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Curb Appeal

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Protect Natural Stone

High-Efficiency Washing Machines

Laundry Savings

Save Energy

Hydrating Responsibly

Standby Generators

 

Tips To Enhance Your Home's Street View Curb Appeal

(NAPSI)-Homeowners looking to improve their home's curb appeal have an array of options with many new innovative products and easy home improvement projects.

At the 2010 International Builders' Show, more than 1,200 exhibitors featured home improvement products. CertainTeed Corporation offers the following tips to help homeowners brighten their homes.

• Get ideas from neighbors. Look at neighboring homes. Color should set a home apart, without clashing with or copying the home next door. Also, consider your neighborhood; in a traditional area, you may want to choose a more natural, common color.

• Create an outdoor living space. Homeowners can enhance the exterior of their home by adding outdoor living space with a deck or an outdoor cooking area. EverNew vinyl decking and railing products are a great option--virtually maintenance-free and designed to beautifully withstand the elements.

• Choose light color for big impact. White is a favored color for traditional architecture because light colors make a home appear bigger.

• Honor the past. Homeowners with older homes might want to honor original themes and design aesthetics. Hiring a professional to help match paint chips and re-create original colors is one way to go. Homeowners can also do research on trends and styles that were popular when the home was built.

• Remember the roof. Picking a color for a house that will harmonize with roofing shingles is important, as the roof largely contributes to overall curb appeal. Homeowners can replicate the depth and dimension of a natural slate roof with Grand Manor luxurious multilayered laminated shingles. Offered in bold colors for a dramatic appearance, Grand Manor provides style and grace at every angle at a more affordable price than real slate.

• Choose color that lasts. The darker the hue, the more likely it is to fade, so homeowners should choose long-lasting siding or paint. Monogram 46 siding from CertainTeed is low maintenance and never needs painting. The designer palette of over 30 siding and trim colors is inspired by nature and designed to harmonize home and environment. The PermaColor system uses state-of-the-art pigment chemistry to guarantee lifetime fade protection.

Picture it. Use a helpful online tool such as the ColorView program to visualize your home with a custom exterior.

Visit www.certainteed.com/colorviewlanding.aspx to get started.

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Redesigning Your Dwelling With Budget-Friendly, Do-It-Yourself Decor

(NAPSI)-In today's tight economy, many people are trading off instead of trading up, according to a recent study by Yankelovich, and recommitting to their existing home in the process.

Luckily, whether your design taste is traditional, vintage, rustic or romantic, you don't have to go penniless for home improvement. You can revamp your space with savvy shopping for simple and affordable new accessories or do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. To help get started, there are some things you should consider:

Set a goal and budget for your remodeling face-lift. Scour magazines and catalogs and watch various design shows for inspirational ideas, looking for items that fit your aesthetic.

One-of-a-kind finds such as rugs, lamps, pillows, art and other accessories may be inexpensive and can provide an instant update to lackluster rooms. When it comes to furniture and room accents, pieces from different styles can be mixed and matched for an eclectic blend.

In addition to new accessories, quick DIY fixes, such as giving the walls a fresh coat of paint, reupholstering flea-market finds or replacing existing hardware and lighting fixtures, can make a dramatic improvement yet can still be inexpensive.

For smaller rooms or those prone to clutter, consider adding efficient storage, such as shelving or a DIY room organizer. These are excellent keep-it-all-together solutions to frame the TV, store DVDs or display that collection of vases and books. A laminate storage product, like ClosetMaid® Selectives®, can be easy to install and customized to fit a variety of needs and design visions.

For more storage solutions or to access an online design tool, visit www.ClosetMaid.com. For additional information, call (800) 874-0008.

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Innovative Stone Care Products For Home

(NAPSI)-Protecting and cleaning stone countertops with everyday products may be doing more harm than good.

The wrong cleaning products can seriously damage or potentially ruin all types of natural stone surfaces found around the house.

