Picture this: You’re on your back porch in the middle of July, your body firmly planted in the greatest lounge chair known to man. You’re sipping on a tall glass of lemonade as your newly-acquired wireless speaker is blasting Oasis’ “Wonderwall.” You look at your sprawling garden and give yourself a mental pat on the back for all the work you’ve done.
Talk about an oasis.
Now, back to reality. In order to achieve this blissful moment, you first need to get your hands dirty. Lucky for you, we’ve supplied a list of 10 easy DIY garden projects to take on in the spring and summer months. Take a look and then grab a shovel.
10 Easy DIY Garden Projects
1. DIY Garden Walkway
Walkways and paths are almost always featured in large and elaborate gardens. If space permits, consider laying down stone or brick to make your garden easily navigable. The project will also provide a unifying feeling by tying together the different aspects of your garden. As far as DIY outdoor garden projects go, this one is a must.
2. Brick Flower Beds
Constructing a DIY brick flower bed is a fantastic idea for those that may not have space for a garden otherwise. A raised frame can add appeal and clearly define the dimensions of the space. This project can be completed in three rather simple steps:
Determine how big of an area you’ll need. Multiply the width of the bricks by the number of bricks.
Dig out the space to lay the bricks. Make sure the trench is deep enough to hold the bricks in place.
Place the bricks in your trench. Monitor each level as you go, ensuring the bricks are laying evenly
3. DIY Garden Sculptures
DIY garden sculptures can exist in many forms. They can range from a child’s school project to intricate statues. The key is to get creative. Accent your garden with fixtures that fit your personality. Look around your house for inspiration and find objects that may not otherwise be used.
4. Homemade Outside Benches
There’s plenty of tutorials on how to make a homemade outside bench. While some are challenging and take the hand of a carpenter, there’s plenty that can be built by even amateur DIYers. Benches (or other forms or seating) are a must for big backyards with gardens.
5. DIY Brick Plant Markers
Plant markers are a great way to mix design and functionality. Plus, it’s an easy project you can complete in a few hours. You can use brick, stones you find in your yard or on a beach, or really any other surface that will hold up. Then all you have to do is paint or write the names of the plants in your garden. Talk about an easy DIY garden project.
6. Unusual Garden Planters
Garden planters can come from anywhere. Nothing proves that more than the picture below. While you may not be ready for a toilet planter, don’t be afraid to explore your attic and garage sales for random objects. Odds are you’ll find a cheap option that can become a conversation piece in your garden.
7. DIY Outdoor Plant Stand
Your DIY garden project aspirations don’t have to die if space is a worry or if you live in an urban environment. Outdoor plant stands can look great in tight spaces and provide many of the same functions as a normal garden. Consider using an old ladder or differently sized wooden boxes to complete this project.
8. Homemade Yard Art
Art doesn’t have to be restricted to the typical garden gnome or pinwheels. Use old wooden drawers to display different items that reflect your personal style or whip out paint supplies to add a unique touch to brick and stone.
9. DIY Vertical Flower Beds
It’s well-known in the DIY world that pallets have many uses. Gardens are no exception. You can easily turn a pallet into a DIY vertical flower bed if you have wall space or something to support the pallet. If you’re seeking a rustic look, this is a great easy DIY garden project to try.
10. Homemade Porch Swing
Remember that oasis we talked about? No project is better at achieving that than a homemade porch swing. You’ll be able to sit back and enjoy the view of your beautiful garden. You can start to take on this DIY garden project by watching a tutorial on how to make a porch swing.
We slap paint on them, use them for displaying art and even mount our TVs on them.
Although there are many ways we bring our walls to life – plants are generally not one of them.
A living wall, also known as a green wall or vertical garden, is a wall of plants that can be attached to the interior or exterior of a building, requiring the same basic care as plants in the ground need.
While a living wall is something you don’t see every day, the idea of one isn’t as farfetched as you think.
In fact, living walls are becoming more commonplace in lobbies of hotels and corporate offices, as well as shopping centers, like this green monster in Milan. They vary in size and shape but provide the same benefits, such as:
They’re Aesthetically Pleasing
A green wall is a living work of art, and if designed well, can drastically improve the overall appearance of any home or building.
“It’s easy to lose touch with nature and forget its beauty when living in such a globalized and industrialized society, said Sara Abate Rezvanifar of Ambience Design Group. “What better way to brighten up your home and bring it to life than with the use of a living green wall.”
They Improve Air Quality
In addition to looking great, living walls help purify the air. They clean outside air of pollutants and offset the carbon footprint of people and fuel emissions. In the home, living walls help clean common air toxins such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde.
