Spring To Do List – Part 2

Finishing off our two part series on Spring Maintenance for your home, we leave you with some of the most important exterior issues to address each year.

Exterior Upkeep
Your window screens aren’t the only parts of your home that can fall victim to nasty winter weather, so you may want to take stock of your home’s condition. The National Center for Healthy Housing suggests that in the springtime, you may want to consider these outdoor maintenance projects:

Check your roof shingles. This should be done by a professional, as working on the roof can be dangerous without the proper training. You should ask the professional to make sure the shingles are not curling or clawing. If they are, they may be susceptible to leaks and should be replaced, says BobVila.com.

Replace rotten siding or trim. Make sure your home’s siding and trim aren’t damaged from windy, icy conditions. If your home is made of brick or stucco, look for any crumbling or deteriorated mortar. If you find a problem, contact a professional for help with repairing or replacing the damaged materials.

Clean gutters and downspouts. You’re making sure the inside of your home is clean; why not make sure your gutters are, as well? Get rid of any leaves or other debris that accumulated during the winter to make sure your gutters and downspouts are ready to take on those April showers. This job, too, is best left to a professional, as climbing on a ladder is required.

So, now’s the time to get those spring maintenance projects under way. By the time those May flowers start to bloom, you will be able to enjoy them with peace of mind knowing your home maintenance is up to date.

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Spring To Do List – Part 1

After a long, hard winter, spring is finally, hopefully, maybe even desperately, expected to arrive. Here are some home maintenance tips to help welcome the new season.

Weatherstripping

 

The Department of Energy (DOE) says weatherstripping the windows on your home is an easy and effective way to help save money on your energy bill. Weatherstripping is a material you can apply around your window and door frames to help ensure there’s a good seal. During the harsh winter months, it can help keep the warm air inside the house, and the cold drafts out. In the spring and summer, weatherstripping works the opposite way, helping to keep the cool air inside and the warm air out.

If you didn’t install weatherstripping before the winter cold set in, you may want to take this opportunity to seal your windows before you have to turn on the air conditioner. In the summer, if the cool air is contained inside, then the AC will not have to work as hard, and that may help you save money on your energy bill. The same can be true of your furnace when winter rolls back around. Thinking about installing weatherstripping? The DOE recommends that you apply weatherstripping to clean, dry surfaces in temperatures above 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Indoor Maintenance

 

Spring cleaning is a time-honored tradition, an opportunity to sweep the cobwebs from your home, clear out the dust that accumulated during the winter and let the sunshine in. While you’re up to your elbows in soap, washing the windows, defrosting the refrigerator and tackling what seems to be a never-ending list of spring cleaning chores, you might as well make a maintenance checklist, too. On those warmer days, you may want to do the following:

Test and clean ceiling fans. According to the the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, an efficient ceiling fan in each room can help allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4 degrees Fahrenheit without reducing your comfort level. Ceiling fans can be a good way to air out the house and generate a cross-breeze. So, now might be a good time to make sure your fans are clean and ready to start cooling you off this spring.

Replace your AC filter. While the warm weather is still technically several weeks away, you want to make sure your air conditioner is prepared and ready to go. The National Center for Healthy Housing recommends you replace the filters in the air conditioner in the spring. A new filter will likely optimize the efficiency of the unit.

Replace torn or damage window screens. If you don’t have an air conditioner, or if you simply like to keep the windows open in the spring and summer, it’s a good idea to make sure your screens are in good shape — you don’t want to let flies in with all that fresh air! Winter storms and wind can damage window screens, so it may be a good idea to assess any damage and replace what needs to be fixed.

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Spring Checklist

Spring is finally here and we can pack away our winter clothes and the snow blower cause longer sunny days are here and summer is around the corner.  It’s also time for some home maintenance items that will help you avoid big repair bills later on.

Inspect Your Roof.  Whether you have shingles, tin or even concrete tiles, your roof is your home’s first line of defense against water damage. Now is the time to inspect and repair any water damage. If you delay, you could find yourself facing water damage inside your home, too.

Clean your gutters.   Gutters direct rain away from your roof and home, protecting both in the process. Clogged gutters, meanwhile, open your home to water damage—and there’s a good chance you won’t notice the damage until you need an expensive repair.

Clean or replace your HVAC filters.   You need to do this more often than once a year. A dirty filter forces your HVAC system to work harder, which in turn drains your wallet. It could also shorten the life of your blower motor.

Clean your dryer vent.  Not all lint is caught in the lint trap; some makes its way into the dryer vent. A clear vent will save you money by reducing the time your dryer has to run. A plugged vent not only wastes money, but could also cause a house fire.

Check the washing machine fill hose.  Look for cracks that could become leaks. A leaky hose under pressure can cause major damage in a short period of time.

Clean and repair your screens.  Trying to reduce your electric bills this summer? In many parts of the country, you can keep your house cool (at least at night) by opening windows. Gently scrub on a flat surface with soapy water. Also, patch small holes, as needed.

Clean decks, driveways, fences and other outside surfaces.  A pressure washer makes the work much easier. If you don’t have one, borrow one from a neighbor or rent one from a home center. While you’re cleaning, inspect for damage that needs mending.

Fix cracks in your walks, driveway and the outside of your home.  Unlike the human body, cracks in asphalt, concrete or stucco don’t heal themselves. Fortunately, most of these repairs are fairly easy if done immediately.

