From a simple flat tire that leaves you stranded far from home to disasters that have the potential to impact the entire globe, it always pays to be prepared. Stocking up on some basic items and keeping a bug-out bag, or 72-hour survival kit, handy can make all the difference should you be faced with an emergency situation. Failing to take stock of your supplies from time to time could find you dealing with expired food, broken equipment, and other resources that may no longer be able to meet your needs. Read the rest of this entry »
As the snow finally melts away, it’s time for homeowners to start thinking about spring cleaning. This is the best time of year to do some pretty intensive home maintenance. You’ll need to clean up after winter, and you’ll want to get going on it before it gets too hot to comfortably do maintenance work outdoors. Not sure where to start with your spring cleaning checklist? Here are five great places to start to make sure your house looks fantastic as you head into summertime.
1.Roof Maintenance and Repair
Winter is not kind to roofs. Snow sitting on the rooftop for months at a time may look picturesque, but snow and ice storms can break shingles or pull them off the roof, leaving unprotected areas that will culminate in a roof leak. You’ll want to replace any of these before the rainy spring is in full effect to avoid a puddle of rainwater collecting in your attic. Grab a ladder and climb on up. Besides loose or buckling shingles, keep an eye out for large amounts of moss, rusted or cracked caulk, and worn areas near chimneys.
If you’re looking for a new window treatment for your home, it’s likely that you’ve already thought about bamboo shades. Inexpensive and easy to install, more and more people are making the switch to this economical and earth-friendly material. Not only are these shades long-lasting, their beautiful, natural wood look means they can compliment any room in your home, from simple kitchen rolls all the way to a cozy den. Here are the top five reasons why going bamboo may be your best option when looking for new home decoration:
Manufacturers of electronic products today have an important responsibility towards the environment. While they are creating products meant to meet people’s needs and make their lives easier, they are also responsible for ensuring that the materials they use as well as their wastes do not harm the environment particularly the community in which they belong to.
Most often, electronic devices regardless of size contain a certain amount of toxic chemicals. They, however, vary in the level of chemicals used.
Studies have been conducted to determine the chemicals found notably in mobile devices. The analysis done by HealthyStuff.org, for one, has found that among the 36 mobile phones they looked into, the Apple products contained less toxic chemicals. Read the rest of this entry »
Simple Tips to Safeguard Your Home
Finding ways to safeguard your home from intruders is extremely important. Considering that your family and all of your belongings can be in danger if someone comes into your home, it is best that you take every step that you can to prevent intruders from entering your home. Contrary to popular belief, safeguarding your home does not have to cost a considerable amount of money. By investing in a few burglary prevention devices and making a few changes to the outside of your home, you will gain an added level of comfort knowing that burglars will be less likely to try and enter your home.
Prune Your Shrubs
When it comes to burglars, they often need places to hide in order to successfully burglarize a home. If your shrubs and bushes are trimmed, then burglars will be highly visible to your neighbors and other people who may pass by your home. Fortunately, it does not take a lot of money or a lot of time to complete this job, but the satisfaction you get from knowing that burglars cannot snoop around your home will be priceless.
Close Your Blinds
Burglars are opportunists, and they will definitely try and steal things that are visible. By keeping your blinds closed, no one will be able to look in and see what valuables you have. Burglars have a tendency to want to window shop, and you definitely do not want them to do their window shopping at your home.
Install a Security System
A security system will work wonders in deterring intruders from entering a home. If you simply place a security sign in front of your yard, intruders will probably not try to enter your home. If an intruder does enter the home, the alarm will sound, and neighbors and police will be notified. Criminals do not like to draw attention to themselves; therefore, they will not want to set off an alarm system. Getting an alarm system is one of the best home protection devices you can invest in.
Consider Buying a Gun
Many people are intimidated when it comes to guns, but there is really no reason to be, especially when it comes to protecting your home and family from intruders. You don’t need anything expensive or heavy-duty; a simple handgun, like a 9mm, will work well. You can find 9mm ammo fairly cheaply and then rest assured knowing you have an added measure of protection from unwanted strangers.