A living wall is like an umbrella for a building. It shields it from the sun, rain and wind, therefore increasing the integrity and longevity of a building’s exterior.
They Cut Energy Costs
As the temperature rises, so does the urge to crank the AC. Living green walls help control that urge by acting as a natural coolant.
In the winter, living walls serve as extra insulation, reducing the amount of heat that escapes.
They Increase Property Value
While living walls certainly aren’t a new concept, they’re part of a design trend that is growing in popularity. By adding a living green wall inside your home, you can earn LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) points. In return, this helps increase property value by being more eco-friendly.
They’re Good for the Soul
Do you feel more relaxed and less stressed around greenery? That could be because of how plants filter and remove toxins, leading to energy-rich oxygen. Plants also allow us to connect with nature, providing a sense of calmness in today’s fast-paced society.
Image Source: LiveWall
Thinking about making a living wall of your own?
According to Mike Haynes of LiveWall, the best way to incorporate a successful living wall in the home starts with research.
“It’s very important to select a living wall system that will give the plants what they need to be healthy long-term,” Haynes said. “This means giving them enough soil volume to grow a healthy root structure and orienting them so they can grow upright, like they do naturally.”
Spring officially starts in a few days, but if you just can’t wait, start thawing your senses now with our favorite reads of the season. This month we highlight stories to bring your home back to life, with guides to infusing your space with spring colors, fragrances, decor and more.
The Healthiest and Most Useful Plants
Some houseplants do more than beautify your home. Reader’s Digest has a great feature on five plants that absorb toxins, including florist and Thumbtack pro Elena Seegers’ pick: the easy-to-care-for spider plant. Other healthy plants include jade trees (no wonder they’re considered lucky!) and brightly-colored bromeliads.
We also love this guide from Country Living on how to grow and use lavender to attract bees and butterflies, make relaxing body oils, enrich lemony desserts, craft wreaths and tons more. You’ll want to put lavender in everything.
The Right Scent for Every Room
Think of fragrance as the top note to any clean room — it’s the final touch on a whole lot of effort. Real Simple features a captivating interview with fragrance expert Rayda Vega, who says that fragrance is “like music” — and you should pick the scent you use in each room accordingly.
If you’re not always sure what works where, you’ll love Vega’s room-by-room suggestions (try appetizing scents like thyme and apple for the kitchen and a subtle floral bouquet in the living room). The most common mistake people make? Sticking with just one note. Read the full article for tips on a more nuanced approach.
Plants that love humidity and don’t require a lot of light do well in terrariums. If you’re looking for a shopping list, try BHG’s list of top plants — spider ferns, clubmoss and begonias all made the cut. Add colored gravel to your container in spring colors to match the rest of your decor.
Light Spring Decor Ideas
Just in time to spruce the nest for spring, House Beautiful has a gallery of dozens of stunning home decor ideas. Unique wall updates in chinoiserie, stripes, and playful patterns factor heavily here, as do very bright colors inspired by spring blooms like mustard yellow and quince pink.
If you’re not up for a more effort-intensive update (lacquered ceiling, anyone?), there are plenty of lightweight fixes to love. You can’t go wrong with new table linens and dining pillows (both indoors and outdoors), for example.
Do you find yourself trying to talk homeowners out of a bad design decision while watching HGTV, daydreaming about how you would update the dilapidated house down the street, or enjoying your weekend DIY design projects so much that you've toyed with the idea of doing it full time as an interior decorator? Before you quit your day job, it's prudent to learn what going pro entails.
Paula Wallace, president and founder of Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), can vouch that it's not all dramatic makeovers and reality TV shows. We asked Paula to tell us what a degree in interior design entails, and since SCAD's program is consistently ranked among the best in the nation, interior design studies are close to her heart.
Paula divulged the two most important lessons every new SCAD interior design student learns ahead.
1. A Solid Design Foundation
You may have a knack for pairing colors or knowing the best spot to place a sofa, but to be a professional you need to know a lot more than that. At SCAD, all students must start in the School of Foundation Studies. "They master concepts in color theory, drawing, and two- and three-dimensional design to prepare for their majors. Students learn to balance the visual planes of a space and thoughtfully consider other sensory elements, such as lighting," explains Paula. She says foundational training is essential to being able to create expressions of color, texture, and pattern later on. It's ultimately what makes SCAD students' designs, "resonant and visually rich."
