Swimming Pool Safety

Wood Care Projects Bedding to Beat the Heat Sprucing Up Your Kitchen Eye-Candy Array of Colors Save Energy, Money and Water Laundry Room Organization Easy Tiling Tips


(NAPSI)—Warm weather beckons for families to hit the pool-whether that is in their backyard, the community pool or a water park. But before families take the plunge, they should consider the best ways to protect themselves from getting sick from a potentially harmful source—unhealthy pool water.

According to a recent survey conducted on behalf of the Water Quality and Health Council, the majority of Americans (81 percent) believe that others are urinating in pools, while one in five (20 percent) admit doing so themselves. In addition, 83 percent of those surveyed said they were concerned with others swimming when they have diarrhea.

Below are some simple tips to help keep swimming pool use safe and healthy:

• Shower with Soap—Swimmers should wash with soap and water before they go swimming. Germs on the body end up in the water, so preventing germs from entering the pool is key.

• Check for Healthy/Safe Water Levels—Before getting in water at a public pool, water park or even your own backyard pool, check chlorine and pH levels with pool test strips. "Proper chlorine and pH levels maximize chlorine's germ-killing power," said Michele Hlavsa, chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Healthy Swimming Program. "Testing the chlorine and pH levels before you get in the water is an important step you can take to protect your health and your family's health."

AquaChek Pool and Spa Test Strips allow you to test for appropriate levels of chemicals in pool water and are easy to use. Simply dip a test strip into your pool or spa/hot tub, then compare it to the color chart on the product's label. You'll know immediately how safe and clean pool water is and what chemical adjustments are needed to ensure continued cleanliness.

Backyard pool owners should test pool water at least three times a week if the pool is not being used and more often if use of the pool increases or environmental changes occur (like rain, pollen, animals, etc.). Public pool users can also pack test strips in their pool bag to check that the water is safe for swimming.

• Curb Contamination—Avoid swimming if you have diarrhea. You can make other people sick by spreading invisible amounts of fecal matter in the water.

• Insist on Healthy, Safe Water—Insist that your family and others in the pool follow basic guidelines when it comes to healthy swimming practices. Test the water at public pools and report any potential issues, such as improper chlorine levels, to a pool operator. If the pool operator does not take action, contact your local health department.

• Stop Sipping the Water—Don't swallow the water you swim in, as even a small amount of contaminated water can make you sick.

Visit www.aquachek.com for more information on how to keep pool water safe and healthy.

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Beautiful Weatherproofing Protection For Exterior Wood Care Projects

(NAPSI)—Caring for exterior wood surfaces—such as decks, fences, siding and furniture—does more than just help the outside of your home look its best; it can protect your investment. Weatherproofing stains and finishes help protect wood surfaces from the harmful effects of the elements, ensuring a beautiful, long-lasting finish.

According to the experts, weatherproofing protection for your deck and other exterior wood care projects can be broken down into three easy steps: preparation, color selection and staining/finishing. Here are some tips from Eric Lundquist, director of marketing for Stain & Specialty Products at Behr:

1. Preparation. Before you apply the stain, you need to properly prepare the surface. That's the key to attaining a beautiful appearance and achieving long-lasting durability. Wood that has a peeling stain or finish, or is in poor condition, should be stripped to remove all previous coatings. Then clean with a wood cleaner such as the recently reformulated BEHR Premium All-In-One Wood Cleaner. The cleaner can be used to brighten and remove mildew stains in a single step. New or weathered wood should also be cleaned to remove any existing mold or mildew stains, open clogged pores on the surface, and to restore the wood to its original, natural color.

2. Color Selection. This is an opportunity for you to use your favorite colors on the outside living spaces of your home. And remember that color changes and/or improvements you make to your home's exterior can enhance your home's curb appeal. A wide variety of shades is available so finding the one that's right for you is easy. Behr's color offerings include Redwood and Cedar Naturaltone, Woodland Green and Cape Cod Gray, as well as custom wood stain colors.