"Although they seem like extremely hard surfaces, granite, marble, travertine, slate and other types of natural stone commonly used in homes are extremely porous," said Steve Wolf, DuPont™ Stone Care General Manager.

"A stone's polished shine doesn't mean it is sealed, allowing substances like juice, wine, ink and perfume to seep in, causing irreparable damage."

To thwart the many stain threats faced by natural stone every day, DuPont™ Stone Care offers a family of products to protect, clean and enhance the significant investment of having stone in the home.

With the following simple steps and regular cleaning using the correct products, countertops and floors can look new for a lifetime.

Protect: The best way to prevent stains on natural stone and grout lines is to treat its surface with a sealer to offer protection and to keep it looking new. While many stones are pre-sealed or sealed during installation, these sealers often wear away from everyday use and certain all-purpose cleaners. Depending on the amount of use, a countertop or floor can become susceptible to stain penetration within one year, with most sealers fading away after five years. Products like DuPont™ Granite & Marble Countertop Sealer will keep countertops protected.

Clean: Many homeowners use general all-purpose cleaners, disinfecting wipes or glass cleaners on their natural stone, which can degrade the stone's sealer and dull or erode the surface. Instead, specially formulated cleaners are necessary to remove residue from cooking oils, food spills, hair spray and other offenders. If a spill does occur, experts recommend removing as much of the material as possible without allowing it to spread by using a nonabrasive sponge; then simply spray the area with a cleaner such as DuPont™ Granite & Marble Countertop Cleaner + Protector.

Enhance: Whether daily use has dulled the stone or a shinier "wet" look is desired, the use of an enhancer can restore the luster to polished stone and tile or bring out the surface's color, depth and beauty. DuPont™ Stone Care has many enhancing products to treat most natural stone and tile surfaces, with or without shine, including DuPont™ Granite & Marble Countertop Polish.

The products are available in a variety of sizes at Lowe's, Floor & Decor, Kroger and other fine retailers across the country and at www.dupont.com/scmat.

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Tougher Stains But Gentler On Clothing

 

(NAPSI)-If your inability to remove difficult stains from the wash has put a blot on your laundry reputation, youmay want to consider a different kind of washing machine.

From grass to mud to wine, you can't always depend on detergents or stain removers to power out hard-to-reach stains. Your washing machine may not be efficient enough.

Today's high-efficiency (HE) washing machines offer more cleaning power, use about 70 percent less water and are actually gentler on fabrics.

Traditional washers use the friction of an agitator to remove soil. HE machines require low levels of water so clothes do not soak in gallons of water and diluted detergent, but rather are washed in a small amount of water, making the cleaning power of the detergent more concentrated. The clothes are moved through the concentrated solution and the solution is pulled through the fabrics to dislodge soil and stains.

The efficient new washers are available in top-loading and front-loading styles. Front-loading machines alternate the wash motion of the clothes back and forth in a repetitive motion, tumbling clothes clockwise and counterclockwise for a more efficient and gentle cleaning cycle.

Top-load and front-load HE washers are equipped with a wash plate at the bottom of the tub using low water with high concentrations. A look inside a top-load HE washer, such as the Maytag® Bravos®, can be surprising. There's no agitator in the tub. Instead, the tub looks much like the front-load washer tipped upright.

For the most powerful cleaning, HE laundry detergents should be used with these machines. These detergents are highly concentrated, keep suds levels low, have enhanced cleaning agents that help keep dyes from being released from garments, and suspend the soils to keep them from redepositing on the wash load.

According to the Whirlpool Institute of Fabric Science, it's a smart idea to read the directions on your detergent for proper dosage. Too much detergent can lead to extra suds that inhibit proper cleaning by holding on to soils and redepositing them on clothing.

For more information on stain removal and clothing care, visit www.instituteoffabricscience.org.