02. Professional Communication
It would be nice if becoming an interior designer meant that you got to customize every space according to your own fabulous taste, but going pro means that you are at the service of clients. And an interior designer who doesn't satisfy their client's needs and match their aesthetic won't last long. "Our students learn more than the principles of design; they learn how to fulfill a client's vision to create solutions and convey concepts as well as details for a space," Paula explains. "Effective and empathic communication skills are vital. Fortunately, SCAD students are awash in the study and practice of presenting and articulating design decisions. Their [class]work includes presenting to clients for real projects."
Now that it's March, home improvement season is underway.
But if you're thinking of redoing a room or deck this year, you might want to know which improvements will give you the most return on your dollar -- and which will give you the least.
New kitchen may not return as much as you hope
New kitchen? Five or 10 years ago, spending $25,000 on your kitchen usually meant you could get another $25,000 at selling time, because upgrading to stainless steel appliances would help your home sell faster.
But not anymore.
Bloomberg News states kitchen projects now return less than they did a decade ago.
Why? Home buyers now expect stainless steel appliances in all but the cheapest homes. Granite counters are almost standard, so they no longer "boost" your homes resale price the way they did a decade ago.
If your home has 1990s-era tile or laminate countertop and a white oven, that will pull down your home's value. Stainless steel has become the new standard in 2017.
Biggest return on investment
Still, a kitchen remains the best project for return on your dollar.
Among the best projects right now:
A kitchen redo: $24,000 on average, Bloomberg says, and you'll recoup 70 percent of the cost at resale. Remember: the first thing buyers look at -- after the outside of the home -- is the kitchen.
A full bathroom remodel: $10,000 on average, with a 62 percent return at resale.
Main floor half bath remodel: Only costs $3,000 but can really help sell a home.
Adding a deck: This remains a good investment: It costs $8,000, and it returns 70 percent of what you paid.
Lower return on your investment
But from the "doesn't that stink" file: Some projects don't return much on investment.
Home office: Bloomberg says converting an extra room to an office with built in bookcases costs $4,000, but you'll get back just 40 percent at resale.
Sunrooms and garage additions (such as making a two-car garage into a three-car garage) also don't bring the big dollars at selling time.
There is nothing wrong with them, and a sunroom will make your home much more enjoyable. But if you drop $20,000 on the project, you probably won't get it back.
Pool: And unless you are in Florida or Southern California, a pool won't increase the value of your home. In northern states, a pool can make your home harder to sell, as some buyers don't want to deal with it. A hot tub is cheaper, and easier to remove if the new owners don't want it.
If you want a sunroom or pool, they are great, as long as you plan to stay in your home a few years.
Don't overdo it
One finally caution: A high-end kitchen remodel, with granite and professional looking appliances, can now go north of $40,000
If you are in a neighborhood of lower-priced homes, you may never get that money back. And you'll say "doesn't that stink?"
So do your research, so you don't waste your money.
Interior designer Caitlin Wilson is an entrepreneur and a mother of three, so when it came to the kitchen, she not only prioritized the ease of use and serving, but also cleaning up.
The kitchen in her Portland, Oregon, residence makes clever use of space to eliminate clutter and maximize convenience. "I wanted it to look like an elegant, glamorous space but function like a restaurant," says Wilson, who is able to shuttle dishes straight from the stove to the large kitchen island, where the family enjoys most of its meals. Additionally, the layout of the sink hides any countertop messes from guests in the family room.
Dual Flow Burners deliver rapid, even heating that can reach up to 23,500 BTU, and the cooktop offers a total of up to 116,000 BTU with burners simmering at 140 degrees. A power griddle reaches 18,000 BTU. The dials offer precise control with LED halos that turn white, orange, and red to indicate heating up, preheated, and self-cleaning modes, respectively.
When choosing appliances for the streamlined space, Wilson gravitated towards DCS by Fisher & Paykel. The professional-grade 48" Dual Fuel Range makes a strong visual statement with the benefit of a powerful performance, contributing to the restaurant-style kitchen she wanted. "I love how seamlessly it fits in with the decor," says Wilson, who used a palette of neutral and metallic hues. "It services so many functions and offers versatility all in one place." With six burners and a griddle plate at her disposal, she can whip up several dishes at once while using fewer pots and pans. The oven boasts 12% more usable space than models with exposed bake elements, able to hold commercial-sized baking sheets. At the end of the meal, Wilson can turn on the oven’s self-cleaning mode and focus on being with her family.
