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Prevent Bedbugs

Low-Cost, Big-Impact Home Improvement Projects

(NAPSI)-If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to brighten up your home’s decor, consider painting high-profile features such as doors or cabinets. Fixing up these smaller spaces can really make a big impact.

Here are a few tips from the experts at Behr on how to proceed:

How to Paint an Exterior Door: The Door Frame

Step 1. Starting at the top door frame, begin painting the inside of the frame. Work outward from the edge of the door.

Step 2. Continue until the frame is complete. Wipe away the excess paint.

The Door Trim

Step 1. Starting at the top corner of the door trim, paint along the side edge of the trim where it meets the wall. Continue until all side edges of the trim are complete.

Step 2. Return to the top of the door trim and paint the face of the trim.

Step 3. Continue until the door trim is complete.

The Door

Step 1. Pour thoroughly mixed paint into a bucket and dip a quality 2- to 21/2-inch wide nylon/poly-ester brush into the paint. When working outside, work out of direct sunlight and in temperatures between 50ºF and 90ºF with moderate humidity.

Step 2. With your brush, paint the inside and outside edges of the door.

Step 3. Starting with the top panel of the door, paint into the recessed area of the panel. Begin at a corner of the recess and continue around its perimeter. Work from top of the door to the bottom.

Step 4. Paint the remainder of the panel until the entire panel is complete. Repeat until all panels are complete. Wipe away any excess paint. To eliminate unwanted brushstrokes, smooth out the panel by taking a lighter stroke over the newly painted area.

Step 5. When the panels are complete, paint the stiles of the door in the following order: middle, top, center, bottom, left, right.

How to Paint a Cabinet: The Stiles and Openings

Step 1. Pour thoroughly mixed paint into a bucket and dip a quality 2- to 21/2-inch wide nylon/poly-ester brush into the paint. When using more than one gallon of paint, combine the colors for better color uniformity. This intermixing is called boxing.

Step 2. With your brush, paint the inside edges of the cabinet door openings.

Step 3. Paint the middle stile from top to bottom, following the wood grain. Then paint remaining stiles in the following order: top, bottom, left, right.

The Side Panels

Step 1. Using your brush, paint (cut in) around the perimeter of the cabinet where it meets the ceiling, walls, countertops and floor.

Step 2. Pour paint into a paint tray. Work the roller into the tray until it is fully loaded with paint. For best results, use a ¼-inch roller cover.

The Paneled Doors

Step 1. Paint the edges around the perimeter of the door.

Step 2. With the door open, paint the recess of the door panel. Start at a corner of the recess and continue around its perimeter.

Step 3. After painting the entire panel, wipe away the excess paint that has overlapped onto the door frame.

Step 4. Paint the door frame in the following order: top, bottom, left, right.

Step 5. Paint the backside of the door. Leave the doors open until the paint is completely dry.

Need inspiration? Visit Behr. com, where you can browse image libraries for inspiration and find design, style and color trend advice from experts. You can use the ColorSmart by Behr feature to coordinate color online and apply colors virtually to your walls using the Paint Your Place feature. Using the Virtual Color Center, you can view all Behr paint colors from the comfort of your own home.

You can also order 8-oz. paint samples on the site, making it easier to test colors in your home without having to buy quart- and gallon-size containers. What’s more, you can find tips on a variety of projects such as painting ceilings, floors, shutters, siding and stucco trim.

Behr paint is available exclusively at The Home Depot. For more information, visit www.behr.com.

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Curb Appeal Captured

(NAPSI)-Many people love the look of a beautiful wood-clad house-especially when they’re considering curb appeal.

What they may not have realized, however, are all the things that go along with wood, such as the expense of upkeep and replacement. Fortunately, there is a solution: The luxurious look of wood can be achieved in a more enduring material called fiber cement. Such siding lets homeowners have their cake and eat it, too.

Fiber cement siding replicates the texture and consistent grains that make wood siding so appealing with improved durability. As such, fiber cement won’t warp, rot or succumb to wood-boring insects or even a woodpecker. The low- maintenance appeal of fiber cement siding is also better on the budget, not to mention its long-term curb appeal. In addition, some fiber cement is manufactured with recycled content, making it environmentally friendly—a bonus for the eco-minded homeowner.

Fiber cement siding provides homeowners with virtually limitless color options. Some products, such as the WeatherBoards Fiber Cement Siding line manufactured by CertainTeed, come in pre-finished colors for the look of painted wood or beautiful stains for the look of natural stains. The material also comes primed to provide homeowners the flexibility to custom paint, making the sky the limit in terms of color.

