Thursday, August 10, 2017

Energy Savings With Thermostats

One of the major benefits of buying a new home is the new technology built into the home through both the construction process and use of advanced appliances or systems.

Programmable thermostats are one of those advances in technology that improve both home comfort and efficiency.

Managing your heat and air conditioning needs can be a huge help in the face of rising energy costs. Programmable thermostats allow you to set a heating and cooling schedule around your family's schedule.  What does this mean?  That your home doesn't need to heat or cool while no one is home but can still be comfortable when you need it to be.  That it will adjust incrementally to ensure your night temperature is how you desire it.  It means that while your home is unoccupied you aren't paying to heat or cool it.

Programmable thermostats can save you on average about $150 a year.  Utilizing the technology
built into your new home can decrease your energy costs and increase your home comfort.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Sleep Better Tonight

The kitchen and master bath often get all of the attention when it comes to the "wow" factor in a new home.  But once you're moved in, there is one room that may be more important than any other - the master bedroom.

Getting a good nights sleep is vital for your health and well-being, especially after a big life event such as moving into a new home.

So how can you make your new master bedroom a sleep sanctuary?

Here are a few ideas:

1.  Keep it dark.  Make this one of the first rooms that gets window treatments to block out the sun and heat.

2.  When setting up your electronics (chargers, cable box, modems) try to position them in a way that their lights are not pointing toward you and possibly disrupting your sleep.

3. Figure out your best sleep temperature. The rule of thumb for sleeping is to keep the temp at 65 degrees.  Make sure you don't have too much or too little bedding that will wake you up at night.

4.  If you have outside noise that wakes you up at night, invest in sound machine or fan for white noise.

5.  Have plants in your room to improve indoor air quality. Certain scents such as lavender and vanilla are natural sleep enhancers.

What do you do to create the perfect sleep environment?

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Back to School Tips

There's an air of excitement (for parents?) when the back to school supplies arrive on store shelves.  A new school year is a time for a fresh new start and an opportunity to get the kids on the right track before the homework comes rolling in.

Here are a few ideas to make life a little easier or more organized for the new year.

1.  Plan out a week's worth of outfits and hang them in the closet using a hanging sweater organizer. Label each compartment by day of the week.

2.  Create a drop zone for backpacks and folder for paperwork that needs to be signed and returned. Hang bookbags near the front door and keep school shoes underneath.

3.  Before the week gets started pack up baggies or tupperware of snacks that can be easily grabbed and thrown in lunchboxes or grabbed on the way to after school activities.

4.  Create a wipe off calendar system using different color markers for each child.  Put the calendar in a location easily seen by the whole family.

5.  Make time for family time. Don't let the busyness of the day keep you from connecting as a family.  Talk about each other's day and allow time for fun!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Helping Your Summer Lawn Stay Green

The way you care for and treat your lawn will vary with the seasons.  In the summer, it's important to be aware of how the high temperatures and possible lack of rain can affect your grass.  Here are some ways you can make life a little easier for your yard during the dog days of summer.

1.  Let your grass grow a little longer. The roots will grow deeper into the soil and the longer blades will help sustain the existing moisture.

2.  Use a mulching lawn mower instead of a bagging mower. Allow the mulch to settle back into the lawn to keep the grass cooler and trap moisture.

3.  Cut grass in the early mornings or evenings. Freshly cut grass is more likely to be damaged by the sun's rays.  Make sure your blades are sharp so as not to fray the grass.

4.  Don't forget to water! Most lawns need about an inch of water per week.  Try watering in the early mornings or evenings to prevent losing moisture to evaporation.

What tips do you have for keeping your lawn green in the summer?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Help Your Refrigerator Beat the Heat

It may seem strange but the hot summer days can affect more than just your lawn and landscaping.  It can take a toll on your kitchen appliances as well.

The heat can cause your refrigerator to run harder than normal to stay cool - affecting your utility bill and your wallet.

So what can you do?

Take these steps to help your refrigerator stay cool.

  • Keep your refrigerator in a cool spot in your home (not the garage) and make sure there is some space around it for heat to go and air to circulate.
  • Clean your coils regularly. Consult your owners manual for more information. Keep the front grill dust free as well.
  • When you leave the house, set the thermostat at a reasonable temperature so the home doesn't get too hot and then have to cool off fast when you return.
  • Uncovered food can release moisture back into the refrigerator. Keep food covered at all times.
  • Don't overload the refrigerator. Only store what needs to be kept cool.
  • Your most perishable items should be stored in the refrigerator itself, not the door. The temperature of the door will fluctuate the most.

Friday, June 30, 2017

4th of July Safety Tips

It's the 4th of July weekend! Time for fireworks, BBQ's and trips to the pool, lake or beach!

As much fun as the 4th of July can be we want to make sure you review these safety tips before beginning your celebrations.  Staying safe is the most fun of all!

- Know your local laws on fireworks - what's okay to play with and what can get you in trouble
- Never let children play with fireworks
- Always follow the instructions on the fireworks packaging
- Have water nearby for emergency situations
- If a firework doesn't seem to work - don't try and relight it
- Never throw or point fireworks at anyone
- Never mix alcohol use and fireworks
- When done with fireworks, soak used ones in water and place in metal trashcan

If attending a community fireworks display use extreme caution when driving and parking. Look for pedestrians.

- Make sure your grill is located in an open space outdoors and away from any flammable materials
- An adult should always be supervising a lit grill
- Use grill tools designed to keep hands and arms away from the grill
- Make sure the grill is properly cleaned and cooled when not in use

Follow some basic safety tips and make sure this 4th is the best celebration yet!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Shoe Storage Ideas

Taking your shoes off in the house is one of those often talked about but seldom done household rules.  It's just too easy to run inside with your shoes on and go about your day.


Don't do it!

A new study by a professor of pharmacy at the University of Houston finds that the bottom of our shoes is one of the dirtiest surfaces around. Shoes carry dirt and a host of bacteria that can cause infection and disease.

Wiping your shoes on a mat is a start but not good enough as you may just be picking up whatever the last person left on the mat.

So what to do with those shoes at the door?

Here are a few ideas thanks to our friends at Pinterest.