Consumer Real Estate News

    • Vacuuming Your Pool? Consider These Best Practices

      18 June 2019

      With pool season in full swing, pool owners are likely taking on the task of weekly pool cleaning. If you use a vacuum to clean your pool, keep the following best practices in mind, from pool lining manufacturer LOOP-LOC.
      Clean the filter. Before vacuuming, the filter must be prepared. Be sure to clean the filter thoroughly before assembling or connecting the vacuum. The filter should be clean to prepare for the debris that will come its way during the vacuuming process.

      Assemble the vacuum. The equipment must be set up properly for the most effective cleaning to be done. This means connecting the extension pole and vacuum hose to the vacuum head. After the vacuum is in one piece, be sure to get all the air out of the hose. To sink the hose and remove the air, extend the pole and put the vacuum head into the water. Be sure to slowly reel the hose down into the water, pushing it in as water fills the hose. While this may seem tricky, once practiced, the process can be done in as little as 30 seconds.

      Connect to the skimmer. For the debris to be removed from the pool, the vacuum will need to be connected to the skimmer. This should be done by plugging the hose into the suction line at the bottom of the skimmer. To avoid the hose falling into the pool or getting in the way of the vacuuming process, it is best to place the hose in the skimmer itself.

      Adjust the skimmer. If the skimmer has multiple points of intake, be sure to only have one connected to the vacuum during this process. On the off chance that multiple intake points are running during vacuuming, suction will not be strong, and the process will take twice as long.

      Vacuum the pool. The vacuum is assembled, the filter cleaned and the skimmer is connected and adjusted to your needs. The only thing left to do is actually vacuum the pool. Be mindful of your technique when handling the vacuum. Be sure to use straight, slightly overlapping strokes. If you notice the vacuum leaving streaks behind, the suction may need to be increased.

      Source: LOOP-LOC

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Want to Be a Morning Person? Here’s How

      18 June 2019

      Don’t you hate it when morning people talk about everything they’ve already accomplished while you’re still finding your way through your first few sips of coffee? Even worse, don’t you hate it when you discover that you’re actually envious of them?

      While you don’t have to run a half marathon or write the next best-selling novel before 8 a.m., there are steps you can take to make your mornings more productive, and more enjoyable. The trick? It’s all about your nighttime routine.

      Stop working late. If you want to get up early and take advantage of early morning hours, then your evening must begin winding down at a reasonable hour. That means punching out between 5 p.m. - 6 p.m. No more burning the midnight oil if you intend to be an early bird.

      Stick to a dinner routine. Those who rise early and have efficient mornings aren’t  grabbing pizza or take-out at 11 p.m. They’re usually preparing their own nutritious meals between 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Eating a healthy dinner at this time of night gives your body time to properly digest, paving the way for a sound sleep.

      Get some light activity. It may go without saying that most morning people work out in the morning. While you don’t necessarily want to do anything to get your energy flowing before bed, some light exercise will help you de-stress from the day and likely sleep better. Take your dog for a walk if you have one, do some relaxing yoga poses, do some light gardening, or play catch with the kids.

      Prep for the next day. A productive morning begins with smart strategies the night before. So carve out some time to select your outfit, pack your lunch, make a to-do list and shower...or whatever it is that will take a few stressful things off your plate in the morning.

      Find your relaxation routine. Morning people stick to nighttime rituals in order to relax and get to sleep at a decent hour. That means turning off the TV and putting your tablet away in favor of getting into bed with a book, meditating, sipping some herbal tea or journaling. Any of these relaxing routines will help you slumber sooner so that you can greet the day earlier and make the most of your morning.  

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Protect Your Home From Summer Risks

      18 June 2019

      The warm summer months can bring external risks to your property, from swells in heat to high wind and rain from hurricane season. It's best to be prepared and avoid any midsummer headaches.

      "A home is like a vehicle in the respect that it needs a tune up to handle the change in seasons," says Mercury Insurance Vice President of Property Claims Christopher O'Rourke. "Now is the time to prepare property for the intense summer heat, and one important step is to contact an insurance agent to assess coverage before you suffer a loss."

      O'Rourke advises property owners to prepare for the following scenarios.

      Tree branch drops. Parking a vehicle under a tree for its shade might seem like a good idea during the summer; however, the phenomenon called "tree branch drops" caused by extreme heat can cost you money. If a tree on your property extends over parked cars, you're responsible for any damage they cause if they fall. Tree branch drops aren't limited to streets, however, because they can also do a lot of damage to your home, too. Consult a local arborist about how to keep your trees healthy and to trim potentially hazardous limbs. And for those in wildfire prone areas, remember to control overgrown vegetation and keep a defensible space. Tip: Comprehensive coverage will protect vehicles damaged in this scenario when there isn't coverage by the tree owner, and your homeowners policy will protect your house.

