Door Stylizer

Pool Prep Sparkling Clear Choosing a Lawn Mower Electrical Safety Tips Clever Closet Shelving Display Plants Coordination Save Energy and Money Upgrade Attic for Savings

Your Dream Entryway May Be Only Steps Away

(NAPSI)—For enhanced curb appeal of your home, nothing beats a front door with beautiful doorglass.

Making it easier to determine what your dream entryway could look like is a new interactive online tool called Your Door Stylizer™ from ODL, Inc. With this online tool, you can instantly see how doorglass can upgrade your door and enhance your home. It can be intimidating to choose a new entry. This new tool makes the process easy and fun.

First, using your computer, tablet or smartphone, choose among three project types:

1. Replace Glass—For homeowners who simply want to replace their existing doorglass with a new design or style.

2. Add Glass—For homeowners who want to add doorglass to a door that previously had none or to increase the size of the doorglass in their existing door.

3. Replace Your Door—For homeowners who want to completely change their entry system, this option allows them to choose their existing entryway configuration and then choose any door type, doorglass shapes and designs they like.

Next, you simply upload a photo of your house or choose from preloaded sample home photos and then customize the entryway with the online tool by choosing among an array of designs. Each doorglass selection instantly appears on the door in the image.

Once you’ve selected your style, with the aid of Your Door Stylizer, you can share the project via e-mail or social media, save the image to an online account or print it for later reference. Online, you can learn where to get the glass you’ve selected and how to get it installed. Because it’s made by ODL, a leading manufacturer of decorative and clear doorglass and entry treatments, the glass can also help your doors meet ENERGY STAR criteria. All decorative doorglass is sealed between two panes of tempered safety glass, insulated for airtight and watertight performance.

Other Entryway Ideas

Once you’ve decided on the door, you may consider improving the rest of the entryway. Here are a few ideas to try:

• Line the sides of the front steps with plants in pots.

• If you have a covered porch, paint a mural on the ceiling or line it with mirror tiles.

• If there’s room, add a swing, a small seat or a storage box.

• Put up a trellis and train a vine over it.

• Use solar-powered lanterns on posts to light the walkway.

Learn More

To try Your Door Stylizer or to find more information, visit http://odl.com/stylizer.htm.

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How To Throw A Stress-Free Pool Party

(NAPSI)—While a pool party can be a great way to spend an afternoon with friends and family, taking a few extra steps can help your event sparkle as much as your pool.

Consider these tips:

• Decorations—One of the biggest mistakes a host can make is overdecorating. Themed tropical parties, replete with inflatable palm trees, torches and tiki statues, may be great for a kids’ party, but for adults, the simpler, the better. A few freshly cut flowers in tabletop vases are always classy. If your party extends into the evening, hang some lighted lanterns around the pool. Set up your sound system outdoors and create a playlist of music to set the mood. Keep extra supplies on hand, such as sunscreen and spare towels, for those guests who come underequipped.

• Changing Area—Provide a room for your guests in which to change in and out of their swimsuits. Include a container of plastic bags for storing wet swimsuits and towels for easy transport home. The room should be easily accessible to a bathroom, preferably with a shower. Remove extraneous items from the shower and arrange a few indulgences, such as luxurious shampoo and conditioner, fresh-smelling liquid soap and body lotion with a summery scent.

• Food and Drinks—Set up a table poolside, but in the shade, so guests can snack when hungry. Try a buffet of salads, antipasto, chilled shrimp cocktail and fruit. With the temperatures rising, select light, refreshing menu items, keeping in mind that some ingredients, such as mayonnaise, are apt to spoil in the heat.

For drinks, make sure you have all the basics, including coolers full of soda, water, white wine and wine spritzers, cocktails and beer, giving guests an array of options for quenching their thirst. By setting out food and drinks ahead of time, you’ll be better able to mix, mingle and swim with everyone else.

• Pool Prep—Maintaining a crystal-clear pool requires vigilance. Something as simple as a last-minute rainstorm can turn the water cloudy and uninviting. To help, there’s a new pool treatment designed to alleviate this issue. It’s called Angry Egg™ Pool Treatment, and you simply drop it into the pool and it immediately begins to fizz out a deep-clean formula. In about 10 minutes, it floats back to the surface for easy removal and recycling. In 24 hours or less, you’ll have sparkling-clear water for your partygoers to enjoy.

Finally, sit back, relax and enjoy your party. Don’t stress. Go with the flow of the event and make adjustments midstream if needed. Encourage your guests to feel at home and to make the most of the day poolside.

Learn More

For further facts and tips, visit www.angryegg.net.

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Choosing A Lawn Mower To Fit Your Needs

(NAPSI)—While you don’t want to let the grass grow under your feet when it’s time to get a new lawn mower, there are a few steps to consider first:

• Your Yard Size: For yards that are about three-quarters of an acre or less, a walk-behind mower can be a good choice. The smaller your yard, the smaller the mower deck can be. For example, a 21- or 22-inch walk-behind mower is commonly used on smaller yards.