Homeowners looking to upgrade their siding to lower-maintenance fiber cement can also rest easy knowing they are making a solid investment in their home. Certainly, when it comes time to sell the property, fiber cement siding will enhance the home’s exterior aesthetics and help pique homebuyers’ interest. Perhaps more important, homeowners stand to recoup over 83 percent of their fiber cement siding replacement cost in the resale price of the home, according to a recent Cost Vs. Value report by Remodeling magazine.

For more information, visit www.certainteed.com.

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A Roof Can Be A Force Against Nature

(NAPSI)-No matter what Mother Nature unleashes-whether it’s a hailstorm, unbearable heat or winds that could knock socks off-homeowners want to be prepared to weather the storm. The roof is a vital component in protecting your home and family and should provide more than just curb appeal. By keeping the elements out, the right roof can guard and protect a home against even the most inclement weather. New roofing technologies, backed by industry-best warranties, let homeowners stay confident while their roofing stays intact.

Many homeowners have to deal with the damage left behind by a hailstorm. Tested to withstand the impact of a two-inch steel ball being dropped from 20 feet in the air, Presidential Shake and Highland Slate Impact-Resistant (IR) Shingles are excellent roofing materials for homeowners living with the frequent threat of hail. Made with two laminated layers of the industry’s most durable materials, these roofing shingles are resilient. In addition to their strength, the staggered design of the shingles gives the charm and beauty of authentic wood shakes.

When the sun’s rays beat down on a home, Landmark Solaris shingles can help cool the roof by deflecting the rays. Lowering the surface temperature up to 20 percent, it can give air conditioners a rest, even during the hotter months. To top that off, homeowners are no longer limited to white-only roofing materials to have a cool roof. The shingles now come in deep, rich, dark hues that are more classic and natural than traditional solar shingles.

Homeowners can also be prepared when the storm clouds roll by with an enhanced wind warranty, available with several roofing products, that covers winds up to 130 mph. In addition to protecting a home from wind, hail and sun, there are even shingles that are Class A fire resistant.

A CertainTeed roofing contractor can help you find the best way to outfit your home for whatever the weather may blow your way. For more information, visit www.certainteed.com.

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Home Siding Can Spare Families From Massive Fire Damage

(NAPSI)-Every year, there are over 400,000 house fires in the U.S., and on average, someone dies in a fire about every three hours.

Common causes of residential fires include kitchen negligence and electrical problems with appliances and heating equipment. Fortunately, installing smoke detectors in the kitchen and every bedroom can help you detect fires early on. The latest photoelectric alarms are quicker at sensing smoldering fires.

Hazards that homeowners need to address don’t just exist on the inside of homes.

Many new homes are built in condensed spaces, too close to adjacent homes or on uneven plots of land, which makes the home more susceptible to exterior fire hazards.

Here are a few tips you can use to protect your home:

• In your yard, remove vines and foliage that touch the house. Mow tall, dry grass. Keep shrubbery pruned and remove dead leaves and branches. Dispose of lawn cuttings.

• Practice safe recreation. Don’t operate a grill too close to your home. Every year, 7,900 home fires are attributed to operating a grill too close to a home’s structure. Be careful with outdoor candles and fire pits.

• Make sure all exterior vents are covered with metal mesh so embers cannot enter your home through them. Ask the power company to remove tree branches that touch power lines. Store combustible materials at least 20 feet from the house.

It’s important to ensure that your home is structurally sound. The last line of defense for keeping an exterior fire from entering the home is the actual structure of the house.

For example, fiber cement siding resists flame spread and offers protection to the entire exterior of the house. The noncombustible exterior means siding will not ignite when exposed to direct flames or contribute fuel to a fire.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CALFIRE) has recognized James Hardie fiber cement siding for use in fire hazard severity zones. The siding is also rated as a FEMA class V material or a material highly resistant to floodwater damage and can resist hurricane-force wind gusts of 150 mph. Many insurance companies offer discounts for homes with cement siding.

The fiber cement siding’s flame-retarding qualities were recently credited with saving the lives of a family in a Carrollton, Texas house fire.

Homeowners Kate and Kent Freeman and their three small children were unharmed following an intense blaze that started on the construction lot next door and moved so rapidly that it destroyed the house being built there within minutes before moving on to the Freemans’.

Their craftsman-style home was sided with James Hardie fiber cement products, which officials cited as a key reason why the house and the family remained safe. For nearly 15 minutes, the siding retarded the fire’s ability to penetrate the Freemans’ home before the flames finally entered through the home’s windows and roof.

“It gave my husband time to get my young sons up and out of the house before the fire spread,” said homeowner Kate Freeman.

The vertical siding limited the effects of the fire to just 30 percent of the house.

As a result, the family will be able to repair the house versus completely rebuilding. The Freemans plan to use the same siding on their next house because it supplies the charm and character of wood with the added assurance of flame resistance.

