May 3, 2013 1:32 pm
If you’re currently pinching your pennies to save up for that summer getaway, then you may want to take a look at you energy expenditure, and what it’s costing you. Below are a handful of ways you can save energy, and cash.
- Replace regular bulbs with CFLs or LEDs. Lighting can be up to 20 percent of your home's energy use. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or LEDs provide the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs using less energy. CFLs use up to 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, can last up to 10 times longer and can save you up to $500 a year.
- Power down—use a power strip. Save up to $300 a year by using smart strips and unplugging items not in use. Many appliances are still drawing power, even when switched off. Using power strips or unplugging things like DVRs, sound systems, game consoles and flat screen TVs can save on your bill.
- Adjust your thermostat. Set your thermostat to 78 F for summer AC and 68 F for winter heat if your health permits. For every two degrees you turn down your thermostat in winter or up in summer, you can reduce costs by up to $200 a year.
- Lower your water temperature. A 20 F reduction can save you over $80 a year.
- Try cold water wash. Save up to $42 per year on electric water heating costs by washing with cold water.
- Save up to 50 percent on outdoor lighting. Reduce outdoor lighting costs by up to 50 percent with a motion sensor. Just one 150-watt outdoor security floodlight can cost up to $125 a year. A string of six low voltage landscape lights can cost more than $90 a year. Use a timer to turn these lights off after bedtime to save while you're asleep.
- Buy energy-efficient appliances. Save up to $80 a year on energy costs by choosing ENERGY STAR® appliances, such as a refrigerator
- Seal and insulate your home. You could lower your heating and cooling bill more than $250 per year by having proper insulation, a time-tested step that can help save energy year-round.
May 3, 2013 1:32 pm
(BPT)—As the warmer weather is upon us, it brings many new activities: baseball, picnics, beach time and - best of all - garage sales. People are purging what they don't need or no longer want. It's the perfect opportunity to turn their trash into your treasure. From outdated odds and ends to forgotten furniture, there is a wealth of worthy items just waiting to be found, re-imagined and re-purposed.
Pretty in paint
Rusty metal, chipped paint, colors from another decade - they are common sights for the garage sale shopper. But when you look beyond these imperfections - and at their spray paint potential - you'll soon find some diamonds in the rough.
Metal products, such as tables, chairs, garden tools or even watering cans, can receive an easy and instant update with Rust Protector spray paint from Krylon. The product, available in a variety of colors and finishes, dries in just eight minutes. As you create your new masterpieces, you won't have to worry about grass, leaves or other particles getting stuck in your fresh coat of paint. Plus, the paint provides the ultimate protection against rust, keeping your new treasures looking amazing, regardless of the elements they face.
If it's color you desire, look no further than Krylon's new ColorMaster spray paint with bold, bright or basic hues to update your new findings. Turn blah and bland wood chairs, dusty and drab dressers or awful accessories into amazing furniture or accents with the extensive line of color and finish choices. Covermax technology provides premium coverage and brilliant color. It's a new formulation that achieves better hide without relying on shading or fillers that can darken or wash out colors. The result is hues that are clean and crisp.
New uses for old things
The key to finding items at garage sales is to look at how they can be used in new and different ways. Don't view that dusty, broken typewriter or vintage camera as mechanical pieces you have to fix, but rather as interesting design elements to be admired on bookshelves and mantels.
Even old books can add a level of sophistication to your home. Grab a handful in coordinating colors to stack on a dresser or end table for instant eye appeal. Buy an old ladder and prop it against the wall to drape blankets. You can even spray paint an old coffee mug rack to create a fabulous jewelry organizer to hang all your favorite accessories. The possibilities are endless.
Turning up treasures
If your main reason for getting giddy over garage sales is to make a quick buck, you're not alone. Valuable items could lurk at every turn, and they are just waiting to be snatched up by eager buyers.
Before you head out to garage sales, however, do your research and read up on collectibles. Generally, pieces with high nostalgia will fetch a higher price tag. Think classic lunch boxes, comic books, sports memorabilia or board games - things you loved as a kid that never seem to go out of style. You can also enlist the help of a collectibles expert, who can tell you everything you need to know.
May 3, 2013 1:32 pm
Warm weather and summer sun are sure signs that the much-anticipated moving season is about to kick into high gear. With the busy moving season quickly approaching, these helpful tips are sure to come in handy.
The three most important moving tips you should know when moving:
- Plan your move in advance. Since nearly 45 percent of all moves occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day, make your truck reservation at least two to four weeks prior to your moving date.
