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While everyone’s staying at home, a lot of people are hesitant to bring in outsiders for things like painting or smaller construction projects. This could be the perfect time to tackle some of those tasks as do-it-yourself jobs! There are many things around the house that you can do without having to bring in outside help. Or at the very least, you can get started and bring in someone else to finish later. One common pitfall for aspiring DIYers is not quite being prepared for the task at hand. Since the current goal is to limit trips out of the house to only the essentials, it’s a good time to take stock of what you have on hand and determine what if anything you might need for those DIY projects. Here are some common things that you should check so you’ll know if you need to make a trip to stock up.
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With the current state of the world, people are spending more time at home than ever. This provides for some great opportunities to bond as a family, and also gives some of us a bit more time to get things done around the house. Spending more time with your family can lead to some questions, though. One of the biggest is “Exactly what are we supposed to do now that we’re together?” Without the breaks afforded by work, school and other activities, trying to come up with activities for the whole family can seem a bit overwhelming. If you need some ideas on how to spend that family time, here are a few suggestions to get you started. Not only will these ideas help you to spend some quality time together as a family, but some of them might help you with some of those tasks around the house as well!
Planning (and Planting) a GardenEven though the year has gotten off to a rocky start, time waits for no one. We’re already getting into gardening season, so it’s time to start prepping the soil and starting your seeds. Since you’ve got the family all there at home, try to get everyone else involved as well. Plan out the size and shape of your garden plot and make a list of everyone’s favorite fruits and veggies to help decide what to plant. You can even get younger kids involved by letting them make row markers featuring pictures of everything you plan to grow.
Family Game NightsGame nights are a classic, but sometimes it can be hard to fit them in. Timing isn’t as much of an issue these days, however, so let’s play some games! These could be anything from board games to multiplayer video games or even tabletop role-playing games. Let the family decide on the specifics and plan out a new game night every week to help keep everyone entertained.
Movie TimeGoing to the movies is a popular family activity. Just because the theaters are closed doesn’t mean you have to give up on enjoying a film together, though. Make some popcorn, break out some snacks and cue up a favorite film on the TV. Several studios are releasing movies for sale or rental early, and some have even put new releases up for rental on streaming services even though they should still be in a theatrical run, so you can still catch some of the films that you might have planned on seeing as a family anyway.
Plan Some RedecorationsWere you hoping to redecorate this spring? You still can, and you can get the family involved in the process as well. Let everyone help pick out paint colors and decorations, especially in their bedroom or other rooms where they spend a significant amount of time. Even if you can’t get everything that you need for the project right now, this will let you plan things out in advance so that you’ll be ready to start once it’s go time.
Activities From a HatIf you aren’t sure what to do, have everyone get together and make a list of three things that you’d like to do as a family. Once you’ve got the lists made, put them all on a hat or other container and draw one of the lists out. Look at the listed items and let the family vote on which activity you’d like to do from the list. If you’re worried that the same person might win too many times, the next time you do it, have the person who won sit out the suggestions and be the one to draw the winning list instead.
Time Alone, TogetherSometimes, one of the best things that you can do as a family is just relax and enjoy each other’s company. Don’t assume that you have to fill up every available moment with activities. Take some time to read books, give the kids some screen time or do some other individual downtime activities. You can take this downtime in the same room, spending casual time together without having to be “on” and actively doing things together all the time.
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Working from home can be a challenge, especially when you’re not used to it. There are a lot of distractions that can interfere with your work, sometimes causing you to get so off track that you end up behind on important tasks. While many consider working from home to be a great perk, if you’ve never worked from home before then you might be surprised at just how stressful it can be! Fortunately, you’re not on your own. These are stressful times, and HomeKeepr is here to help you get through them. To that end, here are some tips that will make working from home for the first time a lot easier.
