A special supplement to
Look inside for: Ways to boost home value • Winter weather proofing • Easy ways to go green Banishing basement dampness • Small projects with big benefits • & much more!
2-The Journal Press, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011; The Harrison Press, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011; The Dearborn County Register & The Rising Sun Recorder/Ohio County News, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011, The Market Place, Monday, Oct. 31, 2011
Though the housing market might not be booming, there are still buyers out there looking for a place to call their own. Some potential sellers might prefer a patient approach to selling their homes, choosing to do so when the market rebounds and homes regain some of their lost value. Other sellers might not have a choice and must make due with selling in a lackluster market. Regardless of which category you’re in, there are easy ways to boost your home’s value. Making minor changes to a home can add to your asking price, whether you’re putting your home on the market this week or waiting for the market to rebound. The following tasks might not take much effort, but they pay dividends. * Work on the yard. An appealing
lawn is still a great way to catch a prospective buyer’s eye. When a home boasts a lush lawn and wellmanicured trees, it’s hard to ignore that For Sale sign out front. If landscaping has proven an Achilles’ heel in the past, make an effort to take better care of your property in the months ahead. It doesn’t take long for even the most neglected lawn to rebound from disrepair. By the time you feel confident to put that for sale sign out front, you might just be putting it up in a lush lawn no buyer can resist. • Upgrade appliances. Prospective buyers won’t be thrilled if they walk into a home and see outdated appliances. Some might even feel older appliances indicate a homeowner who cared little about appearances and might begin to wonder if there are any additional
the value of your home areas that might have been neglected around the house. Stainless steel appliances in the kitchen and even new fixtures in the bathroom are aesthetically appealing and tend to excite buyers. Homeowners who aren’t immediately putting their property up for sale can gradually upgrade their appliances to lessen some of the financial toll such purchases take. • Replace the carpet. A clean carpet might make a world of difference to a home’s inhabitants, but a new carpet will be more appealing to prospective buyers. Choose a neutral-toned carpet that will boast a more universal appeal.
buyers feel the home is musty or old. Many buyers judge a book by its cover, and sellers want their home’s exterior to be as attractive as possible. Homeowners can also paint rooms inside the home to give it a fresh and welcoming feel.
• Paint the home. A fresh coat of paint or new siding is always attractive to prospective buyers. If your home hasn’t had a new coat of paint in awhile that might make
• Clean up around the house. A cluttered house will almost certainly repel buyers. Buyers want a home that’s roomy and well kept, but clutter creates the opposite
impression. Organize the closets to make them appear more roomy and clean up any areas that have become cluttered -- consider temporarily renting a storage unit to house excess stuff from closets. Basements or utility closets might be handy for storage, but they should be open and clean before hosting an open house. The less clutter a home has, the more spacious it will appear and the more money sellers can likely demand for the home.
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To DIY or not to DIY... Many homeowners or renters wrestle there is a list of code-specific requirements with the question of whether to tackle a that you can follow -- a cheat-sheet of sorts. project as a do-it-yourself venture to save It may list rated materials required and any some money or simply leave it to a profes- techniques. See if you can speak to an sional. Each situation is unique, but there inspector who will be visiting your property are certain factors that must be considered later on to find out what he or she looks for regardless of a homeowner’s particular situ- specifically. ation. • You must feel confident with the On the surface, a DIY task can seem a endeavor. If you are unsure about anything, very good way to save some money. After you may risk injury or make a significant all, a large percentage, sometimes as much mistake and be forced to hire someone to as 50 percent, of the cost clean up your mess. of hiring a contractor • Consider reputable goes toward labor. For a sources for information. DIY job with no such While it’s easy to go costs, the final financial online and scour mestally can be substantialsage boards for pointers ly less. on certain tasks, not all Although labor can of the information is be expensive, that cost accurate. Trust only is often justified. People content from sources who hire carpenters, that are licensed or electricians, plumbers, backed by certification and the like are paying in a certain area. for the workers’ experiThese things being ence. They’re also paysaid, there are a number ing with the expectation of DIY projects that regthat the job will be done ular people can try. correctly. With jobs that Starting off small and require a building perbuilding up as skills are mit or must be done to developed are good specific code, the conways to begin. For tractor often puts his example: reputation on the line Before staring that DIY project, make • Tile a small kitchand will be held account- sure you haven’t bit off more than you en backsplash before able if the work doesn’t can chew. tackling an entire meet requirements. bathroom shower That isn’t to say an untrained individual enclosure or floor. can’t tackle a specific job around the house. • Build an outdoor potting stand before There are some guidelines that may make attempting furniture or cabinetry work in a such projects go more smoothly and, as a main room of the house. result, more affordable. • Change out a ceiling fan or lighting • Read up and learn as much as you can fixture before re-running electrical lines about the particular work to be done. It’s through the home. easier to make mistakes if you do not know • Succeed in repairing a leaky drain pipe where to start. before taking on a more advanced plumbing • Talk to others who have also done the issue. work. They may have some tips or advice • Use regular painting techniques first that can save you time and money. You may before experimenting with a trendy faux also want to ask if they can help and show finish or plaster application. you the ropes. There are many different things individu• Be sure to obtain all necessary permits als can do themselves that stretch beyond before starting any work. Don’t risk a fine routine home maintenance. From manicures for doing work without permits or having to pool upkeep, the potential to save money work inspected. when budgets are tight can be a powerful • When applying for permits, find out if motivator.