While she wanted some elements to stand out, Wilson wanted others to blend in. The 24" DishDrawer® dishwasher is camouflaged as part of the cabinetry and ergonomically installed so that she doesn’t have to bend to load or unload it. It is strategically placed to allow her to peek into the children’s playroom, which is just beyond the kitchen. The adjustable racking system gives Wilson the option of running a smaller load, which she calls an "absolute game-changer for moms." The 36" ActiveSmart Refrigerator is also integrated with the cabinets to maintain a seamless look throughout the kitchen. Wilson praises it for being easy to organize with adjustable shelving options and LED lighting in all compartments. The cantilevered glass shelves are simple to clean, designed to contain spills and slide out for a quick wipe-down.
Ultimately, the kitchen is where the family most often connects. The kitchen island isn’t just for eating; homework, arts and crafts, and baking projects happen there as well. At night, Wilson and her husband have conversations while they do the dishes. With so much of the home centered in the kitchen, it was essential for Wilson to design a space that was welcoming and intuitive to navigate. She tells us, "My DCS appliances are one of the main reasons why I love my kitchen so much—each of them is easy to operate and aesthetically pleasing."
A Bardstown, Mt, Washington, or Shepherdsville home without a houseplant?? That’d be tragic! Not only do indoor plants bring beauty to a space, but many plants will even purify the air! Finding the right plant for you can be a tough endeavor — the ever-popular fiddle leaf fig? A hardy snake plant, which actually thrives when ignored? Or a prickly-but-pretty cactus? Once you’ve made the selection, you’ve got an even bigger decision on your hands — the planter.
We recently spotted a new line of modern planters. Pop Up Greens, a line of lightweight cylinder planters. And when we say lightweight, we mean shockingly so. The fiberglass material weighs next to nothing and feels a bit strange the first time you pick it up, expecting the weight of a terra-cotta or ceramic planter. This makes rearranging your home much easier — perfect for those decor commitment-phobes. Each one is hand painted, which means it can be customized to your space. And, our favorite part, these are best suited when you keep your plant purchase in its original plastic container. No struggling with bags of soil on a tiny apartment patio!
Pop Up Greens offers 5 size options, ranging in price from $75 to $200. See a few of our favorites in the slideshow, and shop the collection here.
2017 Remodeling for Bardstown and Bullitt County Residents
Homeowners are planning to spend more to improve their homes this year, up 6.7 percent to a total $317 billion, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. More remodeling activity generally indicates fit financials at the household level, as well as confidence and strength in the housing market.
“Growth in home prices is continuing at a healthy pace and encouraging homeowners to make remodeling investments,” says Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center. “Home sales are remaining on an upward trajectory, as well, and this, coupled with continued growth in remodeling permit activity, suggests another strong year for home improvements.”
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodeling Market Index (RMI) read 53 in the fourth quarter of 2016. (An above-50 reading signals more remodeling activity than less.)
“Many remodelers are seeing consumers commit to larger, long-term home improvement projects,” said 2017 NAHB Remodelers Chair Dan Bawden in a statement on the RMI. “As Americans are seeing wages and home values rise overall, it gives them greater confidence to go ahead and invest in their homes.”
“At 53, the Remodeling Market Index is consistent with NAHB’s forecast that remodeling market activity will continue to grow over the next two years, but at a more moderate annual rate of 1 to 2 percent,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.
In the fourth quarter of 2016, demand for “major alterations/additions,” according to the RMI, fell to a reading of 53, while demand for “smaller remodeling projects” rose to 52. Demand for “home maintenance/repair” fell to 54.
Bardstown, Springfield, Mt. Washington, and Shepherdsville Kentucky residents, here are some tips on staying safe while doing your own in-home projects. SERVPRO of Bullitt & N. Nelson Counties always encourages you to take all safety precautions while doing any construction projects.
Have you got a keen interest in DIY? It's a great way to get work done quickly, without spending too much money, but it can become an expensive activity if you or someone dear to you has an accident while you're working. You should always take the necessary precautions when you work and make sure that your work environment is as safe as possible. Below are some ways you can stay safe while you carry out home improvements.
Invest in the Right Safety Equipment
Before you even contemplate working on a new project, make sure you have all of the safety equipment you need. For instance, if you will be working above the ground, you need to have protective headgear and safety items like Harness Land fall protection equipment. These items could save your life and the lives of other people who are helping you to complete dangerous work.
Make Sure All of Your Tools are In Good Working Order
You should regularly check and maintain all of your tools. Faulty electrical tools in particular, have the potential to cause serious accidents and damage to property. Make sure there are no exposed wires and that your tools are not damaged or have defects that could cause serious problems.
A lot of the tools, equipment and accessories used to renovate a home or carry out DIY tasks have the potential to be dangerous if they are allowed to fall into the wrong hands. You should have a dedicated storage area where you can safely store your tools, dangerous substances and any other items that could harm you or someone else.