Buy a Dog
Many burglars have often commented that a barking dog will keep them from entering a home. Whether it is a Chihuahua or a German Shepherd, the barking will keep them from entering. Since the burglars do not know if the barking has alerted someone or not, they will not want to risk entering the home. Not only will the dog offer you an added layer of protection against intruders, but it will also be a wonderful addition to your family.
Get Motion Sensors
Once again, an intruder’s main goal is to get into a home without being seen. If you have motion sensors installed on your home, the bright lights will make the intruder highly visible if he or she is trying to enter your home at night.
Do Not Advertise Your Products
It is important that you do not attract attention to your home by advertising your products. If you received a 60 inch television for your birthday, it is best that you do not leave the box on the curb. Burglars and other intruders will see this box, and they will know that you have a valuable item in your home. Instead of placing boxes on the curb, you should cut them up and put them in dark trash bags.
Install New Locks
Intruders do not want to have to put effort into their crimes. They would rather have the opportunity to get in and get out quickly. If you install new locks on your door, a simple kick will probably not be sufficient to get in the front door. In addition to locks on the doors, you should also make sure that windows have reliable locks on them as well.
Safeguarding your home is not as difficult or costly as some people may believe. As long as you follow a few simple precautions, your home will be less likely to be burglarized.
Have you always wanted to do more to save the earth than recycle? Here are some easy tips for creating an eco-friendly home regardless of how much space you have.
- Don’t throw old paper out too soon. You can print on both sides or use the clean side to take notes or draw.
- Leaky faucets and showers be taken care of straight away. Not only will these leaks increase your utility bills, they can also cause rust or calcium buildup. Read the rest of this entry »
Frances Gerety once observed that “A diamond is forever.” Unfortunately, chances are that your home isn’t made out of metastable allotropes of ancient carbon. As such, every part of your house has a built-in expiration date. Time makes fools of us all, and homeowners are no exception. The good news is that if you have a general idea of when those expiration dates might be falling due, then you’ll be able to better prepare for what could potentially be some fairly steep home repair costs. Well, we might not be able to tell you exactly when your roof is going to fail, but we can certainly help you understand approximately how long certain house-components last. Read on to see how old you can expect parts of your house to get before they call it quits.
1. Electrical systems/appliances
The good news is that the actual copper wiring of your home isn’t going anywhere any time soon; it’s supposed to last about as long as the home itself. Of course, the same can’t be said for the things that are hooked up to it. Lighting controls and other electrical accessories don’t generally make it too far past the ten-year mark. Also, just because the wiring itself probably won’t degrade, we can’t promise that older homes won’t need some upgrading to bring ancient electrical systems into accordance with modern safety standards. As for appliances, the actual life-expectancy may vary from device to device and depend on how often it is used, but it’s safe to say that most major appliances will last from 9–15 years.
2. HVAC systems
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are made up of multiple components, each of which has a different shelf life. For example, your thermostat may last as long as 35 years, while an electric or gas water heater may need to be replaced after only a decade. Furnaces can last for 20 years, air conditioning units for 15, heat pumps for 16, and tankless water heaters may still be working after two decades. Of course, this is all dependent upon you being willing to perform required regular maintenance, because without it, you HVAC components won’t last nearly this long.
For something that you spend all day trampling underfoot, flooring actually lasts for quite a long time. For example, if you were to invest in some all-natural wood flooring in 2014, you probably wouldn’t have to bother with replacing it until approximately 2114, because that stuff can hold up for a century or more. Some of the other potential flooring materials aren’t quite as long-lived. Natural stone flooring can also last 100 years, but will need more maintenance to reach that venerable age. Vinyl floors can last for 50 years, and linoleum for 25. Carpet is the bottom of the bunch, generally needing to be replaced every 8–10 years.
4.Faucets, sinks, and other fixtures
Most anything made out of porcelain will last as long as it needs to, assuming it never gets cracked. However, any fixture that uses plumbing will probably need new parts eventually. Most faucets will work properly for about 15 years, and other plumbing may make it as long as half a century (but don’t count too heavily on it).
The life of a roof depends heavily upon factors such as climate, design, and maintenance, but the single most defining factor is the materials being used. Roofs made out of copper, clay, or slate should be able to endure for about 50 years. Common wooden shingles can make it to 35 years under normal conditions.
