What Are The Benefits of Tile And Grout Cleaning Services?

Beautiful floor and walls attract everyone whether at home or at offices. At homes, it gives a healthy environment where you feel refresh all the time. On the other side, in offices, it acts as a motivator for your employees and helps in building new clients relationship. However, one of the biggest challenges with grout is keeping it clean, like, really clean. Because every day we found, dirt and grime can smudge the surface and settle into the grout lines. So, I suppose there is no better way than cleaning from the professional cleaning service provider.

Here, we have some of the other benefits associated with grout and cleaning service by professionals:

  1. Gives You A Fresh Out of The Box New Floor

Professional cleaning of tiles and grout makes use of unique cleaners and steam levels in order to remove the dirt and grime that can sum up after some time. It reveals the true superiority of tiles that lies beneath it. It is possible to rejuvenate almost any more old tile with exhaustive cleaning.

  1. Enhances The Look of Your Home 

Having an expert clear all the tiles in your home and will give it a new look. That will do whatever remains of your home resemble the sparkling exhibit you presented.

  1. Does Not Harm Tile or Grout

In case you try to clean the tiles in your home on your own, you will need to put resources into various cleaners. Stone requires an unexpected cleaner compared to clay tiles. Characteristic stone of the earth’s surface needs emergency treatment in comparison with dividers porcelain tiles. Tiles with surface need exceptional consideration while handmade tile needs an uncommon touch.

Experienced cleaners go to your home with each of the cleaners important for the job exquisite. They recognize that cleaners work better on what sorts of tiles. The last outcome is a deep cleaning that does not harm the tile.

  1. Distributes With Form And Microbes

Expert cleaning can dispense with the development of form and microbes in tile and grout. The cleaning expert kills the smallest life forms and washes them away. It leaves a clean, relatively clean surface.

  1. Extends The Life of Tiles And Grout

Having expert cleaning done every year or two will expel Earth and dirt that can damage the tile and grout. It can provide and extend their lives.

  1. Gives Further Clean Than Family Cleaners 

Regardless of whether you invest resources in the right cleaners, you even now will not get a deep clean that you can get the expert. Experts use a mix of uncommon cleaners and scrape to get a deep clean that homework just can’t copy. This deep cleaning brings the soil into the deepest pit.

  1. Keeps An Estimate of Your Home’s Completions 

Planned expert cleaning will help protect the tile and grout. It keeps the surface perfect as the day it was introduced, which helps protect its respect.

  1. Quickly Takes Care of Business

The expert can come and do the work in a short time. You can deal with something unique or play with children until the action is over. It is a time of productivity taking care of business.

  1. Takes Care Of Business Without Any Effort on Your Part

The simple idea of cleaning the tile affects you to flinch? Cleaning tiles are probably one of the cleaning activities that the vast majority of people are afraid of. They’re putting it off to the point where it’s possible. At this point, they perform the activity as fast as they want to avoid with it, often making just an apathetic display in relation.

Contracting expert takes care of business without you lifting a finger. This is ideal for any individual who fears cleaning tile and grout.

  1. Time And Financial Savvy

The food forgets to take in the idea that the expense of cleaners and gear includes a quick. In addition, there is the expense of time that you need to invest in the very clean. Paying an expert, make it a pretty crafty enterprise in both cash and time.

Final Words

Nasty tiles and lose grouts always put a negative impact on your office as well as home appearance. So always prefer tile and grout cleaning services provider and keep your personal and professional place healthy. This also benefits you in maintaining long life of your floors and walls.

Author Bio

Denis Oleg is a professional blogger with 5 years of experience. He is associated with a Grout Brothers, is one of the top leading grout cleaning company in the USA. It specializes in tile and grout cleaning, restoration, sealing, color sealing & grout cleaning Sarasota, Fl. He is also an admirer of sharing his innovative ideas with others on the technology trends

Bed Bugs: How To Spot Them, How To Get Rid Of Them, And How To Keep Them At Bay

Bedbugs are nasty little creatures that nobody wants to have in their home, but everyone should know how to spot them, how to get rid of them, and how to keep them at bay because infestations are on the rise. According to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control, bedbugs are a public health threat and being informed is the best way to prevent them from taking over your home.

What Do Bedbugs Look Like?

Knowing what bedbugs look like and their basic characteristics is a good place to start. First of all, bedbugs are nocturnal, so you will only be able to spot them at night. Secondly, they are a bloodsucking parasite, kind of like a tick (but much smaller). An adult bedbug is only about the size of an apple seed. They don’t have wings, and they are flat and reddish brown in color. In nature, they feed on birds and mammals, but if they get into your home, they will feed on you. According to Gene Miller, owner of an exterminator company in New York City, “If you have blood, the bedbugs are interested in you.”

How Do You Prevent Bedbugs From Infesting Your Home?

Preventing bedbugs from entering your home in the first place is the best way to prevent an infestation. Once they’ve entered the home, they can be incredibly difficult to get rid of. If you spend a lot of time in hotels, or you live in an apartment building, you’ll want to be especially diligent about keeping them out of your home by performing these three steps regularly.

  1. When you are doing your regular cleaning, watch for signs of bedbugs. Usually, they are found in your bed, but the also like to hide in dark places and crevices. Inspect your baseboards and underneath of your furniture, as well as your mattress and box spring seams regularly.
  2. Purchase protective, bedbug proof covers for your mattress, box spring, and pillows. They will keep these nasty little critters from being able to hide out in your bed.
  3. It is very common for people to bring bedbugs home with them after a hotel stay. When you check into a hotel, put your luggage in the bathroom and inspect your room and the bedding carefully for signs of pests. Never store your luggage on the floor; always put it on a hard surface or up on a luggage rack. Decontaminate your luggage the second you get home. Extreme cold and heat kills bedbugs, so wash all your clothes and dry them in a hot dryer. Your luggage can be placed on top of the hot dryer, or even in a large freezer, to kill any hidden pests.