Behr's Exterior Wood Care Center at The Home Depot offers color chips in-store and visualization tools so you can see what the colors will look like on a deck, fence, siding, furniture or composite surface. Plus, you can find 8-ounce samples for testing color before applying to a large area.

3. Staining and Finishing. When you are ready to stain, be sure to use a 100-percent acrylic resin formulated to protect decks, siding and fences year-round. Your options include:

• A solid color weatherproofing wood stain, which reveals the wood texture but conceals the grain, offering the most durable and long-lasting finish and vibrant color. It hides blemishes, imperfections and signs of aging wood.

• A semi-transparent weatherproofing wood stain that lets natural wood grain and texture show through and provides more durability than clear or wood-toned products. It adds subtle color and is ideal for new or unstained surfaces.

• A transparent weatherproofing wood finish adding color to the wood while enhancing the wood's natural beauty.

Visitors to Behr's Exterior Wood Care Center can scan a QR code found on the back panel of their wood stains and finishes brochure for a short informative video. For more information, including exterior how-to instructions, visit WoodSmart by BEHR at www.behr.com. To find and share tips and inspiration, fans can also "like" Behr on Facebook, follow Behr on Twitter and bookmark Behr's blog all about color and design at www.colorfullybehr.com.

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Tips To Beat The Heat

(NAPSI)—Here's eye-opening information: Whether you get enough sleep can affect your mood, your weight, even your heart health. Fortunately, there are things you can do to improve your chances of getting a good night's sleep.

Summer heat and additional hours of sunlight can take a toll on our sleep quality. In fact, a recent Sleep Number survey revealed that 37 percent of people struggle to catch restorative sleep during the summer months—more than any other season.

"For example," said Pete Bils, Vice President of Sleep Innovation and Research at Sleep Number, "in order to fall asleep, the normal sleep cycle requires our body temperature to drop, and the excess body heat we release is absorbed by our bedroom and mattress. If the room is too hot or the bedding isn't breathable, the heat will be trapped next to us—making it difficult to get quality sleep."

Bils offers the following tips to help people get great sleep:

Excessive temperatures and humidity disrupt sleep

• The optimal sleeping temperature is 65 degrees Fahrenheit with 65 percent humidity. So use a fan or a lightweight blanket during the summer, or adjust your thermostat to maintain a more comfortable sleeping temperature.

• Body heat is released through your feet, head and hands, so keep them uncovered.

• Go to bed with damp hair. As the water evaporates, it creates a cooling effect.

Light is the most powerful influence on your sleep schedule

• The increase in daylight hours tends to delay bedtime, pushing people to get less shut-eye than they need. Use light-blocking blinds or curtains or wear an eye mask at night to help you fall asleep.

• About an hour before bed, don't expose yourself to bright lights or screens (overhead lighting, television, phone, etc.). The natural sleep process, the secretion of melatonin, begins when exposed to dim light.

Maintain constant sleep and workout schedules

• Avoid the tendency to stay up late and sleep in during vacation. Altering your sleep schedule midweek actually creates jet lag-like symptoms, which impact your motor skills, concentration, mood and health. Do your best to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, even while traveling, seven days a week.

• Don't exercise too late in the evening in order to allow enough time for the body temperature to cool down before bedtime.

• Find bedding that works for couples who can't agree on warmth. Check out Sleep Number's exclusive In Balance bedding collection items, featuring Outlast temperature-balancing material, proven to wick moisture and draw excess heat away from the body so sleepers stay at a comfortable temperature all night long. Sleep Number utilizes the material, originally developed for NASA, in a variety of bedding products including sheets, blankets, duvets, comfort layers, mattress pads and its Innovation-series line of beds.

For additional summer-sleep tips and more information about Sleep Number's exclusive In Balance bedding collection items, visit www.sleepnumber.com to find a Sleep Number store.

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Tips On Designing A Well-Functioning Room

(NAPSI)—Designing a kitchen that embraces functionality and style may be simpler than you think. With 100 years of experience, the experts at the Whirlpool Institute of Kitchen Science—www.instituteofkitchenscience.com—know a thing or two about sprucing up your kitchen.

