For A Carefree Swimming Season
you own one of the 8.6 million swimming pools in the U.S., it
may be time to dive into the essentials of pool maintenance. Following a
few simple steps can help ensure a more enjoyable swimming season:
Shake it up. Pool water needs to be circulated. Constant water
movements help prevent bacteria and algae from growing and ensure that the
pool sanitizer cleans the whole pool.
Circulating pool water helps filters catch debris. Pools should
circulate for at least eight hours a day.
Filter it. Filters remove both visible debris and microscopic matter.
Backwash your filter periodically and chemically clean
it at least once every three months.
New, environmentally friendly EcoKlean from BioGuard is made of 100 percent biodegradable cellulose
fiber. Used as a filtration media in DE filters or as a filter aid for sand
or cartridge filters, it will improve your filtration efficiency while
delivering a beautiful sparkle and luster to the water.
Clean it. Brush and vacuum pool walls once a week to catch any debris
the filter misses. Brushing is a must even if you use an automatic pool
cleaner or hire a service.
For problem stains caused by metals dissolving in your water, you can
use BioGuard's Erase Stain Identification Kit to
identify the metal causing the stain and then remove it with a product
specifically designed to treat that stain, either Erase Iron Stain Remover
or Erase Copper Stain Remover.
Test it. Test for the correct pH and sanitizer levels every week. Have
a thorough water analysis performed by a trained dealer every four to six
Maintain it. The last step in total pool maintenance is applying the
right chemical product to keep pools clear and comfortable for swimmers.
Products can help balance pH, alkalinity and calcium hardness in the
water. Other products maintain sanitizer levels and prevent algae, bacteria
and oxidation. The right water treatment plan will both maintain pool
equipment and keep the water inviting.
Pool care retailers offer products and systems that make caring for the
pool a snap. Consult a pool professional for expert advice.
For more information on the effective use of pool and spa products, you
can visit BioGuard at www.bioguard.com.
Give Your Home A Fresh Look For Spring
cleaning has become a ritual in homes across America. But, as families focus
on decluttering closets and revitalizing their indoor
spaces, many overlook simple, inexpensive outdoor projects that can give a
home a real "facelift" and make it look and feel like new.
Clean the exterior. It's amazing how much better, and how much newer, a
home can look after a good cleaning. And with the availability of cleaners
that can be applied with pump sprayers and hose mount applicators, it's
never been easier to give a house a "facelift" without power
washing or costly repainting. If your house is wearing a coat of mold,
mildew, dirt and grime, try a cleaner like Jomaxฎ
House Cleaner and Mildew Killer. It removes the most stubborn stains
without scrubbing and is safe to use near plants, grass and shrubs.
Refresh the driveway. Thanks to the evolution of new water-based
technologies, restoring a driveway to its "like new" appearance
is easy for even inexperienced do-it-yourselfers. EPOXY SHIELD Blacktop
Coating, with its advanced acrylic formula, brings asphalt back to its
original jet black color and makes it look brand new again. The low-odor
formula rolls on like paint and lasts longer than traditional asphalt-based
sealers to enhance the first, and last, impression your home gives
Spruce up your deck. Both wood and composite decks need to be cleaned
regularly to prevent deterioration and look their best. Biodegradable deck
cleaners like Wolman DeckBrite excel at
removing ground-in dirt and mildew stains without whitening or damaging the
surface like chlorine bleach can--and they're easy to use. Wolman has a
full line of transparent, semi-transparent and opaque stains and finishes
in a wide array of colors, so you can achieve any look you desire.
"Upcycle" your outdoor furniture.
You'd be surprised how easy and inexpensive it is to make an old, tired
patio set better with just a few cans of spray paint. Today's spray paints
come in a full palette of colors so you can personalize your outdoor space
while saving your old furniture from the landfill. Try "dressing"
your patio furniture in a classic color like Painter's Touch Ultra Cover 2X
Espresso. One can of 2X delivers twice the coverage so the paint goes
further and projects get done faster.
For more project ideas and product information, visit www.rustoleum.com and www.paintideas.com.