- Avoid the weekend rush. Typically, Sunday through Thursday offers greater equipment availability, plus banks, utilities and government offices are open. In addition, rates may be lower during this time.
- Prior to your move, stop by or contact your neighborhood moving and storage center to get help with selecting boxes and packing supplies.
- Allow time for the rental process and be sure to conduct a walk-around inspection of the equipment at the time of pickup to become familiar with its features and operation, and to ask any questions you may have.
- Read the equipment user's guide for tips on driving and safety.
- Monitor the equipment while it is in your possession, just as you would your own personal vehicle.
Suggestions and tips on securing your rental equipment:
- Plan ahead. Make your reservations as far in advance as possible.
- Pack your boxes "strategically." Choose a "packing room" ahead of time and box up a few things each day. Mark each box with its contents and destination room. Have all your boxes packed before you go to rent your truck. Load the heaviest items first, in front and on the floor. Pack items firmly and closely.
- The last thing you want is the expense of having your personal belongings damaged. Protect your items by using the proper moving supplies, such as U-Haul packing peanuts, which are 100 percent biodegradable, bubble wrap or U-Haul furniture pads made from recycled denim.
- Always secure the back door of the moving van or trailer with a padlock.
- Always make sure your doors are locked.
- Always park your rental equipment legally and in a well-lit area.
- Back up your rental equipment as close as possible to a garage door, building or wall, and if you can, park another vehicle in front of the rental truck.
- When parking your vehicle at a hotel, we recommend that you park your equipment close to entry doors and, again, try to park in a well-lit area, making sure the equipment is locked.
- When parking your vehicle at a restaurant, make sure the doors are locked, the back door of the moving van is locked and then park it where you can see if from the window.
- Prior to moving, look into your homeowner's insurance policy, as some policies will cover belongings while moving as long as the insurance policy is in force during the move.
May 3, 2013 1:32 pm
Plat. Map or survey showing the location and boundaries of individual properties and how they have been subdivided into lots and blocks.
May 3, 2013 1:32 pm
A: Universal design is an approach to design that focuses on making all products and environments as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, physical ability, or situation. In recent years, the housing industry has recognized the importance of a "universal" approach to residential design that modifies standard building elements to improve a home's accessibility and usability. This allows for more equitable, flexible and simple use. Many books exist on the subject, including Residential Remodeling and Universal Design: Making Homes More Comfortable and Accessible, a resource guide offered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD’s guide provides technical guidance on selecting and installing universal features during home remodeling or renovation. The modifications can range from expanding doorway dimensions to replacing kitchen appliances. The guide emphasizes eliminating unintentional barriers and using designs and features that could benefit people with a broad range of needs.
May 2, 2013 4:52 pm
As thousands of Americans participate in the spring buying season, it’s important to remember that a new sofa isn’t the only purchase that should accompany your new house. Title insurance is one of the most important things you can do to safeguard your new residence, and protect what might be the biggest investment you will ever make.
“Problems with the title of your new home can limit your enjoyment and use of the property,” says Frank Pellegrini, president of .the national trade association of the land title insurance industry (ALTA). “Only an owner's title insurance policy fully protects the homebuyer should a covered title problem arise.”
A title insurance policy is purchased for a one-time fee at the real estate closing and lasts for as long as the consumer or their heirs have an interest in the property. This policy protects consumers against possible hidden title problems that can include errors or omissions in deeds, mistakes in examining records, forgery and undisclosed heirs.
“An owner's policy provides assurance that your title company will stand behind you — monetarily and with legal defense if needed — if a covered title problem arises after you buy your home,” says Pellegrini. “Purchasing a home is often the single largest financial investment a family can make. Your owner’s title insurance policy can help minimize potential issues that could impede your property rights.”
Title insurance industry practices vary due to differences in state law and local real estate custom. Consumers should ask their settlement agent or real estate agent how the title insurance industry operates in their area.
May 2, 2013 4:52 pm
(BPT) - For millions of Americans, the battle against heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions goes on year round. About 600,000 people die from heart disease in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making heart disease the leading cause of death for both men and women.
However, despite the grim realities of heart disease, the steps to achieve better heart health can be simple. Experts agree that heart disease can be both preventable and controllable with the appropriate lifestyle changes.
Registered dietician Elizabeth Somer, author of "Eat Your Way to Sexy" believes there are clear steps a person can take to turn around his or her heart health.