How Do You Know If Bedbugs Are In Your Home?

Unfortunately, bedbug bites will probably be your first clue that these little nasties have entered your home. You should have an idea of what a bedbug bite looks like so that you can take action right away if you suspect their presence. A bedbug bite will look like a raised, red welt and it will itch and burn. Occasionally, a rash will develop in the area. The bights will usually appear in straight lines running across the skin.

If you suspect bedbugs, start by carefully inspecting the seams of your mattress and box spring. You probably won’t be able to spot the bugs themselves, because they’re so tiny, but they will leave behind clues that will give their presence away. Look for fecal spots on your bedding and shedded exoskeletons in crevices. If they’ve been biting you, look for blood spots on your pajamas and sheets.

How Do You Get Rid Of Bedbugs In Your Home?

Bedbugs are extremely hard to kill. If you have a full-blown infestation, several treatments may be necessary to get rid of them completely. You can try to get rid of them on your own, but if that’s not successful, never hesitate to call in a professional. The longer the bugs are in your home, the harder they will be to get rid of.

Treating The Infestation On Your Own

If you decide to try to get rid of the bedbugs on your own, you’ll need to start by thoroughly vacuuming any areas where the pests could be hiding. Pay special attention to your mattress and box spring, but don’t overlook your carpeting and underneath all of your furniture. Next, get a handheld steamer and use it to blast the bedbugs with heat. Heat up all of your furniture, as well as any cracks or crevices they could be hiding in. Lastly, wash all bedding, clothing, and fabrics they could be hiding in. Leave it in the dryer on high heat for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Calling In A Professional Exterminator

If you want to improve your chances of getting rid of the bugs completely, hire a professional. Getting rid of bedbugs can be a very time-consuming task. A professional will know just where to look for the bugs and they’ll treat every nook and cranny of your home. Exterminators have access to equipment, products, and procedures that would be very difficult to duplicate on your own. They may also provide a guarantee, so they’ll come back and retreat your home for free if you have bedbug issues again within a certain time period.

  • They’ll apply chemical treatments to all the cracks and crevices of your house. You can even request plant-based pesticides if you’re concerned about using harmful chemicals in your home.
  • They’ll freeze the bugs with cryonite freezing treatments in more sensitive areas like your box springs and mattresses.
  • They may also use some form of heat control in conjunction with the other methods. High energy heaters are used to safely bring your entire home up to a temperature that will kill the bugs and keep it there for a long period of time. Most experts say that heat treatments are the most effective way to get rid of the bedbugs completely. This method will kill the bugs no matter where they try to hide.

Whether you decide to treat them yourself or bring in a pro, be sure to act fast! The longer you wait the harder bedbugs are to get rid of.

How to clean your hardwood floors effectively

Neat and clean hardwood floors make a room more attractive and comfortable. Hardwood floors make a beautiful touch about a room. Every owner wants that hardwood floors of his/her room must be neat and clean to make the room beautiful and attractive.

And hardwood floors also a great investment, so you must be careful about it. Most of the people think it is difficult to clean hardwood floors. As most of the hardwood floors are finished with polyurethane, it is easy to keep it clean. Here are some smart cleaning methods for you that will keep your hardwood floors neat and clean.

Maintenances/Prerequisites

You should protect your hardwood floors from dirt and dust. If you concern about the protection of your hardwood floors, that will reduce both your struggles and cost. You may follow some instructions or maintenances some rules for yours room. Such as:

  • Don’t allow shoes in the room. When you back to home from work, your shoes must get dirt. So you must avoid using shoes in the room.
  • Using floor protectors under furniture to prevent stains. It is a better way to avoid dark spots.
  • Maintain some regularity of cleaning/sweeping the floor.

Determining the kind of hardwood finish

 It is also a important task to determine hardwood finish. It is easy to spot in a prefinished hardwood floors. If you find finished floors, it is easy to clean. Because new floors has polyurethane based surface-seal and it easy to clean.

Since the prefinished surface-seal isn’t well surface-sealed, it is difficult to clean. Prefinished surface floors can be damaged easily with dirt and water. But, how do you find the finished floors?

There is a easy way to find it. You can place a few drops of water of the floors. If the water is soaked by the wood, your floors will be prefinished. 

Regular sweeping

Regular sweeping is the best way to prevent the hardwood floors from being stained and damage. You may use microfiber cleaning pad for regular sweeping. Microfiber cleaning pad is good enough to sweep the dirt and particles of your floor. Regular sweeping/dusting is the most important part that will prevent your hardwood floors from scratches and damages. Because regular sweeping removes all the dirt and particles that help to create stain.

Vacuuming

One of the most important parts that you must do is vacuuming. Vacuuming is essential to remove dirt from trouble areas like the joint area of two piece of hardwood and corners of the room. If you start to clean your hardwood floors without vacuuming, dirt will create scratches on the floors. Quoted by George Michael founder of www.vacuumist.com

You must be careful about your vacuum cleaner. A good vacuum cleaner is the prerequisite of perfect vacuuming. You may use canister vacuum cleaner. It is the best one with the attachment of long and oval floor brush. You must be careful about vacuuming, because it is dangerous to clean your hardwood floors before proper vacuuming.

Burnish/Polish

Burnishing your floor in every few months is a great habit of cleaning hardwood floors. It helps to renew the finish and protect the hardwood floors. It is also helpful to fill the scratches. Although polishing is a easy task, it has some prerequisites.

Before polishing you have to ensure that there is no dirt on the floor. So you have to vacuum your hardwood floors very well for removing all the dirt. Because you already know that polishing your floor with dirt will create scratches on your hardwood floors. Since hardwood floors don’t have any storage to reserve dirt like carpet, Burnishing is a easy task for it.

