Strategically placed lighting can make any space in a home warm and inviting. To do this, perhaps you automatically think of using electrical lighting, but, is it possible to incorporate daylight to brighten up the space? Because this is a method that uses natural light to brighten up a space, it also saves on energy costs. What are some of the methods used for incorporating daylighting in a home?
There are several ways that daylighting can be used to illuminate a dark area. One of the more commonly known methods is with the use of skylights. These can add a great deal of light to a dark space, just remember that if you do decide to install them, choose double-paned windows, and make sure the flashing is done properly.
Another method of incorporating natural light into a home is with light tubes. These tubes are coated with a highly reflective material designed to channel sunlight through them. They also have a lens that amplifies low-level light and reduces the sunlight’s intensity at midday. As daylight enters the home's interior space, it does so through a diffuser that evenly distributes this light.
Clerestory windows are yet another way to use natural light to your advantage. Positioned high on a wall, these short but wide windows allow sunlight to pour into a room during winter months, increasing light and heat but, at the same time, the roof overhang prevents too much sun during the summer.
If you are having a house built or renovating your present property, why not think about incorporating daylighting into the design and increase the home's energy efficiency at the same time?
Assessing fire risk in the home is an important part of keeping your household safe. One area that can become a potential fire risk is the laundry area, more specifically the dryer. Let us look at some of the ways a dryer should be maintained to keep it working safely and efficiently.
A dryer works by forcing hot air into a drum of wet clothing as it is gently tumbling. While this is happening, water vapor evaporates from the clothes. The water vapor then needs to leave the machine which it does through the attached dryer vent. Lint is another byproduct of the drying process and this also needs to exit the machine so that it does not start to accumulate.
The dryer will be at risk of fire if the water vapor is unable to exit the dryer which would cause it to overheat. If lint, which is highly flammable, cannot exit the machine it will also start to build up, creating a very great potential for fire.
What are some simple ways you can avoid a dryer fire? Always check that the dryer vent is attached to the machine and that there are no kinks or bends in it that would cause it to become blocked, and every time the dryer is used make sure the lint trap is empty and clear.
As we are now spending so much time at home, it’s a good idea to have a think about safety in the home.
One area that deserves consideration is tip-over hazards. Many accidents are caused by furniture tipping over so what are some ways to avoid this?
When you are looking for a piece of furniture to buy, it’s good to ask yourself whether it would tip over easily. This would be of particular concern in homes where there are small children. If you can, choose pieces that have a sturdy, wide base that would make them bottom heavy. To further stabilize the item, keep heavier items in lower drawers or bottom shelves.
One item high up on the list of tip-over dangers is the television. If your television sits on a unit, make sure it’s one that is low to the ground and keep the tv far back on it. Any attached electrical cables should be out of sight if possible.
If you purchase self-assembly furniture, make sure you follow all the attached instructions. This would also include using the straps or L brackets intended for fixing the item to a wall to prevent tip-over risks.
Lastly, store items that you don’t want a child to get hold of, not just out of their reach but out of their sight as well. This should prevent them from being tempted to climb up on the furniture to reach it.
Feeling safe and secure in your own home is a requirement for all of us. As homeowners will naturally then do everything we can to ensure this. While you may think about the different ways an intruder could enter the home, what about your exterior doors? Could they be an area you need to improve on security?
You may be surprised to learn that one of the methods an intruder could use to enter your home is with a bump key. This is a type of key that has been cut in a special way that enables it to be used in pin-tumbler locks. In case you’re wondering, a pin-tumbler lock is one of the most common types of lock in the world so you can see the need to be aware of it.
Unfortunately, bump keys can be rather easy to acquire. A person simply needs to know the manufacturer of the lock they wish to use the key for. Using a bump key is also pretty easy and takes little time or skill to master, another factor that appeals to would-be thieves.
Finding and installing a bump proof lock can be difficult and expensive but there are bump-resistant locks available and these are more commonly found so they may be a better option.
One of the best defenses for your home is to install an alternative type of a security system, designed to raise an alarm and alert you to any intruder trying to break in.
We all know moving house can be an extremely stressful event so, it’s no surprise if our desire to live an environmentally conscious lifestyle may not be a top priority on moving day. However, there are some things you can do ahead of time to, not only reduce the stress of moving but at the same time do your part to protect the environment. Here are a few suggestions:
Sorting through belongings we no longer use is a good idea whether we are moving house or not. One way to do this is to separate items into piles, have one pile for items you wish to keep, one pile for items you want to donate and another pile for a yard sale, etc. It is a good idea to start this process well ahead of the move which will enable you to recycle your unwanted belongings instead of throwing them away, and only keep the items you want to take with you to your new home. This will also make life easier when it comes to unpacking them.
There are certain household items that, if thrown into the garbage, have a very negative environmental impact. These items include chemicals, paint cans, used batteries, light bulbs, and electronic equipment. By sorting through these items well ahead of the move, you will have the time to dispose of them in the correct manner. If you are not sure what to do with them, give your local environmental agency a call and they will be able to advise you.
Yes, moving day can be very stressful but by taking the time to sort through your belongings ahead of time, you will reduce the stress and do your part to protect the environment.
We know that this is the time of year when many people will spend extra time at home with family and friends. More time at home means a greater risk of accidents taking place in the home so, with that thought in mind, we felt this would be a good time for a few safety reminders.
There is nothing like a cozy open fire when its cold outside, however, to make sure it remains a source of enjoyment be sure to remove any flammable items that you have around the fireplace before you light it. It's also important to double-check that the flue is open.
