Home Tips

* Do not leave the stove unattended while cooking.  Do not use water on grease fires.  Replace or repair faulty appliances.  Keep multi-purpose fire extinguishers available in the home.

* Avoid overloading extension cords and circuit breakers.  Flickering lights and fuses that blow often are indications of problems.  Keep electrical cords out of high traffic areas.

* Have your fire place and chimney inspected and cleaned once a year.  Use a metal mesh screen on your fireplace to contain hot embers, and leave glass doors open while burning a fire.  Open the flue before lighting a fire.

* Never leave candles unattended or near flammable materials such as books, curtains and tablecloths.

* Have an evacuation plan in the event of a fire or emergency.  Be sure to designate a meeting place outside the home.

* Dress for the job.  Always wear protective eyewear, clothing, boots and gloves as appropriate.

* Check drill bits, saws, and cutters regularly.  Keep them sharpened to maintain efficiency, and to avoid unsafe conditions due to dull cutting edges.

* Keep products with electrical cords away from water.  Check power tools before each use for frayed cords or broken plugs.

* When working at heights or climbing, position you ladder on a level surface. Keep your weight centered on the ladder and don’t lean out.

*  Do electrical work only if you have the knowledge.  Shut off circuit breakers, and make sure all circuits are dead before you start work.

* Retrofit or replace outdated water fixtures. Low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators save valuable water and energy without sacrificing comfort.

* Repair dripping faucets and leaking toilets.  A leak of just one drop per second can waste 3,000 gallons of water per year.

* Showers, especially with water saver shower heads, use about half as much hot water as a bath.  Limit your shower time to 10 minutes or less.

* Replace older toilets with a new low-gallon flushing toilet which uses much less water with each flush.

* Use the microwave whenever possible to prepare you meals as it consumes considerable less energy than stoves and conventional ovens.

* Cook smaller meals with electric pans or toaster ovens instead of turning on your stove or large oven.  Also, using a pressure cooker can greatly cut energy use due to its fast cooking times.

* Keep your refrigerator and freezer fully stocked since it takes more energy to cool and empty fridge.  Remove old foods regularly so you don’t waste electricity keeping them cold.

* Clean condenser coils regularly to keep you refrigerator running efficiently and to reduce your electrical costs.  Make sure your refrigerator and freezer door seals are airtight.

* Always run your dishwasher at full loads, and skip the heat drying cycle.  Allow the dishes to air-dry on their own.

* Select plants that will grow well in your local climate, and group them in zones according to their watering needs.  When possible, use drought-tolerant as they will require less watering and maintenance.  Aerate compacted soil to reduce to reduce water runoff.

* Trees can cut your heating and cooling costs.  Plant deciduous trees on the south side of your home to provide shade during hot months, and evergreen trees on the north side to block winter winds.

* Use organic gardening products and natural fertilization techniques whenever possible.  Fertile soil will help improve drainage, moisture penetration, and water retention.

* Place a two to three inch layer of mulch such as pine bark or shredded chips around trees and planting beds to retain soil moisture and prevent weeds.

*Install sprinklers, drip emitters or soaker hoses to water your lawn and garden.  Reduce your watering schedule or water only when your grass or plants show signs of needing it.  Water during the coolest part of the day to avoid excess evaporation.

* Inspect your roof for leaks, missing or broken shingles or tiles.

* Clean gutters and downspouts to prevent them from clogging with leaves and other debris.  Make sure the downspout outlets drains water away from the house.

* Check driveways and walks for cracks, breaks or erosion damage.  Patching a hairline crack in concrete with sealer can help prevent the crack from expanding.

*  Make a quick visual inspection around your foundation to make sure there are no cracks or gaps.  Inspect the foundation walls for loose or cracked mortar.  Replace any damaged bricks and fill in cracks.

* Regularly have your heating/air conditioning system inspected and serviced.  Change your air filters to keep your home comfortable.  Remove dust from all grills and ducts.  Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors at least once a year.

* Select a few focal points of interest to highlight such as the front entrance or trees.  Use spotlighting to show off a focal point such as a fountain, statue, or beautiful plant.

* Try downlighting to illuminate a certain object.  The elevated light is placed out of view such as in a tree.

* Utilize uplighting to cast light upward to illuminate tall plants or trees.  This make them look impressive and grand.

* Experiment with moonlighting by placing lights throughout the inside of a tree.  This creates the dramatic illusion of moonlight filtering through the tree limbs.

* Try using shadowing on statues and garden sculptures by placing an object so that it casts a shadow on your landscaping.

* Lock all doors and windows when leaving the house, even if only for a short time.  For an extended leave, have a neighbor or family member get your mail.  Install an automatic timer for indoor and outdoor lights.

* Mount your tree on a sturdy base.  Keep it at least 3 feet away from furnaces, radiators and fireplaces.  For an artificial tree, make sure it is fire-retardant.

* Replace any strings of lights that are frayed or broken.  Be sure the lights are certified for indoor or outdoor uses.

* Some plants such as mistletoe or holly berries can pose risks to small children and pets.  Keep them well out of reach.

* Never leave candles unattended or near flammable materials such as books, curtains and tablecloths.

Vist my website: http://www.marilynwilsonrealtor.com

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