Gunning Daily News

Cleaning the Right Way to Remove Allergens

April 19, 2013 2:38 pm

(BPT) - When you're done with spring cleaning, you may assume you've eliminated any allergy triggers that were lurking in your home. But the truth is, if you don't clean the right way, you might be making the problem worse.

More than 40 million Americans suffer from allergy problems, and 25 million have asthma. If your cleaning routine doesn't specifically focus on allergen control and removal, you may be only moving dust around, sending allergens and irritating cleaning chemicals into the air which can affect allergy and asthma symptoms. To maximize your cleaning efforts and reduce allergens, consider these simple tips from the asthma and allergy friendly Certification Program, the healthy home initiative of the nonprofit Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA):

  • Use a certified vacuum that has a high efficiency filter with tight seams and seals to prevent particles from leaking out while you vacuum. Also, choose a style that requires minimal exposure during canister emptying or bag changes.

  • Dusting improperly can actually increase airborne dust particles in your home. Use moist cloths or special dry dusters designed to trap and lock dust from hard surfaces. Use vacuum attachments to remove dust from soft and upholstered surfaces.

  • Certain cleaning products can also contribute to airborne irritants, especially if they contain harsh chemicals, strong odors or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Choose products that contain none of these irritants, but also beware of "green" labels, as some of these solutions may be made with natural allergenic ingredients, such as lemon, coconut or tea-tree oils.

  • Rodent dander and cockroach particles are common household asthma triggers. However, some pesticides may do more harm than good for people with asthma and allergies. If you have a pest problem, look for an exterminator with expertise in integrated pest management and experience treating homes of people with asthma.

  • Whether you have a cat or dog, pet dander is present in most U.S. homes. If it is possible, keep pets out of the bedroom. Your cleaning routine should include frequently washing linens in your bedroom, where cat or dog dander can settle.

  • Place certified allergen barrier covers on your mattresses and pillows. Wash your bedding at least once a week in 130 degree or higher hot water to kill dust mites and their eggs.

  • Mold, a common allergy trigger, can grow anywhere in your home where moisture is present. Look for cleaning products that help kill and prevent mold from returning. Also, keep household humidity below 50 percent and fix leaky pipes and cracks to reduce standing puddles of moisture where mold can prosper.

  • If children live in your home, look for certified plush toys. Dust mites, mold and pet dander can accumulate on plush toys over time. Certified toys can be placed in the freezer for 24 hours, then rinsed in cold water to remove dead mites. Dry completely. Do this monthly.-

  • Lots of air passes through window areas, and airborne dust and allergens accumulate on all types of window treatments - which are rarely cleaned. In the family room and throughout the home, replace big, heavy linen drapes with more sensible window treatments such as wood blinds or flat screens that are easy to wipe and keep clean.

  • If your home uses central air conditioning or heat, replace the filter in the machine regularly, typically every 30 to 90 days. Choose an HVAC filter that has been certified to effectively capture fine airborne particles like pollen, dust and dander.

Keep in mind that while consumers spend nearly $18 billion annually on asthma and allergy medications, they also spend more than $20 billion on nonmedical consumer products marketed for people with asthma and allergies such as room air cleaners, bedding, vacuums and more, according to AAFA. While demand for such products continues to grow, there is little regulation governing product claims, the Foundation notes. AAFA's asthma and allergy friendly Certification Program helps consumers evaluate and verify the allergen-reducing effectiveness of a variety of products, from cleaning supplies, air cleaning devices and vacuums to toys, bedding, home improvement products, paints, clothes washers and more. You can learn more at www.AAFA.org/certified.

Tips on Flooded Basements

April 19, 2013 2:38 pm

 

Storms bring a risk of basement flooding.  Because so many people have critical systems and other electronic devices in their basements, there is a higher risk of electrocution when entering a flooded basement to assess damage. The following safety tips are for consumers with flooded basements.

 

  • Never wade into a flooded basement unless all electricity has been disconnected (such as power that supplies sump pumps, freezers, etc.). Water may be in contact with electrical outlets, appliances or cords.

  • If you are experiencing a power outage, do not wade into a flooded basement. Power may be restored while you are in the flooded basement and the motors on appliances may be submerged.

  • Never attempt to turn off power at the breaker box if you must stand in water to do so.

