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Priming For Painting Propane Home Heating Geothermal Systems Window Decorating 101 Selecting Range Hoods Clean Appliances Energy Efficient Appliances Inspection Light

Make Your Paint Job Look Better And Last Longer

pic(NAPSI)-Now that the weather’s turned cooler and you’re spending more time indoors, there’s no better time to paint. It’s one of the easiest and least expensive ways to change the look of your home. It’s also a project that even the most inexperienced do-it-yourselfer can do with confidence—and with thousands of colors from which to choose, it’s the perfect way to express your unique style and personality at a fraction of the cost of other home improvement projects. Yet even experienced do-it-yourselfers sometimes neglect the first and most important step in achieving the perfect paint job.

Professional painters know that the key to a beautiful paint job isn’t buying the most expensive paint. They know that one coat of primer and one coat of paint will give them a better, longer-lasting paint job than two coats of paint. That’s why they prime first, then paint.

Here are just some of the benefits of priming before you paint:

• Priming saves you time and money. Primers are formulated to seal the surface—and when the surface is sealed, you use less paint. No more multiple coats of paint to get an even, consistent finish if you tint with a quality primer like Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3®.

One coat of primer and one coat of paint is usually all you need for a beautiful paint job. Just ask the paint desk to tint your primer toward the color of your paint. It’s that simple. And since a gallon of primer is less expensive than a gallon of paint, you’ll save money, too.

• Priming makes paint colors richer. Primers hide previous colors—even the darkest blues and deepest reds—and prevent them from showing through and changing the color of your paint. Your paint colors will be more vibrant and beautiful if you prime first.

• Primers block stains. Most stains—water stains, crayon and marker, lipstick or nicotine—will bleed right through paint. This is where primers earn their reputation: They seal in stains and prevent them from ruining your paint job. New advanced-technology water-based primers such as Bulls Eye 1-2-3® PLUS take the guesswork out of primer selection because they seal all stains—even water stains—so you start your paint job with a clean canvas.

• You can paint anything if you prime first. If you’ve ever tried to paint a slick surface like vinyl or plastic with paint alone, chances are it just didn’t stick. Primers are formulated to have tenacious adhesion to all surfaces, so you can paint anything—even ceramic tile and Formica cabinets—when you use a primer as your first coat.

• Primers make your paint job last longer. Primers prevent common paint problems such as cracking, peeling and blistering and your paint will retain its original color longer, so you’ll have to paint less often.

For more helpful tips for a professional-quality paint job or for home improvement project ideas, visit www.zinsser.com.

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Tips For Warmth And Safety

pic(NAPSI)-Now is a good time for homeowners to have trained, qualified professionals-such as HVAC (heating, ventilating and air-conditioning) technicians or gas company representatives-perform comprehensive checkups of their home heating systems. According to a recent survey conducted by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), however, just one in four homeowners has a professional inspection every year, while one in five has never had a home heating inspection. The survey also found that those who skip such inspections cite concerns over costs and the belief that they can perform such checkups on their own.

Armed with these statistics, Danny Lipford, veteran home remodeler and host of the popular television show “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford,” reminds homeowners with gas-operated home heating systems of to-dos designed to keep families safe and warm. Lipford and PERC also emphasize that while there are home maintenance tasks you can perform yourself, others should be left to professionals.

The following is a list of recommended to-dos for homeowners:

Give your home its

annual checkup

An annual checkup by a home heating professional helps ensure that a homeowner’s heating system is operating efficiently and is properly maintained. “The investment in a yearly professional inspection is worth it and could save your family money in the long run,” says Lipford. According to the PERC survey, homeowners who rely on regular inspections find that efficient heating system performance, avoidance of major repairs, and peace of mind are significant benefits.

Important maintenance steps homeowners can take on their own include regularly changing or cleaning furnace filters and checking vents to be sure they are free from obstructions.

Leave it to the pros

Only a trained and qualified service technician has the proper training to install, service, maintain and repair gas appliances. “Don’t try to modify or repair valves, regulators or other cylinder or appliance parts. Leave this to the pros,” advises Lipford.

Have monitoring in place

Carbon monoxide, gas and smoke detectors are critical to home safety, yet one in three homes is without one or more of these important devices, according to the homeowner survey. “Installing monitors is one item on your list that you shouldn’t put off,” says Lipford. “If you already have them installed, use this time to ensure they are working properly.”

