explaining that cutting into the collar of a branch where it joins the the parent branch or trunk can invite disease and kill the whole tree. Foley said a general rule of thumb is to shoot for making a round cut rather than an oval shaped cut to ensure you are avoiding the collar.

Although people are often worried about the large trees that can cause significant damage during a storm, Mott and Foley said tree maintenance that should be done over the entire life of a tree. Pruning early in the life generally creates a stronger, more stable tree once it grows tall. There are also more options for pruning and trimming early in a tree’s life. “The first couple years are the most important,” Mott said. As there isn’t a license required to operate a tree service, Foley and Mott advised making sure a company has insurance

before hiring them. They said there is a process to become a certified arborist – which Foley said he is working towards – it isn’t mandatory and they aren’t aware of any locally. Ultimately, Foley and Mott said word-of-mouth was probably the best way to find a reputable company to do any necessary tree work. “In a small town like this, ask around. A lot of people had tree work done, they’ll tell you if they’ve had someone who was worth it,” Mott said. For more information, visit 906treeservice.com or email 906treeservice@ gmail.com.

3 ways to protect a vacation home while away for winter

(BRANDPOINT) – Whether it’s a cabin up north, a villa down south or a quaint cottage near family, many people in the United States own second homes. There are seasons you may spend more time at these vacation properties, but for many people, much of the year they remain empty. That’s why it’s important to take precautions to ensure your property and belongings stay safe even when you’re not there. Not only are vacation homes a target for thieves, but empty homes are often vulnerable to the elements and the unexpected. To keep your second home secure, consider these smart steps:

1. Create the appearance of a lived-in home It doesn’t matter if your home is in a well-traveled section of the city or a remote part of the forest, you want it to stay secure from criminals. Vandals and robbers scout for empty homes, so one of the best ways to deter them is to make your property appear to be lived in. If they think someone is home, they’re more likely to stay away. To create the appearance of a lived-in house, stop mail and newspaper deliveries immediately. Nothing screams “empty house” like a few weeks’ worth of papers at the front door.

Next, keep the lawn mowed and trim the landscape, so the home is well maintained plus doesn’t have overgrown shrubs where criminals can hide. Finally, alert a trusted neighbor that you’ll be gone, so they can keep an eye on things. Or is the property isolated? Consider hiring a property manager to check on the house periodically.

2. Consistently monitor water use Even small water leaks can cause big damage, and if you’re not living in a home, that damage can multiply quickly. From leaks that cause

terrible mold growth to burst pipes that flood entire floors, it’s easy to see why water is a top concern for owners of second homes while away. There are smart water monitor devices that allow homeowners to view and shutoff water usage remotely. Once installed, it uses programmed data and learns the home’s wateruse habits, so it can proactively detect leaks and water problems in real time. If a change is detected, you are alerted through a smart app on your phone, so you can take appropriate next steps.

3. Implement multiple security measures Of course, you want to ensure you secure all doors, windows and other points of entry. But to really keep tabs on your second home, consider investing in a security system with an app or program for easy remote monitoring. With a live-monitor feature, you can check your home at any time. Additionally, programmable lights that turn on at set times inside give the illusion of people being home, and motion lights outdoors eliminate dark corners. Finally, you might consider registering your


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home as vacant with the local police. Some cities offer a free service where an officer will come periodically to check your home while you’re away. Keep in mind this might not be available in your area and there may be a time limit for how long you can request these checks, but it’s worthwhile to call your local law enforcement and ask. Put worries aside and keep your second home safe and secure by following these simple steps. That way you can feel confident that every time you visit your vacation property, you can enjoy it to the fullest.






Add style, personality to kitchen

(BRANDPOINT) – From cooking to conversing to entertaining, the kitchen truly is the heart of the home. It’s also one of the spaces that homeowners most often dream of renovating. A growing trend in kitchen design is personalization, where thoughtful updates go beyond stainless steel appliances and standard cabinetry to incorporate a host of interesting design elements. By adding splashes of personality to your kitchen, not only will you make the space one of a kind, but you’ll also enjoy it more because it will reflect your unique preferences and style. Consider these key ways to breathe new life into any kitchen. Switch up cabinets Want to give your cabinets a fresh look and add some pizzazz without refacing them or installing new ones? An easy place to start is to replace existing hardware. Just as jewelry completes an outfit, hardware adds a finished look to cabinets. The availability of a variety of styles and materials for drawer and cabinet pulls - metals, ceramics, crystal, glass, stone - makes it easy to update your cabinets with little cost and effort. Don’t be afraid to mix-and-match hardware styles or experiment with different shapes to add character. Another idea for freshening up your kitchen is to update a few key cabinets.

For instance, you can paint the cabinets above or directly beside the stove in black chalk paint, allowing you to add fun words and phrases - or even a favorite recipe - with chalk markers. You could also remove the face of several cabinets from the frame and add a clear or opaque glass insert for added visual interest and an unexpected touch of beauty. Finally, don’t forget about the often overlooked toe kick space - the recessed area just below the cabinets - which can be enhanced with subtle styling. Consider painting this area a fun statement color or adding tiles for a clever update you won’t see elsewhere.