Cleaning process

You should know that hardwood floors are easy to clean. There is no way to trap dirt in hardwood floors like carpet. As you are sweeping and vacuuming your floors regularly, there is no need to clean it regularly. You should clean it when it really needs to clean. Because regular clean may harm your floors.

You know much water is very harmful for hardwood floors, so you must be careful about choosing hardwood floors cleaner. You should choose a pH neutral and water based floor cleaner. You may use Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner spray. First you spray with the cleaner and then mop your floor. For mopping you may use microfiber mop, as it is good enough to pick up the dirt. If you find a heavy stain, you may use baking soda to the stain to remove the spot.

Sometimes you may use other stain removal, when you find dark spots. You can use vinegar for the dark spots and odorless mineral spirits for white spots. For oil-base stains you should cover the area with soft cloth and dishwashing water.

After few minutes you should rinse it with clean water. If you notice that after all your efforts your hardwood floors remain word down, you should call a professional to refinish it.

Other considerations

You know that cleaning a hardwood floor easy a easy task. But you must be careful because careless cleaning can damage your floors. Here some extra tips for you and you must be considered on it. It can help you to be conscious when cleaning.  Here are some considerations for you:

  • Using proper tools: Using proper tools is essential for perfect cleaning. You should choose a proper hardwood floors cleaner. Bona Hard Wood Cleaner Spray can be useful. And you can use microfiber mop for dusting.
  • Avoiding things: It is better to avoid steam cleaning. You know that much water is harmful for your floors. If your floors are not well-finished, steam will be dangerous for the wood. And it may damage the floors. Vinegar and soap-based cleaners are also harmful. You must avoid using those.
  • Maintaining some rules: You may apply some rules and regulations that will help to keep the floors clean. You should make these rules on your own.
  • Area: Which area do you live is a important matter. If you live in a high traffic area, you need to sweep and mop your hardwood floors more often.

At the time of hardwood floors cleaning you must be careful about these considerations. That will help you to clean your hardwood floors effectively. If you notice that the situation is beyond your control, you must inform to a professional.

Why Should You Hire Domestic Cleaning Services for Your Home

Keeping a house neat and clean is one of the regular household chores of most homeowners. As we all know maintaining cleanliness and living in a clean atmosphere is essential to avoid health-related issues, still many people get less time to do these duties due to their hectic lifestyle or other reasons. In such a situation, hiring some professional domestic cleaning services can be a good idea to maintain cleanliness in your home.

 

 

Let us have a look, how hiring professional domestic cleaning services can prove beneficial to you:

Professionals are experts in their jobs

Although, cleaning is a simple task and can be done easily, yet it takes time and requires energy to get desired results. Professionals who have long years of experience in this field, know the appropriate ways of cleaning. It enables them to execute even the difficult tasks such as cleaning the ceiling fans, removing dust/hard stains from hidden areas, washing the floor etc. expertly and in a less time period.
Regular removal of dust

Besides floor, dust can accumulate on any of your household items. In some cities, especially in rural areas, dust accumulates in houses frequently and need to be cleaned twice or thrice a day. If you are living in such places, professional cleaners can prove really beneficial for you. They not only remove dust from your household objects and floor regularly but also mop the years old filth or stains from the hidden corners of your house.

Bathroom cleaning

A bathroom is a place where, in lack of regular cleaning, filth can accumulate in the form of fungus. The floor can also become slippery if soap water and oil are not removed from it properly. Professional cleaners wipe out sinks and faucets, scrub counters, clean mirrors, sweep/mop floor, empty the wastepaper basket etc. When the bathroom would clean in this way regularly, you can feel fresh and healthy every morning.

Cleaning the baseboards, knobs, handles, and switches

These are the places that you may clean occasionally. But, professional cleaners clean the baseboards with wet cloth and cleansers regularly. They also remove accumulated filth and stains from knobs, cabinet handles, and light switches of your house. Through their cleaning, you would feel the difference.

Cleaning the floor

The floor is the place of a home where you move frequently and soon it gets dirty or stained. The professional cleaners are able to clean any type of floors such as hardwood, tile, carpet or linoleum through their different cleaning processes like mopping, sweeping, vacuuming etc.

 

Protection of Infants, kids, and pets

Infants, kids, and pets are susceptible to different types of infections and need protection all the time. But, professional cleaners utilize harmless cleansers and different cleaning techniques to ensure hygienic level can be maintained in your home. In this way, your kids and pets can avoid any infection related diseases easily.

Health benefits

Good cleaning services help to make your home clean and germ-free. Through these services, you become able to breathe in a hygienic and healthy environment. They also prove advantageous for patients suffering from chronic dust allergies and such other diseases.

Your precious time is saved

Hiring professionals for cleaning your home would enable you to save your time and get some rest after work, so you can spend a quality time with your family and friends. They also help you reducing stress and put an overall positive effect on your health.

Most of the cleaners bring their own cleaning equipment

For perfect cleaning services, you may require several types of cleaning equipment such as mops, vacuum cleaners, microfiber cloths etc. They can be multiple in number from a toilet to kitchen and living room to garden. However, you need not to worry about taking time from your busy schedule to purchase them. Most professional cleaners bring their own cleaning equipment for cleaning purpose and include the cost of them in their services.

If you want to use your own cleaning material for cleaning your house in NYC, you can do so also. In such case, you would feel the need of some reputed cleaning equipment repair services in NYC. You might be thinking, “how I would find such cleaning equipment repair services near me”. Do not worry! There are many reputed cleaning equipment repair service providers in your city whom you can hire online easily. In fact, professional cleaners also fulfill their need of cleaning supplies and related services through them.

Conclusion

Maintaining cleanliness is essential and should not be avoided in any circumstances with the purpose of getting good health. Professional cleaners can truly support you in this direction. You just need to tell them your cleaning goal and they can do their best to help you achieve it.

