Energy Efficiency

Roofing Shingles

Kitchen Remodeling

Well-Stocked Kitchens

Laundry Rooms

Organization Solutions

Window Grilles

Bathroom Makeover


Protect Your House, Health And Comfort

(NAPSI)—While building tight, energy-efficient homes is generally necessary, there can be unintended consequences.

Such homes can experience interior moisture buildup, resulting in uncomfortable living conditions, homeowner health issues and, in extreme cases, significant structural damage.

Industry experts say the result is a need to consider home moisture control. According to Building Science Corporation, a leading expert on high-performance home building techniques, “Most air-conditioning equipment will not have the capability of removing the moisture load without overcooling the space—a condition likely to result in other problems. Supplemental dehumidification can complement the capability of the air-conditioning system to remove moisture from air within the conditioned space.”

Many people think that high moisture occurs only during warm weather, but the most critical times of the year to address humidity issues are spring and fall, when temperatures are moderate and outdoor humidity levels are high.

High humidity levels can affect your comfort by causing you to feel either hot and sticky or cold and clammy, while also contributing to bad odors in the house. They can also be bad for wood floors, furniture, artwork, electronics and even the overall structure of the home.

Maintaining proper humidity levels and providing controlled fresh air are also important steps in protecting your health. Poor indoor air quality can cause eye irritation, allergies, headaches and respiratory problems such as asthma.

To help, a leading brand of whole-house ventilating dehumidifiers offers a solution that is both effective and energy efficient. The company’s full line of ventilating dehumidifiers addresses interior moisture issues as well as fresh air ventilation needs in a single, high-efficiency system.

Installed by HVAC professionals to work in conjunction with the air-conditioning system, the units can provide comfort and good indoor air quality. The units are designed to provide effective moisture control, fresh air ventilation and high-efficiency air filtration to the entire home. Every Ultra-Aire whole-house ventilating dehumidifier meets or exceeds the ENERGY STAR program efficiency standards and high-efficiency MERV-11 filters are standard on every unit to remove most airborne allergens.

For more information on protecting your comfort, health and home, visit or call (800) 533-7533.

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Selecting The Right Roofing Shingles

(NAPSI)—When the time comes for a new roof, today’s homeowners can be on top of the situation. Whether building a new home or remodeling, selecting the right roofing involves more than aesthetics and cost. Factors such as building codes, climate and how long you intend to stay in the home can affect decisions about material, weather-impact resistance, warranty and solar reflective capability. The good news is there are now more roofing shingle options than ever before and curb appeal doesn’t have to take a backseat to functionality.

Here’s a look at a few:

• Strip shingles—the original, the most basic and most lightweight of roofing shingles-are single layered and generally designed to look like slate. Inexpensive and with a flat appearance on the roof line, strip shingles used to be the most popular shingle. Today, with significant advances in technology and consumer sophistication, strip shingles are primarily used by contractors building economy-priced homes or are purchased by homeowners for small repairs on homes that already have strip-shingle roofs.

• Dimensional shingles, or architectural laminated shingles, are now the predominant roofing shingles installed in North America. Manufactured as dual or multilayered, a dimensional shingle provides a thicker and richer appearance, with various shades and mixtures of colors and tones. A big plus for homeowners concerned about color, these shingles can be closely matched to complement exterior siding, trim and doors. Dimensional roofing shingles are also typically heavier than strip roofing shingles, can be made with a higher impact resistance and are offered with improved warranty protections—from 30 years to lifetime.

• Premium shingles are laminated shingles, unlike traditional roofing shingles. Designs may mimic “old-world” roofing shingles, such as natural slate or shake shingles. These are a great choice for historical homes representing classic traditional architectural styles. For example, CertainTeed’s Grand Manor provides enhanced aesthetic appeal. Premium roofing shingles also usually provide impact resistance or solar reflectivity, which can extend roof life and lower energy costs. CertainTeed’s Landmark Solaris is a premium roofing shingle that offers solar reflectivity, improving your home’s energy efficiency without sacrificing color choice.

To find a contractor nearby, visit or call (800) 233-8990.