Organize Your Workplace
The more unorganized a workplace is, the more likely it is that an accident will occur. To address this issue, you need to declutter your workspace by removing obstacles that people could trip over or slip on. Any items that could cause a fire should also be stored in a safe place. This should be a continuous routine because it doesn't take long for a workplace to become untidy and dangerous again.
Prevent Other People from Entering Your Workspace
While you're working, you want to be able to concentrate on the job at hand. If possible, find ways to prevent other people from interrupting you while you work. Kids, in particular, could be at risk of injury while you are working on a project.
Double Check Everything When You Finish Your Work
Preparation is key when you want to do a good job safely, but it's just as important to check everything when you finish your work each day. For example, you should always make sure everything is stored away and that all of your electric tools are plugged out and no fire hazards exist.
Safety should be the main concern for every DIY enthusiast and home renovator. Unfortunately, not everyone takes this advice and eventually suffers the consequences. However, taking simple precautions like those mentioned above will ensure that you and those around you remain safe at the end of every building project you complete.
It’s that time of year again… Old Man Winter is nipping at your nose, chilling down your toes and – perhaps most distressing of all – driving up your utility expenses with the increased use of your indoor heating system. But wait: instead of automatically reaching for the thermostat dial, consider alternatives to heating the entire house at night. After all, the only room in use is the bedroom, so stay snug, lower your utility costs, and reduce your energy consumption with these easy ideas.
Check for Drafts
If your bedroom windows (or any other windows in your home, for that matter) have gaps or leaks, your warm inside air is leaking away to the outside, leaving you chilly and wasting your hard-earned money. Each season, check all windows and doors that open to the outside. You can use a draft detector, or simply a burning stick of incense to check for unwanted air movement. Fix those gaps and your room will stay warmer.
Use Warmer Bedding
It’s the obvious solution; when nature turns the thermostat down, it’s time to turn up the heat on your bed.
Just as with clothing, layers of bedding keep you warmer, so swap out those percale or sateen sheets for flannel, and top them with a warm blanket and a down-filled (or down-substitute) comforter. You can also go extra-warm with an electric blanket, but keep your plugged-in bedding on top, not layered underneath a comforter or duvet (and remember that electric blankets are only for the master bedroom, not for a child’s room and definitely not for the nursery).
Reverse the Ceiling Fan
Ceiling fans are a great way to reduce energy usage any time of year. In the summer, the counterclockwise rotation creates a cooling breeze that’s a treat on muggy, hot nights. But once the winter months roll around, it’s time to reverse your fan’s rotation to clockwise (most ceiling fans have a switch on the fan’s base that sets the rotational direction). Now the fan’s blades will pull warmer air from the ceiling, and push it lower into the room – right where you need it.
Try a Space Heater
While sleep experts agree that 65 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature for sound sleep, if your bedroom dips much below that, you can warm things up a bit without heating the entire house with a space heater. When choosing a portable heater, look for one suitably sized for your room, and place it far enough from the bed so that there is no chance of bedding coming in contact with the device. You’ll also want to play it safe with the cord – don’t stretch it across your escape route in case of emergency (or nighttime bathroom visits), and make sure the heater has a safety feature that turns it off automatically if it tips over or overheats. But while portable heaters are okay in the master bedroom, this is another no-no for a child’s room.
Wear Socks and a Knit Hat
If your significant other likes it on the cool side, but you’re shivering at night, warm yourself up by slipping on thick socks before climbing between the sheets (as a bonus, you’ll sleep better when your feet are warm) and add a knit cap to keep your head cozy. After all, there’s a reason those old-time illustrations show people sleeping in long, pointed caps – although today’s sleeping hats are likelier to be beanies. Either way, you’ll feel warmer and sleep tighter.
Move Your Bed Away From the Window
This isn’t a solution for every bedroom, but if your bed is normally positioned right under a window, you can sleep a little warmer by moving it to the other side of the room. Unless your windows are multi-paned (and even if they are, in very cold areas), the glass will cool down considerably during the night, thus cooling down the inside air near that window. As a result, you feel cooler, as well.
Lay Down a Thick Area Rug
While hard flooring, such as wood or laminate, has many benefits, warmth is not one of them. Do yourself a favor and lay down a thick, warm area rug during the cold months to help insulate your room and give your feet a warm treat when it’s time to crawl out of your snug bed.
Cover the Windows
Since outside temperatures transfer through glass, you can insulate your bedroom a bit by switching to heavier window coverings during the wintertime. So cover up your blinds or switch out those lightweight sheers with heavy, lined drapes. Choose a cheery color to chase away some of the winter gloom while you’re at it.
