8 Tips for Household Dust Control

Older woman practicing dust control in her home. When you were little, your parents might have warned you to beware of dust bunnies. And as you grew older, you thought that they were exaggerating to inspire you to be tidier and follow their cleaning rules for dust control. But the truth is that dust can be the vehicle for much nastier critters and chemicals than bunnies.

 

Depending on the age and state of your home, dust can carry asbestos, crumbling flecks of lead paint, or dozens of other harmful chemicals that are released from new furniture, cleaners, etc. In addition, dust may include dander, animal fur, and many allergen-causing agents. So allowing dust to just sit around and form “bunnies” that jump back into the air when disturbed can be quite as detrimental to your health as your parents originally suggested.

 

Instead of growing a “fluffle” of dust bunnies, crack down with these 8 tips for household dust control:

 

 

1. Simplify to decrease surface area.
Fewer surfaces means fewer places for dust to accumulate. Minimize knick-knacks, furniture, and other household items that don’t serve a purpose (other than as a home for dust bunnies).

 

2. Rearrange furniture.

Dust mites (and dust in general) cling to upholstered fabrics very easily. Upholstered furniture should be avoided in bedrooms and wherever else possible, so rearranged those pieces into the living room decor. Vacuum them along with your carpets to improve surface dust control.

 

3. Keep floors clear.

If you have kids or keep projects spread out across the floors of your homes (toys, puzzles, blankets, magazines, etc.), those items are gathering the dust that would otherwise be caught in the carpet and sucked up by the vacuum. Keeping your floor clear makes it easier to vacuum for optimal dust control.

 

4. Organize closets/shelves.
Closets, pantries, and shelves are huge dust collectors. Dust migrates and gets caught in corners and lurks behind shelved items waiting to stir up into the air when the items are shifted or removed. Just like the rest of your home, simplify what is displayed and stored in this way so that cleaning is easier and more effective.

 

5. Remove your shoes.
Dust control starts when you enter the door, dragging in debris and chemicals in the dust on your clothes and shoes. One option for preventing the spread of outside dust inside your home is by removing your shoes outside or by the front door.

 

6. Isolate pet toys and beds.
Pet toys and beds are horrible dust magnets. They get tossed around the carpets, forgotten in corners, and dragged through dirt on a daily basis. Eliminate finding dust bunnies where only your pet should be by running these items through a laundry cycle and isolating them when not in use (ie stored in a closed cupboard).

 

7. Wash linens regularly.
Dust falls onto made and disheveled beds and collects on the linens you sleep in each night. Improve your household dust control by washing bedding regularly. Even bedding in guest rooms that aren’t being used should be washed, especially prior to guests arriving.

 

8. Vacuum and clean surfaces weekly.
This tip for dust control seems like a no-brainer, right? Well, it’s tough to remember to clean before the dust gets noticeable or out of control. Mark your calendar with a sticker or note to remind yourself that it’s time to clean! Don’t forget areas like plant leaves and fans/lighting fixtures.
Dust bunnies are an unwanted collection of critters in every household. From mites to harsh chemicals and annoying allergens, dust can be a serious danger to your health. The eight steps listed above for maintaining dust control reduce the risk of health problems from dust and help keep your entire home clean and safe.

 

 

Keeping your home safe doesn’t stop here. There are many simple home maintenance tasks for both the interior and exterior of your house that can be accessed through Inspect-It 1st. The inspection professionals at Inspect-It 1st are dedicated to helping you fix potential home dangers and keeping your home comfortable, whether you are buying, selling, or just maintaining your home.



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How to Keep Your House Cool … Without Touching the AC

How to Keep Your House Cool… Without Touching the ACThe traditional summer months are coming to an end, but the heat remains. For some this means frizzy hair or rolling down the car windows, but for most it also means cranking up the AC. Turning that dial to try to cool your living quarters can be costly, but perhaps you don’t know how to keep your house cool without that modern convenience. Here we examine a few alternatives on how to keep your house cool without touching the AC.

