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Decks Can Be Beautiful

Enclosed Blind Improving Quality Of Tap Water Dirt Out of Indoor Air Land The Home You Love

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After Your Move Kitchen and Bath You Love

Decks Can Be Beautiful And Sustainable

(NAPSI)—For some homeowners, a deck is an extension of what makes a house a home. It can be a place to retreat to after a long, work-filled week as well as a place to spend time with family and friends.

For some, a deck can even serve as a way to express environmental values. That’s the word from the California Redwood Association (CRA).

According to the Association, when California homeowners were asked about their choice of decking material, 75 percent of those surveyed said that it’s important for their deck to be eco friendly. Ninety percent believed a deck should be recycled and reused, not dumped in a landfill.

Unfortunately, it can be confusing for builders and homeowners to know what’s sustainable and what’s not. To demonstrate that redwood may be the most environmentally friendly building material available, the CRA commissioned a life-cycle assessment. This process is commonly used to quantify the environmental footprint generated when producing and consuming products that are used in everyday life.

The result of the assessment is the finding that redwood may be considered one of the most environmentally responsible building materials available.

For instance, it is a renewable resource that is grown and harvested under the most stringent forestry regulations. Using nothing more than the energy from the sun, and the careful management of redwood forests, redwood is renewable, recyclable and cleaner to produce than composites or plastics.

In addition, when lumber is milled into decking and other products, the bark, sawdust and scrapings are collected and used to produce clean energy. Sawmills are able to use this biomass energy to power their operations and add excess electricity to the state’s power grid, taking redwood’s energy efficiency to a level that manufactured materials never reach.

With redwood, you can be environmentally conscientious without sacrificing quality or elegance. Plastics and composites rely on chemical resins and fossil fuels that release carbon and increase emissions.

Trees, however, take carbon out of the air and store it in wood fiber. It’s estimated that a redwood deck can store more than a half ton of carbon, which keeps the carbon safely out of the air, helps reduce emissions and helps to lower a homeowner’s carbon footprint.

To learn more, visit www.realstrongredwood.com.

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Enclosed Blinds Eliminate Safety Hazards from Dangling Cords

(NAPSI)—Exposed cords on doorglass coverings pose a strangulation danger to small children. In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission rates dangling cords on blinds and shades, including those on glass doors, as one of the five leading home hazards.

This is why the independent Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) —a coalition of U.S. manufacturers, importers and retailers of window coverings—urges homeowners to abandon traditional corded window and glass door treatments with newer, safer and more convenient cordless models. This important household improvement, says the WCSC, is especially critical to parents of young children. Government safety experts concur.

Retrofitting a household with cordless blinds and shades may seem like a daunting task, especially when it comes to dealing with large, heavy and expensive glass doors. According to one specialty manufacturer, however, retrofitting a glass door with cordless blinds is actually an easy task that can be tackled as a do-it-yourself project.

ODL, Inc., a leading supplier of decorative and clear doorglass and entry treatments, offers cordless, add-on blinds for steel and fiberglass doors that come pre-attached to a standard, fitted pane of doorglass in a variety of sizes. The add-on blinds for doors are lifted into place behind the existing doorglass and latched onto the framing.

Once installed, the blinds themselves are safely sandwiched between two panes of doorglass, and without dangling cords, danger to youngsters is eliminated.

ODL also notes that the blinds, being fully enclosed, cannot swing free as the glass door is opened to strike nearby objects or cause annoying banging sounds.

While increased household safety is the major advantage of ODL’s add-on blinds for glass doors, other benefits become apparent after installation. Energy efficiency is increased by the added glass panes’ insulating properties. Convenience is enhanced since the add-on blinds and glass combination can be removed for easy cleaning. On glass doors without treatments, the addition of add-on blinds, says ODL, can provide privacy and light control.

For more information about ODL’s add-on blinds for glass doors, visit www.odl.com/safeblinds.

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Improving The Quality Of Your Tap Water

(NAPSI)—While health and wellness experts urge consumers to drink more water, doing it safely isn’t as easy as it sounds: tap water might not be as clean as you think. It could contain contaminants that are potentially harmful to your health, such as chemical by-products, heavy metals, and microbial cysts. In fact, according to research supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there may be as many as 16 million waterborne illnesses in the U.S. each year.

An easy solution for consumers to enjoy clean, great-tasting water for drinking and cooking is to filter water at-home.

One filter system to consider is PUR, which removes contaminants that other systems, including Brita, could leave behind. PUR Faucet Mount Filters re_duce 61 contaminants found in drinking water such as lead, heavy metals, agricultural pesticides, industrial pollutants, pharmaceuticals, mi_crobial cysts, and chlorine.

PUR pitcher filters are certified to reduce 2x more contaminants than Brita pitcher filters, while PUR Faucet Mount Filters reduce 10x more contaminants than Brita pitcher filters.

Beyond the superior filtration technology of PUR, the filters come in many styles and finishes, such as the new Stainless Steel Style Faucet Mount.