Time for a Hot Water Bottle
It might be old-school, but it works: slip a hot-water bottle under the sheets when it’s time for bed, and let your tootsies revel in the warmth. If you prefer a more high-tech version, there are heated mattress pads – both full mattress and foot-of-the-bed-only – that do the job quite nicely.
Plants bring a new dimension of liveliness into the home, varying in their beauty, adding much-needed color, and interplaying beautifully with the surrounding décor. However, plants do more than vivify your home. The best indoor plants are also incredible agents for expelling chemical pollutants.
The number of chemicals in our homes produced by household cleaners, paint, rubber, adhesives—you name it—is more ubiquitous than you may think. In point of fact, our places of residence are filled with chemicals that we usually don't give a second thought. The most common of these chemicals, formaldehyde is commonly found in household products and building supplies, benzene is in plastics and resins, and trichloroethylene can be seen in adhesives.
Plants add balance to the manmade products in your home, but seven in particular clear chemical agents with amazing effectiveness. Keep reading for the best indoor plants for clean air.
Aloe vera is a pretty magical little plant, and its medicinal properties are well known for treating minor cuts and burns. But there's another function to add to aloe vera's already impressive skills: air purifier. When it comes to clearing formaldehyde from your home, aloe vera is particularly adept.
Environmental scientist B.C. Wolverton's How to Grow Fresh Air names ferns as another great plant for removing formaldehyde from the home. On top of that, they are resilient plants that require little attention; indirect sunlight is best, and they can be watered just enough to keep the soil moist. Ferns also are nontoxic, making them some of the best indoor plants for pet owners.
Looking for the best indoor plant for clean air that will also add a splash of color? Bromeliads are a fantastic option. A study on volatile organic compounds showed that bromeliads were effective in removing six different chemicals, including acetone and benzene. Not only that, in that same study, the bromeliad managed to clear 80% of pollutants in a 12-hour period.
Dracaena is a tall, vivid plant—a great statement-making option for your home, characterized by the vibrant red stripes that mark the leaves' edges. When it comes to purifying, dracaena is particularly skilled at removing common toxins. It is also a low-maintenance plant, surviving in low light and needing water only when the soil starts to feel dry.
There are plenty of reasons to love English ivy, including that it is an easy plant to take care of—just provide a bright room and water when the soil gets dry. But English ivy also tops NASA's list as the most effective plant for removing benzene from the home, while also efficiently removing formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and other pollutants.
Don't underestimate the purifying powers of the palm. This plant topped NASA's list for being the most effective at removing formaldehyde. The bamboo palm in particular is adept at giving your home a little bit of fresh air. Plus, it's a nontoxic option for pet owners.
Peace lilies not only make for elegant additions to your home but are also some of the most effective indoor plants for clean air, even removing chemicals like ammonia. They are also very hardy plants, so peace lilies are a great intro to plant care if you're still unsure about your green thumb.
Here are 6 steps to help you keep warm this winter in Bardstown, Shepherdsville, and Mount Washington!
Old man winter is rearing his ugly head. This generally means energy costs tend to rise as we attempt to keep ourselves nice and toasty. During the winter months, between 40 and 70 percent of home energy is wasted! Try out some of these affordable tips to both help out our environment as well as to keep a few dollars in your wallet. Mother Earth and your pocketbook will thank you.
1. Just turn it down
When you go to bed and work, turn your heater down a few degrees. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save about 10 percent per year on your heating bills by turning your thermostat down 10 – 15 degrees for eight hours. It also gives you an excuse to break out those flannel sheets you love. Note that if you leave, you should never turn your heat completely off. Then, not only do you risk some frozen pipes (quite messy, I assure you from personal experience) but heating the house back up will actually use more energy and cost you more money than just turning it down a few. If you don’t want to spend the time and effort manually changing your thermostat every day, you can get a smart thermostat to manage it.
2. It’s curtains for you
A good way to keep those drafts from coming in the windows is to put up curtains. It is a relatively cheap way to keep the cold out and it also pretties up the room a bit. If you decide to go this route, make sure you open them during the day and close them at night. The sun is about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Use some of that heat to warm up your home during the day while keeping the curtains closed to keep out the midnight cold. Plastic window covers are also a good way to seal up those windows.
3. Get a humidifier
Humidifiers add moisture to the air. Dry air tends to be colder than moist air because moist air will hold heat better. Plus, it helps sinuses and lets you breath easier while you are sleeping. If you like, you can also add a few house plants to the home. It pretties it up while also helping to keep the air moist.