  1. Close Doors – As much as possible, keep your house closed off from the ambient humid and hot air. This means keeping your external doors closed. But how to keep your house cool goes beyond shutting out the external heat. You should also keep internal doors closed to isolate the cooler air within your home.
  2. Cover Windows – Twenty to thirty percent of unwanted heat comes from sunlight and hot air permeating the windows of your home. Covering your windows, ie closing the blinds or drapes during the daytime, can lower indoor temperature by up to 20 degrees. That can result to saving 7% on your electric bill each month.
  3. Use Vent Exhausts – If you take a warm shower or cook something in the oven, those areas of your house can heat up considerably. Be sure to use vent exhausts in your bathroom and above your stove to allow the hot air to escape and keep the surrounding rooms cool.
  4. Cool from the Inside Out – The tricks for how to keep your house cool won’t make a difference if you yourself are not cool! So while you are making the necessary changes around your house, make them also with yourself. Drink iced beverages that lower your internal temperature. Take colder baths/showers, and cool your skin down with ice packs while sitting around the house.
  5. Adjust Fans -Fans should be adjusted seasonally. In the warm summer months, program your ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise.
  6. Let in the Night Air – Even in the summer time, nights are usually cooler. One of the simplest methods of how to keep your house cool without the AC is by opening up the windows at night.
  7. Change Your Sheets – Avoid using flannel and other heavy material sheets during the summer. Cotton breathes more easily and doesn’t retain body heat.
  8. Grill – How to keep your house cool may have more to do with what you do outside. Grilling reduces the build-up of heat your oven and stove would produce in food preparation. In addition, grilling takes people outdoors into cool breezes.
  9. Purchase Better Light Bulbs – Incandescent lights waste almost 90% of the energy they produce in the form of unnecessary heat. Switch to more efficient bulbs that will last longer and put off less heat.
  10. Make Lasting Home Improvements – Shading your house with sunlight-absorbing plants and trees helps the environment and reduces the heat gripping your home. At the same time, your landscaping adds to the curb value of your house; you are making a permanent environmental and financial investment!

As heat waves continue through the end of the summer, cut back on your energy bill by finding alternatives to turning on your AC. How to keep your house cool can be as easy as closing the curtains and planting a few shady trees. But it might also be beneficial to have your house inspected. Getting new windows with better insulation and other home improvements might make a huge difference to your comfort. Call and schedule an appointment with Inspect-It 1st today!



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Series on Safety: Lead Paint Poisoning

Lead paint removal to prevent lead paint poisoning.Lead-based paints were commonly used on houses and various other products prior to recent decades. It is estimated that lead paint poisoning has claimed a large portion of the 143,000 lives lost to lead poisoning worldwide and causes 600,000 disabilities per year, according to UN health officials. Low and middle income countries are especially prone to this health concern, but 30 countries and counting have phased out lead paint use. The United States banned lead paint in 1978 but over 24 million houses built prior to 1978 are still in use and exposing families to lead paint poisoning. Certain interior items such as antique furniture and toys are also putting people at risk.

 

What: Paint containing lead poisons all systems of the human body. After ingestion or consumption, lead pollutes the blood and results in damage to the brain and central nervous system. High exposure can produce convulsions and eventually lead to a coma or death. Low exposure still affects brain development, especially in young children. Lead paint poisoning has been shown to reduce IQ and attention span, increase antisocial behavior, and decrease academic achievement. Affected adults may see increased risk of kidney failure and raised blood pressure.

 

Where: Lead paint can be found on the outside or inside of older homes as well as on antique furniture and toys, and candy from Mexico. Costume jewelry and other toys passed down through generations within a family might be posing a lead paint poisoning danger.

 

When: As the lead paint on various surfaces begins to peel and decay, it often crumbles into a dust-like substance carried through the air and able to be ingested. In addition, studies claim that children under the age of 6 are at an increased risk of consuming lead by touching items with deteriorating paint and then putting their hands in their mouths.

 

Symptoms: While there are no obvious symptoms, an affected individual may demonstrate tiredness, hyperactivity, irritability, poor appetite, weight loss, trouble sleeping, or stomach aches. Because these symptoms may go unnoticed or attributed to other things, lead paint poisoning often goes unchecked. If you suspect someone you know is being poisoned by lead paint, encourage them to get a blood test.

