Spring Home Improvement 2021

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Thursday, April 29, 2021 | Spring Home Improvement


FREE Home Weatherization Weatherization assistance and energy efficiency measures are available at no cost to Vermont residents who meet income eligibility guidelines; regardless of whether you own or rent your home, apartment or mobile home. ($9,500 job cost average). LANDLORDS TOO!

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Weatherization services may include:


Comprehensive “whole house” assessment of energy-related problems.

State-of-the-art building diagnostics.

“Full-service” energy-efficient retrofits, including dense-pack sidewall insulation, air sealing, attic insulation, heating systems upgrades and replacements.


A do-it-yourself mentality has taken hold in millions of households across the globe. Popular television channels like HGTV and DIY Network as well as accessible home improvement content on apps like YouTube has inspired many homeowners to tackle renovation projects around their homes. Taking such initiative is admirable, though it also can prove costly if homeowners end up biting off more than they can chew. Home improvement videos and television shows have a tendency to oversimplify renovation projects, potentially giving homeowners a false sense of confidence in their DIY abilities. A concerted effort on the part of homeowners to determine if it’s best to renovate on their own or hire a professional should always be the first step of any renovation project. No two homeowners are the same, but the following three questions can help homeowners determine if DIY is their best option.

Spring Home Improvement | Thursday, April 29, 2021

Should I DIY? 3 questions to determine if it’s best to renovate on your own

1. Can I afford to DIY?

2. Do I have the time? Homeowners must determine how much time they have to complete a project before deciding to do it themselves. No one wants to spend months staring at an unfinished renovation project. Homeowners who are al-


ready pressed for time may not be able to complete projects in a timely fashion, which can make homes less comfortable and even less safe.

3. Can I pull this off? DIY projects can instill homeowners with a sense of pride in their homes, but it’s imperative that homeowners considering the DIY option conduct an honest assessment of their skills. A lack of renovation experience does not necessarily mean a homeowner cannot successfully complete a DIY project. But in such instances, it may be best to start with small, straightforward projects and then gradually move up to bigger, more complicated projects as skills are fine tuned. And homeowners who have never been at their best with a hammer in hand should not be ashamed to leave the work to the professionals. Television shows and online tutorials can make renovations appear easier than they actually are. Homeowners considering DIY renovations can ask themselves a handful of questions to determine if they’re ready for the challenge of renovating their homes on their own.

Your trees and shrubs provide your property with beauty and comfort. You must be doing everything possible to protect your beautiful landscape. But how do you know if they have healthy root systems? Though most homeowners do not think about it, the grass is not the only part of your lawn that needs to be fertilized! Deep root fertilization is explicitly created for trees and shrubs to receive the nutrients they need to grow and thrive.

Will Fertilizer I Already Use On My Lawn Work For My Trees?

Your grass is absorbing all the nutrients from your lawn fertilizer, resulting in your trees absorbing little or no fertilizer. It is best to consider deep root feeding to give your trees and shrubs the boost they need in. Call today for an assessment of your treescape!


196 Sweet Road, Pownal, VT 05261 www.greaterheightstree.com

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Professional home improvement projects are costly for a variety of reasons. Materials can be costly, but so are the tools and labor necessary to do the job right. Homeowners may not have the tools necessary to complete complicated projects. Specialty tools can be expensive to purchase or even rent, and the cost of acquiring such tools should be included in any DIY project cost estimates. Labor also factors heavily into professional projects, and for good reason. Talented contractors have unique skills that have been developed and perfected over many years. Those skills can ensure projects are completed quickly and correctly. Labor may seem costly, but such costs may ultimately prove to be a bargain compared to the cost of fixing DIY mistakes. Projects that are minor in scope and don’t require the use of potentially costly specialty tools may be better suited for weekend warriors than more complicated renovations.


Thursday, April 29, 2021 | Spring Home Improvement

Safety first with DIY electrical work The Electrical Safety Foundation International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting electrical safety, recommends that homeowners leave electrical work to the professionals. Licensed electricians are well-trained, whereas homeowners may not be skilled enough to avoid accidents or injuries, which can prove fatal when working with electricity. Homeowners who take the do-ityourself route with electrical work should consider these safety tips, courtesy of the ESFI, before beginning a home electrical project.

Learn your home electrical system.


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Fully Insured Free Estimates

Honestly assess your skills. An honest assessment of skills is absolutely necessary prior to working on an electrical system. According to the National Safety Council, injuries relating to electrical incidents typically fall into one of four categories: electrical shock, electrocution, falls, and burns. Each of these injuries is significant. For example, electric shock, which occurs when electrical current passes over or through a person’s body, involves burns, abnormal heart rhythm and unconsciousness.