4. Reverse it
While it may sound a little odd, running your ceiling fan the opposite directions can help your home. Since warm air tends to rise, turning your fan to the clockwise position pull air upwards in the middle of the room, pushing the hot air at the top of the room to the sides and down the wall. It can boost the temperature of your floor level by as much as five degrees.
5. Keep it clean
Replace or clean furnace filters as recommended. Dirty filters can restrict airflow and increase energy use. As the filter becomes clogged, the air cannot pass through the system which can cause overheating. Also, those who suffer from allergies or respiratory issues will find that a dirty air filter can greatly change the feel of the home. When you go into winter with a clean filter, your unit (and wallet) will stay nice and tidy.
6. Seal it
Pesky drafts can come in from every nook and cranny in your home. Weather stripping from your hardware store will only cost a couple of bucks. Place those in your windows and doors and cover up the bottoms of your doors with a towel or a door strip. Also, make sure your chimney is sealed nice and tight. It’s great to sit by the fire with a cup of cocoa, but when it’s not going, and your flute is left open, it’s like leaving a window wide open. If it doesn’t seal all of the way, block the airflow with an inflatable chimney balloon or towel.
The first snowflakes of winter are a magical sight for some and a chilling one for others. Many of us welcome this time to hibernate through the blizzardy days, but it’s important to stay active in the winter months. If you find yourself feeling cooped up with a case of cabin fever, now is a great time to begin planning some winter home improvement projects to keep you moving! For those fortunate to live in warmer climates, think of these easy winter home maintenance projects as a productive distraction from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
Winter Home Improvement Projects to Lower Energy Costs
Switch to Energy-Efficient Lightbulbs and Fixtures
When winter hits, darker days and longer nights call for light fixtures, televisions and other electrical appliances to be used more frequently. Balance out your energy usage and reduce your monthly electric bill by investing in energy-smart light fixtures and lightbulbs.
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs) may cost a bit more than traditional halogen incandescent bulbs, but your return on investment is significant. According to energy.gov, an Energy Star-qualified CFL lasts 10 times longer and an LED lasts up to 25 times longer than conventional incandescent bulbs.
Not only will updated lighting save you money on energy costs in the long run, but these simple winter home maintenance projects may even help to lift your spirits and improve your mood, as many of us experience seasonal affective disorder during the winter months.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Customizing a home heating schedule can save money on energy costs. When away from home or during the night, a programmable thermostat helps to prevent excessive heating and energy use.
Our world runs on technology and as such, it’s only fitting that homeowners start updating their homes with smart features. Home automation allows people to remotely control household features, like lights, thermostats, security systems and sprinklers, from their smartphone or tablet.
Smart lighting is a great update to include in your remodel. You can use your smartphone to switch your lights on and off, change the brightness or hue and save money on your next utility bill.
Proper insulation in attics, crawl spaces and basements is the key to reducing heating bills. In older homes, many of us, almost literally, throw money out the window due to the amount of heat we let escape through cracks and crevices.
Seal up older windows by caulking cracks or holes where there is a noticeable draft. Window insulator kits can be purchased at your local home improvement store to help save on energy costs. To manage drafts from doors, weather strips are an easy fix.
Declutter Your Basement or Closet
While we long for the summer days of outdoor activities, we might as well take time to focus on the inside. I like to look at decluttering your home as “pulling the weeds,” but indoors.
Your basement, attic or overflowing closet are perfect places to start, but not all at once. Dedicate yourself to one space at a time and conquer it before moving on. Free yourself of unwanted or unneeded items and organize the rest with shelving or storage bins.
Accenting your sofa with a soft throw blanket and plush pillows is an easy fix that can go a long way. Let the creative juices flow and extend your color scheme to the window treatments. Curtains or shades not only add a cozy quality to a room, but also help to block cold drafts from windows.
If you’re seeking a more involved winter home improvement project, installing new carpet in bedrooms or family rooms will keep your hands busy and your feet warm. For those who prefer hardwood or tile floors, decorating with warm-patterned accent or area rugs will add much-needed comfort to your space for the winter months.
These 5 home maintenance projects will have you and your home prepared for even the coldest days of winter. If you have any other winter projects on your to-do list, let us know in the comments below. Stay warm!
Each year, the Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters — the majority of which are home fires. Whether a disaster impacts a single family or a hundred, the Red Cross is there when people need our help the most. The Red Cross doesn’t just help families recover from disaster; they also prepare communities before home fires strike. Believe it or not, home fires kill more Americans than all other disasters combined. The Red Cross is working to prevent these needless losses through the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign.