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Ways to Stay Organized

Sometimes, keeping our homes clean and well organized seems like a dream that will never come true. There is simply too much to think about, the kids need to be driven to school, the floor needs vacuuming, the kitchen cabinets are all over the place, and the house is still dirty from the birthday party your little ones had over the weekend. The good news is that while you can’t do it all in one fell swoop, being organized can make a difference between a neat home and one that is riddled with confusion and malfunction. In this piece, we explore how you can stay organized so as to get things done around the home.

 

  1. Have a list

 

Organized homeowners keep a neat list of the things that need doing every day. Since you are always running up and down, you will find yourself forgetting rather too easy, and a list helps you keep engaged. Your written list should rank the most important chores at the very top so that you don’t waste time on something that can be done later. Check off the things you have done before moving on to the next task.

 

  1. Never allow for tasks to pile up

 

Procrastination is the bane of our existence. There is always a little voice telling you to shelf this or that. When you have too much to do, you will find yourself lacking in motivation to get started. Learn to clear each task as soon as it comes up. Seeing things getting done gives you the impetus to keep moving. It also creates a sense of neatness in your physical world as well as in your mind.

 

  1. Split big tasks into phases

 

One of the reasons we find it hard to do things around the home is that they are too intimidating to take on in the first place. Let’s say you had a birthday party over the weekend, and the place is so littered you don’t know where to start. Here, you can simply put in place a plan that targets the key areas first. Start by cleaning your utensils first, then move to the floors, cleaning them one by one. Finally, tackle the compound. This way, the task becomes less intimidating.

 

  1. Keep everything in its own place

 

Clutter is never good, and failing to keep items in their place gives you a disorganized look. Before you even get to cleaning, you need to have everything stay at its rightful place. If you have dishes in the bedroom and toys in the kitchen, that is going to make for a rough look. You can achieve organization by making sure that every piece of cutlery, every fabric and every appliance is at its right place at all times.

 

  1. Get rid of what you don’t need

 

A lot of times, what bogs you down is what you don’t need in the first place. There is too much stuff lining the halls and sitting in the closet or in the kitchen cabinets that you do not need, and it will prevent you from staying organized. Each month, plan for a day, probably in the weekend, when you turn the house upside down and get rid of what you don’t need. Throw away what cannot be reused and give away what can help someone in need.

 

  1. Do not become a weekend warrior

 

Weekend warriors are people who leave it too late. They basically get home one evening and decide to clear out the clutter that has been sitting in their house for a month. The thing is, you will never get things done that way. You will only end up being frustrated and even less motivated than you were when you started.

 

  1. Grab some home organization kits

 

Some of the items that clutter your home are the smallest in the house. They are also the ones we need the most. Find a way to group these items into clusters and store them separately. Get shoe organizers, dish racks and boxes where you keep the things you need most. You don’t need to spend money on organizers, you can repurpose old boxes or make your own.

 

  1. Never deviate from your schedule

 

If the first thing you do when you wake up is go on a 20-minute jog, stick to that. When you establish a pattern of doing things, your system becomes used to it, and once you get into the rhythm of things, you actually find yourself starting to enjoy the chores that once sounded too arduous.

 

  1. Buy only what you need in the short term

 

A lot of homes out there are cluttered with things the owners do not need, at least not in the short term. You will find stocked fridges, shopping wrappers, and clothes that have no business being at the home. Buy less and use what you buy. If it’s winter, stick to your winter clothes and only buy your summer things when the summer comes around.

 

  1. Learn to reward yourself

 

A lot of times, you are going to be consumed by the feeling that what you are doing is not nearly enough. While being honest with yourself is a good thing, self-flagellation is not really going to be the answer to your woes. From time to time, take a look at what you have achieved and gauge whether your efforts have been good enough. If they haven’t, take your lessons and move right along. If you feel that you have done a great job, reward yourself with a dinner, a new pair of shoes or that bottle of wine you have been pining for. This way, you get to stay motivated!

 

Keeping your life organized, whether it is at home, school or work comes with a whole lot of rewards. You get to live in a neat space, and that keeps you motivated to do better in every task you take on. A clean house is a great motivator, and so is a neat schedule. Sometimes, you won’t be able to pull it off alone, so always engage those around you and have them help out.

Feeling overwhelmed? You can always outsource your house cleaning needs to a service like SwiftClean.

8 Tips on How to Winterize Your Home

8 Tips on How to Winterize Your Home

With winter fast approaching and temperatures dipping to new lows, heating bills will inevitably rise—but they don’t have to skyrocket if you beat the weather and prepare ahead of time. When you winterize your home, you’re not only staying cozy during the cold months, but you’re saving energy and money. Here are eight tips on how to winterize your home.

 

 

  1. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans

 

Did you know your ceiling fan can spin both clockwise and counterclockwise? This isn’t just a bit of trivia, but a great way to save money on your heating bill when the cold front hits. While running your fan in a counterclockwise direction cools your home during the summer months, when you switch to clockwise, physics takes over. Because the blades of your fan are ever so slightly angled, when they spin clockwise, rather than creating a downdraft of cool air, they circulate air that’s pooled near the ceiling. Heat rises, which means the air up in your eaves is naturally warmer than the air down on the floor. Circulate that air downward, and you cut your heating costs by as much as 10%.

 

  1. Don’t Touch That Thermostat

 

It’s a joke among dads everywhere—don’t touch the thermostat unless you want to lose a hand—but there’s something to be said about minding the set temperature during the cold season. After all, most households spend approximately 70% of their entire energy budget on heating and cooling. That kind of usage adds up fast, especially if you consider that for every degree you lower your thermostat during cold weather, you save an average of 1 to 3% on your monthly heating bill.