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Remodeling Your Kitchen? Consider These Useful Tips

(NAPSI)--For some, the reality of remodeling the kitchen may be complicated with visions of cost overruns, delays, strange people in their home, and endless decisions. And while the process may seem daunting, the outcome can be extremely rewarding; in fact, a kitchen with smart design can help make daily life easier for the people living in it.

One home improvement expert, Danny Lipford, shares his remodeling experiences and tips for seamless renovations as the host of “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford®.” His goal is to eliminate the fear and anxiety many homeowners have when they think about remodeling. In fact, Lipford recently completed a major renovation of an old Tudor-style home in Mobile, Ala., which he calls The Kuppersmith Project. “I want to educate homeowners on practical ideas for remodeling while addressing the challenges they may face along the way,” explained Lipford. “That’s why I embarked on The Kuppersmith Project, a series of episodes dedicated to renovating a 1920s house.”

The transformation of the house has been documented in a 13-part series to show realistic approaches to remodeling. The original kitchen was small, outdated and difficult to work in, so “Today’s Homeowner” partnered with Merillat® cabinetry to bring functional cabinetry solutions to the new Kuppersmith kitchen. Consider the following tips from Lipford and his team before undergoing a kitchen remodel.

Tip 1: Think about how you will use your kitchen

To have a successful remodel, it is important to define the goals of your project and think about how you’ll actually be using your new kitchen. A main goal for Lipford and his team was to make the Kuppersmith kitchen easy for a family to live and work in at multiple life stages. One kitchen feature you will see in the Kuppersmith home that helps make living in a kitchen easier is an island. Since the kitchen is the social hub of the home, an island provides extra seating and serving space for a family and can include great storage options to help keep the kitchen organized.

To keep the kitchen easy for multiple people to work in, Lipford recommends creating designated spaces for efficient prep, entertaining, storage and cleanup. Each of these activities has various storage opportunities. And when a kitchen is designed for the way you live, it’s sure to be more functional.

Tip 2: Storage is key

According to Lipford, a kitchen can never have enough storage options. With Merillat cabinetry, the Kuppersmith kitchen is full of functional storage accessories such as a deep drawer peg-board divider and roll-out trays. Even more storage was included in an island fully equipped with additional space for baking sheets and trays, as well as a sink, dishwasher and trash compactor, making cleanup a breeze.

Everyone knows kitchenware isn’t the only item in the kitchen, which is why Lipford created a drop zone area in the Kuppersmith home with cabinetry right off the garage. This is a perfect place to drop keys, sort mail, take off shoes and store the dog leash as you enter the kitchen from the garage. Consider a utility cabinet with roll-out trays and individual cubbies to help minimize clutter from cell phones, hats, keys, etc.

Tip 3: Make the kitchen functional for all

When remodeling your kitchen, it is important to consider who will be using it. If you enjoy entertaining, you may want an open-plan kitchen that allows for more social interaction between the kitchen and other rooms. If you have young children, you might want to consider lower countertops and cabinets and deep drawers to store children’s items like a backpack, schoolwork and crafts. A pantry or utility cabinet is perfect to store many different items in one central location and at different levels, making some things more accessible or inaccessible for children.

For homeowners who consider themselves “at-home chefs,” it’s important to keep cooking items organized and within easy reach. Storage solutions could include a pull-out spice rack next to the stove, perfect for cooks who like to experiment. A cutting board kit neatly stores knives within a drawer and has a built-in cutting board.

“However you use this most popular room in the house, smart design and innovative storage can make life in the kitchen easier—and more fun,” concluded Lipford. “We want the owners of the Kuppersmith home to enjoy cooking, eating and spending time with their family in the kitchen.”

To learn more about remodeling and watch The Kuppersmith Project unfold, visit For more information about Merillat’s many beautiful and intelligent product options, visit

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Tips On Keeping A Well-Stocked Kitchen

(NAPSI)—There’s good news for those who want to get more enjoyment and nutrition out of family mealtime—and save money as well. With a little bit of preparation, you can have tasty, better-for-you meals and snacks—and end up wasting less food, money and time.

To help, here are some tips.

Plan Ahead

Begin by brainstorming with the rest of the family about which meals are the true crowd-pleasers. Be sure to double-check with all parties involved in case old favorites have changed. That way, you can avoid spending money on dishes nobody wants.

