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Energy Efficiency Fiberglass Insulation

Moving Tips

Purchasing
Appliances

Clean
Air Ducts

Customize Closets

Preventing Electrical Fires

Emergency Preparedness

Shower Upgrade Kits

 

 

A Simple Way To Boost Comfort And Energy Efficiency

(NAPSI)—Many homeowners are warming to a simple, cost-effective way to boost energy efficiency: fiberglass insulation.

Here’s why: Insufficient insulation in unheated garages, basements and attics provides ample opportunity for heat to escape, resulting in extra costs on energy bills. 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. Here are some tips to help:

Determine the appropriate R-value for your house. Check the attic and floors next to unheated spaces, such as the garage and basement, for the thickness of existing insulation to determine if it’s sufficient. Generally, the thicker the insulation, the higher the R-value and the better your home will resist heat transfer. Check with your insulation contractor or visit CertainTeed’s online insulation calculator at www.certainteed.com/itools to learn the recommended R-value for your home.

• Increase attic insulation. It’s one of the easiest ways to boost the energy efficiency of a home. CertainTeed’s InsulSafe SP fiberglass loose-fill insulation can not only improve heating and cooling efficiency but also sound control. Additionally, it won’t settle, absorb moisture or cause mildew. It contains no formaldehyde and will last the lifetime of a building while cutting energy costs.

• Insulate piping and air ducts. Insulation can keep hot water flowing in pipes and prevent them from freezing during the winter. Also, insulating exposed air ducts in basements and crawl spaces increases the overall efficiency of heating and cooling systems by delivering optimal conditioned air to where it’s needed most.

Having the proper amount of insulation creates a more comfortable environment. It decreases noise transmission, allowing for peaceful sleep, quiet time and privacy. Adequate insulation also helps maintain a more even temperature all around the house and keeps floors warmer in the winter and cooler during the summer.

Learn More

For further information or to find a contractor, visit www.certainteed.com/insulation.

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Making Your Family At Home—In A New Home

(NAPSI)—Most families choose to make a major household move during the summer months. In fact, nearly 40 million Americans move every year, with the majority of those moves occurring between May and August. But others may be faced with the challenge of moving as the season closes, after school has started. Heeding a few tips from the experts can smooth the transition for unlucky fall movers and help school-aged children easily adapt.

First, host a small gathering with neighbors about two weeks after moving in. The time distances you from the initial stress of moving, yet no one expects everything to be unpacked. Plus, inviting other children to your house makes it less awkward for your child to make new friends. If they’re young, give them moving boxes to play with and serve snacks on paper napkins. Keep it simple, fun and short. Odds are your child will be invited to one of their homes to reciprocate soon after and you’ll have started the ball rolling.

Barbara Miller, an interior designer for kids, recommends making a child’s room look and feel as much like the old room as possible. “In general, moving is stressful. I like to make the new room look and feel as much like the old room as possible,” says Miller. “You can even paint the walls the same color. Color is a strong sensory trigger and can either comfort or agitate children.”

Older children and teens may want to redecorate their room as part of the excitement of moving. Even in these instances, Miller suggests that you keep some elements unchanged. “How the bed is situated in relation to the bedside table, clock and light—things that would be routine—should remain the same,” says Miller. “It’s these little things that no one thinks about until 10 p.m. when children are in tears because they’re tired and don’t know where to turn off the light.”

Lastly, schedule your high-speed Internet, digital cable TV and phone connection in advance of the move in a single step at www.cablemover.com. Like most movers, having online access to the nearest carry-out options and being able to watch TV shows and play online games on the first day in a new home is critical. Of course, that means you get the time you need to hunt for the missing sheets and coffeepot.

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A Less Stressful Way To Purchase Appliances

(NAPSI)—Purchasing a major appliance shouldn’t make you feel like you’ve been put through the wringer.

That’s the word from industry experts who say that there is a way you can make the process less stressful, get the product you need and protect what’s likely to be a significant investment.

Performance Is Key

According to industry studies, homeowners cite performance and cost as their top two concerns when purchasing a major appliance.

Simply put, will you end up paying a lot of money for something that doesn’t live up to its billing? Fortunately, a program has been created to help consumers manage that anxiety.

Called AHAM Verifide, the program was developed by Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) to ensure that product performance, volume or capacity, and energy consumption claims are accurately stated by the manufacturer.

Verifying Energy Ratings

The program tests and verifies the energy rating and in some cases certain performance characteristics of a variety of home appliances, including refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers, dishwashers, room air conditioners, dehumidifiers and room air cleaners.