Set Up Your SpaceWhen you think of working from home, you might picture yourself lounging on the couch in your pajamas with a laptop on your lap. While some people do choose to work like this when working from home, for most home workers this sort of setup is going to kill any productivity they might have. Instead of taking a “work wherever I end up” approach, set up a desk or office space that’s intended solely for work-related activities. This will help you to stay on task when you’re at work and will keep work activities from bleeding over into leisure time.
Check Your EquipmentIf you’re used to having in-person meetings during the week, getting used to remote meetings via a video service like Zoom or Skype can be a bit of an adjustment. To make this easier, check your equipment beforehand to ensure that everything will work correctly when it’s time to start a meeting. This includes checking your webcam, your microphone and your speakers to make sure everything functions properly. There are websites and software solutions that help you with this, and some platforms like Zoom have built-in tests as well.
Keep to a ScheduleOne common misconception about working from home is that you automatically gain the freedom to work whenever you feel like working. While this may be true for some industries, if you’ve been working 9 to 5 for the last 10 years then that isn’t likely to change much just because your office is now in your guest room. Keep as close as possible to your regular schedule, allowing for possible reduced hours or other differences brought about by working from home. It can help to print out a copy of your “office hours” as well, both as a reminder to others that you’re busy with work and a reminder to yourself that you’re supposed to be on the job.
Avoid DistractionsIt’s said that one of the hard things about working from home is the fact that home is where we keep all our favorite distractions. This includes a lot of things, ranging from games to books to the TV. It also includes family members, who can be hard to ignore when you’re supposed to be on the job. As much as possible, try to avoid interacting with the people and things in your home unless you’re taking a break from work activities.
Don’t Make DealsIt’s easy to tell yourself that if you do something unrelated to work now, you’ll make up the work that you’re supposed to be doing later. Unfortunately, this tends to snowball, and the next thing you know you’re behind on everything you’re supposed to be doing. Avoid making these sorts of deals; instead choose to do those things or have those conversations during your next scheduled break, just like you would do if you were still going in to work. If there’s something you want to do that won’t fit into a regular break, try to get your current tasks done BEFORE you take the time off instead of bargaining that you’ll wrap it up after.
Stay ConnectedIsolation is difficult, especially if you’re used to working closely with your coworkers. You can fight this by calling them up, collaborating over video or even sending out daily emails or texts to check on everyone. Even though it’s not the one-on-one interaction you’re used to, the contact you have with your coworkers can still make a huge difference.
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Things are pretty scary at the moment. When you turn on the news, read a paper or just scroll through your social media feed, most likely you’re seeing one person or another talking about the COVID-19 pandemic. It can have a profound negative effect on your mental health, even if you live in an area where there hasn’t been any local sickness. How do you handle it, when it seems like there’s just so much to bear? For at least one possible answer, let’s look back a few decades. Fred Rogers, better known as the one and only Mister Rogers, gave some advice that had been passed down from his mother: “Look for the helpers.” We’re all in this together, and with a slightly different mindset you can remember this even in the darkest of times.
Look for the HelpersMr. Rogers is highly quotable, but his comment about looking for the helpers is probably one of his more famous quotes. Though there are a few different versions from different things he’s shared over the years, one of the most poignant and relevant to our current situation comes from a newspaper piece he wrote back in 1986: There was something else my mother did that I’ve always remembered: “Always look for the helpers,” she’d tell me. “There’s always someone who is trying to help.” I did, and I came to see that the world is full of doctors and nurses, police and firemen, volunteers, neighbors and friends who are ready to jump in to help when things go wrong. If you’re tempted to give into despair, just think of all the doctors, nurses, police officers, volunteers and everyone else who are still out there and still doing their jobs. Remember that they’re not doing it just because they need a paycheck; they’re doing it because friends and neighbors in their community need them to. They’re doing it to help.