Everyone, including the fire department, the contractors and insurance companies, has told us that the house wouldn’t have made it without the James Hardie siding. During the fire, the side of our house took on 700 to 800 degrees of heat without burning,” says Kate Freeman.

For more information, visit www.jameshardie.com/fire.

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Easy Ways To Save Water At Home

(NAPSI)-Using water wisely can save homeowners money, reduce energy costs and help protect the planet.

Here are a few easy conservation steps you can take:

1. Check for leaks. Even the smallest leak from a worn faucet washer can waste gallons of water every day. You can also use your water meter to check for hidden leaks. Just read the water meter before and after a time when no water is being used. If the meter shows water has been used, there is a leak. Talk to your plumber.

2. Only use your dishwasher and clothes washer when you have a full load. Washing smaller loads of laundry can use twice as much water per pound of laundry.

3. When you wash dishes, don’t let the water run to rinse them. Fill a second sink with clear water for rinsing. Don’t rinse dishes before loading in the dishwasher.

4. Install water-saving showerheads. A four-minute shower can use up to 40 gallons of water, and while you can take shorter showers, you can also save water with a low-flow showerhead.

Speakman has engineered several low-flow showerheads to meet LEED and WaterSense standards. The company’s eco showerheads are designed to conserve water while still providing a full, satisfying spray to the user.

With the company’s low-flow showerheads, you can save more than 2,300 gallons per year. Since this also reduces demands on water heaters, households will also save energy.

All products that bear the WaterSense label are tested and certified by an approved third- party laboratory to ensure they meet EPA criteria. For example, showerheads that earn the WaterSense label must use no more than 2.0 gallons per minute.

There are seven models of eco showerheads, including handheld styles, which all range from 1.5 to 2.0 gallons per minute. As well as being efficient, the showerheads also offer full-body sprays and therapeutic pulsating massage jets.

5. Turn off the tap after wetting your toothbrush. In general, any time water is running, you are wasting it. That includes shaving and cooling water to drink.

Following these few simple tips can help you save on your water bill.

For More Information

For more information, visit www.speakmancompany.com..

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>A Hot Topic: The Next Generation Of Portable Heaters

(NAPSI)-If you have a warm spot for portable space heaters, you’re not alone. According to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, they’re used by more than 53 percent of Americans to supplement heating in their homes.

One reason may be that, as the Alliance to Save Energy points out, lowering your thermostat by just 1 degree in the heating season can save you 5 percent in heating costs. You can save hundreds of dollars in heating bills annually—an entire oil or gas bill, for many homeowners—if you simply turn down your central heating and turn on a portable heater in the room you’re in the most.

Home Heaters Today

Portable heaters are as safe to use as any kitchen appliance if used properly. They use the same amount of electricity as a coffee-maker, electric griddle or toaster oven. Numerous safety features include cool-touch handles and casings, devices to prevent overheating, and tip-over switches that automatically shut the heater off when tipped over. A few Honeywell heaters also offer an Auto-Off Safety Sensor that senses when an object gets too close and shuts the heater off until the object is removed-a great feature for active households with children or pets.

The digital controls, programmable thermostats and Energy-Smart controls on some Honeywell heaters help portable heaters use energy more efficiently while maintaining room comfort.

There are many designs—sleek towers, compact units or baseboard styles that fit into any home decor. They come with new features such as oscillation and 36- degree heating or with special finishes in many shades. For the nostalgic, the traditional radiator style is still available.

What Else You Can Do

Other ways to save on energy costs, the U.S. Department of Energy suggests, include:

• Caulk and weather-strip windows and exterior doors.

• Carefully select, install and use window treatments or coverings.

• Properly insulate and air-seal your home.

• Plant windbreaks—trees and shrubs—around your home.

See How You Can Save

For more information, including how much money portable heaters could save you, see www.honeywellheatsavings.com or call (800) 332-1110.

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Protect Your House From Insect Invasion

(NAPSI)-Don’t let insects and other vermin bug you. Consider a few easy-to-follow tips to safely inspect and pestproof your home. The acronym INSPECT can be an easy way to remember the steps to quality pest control.

• INvestigate—Inside, look for cracks in interior walls, open food containers, signs of droppings, vents to the outside, holes in screens, and dark and cool places in attics and basements where pests like to hide. Outside, seek cracks in exterior walls, small and large holes around the house, unsealed garbage cans, woodpiles and plants too close to the house, standing water where mosquitoes breed, yellow jacket nests in the ground and wasp nests in eaves and overhangs.

• Study—Diagnosing your problem is important so you can be sure the product you use to solve the problem is for the pest that needs managing.

• Prepare—Identify the tools and resources you need. Your plan may include bringing in a pest control specialist, conducting better maintenance and making adjustments to your lifestyle. “One of the most common problems homeowners have is that they aren’t sure which products to use,” explained Janet Hurley, integrated pest management specialist with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. “Doing your research, talking to professionals and using products correctly are the quickest ways to effectively get rid of your problem.”