Another one of the latest additions to the PUR family of filters is the 11-Cup Pitcher. It is de_signed to offer a more convenient way to filter drinking water by reducing the frequency of re_fills. The pitcher base also uses the same footprint as a gallon of milk to save space in the refrigerator.

To learn more, visit www.purwater.com.

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Get The Dirt Out Of Your Indoor Air—And Save

(NAPSI)—If your house is like most in America today, you and your family create up to 40 pounds of dust a year, just through everyday living. In addition, high temperature and humidity can also increase concentrations of some pollutants. So can not getting in enough outdoor air, which can happen, especially with modern homes designed to minimize air “leaks.”

Through normal occupation in a home, people generate a great deal of contaminants and air pollutants, such as dander, dust and chemicals. These are pulled into the HVAC system and recirculated several times a day. Over time, this causes a buildup of contaminants in the ductwork.

Your Health

Dirty ducts can harbor contaminants that could cause serious problems for people with respiratory problems, autoimmune disorders or allergies.

Health effects from indoor air pollutants may include irritated eyes, nose and throat, as well as headaches, dizziness and fatigue. Symptoms of asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis and humidifier fever may also come from exposure to some indoor air pollutants.

To protect you from this pollution, your heating and cooling system acts as the lungs of your home. The system takes air in and breathes air out. A good rule of thumb: If your ducts look dirty, they probably are and should be inspected by a reputable, certified HVAC professional.

Your Wealth

In addition to better air, clean ducts can mean saving money and energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted. Contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause it to work harder and wear out sooner. Even with filters, the heating and cooling system still gets dirty through normal use. A clean system uses less energy for more cost effectiveness.

Who Can Help

A good way to get your ducts properly cleaned is to have them done by a professional who belongs to NADCA, a trade association of companies in the HVAC inspection, maintenance and restoration industry that have signed the NADCA Code of Ethics and invested time and resources into industry-related training and education.

Members possess general liability insurance and will clean and restore your heating and cooling system in accordance with NADCA standard and guidelines.

Learn More

For further facts and to find a nearby association member, go to www.nadca.com.

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Five Tips To Help You Land A Home You’ll Love

(NAPSI)—With mortgage rates still low, now could be a great time to buy a new home. Before diving into the market headfirst, however, it’s important to do your homework so that you’re prepared to tackle each hurdle in the homebuying process. With this in mind, the “What I Wish I Knew About the Homebuying Process” survey gauges the preparedness of recent homebuyers. As a result, these five tips can help you make the right homebuying decision.

1. Identify your “must-haves.” Identifying your “must-haves” is key to guaranteeing satisfaction with your home purchase. The survey found that nearly four in 10 recent homebuyers (39 percent) said that, knowing what they know now, they would buy a home of a different size, at a different price point, and/or in a different area. In addition, first-time homebuyers (55 percent) are more likely to say that they would make significant changes with respect to the home’s size, price and/or location. To help you look back regret-free, make a checklist of top priorities (access to a good school district, for example) and perks you can forgo (such as a multiple-car garage). Know what you’re willing to compromise on and what you are not so that you’re prepared to find the home that’s right for you.

2. Understand the financial aspects of the homebuying process. Nine of every 10 recent homebuyers felt prepared going into the homebuying process, but in hindsight, more than half (56 percent) wish they had been armed with more knowledge about the financial aspects of purchasing a home, according to the survey. In fact, it found that recent homebuyers would have liked more knowledge about the ins and outs of the closing and settlement process (22 percent), negotiating/making an offer on a home (19 percent) and financing a home (15 percent). To help people overcome the challenges of buying a home and give them a primer on what to expect, Chase launched the My New Home app and YouTube Channel.

3. Prepare with technology. Key aspects of the homebuying process differed from expectations. A majority said the length of the process was not what they anticipated, saying it either took longer (40 percent) or shorter (16 percent) than expected. Thirty-four percent of recent homebuyers overall said the costs and fees of maintaining their home were more than they expected, with the sentiment especially felt by first-time homebuyers (55 percent). Chase’s My New Home suite of educational tools can help individuals and families avoid surprises and fully prepare for one of the biggest purchases they will ever make.

4. Seek out advice from experts. Homebuyers continue to rely on Realtors and mortgage bankers to meet their needs. Sixty-eight percent of homeowners sought out advice from Realtors throughout the homebuying process and about half (45 percent) turned to mortgage bankers and loan officers. Seek out Realtors, mortgage bankers and loan officers with key industry data and tools that are easy to understand so you have all the information you need to find the right house—one that you will be proud to call home.

5. Consider the desire to renovate. The desire to renovate is bound to hit even the newest of homeowners. While recent homebuyers said the home they bought aligns well with their “must-have” list (97 percent) and considered the home move-in ready (83 percent), 76 percent have done or are planning to make renovations to their home in the near term, according to the survey. A Chase Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) is one product that homeowners can continue to rely on to put their ideas and visions into action.

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Explore Backup Power Options For Hurricane And Summer Storm Season

(NAPSI)--With the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season upon us, it’s important for homeowners to explore their backup power options now.

