No matter what time of year it may be, or how clean you keep your home, there can be a hidden danger, lurking, waiting to strike. It can be growing right now, as we speak, threatening to cause health problems for you and your family. It’s pervasive, invasive, and unwelcome in any home. Often, you don’t even know you have it, and it can be hard to spot, even while damage is being done. What is this hidden menace? Mold, mildew, and common allergens!
Some people are extremely sensitive to common allergens, mold, mildew, bacteria, and other unpleasant things that can develop in your home office, garage, and elsewhere. Others may not be sensitive to these problems, but can, over time, develop serious health issues as a result.
In all cases, these hidden dangers should be identified and dealt with, in order to reduce any harm that may come to you or your family members. It’s especially important for those people who have small children, the elderly, or anyone with high sensitivities or depressed immune systems to deal with these problems promptly and professionally, before they have a negative impact on your life.
The best way to ensure that allergens, mold, and mildew in your home is identified, treated, removed, and is less likely to reoccur is to have a professional inspection service conduct tests in your home. In the greater Los Angeles area, FunGuy Inspections is a leading company that performs these tests, and many other related diagnostic and investigative services. They can help identify what is growing in your home, what’s spreading in the air, and – most importantly – how to get it treated, and steps to take so that it won’t happen again.
Indoor air quality is much more important than most people believe. The average American spends 87 percent of their life indoors, according to the EPA. If we’re not outside getting fresh air, then it’s essential to do everything we can to improve the quality of the air inside our homes and offices. Here are seven eco-friendly ways to do that without emptying your wallet in the process.
Go Green — Literally
Going green, in this case, doesn’t refer to using eco-friendly products or separating your recyclables. When it comes to improving air quality, the concept of going green is a little more literal. Adding plants to your home can help improve interior air quality naturally, at the cost of a bit of water a few times a week. According to NASA, some plants are better than others for this task. To find the best plants for cleaning the air in space, the agency compiled a list of common houseplants that can be used to remove everything from benzene and ammonia to formaldehyde from the air around them.
Most of these plants, from snake plants to English ivy, can be picked up at your local nursery for a few dollars each. Plus, research has shown that keeping houseplants can improve your mental health, so it’s a win-win.
Leave Your Shoes Outside
How many of you reading this wear your shoes all the time, even if you’re in the house? If this sounds like you, you’re not alone, but you may also be contributing to the poor air quality within your home. When you wear your shoes indoors, you’re tracking in everything you’ve stepped in during the day, from dust and pollen to dangerous chemicals. These molecules are cast into the air every time you take a step.
Start by leaving your shoes on the porch or just inside your front door. If you need to have something on your feet, keep a pair of slippers or house shoes that you can wear while you’re indoors. This little change can improve the quality of the air in your home without costing you a dime.
Call a Professional
If you’re trying to save money, it might be tempting to try to repair your home’s HVAC system on your own. This kind of DIY is only a good idea if you’re an HVAC professional. Otherwise, you may find yourself in over your head with the system’s high voltage power and dangerous refrigerants. One improperly tightened seal could leak coolant into your home, severely compromising your interior air quality and putting both yourself and your family at risk. Releasing refrigerant into the atmosphere is also dangerous for the environment.
Calling a professional, licensed technician might be expensive, but when it comes to your home’s HVAC system, it is the most eco-friendly option available.
Adding organic fruits and vegetables to your diet isn’t just a great way to avoid ingesting pesticides or other dangerous chemicals — it can also help to protect the air quality of your home. The compounds that preserve traditionally farmed produce can permeate the air around them, especially if you leave some of your fruits or vegetables in bowls or on the counter rather than in the fridge.
Going organic might be a little bit more expensive than buying regular grocery store fruits and vegetables, but in the long run, it’s better for your health and the air quality in your home.
Fix Those Leaky Taps
Areas that don’t get a lot of foot traffic, like your basement or utility room, might have leaky taps that are ignored. Even minor leaks can be detrimental to your interior air quality, though. The damp environment created by those leaks creates the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. Both of these organisms release spores into the atmosphere that can cause allergies and exacerbate existing breathing problems like asthma and COPD.
