Spring Home & Car Care 2019

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n i r p g S

HOME AND CAR CARE

A special publication of the Brattleboro Reformer. Saturday, April 20, 2019

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midrange major kitchen remodels costing an average of $63,829 recouped 59 percent of that investment. When investing in a kitchen project, it is important to incorporate items that are coveted. • Deep, double sinks: Having a double sink enables you to soak dishes in one side and then wash on the other. It also makes it easy to wash and prep produce for meals. • Kitchen island and bar stools: Even though many meals are enjoyed around the table, there’s something to be said

for the convenience of a kitchen island and some well-placed bar stools for quick breakfasts or snacks. • Smart kitchen storage: Work with a contractor to include storage solutions built into cabinetry and the pantry. Slideout shelving, nooks for a paper towel roll and custom-designed areas to store stand mixers and other necessities can make kitchens more functional. • Outdoor access: If possible, design a kitchen so it is easy to access the backyard via sliding doors. This

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pared foods out of the way and warm until they are ready to be served. This is particularly handy for holidays and other entertaining. • Beverage station: Designate one area of the kitchen to beverages, such as coffee and tea. Or make the area an informal bar. This can limit traffic in the kitchen to a single area. Kitchen remodels are exciting to envision, and several choices can make these high-traffic spaces even more coveted.

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can make outdoor entertaining or even coffee on the deck much easier. • Under-cabinet lighting: Fixtures installed under cabinets provide both ambient lighting and task lighting. Such lighting makes it easier to see what you’re working on as well, as even well-placed overhead lighting can fail to illuminate dark corners and spots on the counters. • Convenient warming drawer: This appliance provides backup to the oven. It’s a slide-out drawer that can keep pre-

| Saturday, April 20, 2019

Kitchen remodels are among the most popular home renovation projects, whether they consist of swapping out cabinet hardware or doing major demolition. Due to the sheer amount of time families spend in the kitchen, not to mention the number of tasks performed in this space, it is easy to see why Remodeling magazine consistently ranks kitchen renovations as projects that will enable homeowners to recoup a high percentage of their investments. In the magazine’s 2018 “Cost vs. Value” report,

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Spring Home & Car Care Saturday, April 20, 2019 | The Brattleboro Reformer | Reformer.com 4

Fluids to check before your next road trip Checking fluids before embarking on a road trip can help drivers avoid breakdowns and ensure a safe, fun trip. For many traveling enthusiasts, few things are more enticing than the open road. Road trips have long been popular, and that popularity appears to be on the rise. According to a report from MMGY Global, a travel and hospitality marketing firm, road trips represented 39 percent of vacations taken by United States travelers in 2016. Road trips also remain popular in Canada, where vast, rugged terrain makes for idyllic trips. Before embarking on road trips, motorists would be wise to inspect their vehicles to ensure their getaways are not derailed by car troubles. • Brake fluid: Squeaky brakes are not the only potential indicator of brake problems. Brake fluid, which should always be topped off before beginning a road trip, also might shed light on potentially serious problems. According to the National Motorists Association, brake fluid looks honey-like and translucent when fresh. A puddle beneath a vehicle

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that is clear to brown and slick indicates a brake fluid leak, which can ultimately lead to a complete failure of the brakes. The NMA recommends brake fluid be changed at least once every three to four years. • Transmission fluid: When fresh, transmission fluid is red, darkening over time. However, transmission fluid should never appear brown or black, which indicates potential internal damage to the transmission. To determine if there are any issues with the transmission fluid, the NMA recommends drivers wipe a cool dipstick between their thumb and index finger. If even the slightest bit of grit is felt when wiping the dipstick, the transmission is likely in need of work. • Oil: Drivers should change their vehicles’ oil before embarking on road trips, especially if such trips will be lengthy. The NMA notes that fresh oil is light to dark amber and translucent, and that is how oil typically

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looks immediately after an oil change. Oil darkens over time, and that is natural (black oil indicates it’s time for an oil change). However, oil that appears cloudy or milky indicates that coolant is getting into the oil, perhaps due to gasket problems. Drivers who are not getting their vehicles’ oil changed before a road trip should at least check their oil before leaving to inspect the color of the oil and ensure the vehicle has enough oil. • Windshield washer fluid:

The unknown of the open road is part of what makes it so appealing. While many road trippers plan their trips during the summer and fall when the weather tends to be both pleasant and predictable, there’s no guarantee inclement weather won’t rear its ugly head. Filling the windshield washer fluid reservoir before embarking on a trip ensures drivers’ visibility won’t be adversely affected by unforeseen issues that can soil windshields.