“The U.S. was spared from a hurricane last year, but that does not mean we will be as fortunate during the 2014 season,” said Rick Knabb, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s National Hurricane Center. “Prepare for a hurricane now before one threatens your area, and find out if you are in a hurricane evacuation zone.”

Homeowners have many options when it comes to backup power:

• A portable generator is the solution most people turn to when they need power in an emergency. Select one that delivers no fewer than 5,000 watts or you won’t be able to back up much. Make sure you have enough extension cords rated for outdoor use. If you already have a portable generator, make sure it runs properly before the power goes out. Also, make sure you have enough gasoline.

• A portable generator with a manual transfer switch lets you safely deliver the generator’s power directly to your home’s electrical system. This eliminates the need for extension cords and lets you power hardwired appliances like a well pump. Your electrician can install this for you.

• An automatic home standby generator is safer and more convenient—it starts automatically, can back up your entire home, and runs on natural gas or LP fuel, so you never need to refuel it in an emergency. It should be installed by a generator dealer or licensed electrician.

To learn which backup power solution is right for you, visit the Generac website at www.generac.com.

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After Your Move—Getting Settled

(NAPSI)—Growing comfortable in a new neighborhood can be made simpler, if you heed these moving tips on what to do—and what not to do—when getting settled.

Dos

• Host a housewarming party: Invite everyone in the neighborhood, either in person or by putting invitations in mailboxes. Remember: It’s not advised to mention gifts or create a gift registry.

• Reach out to your neighbors: In the chaos of moving, you can just say “hi” and wave, but eventually you should introduce yourself and learn neighbors’ names. If you’re shy, ask about favorite restaurants or upcoming local events.

• Be helpful: Without overstepping any privacy boundaries, offer to do small favors for a neighbor you want to befriend. Saying you’re willing to take care of pets or collect their mail when they go out of town suggests you’re a caring and responsible person.

• Schedule your cable high-speed Internet, digital cable TV and phone connections in advance, with a couple of clicks at www.cablemover.com. After a busy day of unpacking, you’ll be able to unwind with dinner from the nearest take-out restaurant, watch TV, order new shower curtains or play online games.

• Show respect: Keep noise to a reasonable level, particularly late at night, especially if there are young children or senior citizens nearby who may be disturbed.

Don’ts

• Stay away from the rumor mill—Don’t encourage or engage in gossip with your new neighbors. If you’ve developed a critical opinion of the community, keep it to yourself. Also, steer clear of topics that are typically considered socially unacceptable, such as finances, religion and politics.

• Try problem-solving instead of complaining—Use face-to-face communication and an honest, levelheaded conversation to resolve problems, instead of subtle negative tactics such as note writing. The chances of finding mutually agreeable solutions will be much higher and it can improve relationships.

Moving can mean big changes in everything from your work to your children’s education, or your weekend activities. Taking time to build good relationships with neighbors can ease your transition and lead to lasting friendships.

 

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Fast, Easy Ways To Have A Kitchen And Bath You Love

(NAPSI)—Anyone who thinks there’s an app these days for everything but the kitchen sink is wrong. Now, your smartphone, tablet or computer can help you have a new kitchen sink, bathroom vanity, countertop and a whole lot more. With free online tools, it’s easy to design your dream kitchen or bath.

You can see all options and decide what you like before you shop or meet with a designer. Apps can also help you find dealers and contractors online.

Some apps let you take photos so you can compare your room with others, contrast products and see how new counters, cabinets and sinks will look with each other, before they’re installed. You can even send your ideas to a designer or share them with family.

A few apps to consider:

• With the Blanco mobile color app, you can coordinate the company’s high-quality kitchen sinks with various countertop surfaces, evaluate the look and add different selections by capturing images using your device’s camera. Favorite combinations can be saved and e-mailed to others. You can even find the nearest dealer with the app’s store locator function.

• From color inspiration to installation galleries and practical advice, Silestone’s interactive app helps you design your ideal kitchen or bath space including the company’s quality quartz countertops. You calculate area square footage; browse through an extensive color palette and share it with friends, family or contractors; and then use the app to find a nearby dealer.

• Hardware Resources has an online tool for selecting a bath vanity. It works through any device with Internet so you can easily set your room dimensions, pick colors and materials for the walls and floors, and then swipe vanities of different sizes, colors and styles through the room to see what looks best. Then, find a dealer, see prices and dimensions, and share your results socially or via e-mail.

In addition, here are three ideas to bear in mind when you design:

1. While a monochrome look can be sophisticated and serene, a few pops of color in curtains, cushions, soaps, door and drawer pulls can set it off and point it up.

2. Use the space to show off your good taste. If you collect saltshakers, say, display them in the kitchen. Use the guest bathroom as the place to put your prettiest towels.

3. It’s a bright idea to look to the lighting. There should be task lighting, accent lighting to highlight a special feature, and general overhead light. You may want a dimmer in the bath for dark mornings and a bright spotlight in the kitchen over the sink or stove.

Let the apps aid you to create the kitchen and bath of your dreams, then start enjoying your new rooms.

Learn more at www.blancoamerica.com, www.silestoneusa.com and www.vanityvisualizer.com.

 

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