4-The Journal Press, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011; The Harrison Press, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011; The Dearborn County Register & The Rising Sun Recorder/Ohio County News, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011, The Market Place, Monday, Oct. 31, 2011
Every home project begins with an idea and ends with the culmination of the job. In between, there are three main components of an improvement project that can mean the difference between success and frustration: Planning, permits and protection.
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approximate costs (rounding up) and then compare it against the available funds.
Many projects, especially those involving building, demolition, electrical work, or mold remediation, require permits issued by the town, province or city in The initial stage of a renovation is the which the work will be taking place. planning stage. Planning is when a homThe purpose of permits and subsequent eowner works through the concept of the inspections is often questioned by homeproject and determines what is necessary owners looking to circumvent the systo complete the task. tem. However, building permits are Many people find it helpful to write required to ensure public safety, health out plans and draw up the conand welfare as they are affected cept on paper. This doesn’t by building construction, require expensive structural strength, architectural softzoning, and code ware. A simple requirements. In piece of graph essence, buildpaper plotted ing permits are with meahow the govsurements ernment regand a sketch ulates safety is often sufand protects ficient for both current small projand future ects. If the residents of job will be the property. expansive In many and require an cases, homearchitect or owners will engineer, he or need to visit the she will often promunicipal building vide a technical drawin their respective ing. towns and apply If the project Making sure you have everything lined up before for a permit. The focuses more on you begin your renovation project can make a permit may not decorating than difference. immediately be building, some i s s u e d . find it helpful to create a design board. Oftentimes, there is a waiting period durThis is where fabric swatches, paint color ing which the project’s legality and safety samples, pictures of furniture and acces- is examined. Once the project is approved, sories, and any other components of the the applicant will be able to file for the room are put together. Having a design actual permit(s). There is usually a fee or board enables the homeowner to go to the fees for permit application, which covers store with board in tow and match up any clerical work. items to things in the store. Work should not begin until a permit is Another part of the planning stage is received, and then the permit generally establishing a budget and determining the has to be placed in plain sight, such as in project’s financing. It can be helpful to a window of the building. Depending on make a list of all income and expenses building codes, inspections of the work and find out how much funding is left may need to take place after all of the over for a project. When getting esti- project is completed or during certain mates on the work, whether it will be phases. For example, the building of a done by a contractor or a DIY project, the deck may require inspections after foothomeowner should then make a list of ings are installed and secured, and before
the upper portions of the decking materials are attached. If an inspection takes place afterward, the inspector will be looking for key code issues to determine whether the work was completed successfully. If a contractor was used, he or she may have to be present at the time of the inspection. If the work passes, an approval will be given and put on record. If the work fails, applicable repairs will have to be made and a re-inspection will be scheduled. Should a home be put on the market, all permits may need to be on file or in the homeowners’ possession in order for a certificate of occupancy to be issued to the new buyer. Failure to have permits can hold up the process or result in fines.
