Gunning Daily News

Tips for Avoiding and Handling Fire Emergencies

October 8, 2013 7:06 pm

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), on average, seven people in the U.S. die every day in house fires. In 2011, fire departments responded to 370,000 home fires, resulting in $6.9 billion in damage. With Fire Prevention Week underway, the experts from Rave Mobile Safety, creators of the national public safety service Smart911, are offering the following tips to help individuals and families prevent and handle fire related emergencies.

  • Cook with Care: Cooking is the foremost cause of home fires and unattended cooking is the leading culprit. Stay in the kitchen when frying, broiling and grilling. Use a timer as a reminder that a stove is on, and if you need to leave even briefly, turn the appliance off. Don't put things that can catch fire on a stovetop, including wooden utensils, oven mitts and food packaging, and keep curtains away. Always keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Have a lid on hand to smother small grease fires, and if there's an oven fire, turn it off and keep the door shut. Don't try to fight larger, uncontrollable fires - leave the premises, shut the door to contain it and call 9-1-1.
  • Candle Caution: The NFPA notes that, on average, home fires caused by a candle are reported every 40 minutes. More than one-third of these fires start in the bedroom, half of them when potentially flammable items are placed close to a candle. Always use candle holders that won't tip over, and, extinguish the flame before it burns down and gets too close to the holder. Keep candles on uncluttered surfaces and never leave them unattended or in the care of children. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and never light them if medical oxygen is used in a home.
  • Where There's Smoke, There's Fire: The leading cause of fire deaths are smoking materials. If you smoke, smoke outside. Remain alert; never smoke in bed and be aware that medicine, drugs and alcohol can make a person drowsy. Keep cigarettes, lighters and matches out of reach of children. Dispose of cigarettes properly by dousing them with water or sand.
  • Heat Risks: Fires from heating sources pose risks, particularly during winter months. As a general rule, keep anything that can burn a minimum of three feet from these sources - children should also be kept the same distance away. An oven should never be used for heating purposes and always turn portable heating devices off before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Be Proactive, Plan & Practice: Do a proactive safety check of your residence. Test the function and batteries of smoke alarms. Make sure outlets are not overloaded with multiple plug-extenders or extension cords. Look at electrical wires and cords on appliances, devices, lamps, etc. to ensure they're not damaged or worn. Develop and practice a fire-escape plan, marking two ways out of each room, such as a door and a window. Select a spot outside and in front of a residence where all family members should meet in the event of a fire. Also, discuss fire dos and don'ts, including never exiting a door if it feels hot and staying low to avoid smoke inhalation.

Source: http://www.ravemobilesafety.com.

 


Word of the Day

October 8, 2013 7:06 pm

Discount points. Added loan fee charged by a lender to make the yield on a lower-than-market-value loan competitive with higher-interest loans.


Q: What Should I Do to Prepare My Home for Sale?

October 8, 2013 7:06 pm

A: Start by finding out its worth. Contact a real estate agent for a comparative market analysis, an informal estimate of value based on the recent selling price of similar neighborhood properties.  Or get a certified appraiser to provide an appraisal.

Next, get busy working on the home’s appearance.  You want to make sure it is in the best condition possible for showing to prospective buyers so that you can get top dollar.  This means fixing or sprucing up any trouble spots that could deter a buyer, such as squeaky doors, a leaky roof, dirty carpet and walls, and broken windows.

The “curb appeal” of your home is extremely important.  In fact, it is the first impression that buyers form of your property as they drive or walk up.  So make sure the lawn is pristine – the grass cut, debris removed, garden beds free of weeds, and hedges trimmed.

The trick is not to overspend on pre-sale repairs and fix-ups, especially if there are few homes on the market but many buyers competing for them.  On the other hand, making such repairs may be the only way to sell your home in a down market.

 


8 Quick Fixes for a Tired Bathroom

October 8, 2013 2:33 pm

Remodeling a home can be expensive and exhausting. But you can breathe new life into tired rooms with just a small budget, a little sweat equity, and a healthy imagination.

California decorating consultant Gina Fulton suggests eight quick fixes to freshen the look and increase the functionality of an old, drab bathroom:

New paint – Choose a color that brightens the space and shines with personality. Paint one wall in a bold shade. Or wallpaper one – or all four walls – in a whimsical or elegant design that says something about you.

Vanity – Choose a new one if you can afford it – or paint the existing vanity in a bold or pastel color that offsets or complements the color of the walls.

Drawer pulls and towel racks – The bathroom is a small space, so you may want to splurge on unique hardware that adds a touch of class.

Sinks or faucets – If it’s been a while since you’ve perused the hardware aisle, you may be amazed at the wide variety of affordable sinks and faucets. Consider an art-glass basin or a high-arcing faucet that adds fresh perspective to the bath.

Lighting and mirrors – Replace a small mirror with a larger one. Surround it with dressing-room lights. Or frame it to match or contrast the walls.

Flooring – Install inexpensive tile, hardwood or bamboo flooring that updates and complements your new design.