 

So, how do you keep your heating bill in check this season? Remember to turn down the heat every time you leave the house, or consider investing in a programmable thermostat. Some of the fancy ones can cost a pretty penny, but, when you consider that it’ll save you approximately $180 a year, the investment certainly makes sense.

 

  1. Check for Drafty Windows

 

 

One sure way to save money on both heating and cooling is to install storm doors and windows. Doing so seals out drafts, reduces air flow, and increases your energy efficiency by up to 45%. If you’re considering purchasing storm doors and windows for the upcoming season, you may be eligible for a tax credit that’ll cover 10% of your cost, up to $200 for windows and $500 for doors.

 

If, however, storm doors and windows are beyond your budget, there are far more frugal ways to block out drafts. Pick up a window insulation kit for a few bucks to seal out cold air. Caulk around exterior perimeters of windows to create a wind-blocking seal between the window frame and house siding. Add weather-stripping to the inside of windows. There are a variety of types, most of which come with an easily installable adhesive backing. Or, you can a use a silicone adhesive. And make sure both of your window sashes on double-hung windows are meeting the rails snugly to prevent cold air from creeping into your home.

 

  1. Think About Insulation

 

Not all insulation is created equal. If you continuously find yourself grabbing for a sweater during the winter months, a lousy insulation job may be the reason. Often, there isn’t enough insulation between walls and around windows. Some of the major culprits of terrible insulation are the attic floor and basement ceiling—if these aren’t thoroughly insulated, cold air will find its way into your home and have you reaching for the thermostat.

 

If you decide to boost your insulation, you can get up to 10% of your cost reimbursed by the government, up to $500. If you’re a low-income household, you may be able to qualify for nearly $7,000 worth of weatherization improvements through state-run government programs.

 

  1. Get an Energy-Star-Certified Furnace

 

If you’re in the market for big improvements, one of the best things you can do for winter energy efficiency is purchasing a high-efficiency Energy-Star-certified furnace. A great furnace will save you money throughout the years and improve the overall value of your home.

 

Energy-Star-certified units will save you between 15 and 20% on your energy bill. And, yes, there are federal tax credits to be had. They typically cover $150 for the furnace itself and $50 for an air circulating fan.

 

  1. Get Personal

 

 

Still cold? Throw on a sweater, buy yourself a cozy pair of flannel pajamas, pull on some thick socks, and invest in an electric blanket. Small tweaks to your indoor wardrobe—like wearing slippers over your socks while inside—can make a big difference in how tempting it is to crank up that heater.

 

  1. Invest in Foam Outlet Protectors

 

Regular outlet plates are nothing but thin plastic. If you have spaces in your walls where cold air can lurk, that cold air will escape into your home through the holes that house your outlets. If, however, you purchase foam outlet protectors, you can effectively insulate the backside of plastic outlet covers to keep that air from escaping the interior walls. Foam outlet protectors are affordable, can be purchased either online or at any home improvement store, and can be installed by the most inexperienced DIYer.

 

  1. Don’t Forget to Bring the Outdoors In

 

Often, we’re so focused on the inside of the home; we fail to winterize outdoor items that can be damaged by extreme cold. If you have potted plants or flowering trees out on the patio, bring them inside before the temperatures fall below 45 degrees. If you have a permanent outdoor garden, remember to protect your plants with frost blankets during particularly harsh cold snaps.

 

Got a grill? Depending on what type it is, severe cold can damage your gear. If you have room in the garage or basement, bring it inside. If it’s a propane grill, close the tank valve and disconnect the tank. The tank must always stay outdoors, so don’t store it inside the house if you do end up bringing your grill inside. Also, consider your outdoor furniture. If it’s made of plastic, extreme temperatures can make it brittle.

 

Don’t forget outdoor equipment like lawn mowers and weed whackers. Give them a good cleaning before tucking them away for the season. If you have a snow blower, make sure it’s in proper working order before the first nor’easter finds its way to your doorstep. And last, don’t forget to stock up on ice melt before the snow falls.

 

Image Links:

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/feet-woollen-socks-by-christmas-fireplace-345269063

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/cute-little-girl-sitting-by-window-524935630

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/closeup-portrait-little-girl-warm-sweater-1188334657

 

Homeowner Hacks: How to Cut Down on Energy Bills During the Colder Months

Homeowner Hacks: How to Cut Down on Energy Bills During the Colder Months

Baby, it’s cold outside! The dog days of summer are gone and, with them, the brief annual respite of having to pay to heat your home. Most would agree that heating your home is a necessity and not a luxury, but that doesn’t make it any easier on your budget. If you’re looking for ways to keep a bit more of your hard-earned money in your bank account this winter, read on for helpful hacks that will save you money and leave you feeling toasty warm all winter long.

Turn It Down

Yes, you’ve heard this before. Turning down your thermostat by five degrees or so when you’re not at home and overnight is nothing new, but it can end up saving you quite a bit in heating costs over the course of the colder season. With programmable thermostats, you don’t even have an excuse for forgetting to do it—just set it and forget it.

Dodging Drafts

There are a few ways to beat any drafts that are entering your rooms, but, first, you have to find them. On a cool day with a decent amount of wind, walk around your home with a lit candle, carefully moving the candle along the edges of windows and doors and in front of outlets and light switches. If the flame flickers, you’ve found a draft. Once you know where the drafts are, you can block them.

  • For windows and doors, you don’t need to open until spring, use a removable weatherstrip caulk to seal where the operator meets the frame on the inside of the window. Double up on draft dodging by installing window insulating film, too. The double-sided tape is a real “treat” when it sticks to the wrong part of the film, though, and it can leave a sticky residue behind when you remove it in the spring. If you just can’t handle the tape, try a hot melt adhesive—it peels off more easily in the spring and will hold better through the winter, but be careful not to melt the film during installation.
  • For windows and doors that will remain usable throughout the winter, block drafts with vinyl or foam weather stripping.
  • For outlets and light switches, slip in some insulators.
  • For interior doors, make your own draft stopper with an old pair of leggings and a couple of wrapping paper tubes. Cut off one leg from the leggings and feed both cardboard tubes into it. With the door open, place one tube on either side of the door— instant draft stopper!