 

Action: Once lead paint has been ingested or consumed and takes its toll on the body, there is no known countermeasure to undo the damage. Therefore, it’s imperative to take preventative measures.

 

Prevention: Lead paint poisoning can be prevented (especially in children) in several ways.

  1. Check the date of the buildings and houses your where you and your children spend the most time. If any were built prior to 1978, consult a local health official and take measures to reduce prolonged exposure until you know if the lead paint has been removed.
  2. Keep pregnant women and children away from renovations, especially renovations for structures older than 1978.
  3. Wash children’s hands and toys regularly.
  4. Keep children from playing in bare soil. Use a sandbox instead.
  5. Create barriers between your family and any items known to contain lead paint. Fence your house off from the older house next door or keep antique furniture in a room young children don’t enter.
  6. Keep your house free of dust by cleaning consistently.
  7. Get an inspection!

Lead paint poisoning is a serious health concern facing many countries. Even though the United States has banned the use of lead-based paint, old houses and antique or imported items may still pose a considerable threat.

 

Take preventative steps to protect your family from lead paint poisoning. Seek blood tests if you suspect exposure. And consider the inspection services from Inspect-It 1st to see if the painted surfaces or dust in your home are contaminated.



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Moving Checklist – Where to Start

Moving checklistAre you contemplating a move? Already made the decisions to put your home on the market? This is a big undertaking with a lot of moving parts, so being prepared and organized is important. Today, we’re going through the pre-moving checklist. This list outlines everything you’ll need to do to prepare your home for the sales process.

 

  • Collect the papers: Utility bills, appliance manuals and even notes on paint colors or swatches for fabrics, all of this information can help to entice a potential buyer. It also gives you a chance to get organized and clean out some of the outdated information you may have been hanging onto otherwise.
  • Start getting repair estimates: Is your washing machine acting up or A/C unit on it’s last leg? Some buyers will want a discount on the overall price of the house to replace such things, while others will want them taken care of prior to signing. Repair estimates give you a realistic number and a bargaining chip to be used in during negotiation.
  • Assess your home’s curb appeal…objectively: We know you love your garden gnomes but potential buyers may not get their charm. We have many blogs with useful information about enhancing the look of your home’s exterior.
  • Start going through the clutter: Go through your entire home and begin to sift through everything. Find something you never knew you had? Get rid of it. Six spatulas in the kitchen, 3 can go. Old clothes in the back of the closet are only taking up room. Consider donating to a local charity or host a garage sale to move the merch and make a little money while you’re at it.
  • Start to put away the personal photos and trinkets: People who tour your home are trying to picture themselves in it, not you. Removing these personal touches may seem strange or cold but it can help move the house toward a sale more quickly.
  • Begin the deep clean: By this point in the sales process, you’ve likely boxed up and moved out the majority of your things. In some cases, you may have already moved into the new home or a transitional housing option. Once the house is essentially empty, it’s time to get on your hands and knees and scour everything. Floors, walls, ceiling, appliances, kitchen, bathroom and even the garage should all be gone over with a fine tooth comb. If you’re unable to do the deep cleaning yourself, enlist some family members or contact a local household cleaning company to help.
  • Take a step back: Once the deep clean is complete, it’s your realtors turn to take over. You’ve gotten through the most difficult part of the process and now you can sit back, relax and let your realtor do their job.

We understand that this list may seem overwhelming to start. Fortunately, you can find detailed moving checklists on our homepage to guide you. Each week has specific tasks and recommendation to ensure a smooth transition into your new home.

 



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Bathroom Safety Tips from Inspect-It 1st

Bathroom safetyBathroom safety is a challenge in many homes. This room is often overlooked when it comes to safety measures, but it can be one of the most dangerous places in the house. In fact, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year about 235,000 people over age 15 visit emergency rooms because of injuries suffered in the bathroom. What do you know when it comes to bathroom safety in your home? Inspect-It 1st has collected 8 bathroom safety tips that can be implemented to protect you and your family from hazards in the bathroom.