Inexpensive Ways To Bring Spring Into Your Home
is a time of new beginnings. Flowers and plants are blooming, the sun is
shining and the weather is finally getting warmer after winter's chill. So
why not bring some of spring's beauty into your home? Here are some easy,
affordable project ideas from the decorating experts at Rust-Oleum to help you bring spring inside:
Bring Your Flower Garden Indoors
A great way to perk up a home for spring is by decorating rooms where
you spend the most time--like the living room, family room or kitchen--with
flowers. By spray painting flowerpots you already own bright yellow, purple
or green and grouping them into indoor "gardens," you will give
them new life while bringing the great outdoors inside. Consider using
Painter's Touch Ultra Cover 2X, a fast-drying spray paint that works well
on wood, wicker, metal, plaster and unglazed ceramic and resists chipping
Winds Of Change
Adding color to a ceiling or oscillating fan is a great way to add a pop
of color in an unexpected way. Find a good deal on a fan that complements
your personality at a flea market or discount store and bring it home for a
facelift. Covering the fan in just one coat of inexpensive spray paint in a
fresh spring color will create a conversation piece that will last
throughout the year. For this project, try using Rust-Oleum
Universal spray paint. Its unique trigger spray makes it easy to use at any
angle and it can be used on any surface--plastic, metal, wood and more.
Bring Patio Furniture Inside
Remember the old wicker chair and love seat you picked up at Aunt Ida's
garage sale? They're not just for outside! Spray paint them with one coat
of Painter's Touch Ultra Cover 2X in a bright spring color such as Aqua or
Green Apple and suddenly you have new seating that is perfect for your
sunroom, front porch or foyer.
Renew Flea Market Finds
Save that dingy chandelier, tarnished lamp or outdated bookcase from the
trash by restoring it with Rust-Oleum. A fresh
coat of spray paint is sometimes all that is needed to turn garage sale or
flea market finds into treasures.
For hundreds of easy project ideas to help you decorate and transform
your home, visit www.paintideas.com.
Before you know it, you'll have splashes of sunshine, spring color and
great conversation pieces throughout your home without spending much time
Windows That Offer Comfort And Savings
high-performance windows can mean more comfort and convenience--as well as
savings when it comes to energy bills and taxes.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provides
a tax credit of 30 percent of the cost of qualifying windows up to $1,500.
To qualify for the ARRA tax credit, which expires at the end of 2010,
windows must meet certain requirements. Check with your window provider or
the IRS to confirm eligibility.
To maximize energy savings, look for high-performance models labeled as Envirosealed Windows. These windows use nonmetal
spacers that offer the warmest edge of glass temperature for a more
comfortable home interior.
Experts say triple-pane windows with low-emissivity (low-e) glass,
insulated frames and argon or krypton gas filling provide the best
For more information, visit www.EnvirosealedWindows.com.
Natural Stone: Affordable Luxury
a year of belt tightening and just "making do," Americans are
again investing in their homes--redecorating, remodeling and generally
The reason is simple: With mortgage money still restricted, consumers
are "improving up" rather than moving up. In the past, many
families would trade up to homes that offered appealing amenities like
nicer kitchens or baths. This year, consumers are looking for ways to get
the appealing kitchen or bath upgrade without the expense of moving.
And homeowners are finding that luxury enhancements like natural stone
countertops can be very affordable. The timeless stone is unsurpassed in
bringing warmth and richness to any room, immediately becoming a focal
point. And, while the makers of synthetic countertops have tried to
convince consumers that their manufactured products are as good as granite,
natural stone remains unbeatable for enhancing the value of a home.
Consider what the experts advise. Each month, HGTV's
FrontDoor.com, in partnership with DIYnetwork.com, identifies
"maximum value projects" for improving different areas of the
home. The partnership recently offered tips "for getting the most
value out of kitchen and bath renovations." The recommendation?
"To add beauty, value and buyer appeal to a kitchen, consider
upgrading countertops to natural stone. Granite, marble, limestone and
soapstone are popular options." The recommendation for bathroom
improvement was simpler: "Upgrade to granite countertops."
Stone countertops have become more affordable as demand has increased
and as new technology has made it easier to cut and polish the stone. And
the selection is unparalleled--greater than any other countertop surface.
"Granite countertops are becoming all the rage," writes KitchenKool.com, an online consumer
information guide that does not sell products directly and is not affiliated
with any individual manufacturer. "They're almost as hard as diamond,
easy to maintain, heat resistant and come in a range of over 3,000 colors
to enhance the beauty and usefulness of your kitchen or bath forever."
Studies show that consumers overwhelmingly prefer natural stone over
synthetic materials. And it remains the gold standard for real estate
resale. Why? Because natural stone looks good forever, while some
countertop materials look old and tired within a few years. And the
artificial dyes in many synthetic stone counters can look dated quickly.