Turn the power off. It’s essential that the power to the circuit that will be worked on be turned off prior to starting any work. This can be accomplished by switching off the circuit breaker in the main service panel. Similarly, when working on appliances or lamps, make sure the products are unplugged prior to working on them. Do not touch plumbing or gas pipes when doing electrical work. The experts at the Indiana Electric Cooperative note that the risk for electrocution is significant when water comes in contact with electricity. It’s imperative that homeowners do not touch plumbing and gas pipes when performing a DIY electrical project. Professionals know how to work around such pipes while minimizing their risk for electric shock or worse, and homeowners must familiarize themselves with the techniques professionals rely on to stay safe if they intend to begin DIY electrical projects. Homeowners are best served by leaving electrical work to the professionals. However, those who insist on doing such work themselves should do their homework and get to know their systems and safety protocols prior to beginning a project.

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Home electrical systems may include power lines, electric meters, service panels, subpanels, wiring, and more. These systems are complex, and homeowners who intend to do some DIY electrical work should familiarize themselves with their home electrical systems prior to beginning any work. The ESFI notes that knowledge of their home electrical systems can help homeowners more safely navigate them and make maintenance easier.

Given the potential for serious injury, the ESFI urges homeowners to make an honest assessment of their skills before they begin working on their home’s electrical systems. Little or no experience working with electrical systems should be considered a significant hurdle to any DIY project.


According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 400 people are electrocuted in the United States each year. Many of those electrocutions occur in people’s own homes. In fact, the Electrical Safety Foundation International notes that wiring hazards, including damaged or exposed wiring and household wiring, accounted for roughly 14 percent of all electrocution deaths. Such figures underscore the importance that homeowners must place on electrical safety in and around their homes. Emphasizing electrical safety could greatly reduce the risk of injury and accidents, including home fires. The ESFI notes that electrical malfunctions are the leading cause of the largest fires reported to United States fire departments. Properly maintaining home electrical systems and taking steps to reduce accidents around the house can help homeowners feel more secure in their homes.

Techniques to revitalize a lawn after a long winter Lawns can be restored Dry out snow mold The Family Handyman says snow to their pre-winter mold is a cold-season fungus that glory after some sweat causes gray-colored circles or patches on the lawn where there has been equity and about snow. To alleviate snow mold, rake the lawn to loosen matted grass and five to six weeks of facilitate the drying-out process. consistent sunshine De-thatch the lawn and warm weather

Clear out debris Remove any scattered leaves, branches and other debris that has been strewn across the property due to storms or snow-laden trees. This will give you a clean canvas to work on.

Heavy snow can compress the grass and cause some of it to die off. De-thatching helps to remove dead grass blades and separate any matting. This enables water, nutrients and air to reach the lawn’s roots more effectively. Thinning out old organic matter also helps encourage new growth.

Aerate the soil

Apply nutrients

Chances are there are some bare spots that have formed over the winter. Overseeding can help to fill in the lawn. Make sure that frosts are largely a thing of the past and soil temperature is around 50 F to 60 F before seeding. Water daily until grass fills in.

Fertilizer and compost can restore nutrients to the lawn that may have been used up over winter. A soil test at a nearby horticultural center can tell you which nutrients are needed, according to the Chemistry Cachet, a guide to using chemistry secrets for healthy living, beauty, cleaning, and gardening.

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Coupled with dethatching, aeration involves loosening the soil or poking holes to allow nutrients to move freely to the roots.

Kill weeds before they spread. Weeds may be the first to start growing when the weather begins to warm. Address them promptly by manually pulling them or applying an herbicide.

Please contact Samuel Lauzon for a FREE ESTIMATE!



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Pristine, snow-covered landscapes can be wonders to behold. While that blanket of white is idyllic, a lawn’s delicate blades may be paying a hefty price beneath the cold, heavy piles of snow. Snow plows push salt and sand up on the grass while subterranean animals like mice and moles dig burrows beneath piles of snow as they try to find food and stay warm. Such conditions are not favorable for thriving landscapes. When the spring thaw arrives, lawns may be in dire need of some TLC. The following techniques can mitigate winter-related lawn damage.

Overseed the lawn

Spring Home Improvement | Thursday, April 29, 2021



Thursday, April 29, 2021 | Spring Home Improvement

6 steps to organize your home office These organizational tips can help remedy common problems around a home office Remote working has become popular in recent years, but the “working-from-home” economy bloomed exponentially as the world was forced to confront the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom, as of summer 2020, 42 percent of the United States labor force was working from home full-time. The need for home office spaces has increased as more people work from home. Many people have retrofitted various spaces around their homes into areas to get work done. More organized home work spaces can increase productivity. Individuals can follow these guidelines to create effective, organized home offices.

pens and pencils, baskets and bins for larger items, and store whatever you can elsewhere so it does not lead to clutter on the desk. Store wireless printers in a cabinet or even on a bookshelf so it doesn’t take up real estate on the desk.