  1. Use anti-slip rugs on the floors. When wet, these surfaces can be extremely slippery. Putting down pads and rugs will help prevent this. Bonus: Get a memory foam rug for extra cushioning and comfort on your toes!
  2. Use anti-slip mats in the bathtub or shower. It’s also important to make sure soap scum doesn’t build up in the tub to keep it from getting too slippery as well. Be sure to keep the tub clean to counteract slippery soap scum or mold.
  3. Clean your bathtub or shower frequently to remove mold or mildew. These are not only allergens, but also can cause stains and damage to the infrastructure of your bathroom.
  4. Install grab bars or rails in bathtub, shower and around the toilet. These are perfect for stability and can help if someone begins to slip.
  5. Use night lights and other lighting to illuminate the room during the day and night. Evening trips to the bathroom should be illuminated to avoid falls.
  6. Install electrical outlets with a ground-fault circuit interrupter to prevent surges and shocks. All outlets should be safely out of contact with water as well for obvious reasons. Bonus: Insert shock guards when outlets aren’t in use, especially when children are around.
  7. Lock the medicine cabinet. If you don’t have a locking cabinet, use childproof locks or request childproof medicine bottles to prevent accidental poisoning.
  8. Know your water temperature. Use a thermometer, and make sure the temperature doesn’t exceed 140º F. Temperatures above this marker can burn skin. (The same goes for pets, too!) Bonus: Lower your utility bill by reducing the temperature of your water heater to 120º F. This uses less energy and prevents scalding hot water from even reaching the bathtub or shower.  

The bathroom is filled with potential hazards, especially when water is involved. These simple bathroom safety recommendations can help protect both you and your family. Consider each of the suggestions above and evaluate your bathroom accordingly.

 



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Home Security Systems

Home security systemsHome security systems used to be seen as a luxury for upper middle class families. In the past 15 years or so however, these systems have become more popular with families across the nation. Here’s a few of the reasons why investing in a home security system can be beneficial to your home and your family.

  1. Peace of Mind: Home security systems can be activated while you’re home, on vacation or just at work for the day. You can rest assured knowing your property and loved ones will remain protected from intruders with constant monitoring.
  2. Deterrence: Studies have found that homes which display security signs on their property are less likely to be broken into. It is thought that would be burglars see the sign and know there is a higher degree of danger if they break in. Homes without a monitored home security system are up to 300% more likely to be broken into according to some studies.
  3. Reduced Insurance Rates: Due to the deterrence of break-ins, many insurance providers will lower homeowner insurance rates for families with home security systems.
  4. Faster Emergency Response Times: Monitored home security systems will contact authorities when an alarm is triggered, meaning help in on the way in minutes. Whether it’s a break-in, fire or other home emergency, the faster help arrives the better. This is a contributing factor to consider when determining if you want to install a monitored or unmonitored system.
  5. Customizable Features: Home security systems generally alert owners about break-ins through doors and windows but newer, more advanced systems can also be configured to detect fire, carbon monoxide, rising water and even freezing temps and alert homeowners of such problems.
  6. Remote Access: More and more home security systems have a remote access option. This means you can arm your home, check in on any security cameras you may have, and even adjust the thermostat from your office, vacation or from anywhere you have wi-fi. You have complete control.

Not only can a home security system protect your belongings but your family as well. The market for such systems continues to grow and expand, offering new services and greater security as well. Consider all the available systems, the cost of installation and the effectiveness of each option before finalizing your plans for a new home security system.

 

Inspect-It 1st Home Improvement Radio offers tips to prevent home burglary, listen to it here. You can find more home improvement tips, buyer and seller resources, a home maintenance checklist and many other helpful links on our home page.



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Gutter Cleaning for Beginners

Gloved hand performing yearly gutter cleaning.In a previous blog, we mentioned gutter cleaning as an essential part of any spring house cleaning checklist. We received a number of questions about this topic and wanted to answer all of them for you! After reading this, you’ll know most everything you need to about gutter cleaning and maintenance. Then, you can decide whether this task is a DIY project you want to take on yourself or project you’d prefer to hire someone else to do.