Homeowners about to begin a project also need to emphasize safety. There are a number of things that can be on hand to make a work environment safer. These include: • Eye protection: This is especially important when working with flying debris, cutting items, mixing caustic chemicals, etc. • Respirator or face mask: Cover the nose or mouth when there is dust or debris in the air that can enter the lungs. When working with toxic fumes, such as when using spray paints or chemical lubricants, a respirator can offer clean air. • Boots: Proper footwear ensures protection should an item fall on the foot or when walking where nails or other sharp items are located. • Fire extinguisher: A fire extinguisher should be nearby in the event of a mishap. • First aid kit: An abrasion or cut may occur, requiring prompt care. • Gloves: When the hands need to be protected or extra traction on surfaces is required, gloves can be a necessity. • Headphones: Safety headphones can protect the ears against loud, consistent noises from power equipment and tools. • Locks: A locked cabinet can store tools, paints, chemicals, and other improvement supplies so that young children or pets won’t have access. When homeowners take the time to plan, obtain permits, and secure the needed protection for a job, they help ensure a safer job that is done correctly.
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Water entering a home’s basement is very unpredictable. One minute the basement could be dry and the next there could be a river running through it. For homeowners, ignoring a water problem could prove costly and rob its residents of an otherwise enjoyable place to spend their time. For concerned homeowners, protecting the basement from potential water damage is easier than you might think. Waterproofing a basement is a simple job that beautifies a space while protecting it against future damage from water. First, know what properties to look for in a waterproofer. The property that is the most important to look for in a masonry waterproofing paint is the ability to hold back hydrostatic pressure, which makes a waterproofer different than a water sealer and an
ordinary house paint. Ordinary house paints merely adhere to the wall surface while masonry waterproofers penetrate the pores of the masonry to become part of the wall. Most waterproofing paints will go through pressure tests that will determine the Pounds Per Square Inch (PSI) the coating will hold back. It is also important that the coating be tested to withstand wind-driven rain. The PSI should be at a minimum of 4 psi, which is a wall of water 9 feet high. Look for products that have been tested independently on standard grade building materials. Be leery of products that say they will withstand above 15 psi (which is a wall of water higher than 33 feet), as a standard grade building block could never withstand that much pressure. In fact, independent testing facilities will not
test products to over 15 psi. Once you have selected your waterproofer, it is time for surface preparation. Examine the surface for loose or broken mortar or any holes or cracks in the surface. The surface should be clean and patched with a hydraulic cement. Be sure there are no signs of efflorescence, which are natural salts leaching from the masonry surface. These salts should be cleaned with an etching solution which is a safer alternative than Muriatic Acid. After cleansing, rinse the surface thoroughly. A waterproofing paint is thicker than house paint, so it will take longer to apply, but its application is just as simple. Most waterproofing paints can be applied with a stiff bristle brush or a roller. Simply work the product into the surface of the masonry, filling the texture
with the coating. The thing to remember is that this coating needs to perform a task, so it is important to follow the label instructions. It is recommended to apply the first coat with a nylon or polyester bristle brush for best results. The second coat can be applied with a brush or masonry roller. Follow directions for application carefully. If the area covered is more than the recommendation on the label, you’re spreading the paint too thin. Two coats are usually sufficient to stop seepage. However, if seepage is still present after several days, an additional coat may be necessary. Whether your plans are for a basement pantry, woodshop, laundry room or even a living room or play room, you have to start with a dry space and the best start is with a reliable, reputable waterproofing paint.