Begin with the desk

Increase your shelving

The desk is the primary spot where work will take place. The right desk accessories can provide visual appeal and also serve practical purposes. Have cups for holding

Create a printing station While you’re moving that wireless printer elsewhere, designate a space to serve as the central printing hub. This way children who need to print assignments for school will know where to go as well. Printer supplies like extra ink cartridges and printer paper can be kept in decorative storage boxes nearby.

Organize paperwork Figure out a system that works for you to help tidy up papers you choose to save. While some papers can be scanned and stored as digital files, color-coded file folders can organize statements and other important documents. This makes it easy to find the folder you need when looking for certain documents.

Establish a charging station Repurpose certain items, such as a desk organizer, into an easily ac-

cessible electronics charging station where phones and tablets can charge at one time.

Make essential binders HGTV suggests making binders that can store the most important papers for easy access — even in an emergency. Set up a binder for automotive paperwork, including repair receipts, a medical binder where key medical records are kept, a binder for manuals for devices in the home, and one to store financial planning documents.

Shelving can help keep items organized and off the desk in home offices without closets or drawers. Look for shelves that blend in with decor but are sturdy enough to be functional.

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What’s underfoot in a home can go a long way toward making residences comfortable and aesthetically appealing. A study of home buyer preferences using data from the National Association of Realtors® found that 54 percent of home buyers were willing to pay more for a home with hardwood flooring. But that doesn’t mean that carpeting doesn’t still have its devotees. In 2019, the real estate firm Opendoor installed nearly one million yards of carpeting in its homes. Houzz reports that, in 2018, 17 percent of renovating homeowners purchased carpets and 50 percent purchased indoor rugs. Carpeting and rugs can offset some of the shortcomings of hardwood, providing a softer texture that makes for a better landing spot for active young children. However, carpets will require more maintenance than hardwood floors. Learning how to deep clean carpets can help home-

owners, as vacuuming is not enough to keep carpets in top form.

Spot clean stains Stores sell a bevy of carpet cleaning solutions. When applying such solutions, do so in an inconspicuous area of the room to ensure colorfastness of the carpet and that the solution does not adversely affect the fibers. If the spot is clean and the carpet is not adversely affected, you can then apply the solution to more visible areas. Homeowners who prefer all-natural cleaning solutions rather than chemicals can use a solution of white vinegar, baking soda and salt to make a safe cleanser, according to The Spruce. Soak the stain, use a scrub brush to work in the cleanser and then blot up the liquid with a clean cloth. According to the lifestyle resource First for Women, club soda also works as a cleanser when it is sprayed on a stain.


Deep cleaning Carpets periodically need to be revitalized, and that can be accomplished with a specialized cleaning machine. Many are available for purchase (a good investment for homeowners with kids and/or pets), while others can be rented as needed. Remove all of the furniture from a room and vacuum to clean dust, dander and any other debris. Address any darker stains first by pretreating with a cleaning solution. Let sit for around 20 minutes. While waiting, learn how

to operate the machine, fill it and clean out the soiled water. Never allow the machine to oversaturate the carpet with water, as it can get into the padding and subfloor, causing problems like mold or wood damage. Spray the water-detergent solutions, and then pass the carpet cleaner over spots repeatedly until the carpet feels only slightly damp. DoItYourself.com advises running the machine at the pace of one foot per second. Removing shoes when entering the home can keep carpets clean and reduce wear and tear.

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Enjoy a 26% ITC Tax Credit on all installations! Call or email today!

Spring Home Improvement | Thursday, April 29, 2021

DIY strategies to deep-clean carpeting


Thursday, April 29, 2021 | Spring Home Improvement

“Quick, friendly, old-fashioned service” Since 1927

Miles Lumber Company, Inc. 178 Chittenden Dr., Arlington VT 802-375-2525 • mileslbr@fairpoint.net Current Hours are M-F 7-5, Sat. 8-3, subject to change without notice

Our paint can be color matched to other brands! Hardware, Building Materials, Paint, Tools , Gardening Supplies, Home Goods and more!

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Why choose us as your heating provider? Besides having great service andoil fair prices: Besides having great and prices: • 3 In-house service technicians: Hector Stratton, Rickservice Sawyer and Paulfair Fusco,who are also licensed plumbers over 100 yearsLock of experience. not train onif the jobsite! •with Price protection: in a price We capdo but pay less price goes down! ••Price protection: Lock in aa price cap if price goesno down! Fixed price: Lock into and but paypay thatless price, no fees, worries! Prepayment plan: give and you pay a discount to start a prepay budgett plan! pl ••Fixed price: Lock intoWe a price that price, no fees, no worries! 24-hour emergency service our oil customers! ••Prepayment plan: We give you for a discount to start a prepay budget plan! Serviceemergency contracts to coverfor unexpected repairs on your ••24-hour service our oil customers! heating system! • Service contracts to cover unexpected repairs on your heating system! • Local business with a hardware store in Arlington for 94 years! • Local business with a hardware store in Arlington for 92 years!