 

The importance of gutter cleaning cannot be understated. Gutters only work when they are free of debris and organic matter. If this is not removed, there is a risk of the gutters overflowing and consequently –  water pouring off your roof into the ground below. Water can also seep into the eaves of your home causing damage that could otherwise be avoided. To avoid these issues, it is a good habit to clean gutters at least once a year – twice to be on the safe side.

 

The first thing to take into account when doing your own gutter cleaning is safety. Roofs can be dangerous so take precautions to prevent slips and falls, especially from taller roofs. Be sure to use a sturdy ladder when climbing to the level of your gutters. Some people prefer to stay on the ladder when pulling out the debris and organic matter in gutters, others like to get on the roof directly to clean them out. Either way, being aware of your surroundings, footing and balance are all important to avoid falls. Appropriate apparel, including shoes with a heavy tread and wearing lightweight breathable fabrics can make gutter cleaning a safer and more pleasant experience.

 

Once you’ve prepared for the cleaning it’s time to dive in. Most of what you will find when doing your annual gutter cleaning is decomposing leaves, branches and other organic matter – all great for compost bins! Instead of throwing on the grass to fertilize your lawn, consider raking as much as you can into a compost pile or simply an area of yard where you like to put yard waste. You won’t believe what great fertilizer it will make next spring.

 

While you’re on the ladder gutter cleaning, be sure to pay close attention to the downspouts as organic material can flow down and get stuck. Once you have determined these are clean, make sure you also have a splash block at the bottoms of your downspouts to keep the water from eroding the ground at the base and potentially causing water problems in your home’s foundation.

 

Once you have emptied the gutters, the gutter cleaning can truly begin. Power washers are a perfect way to remove dirt and other materials from your gutters and can be rented at a resonable price from your local hardware store. Anyone who’s used a power washer once knows how fun it can actually be – you’ll find yourself looking for all sorts of outdoor projects that could use a deep clean after winter! When gutter cleaning with a power washer, be careful not to apply too much pressure straight onto the gutters, but rather spray at an angle. If you notice the gutters appear to be unsturdy, consider purchasing new spikes to reattach your gutters to the rafters inside. Over time, these can tend to work themselves out but are easy to replace.

 

Caulking cracks and leaks can also help prevent rotting in the eaves and other damage to your home or gutters. Scrape out old caulk with a chisel, allow the space to dry, then apply new bead silicone. Finally, check downspouts to ensure they are still riveted to the house. If not, reattach them with a rivet gun which can be purchased affordably at your local hardware store as well.

 

Gutter cleaning isn’t the most glamorous yard work, but it is incredibly important. By following the suggestions we have provided above, you can be assured your gutters will do their job during the next rainstorm. Not super excited to get up on your roof, or even stand on a ladder? Most professional landscaping crews offer gutter cleaning services.

 

Learn more about spring home upkeep in our previous blogs on exterior improvements and spring lawn care. Considering a move in the near future? These improvements can not only boost curb appeal but also property value. Home inspectors, like those at Inspect It 1st, examine not only a home’s interior but the exterior as well and assess for any hazards or other modifications that may need to be made. Download our Top 5 Exterior Home Maintenance Tips PDF to learn more. Or, for a full list of inspection services, click here.

 



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Home Window Replacement Choices

A man doing his own home window replacement.Home window replacement can be quite the undertaking. There are a number of variables to consider when purchasing them. It can be staggering and frankly, an overwhelming process. There is much to consider – from materials and styles to prices and ease of install, picking the right windows for your home will take time and patience. The biggest difference between window varieties is generally what they are made of. Of course, all windows have glass panes, but the materials that surround the glass can include vinyl, fiberglass, wood or aluminium.

 

Wood – This classic building material is known for it’s natural beauty. Wood can also can be easily painted or stained to change it’s natural appearance. In the past, wood has been considered a top-notch building material, but it’s propensity to rot and it’s susceptibility to termites means it has become less appealing to homeowners. Still, new weather stripping techniques and hardware innovations can eliminate draft and other imperfections in these windows. One major pitfall with wood frames is the maintenance. You should check them on a yearly basis for rot, termite damage, cracks and other weather damage. When choosing wood for your home window replacement project, keep in mind the environmental impacts as well. To ensure environmental responsibility, purchase your windows from producers that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

 