Layer Upon Layer

Dressing in multiple layers creates multiple air pockets between your clothing, and air holds heat. So, the more layers of clothing, regardless of how thick they are, the warmer you will be. You can dress your house in layers, too. Throw blankets and area rugs help keep the surfaces of furniture and floors warmer. Hanging blankets or heavy curtains on particularly chilly exterior walls have the same effect as layering your clothing—a layer of air between the wall and the blanket helps keep the room cozy.

Let the Light Shine In

Solar gain is a wonderful thing. Pay attention to how the sun moves around your home and take advantage of every last drop of sunshine. Open your curtains or blinds when the sun is coming in and close them up as soon as the sun is off them. This allows the sun’s heat in and blocks out the chill. If you have a bit of room in your budget, consider building insulated window shutters for the same purpose.  Because windows are inherently terrible at holding the heat inside, a few simple exterior insulated shutters can make a huge difference to your energy consumption.

Electric Blankets and Hot Water Bottles

Spread your electric blanket out over the couch and crank it up for a few minutes before you’re ready to binge on Netflix for the evening—if the couch is warm and you have a throw blanket, you won’t even notice if the air in the room is a little cooler. If you like that trick, take the clothes you’re going to wear for the day and roll them up in an electric blanket while you get ready in the morning for fresh-out-of-the-dryer warmth.

A hot water bottle under the covers at the foot of the bed makes slipping between the sheets sheer luxury, without the need to crank up the thermostat. While you’re at it, switch to flannel sheets for the winter to maximize your bed’s cozy quotient.

Only Heat Space You’re Using

Chances are you’re wasting a ton of heat—and money—by heating areas of your home that you really don’t need to. Close up the vents in the guest bedroom or the home office you haven’t stepped foot in for the past two months. If you spend most of your time in the living room, close the doors and use an energy-efficient space heater to keep that room toasty while the rest of the house is a few degrees cooler.

A Fan of Fans

If you have ceiling fans, don’t turn them off when the weather turns cold! Reverse their direction to clockwise, and they’ll push all of that rising warm air back down to where you want it.

Exhaust Less

Don’t use your kitchen or bathroom exhaust fans unless you really need to. These fans suck a ton of heat out of your home, plus you’ll be missing out on the humidifying boost all that shower steam can give to your dry inside air.

Clean the Works

Yes, you need to clean your furnace, filters, and ductwork, preferably with the work done by a professional. Not only will dirt and debris impair your heat circulation, but it can also make you sick and make your house dustier. Try to have them cleaned once every year or two.

Water Heater

Turning down the heat setting on your water heater by just 5-10 degrees can save you a bundle, and you won’t be able to tell the difference. You can save even more by insulating the outside of the tank to keep the heat where it belongs.

Shop Around for Better Rates

There’s lots of competition in the home heating fuel sector, and you should take advantage of that. Talk to your current provider to see if they can offer you a better rate, and then call their competitors to compare. Some companies offer better rates depending on if you “lock-in” for a year or accept a variable rate. If you’re considering a locked-in rate, shop around in the warmer months when fuel rates are typically cheaper.

Insulation

Insulation is expensive but will pay for itself many times over in the long run. To get an idea of how much insulation you should have, check out the Department of Energy’s insulation tool. Prioritize the roof first (up to 25% of heat loss occurs through the roof). Insulating your ductwork is also an inexpensive way to reduce heat loss.

 

Images

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/construction-worker-installing-window-house-486333502?src=OYKvhVXIKGO3kVPsWIkoHA-1-20

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/young-woman-reading-book-drinking-coffee-774951025?src=kQ6Qe-DLy8bGO-czf1iCAQ-1-14

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/heating-radiator-knitted-cap-scarf-near-1215044137?src=_iNiSSOaL6yphT_eN7tulQ-1-11

 

 

Top Renovation Tips to Transform Your Basement

An unfinished basement is a great place for some additional storage, but not much else. More homeowners are looking to add more livable space to their homes, and the simplest way to do that is by finishing an unfinished basement. Rather than adding on a costly extension, finishing a basement is a cost-effective way to add potentially hundreds of square feet of livable space to your home.

There are many ways to renovate a basement into a livable space. An unfinished basement is a blank canvas that can be turned into virtually anything. Here are some practical renovation tips to transform your basement.

Prepping Your Basement

Before you add carpeting, paint, and furniture to your basement, you need to prep your basement at the beginning of the renovation. This means adding insulation, recessing your lights, tearing up carpet, and installing new flooring. You may need to tear down walls or add structural support to your stairs. There may be water damage that needs to be repaired before renovations begin.

The best thing you can do at the beginning of your renovations is to have your basement inspected. An inspector will show you what is wrong with your basement and will provide you with estimated repair costs. Once you’ve done the prep work, the fun can really begin.

Add Entertainment

The first thing you should decide when you want to renovate your basement is how the space is going to be used. Most finished basements are used for entertainment. Even a small basement can accommodate a television with seating or a game table such as a pool table or foosball. It’s not uncommon for the basement to be the main entertainment area of a house.

When considering entertainment, you also need to ensure that the space is suited for that entertainment. Make sure there are enough outlets for electronic entertainment. Check the room temperature throughout the year to see if it gets too hot or too cold. Moisture can cause damage and bad odors in your basement. If your basement is not comfortable, your family won’t want to spend time there.