Nobody Is AloneEverywhere we turn, the message seems to be about social distancing and self-imposed isolation to try and slow the spread of COVID-19. This is good and noble advice, but it can also be very lonely. Even if you have a family there with you at home, seeing only the same people day in and day out is difficult when you know that you’re not supposed to interact with others. It’s okay to feel that way, though… everyone else does. It’s easy to forget that other people are feeling the same fear, the same sense of isolation and the same uncertainty. They are common emotions that unite us all, even if we don’t realize it. A great way to fight these feelings is to reach out over the phone or a video chat and check in on friends in town, across the country or around the world. Talk about what you’re feeling and encourage your friends and family to talk about it as well. Confronting this fear is the first step in overcoming it.
Everyone Is EnoughIf you watched Mr. Rogers on TV as a child, you’re familiar with his recurring mantra that “you’re special just the way you are.” In the current situation, this means acknowledging that you still have worth, even if the best that you can do right now is to stay indoors. You don’t have to be a doctor or deliver meals to the elderly in your neighborhood; if all that you can do is stay out of the way and ensure that you aren’t spreading the virus, then that is more than enough. Not everyone has to give their all with each part of this: You’re special just the way you are, doing just as much as you’re able to do. Take care of yourself and encourage others to take safe steps as well. If you can get out there and help firsthand then do so, but don’t despair if you can’t. Look for the helpers, and you’ll remember that there are a lot of ways to help. We can do this together, and you’re an important part of that effort.
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There has been a significant amount of concern raised recently about COVID-19, a relatively recently discovered disease caused by a type of virus known as a coronavirus. A lot is still unknown about the virus and the disease that it causes, and this is causing some people a great deal of anxiety about it. Major conferences and events are being canceled, people are buying up supplies (even if they shouldn’t), and the internet is filled with memes teaching people how to wash their hands. COVID-19 has the potential to be a serious illness. Here’s some info that can help you to protect yourself, especially if you’re confused by some of the contradicting advice that you might have seen online.
What Is COVID-19?Even though it’s mostly referred to simply as “coronavirus”, the virus that causes COVID-19 is actually a novel coronavirus that’s been designated “SARS-CoV-2” and sometimes referred to as “2019-nCoV.” COVID-19 itself is a potentially severe respiratory illness that typically presents with fever, cough and difficulty breathing. While most people who become infected with COVID-19 recover, the disease can be severe and even fatal. Those at greatest risk from COVID-19 are individuals older than 60 years of age and those with preexisting conditions such as heart disease or diabetes.
Decluttering to Prevent IllnessIf you want to clean up to try and prevent coronavirus infection, a good first step is to declutter your home. This will eliminate surfaces where the virus could linger, making it easier to disinfect your home and keep it clean. Decluttering can also have a positive effect on mental health and anxiety levels, which can improve your overall wellbeing and even provide a bit of a boost to the immune system.
Disinfecting SurfacesThe US Centers for Disease Control recommend disinfecting surfaces with regular household disinfectant wipes and sprays. While many of these have not been tested specifically for use against SARS-CoV-2, they are effective against some other common coronaviruses and are likely to at least reduce infectiousness if not kill the virus completely. Other household cleaners and disinfecting practices are also likely to be at least partially effective.
Handwashing StationsOne of the best defenses against COVID-19 is good handwashing practices. As such, make sure that you have soap available by every sink and clean towels ready for use after washing your hands. Printing out a guide to proper handwashing and placing it near your sinks can also be a good idea, especially if you have young children who are still learning how to wash their hands properly. If you have any, having hand sanitizer accessible for times when you can’t wash your hands is also helpful.
Don’t PanicPerhaps the most important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t panic. Don’t stockpile supplies that you don’t need, buy sensible amounts of the things that you do need, and take reasonable steps like avoiding large crowds and not shaking hands. One of the best ways to stay safe from COVID-19 is to keep yourself clean, keep your home clean and apply some common sense to your preparations for the disease.
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It might seem like kind of an odd concept, but there are a number of companies that let you rent your home décor these days. Companies like Feather and CasaOne allow you to lease your furniture and other décor for a limited period or until you decide to buy it outright. Even some older rent-to-own companies have options to change furnishings after completing a portion of your lease. The big question is, how viable is this as a way to decorate your home?
