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LIVING HEALTHY How to improve indoor air quality Safe and easy snow removal tips

DO IT YOURSELF PROJECTS How to rid your home of drafts

fall home IMPROVEMENT A Special Section From


Featured Inside

Prep work before painting

Servpro Abbott Realty Beebe Painting Korner Window Olberding Floors M-G Floor Decor King’s Hometown Schrock Concrete King Construction Craighton Electric First Bank Hampton United Bank & Trust Iowa Falls State Bank Hampton Home Store Affordable Tree Service Sharar’s Floor Covering Dumont Harken Lumber Franklin County Lumber Green Belt Bank & Trust Jerry Koch, Ceramic Tile Mort’s Water Company Mort’s Plumbing & Heating Seamless Gutterworks Co. Architectural Seamless Surfaces Dorenkamp Custom Construction Evans Furniture & Floor Covering, Inc.

DECORATING YOUR KITCHEN Create a lighting scheme that works



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Living Healthy

How to improve


ith fall soon to give way to winter, many people will soon be spending more time indoors. Winter weather can be harsh, and it can be difficult for fresh air to make its way into a home once the warmer temperatures of summer and fall give way to the cold days of winter. Poor indoor air quality can cause multiple problems. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, poor indoor air quality can increase a person’s risk of developing pneumonia, and it also may aggravate existing respiratory conditions such as asthma. The EPA also notes that long-term exposure to indoor air pollution can increase a person’s risk for heart disease, respiratory diseases and even cancer. Because indoor air pollution can be so devastating, many homeowners look for ways to improve their indoor air quality, especially before the arrival of winter, when residents of the home figure to spend such a significant amount of time indoors. Fortunately, homeowners can take many steps to do just that.

indoor air quality as winter approaches

Break out the mop Vacuum cleaners can be effective at picking up pollutants inside a home, but they also can leave things behind. When a vacuum cleaner seems to be leaving some dust behind, take out the mop and, with just a little water, address the areas where dust is still lingering. Water should be enough to do the trick, and, unlike some cleaning products, water won’t be introducing any additional harmful pollutants into the home.

CLEAN WITH SOAP AND WATER. Soap and hot water can still clean a home effectively, and this age-old combination might be the healthiest way to clean as well. Many household cleaning products contain potentially harmful ingredients that can introduce toxins and irritants into a home. Avoid such cleaners and solvents when cleaning a home. If stains prove too stubborn for soap and water, be sure to open windows when using potentially harmful cleaners indoors. PURCHASE AN AIR FILTRATION SYSTEM. Air filtration systems vary significantly in size, cost and function. Some systems are designed to remove specific pollutants, and may

not be effective at removing additional indoor air pollutants. Larger models tend to be most effective at filtering pollutants like dust, but such units are more expensive than smaller units. If your home is especially dusty, then a large filtering system may prove a worthy investment. OPEN WINDOWS AND DOORS WHEN POSSIBLE. Introducing outdoor air into a home is a great way to improve indoor air quality. Of course, opening windows and doors might not be feasible in the middle of winter. But take advantage of any such opportunities when they present themselves. For example, after cooking a big meal, open the kitchen exhaust fan to allow fresh air into the home. Such fans are not large enough to cause a significant temperature drop in the home, but they can directly remove contaminants from inside the home, like those that might be emitted from gas stoves. INSIST GUESTS AND RESIDENTS REMOVE THEIR SHOES. Chemicals can find their way into a home in a variety of ways, and you and your fellow residents or guests may be tracking them into your home on your shoes. Keep a doormat inside all entryways, and insist guests and residents remove their shoes before entering your home. This reduces the amount of potential pollutants brought into your home and also makes cleaning the home that much easier. SMOKE OUTSIDE. Smoking inside a home is inviting trouble, especially during those times of year when the windows cannot be opened. Secondhand smoke is a significant source of indoor air pollution, as cigarette smoke is known to contain more than 4,000 chemicals. Smoking indoors, whether an area is well- or poorly-ventilated, can be dangerous to smokers. Exposure to secondhand smoke puts adults and children alike at risk of several diseases, including asthma and cancer. If you or your fellow residents or visitors must smoke, do so outdoors.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013