Check The Pantry

If you find your shelves overfilled with canned and dry goods you know you don’t want, donate them to a food bank. Focus on restocking with the basics needed for the meals you know your family loves.

Learn To Love Lists

Make a grocery list built around your family’s favorite meals. A detailed grocery list can help to keep you on track to purchase only the items you need. Check the paper for coupons on favorite items; they can help you decide which meals to prepare.

When you return, list your purchases on a whiteboard on the refrigerator so your family knows the nutritious options that are inside.

Fortunately, some appliances are now designed to make it easier to access nutritional information. For example, the Maytag Ice20 Easy Access French door refrigerator has an interactive LCD touch screen to help with calorie counting. Plus, an external pantry drawer makes nutritious snacks handy for little ones.

It’s Cool To Freeze

When you know certain days of the week are busy, plan to have reheated leftovers, whether it’s a dish refrigerated from the night before or frozen from a few weeks prior. Try freezing marinated meats, casseroles, lasagna, soups, even sides like rice. Freeze meals in single-size servings just in case the whole family isn’t able to dine together.

Involve The Family

Preplanning and cooking can be fun and a lot less stressful if you involve the whole family. Encourage your kids to cook the meals with you and they’ll be more likely to try new flavors and dishes while learning valuable cooking skills. As an added bonus, it will be more fun and less work for you.

To learn more, visit

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Get Away From It All—And Still Get Things Done

(NAPSI)—It may come as a surprise to many, but the laundry doesn’t have to be a dark or boring space.

Stephen Saint-Onge, author of “No Place Like Home,” has come up with a few tips on turning your laundry area into a place where you like to spend time.

Says Saint-Onge, “You want to end up with a laundry area that you love going into—instead of feeling like you are stuck doing chores—and this can be done creatively and without breaking the bank. These small changes will make the laundry process more enjoyable overall.”

• Accessorize away. Find fun things to put in the room, such as matching, colorful storage bins and baskets, and area rugs with vivid patterns. To create visual moments on counters, add coordinating canisters for detergents or other cleaning products. Make the space stylish while still keeping the room practical for everyday use.

• Light up your life. Make sure you have proper lighting. Don’t use harsh fluorescent light-bulbs in the laundry room. Use lighting that will warm up the space and make it more comfortable. Easy-to-install halogen track lights are great for directing light on to work areas. Think about nice pendant lights over a “folding counter” or island to add some visual interest to the room.

• Color a closet. You can even have a lovely laundry room in a closet when you choose a color you love. This can be a great place to put a color that you wanted to use—such as a darker tone or a vibrant color—but didn’t want to use in the more “public” rooms of your home. Complement a big pop of wall color with a stackable front-loading laundry pair in a more neutral shade such as the Whirlpool Duet in Lunar Silver.

• Bring in some sound. Having a small sound system or TV in the space can make the time spent there more enjoyable.

• Make the space. Even if you don’t have an actual room open in your home for a laundry room, you can create one in a corner of the kitchen or some other area. Add chic storage pieces that can also be used as countertops. Bring in some visual detail on the walls by hanging family photos or displaying your child’s artwork for an instant laundry room makeover. The point is to surround yourself with things you love so doing the laundry can feel more like good clean fun.

• Learn more. For more ideas and information, see

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Grow With Me: From Tot To Teen

(NAPSI)—Designing a functional and clutter-free room that grows with your child can be a tall order. The room should evolve and adapt as needs change.

Fortunately, there are some quick solutions to help you and your children get—and stay—organized. Here are a few tips to help:

• Invest in dual-purpose furniture and a long-lasting closet. Closet storage can be adjusted as your child requires bigger clothes and different storage needs. For example, ClosetMaid’s easy-to-install, adjustable ShelfTrack™ system creates a custom design with open stock wire shelving that can be cut to size or you can purchase an affordable wire starter kit with everything you need in one box.

• Make organizing as easy as possible for your child; consider removing the closet doors and adding color-coordinating curtains. This will prevent finger pinching, toe stubbing and the possible derailment of the sliding doors off the tracks.

• Label all bins or pullout baskets to help your child with his or her reading skills. Write the word and match it with a corresponding picture. This will make cleaning up a fun game to play with your child. Play the game at the same time every day to make organizing a daily habit.