An informational hub about everything kitchen, Whirlpool's experts have partnered with lifestyle expert and Designer Dad Stephen Saint-Onge to offer the following:

• Redesign your appliances: Appliances are built to offer the functions you want and need. French door refrigerators with bottom-mount freezers offer plenty of space to store all your favorite foods; dishwashers can keep quiet while cleaning dishes. Use the refrigerator's spaciousness to save time. For example, you can make prepping salads and side items quick and easy. Don't just put the produce away after grocery shopping. Rinse and prep all vegetables and fruits and store them in clear, airtight containers so getting them takes virtually no time.

• Change it up: Tastes and trends change but renovating the kitchen to change with them is a little trickier. You can still add a little flavor to the area with colorful small appliances and accents. Install a few floating shelves or specialty hooks to display decorative plates that can easily be switched out for new styles. To change things even more, you can use backsplashes to add character or a fresh coat of paint to transform the room. Chalkboards are also a fun, trendy way to add to any kitchen. Use them to keep track of your shopping list, weekly menu or favorite wines. Counterscaping can also make a big difference. Decluttering and restyling what's on the countertops goes a long way for an easy upgrade. "I am always changing things around in my house," Saint-Onge said. "It keeps the visuals of what you see every day fresh and new."

• Every space needs a little mise en place: It's the philosophy of French culinary experts. When cooking, put everything you'll need in its place. Measure out ingredients, preheat the oven and prep as much as possible before getting started. Keep olives, lemons and limes in stock. Keep cooking utensils, oils and spices close to the range, where you'll likely need them. Organize cupboards by how they're used: dishes and glassware close to the table or dishwasher, pots and pans by the oven.

• Learn more: For further information on the latest appliance features, visit www.whirlpool.com. For more kitchen tips, visit the Whirlpool Institute of Kitchen Science at www.instituteofkitchenscience.com.

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Colors Can Tell A Story About A Room-And You

(NAPSI)—Decorators say one of the most beautiful things about color is that it can tell a story, capture a memory or trigger an emotion.

For example, black and deep hues can suggest mystery while citrus-like brights can evoke images of summertime fun and turquoise and watery blues often help offer a sense of calmness and tranquility.

New Colors, New Stories

One of the latest developments in interior paint is a new 240 full-spectrum color palette from Benjamin Moore, one of America 's leading paint manufacturers.

The eye-candy array is aptly called Color Stories. These are handcrafted blends that are designed to read richer than conventional colors because they are formulated with more pigments in very precise, exacting amounts.

According to paint expert Ray Gomez, these are full-spectrum paint colors, meaning that they contain anywhere between five and seven pigments, using no black or gray tints. Conventional colors use only three pigments and often fill in with black or gray.

Environmentally Friendly

Unlike other pigments or colorants, Benjamin Moore's are zero-VOC. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be dangerous to human health and can cause harm to the environment.

In this case, the company makes its own colorants. So when the colorants are added to Aura, which is the only paint formulation being offered for this special series and is the brand's ultimate performance product, the paint remains low-VOC-under 50 grams per liter.

Each color in the series is much like a secret recipe. Only select authorized Benjamin Moore retailers are equipped to mix them and, without knowing the correct colorant ratios, these hues are impossible to duplicate.

Lighting Is Key

The colors in this new palette are best appreciated once the paint is applied and dried. The lighting in a room interacts with colors to yield a visual dynamic that can be an unexpected treat. Natural morning light will affect it one way, artificial or indirect light another, causing the color to take on different characteristics and appearances throughout the day.

For more information, visit www.benjaminmoore.com/colorstories.

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New Ways To Save Energy, Money And Water

(NAPSI)—Thanks to today's technology, significantly reducing your energy consumption and dramatically lowering your water and energy bills are at your fingertips; if, that is, your fingers are on a smartphone with apps designed to calculate how much water you use each day, provide tips for lowering your utility bills, and even how to program your water sprinkler.