How to rid your HOME OF DRAFTS


rafty homes are not just a problem when the weather is cold, as air that seeps in when you’re trying to keep the home cool can be an inefficient nuisance as well. Knowing some of the less visible spots where drafts come from may help you to seal out unwanted cold air more effectively. ATTIC Homes that feature attics with pull-down stairs tend to be drafty. In such homes, a large hole is cut out of the ceiling so residents can access the attic. So instead of thick insulation, these homes may only have a sheet of plywood blocking your interior space from the outdoors, as many attics are directly vented to the roof. To determine if there is a leak,

turn on the attic light, close the attic door, and check to see if you can see the light on from below. If you can, then there is a gap letting both the light and air escape. In addition to using flexible rubber around the opening of the attic to better seal the door when it is closed, you can think about adding a thicker, more insulated door. DRYER VENTS The standard home laundry dryer vents outdoors via an exhaust duct. This duct is open to the outdoors, and it may be letting cold air into the home. That’s because there is typically a flimsy flapper made of

sheet metal on the outside of the vent to help protect against air infiltration. But over time dryer lint can accumulate at the vent opening, causing the metal flapper to stay open when it should close. Homeowners can invest in dryer seals that close the vent when the dryer is not in use. It also keeps out pests, like bugs and rodents.

Hampton Chronicle

PIPES Check pipes that exit the home, such as those that feed outdoor water spigots, as such pipes can let cold air back into the house. The same can be said for waste pipes. Also, check to see if pipes that connect to garages, basements and crawl spaces are not insulated. Use sealant around these pipes to block drafts into the home. Foam insulation can be sprayed into small crevices, where it will expand and harden, blocking off air access. Sealing drafts also may prevent bugs from entering the home. FIREPLACES Although fireplaces often make for decorative and appealing accents to a home, many are not effective sources of ambient heat. They may

draw more warm air out of the flue than they bring into the house. When a fireplace is not in use, air can rise out of the chimney and a draft can be felt in the home. Some studies indicate that an open damper on an unused fireplace, even in a well-insulated home, can increase overall heating and cooling energy consumption by 30 percent. Rremember to always keep the damper shut when the fireplace is not in use and use a glass cover you can seal tightly to further block the opening to the fireplace from your living space. ELECTRICAL OUTLETS Outlets and light switches can be significant sources of drafts in a home. Check to see that the switch plates are secure. If drafts still come through, then employ outlet draft blockers to prevent cool air from entering the home and warm air from exiting it. Homeowners can address drafts in a variety of ways. And doing so can make a home more comfortable and cut energy costs considerably.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hampton Chronicle


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Wednesday, October 30, 2013


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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hampton Chronicle

Live Your


Start planning your home improvement projects now! Whether you’re dreaming about remodeling your kitchen, finishing your basement or adding an extra room, be sure to talk with UBTC first.

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Hampton Chronicle

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Create a lighting scheme that works for THE KITCHEN


Task lighting shines direct light onto a surface, illuminating it thoroughly, and it can be turned off when it is not needed.


hen designing a kitchen, homeowners typically give substantial consideration to many elements of their dream design, including cabinet and countertop materials and which brand of appliances they most prefer. But few may consider the lighting for the room as thoroughly. Lighting is an important consideration in any room, but especially in the kitchen, where people tend to gravitate and spend a good portion of their time. The right blend of lights can create a vibrant mood in the kitchen, while light can be adjusted according to what needs to get done in the space. The main focus should be on three distinct lighting types: task lighting, ambient lighting and accent lighting.

TASK LIGHTING: Task light is beneficial anywhere a person will need to perform tasks that require close concentration, such as chopping vegetables. Task lighting shines direct light onto a surface, illuminating it thoroughly, and it can be turned off when it is not needed. Task lighting is generally placed above counters

and islands where one will be slicing vegetables and preparing food. Many task lighting designs include lights under cabinetry to shine down onto counters and eliminate shadowed recesses. Under-cabinet lighting is a relatively inexpensive add-on for existing kitchens. AMBIENT LIGHTING: Ambient lighting is another name for all-over lighting that fills a room. During the day, ambient light may stream in from windows and skylights. However, at night, ambient lighting is created by different light fixtures in a room. In the kitchen, overhead fixtures are a popular choice for ambient lighting. A blend of hanging pendant lamps, chandeliers and recessed lighting can create the