All products evaluated by the program carry a special mark signifying that the product is eligible for random testing at any time. The AHAM Verifide mark can be found on the product’s rating label or on product packaging, making it easy for consumers to recognize these products in stores. In fact, in 2012, more than 15 million appliances will earn the AHAM Verifide mark.

A Voluntary Program

Manufacturers voluntarily participate in the program and their products are eligible for random testing at any time. The tests are conducted at an independent lab and standardized test procedures, including the U.S. Department of Energy’s test procedures, are used for all appliances. All ratings are published in an online searchable directory.

For more information on the AHAM Verifide program, visit www.AHAMVerifide.org.

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Keep Your Home Clean And Comfortable—And Save

(NAPSI)—Heating, ventilating and air-conditioning your home is a big job that requires a lot of energy. In fact, it accounts for 30 percent of the energy used in an average home—the largest source of energy use by far.

Ironically, these systems also tend to be poorly maintained. Because they’re used every day of the year, they can become heavily contaminated with dirt, dust, animal dander and more. Contaminated systems contribute to poor indoor air, increased airborne particulate and reduced comfort. Dirty systems are also prone to failure and use more energy than clean systems.

The Importance Of Airflow

For a productive, energy-efficient heating and cooling system, airflow is everything. When systems are dirty, airflow is reduced. Dirty filters, clogged coils, dirty blowers and other parts all impede airflow and increase energy costs.

The solution is to have the heating and air-conditioning system professionally cleaned. This entails cleaning not only the ductwork but the vents, registers, blower, coils and other components...any surface exposed to the airflow within the system.

Cost Study

How much does running a dirty heating and cooling system cost? The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), a not-for-profit trade association, determined to find out. To do so, it enlisted researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Larson Building Systems Laboratory, one of the world’s most technologically advanced facilities for researching heating and cooling systems.

According to the study, cleaning even slightly dirty systems in accordance with NADCA’s standards—which includes cleaning ductwork, coils, blower and other air-side system components and changing the filter—can produce substantial energy savings: on average, an 11 percent off the energy used for heating and airconditioning. The more clogged the system, the greater the savings cleaning it can bring.

Expert Advice

Explained NADCA President Matt Mongiello: “We live with economic instability today and finding ways to be more cost effective and energy efficient can save money and give consumers peace of mind. NADCA embarked on this study to quantify savings affiliated with clean air conveyance systems, to define ‘clean’ and to make consumers aware of the industry standard they should expect when hiring a duct cleaner.”

Learn More

For further facts on having your heating, ventilation and cooling system cleaned, visit www.nadca.com.

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You Can Add Flair And Function To Your Rental

(NAPSI)—There’s good news for people who rent. With a little creative thinking and some innovative products, rental properties can be warm, welcoming, workable and wonderful.

Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your space.

Be Colorful

Many renters are stuck with neutral walls due to harsh paint restrictions, so build your color palette with furniture and accessories. Bright slipcovers transform living room furniture into statement pieces that pop against white walls. Patterned accent pillows, fresh flowers and colorful accessories add even more depth to your design.

Create an Entryway

In an apartment or small home, full-sized foyer closets are a rarity. By placing a ClosetMaid® 3-Cube Bench near your front door, you can create your own stylish “drop zone” for keys, shoes and bags. Try adding wall hooks above the bench for jackets, and use a tall pot or basket for umbrella storage.

Scale Back

When a Realtor shows a rental property, he or she often stages it with small furniture to make it look larger. Try this trick when designing your space. Choose small slim pieces as opposed to heavy oversized furniture to create the illusion of more space and use glass tables, which let light pass through them.

Customize Closets

One of the most frustrating things about renting can be the lack of storage space. Many rental property closets only offer a single hang rod and shelf. To organize closets without installing permanent shelving, try ClosetMaid Stackable Storage products. These freestanding units can be stacked to add drawers, shelves and shoe storage and are easily taken with you when you move.

For more ideas about how to make your rental workable, visit www.ClosetMaid.com.

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Preventing Electrical Fires

(NAPSI)--Electrical failures and malfunctions are a leading cause of house fires year after year—but you can stay safe at home. Many electrical fires can be prevented simply by understanding basic electrical safety principles and following safe practices.

Keep Home Fires

From Burning

To help you protect your home and family from electrical fires, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) offers these tips:

• Safety should always be the top priority when working with electricity. ESFI recommends that a qualified, licensed electrician perform all home electrical work in compliance with local and national safety standards.

• Consider having your circuit breakers replaced with arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs), which provide enhanced electrical fire protection by detecting dangerous arcing conditions.

