Outside of the home itself, remodeling is typically one of the largest investments you can make as a homeowner. Consider these tips to help you make an informed decision when hiring a remodeling contractor.
Starting a Home Remodeling Project
7 tips for choosing a qualified contractor
(Family Features) Outside of the home itself, remodeling is typically one of the largest investments you can make as a homeowner. While some projects can be tempting to tackle yourself, many larger-scale projects may require hiring a qualified professional.
Because remodeling your home is a big undertaking, it’s important to take steps to ensure the professional you hire to perform the work is qualified to complete it to the highest standards of quality and integrity.
Consider these tips from the experts at the National Association of the Remodeling Industry to help you make an informed decision when hiring a remodeling contractor.
Follow Your Design Aesthetic
Ask for Licenses and Insurance
Search for Violations or Complaints
Compare Apples to Apples
Find more tips for selecting a contractor at remodelingdoneright.com.SOURCE:
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
Here are some basic tasks you need to do now to prepare for wintry weather and to ensure your family stays healthy and safe inside.
(BPT) - No matter where you live, there are bound to be weather challenges this winter. Your home may suffer damage, minor or major, from the onslaught of colder weather, along with wind, heavy rain, ice storms or even major snow systems. This can affect not only the integrity and value of your home, but may lead to costly repairs down the road. That's why it's smart to prep now, to prevent bigger problems in the future. It's also a good idea to make sure that your home is prepped for spending more time indoors.
Here are basic tasks to prepare for wintry weather, and to ensure your family stays healthy and safe inside.
1. Perform a safety check
Are your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in good working order? Make monthly testing of these safety features a regular part of your seasonal household chores. For battery-operated units keep up-to-date with battery changes as per manufacturer instructions. Also be aware and take action if you hear any low battery alarms. Also, do you have a home fire extinguisher in your kitchen?
2. Ensure clean indoor air
Make sure your home’s heating and air conditioning units are in good condition, and schedule regular tune-ups to avoid unpleasant surprises. Change your furnace filter frequently, so your air quality stays clean indoors, where you’re likely to spend more time as temps get cooler. Also, consider setting up a schedule with a professional to have your ductwork cleaned on a regular basis.
3. Keep the outside out
Check weatherstripping around exterior doors, replacing where necessary, then seal and caulk exterior wood, since wood trim can rot around windows and outside doors. Walk around the outside of your home with spray foam gap sealer and caulk to plug gaps, cracks and holes in siding and around windows. Find and seal air leaks where you may be losing valuable heat and letting in the cold. Many energy companies offer an energy audit to discover where you may be losing both heat and money — and advise you on ways to improve your insulation. Making sure your gutters are cleaned out and in good condition helps protect your home's exterior from exposure to moisture due to rain, ice or snow melt.
4. Install back-up power
Power outages occur for many reasons, usually outside your control. In major storms, outages can last for days or even weeks when a large area is affected. To protect your home and family, an automatic standby generator gives you peace of mind — even when you’re not at home.
Look for a unit that comes in a durable aluminum enclosure with options that can withstand up to 181 mph winds and can be installed as close as 18 inches from your home (important for areas with tight lot lines and strict building codes), such as select models of KOHLER standby home generators. They will automatically start and restore your power in seconds, whether you’re home or away.
Units can be monitored remotely from your smartphone or laptop. The unit is permanently installed near your home, and provides high-quality power that can run your sump pump, furnace or air conditioner, and major appliances — plus delicate electronics. KOHLER generators feature commercial-grade engines built to withstand extreme workloads over many years, and they come with a five-year warranty. This is not a do-it-yourself job; you will need to work with a professionally licensed and insured generator installer.
5. Trim your trees
Now is a great time to get your trees trimmed, while it’s easier to access branches without all the extra foliage. Trimming dead branches helps prevent problems that can occur due to wind or ice storms, when a falling branch could endanger a power line, car or home. Like all professional contractors, work with tree service companies that have proper credentials and insurance.
6. Check your roof
Whether you inspect your roof yourself or hire a professional, it's a good idea to take care of repairs before winter wind, hail, snow and ice do their worst. Look for blistering, curling, buckling — or missing — shingles. Moss or lichen growing can indicate decay underneath. Any visible sagging of your roof, rust or cracks around flashing or vent pipes should also be repaired promptly to avoid later problems like leaks.
Don't let the calamities of winter take you and your family by surprise. Doing prep work and maintenance on your home now, with a focus on safety, will ensure that you're ready for anything that may come your way — even if it's just hunkering down in your home for the season.
Cooking equipment is the top cause of home fires, and the second leading cause of home fire deaths, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Be prepared to fight the small flames by following the below tips to stay safe in the kitchen.
tips(BPT) - Cooking equipment is the top cause of home fires, and the second leading cause of home fire deaths, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
“Considered to be one of the more preventable types of fires, kitchen fires can be avoided by following a few common-sense guidelines,” says Tarsila Wey, director of marketing at First Alert.
“Home safety experts recommend having at least one fire extinguishing product conveniently located in the kitchen, as well as on every level of the home and in the garage.”
Be prepared to fight the small flames by following the below tips to stay safe in the kitchen.
Properly equip your home. Keep your family and house safe by ensuring that functioning smoke alarms are installed throughout your home. The NFPA recommends one alarm on every floor, including the basement, and inside every bedroom. In addition, install smoke alarms at least 10 feet from cooking appliances to minimize false alarms. All alarms should be tested monthly, and for alarms without 10-year batteries, replace the batteries every six months.