  • Never operate electrical appliances or devices or touch electrical switches, outlets or cords if you are standing in water or are on a wet surface, of if you are wet.  

  • Be aware of any electrical equipment that could be energized and in contact with water.

Public safety is paramount during storms and it’s important to remember to take the following precautions:

  • Never approach a downed power line.

  • Check on elderly and other sensitive family members and neighbors to ensure their safety, and in the event of an extended outage, assist them in reaching an alternate location.

Source: https://www.comed.com

 

Word of the Day

April 19, 2013 2:38 pm

 Market value.  Generally accepted as the highest price that a ready, willing, and able buyer will pay and the lowest price a ready, willing, and able seller will accept for a property.

Q: How Do I Find Government-Repossessed Properties?

April 19, 2013 2:38 pm

A: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) acquires properties from lenders who foreclose on mortgages that it insures. These properties are then available for sale to potential homeowner-occupants and investors only through a licensed real estate broker. HUD will pay the broker's commission up to 6 percent of the sales price.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) also acquires properties as a result of foreclosures on VA guaranteed loans. These acquired properties are marketed through a property management services contract with a federal bank that then lists them for sale with local real estate agents.



A Season-to-Season Look at Your Roof

April 18, 2013 5:24 pm

(BPT) - From intense heat to extreme snow, your roof protects your house from the elements all year long. When is the last time you checked to make sure your roof was in good shape? No matter what the seasons are like in your area, now is the time to begin preparation for extreme weather by giving your roof a second look.-

"Regardless of your area's climate, it is imperative that your roof stays up-to-date so that it can protect your home efficiently," says Aaron Phillips, corporate director of technical systems for TAMKO Building Products, Inc.

Time-consuming roof projects can be a nuisance and a stress to homeowners. But, by staying on top of repairs, a roof will stay well maintained.

Spring

Spring brings warmer temperatures, green grass and flowers, but it also brings spring rain. While spring rain may be great for your garden, it can severely damage your home if your roof is out of shape.

Have your roof professionally inspected for any problems winter storms may have caused. Finding and fixing leaks is important so that the rainwater does not drip into your attic. Fixing leaks early will help you avoid problems later.-

Water from spring rain needs to have access to easy drainage so it does not saturate your roof. Check your gutters for leaks and clean out leaves and debris that winter has left behind.

Summer

When the temperatures start to rise, it is important to assure that your roof can breathe. The area underneath your roof needs access to cooler air so that the warm, expanding air can escape. Allowing the warm air to escape can help the home maintain a comfortable temperature without overworking your air conditioning unit. When you consider how hot the temperature can get inside your attic, it is easy to see why proper ventilation is so important.

It is important to inspect your ventilation system, both inside and out. Ensure that nothing could block the escape of air, such as insulation or debris, and look for signs of wear that indicate you need to update your ventilation system. Under-ventilated attic space can lead to higher cooling costs and accelerate the aging of shingles.

Fall

As the summer heat starts to break and the kids go back to school, fall provides the perfect time to ensure that your home is protected for winter. If your roofing system is not up to standard, it may be time for new shingles. Shingles provide great protection for your home, but like everything else, reinforcing them with back-up makes them stronger.-

Before having your new shingles installed, consider reinforcing your roof with an extra layer of protection. TAMKO carries a line of underlayments that help give your roof an extra layer of protection against rain and snow.

Your roof makes up around 50 percent of your home's exterior. Something that is such a large part of your home and provides protection to your family and your belongings should be well maintained. By spreading your roof checkups throughout the seasons, you can ensure that your roof is always in the best shape possible. A well-kept roof means a happy house.

Q: What Causes a Foreclosure?

April 18, 2013 5:24 pm

Q: What Causes a Foreclosure?

A: A lender decides to foreclosure, or repossess, a property when the owner fails to pay the mortgage. Unfortunately, thousands of homes end up in foreclosure every year.

Many people lose their homes due to job loss, credit problems, divorce, unexpected expenses, and during periods of economic instability.

Failure to pay property taxes may also cause a homeowner to lose his home. Trouble can also arise when owners neglect to pay local water bills and home insurance premiums.

Word of the Day

April 18, 2013 5:24 pm

Undivided interest. Ownership by two or more persons that gives each the right to use the entire property.