Think About Functionality (talk about adding a bathroom or bar)

Your renovated basement needs to be a functional, livable space. While many basements are used as entertainment areas, they don’t always have to be used that way. A basement is the perfect place for a home office. Whether you work from home full-time or you just need a space to be creative, a simple basement finish with a new desk or sitting area can add the space you need without adding a lot of cost.

A bathroom is another valuable addition to any home. If you have a two-story home with a basement, having a bathroom on every level can have a positive impact on the value of your home when it comes time to sell. A full bathroom might not be necessary, and a half-bath won’t take up as much of your basement space.

Give your home a unique touch by adding a bar in your basement. A basement is a fun place to hang out and is an ideal location for bar and lounge area. Add a pool table and a television to make your space even more entertaining.

We recommend adding neon open signs to your space for an authentic bar look. Neon lights can be custom designed so you can get exactly what you want for your home. Custom neon lights can start below $200, while non-custom lights are as low as $60, making them a cost-effective and impactful update to your basement area.

Provide Ample Seating

Seating is one of the most important updates you can make to your basement. Without ample seating, your friend and family won’t be comfortable in your basement, no matter how entertaining your basement is. It can be difficult to have enough seating without the space looking cluttered, especially in a smaller basement. However, with strategic placement and the right seating style, you can add enough seating without making the space look much smaller than it is.

Choose seating that has a light color, such as tan or light gray. These colors reflect light, which gives the illusion that the space might be bigger than it is. While lining seating against the wall creates space in the center of the room, it can also make the space feel closed in. Placing some seating throughout the room gives the basement depth.

Create a Focal Point

The lack of a focal point is an issue with many rooms in a home, not just a basement. Either there are too many focal points or the focal point is not clear. When this happens, guests aren’t sure of where to focus their attention, which can make a space feel uncomfortable.

Focal points center the room and provide a foundation on which you can design the rest of the space. A bar, mounted television with a sitting area, or fireplace are all excellent focal points for a basement. If your basement does have small windows, try to keep your living space in the area of the windows to allow some natural light to enter the space. Natural light can help highlight your basement’s focal point.

Decorations and Accessories

Finish off your newly-renovated bathroom with decorations and accessories that match the style of your home. Patterns and textures give the space contrast no matter how the basement is being used. Decorations and accessories should be used whether you’re creating a bar area, an entertainment space, or a home office.

Basements can be dark if there isn’t enough overhead lighting already installed. Floor and table lamps not only add more light to the room, but they can also be used as accent pieces. Neon lights can give your space a fun, entertaining vibe that everyone will enjoy.

There’s so much to consider when you’re renovating your basement. With these practical renovation tips, you’ll be ready for your next project. From entertainment areas to home gyms, your basement can be turned into your dream space.

Lara Douglas is a young woman who loves interior designing and home decor. She is passionate about new trends and fashion forward home décor ideas. She regularly posts at Neon Signs Depot.

How to Get Your Family Ready for the Winter Months

You’ve probably taken steps to get your home and your vehicle ready for winter, but what about your family? As the days get shorter and the temperature drops, it is extremely important to make sure your family is prepared. Whether or not you are in an area that is prone to heavy snowfalls and weather-related emergencies like power outages, this time of year poses challenges for just about everyone. By taking some time to prepare everyone in your household, you can make it through the winter and come out on the other side unscathed in the spring. Here is some advice on how to get your family ready for the winter months.

Check Your Heating System

If you have already inspected your heating system as part of your process for winterizing your home, great job! Feel free to move on to the next tip. If you haven’t, though, keep reading to discover why this simple task is one of the most important things you can do to prepare your family for cold weather.

Just like your car, your heating system needs a bit of TLC from time to time. If it has been a while since the last time you’ve had it inspected, you need to have it checked out. While you only use it for a few months out of the year, it is subjected to a lot of wear and tear during that time. Parts can get dirty or wear out, and if they stop functioning as they should, the entire system could fail.

Have your furnace inspected annually, preferably before you fire it up for the first time. And don’t forget to replace your furnace filters monthly during the heating season. Taking care of your heating system is one of the absolute best things you can do to ensure that your family is safe and comfortable during the winter months.

Gather Plenty of Winter Wear

Chances are, you have winter wear for everyone in your family…somewhere. That nice winter jacket and all those cute gloves and hats won’t do much good, though, if the temperature plummets while they are still buried in the attic. You also need to make sure that everything you have is still the correct size for the members of your family.

Start by sorting through all of the winter clothes you currently have. Check for damage and find pieces that will fit your family members. Launder everything so it’s ready to go when needed.

When determining exactly what articles of clothing your family needs, keep your climate in mind. If the temperature in your area rarely dips below 40 degrees, you probably do not need to worry about something like a heavy parka. But if you live in an area where sub-freezing temperatures and heavy snows are common, you need to make sure you have the right clothing to outfit your family.

T-shirts and hoodies are great to have on hand during the winter months. They can be worn in multiple layers to keep your family members warm all day long. Buying plain hoodies in bulk and investing in wholesale t-shirts are great ways to supplement your family’s winter wardrobe without breaking the bank.

Stock Up on Emergency Essentials

Avoid the last-minute rush when a snow or ice storm is bearing down on your city by stocking up on emergency essentials before the weather gets nasty. Make sure you have things like flashlights, batteries, blankets, a first aid kit and enough medication on hand to last at least a few days. Gather these items and store them in an area that will be easy to access in the event of a power outage.

Stock up on food and water, too. The Department of Homeland Security recommends storing enough water to provide each person with one gallon per day for three days. It is also wise to make sure you have things like peanut butter, bread, canned tuna, shelf-stable milk and crackers in your pantry. These foods can be eaten with little to no preparation, making them ideal to have on hand during power outages. Keep at least three days’ worth of other foods on hand as well. Even if you don’t lose power, you could find yourself stuck at home for a few days due to snowy or icy conditions.

And don’t forget about your pets! Keep at least three days’ worth of their food and medications on hand as well, and make sure to include them in your water rations.