Vinyl – The most common home window replacement choice is vinyl. These low cost and durable windows are also energy efficient, making them attractive to residential buyers. Vinyl windows are waterproof and impervious to things like termites and moisture – which can lead to rotting. Vinyl is also an excellent insulator and because they are so lightweight, they can be easily installed by an ambitious DIY-er. One drawback of vinyl is the appearance, the seams are not attractive and factory direct colors are generally white and tan with a few other colors available by special order. Epoxy-based paints appear to adhere but the constant expansion and contraction of the material can cause cracking that would require touch ups. Finally, the process and materials used to create vinyl windows may be long lasting, but the sustainability of the PVC creation process and the chemicals released during its long decomposition do not lend these windows well to the term “environmentally friendly”.

 

Fiberglass – The popularity of fiberglass windows is on the rise. These durable, attractive and energy efficient models generally run about double the price of vinyl, but the maintenance-free aspect and longevity make them well worth the investment. Additionally, these frames come in a variety of colors, including a convincing wood finish – and can be easily painted. There are also frames available with a wood interior and an exterior sash that can be painted to your personal preferences. Because these frames are hollow, manufactures have chosen to inject insulation into this space, making fiberglass windows excellent insulators. Worried about your home window replacement carbon footprint? Fiberglass is easy to fabricate and therefore has a lower embedded energy factor and low energy is required to produce them.

 

Aluminium – Aluminium‘s strength and durability make it a favorite of architects by allowing more space for glass however, these windows do carry a higher price point and are therefore less popular with consumers. Aluminum comes is huge range of colors and finishes that are long lasting and tough. Unfortunately, aluminum is not an effective insulator and does corrode in salty air, so it should not be installed in coastal climates. Its low energy efficiency does not outweigh the recyclability of aluminum.

 

The four options listed above are of course not the only choices for your home window replacement project. Glass blocks, awnings and jalousie windows all offer aesthetic differentiation, interest and beauty wherever they are installed. By researching your options and comparing the factors important to your specific project, you can ensure that you choose the best windows. When installing your new windows, be sure to hire someone who is experienced with the material you have chosen to use. Proper installation is important not only for energy efficiency reasons but should you ever choose to sell, home inspectors, like those at Inspect-It 1st, examine your windows for proper installation and upkeep.

 

Looking for a trustworthy home inspector for your sale? Inspect-It 1st is the Nation’s Premier Property Inspection Franchise. Find a qualified home inspector near you!



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Series on Safety: Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide - gas stove burning. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas which has been responsible for an average of 170 U.S. deaths per year. Understanding when and where you may come in contact with carbon monoxide can help to protect you from the symptoms and effects of CO poisoning.

 

What: Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced when fuel is not burned completely. It’s especially lethal since it is impossible for people to detect its presence on their own. CO can build up in enclosed and semi-enclosed spaces causing dangerously high levels of exposure.

 

Where: Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur inside the home and go undetected if you don’t have a carbon monoxide monitor. Besides in the home, internal combustion engines also produce this dangerous gas.  Enclosed or partially enclosed spaces can trap CO from dispersion into the air.

 

When: According to the CDC, carbon monoxide poisoning can occur from a number of situations, prevention is the key:

  • Heating systems, water heaters and any other gas or oil powered appliances should be evaluated on a yearly basis to ensure they do not pose a risk of CO emissions.

  • Flameless chemical heaters (catalytic) should not be used indoors. Although these do not use a flame, they can emit CO that can build up in enclosed areas.

Symptoms: Carbon monoxide poisoning can be identified by a number of symptoms including

  • Headache

  • Fatigue

  • Shortness of breath

  • Nausea

  • Dizziness

 

Additionally, extended exposure to carbon monoxide can lead to:

  • Confusion

  • Vomiting

  • Loss of coordination

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Death

 

The importance of early detection of carbon monoxide poisoning can allow people to ventilate the room and reduce CO exposure. If you are worried about carbon monoxide building up in your home or garage, there are CO detectors available for purchase. Be sure to install the detector according to the manufacturers instructions. CO detectors should be placed high on a wall, away from heating vents.