Artwork – Choose a theme – perhaps impressionist prints, French boudoir prints, or even a series of framed family vacation photos. Keep visual interest in mind, but be sure to use surfaces that won’t suffer from steamy air.

New towels and shower curtain – Whip up a sink skirt for a stand-alone sink. Embellished towels and coordinating shower curtain can pull your new design scheme together and enhance the updated look.


Expert Strategies for Defining Flow and Function in Your Yard

October 7, 2013 5:21 pm

(BPT)—Many strategies can enhance the flow and function of a home's interior and how a family lives and uses the space. But what about a home's exterior? When it comes to a yard, the same thoughtfulness can help homeowners create functional spaces outdoors that not only look great, but also deliver maximum enjoyment.

Here are a few ideas experts use that will instantly improve the function and flow of your yard, helping create a space that is not only beautiful, but value-enhancing, too.

Recreation - No matter what size your yard, it's important to incorporate some type of open space. It's visually appealing and offsets other landscape features, plus it's a must for pets and family. Designate at least one segment of your yard for open space, and plant grass or another plant that's friendly to foot traffic.

Property line - Define your property with attractive trees, shrubbery and fencing. Keep in mind today's homeowners aren't stuck with bland chain-link fencing. Try mixing sizes of beautiful vinyl fence in different areas.

Relaxation - A deck or patio serves as an area of relaxation typically located close to the home for easy access. Define the space with multifunctional furniture, decorative accents and outdoor dining necessities. Thoughtful placement of furniture helps create boundaries that enclose the outdoor room and encourage socializing and relaxation. Just be sure not to block doors or stairways.

Amenities - Value-enhancing amenities should be highlighted in your yard. Do you have a pool? An intimate spa? How about a meditation garden? Add definition to these amenities while also protecting privacy with attractive professional-grade fencing. Amarroso's Pro Series line of fencing has no external hardware, making installation easy while yielding sturdy results.

Functional - Each year, interest in gardening at home grows. The good news is that even a basic vegetable garden can be an attractive yard enhancement. Gardens typically need a sunny location, but make sure the placement doesn't disrupt the flow of the yard. The last thing you want is the kids mistakenly tromping your prize tomato plants. Define the space and protect plants by adding modified vinyl fencing around the perimeter.

Concealment - No matter how organized your yard is, there are bound to be items you'd rather not see. Yard waste, garbage cans and compost piles can detract from the beauty of your outdoor space. There's a simple solution: Amarroso fencing can conceal these things so they don't disrupt the organic beauty of a yard. You can even partition AC units and storage sheds while keeping them easily accessible by incorporating Amarroso's gate kits.

Designers and builders know that flow and function are as important outside as they are inside. Homeowners who want to take a fresh look at their existing outdoor space can apply these concepts to help define different areas to improve the appearance and functional potential of their yard for all-year enjoyment.

 


Word of the Day

October 7, 2013 5:21 pm

Real estate salesperson. Person who has passed a state examination for that position, and must work under the supervision of a broker.

 


Q: Can I Refinance a Home Loan More Than Once?

October 7, 2013 5:21 pm

A: You most certainly can. During the most recent refinancing boom, for example, many homeowners refinanced their home loans two or three times within relatively short periods of time because interest rates kept treading downward, making it extremely attractive to trade in one loan for another.

Just remember that refinancing is basically like applying for a mortgage all over again. Each time you refinance, you will still have to go through the application process, get a home appraisal, and likely incur closing costs. Also, if you have a pre-payment penalty clause in your present mortgage, you will have to pay that penalty if you refinance. So be certain that it is actually worth it for you to refinance.

 


Fall Project File: Creating an Indoor Playroom

October 7, 2013 4:21 pm


A recent national survey about home improvement projects indicates that more people will be renovating or establishing home working spaces and play rooms this fall and winter. So I will pick up on the trend by tapping a couple of experts about creating a fun and welcoming playroom.

 

Dan Fritschen at remodelormove.com says homeowners should not be afraid to consult with interior designers, architects and design showrooms, which he says are a great resource for both finding playroom ideas as well as getting assistance with the design.

 

Fritschen says the best way to get help from experts is to set an appointment. Bring photos of the room you want to remodel, along with dimensions for your room ideas about design themes and your budget.

 

Don’t forget to ask for samples that you can borrow because seeing that tile or light fixture in your home makes a big difference in making smart decision decisions for your garage playroom remodel.

 

John Powell (powellrenovations.com) at Powell Custom Homes and Renovations of Des Moines, Washington provides these tips:

 

Choose a theme - Plan the entire room around a single thematic element based on a child's favorite subject, game or character. Or use the theme to create variety, such as a “story time” theme with your child’s favorite storybook characters incorporated into the décor. A themed, “special” room will give your child more incentive to spend time there, and will even help him or her to keep it clean.

 

Go crazy with colors - Neon paint colors are just fine here; don’t worry about matching or clashing.  Think about the fantasy worlds your children are seeing on television - the more outlandish, the more tempting the space will be for them.