      Sudden, accidental water leak in your home. Water leaks in your home when the temperature hits triple digits happen more often than you might think. July is one of Mercury's busiest months for homeowners' claims due to water damage caused by blocked HVAC drains, and water damage accounts for nearly half of all homeowners claims. Air conditioning units see a lot of use during the summer months and many homes are built with plastic pipe drainage systems that can get clogged over time by debris or damaged by foot traffic. A simple HVAC overflow preventive measure is to get it serviced by a professional before the weather warms up.

      Power surges. Electrical spikes can be caused by a scheduled blackout when the utility company turns the power off and then back on. These events can send a surge of electricity to your home's electronics and appliances, potentially "frying" them in the process. Often, homeowners and renters will not remember to unplug their devices, and some require using the circuit breaker to turn them off to protect them. You should also consider plugging your devices into surge protectors rather than directly into a wall outlet. However, before the worst happens, be sure to protect appliances and electronics from rolling blackouts during the summer by investing in a good home systems protection coverage plan.    

      Source: Mercury Insurance

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How Much Do You Know About Your Home's Airflow?

      17 June 2019

      You may know a lot about your house, like the square footage, year it was built and when it got that new roof, but how much do you know about its air flow? The U.S Dept. of Energy (DOE) and its website reminds homeowners about the importance of good ventilation.

      To understand the importance of having natural air flow in your home, reminds homeowners about three basic ventilation strategies: natural ventilation, spot ventilation and whole-house ventilation.

      Natural ventilation is the unpredictable and uncontrollable air movement in and out of the cracks and small holes in a home. In the past, this air leakage usually diluted air pollutants enough to maintain adequate indoor air quality.

      But today, the DOE knows more people are sealing those cracks and holes to make homes more energy-efficient, and when a home is properly sealed, other types of ventilation are necessary to maintain a healthy and comfortable indoor environment.

      That means you may need to consider spot ventilation, which can improve the effectiveness of natural and whole-house ventilation. The DOE says spot ventilation includes the use of localized exhaust fans, such as those used above kitchen ranges and in bathrooms.

      The ultimate problem solver, however, is employing whole-house ventilation—even with source control by spot ventilation. The DOE says whole-house ventilation systems provide controlled, uniform ventilation throughout a house.

      There are four types of whole-house systems:

      Exhaust ventilation systems that work by depressurizing your home, which are relatively simple and inexpensive.

      Supply ventilation systems that work by pressurizing your home, which are also relatively simple and inexpensive to install.

      Balanced ventilation systems, which, if properly designed and installed, introduce and exhaust approximately equal quantities of fresh outside air and polluted inside air.

      Energy recovery ventilation systems provide controlled ventilation while minimizing energy loss. They reduce the cost of heating ventilated air in the winter by transferring heat from the warm inside air being exhausted to the fresh (but cold) supply air. In the summer, the inside air cools the warmer supply air to reduce ventilation cooling costs.

      Compare whole-house ventilation systems to determine which is right for your home.

      Ventilation is the least expensive and most energy-efficient way to cool buildings, and works best when combined with techniques to avoid heat buildup in your home.

      In some climates, natural ventilation is sufficient to keep the house comfortable, although it usually needs to be supplemented with spot ventilation, ceiling fans, window fans and—in larger homes—whole-house fans.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Ways to Declutter Your Digital Life

      17 June 2019

      You may declutter your home, but what about your digital space? Many of us spend hours online each day, so you should make your online atmosphere as streamlined as your living room at the end of cleaning day.

      Hit "unfollow". There's no reason to have 5,000 Facebook friends or follow 2,000 folks on instagram. Have an "unfollow" spree where you remove users you don't find inspiring or have a direct connection with.

      Hit "unsubscribe”. Email account bogged down? Don't just hit 'delete'. Take 10 minutes every morning for one week to hit "unsubscribe" on any newsletters, shopping memos or other online alerts cluttering up your inbox.

      Consolidate subscriptions. If you have a dozen or so online subscriptions, like music streaming platforms, content streaming platforms, and more, look into consolidating subscriptions. Several platforms now partner with each other, an obvious way to consolidate. For instance, a Spotify Premium account now comes with access to Hulu, so one subscription offers double access. Consider a family Netflix account instead of an individual plan.

      Merge emails. Did you know you can merge multiple email addresses into one account so that all of your mail is accessible in one spot? This is helpful for entrepreneurs, business owners or anyone with two, three, or four separate email addresses.

      Purge your hard drive. Go through all of the documents on your computer and look for items you can delete or backup and remove from your machine. This will make space and could even lengthen the lifespan of your machine.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.