Renting vs. BuyingWith just about any situation where you have the option to rent or buy something, there will be proponents on both sides extolling why that option is the better deal. People will discuss markets when talking about renting or buying a home, or depreciation rates when discussing automotive lease options versus outright purchase. With furniture, however, the discussions have long been fairly one-sided due to the excessive cost associated with many rent-to-own furniture options. Unless you had another other choice, buying your furniture was the only way to avoid paying nearly twice as much in some cases. The difference here is that these new options are intended as a way to provide flexibility in your décor instead of simply providing a path to purchase. While you do have an option to purchase, you also have the option to change your furniture options as your needs and tastes change. Because services like Feather are focused more on providing an actual service than simply selling furniture with installment plans, they have a larger focus on benefits than what you would get from a standard rent-to-own purchase.
Is It a Viable Option?There are two questions to ask when trying to decide if renting home décor in this fashion is a viable option for you. The first concern is the cost: is it really worth it to you to have the sort of flexibility these services provide, versus owning your furniture outright? Feather, for example, has a $19/month service charge in addition to the monthly furniture payments for members on annual contracts. If you don’t plan on taking advantage of all the services that Feather offers, it might not be worth paying this extra cost in your case. On the other hand, if you’re the sort that would like to be able to reinvent your living space on a regular basis, then the discounts and annual free change that membership provides might be more than worth that added monthly fee. The second thing to consider is how viable these companies are in the long term. If there’s no market for this sort of a service, then you might find yourself without a service to use a few years down the road. This may not be a concern, however; the market has supported multiple more traditional rent-to-own services over the years, but companies like Feather aren’t really competing with those. Instead, they’re taking an updated version of their model and targeting a slightly higher income bracket. With reasonable pricing, some great style and a solid service model in place, these early movers into this new bracket could have significant staying power.
Nailing Your DécorRegardless of whether you plan to rent or buy, it’s a good idea to plan out your décor before you start decorating. This is especially important if you’re using an online service like Feather where you’ll be doing your planning and shopping online. This is where it can help to have a professional interior decorator or designer there to assist you in choosing the pieces that will work best together. Fortunately, HomeKeepr can help you with that. Sign up for free today to find a decorator who will really help you pick the perfect accents for your home and tie everything together. Signing up is free, so you’ve got nothing to lose.
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FREE 90 Warranty with any home inspection we do. Some buyers and agents have used it over the years, ALL with positive reviews. Every party to the transaction leaves it with peace of mind. For appliances, all claims must be received within 90 days of the inspection or within 22 days of closing, whichever comes later.* For added peace of mind, you can extend it for 18 months. Seller’s selling old homes, buyers buying old homes love this option. It often makes deals happen that seemed lost. Schedule a Complete Home Inspection To schedule a home inspection, contact Reed today online or call (763) 434-3155. Home Detective is certified by over 4 leading trade organizations as a home inspection expert, such as the Midwest Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI), American Home Inspection Training (AHIT), American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd | Buyers Home Inspection Rogers | Certified Home Inspector Brainerd | Certified Home Inspector Rogers | Home Inspection Brainerd | Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers | Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspection Brainerd | Radon Inspection Rogers | Radon Inspection St. Michael | Radon Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspector Brainerd | Radon Inspector St. MichaelNo matter how thorough the inspection, issues come up after the sale from time to time with previously owned homes. It’s not the inspector’s fault, nor the agents or new homeowners. That’s why Home Detective offers a
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Caveat emptor is Latin for "let the buyer beware” because the principle has been around for centuries. Buried in small print on most “as-is” documents is a version of this “hold the seller harmless” language. In addition to providing peace of mind with a complete home inspection, Home Detective also provides a FREE 90 DAY Home Inspection Warranty, appliances included, with all of our home inspections*.As a rule of thumb, all home buyers should get a complete home inspection before they agree to close on a purchase agreement. But distressed homes, often times marketed as “fixer-uppers,” are usually vacant or have been for some time, lender/bank owned, and sold “as-is.” This means there is almost no information or seller disclosure available to the buyer to know what “known” issues may have or is currently affecting the property. As a result, there is an extra burden on the buyer to find out. Although fixer uppers/distressed properties are often sold at an attractive price and can be a great opportunity for many would-be homeowners, home buyers should partner with a professional like Home Detective to perform a complete home inspection. In the picture above, the property was obviously vacant with no heat, and the water in the toilet froze and burst. This will certainly be cleaned up by the listing company, but what else went on there? What about the water pipes? Is there a potential for mold? The questions are endless and Home Detective is professionally certified to help you answer them.