• Make sure all electrical panel circuits are properly labeled. Always replace fuses or circuit breakers with the correct size and amperage.

• Keep the area around the electrical panel clear so you can easily shut off power in an emergency.

• Every month, use the TEST button to check that ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and AFCIs are working properly.

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

• Regularly check cords, outlets, switches, and appliances for signs of damage. Do not use damaged electrical devices.

• Do not use extension cords on a permanent basis and never use them with space heaters or air conditioners.

• Avoid overloading outlets.

• Do not use lightbulbs that exceed the recommended wattage of the light fixture or lamp.

What to Do in Case of Fire

Despite your best prevention efforts, a fire could still happen. Follow these five tips to make sure your family is prepared to make a safe escape:

1. Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the house.

2. Test smoke alarms every month.

3. Create a family fire escape plan that includes two ways out of each room.

4. Pick an easy-to-find meeting place outside, a safe distance from your home.

5. Practice your escape plan by having at least two fire drills a year. Start one fire drill at night while your family is sleeping.

Learn More

Visit www.electrical-safety.org for more home electrical safety information.

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Being Prepared For Mother Nature’s Extremes

(NAPSI)—Whether it is a hurricane, tornado, earthquake or extended blackout, unexpected situations created by Mother Nature can happen anytime, anywhere.

A recent national study found that while most Americans have experienced an emergency or severe weather situation, over half do not have an emergency kit at home and one third don’t believe they need one.

To help, the preparedness experts at the Etón Corporation, a leading creator of high-performance, green-powered consumer products and the sponsor of the study, recommend a few steps you can take to better prepare for the unexpected:

Make A Preparedness Kit That Contains The Following:

• Bottled water and nonperishable food

• Extra clothes and blankets for each family member

• First aid kit

• A self-powered emergency radio and flashlight combo, such as one from the Etón FRX Series. An AM/FM/NOAA radio will keep you informed, while the rechargeable battery (recharged via solar panel or hand crank) ensures you never run out of light or power. More advanced radios, such as the FRX 3, can even charge mobile devices via a USB port on the device.

Create A Disaster Plan

• Get together with family, friends and neighbors to discuss what disasters or emergencies could happen in the area and figure out the best plan for the community.

• Take a first aid or CPR class.

• Teach children their basic personal information so they can identify themselves if they become separated from a parent/guardian.

• Plan a place where your family can meet in the event of an emergency.

Educate And Inform

Even with a disaster plan and preparedness kit in place, you are not fully prepared unless every family member is informed about the plan—and the potential for disasters.

Once you’re aware of the type of disasters that can occur in the region where you live, find out if there’s a “season” or time of year when these events are most prevalent.

For more information about Etón Corporation or the FRX Series of self-powered safety radios, visit www.etoncorp.com.

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Simplify Your Life, Starting At Home

(NAPSI)—If your home is like many, there’s one room that just doesn’t work with the rest of the house. To help you fix that, HGTV designer Lisa LaPorta and Pfister offer four simple solutions that you can execute in a weekend or less.

How To Have A New Home At The Old Address

1. Remove the clutter and organize your chaos. Too many pieces of furniture, accessories and small appliances create conflicting styles. That doesn’t mean you have to throw stuff out, however. You can still keep everything you own. Just don’t have everything you own out at once. Rotate your art and furniture with the seasons. Maximize your cabinet space with organizers and stackers. Put away appliances and utensils in your kitchen. Decorate with bowls of fruit and flowers.

2. Work with what you have. When picking colors and accessories, consider what you currently own and highlight the pieces you love. You can transform just about any room simply by rearranging the furniture and applying a fresh coat of paint.

3. Create your own design journal. Look through design books and magazines and tear out pictures of rooms you love and rooms you dislike. You should start to notice reoccurring preferences that can inspire you.

4. It’s time for new jewelry. Just like adding a new piece of jewelry to your wardrobe, accessorizing the bathroom or kitchen with a new faucet and hardware can make the room feel new. The old rules about having to match all your metals—faucets, drawer pulls, hinges, light fixtures—are gone, so get what fits your design personality.

Changing out old fixtures can be a simple, quick and affordable weekend project (there’s no need to pull old piping out of the wall) with Pfister’s new Universal Tub and Shower upgrade kit. It is compatible with eight different valves from leading plumbing manufacturers, comes in multiple style and finish options, and includes a five-function showerhead and an all-metal tub spout.

In addition, Pfister’s attractive new line of water-conserving faucets helps reduce water consumption, saving you money and making the house more attractive to eventual buyers.

Learn More

For further facts on faucets and other easy ways to improve your home, visit www.pfisterfaucets.com.

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