Summer is just around the corner, and unfortunately, this is the time of year when accidents around the home increase. Here are a few friendly safety reminders so you can have fun all summer long.
Water Safety – It only takes an inch of water for a child to drown. While the common areas to focus on water safety are pools and spas, other places in your yard need to also be considered: water features, wading pools and utility buckets can accumulate many inches of rainwater after storms. Keep a close eye on young children playing around these areas.
Here are a few home maintenance tips for spring.
Outside the home:
- Check for loose or leaky gutters. Improper drainage away from the home can lead to water in the basement or crawl space. Make sure that your gutters are cleaned of debris, secured property to the house, and that the downspouts are long enough to drain away from the foundation of the home.
- Check outside hose faucets for freeze damage. To check for freeze damage, turn the water on and place your thumb or finger over the opening. If you can stop the water from flowing, this likely means you have a damaged pipe inside the home, and you’ll need to replace it.
- Check your wooden deck. Replace any boards that are warped, splintered or cracked before you get into the barbeque season, and give your wooden deck a new coat of weatherproofing sealant.
- Seal around windows and doors. Air leaks happen around windows and doors, and with the hazy, hot and humid weather around the corner, now is a good time to caulk seams and re-glaze windows, where needed.
- Check your sidewalks and other concrete areas. Ice melt can cause concrete to crack. If you notice that your walkways or patio cracked or shifted over the winter, now is a good time to make those repairs.
- Trim shrubbery. If there are any scrubs or trees that rub up against the home, now is a good time to trim them back before a thunderstorm rolls through. Inspect the exterior of your home for loose siding, shutters or shingles; and if your home is painted, check for peeling or cracked paint. When it comes to exterior repairs, particularly anything that involves heights, we strongly recommend you call a professional so repairs can be done safely.
Inside the home:
- Check smoke detectors. If you haven’t done so already, replace the batteries in all of your smoke detectors. This should be done in the spring and again in the fall to keep them working properly and your family safe.
- Inspect attic for leaks. If you have an attic that is accessible, the spring is a good time to crawl up there and inspect for leaks. These will be fairly noticeable as water marks will show on the insulation.
- Get AC inspected. Schedule a check-up for your air conditioning unit with your heating and cooling company. They will inspect your unit and make sure it is running at maximum efficiency before the summer heat hits.
- Change ceiling fan rotation. For summer months, ceiling fans should rotate counter-clockwise, as you look at it from below.
When you close your overhead garage door, do you assume that your home is secure? For the most part it probably is, but there are a few ways crooks can still get through. Consider these measures to make sure your home is locked tight:
Look at the service door. The service door, or side door on your garage, is often one of the easiest points of entry for a burglar. Make sure the door has a deadbolt and a heavy-duty strike plate, as should all exterior doors in your home.
Install a garage door sensor. Sometimes your garage door security is compromised simply because someone forgot to close the door. This is where a sensor and monitor come in. Attach the sensor to the garage door and then place the monitor somewhere inside your house. If the garage door is open, the monitor will let you know.
Remove clickers from your vehicle. If you park a vehicle in the driveway, make sure you do not leave your garage door remotes in your vehicles (e.g., on the visor or center console). A thief can break into your car for entry into your house. Opt for a key-ring remote, which you can find online by typing in your garage door brand followed by “remote.”
Use an old-fashioned lock. If you are going to be away from your home for an extended period of time, you may want to lock your garage door track. Simply drill a hole in your garage door track just above one of the rollers and fasten a padlock through the hole. Even if a robber can fish the garage door lock open from the outside, he will not be able to actually roll up the door.
Install a smart home door opener. These high-tech garage door openers come with built-in security features such as monitors and lighting controls – all connected to your smartphone. This means that from anywhere, you can make sure your garage door is closed and your home is secure.
Source: The Family Handyman, Garage Security Tips
Comedian W.C. Fields once said, “I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” Whether wine is part of your latest culinary creation, part of your overall cooking experience or a staple in everyday life, finding the perfect wine storage solution for your kitchen deserves more consideration than you may expect.
There are dozens of design elements to consider when installing a new kitchen. Hardware, colors, countertops, appliances and countless selections can be overwhelming. For the homeowner that pops a cork once every few weeks, wine storage may be an afterthought. For the connoisseur, however, making the wrong wine storage decisions could lead to a design flop.