amount of light needed. Homeowners should pay special attention to the bulbs and fixtures they choose, as not all produce the same amount of light. Those concerned about energy efficiency also must give mind to whether the bulbs will use a lot of energy or last a long time. Compact fluorescent bulbs as well as LED lighting are long-lasting and do not use as much energy as incandescent bulbs. Indirect ambient lighting softens shadows in a room, creating a warm, inviting glow. It is an important layer of light that is often overlooked in the kitchen. Setting ambient lighting on a dimmer enables homeowners to cast a mood that is desired when the kitchen isn’t being used for prep work. ACCENT LIGHTING: If there are key elements around the kitchen that a person would like to highlight, such as a china set, accent lighting can do the trick. Spotlights can be used to show off collectibles. Many people like to install accent lighting inside of cabinetry to create dramatic focal points. Some homeowners may want to incorporate decorative lighting in their kitchens: ornate chandeliers, hanging pendants and other eye-catching fixtures. Decorative lighting should be considered in proportion to the size of the kitchen. Therefore, smaller kitchens will have smaller fixtures and vice versa. Decorative lighting may be the most expensive type of kitchen lighting, so some homeowners prefer to plan ahead for the inclusion of decorative accents by having the wiring ready and then adding the fixtures over time.


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Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Hampton Chronicle


Do It Yourself


ainting a home’s interior can give it a completely new look and feel. A fresh coat of paint can make a room feel more vibrant and up-to-date, creating a whole new attitude within the room without breaking the bank. Whether creating an accent wall or painting each wall within a room, painting is a relatively easy and inexpensive home improvement project. But that doesn’t mean painting does not require a little prep work before the project can begin. ADDRESS ANY HOLES OR BUMPS ON THE WALL. Holes or cracks in the wall will need to be patched with spackle, which then must dry before the wall can be given a new coat of paint. In addition, sand down any bumps until the walls are smooth and free of any unsightly abnormalities. WASH THE WALLS. Before adding a new coat of paint, wash the walls and inspect them for dust. Dust can collect on molding, especially in rooms that get little natural air. When dust has collected on the molding and around doorways and trim, use a damp cloth to wipe it away before adding any new paint.



eeping your property maintained during and after a snowfall is crucial. But handle snow and ice safely, as some of the risk involved comes from the removal process itself -- manually shoveling after a heavy snowfall can be dangerously strenuous. Opting for a snowblower can help you avoid risk, as well as get the job done faster. If you have a larger area to clear, you’ll especially want to consider motorizing your snow removal efforts. To help ensure a safe winter for you, your family and your guests, here are some considerations to make when dealing with snow: PREVENT: An ounce of prevention goes a long way. So if you’re expecting a major snowfall, consider salting before the first flake falls.

APPLY PRIMER. Primer can serve many functions, not the least of which is its role as a bonding agent between the wall and the top coat of paint. Primer can also help conceal dark colors, prevent stains and increase the life expectancy of the paint job you are about to undertake. PREPARE YOUR PAINT. When opening a new can of paint, stir the paint before using it. In addition, even if you don’t plan to use a roller when painting, do not paint straight from the can, which can be heavier to hold than a small bowl, and a light bowl is less likely to be spilled than a potentially heavy can of paint. PURCHASE PAINTER’S TAPE. Painter’s tape makes it easier to paint smooth and clean paint lines, giving a room a more professional looking coat of paint without the cost of hiring a professional painter. Painting can be an inexpensive and fun way to upgrade a home’s interior. But even though painting does not require the technical know-how of more large-scale home improvement projects, it still requires some prep work and attention to detail to ensure the job is done right.

Living Healthy

DON’T WAIT: Keep up with the snowfall. Most of the time, it’s easier and faster to clear six inches of snow twice than 12 inches of snow once. USE THE RIGHT GEAR: Not all snowblowers are the same, so purchase a machine that’s ideal for your property. Factors such as the type of surface and size of the space you’re clearing, as well as how much and what type of snow you’re expecting all should be considered. MAKE IT PAINLESS: Don’t fight the wind. Whenever possible, point a snow blower’s chute downwind so that the wind helps you blow the snow. It’s

Give your heart and back regular breaks so you don’t overdo it. usually easier to move up and down the length of a driveway, not perpendicular. THINK AHEAD: Throw snow as far into your yard as possible. Throwing snow only to the edge of a driveway or walkway will lead to high snow banks and make it more difficult to remove snow during the next snowstorm. BE BODY SMART: Toiling away outdoors can be hard on your body, especially for older people. So give your

heart and back regular breaks so you don’t overdo it. Stay hydrated and don’t overdress or you’ll quickly be soaked from sweat. This winter, be ready to keep your home maintained, no matter what the weather blows your way.

Hampton Chronicle


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Looking to start a new Fall Project?

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hampton Chronicle

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