Tag: tips

Home Safety Reminders for the Summer


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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.

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How Secure Is Your Garage Door?


How Secure Is Your Garage Door?

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

Wine Storage Solutions


Wine Storage Solutions

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:

Unifying Trends

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.

Casual Choices

Wine Storage Solutions

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.

Serious Solutions

Wine Storage Solution

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!

5 Sensible Adjustments to Save on Utilities


Now that the holidays are over, ’tis the season for saving money, any way we can – and often, small changes in our utility usage can be a smart (and fairly pain-free) way to accomplish this.
Here are 5 sensible adjustments you can make to save on utilities.
  1. 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 Metzler Home - Utilities 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Air dry . To save some money, experiment with air drying – from your dishes to your clothes to your hair.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
While these changes may be small, over time they will really add up to sizable savings.

Smart Home Safety Tips for Summer


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The home is a sanctuary for your family, and there is nothing more unnerving that realizing that your home has been broken into. According to the FBI, there were over 2 million burglaries in 2010 – a decrease of 2 percent when compared to the year before – and although crime is a serious concern, our homes and neighborhoods are safer than ever before – much in part to awareness and the preventative steps we are taking.

Still, summer is a season when homes are burglarize the most. The weather is nice and many families go on vacation.  Additionally, because people are in and out of the homes more frequently – for strolls or a quick errand – they often get lax in securing their home.

Here are a few things to remember this summer to keep your home belongings and family safe:

  • Never allow strangers in your home, even if they look hurt or in distress.

  • Most contractors, such as HVAC or pool companies, will wear uniforms and/or show up in a company vehicle. If they are a smaller firm where their employees don’t have those items, they will present you with a business card and notify you ahead of time of what to expect when they show up to your home for the pre-scheduled appointment.

  • When you go for a walk or leave your home for a quick errand, take the time to secure your home. Lock your doors, put your garage door down and close and lock any sliding doors or windows that can easily be entered.

  • When you leave for vacation, make sure you tell a trusted neighbor. Ask them to pick up your mail, paper and other items that can make an unscrupulous person quickly see that you are away. Put your lights on timers so your homes looks lived in.

  • Invest in a safe to store valuable items such as jewelry and important documents. You may also want to consider buying one that is flood and fire proof.

  • One of your homes easiest entry points is the garage. Keep your garage door closed at all times and lock the door that leads from the garage into your home.

  • Don’t leave ladders and tools unsecured outside. These items can be used to gain access to your home.

  • Look at your shrubbery around your first-floor windows, and if you don’t have any, you may want to plant a few. They can deter a robber from entering your home – especially if they are thorny.

This summer, relax and enjoy the warm days, but also realize that break-ins can be avoided when you take some precautions. Get more home and neighborhood safety resources by visiting the National Crime Prevention Council’s website.

Summer Cookout Safety Tips


Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, and across the country, families and friends will gather to cook out, enjoy the warmer weather and visit with each other.

summer-cookout-safety-tips-grilling

Grilling is one of America’s favorite pastimes. Not only does it make for easy meal prep, but it also keeps the home cooler during the warm summer months. But the grill can also be dangerous, so keep these cookout safety tips in mind this summer.

  • Before you begin grilling for the summer, check the propane tank to make sure it is properly connected.

  • If using a charcoal grill, make sure that the lighter fluid and matches are stored in a safe place after the coals are lit.

  • Move the grill away from the side of your home and deck railing. The heat from the grill can melt vinyl siding and could also cause a fire. Additionally, never use a charcoal or propane grill indoors or in enclosed garages or patios.

  • Place your grill on a flat surface so it is stable and can’t be tipped over.

  • Keep children and pets away from the grill. It is natural for everyone to congregate around the chef while he is cooking the burgers and hot dogs, but make sure that everyone keeps a safe distance away from the grill so they don’t get burnt.

  • Don’t wear loose clothing around a grill.

Another favorite pastime in Lancaster County is gathering around the fire pit during the evenings. The kids toast marshmallows while the adults share stories and plans for summer vacations. Open fires can also be dangerous, so please keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Observe “burn warnings” in your area. Townships will post notices when it is too dry or windy to burn.

  • Build your fire pit in an open area – away from dry grass, leaves and overhanging trees. You don’t want windborne embers catching things on fire.

  • It is better to keep your fire small so it stays controlled – just a few logs at a time.

  • Keep a bucket of water and a shovel close to the fire, just in case. These will also be handy when you are ready to extinguish the fire for the evening.

  • Never leave fire pits unattended.

  • When you are ready to call it a night, take extra care to make sure the fire is completely out before heading indoors.

Read more of our blog articles for home tips and inspiration.