Vintage appliances While stainless steel appliances are popular in modern kitchens, colored appliances are a great way to add personality if you’re feeling the desire for something a little different. Elmira Stove Works offers several vintage-inspired appliance lines in a variety of styles and colors. Whether you opt to update all your appliances or choose a single statement piece, your kitchen will feel inspired. For those who lean toward a retro or midcentury modern look, the Northstar line adds conversationworthy color to any kitchen. Perfect for basement bars, bonus rooms and man caves too, this line combines throwback


style with modern conveniences. Add a fun pop of color with classic hues like tropical blue, mint green and candy red, or choose from an array of custom colors. If retro doesn’t suit your fancy, consider the Antique line, which features intricately detailed appliances with historic styling. These distinctive appliances are available in a range of traditional and custom colors, and can complement any vintage home design, including a rustic cabin, country cottage or lake house. For a turn-of-thecentury feel, the Fireview stove is especially stunning,

with a visible wood-burning component that can also be used to heat rooms.

Light up the room Proper lighting is essential for performing kitchen tasks, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Lighting provides an opportunity to get creative and bring touches of personality to the kitchen. By blending practical task lighting with decorative ambient lighting, you can inject the right balance of function and fashion. Overhead and under-

cabinet lighting make it easy to chop, cut, cook and more. Add a bit of flair by using a layered approach – for example, strategically mix pendant and wall lights with recessed lighting. The globes that surround light fixtures are another great place to sprinkle in some character. From glass designs in vivid hues to textured metal looks, these surrounds come in myriad shapes and sizes. You can find your favorite kitchen lighting options at local home

improvement stores or boutique lighting shops. For something truly one of a kind, visit antique shops, flea markets and home decor reclamation stores. Whether an amazing art deco chandelier or an adorable Victorian decorative table lamp, you’ll discover unexpected gems for your kitchen. Your kitchen should be as unique as you are. When you add personal touches, you’ll enjoy an updated, customized space that will have you cooking and entertaining in style.

5 simple steps to getting started with solar panels

(BRANDPOINT) – With more Americans “going green” than ever before, you’ve probably already started thinking about doing it yourself. Perhaps you’ve increased your recycling efforts, started using more Energy Star appliances and light bulbs or upgraded to other greener options. technology Chances are, you also may be thinking about using solar energy to power your home, but don’t know where to start. It may be easier than you think to have solar panels installed in your home. According to residential solar experts, here are the steps involved in going solar. 1. Check roof Because putting solar panels on your home involves a roof installation, your first step should be checking the condition of your roof to see if you may need any repairs or if you must replace your roof before installation. Having a solid foundation for solar panels is crucial to avoid problems down the road. The usable life of most solar equipment exceeds 20 years, so proactively making repairs on roofs near end of life can save headaches of repairing or replacing rooftops once the solar array is installed.

2. Gather information Research different solar module technology types and warranties. To the untrained eye most solar modules look alike, but there are differences in the cells (the engine of the solar modules) that impact efficiency. Depending on your home’s energy usage and the available space you have to install the panels (ideally on an unshaded south or southwest facing roof), this may influence whether you need high efficiency solar panels. Also research not just upfront installation costs, but the value of the energy produced by the array during the life of the system. Saving 5% on installation costs today might reduce savings by 10% or more

over the lifetime of your solar installation.

3. Find an installer reputable Research companies in your area so you’ll be confident that your installation is done correctly. Be wary of salespeople who show up at your door trying to persuade you to make an instant decision. Reputable installation companies will be registered with organizations such as the Better Business Bureau, have credentials from third party organizations like the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, or are certified installer partners of the manufacturers they represent. Get installation quotes from a few companies so you can compare costs. An installer will want to visit your home to assess the state and orientation of your roof and to see how much shade it gets. The installation company will also recommend solar and energy storage products, based on your budget and needs.

4. Choose panels Look for efficient, durable solar panels from a company you already know and trust. LG NeON 2 solar panels with Cello Technology have a doublesided solar cell structure, enabling them to capture light and generate energy from both the front and back. When the angle of light is lower during mornings and evenings -– times homeowners are most likely to be home – LG NeON 2 solar panels will generate more energy than others that only capture light from the front. These solar panels provide the highest possible value for budget-conscious customers and are backed by an industry leading 25-year product and performance warranty. High-quality solar panels like these are low maintenance and have a very low failure rate.

5. Arrange installation Most solar installations take from one to three days, depending on your situation. Your installation

company will ensure that wiring is electrical installed to connect the general power system to your electrical panel and will prepare your roof so that racking may be attached. Once the panels are set in place, inverters are then connected to the panels. Your solar panel installation may need to be inspected by your local government as well as your electrical company, to be sure that everything is correctly wired and installed to meet electrical codes and ensure the safety of the installation. Once the inspections are completed, your solar system can go live. Having solar panels installed may seem like a huge undertaking, but in reality it will be well worth it in terms of the cost savings on your household electricity bills and the positive impact it will have on the environment and will increase the value of your home. A 2019 study by Zillow shows that homes with solar sell on average 4.1 percent higher than homes without onsite solar. A Federal Investment Tax Credit that provides a 30 percent credit off the installed cost of solar is set to begin declining at the end of 2019, making now the best time to evaluate going solar.

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ANGELO LUPPINO, INC. General Contractor

(715) 561-4906

www.angeloluppinoinc.com Commercial & Residential Pre-Engineered Metal Buildings New Construction & Remodel Pole Barns Concrete & Masonry Licensed and Insured

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Fall Home Improvement 2019  

Fall Home Improvement 2019