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6-The Journal Press, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011; The Harrison Press, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011; The Dearborn County Register & The Rising Sun Recorder/Ohio County News, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011, The Market Place, Monday, Oct. 31, 2011
Painting is a job that requires preparation and the right equipment. Oftentimes homeowners are unsure about whether they need to use primer before painting or if just paint will do the trick. Although there are no firm rules, there are certain cases where one or the other will be adequate. Consider a room where the walls have been heavily stained, either by moisture infiltration, rust or another factor. Deepset stains may bleed through regular paint, therefore a primer should be applied to help block and lock-in the stain. When a room had previously been painted in a very dark color, like red or purple, a primer can help cover the color quickly without the need for multiple applications of regular paint. There also are specialized primers that can be used in rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms that often contain a lot of moisture. These primers inhibit the growth of mold and mildew on painted surfaces. Primers also may be used on materials, such as metal or plastic, to help the colored paint stick to the surface of the item. If a room is only to be painted white or tinted slightly with color, then a primer alone can be used. Certain primers seal porous wall surfaces so they do not absorb paint, requiring more coats for coverage. Rooms that are being painted that are already white and free of stains or other surface abnormalities may be painted sufficiently with just a coat of regular paint. If skipping primer, look for a high-quality, thick paint that boasts good coverage in one or two coats. There are new products today that offer primer and paint all in one combination. The jury is still out on the efficacy of these new items, but homeowners can experiment with these paints to see if they work for them. Keep in mind that the cost of a combination product may be more than traditional paint and primer.
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Fall Lawn Care Tips
Warm-weather days will soon be a thing of the past and that means prepping the home and landscape for the arrival of winter weather. Even though it may be blanketed first by leaves and snow, lawns need treatment now to be sure they overwinter successfully. In fact, lawn experts say there is significant root growth that takes place during the winter -growth homeowners won’t necessarily see. People should continue to water their lawns throughout the autumn if there isn’t significant rain and to aerate it as well. Applying a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen can help foster strong root growth. Also, keep up on removing leaves that have fallen. Not only will they stifle the lawn, but they may cause excessive moisture and mold to grow while inhibiting sunlight from reaching the grass as well. Before winter arrives, take the time to sow some grass seeds into the bald patches, if any. By late fall the lawn will stop taking up nutrients in preparation for winter.
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Beat the winter window sweat When cooler weather arrives, homeowners often face a troublesome condition. Condensation forms on windows and can be a nuisance or even cause damage to the surrounding trim. There are reasons why sweating windows occur. Knowing the causes is the key to fixing the situation. When air gets warm it expands and is able to absorb water. When the air cools, eventually it gets to the point where the water is released in the form of condensation. As a result, when warm, moist air from inside the home comes in contact with cold windows, it releases the condensation on the windows. The opposite can occur in the warmer months, when outdoor air condenses on windows because of an airconditioned interior. There are many activities that put moisture in the air, including breathing, showering and cooking. Removing excess moisture from the home can help reduce condensation and window sweating. • Be sure that windowless bathrooms have an exhaust vent that will vent air outdoors. Bathroom doors also should have enough of a gap on the bottom of the door to let air inside the bathroom. • Gas appliances, such as fireplaces, should be properly vented. • Opt for cooking methods that do not produce steam. • Lower the thermostat so that the home is cooler, ideally between 62 to 68 degrees F. • Check if the clothes dryer is properly vented outdoors. • Consider running a dehumidifier if moisture is a problem not easily remedied. • Think about replacement windows. Insulated windows that feature double or triple panes will be more insulated, preventing the warm air in the home from meeting the cold air of outdoors. Also avoid metal window frames, as such frames tend to conduct the cold and can further exacerbate sweating issues.
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8-The Journal Press, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011; The Harrison Press, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011; The Dearborn County Register & The Rising Sun Recorder/Ohio County News, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011, The Market Place, Monday, Oct. 31, 2011
Custom cabinets and more close to home STAFF REPORT
Cabinets aren’t just for the kitchen or bath. Manchester-based Worthington Cabinetry offers a variety of custom and non-custom products from media centers to bars, as well as traditional kitchen and bath cabinets. Lifelong Dearborn County resident Michael Worthington and his five employees work throughout the Tri-State, and sometimes the nation. Through Hoosier Wallbed, he and his employees work with hotels and firehouses as well as others installing the hide-away beds. The beds also can and are purchased by homeowners who want to make the most of their space, said Worthington, who started the business in 1985. Most of his local business comes from Dearborn and surrounding counties in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. He likes to joke “ask your neighbor, ask your friend, we’ve probably done work for someone you know,” said Worthington. Or maybe not someone
you know personally, maybe a business. Worthington Cabinetry’s work can be seen throughout Dearborn County Hospital, in United Community Bank and Dearborn Savings Bank and at Hollywood Casino. If the homeowner’s budget doesn’t run to all new cabinets and a complete remodel, old cabinets can be resurfaced or refinished, he said. Worthington also offers quick turnaround time on solid surface and laminate counter tops because the company does them in-house, he said. The company also does ceramic tile backsplashes, and sells RiverRun and Timberlake brands. “We’re not a big box store. We maintain a customer-oriented philosophy, make the customer happy and he or she will continue to be a customer,” said Worthington. One such customer has had Worthington do three complete kitchens. “They’d move and call us to upgrade the kitchen,” he said. He owes a lot to his return customers both residential and commercial. “I owe them a thank you, because without their confidence, I wouldn’t still be here,” he added.