Keep an eye on your food. Staying in the kitchen while cooking is key to preventing oven or stovetop fires. Whether you’re simmering, baking, boiling or roasting, check on your food regularly. If you need a reminder that the oven or stove is on, just set a timer. Be aware that fires can happen fast, so if you must leave the kitchen — even for a short period of time — turn off the stove.
Clean your appliances. Keep all your appliances clean of grease and food debris that could potentially cause a fire. Clear the toaster of crumbs and wipe down the stovetop as needed. Ovens should be cleaned at least every three to six months.
Clear off kitchen countertops. Keep your countertops clean and clear of flammable objects. Move items such as pot holders, wooden utensils, plastic bags, food packaging and paper towels away from the stove, oven or any other kitchen device that generates heat.
Be prepared when disaster strikes. Over 70 percent of fire extinguisher owners say that they would not feel very comfortable actually operating one. Providing homeowners with a user-friendly, affordable solution, the First Alert Tundra Fire Extinguishing Spray features a lightweight spray-can design that has no pins or levers — making it easy to use. It can put out common household fires, including cooking oil, fabric, paper, wood and electrical fires. Tundra sprays four times longer than an average fire extinguisher and fits perfectly in your kitchen cabinet. Plus, it won’t damage your stove or countertop; simply wipe the area clean with a damp cloth.
Having the necessary fire safety tools and knowledge, and talking with your family members about these safety precautions, can help prevent potentially fatal kitchen fires. To learn more tips and tricks, visit www.FirstAlert.com.
When it comes to storms and hurricanes, you can never be too prepared. To keep your family safe, it’s important to prepare for the worst because once a hurricane or storm hits, action must be taken quickly.
Be Prepared for Inclement Weather
(Family Features) When it comes to storms and hurricanes, you can never be too prepared. To keep your family safe, it’s important to prepare for the worst because once a hurricane or storm hits, action must be taken quickly.
In the case of a power outage, a common side effect of natural disasters, one of the best pieces of equipment to have on hand is a portable generator. Portable generators can provide the power needed to access important radio or television weather updates, lights, hot water and refrigeration for safe food storage, among other necessities. After a storm, it is difficult to predict when power will be restored, so it’s best to be prepared with a backup power source.
When used properly, portable generators can save lives, but there are some risks that come along with using them. Safe use is critical to avoid dangerous carbon monoxide which you cannot see, taste or smell.
The Portable Generator Manufacturers’ Association recommends taking time to reacquaint yourself with your generator’s features and safe operating instructions, as well as keeping these safety tips in mind:
Now is the perfect time to educate yourself and your family on the safe and proper use of portable generators in preparation for major storms and natural disasters. Learn more about safely operating a portable generator during severe weather at takeyourgeneratoroutside.com or pgmaonline.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Portable Generator Manufacturers’ Association
(BPT) - Ask any homeowner what they dread the most when it comes to home ownership, and it’s likely to involve some type of undetected water damage that could result in mold and mildew in their walls and ceilings — and the problems that follow.
Most water damage in homes is associated with pipes and appliances, especially those that are not regularly maintained. Left unchecked, resulting mold and mildew can potentially cause health problems.
Six of the most common causes of water damage include:
* Window or roof leak that causes water to run down inside the cavity of the wall or ceiling
* Gutter clog that can cause rainwater to back up into your home
* Icemaker water line to the refrigerator that leaks, causing mold in the cavity or on the surface of the wall
* Washing machine or dishwasher water hose failure that can cause mold within the wall
* Air conditioner unit clog or drip pan overflow that can cause water to run down the interior wall or ceiling
* Nail in PVC pipe that results in water leak or bursting pipes
“Homeowners need to realize that the effects of water damage in their homes aren’t always visible — and once you find them, it’s likely mold growth already has occurred and can affect everything on the wall surface and behind it,” said Anitra Mecadon, TV personality and award-winning interior designer.
There are three main ways to protect against water damage and the issues that follow:
Use drywall with extra protection for your walls and ceilings — such as moisture-, mold- and mildew-resistant PURPLE XP drywall by National Gypsum — whether you’re building a new home, or remodeling or restoring the one you have. PURPLE XP products are GREENGUARD Gold Certified for indoor air quality while aiding in the creation of healthier indoor environments.
Routinely inspect vulnerable areas to prevent water damage before it occurs. Every few months grab a flashlight and do some sleuthing under sinks, behind appliances and around windows to check for moistness, rust, kinks or damage in water lines and hoses, and a musty odor. On a regular basis have professionals check things out, especially your air conditioning unit.
Act quickly to minimize damage from water intrusion, because mildew and mold can begin to grow within 24-48 hours of water exposure.
“I don’t know a single homeowner that hasn’t had a water problem of some kind at some point in the history of living in their home,” Mecadon says. “My advice is simple — be prepared. Walls and what they’re made of are important and they’re not all the same.
When you can, choose PURPLE XP drywall for performance, value and peace of mind that lasts.”
For more information, go to www.AskForPurple.com.
Protecting your personal safety is the first priority when severe weather emerges with homes and personal property often running a close second. After all, the home is not only a place for comfort and sanctuary – it could be your single largest investment. As temperatures soar, so do the chances for tumultuous weather. With these tips, you can help ensure that your home is ready for anything Mother Nature has to offer.
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