Build Up Everyone’s Immune System

Snow and ice aren’t the only things to worry about during the winter months. This time of year is also cold and flu season. While it simply isn’t possible to prevent every illness, there are steps you can take to help keep everyone healthy. Make sure everyone gets plenty of exercise and eats well. Eating plenty of fruits and veggies that are high in vitamin C is a must. If you have picky eaters in your home, supplementing with vitamins is an option, too.

Remind kids of the importance of washing their hands regularly and keeping their hands away from their faces. Keep a bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you at all times and send one with each member of your family. Encourage everyone to use it regularly and to wash their hands whenever possible, especially after being around someone who is sick.

Stock up on tissues, canned soup, cough drops and cold medicine. Despite your best efforts, there is still a good chance that someone will have, at the very least, a case of the sniffles before winter ends. Stocking up ahead of time means you won’t have to make late-night trips to the store when someone isn’t feeling well.

Conclusion

The winter months can take a toll on everyone in your family. By taking steps to prepare for things like snow storms, power outages and even colds, you can make the season a lot easier to handle.

7 Green Cleaning Tips to De-Stress Your Life

They say cleaning is therapeutic; removing clutter from your house gives you a feeling of relief and relaxation! I for one never found this to be true. For me, cleaning was always a task that I feared and tried to run away from as long as I could. When I finally got tired of procrastinating and hating the chore, I decided to reevaluate my techniques and see if there was something that I wasn’t doing right. After extensive research, I was able to discover my mistakes and devise some fantastic tips and hacks that have made my life easier. In this article, I will be sharing some of these cleaning tips that will help you de-stress and are great for our environment as well so keep reading!

Make a List of Chores and Follow it

Every house has chores that need to be done daily, weekly, bimonthly or monthly. Instead of worrying and panicking about getting things done at the last moment, streamline your cleaning by creating a checklist. Prioritize tasks by the list and get things done one by one. It will also help you delegate tasks to other members of the family thereby saving time. Assigning age-appropriate chores to kids is an excellent idea as it encourages healthy habits and helps build self-efficacy.

Organize Everything

Try your best to get everything in place but don’t set unrealistic expectations. You can start with the hidden spots where you gather all the available stuff. De-clutter and organize all items keeping only the ones that you will be using. Keep the ones that you frequently use in easy to reach areas and don’t I repeat don’t create piles or stacks of items. Whenever you notice objects pile up on a table or surface, set-up a drawer or organizer near the specific area for storing items. Label drawers and try your best to place everything where it is supposed to be kept instead of randomly stacking belongings.

Reuse, Recycle and Upcycle

Instead of storing old stuff that you love but won’t be using consider upcycling. Get creative and think of different ways of utilizing old household items. Have a couple of old t-shirts lying in the closet? Look for DIY techniques of turning them into scarves, accessories or creating home décor items such as pot hangings, etc. You can even reuse corks, cans, wrapping sheets and practically anything that you don’t want to give up.

Avoid those Chemicals

Fighting dirt with those harsh chemicals with a Brooklyn house cleaner isn’t safe for your home or the environment. Instead of buying multiple cleaning solutions loaded with harmful chemicals consider making homemade cleaning agents. Yes, it might seem like a tedious task, having to prepare everything from scratch and then using it for cleaning, but it isn’t since most of these only require one or two substances to be mixed and above all these are entirely natural.

Make Your Cleaners

If you want to go the extra mile, you can even make your DIY cleaners at home. It isn’t that difficult; honestly, just a few things from your kitchen can make fantastic cleaning agents that are safe for use around kids and pets. If you have pets and kids in the house, you will find yourself cleaning pet messes, your furry companion’s delicious meal spilled all over the floor, stains on your furniture and what not so you need to make sure you have the necessary supplies and cleaning agents available.

Vinegar, for instance, is a great multi-purpose cleaning product that can be used to clean carpet spills, glass surfaces, countertops, bathroom tiles, shower curtains, tubs, etc. To clean glass surfaces, you can use a mixture containing a quarter of water mixed with 1/4 cup vinegar. One tablespoon vinegar mixed with a teaspoon of baking soda and two cups warm water can make a fantastic carpet deodorizer. Another substance that is popular as a house cleaner is “baking soda,” coupled with vinegar it works as a disinfectant for cleaning bathroom tiles; apply the mixture, scrub and rinse with warm water. It is also useful for whitening porcelain surfaces, removing grime from bath-tubs and for cleaning toilet bowls. Other cleaning supplies include borax (as a disinfectant coupled with four tablespoons vinegar, ¼ tsp. liquid castile soap and 3 cups hot water,) essential oils (as air fresheners,)  rubbing alcohol (to make cleansing wipes for countertops), etc.

A significant problem for homes with pets is the hair spread everywhere. A solution to this is apple cider vinegar. It can work as a preventive against flea and tick bites which in turn can reduce shedding. Vinegar can be used to clean up most pet accidents and to clean pet bedding along with lemon juice and baking soda.

You can even create basic recipes once and store the mixture in spray bottles to be used later.

Don’t hoard things You Won’t Use

No matter how much we disagree, most of us do stock up items that we love and are too emotionally attached to give up or something that we spent a considerable amount of money on and now don’t feel like throwing away. Well, it does happen and what we end up with is a lot of clutter which makes cleaning even more difficult. The best way is to keep donating or giving out things that you won’t be using. You can also swap items that you don’t consider useful with friends or family. Make it a policy not to buy new things till you utilize or get rid of an old one, so you don’t end up with cabinets and cupboards full of barely used clothes, shoes, accessories, decorative pieces, etc.

Avoid Using Paper Towels

Instead of spending on paper towels and contributing to the waste consider using washable cloths. Even an old piece of clothing can be utilized for the purpose by cutting it into squares.