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The Journal Press, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011; The Harrison Press, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011; The Dearborn County Register & The Rising Sun Recorder/Ohio County News, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011, The Market Place, Monday, Oct. 31, 2011-9
Save some green by going green Winterize & Save Money
There are numerous, simple projects at homeowners’ fingertips that can conserve energy in a home and keep money in the bank. Although windows, doors and siding are the biggest opportunities to conserve energy and reduce costs, not every project has to be a major one. When it comes to improving energy efficiency, every little bit helps. Using the right products helps to ensure that projects are done correctly and withstand the test of time. Below are a few easy weekend projects to get any house ready for the winter. Garage doors are usually the single largest entry point into a home and are rarely insulated, leaving a large area where air can seep in. Rubber thresholds, found at any hardware store, can be easily and quickly installed underneath the garage door to help keep the cold at bay. Since most garage doors are aluminum, it is best to use a two-
part epoxy like Gorilla Epoxy to secure these two different materials together. Epoxy fills any surface gaps, creating a lasting, water-resistant bond. The pressure and weight of the door then helps seal the garage when the door is closed. A similar type of seal can be made with a rubber gasket on exterior doors as well. By creating a tighter seal on this entry door, cold air is prevented from getting in and the warm air from getting out. When the weather dips below freezing, there is a good chance that copper pipes will freeze. This is a potentially messy and costly issue that can be easily prevented. While it might be harder to get to the pipes behind the walls, exposed pipes in the basement can be wrapped without
difficulty. Flexible foam with a splitsleeve, purchased from any hardware store, will slip right over the pipes and can be easily secured with Gorilla Tape. This heavy duty tape contains twice the adhesive as most duct tapes and outperforms standard duct tape in these tough situations. Either wrap tape around the insulating foam or run the entire length to seal the seam. Even areas where freezing does not pose a threat can benefit by keeping the pipes a more consistent temperature, and preventing costly drywall leaks caused by pipe condensation. Attics, even when insulated, are a major source of lost heat. However, most homeowners forget to complete their insulation project by insulating the access door to the attic. For this project, it is best to use
rigid foam insulation with a radiant barrier. Cut the insulation board to the door’s dimensions. (It is best to cut the piece a tad smaller than the door’s exact size to ensure that it does not interfere with hinges or where the door seats into place.) Once cut, affix the insulation board using polyurethane glue. Gorilla Glue is one of the only adhesives that can glue foam to a wood or metal attic door without melting the foam. Also, remember to wet one surface prior to gluing and clamp the project by weighting it down with some heavy items. This polyurethane glue expands into the surface of the insulation and creates a tight bond ensuring the insulation will stay in place for the life of the home. All of these winterizing projects are easy, quick, and can be completed within a weekend. Armed with a few supplies from the local hardware store, energy and heat savings are just a few moments away.
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10-The Journal Press, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011; The Harrison Press, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011; The Dearborn County Register & The Rising Sun Recorder/Ohio County News, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011, The Market Place, Monday, Oct. 31, 2011
Small projects can add
BIG appeal In this economy, homeowners are watching every penny. Just because money is tight doesn’t mean every renovation plan has to be cast aside. Smaller projects can revitalize a room without a big investment. Homeowners who don’t have much to spend still don’t want to compromise quality with smaller improvements. Therefore, they’re often thinking of big appeal, albeit on a smaller scale. To get started, homeowners should look at the rooms they use the most and begin there. What’s the point of starting in a guest room or renovating the basement if it’s rarely used? Put available funds to work on the rooms that get seen. For example, the kitchen is a popular room in many homes. If budget doesn’t allow for a rehaul of appliances or cabinetry, think about less expensive ways to modify the space. A new faucet can give the room a different look, as can replacing cabinet hardware and hinges.
