Friday, March 20, 2015

Keeping Cool: Best Hacks for Beating the Summer Heat

The summer months can be quite hot and humid. Even in the most northern parts of America, summer can be too hot to handle.Luckily all it takes to stay cool and breezy is a few hacks. This summer you can save money, be prepared and stay cool when you know how to hack yourself out of a heat stroke. Below are some of the best life hacks for keeping yourself cool during the summer.

Use A Ceiling Fan

If you have a ceiling fan, then you will be able to set your thermostat to a higher temperature and still be comfortable. A ceiling fan doesn’t reduce the temperature in the room, but the gentle breeze makes it more comfortable. Make sure the blades turn counter clockwise. Before getting into summer, make sure you wipe down blades for dust and change their direction. On extra hot days make sure your house is closed off and only circulating cold air.

Get Rid of Incandescent Light Bulbs

Incandescent light bulbs are becoming a thing of the past, as more and more people are opting to switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs. Not only they use less energy than incandescent bulbs, but they also give off less heat. Therefore, you will have an easier time keeping your home if you make the switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs. When summer rolls around you’ll have a lot more daylight time as well. Turn off any lights your not using and open the blinds during the day. You can save a lot on electricity and keep you whole house a little cooler.

Use An Outdoor Grill
If you cook frequently with a stove or an oven, this will make your home a lot hotter. This why you should consider cooking with an outdoor grill. You can also use a toaster oven instead of stove or regular oven. A toaster oven will give off less heat, and still gives you a hot meal. Consider making cold meals that can store a long time as well. Bowls of pasta salad or even leafy salads will keep for most of the week and you only have to use the stove once.

Use Shades And Curtains
Shades and curtains can prevent unwanted heat from entering your home. It is estimated that you can reduce the temperature in your home by 20 degrees if you use curtains and shades. You can also lower your electric bill by up to seven percent. Install an awning over decks and patios and shade the hottest parts of the house with trees and shrubs. Cover the curtains in rooms you don’t use, and get a custom air conditioner cover to keep your appliances and house cooler.

Closed Unused Rooms
If you have rooms in your home you are not using, then you should definitely consider closing them off. Closing the doors helps prevent cool air from escaping your home. However, you may want to consider cracking opening a window at night since the temperature has a tendency to decrease at night during the summer months. This way you’ll be able to not run the AC as much.

The summer months are brutally hot in many places, but you can still keep yourself from cooking. Closing unused rooms, using shades and curtains, and using an outdoor grill will help keep your home cool. You can also use a fan to keep your home cool. Stay smart and stay safe. When you have a plan and know the hacks you can save a bundle on air conditioning and beat the heat this summer.

Image courtesy of foto76 at

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Former Glory - Refreshing Your Garden

During the winter months we often have a habit of allowing our garden to become slightly neglected, but there’s definitely no excuse to avoid spring cleaning once the warmer weather returns. It won’t take too long to spruce up those outdoor areas and although a little effort will be required it should only take a few evenings or weekends to get your garden into shape.

A little hedge and lawn trimming, a clean sweep and some washing down can easily return your garden to its former glory.

Large areas first

Mowing the lawn and sweeping away any dead leaves should be first on your list before you take a broom to garden paths. If you do these tasks in reverse then you’ll simply have more to clean up in the long-run. Make sure your lawn is weed-free and some additional watering may be required if the ground is particularly dry. Mixing some slow-release fertilizer into your lawn is a good option to provide much needed nutrients after a long hard winter.


Trimming and pruning

Next up comes cutting back any overhanging tree branches, trimming those hedges and pruning fruit trees and shrubs. Remove any faded or dead flowers from plants, known as ‘deadheading’. Don’t be shy when undertaking any of these tasks as this is one of the best ways possible to bring your garden back to life. Remember to apply this to window displays and planters, and take a look at any bare patches with the intention of planting some new suitable flowers.