New Book Helps First-Time Buyers Find Their ‘Just Right Home

April 18, 2013 4:22 pm

I recently made the acquaintance of Marianne Cusato (mariannecusato.com) after she was named one of the most influential people in the home-building industry by Builder magazine.

Cusato first came to fame for her work on Katrina Cottages, the 308-square-foot kit homes that provided shelter to flood victims in the Gulf. In 2012, Cusato was voted one of the 30 Most Influential Women in the Housing Economy by HousingWire Magazine.

In her new book, “The Just Right Home,” Cusato is not only reaching out to buyers and renters - she wants to help housing experts rethink the way they design, build, sell, and resell real estate, as well as gain an edge on their competition.

Cusato's book leads you through every step of choosing a home - from the broad strokes, such as city vs. suburb and buy vs. rent, to specific details of energy use and building materials.

“The Just Right Home” helps readers understand what they want in a home and what they need by showing:

  • Why proximity - to work, to stores, to schools - trumps location, and what the difference means
  • Why a property’s live-in value is greater than its resale value
  • How to identify and assess the big three variables: function, cost, delight
  • How to get a realistic grip on budget, including factoring in maintenance costs
  • How to plan for future needs - children moving out, a parent moving in, or just growing old in a home
  • Why all square feet are not created equal
  • The ins and outs of zoning, covenants, homeowners associations
  • The five elements to look for when walking through a property

Moving today means more than changing addresses; it is an opportunity to assess how one really wants to live and to truly understand how a home is tied to a job, family, health, and personal finances.

While there is no one handbook for those going through a move, relocation or new home experience for the first time, Cusato's latest book appears to be packed with advice - maybe give it a read.

Figuring out Finances after Divorce

April 18, 2013 4:22 pm

Divorces can be messy. Emotionally, spiritually and financially. If your partner handled the finances, then you can be left clueless. Budgets and bills can be overwhelming if you’ve never had to take them on before. Or, maybe it’s not the new responsibilities, but the divorce itself is cleaning out your savings. Alicia Klat a contributor to SupportInASplit.com offers four ways to help yourself, or a friend in need, find financial empowerment and the happiness that comes with it.

Break it up. Approach one element of finances at a time or set a time limit and work in 10-minute chunks. Removing the pressure to “do it all” in one sitting will help ease anxiety.

Remain positive. Focus on the fact that you are taking action. Positive association around money objectives will reinforce a good energy.

Team up. You can’t do it all. If you’re feeling fluster, then ask for help. Know a financially literate friend? Make a date to review paperwork together.

Source: Supportinasplit.com.

Nutrition Tips for Busy Lifestyles

April 17, 2013 7:08 pm

(Family Features)—While it’s important to maintain a regular health and wellness regimen, busy schedules and last minute commitments can sometimes send us off track. Many Americans may try to maintain a balanced diet but continue to fall short on valuable key nutrients necessary for a healthy body.  


In fact, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, the overall quality of the American diet gets a failing grade. According to the Healthy Eating Index, adults (19+ years) score just 50 out of 100 on the quality of their diets.


While hectic lifestyles may play a role in this failing grade, registered dietitian and best-selling author, Dave Grotto has a few simple and effective tips to maintain proper nutrition even when time is tight.


Eat nutrient-filled meals. Set aside five minutes to pack a healthy lunch before you head to work each day. Prepare meals such as a salad with grilled chicken or a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread – healthy options that provide a combination of protein and fiber to give you sustained energy throughout the day. “It’s vital that we find ways to get the nutrients our bodies need and eating well-balanced meals can do just that,” says Grotto.


Take your vitamins. In addition to proper food choices, quality dietary supplements can be helpful to fill nutrient gaps.


Stay active and enjoy the sunshine. Even if it is minimal, find time to move each day while you’re at work; take the stairs instead of the elevator or go for a ten minute walk around the block. An added benefit of being outdoors, even for a short amount of time, is the exposure to sunlight, which helps skin produce vitamin D3. Unfortunately, many food sources do not provide nearly enough vitamin D to meet dietary recommendations. Grotto recommends a vitamin supplement.


Don’t forget to take time for yourself. Rest and relaxation can help to rejuvenate your mind, and is an important part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Not only does Grotto recommend getting six to eight hours of sleep a night, he also suggests keeping to the same bedtime each night. Maintaining such a simple routine can really do the body good.


Source: www.naturemade.com and www.davegrotto.com.