Revitalize the appearance of the room with new flooring, such as laminate that mimics the look of stone, wood or other natural surfaces. Change the accessories in a china hutch or hang some different artwork for an instant change. Bathroom makeovers are often high on the list of improvements. But many improvements can be budget-busters. Think about improvements that change what is disliked. Maybe outdated wallpaper can be removed and replaced with paint. Clean up the grout around a bathtub by redoing to freshen the room. Go with a new color scheme achieved by replacing the old linens, bath mat and shower curtain. Living room re-dos can be achieved with some accessory changes and perhaps a new piece of furniture. Change a glass coffee table for an earthy leather ottoman that can also store toys or throw pillows. A simple swap of window treatments can dramatically change
the look of the room. If seating has seen better days -- but a new set is not an option -- formfitted slipcovers are a quick, and generally low-cost, fix. Kids’ rooms often can be improved with some much-needed storage space. Clear up clutter from the floor by installing a closet organizing system, which can hang clothes within reach for children. Older children may appreciate a room that reflects their maturity. Now is the time to change princess prints for bolder graphics or dump trucks for sophistication. All it often takes is a little paint and some new bed linens to achieve the look.
For a dramatic change in a home with hardwood floors being hidden by carpeting, take the weekend to pull up the carpeting and reveal the floors beneath. A little sanding and resealing is often all it takes to bring out the beauty of the wood. And that will instantly provide value while increasing aesthetic appeal. Another simple and very inexpensive way to renovate a home is to reduce. By removing clutter and items that are simply collecting dust, homeowners can breathe new life into spaces. Rearranging furniture is also another option.
Adding new pieces of furniture and de-cluttering are easy ways to boost your home’s appeal.
The Journal Press, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011; The Harrison Press, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011; The Dearborn County Register & The Rising Sun Recorder/Ohio County News, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011, The Market Place, Monday, Oct. 31, 2011-11
Prepping the fireplace for the winter season People looking to embrace the coldweather season often find snuggling up in front of a roaring fire is both relaxing and warming. Fireplaces are popular components of homes across the country. Ensuring fireplaces are prepared for a season of use is important from a safety standpoint and for personal comfort as well. The U.S. Fire Administration states that heating fires account for 36 percent of residential home fires in rural areas every year. Often these fires are due to creosote buildup in chimneys and stovepipes. All home heating systems require regular maintenance to function safely and efficiently. One of the most important steps to fireplace maintenance and preparation is having the entire thing cleaned by a professional. A chimney sweep provides a variety of services. According to Ace Chimney Sweeps of Maryland, a chimney sweep will clean out the entire chimney. Many use a high-powered vacuum so that there is no soot or dust entering the home. Depending on the range of services, some sweeps also offer a series of inspections of the chimney, interior flue and checks of attic spaces for any damaged areas that will need repair.
The next step will be securing your source of fuel. Many homeowners contract with a provider of seasoned firewood. A delivery of one or two cords of wood may take the average fireplace user through the season. Wood can also be purchased at supermarkets or picked up free in different areas. It’s not adviseable to use wood that has just been cut down. It likely contains high levels of moisture that will result in more smoke than burn power, and could lead to deposits forming on the inside of the chimney. Synthetic logs are also available, but use caution because they may burn unevenly and put out higher levels of carbon monoxide. Follow directions on the packages of these products carefully. It is important to inspect a fireplace screen or guard to ensure it can safely protect against embers escaping the fireplace. In homes where there are young children, an added barrier may be needed in front of the fireplace to prevent little hands from touching the hot screen. It is vital to open up the chimney flue before starting any fire. This allows fresh air to feed the fire and will enable smoke to exit the home. Failure to open the flue can result in smothering, dirty smoke filling the home
quite quickly. The flue should be closed after buildup of flammable creosote on the chimthe fire is completely extinguished so that ney. animals and outside debris don’t enter the A fireplace can be a focal point, a source home via the opening. of home heating and just a nice place to Be sure to have a metal container for which to retire when the weather is cold. removing and storing hot ashes handy. Preparing the fireplace for use and maintainEmbers and ashes can stay hot for quite ing it properly are the keys to a safe season some time, so they should be placed out- of use. doors, ideally far from the home so they don’t set anything ablaze. Educate household members about the rules of fireplace use. They should be aware that no items should be discarded into the fire to avoid the emission of toxic fumes or dangerous embers. All it takes is one stray ember to start a huge fire. Also, improper fuel mate- A room with a fireplace can be a welcome retreat on those cold rials may lead to the winter days.
