Archive July 2014

Breath Easy

Outdoor pollution and smog can wreak havoc on your health, but contaminants inside the home can be just as harmful. Experts at WebMD offer these suggestions for improving indoor air quality.

Dust mites and mold love moisture. Use a dehumidifier (and an air conditioner during summer months) to help reduce moisture and control allergens. When cooking, running the dishwasher or bathing, turn on an exhaust fan or open a window to remove excess moisture. Be sure the clothes dryer is vented to the outside, and fix plumbing leaks to prevent mold from forming.

Make your home a no-smoking zone. Secondhand cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals and can increase the risk of respiratory infections, asthma, cancer and sudden infant death syndrome in children. If entertaining guests who smoke, request that they do so outdoors.

Test your home for radon. This colorless, odorless gas is produced from the natural decay of uranium found in soil and seeps into the house through cracks and holes in the foundation. A radon test is easy and inexpensive to use, and can help you find the source of radon.

Replace laundry products and soaps containig synthetic fragrances with scent-free or naturally-scented laundry products and mild cleansers. Refrain from using aerosol sprays, such as furniture polish, hair sprays and air fresheners. Open the windows and let in fresh air so toxic chemicals don’t build up in your home, and use an air conditioner to keep rooms well ventilated.

Taking these simple steps will help you and your family breathe easier.

CRS “Your Home” Newsletter – August 2013

Pick a Lock

As Americans hit the road this summer for vacation, would-be burglars are scoping out their next victim. Don’t let it be you. Make sure your home is securely protected by the latest and greatest in locks. Some tips from This Old House hold the key.

Exterior doors: Thirty-four percent of break-ins happen at the front door, so make sure it has a dead bolt. Ranging from $25 to $300, they come in separate pieces (a dead bolt and a lock set) or a handle set that has both features. Two important parts to look for: a dead-locking latch bolt, which prevents entry by jimmying with a credit card, and hardened pins that can’t be sawed. The best option in case of an emergency? A handle set that allows you to open the dead bolt and latch from inside in one motion.

Interior doors: You’ll probably want a lock with a latch kickoff that keeps the door from closing behind you and with an emergency release that lets you open with a paperclip from the outside. Most range from $8 to $16.

Going keyless: Try locks for the digital age, which don’t require a key but instead use a numeric code that slides open the bolt. But, if the batteries fail, you may need that key after all.

CRS Your Home Newsletter – July 2013 Issue

Show Time

The “For Sale” sign is out front and the Open House is scheduled, but have you done everything inside and out to make potential buyers bite? Showing your home at its very best requires more than a little dusting and organizing. You’ll need to help possible buyers imagine themselves living in your home, which means removing photos and some personal items. Find out how to prep your house for a successful showing with some tips from REALTOR.com.

First, get a head start on your packing and clear the clutter. Clear the sidewalk, lawn and curb, as well as windowsills and countertops. Don’t just stuff items into your cabinets and closets. Store, donate or throw away items that you’ve accumulated. Moving large bookcases or other furniture into storage can also help buyers see the potential of each room. Organizing hidden spaces such as kitchen shelves and closets will also appeal to potential buyers.

Do you have leaky faucets or holes in the wall? It’s worth fixing those and other items such as cracked tiles and fussy drawers. Also, consider repainting rooms in neutral colors, such as beige or eggshell white. Let’s face it: That bright orange bathroom isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. And, most importantly, clean your house from top to bottom, inside and out.

CRS Your Home Newsletter – July 2013 Issue

Green Thumb

It’s finally time to pull out the patio furniture, fire up the grill and enjoy outdoor activities in your yard. Here are some tips from HGTV.com that will keep your grass looking green all summer long.

When cutting the grass, try to keep its height at about two-and-a-half to three inches. Sharpen the blade of your mower at least three times a year to avoid grass split ends, and be sure to change your mowing pattern to prevent soil compaction, which will inhibit grass growth.

Instead of lightly watering your grass three to four times a week, give it a good soaking once a week – most lawns need about an inch of water. It’s best to water the grass early in the morning.

To combat weeds, make sure to use herbicides specially formulated to combat the types of weeds that are growing in your yard. If you aren’t a fan of herbicides, weed removal tools, such as weed hounds, usually do the trick.

Over-fertilizing is a common problem and can kill your lawn. You should only fertilize in the spring and summer months if you neglected to apply fertilizer in the fall. Every time you mow your lawn, the clippings produce nitrogen, an excellent natural fertilizer.

Finally, keep kids, pets, vehicles and wheelbarrows off moist soil and emerging grass. Wait until your lawn is full and dry to enjoy it.

CRS Your Home Newsletter – June 2013 Issue