Depending on the severity of the leak, you may be able to do these repairs yourself. For anything you’re not sure about, it’s always a good idea to call a professional. As a bonus, repairing those leaks will reduce your home’s water usage, which is also eco-friendly.
Quit Smoking or Head Outside
Tobacco smoke is one of the most significant contributors to indoor air pollution. While it is illegal to smoke or vape indoors in public places, no such rules exist for private homes. Quitting is the best thing you can do to improve the air quality in your home, but if that isn’t an option, then taking your habit outside can help keep your interior air cleaner.
Secondhand smoke is dangerous to human health, so keeping it out of your home can help improve the health of everyone who lives there.
Limit Products With VOCs
Volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) appear in many products you might use every day, from your aerosol hair spray to the cleaning products beneath your sink. To make your home a little bit more eco-friendly while improving interior air quality, limit the number of VOCs in your home. With so many eco-conscious consumers making educated decisions about the products they buy, it’s easier than ever to find green cleaning and beauty products.
Do a quick search for low-VOC products, and you’ll be surprised at how many options are available for you to choose from. They may cost you a few dollars more than the chemical-based alternatives, but when it comes to eco-friendly options that are also wallet-friendly, you can’t do much better than this.
You don’t have to empty your wallet to improve the quality of the air in your home or business. It can be as simple as adding some greenery to each room or swapping out your bleach and ammonia cleaners for green alternatives.
According to ABC News consumer counseling agencies see a 25 percent increase in the number of people seeking help in January and February, and most of that traffic is propelled to their doors by holiday bills that haunt consumers like the ghost of Christmas past. Christmas shopping on a budget can help.
For many of us, while we have the lights up and the tree decorated, there isn’t anything under the Christmas tree yet. You may not have bought a single present or even budgeted for presents. Here are nine easy, last-minute Christmas shopping tips for busy people trying to do their shopping on a budget.
1. Make a shopping list
Write down the list of people you plan on buying gifts for. Critically consider who should be on your gift list and don’t be afraid to trim it. Start with your immediate family and close friends, and selectively add to your list from there.
2. Set a spending limit
Many people overspend on Christmas gifts by letting their emotions get the best of them. It’s easy to feel guilty when it comes to holiday spending. Do you need to spend $50 on every one of your nieces and nephews? Definitely not.
Figure out the total amount of money you want to spend on presents, and divide it up among each person on your list.
For example, if you decide to spend $400 on presents, that might be $150 for your spouse, $50 for your parents, and so on. And if this is the season to pop the big question, there are ways you can save money on an engagement ring.
It’s the thought that counts, not the price tag.
3. Pay in cash
The easiest way to not go into debt is to use cash instead of credit to buy gifts. You’ll be forced to stick to your b
udget. When you use a credit card, it’s way too easy to lose track of how much you’ve spent and on who. Plus, an extra $10-$15 here and there go unnoticed but add up quickly.
Use the cash budget – you’ll thank yourself in January when you don’t have any Christmas debts to pay.
4. Shop by yourself
If you shop alone, you’ll likely spend less money, especially if you have friends with poor money habits. A shopping partner in crime can distract you from your plan by convincing you to buy something unplanned and unnecessary.
It’s very easy for someone else to spend your money.
This would look great on you!
You know what you should buy is…
Haven’t you been looking to get one of these?
5. Tis the season to give, not buy
Guilty! I love buying myself things I want, when I want them. And my wife Katie hates it because it’s one more thing she can’t get me for Christmas for the man who’s impossible to shop for.
In December we institute the ‘no shopping on Amazon for yourself rule.‘ If I want something, I can add it to my wishlist or ask for it for Christmas. Our rule also helps avoid splurging and spending less.
This is the season for giving, not receiving. If you find something you can’t live without, add it to your wishlist. If nobody buys it for you, pick it up on sale after Christmas for yourself.
6. Shop for sales at discount stores
To get the most out of your holiday budget check out the discount stores where you can find discounted items and great deals. To save even more look to buy discounted gift cards to pay for your purchases.