While household gas leaks are rare, knowing precautionary measures is important. “Should you or a family member smell gas from an unknown source [both natural gas and propane have a distinct rotten egg odor], leave the house immediately—then call emergency services and the gas company,” says Lipford.

Leave space when storing

When moving items indoors for storage, don’t put anything—boxes, paint, clothing, furniture and so on-near gas appliances. Read the instruction manual that comes with your gas appliance to find information on this important matter.

For more information on home heating system maintenance and monitoring, visit www.usepropane.com.

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Indoor Comfort, Down-To-Earth Savings

pic(NAPSI)-Homeowners across North America have discovered the benefits of using the energy under their own backyards to provide heating, cooling and hot water. Geothermal heating and cooling systems tap into the constant temperature found a few feet below the surface of the earth to deliver a consistent, even flow of conditioned air throughout the home, eliminating hot and cold spots.

A geothermal system captures the free energy from the earth in a series of pipes, called an earth loop, buried in the ground. Fluid circulates through the pipes and heat energy is transferred from the ground to the geothermal unit in the house, providing warm comfort. Once inside, the heat can be distributed through either a conventional duct system or a hydronic radiant heat system.

According to studies by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), geothermal heating and cooling is the most energy-efficient option available, because the system relies on the most plentiful source of renewable energy and a source that is available virtually anywhere in the United States.

The result is a system that achieves green status in more ways than one: Homeowners can reduce their carbon footprint along with their utility bills. In fact, the energy savings provided by a geothermal system can be as much as 70 percent compared with a conventional system using natural gas, oil, electricity or propane fuel. Additionally, the system eliminates noise pollution, with a sound level similar to that of a refrigerator.

A geothermal system also addresses pollutants in the air. According to EPA tests, levels of pollutants are two to five times higher indoors than outside. Research also shows that exposure to poor indoor air quality can cause health problems including asthma, dizziness, fatigue and respiratory diseases, among many others.

The geothermal systems from WaterFurnace International, Incorporated, the leading manufacturer of geothermal heating and cooling products, have HEPA filters, heat recovery ventilators, electronic air cleaners and a selection of filters, all designed to contribute to good air quality throughout the home.

For a look at ways to improve your home’s air quality or to find a geothermal system that fits your needs, visit www.waterfurnace.com or talk to a WaterFurnace expert at (800) GEO-SAVE.

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Window Decorating 101

pic(NAPSI)-Decorating your windows can be a daunting task. For simple ways to turn your house into a home, please note these answers to the most common window dressing dilemmas:

Q. How do I measure for my curtains or drapes?

A. Purchase panels that measure 2½ times the width of the window. For added fullness, use three times the width. The bottom edge of your curtain or drape should fall to the windowsill, below the sill or to the floor. Leave about ½” of clearance if you opt for floor length.

Q. How do I know what size curtain rod to get?

A. Be sure to measure the window width-this is the most important step in buying curtain rods. After measuring the width of the window from casing to casing, add two to five inches depending on how much of the wall you want to cover. Additionally, you should consider fabric weight. The type of curtain rod you buy depends on the weight of the treatment because the heavier the curtain fabric, the more substantial the rod needs to be.

Q. How do I select a curtain style?

A. Think about the function of the room and decide whether you want a formal, semiformal or casual look. Formal window treatments, found in dining rooms and living rooms, are usually layered and made from heavy fabrics. Scarf treatments or valances create a semiformal or casual look.

Q. How do I select a curtain fabric?

A. Determine what your needs are for a particular room, what types of fabric you prefer and if you want lined or unlined curtains. Fabrics like velvet and heavier cottons can provide energy-saving and room-darkening benefits without sacrificing style. Sheer fabrics let light in and create a softer look.

Q. How do I choose what color curtain to purchase?

A. Try matching the color of your curtains to the other most represented color in the room, such as walls, floors or bedding.

If your walls are neutral, bring in a little warmth by adding a pop of color.

Q. Where can I find the highest-quality curtains for the best price?

A. Many clever consumers turn to www.Curtainworks.com, which offers a complete line of curtains retailing for about $25 to $75. The website also features guides on how to measure, decorate and complete a variety of looks.

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Tips On Selecting The Right Range Hood

pic(NAPSI)-Preparing a great meal can sometimes create unpleasant side effects, such as smoke, grease and unwanted odors. If these are not properly eliminated, all that greasy vapor can eventually settle onto your walls and furniture.