If your yard is larger than three-quarters of an acre, consider a rear-engine riding mower or a smaller lawn tractor. Riding mowers with rear-mounted engines provide good visibility and excellent mobility. Look for mowing decks between 28 and 42 inches wide and engines from 12 to 20 hp.

A zero-turn rider or front- engine lawn tractor may be appropriate for one- to three-acre yards. Look for 16 to 24 hp and a mowing deck 38 to 44 inches wide.

For yards larger than three acres, a larger zero-turn rider or garden tractor is probably best. Look for engines with at least 24 hp and mowing decks in the 48- to 61-inch range.

• The Terrain: A typical walk-behind mower is fine for a small, flat yard. If your land is sloped or hilly, consider a self-propelled walk-behind mower. One with big back wheels is easier to maneuver across rough terrain. All riding mowers can handle varied terrain, though some are better on slopes than others.

Be careful on slopes and hills. If you’re using a riding mower, mow up and down the incline, never across. With a walk-behind mower, always mow across the incline and never pull the mower back toward your feet.

• Your Physical Condition: If pushing a lawn mower is difficult, you may want a self-propelled mower even with a very small yard. Similarly, a riding mower may be the right choice if you’re unable to easily walk behind a mower.

• The Engine: Look for a quality engine suited for the size of the job you expect it to do. For example, Briggs & Stratton engines can be found in several brands of lawn mowers ranging from small walk-behinds to large zero-turn mowers and garden tractors.

• Lawn Mower Features: New lawn and garden tractors from Simplicity have Free Floating mower decks with full-width rollers, traction options, push-button start and two- or four-wheel suspension. Many zero-turn mowers offer suspension systems and ground-following mower decks.

Learn More

Learn more at www.snapper.com and www.simplicitymfg.com.

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Protect Your House And Family

(NAPSI)—Protect your biggest investments: your family and your home. A few easy electrical safety steps can help ensure that your home continues to be a safe haven for your family. The Electrical Safety Foundation International recommends the following tips to help protect your home and family from electrical hazards and fires:

• Regularly check all cords, outlets, switches and appliances for signs of damage or wear.

• Use extension cords only temporarily.

• Be sure that outlets are not overloaded with too many devices. They can overheat and start a fire.

• Look and listen for warning signs of an electrical problem such as outlets and switches that are warm, or make crackling, sizzling or buzzing sounds.

• Always replace fuses or circuit breakers with the correct size and amperage. And make sure all circuits are labeled correctly.

• Consider having your breakers upgraded to state-of-the-art AFCI circuit breakers. Keep the electrical panel accessible so you can quickly shut off power in an emergency.

• Install smoke alarms on every level of your home. Place alarms inside each bedroom and outside each sleeping area. Test them once a month, change the batteries at least once a year, and replace the alarm itself every 10 years.

For more electrical safety tips, visit www.esfi.org.

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Sneaky Storage

(NAPSI)—The high-traffic areas of your home don’t have to be decorated in mayhem. A few hints can help you have a welcoming home and cozy home decor.

There are many “sneaky” storage options that allow form and function to fuse, creating a great space for collectibles, housewares, electronics and more.

• Even large family rooms can be bombarded with electronics, books and too much furniture. Pare down the furnishings by including only the necessary pieces. Review which pieces are used most often and which could be removed. Be sure to arrange the furniture so that there is a clear walkway.

An ottoman that features hide-away storage is one sneaky way to keep your favorite blankets and books close at hand. You can also try consolidating clutter by placing multiple remotes together in an attractive tray, box or bowl. Coffee tables are natural depositories for the entire family. A table with drawers, shelves or baskets below is a sly solution for messy tabletops.

• To clear out kitchen clutter, consider using X-shape dividers to hold more than bottles of wine. They’re a great way to hide and store waxed paper, rolled cloth napkins and even decorative candles. If your kitchen is small and lacks cabinet space, try capitalizing on the room inside your oven. Neatly stack your cooking trays, pots and pans on the oven rack. Close the door and those large bulky items are out of sight.

• With 80 percent of people entering the average home through the garage door, the entryway or mudroom can quickly become inundated with shoes, coats, keys and mail. If a closet is available, think vertically. Closet systems such as ClosetMaid’s ShelfTrack™ wire shelving can help turn even a small closet into a roomy storage hub. Add multiple shelves and wire accessories such as hanging baskets and shoe holders. The storage space created in your closet will be the best-kept secret in the neighborhood.

If a closet isn’t available, you can create one simply by placing one of ClosetMaid’s multiple grab-and-go Stackable Organizers or a Cubeicals 3 Cube Bench by the garage door.

Learn More

For further facts and tips on solving your storage and organization dilemmas, visit the website at www.ClosetMaid.com or call (800) 874-0008.

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Six Ways That Public Gardens Can Inspire You

(NAPSI)—How does your garden grow? It could be one that makes the neighbors green with envy if you turn for inspiration to America’s amazing public gardens. Here are six ways public gardens can inspire:

• Landscaping at public gardens can offer suggestions for designing a beautiful garden of any size with colorful combinations of plants in bloom.