It is not just the fireplace that poses a fire risk, there are other potential fire hazards to check such as fraying wires or broken bulbs in string lighting, also be careful not to leave lit candles in a room unattended or close to combustible materials. It is a good idea to check all carbon monoxide and smoke alarms to make sure they are working well and not in need of new batteries.
Will there be having small children staying with you during the holiday period? If so, make sure you pay extra attention that any dangerous objects such as knives and scissors are well beyond their reach. Poinsettias are a popular plant this time of year, but did you know that they are poisonous? Be sure to keep this beautiful plant out of reach of children or pets as well.
These safety reminders will go a long way to ensuring an accident-free home.
Anyone with children will know how much they love to climb and access areas that are not safe for them. While falling over is something every child does frequently without incurring injury, falling from height has a very different outcome. So, childproofing areas of the home that are dangerous for them is essential. Windows are one such area. Here are some low-cost, simple childproofing options available for windows:
You can also help childproof the home by the way furniture is positioned. Do not arrange furniture so that it is underneath a window or placed in a way that a child can climb on it and reach one. Another important reminder is that if windows have screens in them, these will provide no protection against a fall, so it is still necessary to take additional safety measures.
Is it really time to start preparing our homes for winter? For many of us, the thought of ice and snow is not a pleasant prospect but, by getting ready for it now, before the temperature drops too low, we will ensure our homes stay warm and cozy. Here are a few areas of the home that you should get ready for winter:
Obviously, during the winter months, the main priority is heat so this is something to prepare for now. Test your heating system by turning the thermostat up and observe the length of time it takes for the system to respond. If you notice it’s taking an unusually long time, the system may need to be serviced. This is also a good time to change air filters and have the oil or propane tank filled (if this is what you use to heat the home). For homes with fireplaces its important to have this inspected as well as the chimney to make sure it's working well and not blocked in any way as this could be dangerous for the occupants of the home.
The home's plumbing system can take a beating during the winter months. Pipes are often prone to freeze and burst in unheated areas of the homes such as the attic and crawlspaces. To protect against this, cover pipes in these areas with fiberglass or foam insulation and keep the temperature of the home at a level high enough so that pipes in unheated places do not freeze
No doubt, during the fall months you will have some yard work to do. On your list of jobs to get done, be sure to include having the gutters cleaned out. Any debris that is left in guttering will freeze and become heavy leading to damaged guttering. If any water and air are left in a sprinkler system this can cause cracks to develop so make sure the system has been drained. Outdoor furniture will also need to be protected by either storing them in a dry, covered place or by placing a protective covering on them.
While there are many more ways to winterize your home, these simple suggestions will help you make a good start.
For many homes and apartments cockroaches can be a real issue. They spread disease, multiply in huge amounts and are very resilient so naturally we will want to do all we can to prevent them from moving into our homes but, how can we do this? Here are a few simple suggestions:
First of all, we want to eliminate things that attract them. While cockroaches can survive many different types of environment, they are attracted to moisture, dirt and grease. One area of the home where all these elements can be found is the kitchen. The kitchen should be kept very clean so give it a thorough scrub on a regular basis including underneath and behind all appliances, even the larger ones. If you have pets, try not to keep their food out for very long. Any food items should be kept in tightly sealed containers and the trash can should also have a tight lid on it. Keep the sink as clean and dry as possible. Its also good to remember that cockroaches tend to stay away from well lit areas so you might want to keep a few lights on at night. Cockroaches also love the bathroom; this is another room to keep very clean and as dry as you can.
As we have discussed, cockroaches are drawn to moisture so if you its good to check the home for any dripping taps or leaking pipes which may be attracting them. If you do find this, be sure to fix the problem immediately. You will also want to look out for possible points of entry that cockroaches are using and seal the areas up.
Naturally doing all we can to prevent a cockroach infestation is the key but, what if you already have a problem with them? It would be best to call in a pest control company to come and tackle the problem. However, after they have treated the infestation, you may want to place boric acid in areas you have previously seen them to keep them under control.
Have you found an area of mold forming in your home? If so, maybe you’re wondering if it is something you can just clean up yourself or whether you should call in a professional to take care of the issue. The answer to that depends on a number of things, however, most of the time if the area of mold is not covering more than 10 square feet, it can be dealt with by the homeowner. Here are some points to consider before you begin:
As you are likely well aware mold spores can have very harmful effects when breathed in so be sure to wear a respirator mask when cleaning up mold and put on the appropriate protective clothing.
While you may think that cleaning up the mold will be the end of it, the reality is that mold will not grow unless it has moisture. The presence of mold is likely being caused by an underlying issue in the home such as an undetected water leak or other water related problem. You will need to address this issue otherwise the mold will continue to grow back again.
If you have discovered mold in carpeting, the best thing to do is to replace it. Mold is very difficult to remove from a carpet so it’s usually best to get rod of it. Mold will also leave staining of soft furnishings even after you have removed it so have this in mind when you’re deciding whether or not to keep moldy curtains or cushions etc.
Before repainting a wall that has had mold make sure the area has been scrubbed well using detergent and water and is completely dry, if not, paint may start to peel. If you need to use caulking in bathrooms etc. its important that you don’t put it where mold is still present.
Yes, mold can be cleaned up yourself in small areas but, as we mentioned, this does depend on a variety of factors. Before starting the job, consult with a mold remediation specialist for advice.
PARKER AND WEST ENGINEERING, PLLC.