Plus, natural granite countertops are absolutely unique, made by Mother
Nature-not in a factory that manufactures the same material over and over
all day long.
There are some options that can help you get the most bang for your buck
for granite countertops:
Color-Select a more popular variety of granite and it can be more
affordable. Select a more exotic and rare variety and it can cost a bit
Edge Profile-More intricate profiles require more work and can
increase the cost of the stone. A simpler style still looks elegant but
will cost less.
Thickness of Slab-The most popular is the 11/4-inch slab, but check on
the availability of ?-inch slabs that provide the
same beauty and durability but will likely cost less.
The Marble Institute of America (MIA) is the industry's nonprofit trade
group. If you're looking for a supplier or fabricator of fine granite or
have any other questions about natural stone countertops, the MIA's Web site is a great place to research stone and
stone providers. You can find the Marble Institute Web site at www.marble-insti tute.com and you can
access a directory of MIA fabricator and supplier members at www.marble-institute.com/directory.
Quick And Easy Home Spruce-Ups
time, trouble and money while enjoying a cleaner, more comfortable home may
be easier to accomplish than many people realize. To make cleaning easier,
consider the following tips from experts:
Check washer and dryer drains and pipes for blockages, such as lint or
even the infamous "missing sock," for optimum water and air flow.
Clean the dryer's outside exhaust to shorten drying time and decrease
Change your refrigerator water filter. Refrigeration experts recommend
changing your refrigerator water filter every six months to keep the water
tasting good and to help save you money. By using two water filters per
year, a refrigerator system can filter the equivalent of 3,000 bottles of
water, saving over $600 a year versus purchasing a leading brand of bottled
Think about how to lead a "greener" lifestyle. Easy
adjustments can be made at home, such as considering Energy Starฎ−qualified appliances, which use 25 to 40
percent less energy than conventional models, which can result in savings
of up to $100 (or more) a year on energy bills.
Freshen up draperies and curtains in a steam cycle in your dryer. The
Maytag Bravos Dryer with Steam Enhanced Cycles can let you freshen up items
you normally can't wash, such as stuffed animals or small pillows.
Make this the season the car actually fits in the garage by installing
shelves, baskets, hooks or cabinets, such as those from Gladiator GarageWorks, to stay organized and uncover valuable
Remember to maintain your appliances with a regular checkup,
especially with regard to washers and dishwashers, which can develop odor
and residue buildup. Cleaning these appliances, no matter make or model,
every 30 days with a product such as the affresh
Washer Cleaning Kit or affresh Dishwasher and
Disposal Cleaner and following the suggested tips in appliances' use and
care guides go a long way in keeping these household workhorses operating
at peak performance.
For further information, tips and more, visit http://instituteoffabricscience.org.
Growing Your First Rose Garden
of people send roses to loved ones on special occasions. But when
dinner-table talk turns to growing your own roses, one thing comes to
mind--you consider running away because you've heard it's just too
"Growing roses has gotten a bad rap over the years because
homeowners are basing their opinion on old information," says Bayer
Advanced Rose Care Expert Lance Walheim, author of "Roses for
Dummies." "There are new roses and products that make it easy to
grow Rose Parade−quality roses in your own backyard."
Landscape roses like "Knockout" can make the front of your
home stand out and add curb appeal in a competitive real estate market.
Knockout roses are the best-selling roses in North
America because they're beautiful and easy to grow and come in
a wide variety of colors that can fit into any landscape.
Here are a few tips to help make your first rose garden a success:
Pick a sunny spot to give you the most bang for the buck: Roses should
be positioned to create the "wow" factor when visitors see your
home. They require 6−8 hours of sunlight a day to grow big and
The melted-box-of-crayon look is out: It's best to choose a color theme
for a border, either with the same color rose or with colors that
complement each other.
Mulch and water around the roots: Mulch keeps weeds out and roses moist.
Water deeply around the roots once or twice a week during dry spells. Stick
a finger in the soil to check for moisture. If your finger comes out dry,
it's time to add water.
Save money on rose care products: Roses need to be fed and protected
against destructive diseases and insects. In most cases, that means buying
three different products. One money-saving option, Bayer Advanced
All-in-One Rose & Flower Care, provides all three solutions in one easy-to-use
product. Just measure, mix with water and pour around the plant base every
six weeks. It's tested and endorsed by the American Rose Society. Always
read and follow all label directions. (Product not registered on Long
Island, N.Y.) For more
gardening information and how-to videos, visit BayerAdvanced.com or call (877)