• Add subtle pops of color to liven up the room. Fabric drawers, available in an array of colors from princess pink to denim blue, are a convenient way to store items like toys and blankets-even clothes. Grab one and do a quick lap around the house, picking up stray items.

• Incorporate a small table with chairs in the room. It will create an ideal place for drawing, reading, projects and homework. It can help cut down on the amount of items spread out on the floor and around the house.

• Designate a side of the closet for each child if they’re sharing a room; it will keep everything in order. Assign each child a different color drawer to conceal school supplies, lunchboxes and other educational and playtime essentials.

For additional tips, as well as storage and organization solutions, visit or call (800) 874-0008.

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Window Grilles Are An Easy Way To Add Style To Your Home

(NAPSI)—When it comes to creating curb appeal, it’s usually all in the details—exterior details that a home lacks or that may need upgrading.

Even a basic tract home can stand out with the addition of classic details such as shutters, new trim, window boxes and beautiful window details.

Upgrading your windows is an easy way to enhance your home and increase its resale value—and you don’t have to replace them to improve the way they look. You can add new trim to freshen their look or window grilles to add visual warmth and charm. Replacement windows can be expensive but, fortunately, window grilles can be retrofitted to existing windows. Starting at about $40, the average window grille can make it much easier to upgrade your home, even on a tight budget.

New and replacement window grilles—in wood and aluminum—come in a variety of patterns, profiles and colors and can be customized for specific windows. Classic grille styles include Colonial, Prairie, Craftsman or diamond patterns. You can choose wood-look interior grilles in wood tones and exterior grilles can also be painted in your choice of colors. Here are some tips from the grille experts at ScreenItAgain to help you shop.

• Visualize the effect. Print out pictures of the exterior of your home to draw grille patterns on, or even compare patterns with a photo of a home you admire.

• Ask about fastening systems. Removable wood grilles that snap in place can be ordered in “sets” of replacement window grilles. They are secured with a choice of fastening systems that can be tailored to best work with your existing windows.

• Look for an experienced manufacturer with an informative website so you can be sure of quality, performance and durability.

• A great way to save money on replacement window grilles is to do it yourself via a trusted online source. ScreenItAgain can help. For more information, visit

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A Bathroom “Mini-makeover” Saves Water And Money

(NAPSI)—Did you know that bathrooms are the biggest water users in your home, accounting for more than half of all indoor water use? With household water utility bills on the rise-now averaging more than $700 per year across the United States—there’s never been a better time to give your bathroom a “mini-makeover” that will save water and money.

If your bathroom fixtures come in retro colors like “Pepto®” pink and avocado green—or were installed before 1994, when plumbing standards became more efficient—they could be sending money and water down the drain. Advances in plumbing technology and design have led to faucets, showers and toilets that use significantly less water while still delivering the rinse, spray and flushing power you need.

By replacing outdated bathroom fixtures with models that have earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense label, you’ll save water and money without compromising quality. All WaterSense- labeled products are independently certified to meet stringent performance criteria while using at least 20 percent less water.

Giving your main bathroom a mini-makeover by installing a WaterSense-labeled toilet, faucet and showerhead can save your household more than $80 on utility bills and 7,000 gallons of water per year-enough water to wash six months’ worth of laundry. In addition to saving water, a mini-makeover saves energy by reducing the amount of water that needs to be heated—enough to power a refrigerator for two months. The combined savings in water and electric bills can be enough to pay for the new fixtures in as little as two years.

Even if you aren’t in the market for a full bathroom makeover, WaterSense-labeled plumbing fixtures are available in a wide variety of colors, models and prices, making it easy to find a toilet, faucet or showerhead for any budget or bathroom type, saving water for years to come. In the last five years alone, WaterSense-labeled products have helped American households save 125 billion gallons of water and $2 billion in utility bills.

Ready to take the plunge? Besides looking for the WaterSense label on bathroom products, you can also join thousands of your neighbors by supporting the We’re for Water campaign. Visit and take the “I’m for Water” pledge, or like WaterSense on Facebook (

For more information and tips, visit

Editor’s Note: In recognition of National Kitchen and Bath Month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense® program is encouraging homeowners to consider water-efficient bathroom “mini-makeovers” that save water, energy and money on utility bills-this October, and all year long.

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