Repair any cracked or peeling paint.  A good paint job makes your home look nice, while providing a protective barrier from the elements. Touchup painting is easy to do and inexpensive.

Vacuum your refrigerator coils.  The coils you’ll find on the bottom or back of your refrigerator conduct the hot air from inside the unit. If they’re coated with dust, they do the job less efficiently and cause your fridge to work harder. That means a higher electric bill for you. Use a vacuum cleaner hose or a brush to clean the coils.

Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors.  You never know when you’ll need them. Sometimes, it’s a matter of life or death, so take the time to change the batteries now.

Prepare your lawn mower for summer.  Change the engine oil and sharpen the cutting blade. You’ll lengthen the life of the mower and improve the look of your lawn.

Check seals around windows and doors.  Winter weather can crack and harden caulk and other weather seals. Inspect them now and repair and replace as needed. You’ll reduce your air-conditioning bill and could prevent water from entering your home and causing damage.

Clear vegetation around your AC compressor. To work efficiently, the compressor needs good airflow. Prune any plant growth that could block it.

Drain your water heater.  Sediment builds up in your water heater tank. Use the spigot near the bottom of the heater to drain it. By doing so, you’ll prolong its life and reduce your electric bill.

You’ll probably need to dedicate a couple days to complete the list, but don’t look at them as chores. View them as crucial preventative measures—ones that will help you save on your utility bills and avoid big repairs later on. It could be the highest paid work you’ll do this week!

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Natural Allergy Remedies – Part 3

A neti pot is a container designed to rinse debris or mucus from your nasal cavity. You might use a neti pot to treat symptoms of nasal allergies, sinus problems or colds. If you choose to make your own saltwater solution, it’s important to use bottled water that has been distilled or sterilized. Tap water is acceptable if it’s been passed through a filter with a pore size of 1 micron or smaller or if it’s been boiled for several minutes and then left to cool until it is lukewarm.

To use the neti pot, tilt your head sideways over the sink and place the spout of the neti pot in the upper nostril. Breathing through your open mouth, gently pour the saltwater solution into your upper nostril so that the liquid drains through the lower nostril. Repeat on the other side. Be sure to rinse the irrigation device after each use with similarly distilled, sterile, previously boiled and cooled, or filtered water and leave open to air dry.

Pros

Simulates the natural process of the body

  • A neti pot works in the same way as our bodies do. Our nasal passage has its own natural way of dealing with the foreign bodies that invade it. In the case of the respiratory system, tiny hairs called cilia and mucus line our nose and nasal passages. These act as traps, catching the dirt and dust and other particles to prevent them from entering the lungs. This dirt is then transferred to the back of the throat and is eventually destroyed by stomach acids. With the flushing action of the neti pot, the water solution helps to flush out the particles trapped in the cilia, when the mucus grows too thick or dry, then expels it from the passages.
  • There are no chemicals or unnatural ingredients used when flushing with a neti pot. Only filtered water and non-iodized salt touches your nasal passages. Medicines can serve their purpose, but daily intake of medicines can be bad for other parts of your body, like your liver. With water and salt, there are no side effects.

Soothe Irritation

  • Sometimes passages are inflamed, which is why they cause pain and irritation. A nasal flush can help soothe the inflamed passages, bringing relief from the pain.

Cons

May wash away the good elements

  • When the mucus in the nasal passages become too thick or dry, then they become ineffective, which is why a nasal flush can help them rehydrated. However, the action of running water through the nasal passages may also wash away the good elements in the mucus, such as the antibacterial and antifungal components.

Not for people with nosebleed

  • Sinus flushing may aggravate nosebleed, so if the person experiences frequent nosebleed, then he or she should not attempt a nasal flush.

Using a neti pot can be helpful for people who suffer from allergies, sinus infections and other problems relating to the nasal passages. Many people swear by its efficacy, and it can be a good alternative to medication. Of course, it’s not for everyone, and anyone who would want to try it should consult their doctor before going on any long-term nasal flushing therapy.

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7 Spring Maintenance Tips

Spring arrives with a warm welcome. For those who’ve been trapped inside their homes to stay out of the cold, now is the time to rediscover the outside world. It’s also time to conduct some home maintenance that will help you avoid big repair bills later on. Start with these 15 tasks to get your home in good shape.

Inspect Your Roof – Whether you have shingles, tin or concrete tiles, your roof is your home’s first line of defense against water damage. If you delay repairing spots on your roof that need fixing, you could find yourself facing water damage inside your home the next time a storm hits.

Clean Your Gutters – Gutters direct rain away from your roof and home, protecting both in the process. Clogged gutters, meanwhile, open your home to water damage—and there’s a good chance you won’t notice the damage until you need an expensive repair

HVAC Filters – You need to do this more than once a year. A dirty filter forces your heat, ventilation and air-conditioning system to work harder, which in turn drains your wallet.

Dryer Vents – Not all lint gets caught in the lint trap; some makes its way into the dryer vent. A clean vent will save you money by reducing the time your dryer has to run, while a plugged vent not only wastes money but could cause a house fire.

Smoke Detector Battery Replacement – You never know when you’ll need them. Sometimes it’s a matter of life or death, so take the time to change the batteries now.

Check Seals – Winter weather can crack and harden caulk and other weather seals. Inspect them and repair or replace as needed. You’ll reduce your air-conditioning bill and prevent water from entering your home and causing damage.

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