Costco / Sams Club
If you shop exclusively online, remember Amazon may not always have the best price. Be sure to check out eBay, Walmart, and specialty stores.
7. Don’t go crazy on the kids
How many toys can a child play with at once?
You got that right – one
Try this gift-giving idea where each kid gets four presents:
There are a lot of ways to save money on babies and toddlers too.
8. Wrap a lot
My wife Katie loves having many presents to open. And she loves socks. Instead of wrapping six pairs of socks in one box, I’ll divide them into a couple of boxes. Or if I buy her only three pairs of socks, I might wrap each pair individually.
If you are giving a Christmas gift that has several parts to it – tools, an outfit, kitchen utensils, – wrap up each item individually. Your recipient will have more to unwrap and a fun time doing it. If you care about doing an awesome wrapping job, learn how to wrap a present.
9. Buy a combined gift
You can save money while still giving great gifts by giving a slightly more expensive gift to two or more people instead of buying individual gifts for every person.
For example, if we purchase a Barbie Dream House for my three nieces they can all enjoy it, instead of buying a Barbie Corvette for each of them.
For kids – video games, board games, play sets
For couples – an experience, weekend getaway, new T.V.
For parents – framed family photo, tickets to a show
Christmas Shopping On A Budget Reduces Stress
It’s a stressful time of year for many people with money being tight or having a lot of people to buy presents for. To avoid the big credit card bill that will be due in January and to keep from paying for gifts from now until next Christmas, have a shopping plan and a spending budget. Know how much you’ll spend on each person, what you’re going to buy them, and pay in cash.
Give yourself the gift of starting the new year with less debt and more money in your pocket!
Thanksgiving is a traditional American holiday responsible for bringing family and friends to the table year after year. Young and old alike come together to share delicious, mouth watering food and express gratitude for everyday blessings and triumphs. A beautiful holiday, sure, but a beautiful holiday that will do some temporary damage to your pristine home kitchen. Eek!
Preparing a massive Thanksgiving feast for hoards of family members and friends alike is an overwhelming idea to many. Even if many of us are experienced Thanksgiving hosts and hostesses, the task of shopping, preparing, cooking, and cleaning an enormous meal in ones own house is an exhausting task for anyone to fathom. Although its never an easy feat to prepare an enormous meal by hand, there are a few organizational tips, tricks, and hacks that will make your holiday prep a little easier this year.
Want to simplify your mealtime preparation this holiday? These Thanksgiving tips & tricks will make difficult kitchen tasks a pinch. Bon appetit!
At the store:
1.) Split up your supermarket trips
An entire feast’s worth of grocery bags is a lot for anyone to carry, and if you try to buy all of your Thanksgiving supplies in one trip you’re bound to forget an ingredient, or come across supermarket shelves so bare you’d think the apocalypse was here. Plan your time and split your shopping trips up, which will save you the pressure of trying to cram everything in the trunk in one trip.
2.) Make a thorough list
Plan your Thanksgiving dinner menu in advance, then making a detailed list of what you’ll need to pick up. Divide your list into perishables (milk, produce, eggs) and nonperishables (spices, canned goods, flour). Buy your nonperishables first, then return for the turkey, dairy, and vegetables a few days before you start cooking your feast.
3.) Prioritize your refrigerator
Sure you can fit it all in the fridge, but can you successfully shut the door? Empty your refrigerator of everything that isn’t essential, like jars of jelly, salad dressings, or anything expired. Plan ahead that you’ll need the extra space, and try to use up as much leftover food as possible in both the freezer and refrigerator.
4.) Designate a place for dry/extra storage
Because refrigerator space is precious on Thanksgiving, anything that doesn’t need to be refrigerated should be stored in a cool, dry place. Store hearty produce like potatoes, apples, and cranberries in the basement, garage, or trunk of the car. Any food that needs to stay chilled? Use a beach cooler filled with frozen ice packs to store the turkey, casseroles, or any other food that needs to stay cool. An iced cooler stored in a low temperature location should keep your food fresh for at least 24 hours.