The final sweep

Sweeping up and washing down may seem tedious, but it’s an important step towards rejuvenating your outdoor area. Brush down and wash pathways, give greenhouse windows a spray with a hose and don’t forget the garden shed windows. Repair damaged fences and rake over gravel, and if you have a patio area sweep and wash it down at least once a month. If this is a spring clean after the winter season then a little more effort may be required depending on the condition and size of your garden.

New furniture

If the garden is looking bare or just needs an update, why not invest in some new furniture? Items such as table sets, some lighting, a few statues and even an ornamental pond can soon give your space a new lease of life. Most of these items are relatively inexpensive to purchase and good quality products can last for years with very little maintenance. You can decide which products would suit you best with a quick scan through some gardening guides.

A beautifully kept garden will provide a more welcoming atmosphere and will be some place you’ll look forward to spending a lot of time in. A little judicious effort now will provide you with a long-term reward throughout the year.

Image credits: Kristina Zuidema -

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

5 Steps to Assessing Your Neighborhood’s Safety

When it pertains to the well-being of your family and personal property, you can never be too safe. However, safety does not end with ensuring that you have the proper equipment and alarm system set in place for your home. While securing your property is essential, your neighborhood should be just as secure. Keeping burglars out of your home could potentially be done if you and your neighbors have a system in place that keeps them out of your neighborhood.

image courtesy of Stuart Miles -

Neighborhood Watch Program

Does the neighborhood you currently live in, or are moving into, have a neighborhood watch program? If not, you should suggest that this program be implemented. The purpose of this program is to reduce the crime that takes place in your neighborhood by working with the local law enforcement agency. Sometimes you will need to take surveys pertaining to the safety needs of the neighborhood. You and neighbors that have volunteered to help with the program will need to patrol the neighborhood at different times, reporting any suspicious activity that you see. The members of the neighborhood watch program will also come together to implement security precautions that the community should take.

Vacant Homes

Vacant homes in your neighborhood may not be something you can control, but you and your neighbors can take the vacant homes under your wings. A vacant home is very enticing to burglars and thieves; they look at the property as a place to hide out in, or somewhere that they can store stolen property. You should take it open yourself to keep an eye out on the vacant property, and report any type of suspicious behavior and activity to the local authorities, as well as the bank or real estate company that currently owns the vacant home. Remove any trash or items that have been in the home, and volunteer to keep the lawn manicured as well. You do not want to attract criminals to the home, or your neighborhood.

Home Security Systems

It is a fact that burglars are less likely to target a home that is secured with a home security system; therefore, if the homes throughout your neighborhood have home security systems installed, thieves are more likely to skip your community during their next attempted burglary. In addition to an alarm system, you should consider having your home monitored throughout the day. Burglars often target homes during the day while they believe the homeowners are away at work, and the children are at school. Take the time to research home security system providers in order to ensure you receive the best service, and a company that uses state-of-the-art equipment. When you choose a service provider, such as NorthStar alarm company, be sure to ask a representative what the best home security services for your neighborhood are.

Lighting Throughout the Neighborhood

It is important that there is enough lighting within a neighborhood; this has an impact on the crime that could take place. Neighborhoods that have a significant amount of lighting are least likely to be targeted by burglars. A study was done that stated crime decreased by 21 percent in neighborhoods where there was an adequate amount of lighting. Improve the lighting in your neighborhood to increase the surveillance capability, and to deter criminals from targeting your community.

Eliminate Hiding Spaces

Burglars seek out areas to hide in before they invade a home. These hiding spaces include shrubbery, yard furniture, and random spaces around the home. These spaces, along with random items around the home, are often used by burglars to shield themselves from illegally activity. Speak with your neighbors about keeping the shrubs in their yard low and properly maintained. Always encourage neighbors to keep the gates to their yards locked, and their windows or doors closed and locked as well.

Do you have a safety checklist in place to keep your neighborhood secure? How often do you meet with your neighbors and discuss community safety? Are your safety guides and practices up-to-date? Assessing your neighborhood’s safety should be just as important as assessing the safety of your own personal property. Use the assessments above to determine if the security systems, procedures, and policies that your neighborhood has in place are effective. Safeguarding your neighborhood should be a priority! 