Where and how you store wine will be driven by your passion for the vine. Casual partakers may be perfectly fine with a casual solution, but the enthusiast knows that wine storage plays an important role in preserving the contents of expensive bottles that may be used months or years later.
Proper wine storage is an exact science that is the basis for how most wine storage units are engineered.
The ideal and consistent environment for wine storage depends upon these elements:
- Temperature: White wine should be stored at 45–50ºF and reds slightly higher at 50–55º
- Humidity should maintain at 55–75%.
- Bottles should be stored away from UV light.
- Excessive vibrations from nearby appliances may prevent disruption of the aging process.
Style preferences, proper storage guidelines, frequency of usage and your level of wine interest will drive most of your choices in how solutions will fit into your kitchen. When considering choices, give these factors attention:
Wine bottles have become a permanent fixture in many kitchens. As the rack empties, homeowners purchase more bottles to fill their absence, and access is critical.
Whether you’re an oenophile that also has a fully-stocked cellar, or one of the thousands of homes stocking up on a few bottles for monthly gatherings with friends and family, finding a bottle need not take you beyond your kitchen.
For the occasional sipper, choosing a wine storage solution without climate control may be perfectly satisfactory. There is a whole world of current storage solutions to consider. Recent trends range from wall pegs, shelves, drawers and racks that come in countless variations.
The open wine racks pictured above can be designed into a kitchen island, built into nearby walls or under staircases, installed within lower or upper cabinets with glass doors or integrated into a piece of furniture.
Small, refrigerated units have also become increasingly popular kitchen appliances for even casual wine drinkers. These units are easily incorporated into cabinets with options for upper or lower storage. Units can also be built into walls, islands or nearby wet bars.
The enthusiast insists on controlling their collection’s environment. Climate-controlled units are an absolute must. From the smallest chilled wine drawers to units twice the size of an average refrigerator, manufacturers offer a wide selection.
In either case, bottles and their labels can be conveniently viewed. Wine appliances seamlessly match their neighboring counterparts. Glasses are in close proximity, ready to be filled.
Designing Your Kitchen with Wine Storage in Mind
Experienced kitchen designers can not only help you sort out the level of priority of wine storage for your space, but they will know the best options to accomplish your project goals. They have dozens of manufacturer resources to consider and should be familiar with how individual units rate among consumers.
If wine storage is one of the big priorities of your project, selecting the specific storage units with your designer may be something best decided sooner rather than later in the process. These solutions can impact other choices in the overall plan, so falling in love with a particular unit during the front end can help your designer to create a space that interacts well with it.
Here’s to grape expectations on your next kitchen design project!
- Adjust the heat and AC. Adjusting the thermostat is one of the most significant ways you can see savings on your utility bills all year round. For colder months, try setting the thermostat a bit lower. For example, if you normally set it at 72, try 68 during the day and even lower (perhaps 65) overnight. Also remember to turn down your thermostat when you are at work for the day. In the summer, set your thermostat higher, perhaps in the high 70s. This will still be quite comfortable compared to outside. While at first these adjustments may feel a bit extreme, your body will adjust and you will notice savings.
- Stop pre-rinsing. Pre-rinsing dishes before placing them in the dishwasher is no longer necessary. Most newer model dishwashers are designed to handle the stuck-on food to leave your dishes clean and sparkling.
- Air dry . To save some money, experiment with air drying – from your dishes to your clothes to your hair.
- Check for water leaks. The cause of wasted water and increased water bills is often found in hidden leaks. A good way detect hidden leaks is to check your water meter before you go to bed and again first thing in the morning. If the number has changed, you may have a leak somewhere in your house.
- Check for air leaks. Drafty windows and doors can be a huge source of energy loss, in both the winter and summer months. If you notice a small draft, purchase a winterization kit at your local hardware store, and/or buy heavy insulated curtains. For a short-term solution, place blankets or towels at the base of a door to minimize the draftiness until you are able to install new weather stripping. If the draftiness is too severe, consider calling a professional to diagnose the problem and provide solutions.
Conserve water at your home – Here are a few helpful water conservation tips from the American Water Works Association.
- Use the Shower. A Five minute shower = 10-25 gallons of water; A full bathtub = 70 gallons
- Check for drips at faucets
- Only run your dishwasher when it is full
- Replace your old clothes washer with a high efficiency machine that can save up to 12-15 gallons per load