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Keeping Laundry Cool This Summer

(NAPSI)-Summer months bring an array of new activities that often put doing laundry on the back burner. However, vacations, outdoor activities and just relaxing in the sun can often result in extra stains and the need for more and more specific laundry cycles. As a result of this, higher energy bills often plague the summer months, prompting families to look for ways to save a few dollars while managing summer's demands.

While no one can eliminate the need for Americans to do laundry this summer, brands such as Amana are hoping to make the task simple and easy, with less strain on the wallet. An online survey of 2,089 adults conducted in November on behalf of Whirlpool Corporation by Harris Interactive® revealed that 68 percent of consumers said they would search until they found the product they were looking for at the right price.

With this in mind, appliance makers are heeding consumer's call. Amana has responded with Tandem™, a front-load laundry pair that features uniquely designed Touch and Go™ controls that make setting the various cycles easy and more convenient to navigate. Plus, the Tandem washer uses 73 percent less water and 76 percent less energy compared to conventional top-load washers, which can save consumers up to $100 each year.

To help make laundry even easier, the Institute of Fabric Science offers the following summer stain tips:

• Rust: Summer cleaning and yard work often lead to rust stains. A commercial rust remover intended for fabrics works best, followed by the warmest safe-temperature wash.

• Grass: To remove a grass stain, soak the garment in a mixture of detergent and water before washing it in the warmest water safe for the material. If necessary, follow up with a wash in color-safe bleach or liquid chlorine bleach for whites. Finish with an air-drying.

• Dirt: First, brush any excess dirt off of the garment and follow with a rinse in cold water to flush out the soils. Continue with a wash in the warmest water safe for the garment and, if necessary, follow up with a wash in color-safe bleach or liquid chlorine bleach for whites.

"With these simple yet effective stain-removal tips, people can better enjoy clean clothes and the warm-weather months with their families," said Mary Zeitler, home economist with the Institute of Fabric Science. "Utilizing the Amana® Tandem™ laundry pair only strengthens the simplicity of laundry, and with the cost and energy bill savings it brings, people can either save or use their money on a summer vacation!"

For more tips and information, visit www.instituteoffabricscience.com/, www.amana.com or www.facebook.com/AmanaBrand.

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Clothes Last Longer, Save Money And The Environment

(NAPSI)-The next time you do laundry, consider this: Clean clothes and significant financial and energy savings are all possible with easy behavioral changes.

Expert Advice

"There are three simple changes that can be made in any laundry room to help save money, energy and environmental resources, and they get clothes just as clean," said green lifestyle expert Alexandra Zissu, author of the forthcoming "Planet Home: Conscious Choices for Cleaning and Greening the World You Care About Most."

"The first big step is replacing conventional laundry detergent with one that is nontoxic, hypoallergenic, biodegradable and free of optical brighteners, like Seventh Generation."

Optical brighteners leave residues on clothes to reflect light and trick the eye, making clothes appear brighter. They can also transfer to your skin.

"Second, be sure to wash clothes in cold water with an occasional hot cycle to kill allergens or tackle bad stains," she advised.

According to Zissu, the majority of the energy costs associated with laundry involve heating the water. Clothes can be effectively cleaned in cold water. In fact, cold water helps prevent stains from setting, colors from bleeding and fading, and prevents shrinking in fabrics prone to do so.

"The third and final step: Line dry clothes on a clothesline or drying rack," explained Zissu. "If the average family washed its laundry in cold water and dried it on a clothesline, it could save $200 a year." Line drying also helps preserve fabric. That lint in the dryer trap is your clothes disintegrating.

Tips To Try

She also offers these ideas:

• Hand-wash "dry clean only" fabrics to avoid the chemicals used in conventional dry cleaning.

• Use just enough detergents, whiteners and spot cleaners.

• Leave the washing machine open between washes so it can dry out to prevent mold.

• Reduce the amount of laundry you do weekly. Things like jeans can be worn a few times before washing.

• Avoid chlorine bleach; it's a severe irritant. Use chlorine-free bleach, such as one from Seventh Generation, to get whites and colors their brightest without using chemicals containing chlorine.