Four advantages of applying a wall decal

From the decorating market, we know that many people are using a newly wall decoration --- wall decal. Why is it so popular? After the investigation, we found out that wall decals are low-costing, decorating excellently and effectively which is great for heat insulation too. These four merits make more people use wall stickers to decorate their space.

First of all, low-costing is one of the key element in interior decoration. A regular wall sticker is only several dollars per square meter. While a more better quality one is just 10 dollars more or less. Therefore, it will cost less, aside that is colorful and beautifully designed plus there is a large variety of designs to choose from. The primary reason why the wall decal is so popular lately in the field of decoration.

Second,it is indeed decorating excellently. The wall decal can make your room into a different look. Simple pure color can turn your room into a fresh sense and natural atmosphere. The wall decal with printing floral pattern can change the room atmosphere, just like you live in a third dimension space. All in all, wall sticker is just a helper for the shortcomings in interior decoration.

Thirdly, wall decal is effectively decorating. It is different with the normal wall painting which needs more time to paint. Wall decal is environmental and effectively decorating as you just only need to peel and stick, then voila! your wall is decorated with a great work. However, when working with wall stickers you need to be careful when sticking it to the wall, you need to pay more attention to the air bubble so it will perfectly hold to the wall.

Fourth, it is a great heat insulator. Although wall decal is a piece of wall paper, its film is effective in insulating heat and can help in sound proofing too .

What matters most is that the materials used in the wall decal is non-pollutant and non-toxic. So, if you are planning to do some home improvement like wall painting this summer,why not try to use wall decals for a change, not only that it will be easier to install and apply but you can choose several beautifully decorated decals which will match the walls of your home interior. 

Monday, March 09, 2015

4 Hacks for a Painless Family Move

moving into a new home

Moving into a new home is often one of the most stressful events that a family can go through. With so much to keep track of and expenses that continue to add up, some may even feel hopeless about getting through a move with their sanity intact. For those who are preparing for one of these major life events, here are four hacks that help you steer clear of overwhelming stress.

The Three Pile Method

In the earliest stages of moving, one of the easiest ways to start off on the right foot is to use the three pile method. This is a method in which everything that is pulled out of messy garages, cabinets, closets, or rooms is placed into one of three piles for easy separation. One of these piles contains trash such as broken kitchenware or toys that no family member will need. The second pile contains anything that the family does not need but that can be sold or given away such as old electronics. The final pile is absolute necessities that will need to be packed as they are found.

Print Out Your New Floor Plan

Another hack that many realtors suggest is making a few copies of the new home’s floorplan and handing them out to family members. These copies will serve a few purposes,like helping each family member plan out their bedroom and limiting the amount of times that heavy furniture must be moved. There should also be a master copy that lists off where boxes should be placed so that no one is scrambling around looking for their belongings or something they need urgently.

Skip the Moving Truck Rental

For many families, one of the biggest and most stressful components of moving is renting and driving a moving truck. These trucks can be difficult to operate, will cost an incredible amount in fuel, and are notoriously difficult to load and unload. As an alternative, moving pods can be used to streamline moving all of one’s possessions. Pods from places like Yellowhead Self Storage are dropped off at the old home, filled by the family, and then driven to the new home by a professional.

The Moving Day Survival Kit

Creating a survival kit for the actual day of moving is an absolute necessity for any family. These survival kits should contain all of the day-to-day necessities that a family will need when most of their belongings are packed up. At minimum, these kits should include important paperwork, toiletries, phone chargers, water, and snacks. It is also a good idea to throw in any receipts, some spending money, and a small first aid kit.

Moving to a new home should be an exciting time for a family, and these few hacks can help you pull off your next move without the unbearable stress and anxiety.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

4 Simple Ways to Add a Touch of "Green" to your Home

In the past, an average home was surrounded by nature. However, the world has undergone major change, and tens of millions of trees have been cut down.