Conservation Apps To Consider

Here are a few mobile apps that you can download onto your iPhone or Android in your quest for a greener home and business.

1. Everyday Energy Tips helps you eliminate waste and shows you how you can save on your utility bills.

2. Save H2O helps you understand all aspects of your restroom water usage. In just seconds, you can calculate your savings.

3. Waterprint calculates how much water you use in your daily life, including what you wear, eat and drink.

4. The Responsible Bathroom Campaign app raises awareness of water conservation and provides tips to make your home and business more water friendly.

5. Sprinkler Times lets you easily and instantly calculate a customized watering schedule for an automated sprinkler system.

6. Light Bulb Finder helps you find the right energy-saving light bulbs for your home or office. Then you can choose which bulbs to replace based on financial payback and environmental impact.

7. Drip Detective shows you exactly how much water is running down your drain and the cost associated with any water leak.

8. Water Buddy keeps a history of your water meter readings and provides an instant overview of your usage and whether you're keeping within your target range.

9. One Stop Green allows you to receive daily tips, includes a solar, wind, water and lighting calculator and lets you conduct home energy audits.

10. myUse tracks water, electricity and gas use and estimates your upcoming usage, so you can make simple adjustments.

These are just a few of the many energy-saving and water conservation apps—and most are free of charge.

Learn More

For direct links to the apps in this article and for more information and tips on energy saving, water conservation and sustainable solutions for your home or business, visit www.xylemknowsh2o.com, www.completewatersystems.com and www.xylemwatermark.com.

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Lighten The Load In The Laundry Room

(NAPSI)—The average American family washes eight to 10 loads of laundry each week, states the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. Most people would agree that laundry seems to be a never-ending chore. However, with an organized and well-designed laundry room, it's almost effortless to launder even the largest loads. You may spend less time cleaning up life's little messes with these helpful tips:

• Make separating light, dark and hand-wash clothing a simple task by sorting the items into specific hampers. Even the kids can help divide and conquer dirty clothing.

• Place a small bowl by the washing machine to collect buttons, receipts, pens, change and other forgotten items.

• Create extra storage space near the washer and dryer with a do-it-yourself laminate system such as ClosetMaid® Dimensions®. The durable system can store freshly folded towels and stacks of clothes until they're put in their proper place.

• Use shelves at arm level to store detergent, dryer sheets, stain removers and fabric softener, while cabinet doors can neatly hide the iron, lint brush and sewing kit.

• Designate a well-lit space for folding, mending and repairing clothes. It will help shed some light on those pesky stains and almost-invisible holes.

• Position a portable or wall-mounted ironing board so it's easily accessible for quick ironing touch-ups.

• Corral the family's socks and other delicates in a collection of fabric drawers. Assign a different colored bin to each family member for easy distinction.

For more information on solving storage and other organization dilemmas, visit ClosetMaid.com or call (800) 874-0008.


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Easy Tiling Ideas

(NAPSI)—Renovations don't have to be costly, messy and time consuming. There are ways to avoid the headaches often associated with home upgrades. Tiles are a great way to add a punch of personality to your home and many tiling projects can be completed in just one day. With a few tools and some elbow grease, you can breathe new life and flair into any room.

Get creative inspiration with simple tiling projects you can use to liven up your home:

1. Call attention to one wall of a room with a bold tile accent. Be daring with patterns, or make it modern with subway tiles.

2. Tile the kitchen backsplash to add color and protect the wall from cooking messes. Bondera TileMatSet, a double-sided, peel- and-stick tiling adhesive is a great tool to use instead of mortar and mastic, eliminating the mess and allowing you to grout immediately after positioning the tiles.

3. Modernize old trivets by using the tile adhesive to create a custom tiled pattern that pops against tableware.

4. Explore your creative side by designing a charming tile pattern on an old tabletop, which will add pizzazz to lunches and evening drinks.

For more on these and similar projects, visit www.bonderatilematset.com.

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