Learn More

To learn more eco-friendly laundry tips, visit www.SeventhGeneration.com/laundryrevolution.

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Save Money By Hydrating Responsibly

(NAPSI)-Whether you are planning a sunny seaside vacation or working to get back in shape for seasonal fashions, drinking water should be part of your daily regimen.

However, before you reach for that bottled water, be sure to consider the benefits of fresh filtered water, which is a cost-effective and convenient alternative.

A refrigerator system that uses two 200-gallon water filters per year can filter the equivalent of 3,000 bottles of water, saving more than $600 a year versus purchasing a leading brand of bottled water. In addition to cost savings, drinking filtered water is also environmentally responsible, as Back2Tap.com estimates that 38 billion water bottles are thrown in the trash each year.

By opting for filtered water over bottled water, it's easier to drink with confidence, knowing that the refrigerator water filter serves as a last line of defense against possible unseen contaminants in your water, such as lead and mercury.

Properly maintaining your water filter is crucial, as tap water travels through miles and miles of infrastructure before making its way into your home, and may pick up contaminants along the way.

To ensure proper contaminant reduction from the filtered tap water at home, many appliance manufacturers recommend changing the water filter every six months (you may need to change your filter more often, depending on usage).

To make changing the filter quick and easy, many refrigerators have an easy-access system, located conveniently at the bottom in the grill or just inside the refrigerator.

Changing your refrigerator water filter every six months is the most cost-effective way to ensure clean and refreshing drinking water.

Whirlpool Corporation provides an automatic water filter replacement program that sends filters right to consumers' homes, with no cost for shipping.

For more information, visit www.whirlpool.com/waterfilters.

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Beating Bad-Weather Worries

(NAPSI)-You can protect your home from problems caused by blackouts due to severe weather or downed power lines. Such outages can be costly, inconvenient, even life threatening.

The Problem

While food spoilage, sump-pump or well-pump failures and inoperative home security systems are all serious concerns, a power outage can prove deadly--in minutes--for those who rely on medical devices. Additionally, under prolonged blackout conditions, the demands for emergency assistance and services escalate, resulting in dangerously delayed response times. Fortunately, you can be self-reliant with an electrical generator.

Some Answers

Two basic kinds of generators are portable and automatic standby generators. Within seconds of an outage, an automatic backup system supplies power directly to the electrical circuit breaker box. Once utility power returns, the generator shuts itself off. It operates on natural gas or liquid propane vapor and sits outside just like a central air-conditioning unit. Automatic standby generators from Generac Power Systems are considered the easiest to install and more environmentally friendly than gasoline-fueled units.

Additionally, Generac now offers the most affordable automatic standby generator on the market, protecting the home automatically for as little as $1,699 plus installation costs.

Generac offers a wide range of portable power options from 800 to 17,500 kilowatts to cover any immediate power needs in the event of an emergency.

The Generac XG Series offers premium power quality for home applications. The engines can last three to four times longer than many competitive engines. One of the six models in the line, the XG8000, has won several product awards, including the Member Tested & Recommended Seal of Approval from the Handyman Club of America and an Editor's Choice Award from Popular Mechanics magazine.

Safety Suggestions

Since the purpose of owning a generator is to increase home security and safety, remember to think about safety when using the generator. Standby generators are generally safer to use than portables if installed properly. In any case, never operate a generator indoors or in a partially enclosed outdoor area. Using a fan or opening doors and windows near the generator will NOT provide sufficient carbon monoxide (CO) ventilation. Also, do not overfill a generator's fuel tank or add fuel while its engine is running or hot. Be sure to read your owner's manual thoroughly before operating a power generator for the first time.

Learn More

The American Red Cross says that for power outages, permanently installed stationary generators are better suited for providing back up power to the home. For safety tips on the use of portable generators, visit www.Generac.com or the Home Safety Council at www.homesafetycouncil.org/safetyguide/.

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