That’s where the range hood comes into play. A range hood that’s properly matched to the design of the kitchen and how it’s used can help to keep odors and vapors at bay.

When selecting a range hood, consumers have to satisfy a number of demands, such as price, function and style. The experts at Broan suggest that when you are thinking of purchasing a range hood, you consider some of these factors:

• Style—There are a variety of range hood designs on the market today that can accommodate your style of cooking and the current style of your home. Styles include under-cabinet range hoods that allow for more cabinet space, wall-mounted chimney hoods that can add a European flair, pro-style hoods for the more professional cooking center, and custom systems that can be concealed inside cabinet or mantel designs.

• Operating performance—A range hood can help ensure good indoor air quality better than any other appliance in the kitchen. According to a number of leading organizations, including the Home Ventilating Institute (HVI) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exhausting pollutants and moisture from the home is one of the best ways to ensure healthier indoor air quality.

Pollutants from cooking can linger for days before settling on surrounding surfaces, tarnishing cabinets, discoloring wall finishes and leaving unwanted odor in the home. The right range hood can help exhaust these pollutants to the outside, making for a cleaner home.

• Ease of cleaning—Cleaning your range hood just keeps getting easier. Be sure to look for an efficient design with smooth surfaces and fully enclosed bottoms that help to reduce grease buildup. Additionally, easy-to-release, dishwasher-safe filters allow for easy maintenance.

• Lighting—The best models have lighting systems with four halogen lights that are focused on the cooking area of the range, doubling the illumination of the cooking surface so you can actually see what you are cooking!

• Price—What is your budget? Broan offers a wide selection of range hoods that make it easier to meet your budget while finding a hood that is right for your kitchen. Be sure the hood is HVI certified, which ensures that consumers receive the rated CFM (cubic feet per minute) level that is promoted.

To learn more from the experts at Broan, the leader in residential ventilation, visit www.Broan.com or call (800) 558-1711.

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Taking The Stress And Mess Out Of Moving

pic(NAPSI)-According to the U.S. Census Bureau, some 40 million Americans move to a new home every year. The next time you’re among them, following a few tips can make it easier.

• Many people unpack their boxes and only clean a room as necessary, but in the end this can cause you more time than if you clean before unpacking. Start with a room-by-room cleaning plan, focusing on the kitchen and bathrooms first. Kitchens are especially important to clean and maintain, given that they are the hub of the home.

• Pack a clearly marked box with cleaning supplies, paper towels, toilet paper and other items you may need. It can help save yourself time by quickly locating these items without digging through boxes to find a dishcloth or glass cleaner.

• Before unpacking, tackle the refrigerator, oven, microwave, dishwasher and garbage disposal with a good cleaning overhaul. Cleaning your appliances before you begin using them is a great way to help them perform more efficiently.

• Clean under, behind and inside your appliances to ensure they are in tip-top shape.

• Start a regular maintenance routine for dishwashers, garbage disposals and washing machines, with a monthly cleaning product such as the affresh Dishwasher and Disposal Cleaner or affresh Washer Cleaner Kit, along with the suggested tips in appliances’ Use and Care Guides, which can usually be found online.

• If your house or apartment comes with a refrigerator that has a water filter, be sure to change that filter. Refrigeration experts recommend changing it every six months to keep water and ice tasting great and to help save yourself money.

• Remove any drawers or bins in the refrigerator and wash them in the kitchen sink with dishwashing liquid and warm water. Wash the inside of the refrigerator with a clean dishcloth-don’t forget to wash the compartments on the door.

• When using the self-cleaning cycle, remove oven racks, as they can discolor or become harder to slide. If this happens, place a light coating of vegetable oil on the rack guides to help them slide in. Also, be sure to remove the broiler pan and any other utensils inside the oven prior to starting the self-cleaning cycle.

• If you have a microwave hood, the grease filters can be removed for easy cleaning. Dishwasher-safe filters are also available on some models to make maintenance easier. To clean the filter, remove it from the hood, wash it in the dishwasher and then reinstall it.

For additional tips, visit the experts at the Whirlpool Institute of Kitchen Science, www.instituteofkitchenscience.com.

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Evolving Home Appliances Help Today’s Families Clean Up


(NAPSI)-Many people who’ve been looking over household appliances recently have been pleasantly surprised to see how they’ve evolved—both inside and out. From washers to refrigerators, appliances have become more energy efficient, eco friendly and spacious while appealing to the latest home aesthetics.