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12-The Journal Press, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011; The Harrison Press, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011; The Dearborn County Register & The Rising Sun Recorder/Ohio County News, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011, The Market Place, Monday, Oct. 31, 2011
12 easy ways to Making home improvements doesn’t have to mean compromising environmental ideals in the process. There are numerous jobs that a person can do that fit with a green lifestyle. While these improvements help protect the planet, they’ll also help keep a few extra dollars in your wallet. 1. Conserve water. Turn off the tap between brushing teeth or rinsing off dishes. Better yet, install low-flow faucets, showerheads and toilets that reduce the consumption of water in the household. 2. Motion detection: Motion-detector lights can be installed in different rooms of the home and outdoors. Lights will automatically turn on and off depending on the activity in the area, reducing the chances of a light being left on inadvertently and wasting money and energy. 3. Solar panels: You may have been toying with the idea of solar panels for years. They can be installed on the roof or in the yard to power various components of the household, like lights during a traditional power outage or the swimming pool filter. Today it is possible to buy used solar panels, many of which still have a lot of life left to them and are considerably cheaper than new ones. 4. Aluminum-clad storm door: Insulate the entryway of your home with a storm door that will buffer against harsh weather conditions. While you’re creating a more air-tight space, caulk around windows and doors. 5. Replace air filters. Your HVAC system likely has filters inside that trap dirt and contaminants. Replacing the filters leads to cleaner indoor air and helps the unit run more efficiently. 6. Power strips: Stock up on power strips and plug all of your peripherals and computer equipment into these strips. This way when you want to power down everything completely, you simply turn off the power button on the strip. This ensures no devices are drawing power even in the off position, which many do. 7. Install fans. Fans aren’t just useful in the summer. In the winter, the blades can be set to rotate in the opposite direction and help draw warm air into the room, heating more efficiently. 8. Rainwater barrels: Set up rainwater barrels at the downspouts of your home’s gutter system. These barrels collect water that can be used to water indoor and outdoor plants, or even wash the car. Some feature a spigot to which you can directly connect a garden hose. 9. Plant trees. Trees are good for the environment in many ways, producing necessary oxygen for life and offering food and living areas for wildlife. Trees can also shade a home during the warm weather, helping reduce energy consumption. 10. Glass fireplace doors: Install glass fireplace doors, which are safer than fireplace screens. They’ll also help protect against heat loss up the chimney when there isn’t a fire lit. 11. Buy a solar cover. Warm up your spa all season long with a solar cover, which helps keep debris out of the water, too. Solar covers reduce the need to fire up the heater to warm the water. 12. Dog waste composter: Create a method to safely dispose of dog waste without having to toss it in plastic bags in the trash. There are devices that can be buried into the ground to serve as a dog waste receptacle. Or you can make one of your own by placing a container with a lid that seals on top but has an open bottom. Sprinkle a natural bacteria septic tank product, such as Rid-X(R), down the hole routinely and it will break down the waste and turn it into soil fertilizer. There are a variety of ways to go green with home improvements, whether extensive projects or small fixes.
Though ceiling fans are most associated with warm-weather seasons, most can be effective throughout the winter months as well, helping circulate warm air throughout a room in much the same way they circulate cool air during the warmer weather. Most of today’s fans have a switch near the motor housing that alters the direction in which the fan’s blades turn. When a ceiling fan is used in the summer, its blades push the air downward, moving cool air around the room. The air blowing around the room is what cools people within the room. When the blades’ direction is altered, the blades then push the air upward toward the ceiling. This drives the hot air, which typically rises to the top, down toward the edges of the room. This helps circulate warm air throughout a room, making for more even heating. What’s more, this improved heat circulation helps combat window sweating that results from condensation on the glass when hot air is not effectively circulated throughout a home.
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