5.) Create a prep list
A organized prep list lays out (in order) all of the tasks you need to accomplish two days prior to your Thanksgiving feast.
Identify what can be made a day ahead of time. Recipes like pies and gratins can be prepared in advance and refrigerated.
Identify which dishes will take the longest to make on Thanksgiving day, then prioritize your recipes and allow yourself with a little extra time with each one.
Look at cooking temperatures and see what dishes can go into the oven simultaneously. Use your smartphone or timers to set alarms to keep track of both the dishes in the oven and on the stovetop.
6.) Organize recipes
Nothing is worse than rifling through recipes when you’ve got hot food on the stove and six other things to do. If you make copies of your recipes in advance, you can then stick them on appliances with magnets, or tape them onto the cabinets at eye level. This will not only save precious counter space, but you can slip the recipes into plastic sleeves and file them away for next year.
7.) Designate your help
Although many of your Thanksgiving guests genuinely want to help you put together a beautiful meal, the old saying holds true that too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth. To keep a busy kitchen from feeling too crowded, try to move as many activities out of the kitchen as possible. Set up a drink station in the living room, or a small prep table outside of the kitchen for extra work space.
8.) Time to Eat
Although you’ve planned your meal timing perfectly, there are a few helpful tricks to keep some tricky food items hot.
Keep your gravy piping hot? A thermos will do the trick just fine.
A cooler will retain heat, and can hold stacked foil dishes or covered pots.
A microwave oven is insulated, and can be used as a resting place to keep a hot dish warm for a half an hour.
A Crock-Pot will keep your mashed potatoes, rice, or stuffing warm (you can even set it to low for longer periods or time).
9.) Something sweet
Although you and your guests are ready for your famous pecan pie, it’s impossible to clear the dishes and serve dessert at the same time. Taking a coffee break between courses is the perfect way to give time to clear the table after dinner. Create a dessert station in the dining room with plates, forks, and coffee cups. Press the brew button when you (and your helpful guests) are clearing the table, and have the cream and sugar bowls ready in the refrigerator ahead of time. Your coffee will be ready and the table will be clear, making it the perfect time to present the dessert.
10.) The dreaded cleanup
Dinner is finished and your want nothing more than to put on your house slippers and spend quality time with your guests, but you dread the mountain of pots and pans waiting for you in the kitchen. After dinner, fill big pots with soapy water and use them for soaking utensils and plates. The cooler can also be used for soaking larger items, and as long as everything is immersed your cleanup can be put off until you’re up to it. Set up a lined garbage can ahead of time so food scraps can go directly into the trash, and voila! Your mountain of dishes is a problem for tomorrow.
Blасk mold iѕ аlѕо оftеn rеfеrrеd tо аѕ tоxiс black mold оr ѕtасhуbоtrуѕ. It has the potential to cause numеrоuѕ hеаlth problems, and it iѕ fоr thiѕ rеаѕоn that it iѕ imроrtаnt thаt blасk mold iѕ dealt with еffесtivеlу. Thiѕ iѕ thе mоld that hаѕ been liked to ѕuddеn infant ѕуndrоmе, аnd it can also lead to tоxiс ѕуmрtоmѕ ѕuсh аѕ hеаdасhеѕ, fatigue, nausea, аnd brеаthing problems. Likе аll mоldѕ it can triggеr asthma аnd аllеrgiеѕ. It can be diffеrеntiаtеd frоm other fоrmѕ of mоld because оf its ѕlimу grееniѕh-blасk color.
In mаnу instances thе bеѕt advice fоr dеаling with mold will bе tо gеt thе professional in; a rulе оf thumb is thаt if thе mоld is соvеring an area grеаtеr than tеn ѕԛuаrе fееt thеn you аrе going tо nееd ѕоmе еxреrt help. Whеn gоing anywhere nеаr black mоld it iѕ imроrtаnt that уоu wear proper safety еԛuiрmеnt; wеаr a rеѕрirаtоrу mask аnd еуе рrоtесtiоn in case уоu release аnу ѕроrеѕ intо the аir. The рrосеѕѕ оf eradicating black mold саn be broken dоwn intо four parts; соntаin, еrаdiсаtе, remove, аnd рrоtесt. We will nеxt look аt hоw thiѕ process асtuаllу works when dealing with blасk mоld.