Reduce water and get cleaner loads with advanced laundry pairs: Today’s washers and dryers are far from dull, boasting popular colors that range from red to blue to stainless steel. However, for most consumers it’s what’s inside that matters most, and now they can find a laundry pair that’s gentle on their clothes and tough on stains while using less water and energy.

Traditional top-load machines require enough water to cover all the clothes in their drum and have an agitator to churn the water and clothes together. However, today’s advanced high-efficiency (HE) top-loads do away with the agitator. Clothes run through a concentrated solution of water and detergent by the rotating motions of the machine using less water. For example, the Maytag Bravos HE top-load washer uses 70 percent less water and 67 percent less energy than a pre-2004 conventional top-load washer.

The average American family washes 400 loads of laundry per year. To reduce this amount, try a newer laundry pair with a larger capacity. For even more efficiency, Energy Star recommends washing loads that are full but not overloaded, which can save up to 3,400 gallons of water annually.

Keep more food fresh with innovative refrigerators: Refrigerators of the past were frequently considered to be energy hogs, but many of today’s Energy Star refrigerators pull the same amount of power as a 60-watt light bulb (based on continuous operation of a bulb for one year), thanks to advanced compressors and greater insulation.

A handful of new configurations have joined the familiar top-mount freezer refrigerator many knew growing up. For instance, the Maytag Ice20 Easy Access refrigerator has two French doors that open the refrigerator along with an external pantry drawer and freezer drawer. It’s the most efficient four-door refrigerator in the industry and provides easy access to five bags of groceries in the pantry drawer.

The evolving appliances of today can provide better results and greater convenience while using less energy-and that means reduced strain on Mother Nature. Consider comparing your current appliances with the latest models on efficiency, features and aesthetics; you may be pleased to discover a cost savings over the lifetime of the appliances.

Learn More

For more information, visit www.maytag.com or call (800) 344-1274


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Essential Tools For Everyday Repairs

pic(NAPSI)-No matter the age of your home, regular maintenance is essential for keeping your space comfortable and future repair costs down. It’s better to address minor repairs as they come up, before they become big problems. The good news is that you don’t need a lot of professional tools to get the job done. Here are a few favorites from Timothy Dahl, founder and editor at Charlesand Hudson.com, which come in handy for most home repairs. The website is an independent resource for do-it-yourself enthusiasts seeking the latest in home improvement tips and techniques as well as the finest tools and hottest news in the home building industry.

Tool bag-An essential for storing your tools so they are protected from the elements and easily accessible. Searching through drawers and boxes for the tool you need ASAP isn’t fun. A military-grade tool bag from an Army/Navy surplus store has plenty of pockets and is lightweight and made of durable canvas material.

Flashlights-You can’t fix what you can’t see, and the Energizer Hard Case Professional Inspection Light keeps your work space properly illuminated. Its white LED is intense and the housing is lightweight and easy to maneuver into tight spaces. With a diameter just over ½”, it doesn’t take up a lot of space in your tool bag, but is tough enough to get jostled around and dropped without breaking.

The company also recently introduced the Energizer Hard Case Professional Area Light, which can mount above workbenches or anywhere you’d rather not have to run electrical wiring. It also comes with a magnetic backing for easy mounting under the hood of a car or on any metal surfaces.

Screwdrivers—You should have a set that includes a variety of lengths and diameters of driver heads and slot sizes. Choose quality name brands such as Stanley or Craftsman and make sure the handles are comfortable and easy to grip.

Pliers—There is a wide variety of pliers designed for various home improvement projects, but needle-nose pliers do the trick most every time. Make sure the grip isn’t too large to open and close with one hand, and a spring-loaded mechanism can help for quicker, simpler opening.

Hammer—Like pliers, there are a multitude of hammers for every job. Select a basic eight-ounce model that’s easy to swing and has a steel head and wood handle for better vibration dampening, such as those from Estwing.

Measuring tape—For repairs and decorating projects, a measuring tape is one of your most important tools. A good 24-foot tape should handle all your applications. The ones from Komelon are especially durable and lightweight.

Preparing yourself with the appropriate tools before tackling home repairs can help you get the job done right and with time to spare. For the most up-to-date information about DIY tool recommendations, visit www.charlesandhudson.com, and for the latest in innovative work lights, check out www.energizerlights.com.

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