• Eliminate—Eliminate the opportunities for pests to make your home theirs. Indoors, remember to seal windows in tack, caulk gaps around windows and doors, and fix water leaks. Outdoors, consider pruning trees and shrubs away from the house, mowing and weeding regularly, mulching to reduce weeds in beds, keeping grass and dirt three inches from foundations, and ensuring proper drainage away from your house.

• Clean—Prevent future troubles by thoroughly cleaning your home and treating any potential problem areas. Put cereals, crackers or other food that usually comes in an open container into plastic containers with secure lids. Pests need food, and if they can’t find any, they’re more likely to leave.

• Treating for problems at the first sign or before they appear is key to keeping your home, lawn and community pest-free. This includes selecting and purchasing the products needed to take care of the problem and properly reading the label before use. Treating your lawn with fertilizer in the fall can also prevent weed problems in the future as healthy lawns discourage weed pressure. It’s a good idea to teach your kids to be aware of the world around them. To help make it fun, www.debugthemyths.com has online activities and a storybook that help kids understand the difference between good bugs and bad ones. Adults can also visit that Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE) site for information about common pests, how to choose and use pest-control products safely and other useful tips.

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It’s Not Paranoid To Want To Protect Against Bedbugs

(NAPSI)-They’re back-and they’re making even going to the movies a feat of bravery.

No, we’re not talking “Alien8.” We’re talking bedbugs-those nasty, bloodsucking ectoparasites (external parasites) that have returned to the U.S. with a vengeance after decades of being seemingly eradicated.

In New York City, the problem is so acute-more than 10 percent of residents reported having had them in their homes-that even the Metropolitan Opera House was recently hit. And similar sightings and/or bitings wherever throngs of people congregate-including schools, department stores, public transportation and movie theaters-have inspired near panic in cities across the nation.

With the Centers for Disease Control now warning that “bedbugs are experts in hiding,” read on for ways to fight back:

• Think Minimalist. Let’s make it immediately clear that once these bloodsuckers come out of hiding, they can travel on clothing, crawl into pocketbooks, and lurk in the nooks of furniture. So your watchword when going out in public-really, hibernating won’t do-should be “minimalist.” Meaning, no unnecessary bags or jackets. And if you do suspect you’ve brought some “hitchhikers” home with you, Richard J. Pollack, an entomologist and research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health, suggests “laundering clothes on high heat or dry-cleaning them.”

• Encase It. If they didn’t like beds so much, they’d be called microwavebugs. . .or refrigeratorbugs. It may feel and/or look funny to some, but cover your mattress and boxspring with an encasement made of such non-bedbug-friendly material as vinyl or polyester fiber.

• Spray ‘Em. Even assuming you’re not allergic to bedbug bites (which is a whole different story), they can leave you so itchy and swollen that even friends might fear coming near you. (Among psychiatrists, this is known as Bedbug Stigma.) One clinically proven solution, meant for at-home use or traveling: Stop Bugging Me!™ Aim this new, nontoxic, naturally derived spray at any bedbug-prone area-including luggage, mattresses, sofas, bedding, carpets and walls-and studies have shown it to be a bedbug-killing machine (100% of the bugs tested dropped dead within 15 minutes). What’s more, the environmentally friendly product (www.StopBuggingMe.com) also prevents against bedbugs for up to two weeks, has a pleasant botanical scent, and is safe to use around children and pets.

• Travel Smart. Experts blame bedbugs’ resurgence on two things: increased travel (including from Third World countries where the problem is even worse than here); and the 1972 ban on the use of the poisonous chemical DDT (environmentalists, then as now, love all non-human living things). We’ve already cited a pesticide-free alternative to the latter (see above), but immediately upon entering a hotel room travelers should drop their luggage in the bathroom and then do a top-to-bottom check of the bed. Mainly, you’re looking for what the travel site travelandleisure.com calls “spotty dark stains.” And don’t hesitate to request a different room if something doesn’t seem right.

• Go Tech. If you’ve got an iPhone, there’s now an app that lets you both report and peruse data about bedbug sightings anywhere in the country. That’s if you’re not busy downloading those newly available Beatles songs.

• No Scavenging. You know those people you sometimes see on the street going through piles of discarded furniture they can cart home? Even if something looks 10 times better than what you already own, now is definitely not the time to be one of them.

• Know Your Rights. There’s a move on to copy a new New York State law requiring landlords to disclose to prospective tenants any history of bedbug infestations in apartment buildings and individual units within the past year.

Check to see if there’s anything like it where you live.

One last word from the CDC, to deal with as you may: “Bedbugs, like head lice, feed on the blood of humans, but are not believed to transmit disease.”

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