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As a rule of thumb, it's a good idea to have chimneys cleaned at least once a year. Usually before cold weather sets in.
Ace Hardware recently contacted us at Shak asking us to give a review of their paint, Clark+Kensington™. It is a new premium line of paint+primer in one, available exclusively at Ace Hardware. As my 2 girls were clamoring for room makeovers for months I accepted the offer to try the paint and report the results.
This new line of paint eliminates the need to prime and paint surfaces separately for the vast majority of paint projects. Recently, this brand was rated #1 by Consumer Reports, It was cited as being, “impressive at hiding and leaving a smooth finish that resisted stains.” I liked how this paint has low VOC (volatile organic compounds) levels, which causes minimal odor and has environmentally safe ingredients.
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I’ve had the worst problems with cleaning carpets. I have shampooed them, scrubbed them, soaped them down and still stains pop back up. But the key to permanently removing stains is to attack them early.
Remove carpet stains easily by treating them soon after they happen. I removed red spaghetti sauce from my carpet using this technique. Check out the detailed instructions in the blog post.
I tried this method with a child’s spilled orange drink once. That carpet stayed orange for six years before we finally replaced it.
My garage is an absolute disaster. I still have girl scout camping stuff from three years ago that hasn’t been sorted. Maybe this site can inspire me! From Be Different, Act Normal,
… a great way to use studs to create handy and inexpensive storage in her garage. I especially love the bungee cord idea to keep all of the balls in place. So clever and something I will definitely figure out how to use in our next garage.
She links to Designed to Dwell, another great site!
As the arctic temperatures of winter begin to squeeze most of the United States, it’s time to winter proof your home against higher bills and possible damage from broken pipes. Where to begin? The easiest thing to do is work from the outside in.
1. First unhook your garden hose and insulate your faucets. The insulators are very affordable, costing between $2 and $5 from local home stores.
2. If you have a crawl space, close your vents. The cold air blasting through your crawl space could speed up your pipes freezing which could potentially cost a ton of money.
3. Check to see that your pipes are insulated.
4. Re-caulk windows to keep the heat in and the cold out.
5. Make sure you have your chimney checked before building fires. A chimney sweep is well-worth the money if you want to keep your home safe.
6. Check your roof and gutters to prevent rain or snow from coming in.
7. Check your attic and crawl space insulation and replace any where worn out.
For more tips on how to winter proof your home, visit this site.
There are dozens of ways to save energy in your home during winter months. Most importantly, set the thermostat to 68 degrees and walk away from it. Don’t keep increasing or decreasing the temperature setting and that will help you keep the heating bill under control. Make sure you seal your windows and doors. Also close off any rooms you don’t use unless they have plumbing because you don’t want your pipes to freeze.
Home inspector Charles Buell from Seattle, Washington confesses his stove pipe was acting like a chimney when he hadn’t sealed it off properly.
When I pulled off the roof cap and looked down the pipe I was surprised to see—nothing! No insulation in the pipe. This pipe had been acting like a chimney since the kitchen was remodeled. Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!
It is by-passes like this that can amount to higher energy costs and work against the huge amounts of insulation that had been added to the attic space. It is really no different than leaving the damper open on your fireplace. The dust in the screen of the old cap is testament to how it has been cleaning the air as I attempted to heat up all outdoors.
Ouch! Interestingly even if you have lived in your home for 10 years, you might consider getting an energy inspection. You never know what might be found!
We once bought matching beds for our daughters and decided to slap a coat of white paint on them. Within two days, the paint was peeling off because we had neglected to sand before prime and paint. My husband thought that putting primer on would be enough. We were wrong, wrong, wrong.
Necessary to Sand? If your piece is in pretty good condition, you can skip the sanding step or the use of a power sander and go straight to priming. Bonding primers don’t require sanding, even if your piece is heavily varnished, but I do find giving the furniture a good scuffing with a medium (80 grit) sanding wedge not only helps clean off any debris, but gives your primer a great surface to cling too. No need to sand away all the varnish and get down to the raw wood, just give it a good 5 to 10 minute scuffing with a sanding wedge, then wipe away any debris with a soft cloth.
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