 

Think small - Kids love spaces that are sized for them. Plan the space for smaller people, but think ahead so your kids don’t outgrow the space within the year.


Kids play rough - No matter how bombproof you make the space, someone is bound to knock his head against the side of any piece of furniture or anything built into the space. Try to find things with rounded edges. If you buy a piece of furniture with hard corners, ask your contractor to sand it down.


Fall Project File: Creating an Indoor Playroom

October 4, 2013 7:18 pm

A recent national survey about home improvement projects indicates that more people will be renovating or establishing home working spaces and play rooms this fall and winter. So I will pick up on the trend by tapping a couple of experts about creating a fun and welcoming playroom.

Dan Fritschen at remodelormove.com says homeowners should not be afraid to consult with interior designers, architects and design showrooms, which he says are a great resource for both finding playroom ideas as well as getting assistance with the design.

Fritschen  says the best way to get help from experts is to set an appointment. Bring photos of the room you want to remodel, along with dimensions for your room ideas about design themes and your budget.

Don’t forget to ask for samples that you can borrow because seeing that tile or light fixture in your home makes a big difference in making smart decision decisions for your garage playroom remodel.

John Powell (powellrenovations.com) at Powell Custom Homes and Renovations of Des Moines, Washington provides these tips:

Choose a theme - Plan the entire room around a single thematic element based on a child's favorite subject, game or character. Or use the theme to create variety, such as a “story time” theme with your child’s favorite storybook characters incorporated into the décor. A themed, “special” room will give your child more incentive to spend time there, and will even help him or her to keep it clean.

Go crazy with colors - Neon paint colors are just fine here; don’t worry about matching or clashing.  Think about the fantasy worlds your children are seeing on television - the more outlandish, the more tempting the space will be for them.

Think small - Kids love spaces that are sized for them. Plan the space for smaller people, but think ahead so your kids don’t outgrow the space within the year.

Kids play rough - No matter how bombproof you make the space, someone is bound to knock his head against the side of any piece of furniture or anything built into the space. Try to find things with rounded edges. If you buy a piece of furniture with hard corners, ask your contractor to sand it down.


Home Renovation for Baby Boomers: Preparing for the Next Stage in Life

October 4, 2013 7:18 pm

(BPT) - Lived in your home for years? Love your neighborhood? The thought of moving away from your home's comfort, warmth and memories can be unsettling. Instead of moving out, consider updating and remodeling your home to accommodate your future needs.

Eight-nine percent of Americans 55 and older have embraced this aging-in-place trend, and hope to remain in their own homes for the long-term, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

"As Americans strive to maintain their independence and stay in their own homes longer, many take on home improvements projects to reduce maintenance while improving accessibility and energy efficiency," says Pella Windows & Doors spokesperson Kathy Krafka Harkema. "As they stretch budgets and prepare for retirement, today's savvy homeowners plan home renovation projects with comfort, convenience and ease of maintenance in mind."

Consider remodeling projects to help enjoy your home longer, more safely and efficiently as you age.

Home improvement for the long-term

Most homeowners realize the importance of upkeep and maintenance. A leaky window or drafty door wastes energy and can drive up utility costs.

To help save energy and money year-round, conduct a home improvement checkup by looking for signs that it's time for potential repairs.

  • Check major systems that help protect the outside of your home - the roof, gutters, siding and exterior finish.
  • Inspect interior components like heating, cooling, chimney and electrical systems.
  • Make sure enough attic insulation is in place to help prevent ice dams.
  • Look for signs of deterioration, damage or potential problems. Replace or repair worn or broken items before they can lead to more extensive or expensive repairs.
  • Check your home's windows and doors. Are there drafts, chips or breaks in the finish, condensation or fogging between panes of glass, or are they hard to open? Any of these signs can mean it's time for replacement.
  • Position storage areas, like shelves, for easy access.
  • Raise appliances, like washers, dryers, dishwashers and stoves, to minimize bending and lifting.
  • Replace old appliances and fixtures with more energy-efficient options, like ENERGY STAR-qualified Pella 350 Series vinyl windows and patio doors, to help save on future utility bills.
  • Determine whether your home will be ready for your next stage in life by reviewing the AARP home livability checklist.

Window replacement adds light, convenience

As we become older, our eyes require more light to see. Choose ENERGY STAR-qualified lighting for energy-efficient options. Adding additional windows, or increasing the size of existing window openings can also increase the amount of natural light in a home.

Replacing heavy curtains and drapes with more sheer options will also allow privacy, without sacrificing natural light.

Cut the dust

Pella Designer Series windows and doors offer convenient, custom made, between-the-glass options like blinds and shades. Between-the-glass window fashions don't collect dust like traditional room side window treatments, making them a low-maintenance, easy-to-care-for option. Plus, since they're between glass, they're a perfect fit and a safer option for homes with children or pets, since there are no room-side cords.

Replacing old, hard-to-open windows with new windows and screens makes it easier to open windows to enjoy fresh air.

Source: www.pella.com/news