Join SERVPRO Industries in support of the American Red Cross by making a gift to support Home Fire Relief. Your gift to Home Fire Relief will support communities like ours nationwide by providing families and communities with the lifesaving tools and information they need to prevent and prepare for home fires, as well as offer critical recovery services to those impacted by home fires. Together, we can better prepare our community for home fires and support families who experience them. Thank you in advance for your support.
SERVPRO of Bullitt & N. Nelson Counties would like to give you some tips on how to protect your home while on vacation.
Prevent damage from power surges: It would really be bad if you come home and find many of your valuable electronic appliances and items damaged or destroyed due to a power surge. Consider unplugging the computer, TV, stereo and other electronics. Conversely, you could connect such items to a good surge protector. Just make sure that it is something which has a good rating and can withstand a large load of power.
Be careful what you say: Going on vacation is exciting and we all want to share with others about our upcoming trip. But try not to post about it on Facebook, Twitter, or on the Internet at all. This includes “checking in” to places on Facebook or Foursquare. Someone may see the post and decide to target your home while you’re away.
Alert your alarm company: If you do happen to have a security system, notify the company that you will be away. This is especially needed if you are going on an extended trip. Of course, it goes almost without saying to make sure that the alarm is set properly before you leave!
Protect your pipes: Especially if you live in an area where cold weather is a possibility, make sure that your pipes are protected. In vulnerable areas like the attic, basement and crawl spaces, make sure the pipes are well insulated. In such a situation, it is also very important to have a trusted friend, family member or neighbor stop by every so often just to turn on faucets to make extra sure that the pipes do not freeze.
Turn up or down the thermostat: You do not want to turn the thermostat off completely. In the winter, about 55 degrees seems to be the cut off point and 80 degrees is a good setting during the summer.
Water heater: Almost no one remembers to turn down the temperature on their water heater. This can be an excellent way to save electricity as well.
Lock everything: This is a no-brainer, but one that people often forget. Many homes are left unlocked at all hours of the day. You’re not protecting your home if you’re not locking the doors. Burglars look at an unlocked door as an invitation to enter and take what they want. Remember to lock all doors, windows, and your garage.
Secure valuables: Never leave anything of value out in plain sight. If you have not already done so, now may be a good time to consider placing any jewelry, extra cash or other valuables in a safe deposit box or even a secure hidden safe within the house. Nothing should ever be visible from any window.
Lock and secure the garage: Secure the door and any other entrances to the garage. Do this even if there is no way to enter the house from the garage (if there is an entrance to the house, then this step is even more important). There have been numerous robberies where the thieves simply grabbed what they could from the garage and then took off.
Outside spare keys: Do not leave any spare keys outside the house. All burglars know the trick of keeping a spare key under the welcome mat. Actually, if you are going away for more than a day or two, you would be well served to pick up any key that you have hidden in an outside ‘??safe’? spot. Consider leaving a spare key with the same trusted friend, neighbor or family member (possibly all three) who is going to be regularly checking on things.
Remember your mail and packages: A stuffed mailbox, newspapers on the lawn, and packages at the doorstep are other ways to tell a burglar, “Hey there! Come on in, I’m not home so take what you’d like!” Ask a neighbor to retrieve your mail, newspapers, and packages and hold them for you until you arrive home. Alternatively, if someone is already house sitting for you, ask them to do this for you as well. If you can’t find anyone to collect your mail for you, ask the post office and package delivery services to hold your packages until you are back home. Below are the links to FedEx, UPS and USPS.FedEx – Request a Vacation Hold UPS – Place a Vacation Hold USPS – Hold Mail Service
SERVPRO of Bullitt & N. Nelson Counties will soon be in Mount Washington, Kentucky!
SERVPRO is a leader in the restoration industry and our professionals are faster to any size disaster. We will be in your Mount Washington neighborhood soon!
Whether you need emergency flood damage restoration or top-to-bottom home cleaning, you can trust SERVPRO of Bullitt & N. Nelson Counties to make your house feel like home again. We have the training, experience, and equipment to quickly get your home looking its best. Our residential services include water damage restoration, fire damage restoration, mold remediation, storm damage restoration, professional cleaning services.
SERVPRO of Bullitt & N. Nelson Counties is moving from our Shepherdsville location and coming to Mt. Washington by the end of December 2016. We purchased a building on Highway 44 East, near the Mt. Washington Mc Donald's.
We are looking forward to being a part of the Mount Washington community. Call us, we're not far! We're here to help. 502-957-1956