These days, you don’t have to be a hippie to go the green route. Climate change has been made public knowledge, and more and more people are now getting into the habit of finding ways to help preserve the earth. Luckily, we have a lot of resources available to help us figure out exactly what we can do to save the planet without disrupting our daily lives. The best place to start is at home and we’re fortunate that going green doesn’t mean having to compromise style, either. Here are some nifty ideas for jazzing up your windows the sustainable way.
Keep the cold or heat out
With heavy drapes or window film, you can help regulate the temperature inside your home and significantly reduce your heating bills in the winter and your cooling bills in the summer. Some window films can even go as far as preventing harmful UV rays from entering your home.
Make use of the sun’s warmth and light
Unless you suffer from headaches caused by bright light, one of the most eco-friendly ways to use your windows is by keeping them free from obstructions. Use the sun’s natural light to save on lighting bills and use the sun’s warmth to stay toasty. All you have to do is invest in some window film for your big window and leave it at that.
Cotton can also work as a great window treatment, barring any chemicals or toxins it might have gotten from processing. Natural fibers are great thanks to their biodegradability and are versatile enough to adapt to whatever style you have in mind.
Seal those windows
Take a bit of caulk to make sure your windows are properly sealed. You’d be surprised at how much energy you’ll save and how effective it is against air loss.
Use recycled items
It may be easier and much more convenient to buy brand-new window treatments but it has gotten much easier to find recycled curtains and blinds these days. You help beautify your home while preventing more materials from getting dumped into landfills. You may even repurpose an old bed sheet and turn it into a curtain or runner. Take note of curtain colors especially when dealing with heavy drapes because darker colors absorb heat much faster than light shades and will quickly heat up your home in the summer months.
When properly sourced, wood isn’t just a handsome window treatment; it’s a great alternative to other materials. One of the most popular choices for wooden window treatments is bamboo due to its rapid growth and durability. However, if you manage to find a supplier of wood that practices sustainable yield forest management, you may use cedar or whatever you choose. If you’re unsure of what type of wood to go for, your best bet would really be bamboo.
To play a role in helping to preserve the environment, you don’t have to go to extremes and live off the grid. With a bit of elbow grease and ingenuity, you can go green at home without sacrificing comfort.
Tammie Braunson is a professional blogger that shares the latest on architectural decorative glass. She writes for Imaging Sciences, a top company for producing architectural decorative glass panels.
Commercial cleaning products were developed to do a good job of cleaning. But when most of what is popular today came on the market, there wasn’t as much concern about the environment as there is today.
Products have changed to keep up with consumer preferences (as well as environmental regulations), and many of the biggest environmental offenders have cleaned up their act. But most commercial household cleaners on the market today were not developed to be green and have not yet morphed to full greenness.
There are fully green options out there. Environmental Working Group has a fairly comprehensive list of green cleaning products currently available, with good discussion and some valuable pointers. Their site is worth a visit.
The Environmental Protection Group gives a lot of insight into the harmful environmental effects of choosing not to go green. Discussion and checklists are geared more to governmental contractors, but the site does offer a lot of good general information.
Powerful green cleaners are already in your home
Most people don’t fully grasp that they don’t have to go out and purchase commercial products to raise their home to a clean, green state. Almost all homes contain simple but sometimes powerful cleaners already in their cabinets or laundry rooms.
Some products that perform very well are the following common household items:
• White vinegar: White vinegar is a cleaner’s dream. It leaves glass sparkling and can be used to clean electronics (if you use a damp cloth moistened with equal parts vinegar and water). The foaming action of a mixture of vinegar and baking soda poured down a drain works wonders in clearing clogs. An added bonus is a drain that smells clean and fresh. Reader’s Digest published an article called “150 Uses for Vinegar.” It’s a good read. Read the rest of this entry »
There are a handful of ways to increase the property value of your home. Even if you’re not in the market to sell, raising the value of your home helps adjacent homes sell better.
The key is to upgrade elements that will not only impress buyers but increase the comfort level of your the home. Here are five solid tips for improving your home and increasing its value. Read the rest of this entry »