Thе firѕt thing you will wаnt to dо iѕ to contain the аrеа of thе mоld ѕо that it dоеѕn’t ѕрrеаd elsewhere. Thiѕ mеаnѕ thаt уоu ѕhоuld rеmоvе any furniture frоm thе room thаt уоu аrе ѕurе hаѕn’t bееn аffесtеd аnd kеер people оut of thе room. It iѕ аlѕо worth dоing аll уоu can tо dry your hоmе оut аѕ thiѕ саn rеmоvе the conditions that mоldѕ of all tуреѕ thrivе in. If thе area of mold is ѕmаll and on non-porous surfaces thеn уоu can ѕоаk it with a ѕоlutiоn mаdе uр of hаlf blеасh аnd hаlf wаtеr оr half vinеgаr аnd hаlf water; lеаvе thiѕ to soak fоr fiftееn minutes аnd this will еrаdiсаtе/kill thе mоld. You саn thеn rinse the аrеа tо remove thе dеаd mоld.
Blасk mоld iѕ dangerous ѕо the bеѕt wау оf dеаling with it iѕ to prevent it оссurring in thе firѕt рlасе. Yоu саn dо thiѕ bу removing the conditions thаt mоld likes tо grоw in. Proper maintenance, Clean up spills or leaks immediately, keep your home ventilated, and рrеvеnt mоiѕturе frоm ассumulаting in areas. Call Fun Guy Inspections for more information about mold inspections.
Mold inspections for black mold are like any other inspection. Mold Inspectors will search for water damaged materials and determine if the materials are wet. Further sampling is required, in each instance, to determine if the dark colored mold is indeed black mold or stachybotrys.
As the air turns cooler and leaves drop from the trees, it’s important to keep a few important fall safety tips in mind. With proper precautions and safety awareness, your family can enjoy that crisp autumn weather while avoiding some of the dangers that come with the season.
Fire Safety Tips for Fall
When the weather turns cold most people spend more time inside their homes using fireplaces, furnaces, and heaters to keep warm. There’s nothing quite as cozy as a fire, but it presents some safety hazards. Keep these tips in mind
Service Your Furnace
Before the cold autumn and winter weather sets in, be sure to call your heating and cooling company to service your furnace. A specialist should inspect the furnace to make sure everything is in working order and that there are no leaks.
Use Fireplaces Safely
Keep that fire in its proper place by using a fireplace screen to keep sparks from flying out of the fireplace. Never leave a burning fire unattended, and make sure a fire in a fireplace is completely out before going to bed.
Use Caution with Space Heaters
A space heater can be an effective way to warm up a chilly room, but it’s essential that you read the instructions on the unit before you use it. If your space heater requires venting, make sure you have vented it to the outdoors. Never use your stove or oven to heat your home; only use space heaters that are approved for this purpose. Always allow at least three feet of empty area around space heaters.
Reconsider Leaf Burning
According to information from the Environmental Protection Agency, burning leaves produces dangerous and cancer-causing chemicals. For this reason, homeowners should avoid disposing of leaves this way. If you decide to burn leaves, wear a protective mask. Burning leaves should only be attempted far away from a house or other structures on a homeowner’s property. Always check the weather forecast before starting to burn leaves. This activity should not be attempted in windy conditions.
Exercise Candle Caution
Candles are a great way to give a room that warm glow, but they can also cause fires. According to the National Candle Association, almost 10,000 home fires start with improper candle use. Never leave candles burning if you go out or go to sleep, and keep your candles away from pets and kids.
Change Smoke Alarm Batteries
Change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors when you turn back your clocks for Daylight Saving Time. Make sure to check the alarms with the new batteries installed. Check and replace any home fire extinguishers that have expired.