"Many people with heart disease may be able to improve their heart health by making a few changes to what they eat, how much they move and their lifestyle," Somer says. "There are four key things to think about for heart health: keep your blood fat levels down, keep your blood pressure in check, promote healthy blood flow and circulation, and keep inflammation down."
Here are five simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and improve your overall health.
1. Take control of cholesterol with oat fiber: Numerous studies spanning a decade or more of research support the claim that dietary fiber from whole grains, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower the risk of heart disease. The fiber in oats is a soluble fiber called beta glucan. This fiber works by flushing cholesterol out of the system. Additionally, fiber-rich foods such as whole grains help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories and so may help with weight management.
2. Better your blood pressure: Nearly one-third of all American adults have high blood pressure and more than half of them don't have it under control, according to the CDC. The risks that accompany uncontrolled high blood pressure are serious. However, taking easy steps will lower that risk. Exercising and maintaining a healthy body weight, in addition to eating a low-sodium diet, can all contribute to a healthier blood pressure. Also, if you smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, you have more than twice the risk of a heart attack than people who've never smoked.
3. Decrease inflammation: Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA and EPA may help reduce inflammation and may also help lower risks of chronic diseases such as heart disease. Load up on heart-healthy foods like colorful fruits and vegetables, salmon, mackerel, nuts and foods fortified with EPA/DHA Omega-3 fatty acids such as certain milks, snacks and even cooking oils.
4. Shed the layers: It's nothing new. We know that being overweight puts us at risk for numerous health problems, including an increased risk of both heart disease and stroke. The change in seasons can serve as the perfect springboard into a new exercise routine. Take advantage of extended daylight hours by sneaking a sweat session into your evening routine and take control of your diet, making sure to cut back on foods with saturated and trans fats.
May 2, 2013 4:52 pm
All parents want the best for their kids – and that includes an intellect that soaks up knowledge they can use all their lives. While many factors come into play in terms of how children learn, education experts interviewed by Woman’s Day magazine suggest eight things parents can do to help boost their child’s openness to information:
Breastfeeding – A McGill University study of 14,000 children showed that those who had been breastfed for at least the first six months of life scored as much as 7.5 points higher on verbal IQ tests at age six.
Healthy diets – Researchers tracking 4,000 children from age three to age eight determined that kids who ate the most processed foods and convenience foods high in fat and sugar, had IQ scores 1.67 points lower than those who ate more fruit, vegetables, protein and pasta.
Breakfast – A morning meal as simple as whole-grain cereal or toast and fruit juice can help a child to be more focused and ready to learn, say Harvard Medical School researchers.
DHA omega-3 fatty acids – Many studies have found that diets high in this nutrient, found in fish and other seafood, help raise people’s intelligence. Research suggests that when pregnant women and nursing mothers get over 1,000 mg of DH daily, infant IQ can swell by 3.5 points.
The preschool experience – an analysis of 16 recent studies found that preschool is beneficial for all children, and that sending a disadvantaged child to a preschool that focuses on language development can raise IQ by as much as seven points.
Music lessons – A University of Toronto study found that music lessons boost brain power in children six to 11 years of age.
Interactive reading – NYU researchers have found that when children under four are active participants in reading with their caregivers, their IQ can go up by more than six points. In other words, reading to your kids is not enough. Encourage them to ask questions and/or comment about what is happening in the story.
Sports and play breaks – Studies show children’s cognitive test scores and grades are higher when they have regular breaks to blow off steam via athletics or free play.
May 2, 2013 4:52 pm
Origination fee. A charge by the lender for granting and processing a new mortgage loan.
May 2, 2013 4:52 pm
A: There are many, including those surrounding zoning, permits, variances, and building codes. All of these regulations are the government’s way of controlling the physical development of land and public-safety standards for such things as building design, construction, alteration, repair or demolition. The regulations vary from one state, county, city, and town to the next and can result in fines or serious consequences. There are also often engineering approvals and requirements related to grading, site drainage, utility connections, wells and septics, and sometimes fire regulations. Another area of legal considerations involves contractual issues tied to responsibilities for permits and approvals, code and regulations compliance, insurance, financing, and warranties. If construction financing is to be provided by a lender, there will often be requirements relative to progress inspections, construction draws, lien waivers, title insurance, holdbacks, etc. It may be worthwhile to hire an attorney to provide guidance on these issues and to assure the completeness and fairness of the remodeling contract.