Schedule a Home InspectionHome Detective is certified by over 4 leading trade organizations as a home inspection expert, with rigorous knowledge and experience requirements that a jack of all trades can’t possibly offer, such as the Midwest Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI), American Home Inspection Training (AHIT), American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). These certifications along with years of experience will ensure you have peace of mind after you purchase your home. In addition to our credentials, Home Detective offers a Free 90 Day Warranty for all the home inspections we do with the option for an 18 month extended warranty. To schedule your home inspection today or for more information, contact Reed at (763) 434-3155. Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd | Buyers Home Inspection Rogers | Certified Home Inspector Brainerd | Certified Home Inspector Rogers | Home Inspection Brainerd | Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers | Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspection Brainerd | Radon Inspection Rogers | Radon Inspection St. Michael | Radon Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspector Brainerd | Radon Inspector St. Michael
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Routinely changing the air filters for your furnace is an important home maintenance task. This article discusses: why you should change your air filter; how often to do it; how to choose the right filter; and how to do it yourself.
Why Is It Important To Change Your Furnace Air Filter?Changing your furnace’s air filter is important for two reasons: 1) A dirty air filter makes your furnace’s blower motor work harder, which wastes energy. Changing your air filter can save you up to $50/year in energy savings; and 2) Over time, your furnace’s air filter gets clogged with the particles that it is made to take out of the air, and as such, as it gets dirty it can’t do its job of cleaning the air in your home.
How Often Should You Change Your Furnace Air Filter?The frequency of when you should change your air filter can range between once every month, to once every 3 months, and for your particular home it will depend on several factors:
- If you have someone in your family that has respiratory problems, such as allergies or asthma, then you will want to change your furnace’s air filter more often.
- If you have a high level of particulates from pets, smoking, construction projects, etc., then you will want to change your air filter more often.
- The recommended frequency will also depend on the efficiency of the filter that you use. Higher efficiency filters do a better job of removing smaller particles from the air, but they also get clogged faster and therefore need to be changed more often.
How To Choose the Right Furnace Air Filter?Similar to how often you should change your filter, the choice of the right air filter for your particular home and living situation depends on a number of factors. The first thing to consider in choosing the right filter is knowing its size. To find the size of the filter you need, just check on the side of the current filter that is in your furnace. Most filters will have the size written right on them (see types, costs, and reviews of furnace air filters). However, if you have any doubts as to whether the correct size was originally installed, then it is best to check with your furnace’s manufacturer. The next thing to consider in choosing the right filter for your home is the MERV rating of the filter. Merv ratings are used to rate the ability of an air filter to remove dust, pollen, mold spores, bacteria, etc. From the air as it passes through the filter. Merv ratings range from 1 to 16, and the higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particle that the filter can trap. Some of the most common filters found in residential use only have a MERV rating of between 1 to 4. These are relatively inexpensive, but they do NOT do a good job of filtering the air, because they will not stop particles smaller than 10 microns. Filters with MERV ratings of between 5 to 8 are a better choice, and these filters will catch particles as small as 3 microns. Filters with a MERV rating of 9 to 12 will stop particles in the 1 to a 3-micron range, and these filters are a great choice for homeowners who want the best particle control possible. And finally, the most efficient filters have MERV ratings of 13 to 16 and will stop particles as small as .3 microns. These filters are used in hospitals and other super-clean environments. IMPORTANT: If you decide to use a high-efficiency air filter with a MERV rating of 9 or higher, then it is very important that you remember to check the filter each month (which is easy to remember if you have signed up for your free reminders from Home-Wizard.com!). And replace the filter if it looks dirty, otherwise, it can become blocked and cause your furnace blower to have to work harder, which will cost you more energy to operate it. So don’t get higher MERV rating filters unless you are sure that you will be replacing them often. The various types of filters include electrostatic, pleated, HEPA and activated carbon. Some are disposable and some are washable. But what really matters is the MERV rating, as described above.
