Category: Home Tips

Cold Weather Tips for your Family and Home

It may be fall, but these cold days and freezing nights can be hard on your house and family. Below are some tips to keep you, your pet(s) and your house warm and safe now and throughout the winter season.

– Replace your furnace filters. Clean furnace filters will improve air flow and efficiency and lower your utility costs.

 Place a mat or rug and boot trays next to entries. This will help keep hardwood floors and carpets from becoming damaged from the winter snow, mud and salt.

Inspect your fireplace. Have the fireplace chimney and flue inspected each year by a professional and cleaned if needed.

Use pet friendly salt. Whether you have a pet or your neighbors do, pet safe ice melt is best to keep all safe (regular salt burns their paw pads).

Dog boots. Just as these cold temps are tough on us, they are tough on animals. When outside (briefly and quickly), your dog should be wearing boots to prevent frostbite. Pawz dog boots work great. 

Pets are to be safe and warm inside – and away from the garage. Avoid antifreeze poisoning. Antifreeze is a deadly poison. It has a sweet taste that may attract animals and children. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze (and all household chemicals) out of reach. Coolants and antifreeze made with propylene glycol are less toxic to pets, wildlife and people.

– Winterize. Make sure to winterize your home, if it will be vacant, to prevent damage.

Smart Tips to Winterize Your Home

originally posted by Coldwell Banker by: Lana Simon

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Prepare Your Home Now Before Winter Arrives

As the temperature begins to drop and the leaves begin to fall, now is the time to prepare your home for winter. Changing seasons can mean wear and tear on your home, unless you plan ahead. Here are some tips to winterize your home the right way:

  • Clean gutters after leaves fall. Leaves and other debris that clog your rain gutters can cause leaks, so it is best to get to this chore as soon as possible after most of the autumn leaves have fallen. If your home is more than one story, hire a pro.

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Protect Your Pet at Home

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It is up to you to ensure that your pet(s) are kept out of harm’s way.

Many assume that home is the safest place for a pet, but there are common household items that can be potentially harmful to your pet – sometimes even lethal. Sometimes we don’t even know that they are a danger.

Food and drinks you may consume on a daily basis, or plants throughout your home, can be some of the most dangerous.

Here are some common foods and plants that can be toxic if ingested by your dog or cat (this is not a complete list):

– chocolate (all kinds)

– coffee (all varieties)

– gum (can cause blockages and sugar free gums may contain the toxic sweetener Xylitol)

– aspirin and some prescription medication

– alcoholic beverages

– avocados

– onions and onion powder

– raisins and grapes and more

– lillies and many other plants

The easiest way to prevent your best friend from ingesting harmful foods or plants is to keep them out of reach…or to keep them out of your home entirely.

Sometimes you will need to be inventive with your hiding spots, because if your pet wants to munch on something they are not supposed to, they certainly can be creative!

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“Keep out of reach” is the motto for keeping your pet safe! This applies not only to food and plants, but to household cleaners, gardening equipment, and other various items.

Adding antifreeze to your vehicle? Make sure to clean up any spill in the correct manner, as a small amount of the sweet-tasting liquid can be very harmful, even lethal. The best way to clean it up is to cover it with sawdust, or better yet, clumping cat litter! This will absorb all of the liquid, and allow you to easily sweep it up.

Keep in mind that this not only applies to your driveway or garage, but to the roadways as well. Any dog or cat walking by could easily lap up this harmful substance before their owners realize that it is there!

Fertilizing your lawn? Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully, paying close attention to the time that should lapse before your pet can walk on that area again. Most fertilizers are harmful if ingested, and can cause damage to little paws as well.

Salt used in the winter is also painful for your pet’s paws. When you’re walking your dog, PAWZ boots are great (they are rubber, so the paws touch the concrete. A lot of times with thicker booties, dogs want to kick them off).

If you think that your pet may have ingested a toxic substance, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

For more information on what the items mentioned above, as well as many other potentially poisonous or toxic items, please visit the

 ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center

9 Unexpected Energy (and Money) Savers

Published: December 13, 2010

Here are a few surprising and simple ways to cut your energy bill this season.

Put lamps in the corners: Did you know you can switch to a lower wattage bulb in a lamp or lower its dimmer switch and not lose a noticeable amount of light? It’s all about placement. When a lamp is placed in a corner, the light reflects off the adjoining walls, which makes the room lighter and brighter.

Switch to a laptop: If you’re reading this article on a laptop, you’re using 1/3 less energy than if you’re reading this on a desktop.

Choose an LCD TV: If you’re among those considering a flat-screen upgrade from your conventional, CRT TV, choose an LCD screen for the biggest energy save.

Give your water heater a blanket: Just like you pile on extra layers in the winter, your hot water heater can use some extra insulation too. A fiberglass insulation blanket is a simple addition that can cut heat loss and save 4% to 9% on the average water-heating bill.

Turn off the burner before you’re done cooking: When you turn off an electric burner, it doesn’t cool off immediately. Use that to your advantage by turning it off early and using the residual heat to finish up your dish.

Add motion sensors: You might be diligent about shutting off unnecessary lights, but your kids? Not so much. Adding motion sensors to playrooms and bedrooms cost only $15 to $50 per light, and ensures you don’t pay for energy that you’re not using.

Spin laundry faster: The faster your washing machine can spin excess water out of your laundry, the less you’ll need to use your dryer. Many newer washers spin clothes so effectively, they cut drying time and energy consumption in half—which results in an equal drop in your dryer’s energy bill.

Use an ice tray: Stop using your automatic icemaker. It increases your fridge’s energy consumption by 14% to 20%. Ice trays, on the other hand, don’t increase your energy costs one iota.

Use the dishwasher: If you think doing your dishes by hand is greener than powering up the dishwasher, you’re wrong. Dishwashers use about 1/3 as much hot water and relieve that much strain from your energy-taxing water heater. Added bonus: you don’t have to wash any dishes.

“Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.”

Read more: http://members.houselogic.com/reprint-rights/#ixzz2GqjhfvBZ

 

Nine Great Ways to Clean Floors

A clean home is important. With the holidays approaching, you may be having more visitors to your home. Or, if your property is currently on the market, this tips are great for showings, too!  On The Today Show, there was a segment on ways to clean your floors that you may not be aware of.

 

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