Modern homes don’t come with enough green in them, which is why many people wish to change them. In today’s environment, most people find that their home is boxed in by large, rigid structures, which are completely artificial.

image courtesy of Stuart Miles -

While there are many exceptions, it’s very difficult for most people to remember what it was like to live alongside nature. If you’re wondering
how to make your home more green, you’ll be happy to learn that there are four simple ways to add a touch of green to your home.

Add a Wreath

When looking for ways to add a touch of green, most people would never think to add a wreath. However, adding a succulent wreath to a home serves as an excellent touch of green.

The best part is that it doesn’t require significant investments in time and effort. Most people choose to make their own wreath because they have the power to customize it and make it suitable for their existing d├ęcor. A typical wreath can be made from virtually any materials, and it can be hung virtually anywhere in a home.

Most people choose to make a wreath out of succulents, but any materials can be used for the project. A wreath is a simple project, and it can be made to be filled with beautiful textures and colors. The kitchen is one of the best places to hang a wreath.

Add a Terrarium

When looking for a way to add a touch of green, most people wouldn’t think of a terrarium. However, it’s a simple project, and it can give a home a greener feel. A lot of people make a terrarium for their plants. Before starting the project, you will need some supplies.

Most people like to make terrariums out of rocks, plants, cactus soil, horticultural charcoal and a container. It’s very important that a glass container is used because it provides the transparency needed to achieve the green effect.

Small Tin Garden

A miniature tin garden can be a great way to give your home a greener feel. It lets you bring a bit of nature into your home.

You need pliers, faux wood contact paper, rocks, dried flowers, sand and a glue gun. You might also want to have some dried moss and scissors. You can use a planter box and fill it with the rocks and sand. When making a miniature tin box, you can get as creative as you want.

Hanging Terrariums

For this simple project, all you need to do is make some terrariums and hang them. To make some simple terrariums, you can use glass bulbs and small rocks.

The glass containers should have an opening on one side. Some people like to fill the bottom of the containers with pebbles while others prefer to use potting soil. Like regular terrariums, hanging terrariums can give your home a powerful touch of green.

These are four simple ways to make any home feel greener. The rapid loss of trees and other aspects of nature are causing homeowners to seek out their own sources of indoor nature. These projects require minimal time, effort and money.

Monday, March 02, 2015

4 Secrets to Unclogging Any Clogged Drain

A drain clog is perhaps one of the most common plumbing issues. There is no sure-fire thing you can do to prevent your drains from getting clogged. However, you may be able to unclog your drains yourself. Below is a list of things, courtesy of Amyotte's Plumbing & Heating Ltd., you can use to unclog your drain:

Baking Soda And Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar are two natural remedies you can use to unclog the drain. The first thing you will need to do is boil some hot water and then pour it down the drain. After that, you will need to pour 1/3 cup of baking soda down the drain. Allow it to sit for five minutes. After that, add vinegar to the drain and let it sit for 20 minutes. Pour some boiling water down the drain to remove the vinegar and baking soda.

Salt And Baking Soda

You will need a 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 table salt. Pour it down the drain and allow it sit for 10 to 20 minutes. Pour the boiling water after 20 minutes. The chemical reaction formed by the baking soda, salt and hot water will help clear the drain.

Bent Wire Hanger

You can use a bent wire hanger to unclog your drains. You will need to unwind the hanger and straighten it as much as you can. Place the hanger inside of the drain. Use the hanger to pull as much out of the drain as you can. You can use boiling water to clear the drain. The bent wire hanger is best for removing minor clogs.

Drain Snake

A drain snake is effective for removing very stubborn clogs. This equipment is relatively easy to use, and it can work wonders. A drain snake is often used by professional plumbers to remove clogs.

A drain clog is a plumbing issue that most people are bound to have at some point. The good news is that clogs are fairly easy to remove in most cases. You can use a bent wire hanger, baking soda and salt and baking soda and vinegar to remove clogs. You can also use a drain snake to remove clogs that are very stubborn. However, you should always call a plumber if you are unable to remove the clog.

Image credits: zirconicusso –