How To Do-It-Yourself?Replacing your furnace air filter is one of the easiest do-it-yourself tasks there is, once you learn how. Here is a short YouTube video that shows the typical location of your furnace filter and how to replace it: replace the furnace filter. And here are the steps to follow for replacing your furnace filter: Step 1: Find out where your existing filter is located and read the size that is written on the side of it. Step 2: Decide what MERV rating is appropriate for your home situation (see above). Step 3: Purchase your filter. You might want to consider buying enough to last you the entire year, so you have them available as needed, without having to make extra trips or online orders. Step 4: Turn off your furnace. This is best to do right at the breaker, but you can also do it at your thermostat. Step 5: You will want to check the existing filter to see which direction the “airflow” arrow is pointing on it, as you will want to install the new filter in the same direction. Most filters will have an airflow arrow printed right on it. However, if you are not 100% sure the direction is correct (for example if you have just moved into the home), then you can do what is called the “string test”: tie a string firmly to your finger, then turn your furnace blower on; next, bring your finger with the string on it near the opening where your filter opening is, and see which direction the air causes the string to flow. . . this is your air flow direction. Just be sure to tie the string FIRMLY to your finger, so it doesn’t get sucked inside your furnace! Step 6: Remove your old filter. Step 7: Install your new filter, with the proper air flow direction. Step 8: Write the current date on the side of the new filter (in case you forget when it was changed). Step 9: Clean up any dust, debris, etc. Around your furnace. Step 10: Turn your furnace back on. Hopefully, this article has helped you understand why you should change your air filter; how often to do it; how to choose the right filter; and how to do-it-yourself.
For a Home InspectionHome Detective is certified by over 4 leading trade organizations as a home inspection expert, with rigorous knowledge and experience requirements that a jack of all trades can’t possibly offer, such as the Midwest Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI), American Home Inspection Training (AHIT), American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). These certifications along with years of experience will ensure you have peace of mind after you purchase your home. In addition to our credentials, Home Detective offers a Free 90 Day Warranty for all the home inspections we do with the option for an 18 month extended warranty. To schedule your home inspection today or for more information, contact Reed at (763) 434-3155. Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd | Buyers Home Inspection Rogers | Certified Home Inspector Brainerd | Certified Home Inspector Rogers | Home Inspection Brainerd | Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers | Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspection Brainerd | Radon Inspection Rogers | Radon Inspection St. Michael | Radon Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspector Brainerd | Radon Inspector St. Michael
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If you have air registers in your home for either air conditioning or heating, then you have what is called "forced air ventilation ductwork" in your home. And with this comes special issues for saving energy and ensuring healthy air quality. This article discusses what you can do to save energy and improve your indoor air quality from the forced air ventilation systems in your home. Your forced air ventilation ductwork has two types of systems: 1) distribution; and 2) supply. The supply system of ductwork draws air from places around your home, and delivers it to either your furnace or your air conditioner . . . Or in some homes, to both. The distribution system of your forced air ventilation ductwork takes the cooled (or warmed) air and sends it to other places around your home. When your air conditioning or heating system is running, you can put your hand over an air register and tell if it is supply or distribution duct by feeling which direction that the air is flowing.