• Public gardens use efficient watering practices and have industry insight on responsible irrigation systems. Homeowners can learn how to irrigate their own gardens by exploring and consulting with a public garden.

• Choosing native plants or plants that have adapted to the local environment can ensure that a garden will be healthy and require less water. Public gardens tend to have huge collections of native and adapted plants that homeowners can be assured will work in their own gardens.

• Public gardens have a selection of plants that are right for a variety of seasons. Blooms can happen year-round if the appropriate types of plants or trees are selected. Keeping your garden beautiful can be easier once you see how public gardens arrange their collection.

• Public gardens employ a diverse professional staff that specializes in horticulture, conservation, display, research and design. Many gardens offer workshops and programs for home gardeners.

• Public gardens often host plant sales that feature unique plants, flowers and trees, providing top-quality additions to residential gardens. Many public gardens have professional experts on hand to answer questions and libraries and bookstores that can educate home gardeners.

Learn More

The nonprofit American Public Gardens Association has partnered with Rain Bird, a leading manufacturer and provider of irrigation products, to promote public gardens.

For more information, you can visit www.NationalPublicGardensDay.org.

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Hot Tips To Help You Save Energy And Money

(NAPSI)—If your heating and cooling bills seem to be going through the roof, give a warm welcome to these hints to help you keep more of your cold cash.

What You Can Do

• Check and maintain your insulation. Improperly insulated walls, floors, attics, basements and crawl spaces drain away heat and air-conditioning and can encourage mold and mildew.

• Add weather stripping and caulk around windows and doors, too.

• Install a programmable thermostat that shuts itself off during the day when you’re away and at night when you’re asleep, to keep you comfortable when you’re home and save you money when you’re not.

• Keep vents and returns free of obstructions. Don’t lay carpet over vents, place furniture over or in front of them, or obstruct the flow of air.

• Get a humidifier and a dehumidifier. Dry air feels cooler than moist air. Humidity in summer makes you feel hotter; the same is true in winter.

• Keep outdoor air conditioner units clear of plants and debris.

• Keep your air filters clean. Check them every couple of weeks and change them as directed by the manufacturer.

• Let the sunshine in by opening the curtains on cold days. Get heavy drapes to keep things cozy at night.

• Plant shade trees on the south side of your home to help keep it cooler in summer.

• Review last year’s energy bills. If your cooling costs are drastically higher this year, a qualified HVAC/R technician may be able to diagnose the problem.

• Even the most eco-friendly, high-efficiency products and appliances can waste money and energy if they’re not installed, serviced and maintained properly. By working with certified technicians, homeowners can have confidence that their HVAC/R equipment is delivering on the energy efficiency promised.

• Have your heating and cooling systems checked twice a year by an HVAC/R professional. Technicians certified by North American Technician Excellence (NATE), the nation’s largest independent, nonprofit certification body for HVAC/R technicians, are skilled professionals who have proven their knowledge in the HVAC/R industry by passing specialized certification tests.

Learn More

For further facts and tips and to find a nearby, qualified contractor who employs certified technicians, look for the NATE logo, go to www.hvacradvice.com or call (877) 420-NATE.


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Check Your Attic For Savings

(NAPSI)—Things may be looking up for many homeowners who look in their attic.

That’s because what you find there may lead to big savings on your energy bills and possibly even a bigger tax refund.

What To Look For

If you can see the tops of the ceiling joists (or you have roughly 6 to 7” or less of any type of insulation), you’ll need to add insulation for optimal performance and comfort in your home.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average homeowner can save as much as 30 percent on energy bills simply by having the right amount of insulation throughout the home. Plus, a newly extended tax credit for energy-efficient home improvements may help you save even more.

The American Taxpayer Relief Act extends tax credits on energy-efficient home upgrades for projects completed in 2012 and 2013, allowing homeowners to claim 10 percent of the cost of qualified energy-efficient building materials up to $500. So adding a few inches of insulation to your attic could mean a lower tax bill this year and lower heating and cooling bills for years to come.

What To Do

An easy way to add maintenance-free thermal performance to your attic is with InsulSafe SP, a premium fiberglass blowing insulation from CertainTeed. Made from recycled glass, it’s noncombustible, noncorrosive, odor free, and won’t settle or cause mildew and fungus growth. Also, it will last the lifetime of your home, contains no formaldehyde, and is certified for indoor air quality performance by the GREENGUARD® Environmental Institute.

Learn More

If you think your home could use more insulation, you can check out www.certainteed.com/iTools. You simply enter your zip code to learn about recommended insulation levels for different areas of your home, get an estimate of potential energy savings, and identify government programs that can help you save on your project. The site can also help you find a qualified contractor who will help you get the job done right.

For more information on energy efficiency tax credits or to find a contractor nearby, go to www.certainteed.com/EnergyTax Credit. For facts on R-values and insulating power, visit the site www.energystar.gov.

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