Inexpensive Ways to Save on Your Home Heating Bill This Winter

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Tips To Make Spring Cleaning A Breeze

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Beyond Curb Appeal

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10 Emergencies Every Homeowner Should Know How to Handle

Burst Pipe

Whether it’s a broken radiator or a rusted-out drain outflow, a burst pipe can cause a lot of trouble in a short period of time. If water is gushing, close the valve closest to the link first, then shut off the main water valve into the house. Once you’ve turned off the main water supply, reopen the smaller valve and slowly drain any remaining water into buckets.

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Black Out

During a power outage, the safest course is to disconnect all appliances and electronics. That way, you’ll avoid damage from power surges when the juice returns to your home. Take great care using candles for illumination, exercising proper fire safety, and be sure to stock up on batteries and flashlights. You can find more power outage safety tips at Ready.gov.

Gas Leak

If your carbon monoxide detector sounds or you simply detect a gas odor, evacuate the house immediately. Once you’ve relocated to a safe location, call the gas company’s 24-hour help line and ask them to send a technician to check your home for leaks.

Basement Flood

Before you charge into a flooded basement to rescue your belongings, be safe. Turn off the circuit breaker to the house (or, if you can’t reach the circuit box, call your utility and ask them to do it for you). Wear thick waterproof boots and gloves to protect against toxic elements in the floodwater.

Roof Damage

For patching a roof battered by storm damage, tarps nailed down with wood strips are the quickest and easiest fix. Just be sure to let any weather pass and take all precautions before climbing up—or even better, call a professional to do it for you, then arrange for more permanent patch-ups to happen as quickly as possible.

Furnace Malfunction

Somehow, the furnace always seems to give out on a frigid evening —and Murphy’s law states it will happen on a Saturday night, when the repairman charges double his usual rate. Before you pick up the phone, check to see if a clogged filter or a tripped circuit breaker might be the culprit.

Locked Out

Getting locked out of the house is a little embarrassing, and, if you have to call a locksmith, can be mightily expensive, too. Keeping a hidden key poses security risks. So remove your extra key from inside the hide-a-key garden stone or from under the back porch door mat, and consider leaving it with a trusted friend or neighbor instead.

Kitchen Fire

First, don’t panic. Keep a box of baking soda in a handy spot for dousing flare-ups in a toaster or stovetop pan. Avoid tossing water on the blaze, and don’t try to smother the flames with a dishtowel or anything that could catch fire. The better course of action is to use a pot lid to extinguish the flames. If it’s an oven fire, don’t open the door—close the oven and the fire should extinguish itself. Although some fire extinguishers are rated to extinguish grease fires, those handheld fire fighters can spread flames rather than extinguish them when used improperly. Educate yourself on the types of extinguishers and how to use them so you’re always ready in case of a disaster.

Flush Fail

Obviously, a plunger is your first line of defense for a clogged toilet. If you’ve cleared the clog but flushing troubles persist, open the tank and investigate. The handle may have gotten disconnected, or part of the flush mechanism may need to be replaced.

Animal Invasion

When backyard wildlife finds their way indoors, they can wreak havoc in a home. If a wild animal gets into your house, keep it contained in one area. Open a window, close all the doors, and it should find its way out. If it doesn’t, call animal control

Preventing and Removing Mice from Your Home

Homeowners have a strange relationship with mice. Some of us welcome them into our home as pets, while others try to keep them out or kill them off with traps and poisons.

As the nights get colder mice get braver and attempt to take refuge in your warm home. Unfortunately, the relationship isn’t always mutually beneficial. Mice can get into your food, chew through wires, and leave their droppings in all corners of your home.
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So what’s to be done about a mouse in the house?

There are really two steps to taking care of a mouse problem. The first is preventative, and the next is removing any mice that have found their way in.

Preventative steps

Without taking preventative action, you’ll have to repeatedly deal with mice entering the home year after year. What are preventative actions? Mice enter your home through small holes in the exterior of your home. That can mean cracks beneath doors, in windows, or holes in floors, foundations, and walls.

To stop mice from taking advantage of these vulnerabilities, make sure the bottom of your doors seal tightly. Taking time to inspect your home isn’t only useful for keeping mice out, it could also help you save on heat and prevent water damage.

A good way to keep the mice out of your home is to take away what’s bringing them there in the first place: food. If you find that mice are getting into your pantry items or bread basket, use jars or plastic containers those mice won’t be able to penetrate.

Another option for preventing mice is to use a deterrent. Mint plants and bay leaves are both natural mice deterrents. Moth balls also work but are poisonous to pets and humans, so if you have kids or pets this isn’t the best option for you.

One final way would be to employ a feline companion. Mice are less likely to stick around if the house has a cat that will constantly be stalking them.

Removing mice

The only way to remove mice from your home is to trap them, one way or another. First off, avoid using glue traps at all costs. Mice will try to escape by any means, including gnawing at their own limbs, and the glue injures their eyes. The most humane way of removing mice is a live trap. Live traps are reusable and easy to set up. Once you’ve set a live trap, be sure to check it frequently, as mice can easily starve or dehydrate if the trap is forgotten.

Once you’ve caught a mouse, you can place a towel or blanket over the top to calm them down as you transport them. Be sure to follow local regulations about trapping and  releasing wild animals.

Afterwards, just clean out your trap and store it in case you ever need it again.

A Dozen 10-Minute DIYs for a Pest-Free Home

Nothing spoils a backyard barbecue faster than a swarm of bugs moving in on the food and beverage stations. For that matter, you probably don’t want creepy-crawlies or furry friends invading your indoor dinner soiree, either. And after all of that hard work in the garden, who wants to see pesky pests destroy the fruits of your labor? But a bug-free home doesn’t need to cost you a lot of money or time shopping for repellents, pesticides, or traps. The ingredients for many pest control products are already right there in your pantry or laundry room. Check out a few of our favorite DIY solutions to common home and garden pests.

Source: A Dozen 10-Minute DIYs for a Pest-Free Home

Mudroom Makeover for under $100!

mudroom makeover after with focus on hooks, chalboard, storage bench  mudroom makeover before

For a busy family, even a small mudroom can change the whole flow of a home. Just ask Emily Allison, whose entryway off the garage of her Houston home caught a lot of clutter but lacked a real system for corralling the family of three’s outerwear and bags.

To devise a fix, Emily cleared out the space so she could create a mini drop zone. First, she used paint she had on hand to make bold navy and white stripes on the wall of the entry—a feature she’d wanted to include in her home elsewhere but lacked a logical spot for.

Then, she worked with her cousin’s husband, Ben Landers, to design a custom storage seat, which he built for her out of cabinet-grade birch plywood. Emily painted it with the same leftover white paint used on the walls to give it a bright, clean look. Storage baskets borrowed from other parts of the house provide places to hide shoes.

A charming coatrack—a $10 garage-sale steal—holds outerwear, keys, and her 3-year-old’s school gear, no longer strewn around the house; a new chevron rug stops dirt at the door. “Sometimes you do a room and get tired of it,” says Emily, who blogs at decorchick.com.

“I still really love that room. I haven’t changed a thing about it!”

The Project Tally
• Created large graphic stripes on the wall with paint she had on hand $0

• Constructed a bench from birch plywood and pine 1x2s and 1x4s, then trimmed it out with stop molding before coating it with leftover paint $65

• Scored a chalkboard coatrack at a yard sale $10

• Finished off the space with a bright cotton area rug$20

Total: $95

via Mudroom Makeover for $95 — This Old House: Home Improvement Advice and News