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Do-It-Yourself Center
 
Here you will find Videos, Articles, and Tips for simple home repair projects you can do yourself!
 
 
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Go Green & Get Tax Reductions
                     
Tips for Winterizing Your Home
By making certain home improvements you can receive up to 10% back in tax credits.
 
Before cold weather arrives, use these tips for winterizing your home.
 
                                                                     
Gutter Maintenance       
 
Co2 Dector & Smoke Alarm Saftey
3 simple ways to prevent gutter jams, back up, and damage.                                                 
                                                                                                                                   
                  
Important information you should know about placement and maintenance of carbon dioxide and smoke alarms.
 
Articles & Tips
 
HEATING TIPS FOR A ENERGY-EFFICIENT HOME
CREATING A BACK YARD DINING ROOM

Each year homeowners spend millions of dollars heating and cooling inefficient homes. Here are a few energy saving tips to make your home more efficient.

  • Turning back your thermostat by just 10 to 15 percent for eight hours a day can trim your annual heating bills by up to 10 percent.
  • A programmable thermostat (figure A) can do this automatically, helping to minimize unnecessary heating and cooling when not at home.
  • Stop drafts by caulking and weather stripping doors and windows, and close vents and doors to unused rooms.
  • Have your home's heating and cooling systems serviced prior to peak seasons -- and change filters (figure B) monthly to allow for better air flow.
  • If you rely on propane to heat your home, fill your tank before cold weather hits, and talk with your propane dealer about spreading out costs to keep your winter bills more manageable.

Note: Know what propane smells like. There are propane leak detectors and pamphlets with scratch-and-sniff spots.

  • Reduce the cost of hot water by setting your water heater to 130 degrees instead of the standard 140 degrees.

Note: Propane water heaters can cost one-third less to operate than electric water heaters. They recover hot water twice as fast as electric water heaters. You can increase your water heater's efficiency by draining it every six months to remove lime deposits and sediment.

  • You can further reduce hot water use by installing a flow-restricting showerhead and by filling your washing machine and clothes dryer with full loads.
  • To get the most out of your gas stove, select one with an electric ignition so the pilot light isn't always on. An electronic ignition uses 40 percent less energy than a standard pilot light.
  • Make sure the burners on your stove are burning with blue cone-shaped flame. A yellow flames means air inlets or burners need repair.
  • Finally, check the seal on your oven door regularly for gaps or tears that let heat escape.

Remember, an energy-efficient home is not only more affordable; it's also more comfortable.

  • A plain backyard can easily become "entertainment central" for family and friends.
  • A sheltered, level spot near the house is a good choice for the focal point of the new gathering spot.
  • Simple steppingstones (figure A)placed as far apart as a normal stride make a welcoming pathway.
  • A flea market table can be perfect for outdoor meals and it doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Give it a quick cleaning, a coat of primer and exterior paint.
  • A buffet for serving dishes, drinks, and extra utensils (figure B) can be made out of rustic logs with a 12-inch board on top. A contrasting color of paint adds pizzazz. Screw in the legs and you’re done.
  • There’s plenty of room underneath for ice chests and coolers (figure C).
  • A handy cleaning kit for spills and tidying up will save many trips back to the house.
  • Add lightweight indoor/outdoor dining chairs and exterior rope lights to brighten the space at night (figure D)and you’ll be ready for a season of great outdoor parties. 


 Extras

  • Pace off pathway to find spots for steppingstones. They should be far enough apart for normal stride. Mark positions with sand or water-based paint. Dig and level a hole for each stone 1/2-inch larger in diameter and as deep as the thickness of the stone. Spread a thin layer of sand on the bottom, about 1/3 inch. Lay stone, tromping on it to make it stable.
COMPLETE PAINTING KIT
SAFETY IN THE KITCHEN PART OF EVERYDAY LIVING
The key to any paint job is having the right tools.



These basic painting tools (tray, roller, cover, handle, and brush) are all you need for touch-up painting jobs.

If you are like most homeowners you'll wind up doing some painting, finishing, or refinishing over the next few years. Even if you decide to hire a professional painter for the big jobs, consider investing in a basic tool kit for painting projects. You always can expand it later as need arises and your are more comfortable with your painting skills.

A basic painting tool kit will include these items:
  • Paint brushes or paint pads for applying paint and other finishes to smaller surfaces (better brushes will cost more, but will last a lot longer and spread paint more easily and evenly)
    Paint roller (frame and cover) and tray for applying paint and other finishes to larger surfaces (a better quality roller cover will last for years and apply paint more easily and evenly)
  • Cartridge gun for applying caulking and other sealers
  • Scrapers and sandpaper for removing paint and other finishes from wood, metal, or plastic
  • A-frame ladder or sturdy stepstool for reaching higher locations

Kitchen safety is as elementary as brushing your teeth. However, if either is neglected it can turn into a major problem.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association has 40 Guidelines for kitchen planning, which stress safety in the planning and design of the kitchen space.

In remodeling or designing a kitchen, there are certain aspects of design that must be followed:

        Such as installing ground fault circuit interrupters on all receptacles within the kitchen.

         A fire extinguisher should also be visibly located in the kitchen, away from cooking equipment and 15" to 48" above the floor so that someone could grab it without being in danger. One mistake many people make is putting the fire extinguisher on the back of the cooktop or in a hard to reach place. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 60,000 fires take place annually when food ignites on ranges and no one is there to extinguish the fire. Someone calls the fire department an average of every nine minutes to report a range-related cooking fire.

        The cooktop or cooking surface in the kitchen should not be placed below an operable window unless the window is 3" or more behind the appliance. Curtains and other window coverings could easily catch fire if the cooktop was left unattended or a grease splatter occurred. If windows are behind a cooking surface, they should not be dressed with flammable window treatments.

        Another safety issue in the kitchen concerns children. Make sure that pot and pan handles are turned inward so that curious little ones don't pull them off the stove.

        Putting child-proof latches and hooks on all kitchen cupboards, especially ones that hold cleaning fluids and chemicals, is vitally important.

        Try not to place candy or cookies over top of ranges. This will reduce the attraction of kids who would think nothing of climbing on the cooking surface to receive their afternoon snack.

By following some of these simple guidelines, your kitchen can be a safe and relaxing place for both you and your family!