 

If your new carbon monoxide detector does go off, leave the area immediately and head outside for fresh air. Call 911. Once you have determined what caused the CO build up, be sure to have that appliance serviced by a professional to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Don’t forget to replace the batteries in your CO detector on a regular basis to ensure it’s always in working order.

 

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that on average 170 people a year die from CO poisoning, and even more end up in the hospital due to CO exposure. Being aware of the risks and preventative measure that can be taken can keep both you and your family safe in your home. For more information on carbon monoxide poisoning, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission website.

 

Home inspectors examine potential in-home hazards including sources of CO emissions. Click to find out more about inspection services from Inspect-It 1st.

 



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Spring Lawn Care – Greening Your Garden

Spring lawn care - green grass.In our last blog, we provided tips on spring cleaning for your home’s exterior including tips for lawns and flowerbeds. Spring lawn care can be vitally important for improving the look of your home, as well as encouraging biodiversity around your property. Learn more about how to get started with your yard below. Before you know it, you’ll be a certified green thumb! After you’re done, drop in a comment with your favorite spring traditions involving your home’s lawn and garden.

 

First things first, assess the situation. How does your lawn look? Are your flowerbeds a mess of old growth and debris from a long winter? Understanding what may cause issues and what to address first will help you to prioritize and move forward with your plan of attack. Be sure to wait until the grass has perked up after a long winter so new growth has a chance to grow in.

 

Once your lawn has had time to settle in, it’s time to give it a good cut. Be sure your blades are sharpened so they will slice the blades of grass, rather than tear them. Next, it’s time to rake. Remove thatch from the surface of the soil. By removing this debris you allow air to circulate near the soil and help to dispel any snow mold that may have formed, especially in colder northern climates. Now that air can reach the soil below, aeration is the next step. Rent an aerator from your local hardware store and run it over the entire lawn so water and air have the ability to seep into the soil and feed your grass.

 

Seeding your lawn can now begin. Seed any thin spots or places that are bare with grass seed meant for your climate and and lawn. Fertilizer is also important, especially if you did not fertilize last fall. Make sure to pick a fertilizer that is formulated for spring as it will give your lawn the nutrients it needs to start the season out strong. After all this work, upkeep should be somewhat straightforward. Simply water and cut the grass regularly and remove any debris or weeds to keep your lawn healthy. Next fall, be sure to fertilize as well as remove any weeds that may have popped up.

Now that your lawn is all ready, it’s time to turn to the garden.

 

Much like the lawn, it’s important not to start too early. In cold climates especially, you should wait until the temperatures are consistently above freezing before uncovering your flowerbeds. Once you reach this point in the spring, it’s okay to uncover and clean out the beds. Remove any debris, mulch or garbage that may have gotten into the flowerbed during the winter months.

 

Once you have cleaned out the bed, you can go ahead and prep the soil. Get a good mix of manure, decomposed organic matter and soil from the bed. Filling the flowerbeds with healthy soil will help fertilize the plants and flowers you will be planting throughout the rest of the growing season. Be sure to edge the garden as well to prevent grass from entering the flowerbed.

 

While you wait to clean the garden, you can start seedlings in your home. Using a small grow light, you can start some of your favorite plants indoors so they are big enough to plant when the time comes. You can also begin pruning headier plants in the early spring. Cut back shrubs and woody plants to promote new growth. Just don’t get too carried away with the pruning as it can kill the plant.

 

Once you have prepped the flowerbeds and your seedlings are large enough to plant, it’s time to get digging. Try setting up the garden a few different ways to determine what you think looks best. Then, plant away! Avoid handling your plants too much as the added stress can break their stems and prevent them from growing. Dig a deep enough hole, place the plant in the ground, cover the roots, and pack the dirt lightly to ensure the plant is secure. Once your entire flower bed is planted, give it a good watering – but be careful not to overwater and drown the roots.

 

Spring lawn care can set you up for a very bountiful and beautiful lawn and garden. Not sure where to start when creating your garden space? Try looking at local gardening catalogues to get an idea of flowers you may like or walk through a local garden center to find your favorites and get inspiration. Be sure to find plants that are suitable for your climate. You can find your climate/planting zone through the National Gardening Association.

 



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