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Bright colors A garden full of bright colors like red, orange, magenta, and yellow can provide a landscape with vigor and energy. The NGA notes that brightly colored flowers can withstand especially bright sunshine, meaning gardeners can marvel at their appearance even when the sun might be adversely affecting other plants and flowers.

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and bustle of everyday life. The NGA notes that pastels may looked washed out in the midday sun, so they might be best enjoyed early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Complementary colors Complementary colors are those that are opposite one another on the color wheel. Orange and blue are examples of complementary colors. According to the NGA, complementary colors can add creative energy and vitality to a garden.

Harmonious colors These colors are those that are next to each other on the color wheel, such as orange and red. The NGA recommends harmonious colors for gardeners looking to create a unifying feel in their gardens without resorting to a monochromatic color scheme. Harmonious colors give off a gentle feeling that can make for a relaxing garden atmosphere. Monochromatic colors Monochromatic gardens can be awe-inspiring even though

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they stick to a single color and don’t provide an array of aweinspiring colors. The NGA notes that gardeners with monochromatic gardens make them interesting by using plants of various sizes and shapes. When planting a garden, gardeners can choose whichever color scheme they prefer. To learn more about the effects of color on a garden, visit the National Gardening Association website at www. garden.org.

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Pastel colors Pastels, which include soft pink, powder blue, lavender, and peach, create a tranquil feeling in a garden. This makes pastel perfect for those who want their gardens to be a relaxing, peaceful respite from the hustle

| Saturday, April 20, 2019

Flower gardens can add color and awe-inspiring appeal to a property. The National Gardening Association notes that gardeners can find nearly every color of the spectrum in flowering perennials. So whether you prefer soft pink, are partial to bright red or want to relax in a garden and gaze at something deep blue, chances are you’ll find a perennial to tickle your fancy. The NGA offers the following breakdown of colors to help gardeners learn how their gardens can set the mood they’re looking for.

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Use color to set your garden’s mood

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Spring Home & Car Care Saturday, April 20, 2019 |

Develop a vehicle maintenance schedule The oft-sudden expense of vehicle repairs can throw monthly budgets into disarray. Maintaining a routine service schedule is one way for drivers to keep repair costs down. The online automotive resources Edmunds.com says many car owners do not adequately prepare for scheduled maintenance, and may not give maintenance a thought until it’s too late. The first step drivers take upon purchasing a new or preowned vehicle should be to familiarize themselves with the vehicle’s owner’s manual, which is filled with valuable information and likely includes maintenance interval recommendations. Next, drivers should learn about their vehicle, which is particularly relevant when buying a preowned vehicle. Getting to know how the car

or truck rides, as well as any sounds it may make, can provide drivers with a solid foundation they can then use to keep their cars running strong. Routine service typically includes tire rotation, oil changes and topping off of fluids. So just how long between service appointments can a car go? Here are some generalized estimates. • Oil change: Oil chemistry and engine technology have improved so much that most cars can go well beyond the once-recommended 3,000 mile interval between oil changes. Now many vehicle manufacturers recommend between 5,000 and 10,000 miles between changes, advises Edmunds. Drivers should err on the side of caution if they do a lot of stop-and-go driving and short trips. Other drivers may

want to invest in vehicles that have oil change maintenance minders built in. A light or countdown will come on the dashboard, indicating when the oil has reached the end of its usefulness. • Tire rotation: Rotating tires helps prolong the life of the tires and alleviates uneven tread and wear. During the rotation, each tire is removed and relocated to a different position to ensure that all the tires will wear evenly. Michelin Tires states that tires should be rotated around every six months, or between 6,000 and 8,000 miles. • Vehicle fluids: Your best bet is to see what the manufacturer recommends in regard to fluids such as transmission fluid, differential oil, brake fluids, coolant, etc. Some

transmissions need regular maintenance, while others can go 150,000 miles between changes, according to the vehicle information site The Drive. Coolant typically can last 100,000 miles. For these types of changes, it may be best to go to a mechanic or service center familiar with your make and model rather than a quick-lube center.

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