Safety Tips for Fall Driving
There’s nothing more beautiful than a fall drive, but this season brings some unique hazards for drivers. Being aware of these potential dangers can help keep you and your family safe and prevent accidents.
Be Aware of Poor Visibility
Falling leaves, while beautiful, can obscure your vision, as can rain and fog. Shorter days are part of the fall season, making it more difficult to see children playing or people walking and riding bicycles. Be aware of the limitations in your visibility, and slow down if you can’t see well. Use your dimmed headlights in bad weather with decreased visibility. If possible, try not to be on the roads when it’s hard to see.
Watch for Children
Children love to play in piles of leaves, so use extra caution where leaves are piled at curbside. In addition, the school bus will be making its rounds now that school is back in session. In addition to educating children about back-to-school safety, it’s important to stay vigilant as a driver.
Slow Down on Wet Pavement
In many areas of the country, rain is common during the autumn. If it’s raining, keep a safe distance from the car in front of you. Wet roads make it more difficult to stop. When wet leaves are on roadways, they make the pavement slippery, and it can be difficult for drivers to get good traction.
Be Prepared for Bright Sunlight
When sunrise occurs later in the morning, it can also present challenges for drivers. Have a pair of sunglasses in the vehicle to wear when the sun is bright is a good strategy. If it becomes too difficult to see because of bright sunlight or glare, a good strategy is for the driver to pull over until he or she can see again.
Watch Out for Ice
As the temperatures drop further at night, a driver will need to spend some extra time in the morning scraping frost off his or her vehicle. Shady spots on the roadway may be home to black ice, which a driver may not be aware of until his or her car starts to skid on it.
Safety Tips for Fall Boaters
According to a report from the US Coast Guard, autumn boating accidents are far more likely to be fatal than those that occur during the summer months. Although there are many more boating accidents in the summer season, boaters involved in accidents during the fall months are exposed to cold water and other weather hazards. Keep these tips in mind for safe autumn boating.
Be Prepared for Changing Weather
Since fall weather can change quickly, you should always be prepared for possible cold, windy, and wet weather even if the sun is shining. Stay closer to shore, so you can turn back if the weather changes. Bring appropriate clothing, such as warm coats, rain gear, and gloves.
Watch for Signs of Hypothermia
Small open boats combined with cold, wet weather can lead to possible hypothermia. According to the Mayo Clinic, these are a few of the signs you should know:
Shivering or trembling
General lack of coordination, including stumbling and dropping things
Drowsiness, confusion, and apathy
Mumbling and slurring of words
Weak pulse and shallow breathing
Tell Others About Your Trip
Make sure you tell a friend or family member your boating plan and your expected return time. There are fewer boaters in the fall to help in the case of an accident or emergency.
Always Wear Life Jackets
Wearing your life jacket, while always a smart move, is even more important in the fall. If you should accidentally fall overboard, the cold water will quickly drain away your strength.
Autumn Home Maintenance Safety Tips
Fall is the time for yard clean-ups and readying your house for the cold winter ahead. Keep these safety tips in mind as you work.
Look Up Before Pruning Trees
If you have decided that your yard needs to be spruced up by trimming your trees, be sure to look up and survey the area carefully before you start. Make careful note of where power lines are located before you set up your ladder so that it is positioned away from them.
Use Caution on Ladders
Wearing appropriate footwear is important when using a ladder; shoes or boots may be wet, causing you to slip as you climb the ladder. The ladder should be positioned on a flat surface before use. Be sure that the tools you are using are specifically designed for this purpose and are in good condition before starting work.
Clean Up Fallen Leaves
Keep your driveway and walkway clear of falling leaves. Wet leaves can create a hazard for pedestrians in the fall by making sidewalks slippery. Later in the season, snow may mix with leaves to increase the risk of falling. Homeowners should mulch or rake up fallen leaves and dispose of them according to local bylaws.
Safely Enjoy the Beauty of the Season
By keeping these important fall safety tips in mind, you can be sure you are doing everything you can to protect yourself and your family from seasonal dangers. This will leave your mind free to enjoy the beauty of this glorious season.