2.Drink tap water? Keep full pitchers in the refrigerator rather than running the tap every time you feel thirsty.
3.Make sure your water pipes are insulated so you’ll get hot water faster!
4.Repair leaking faucets, sticking toilet flush handles, toilet leaks, and other water-wasters promptly. Did you know that if a faucet drips at a rate of one drip per second, 2,700 gallons of water per year would be wasted?
5.Never leave water running while you’re shaving, brushing teeth, and taking care of other personal grooming.
6.Always take shorter showers and don’t overfill the bathtub.
Use less water when cooking by carefully steaming vegetables rather than filling an entire pot with water.
When waiting for hot water to heat up, use the cool water for other purposes.
Don’t over water your lawn or garden.
Home Prices Rise in Nearly Every U.S. Metro: The nationwide inventory crunch has pushed up home prices year-over-year in 93 percent of the country’s 176 major metro areas during the second quarter, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Nineteen percent of those metros, or 34, saw double-digit increases in the second quarter.
5 Priciest Housing Markets
1.San Jose, Calif.: $980,000 (median single-family price)
2.San Francisco: $841,600
3.Anaheim-Santa Ana, Calif.: $685,700
5.San Diego: $547,800
5 Most Affordable
1.Cumberland, Md.: $82,400 (median single-family price)
2.Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio: $85,000
3.Rockford, Ill.: $94,700
4.Decatur, Ill.: $96,000
5.Elmira, N.Y.: $98,300
Source: National Association of REALTORS®
There are so many decisions when designing your kitchen that the choices can be overwhelming. The counter tops are an important part of every kitchen and can really set the tone for the room. Your counter top material needs to be functional, durable and tie in with the rest of the space. There is a wide range of material available, and each has its pros and cons.
1. Wood countertops often add warmth and richness. Consult with your kitchen designer or builder to choose what wood works best for your taste and lifestyle. Make sure they advise you regarding types of wood, cut, grain and finish. Remember, wood can scratch, stain and requires routine maintenance.
2. Travertine countertops lend an “old world” look and are less expensive than granite and some types of marble. However, the pitted surface must be filled and sealed and is not heat-resistant. Without proper maintenance, it can trap food and bacteria and absorb liquids.
3. Granite countertops are one of the most popular choices today. It is highly durable and resistant to scratching or staining. One drawback is that because it is a slab, color may be inconsistent. Also, because it is so heavy, it may require additional structural support.
4. Marble countertops are soft and timeless, and widely available. However, be prepared, the stunning marble is porous, and is susceptible to stains, such as red wine.
5. Quartz is one of the hardest surface material. It is non porous, scratch resistant and easy care material. It comes in variety of colors.
6. Stainless steel is modern, crisp and clean. It’s germ free, heat-resistant, and won’t stain. It does scratch easily and show fingerprints.
1. Use Healthy Eco-Friendly Cleaners
Many common household products contain toxins that could be affecting your family’s health. Buying natural safe cleaning products will help eliminate any risk of unnecessary toxins in your home.
2. Curb Paper Towel and Napkin Use
2.5 million tons of paper towels fill up landfills annually. A great solution is to buy a set of cloth rags, bar towels and fabric napkins to wash and reuse. It may be an added expense up front, but it will pay off in the end.
3. Replace Antibacterial Hand Soaps
Studies have shown that antibacterial soaps are no more effective than simple soap and water. Antibacterial soaps can lead to stronger strains of bacteria that become resistant to antibiotics.
4. Plastic— Just Say No!
The Wall Street Journal reported that Americans go through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually and making these bags requires an estimated 12 million barrels of oil. To reduce plastic bag consumption, use alternative options such as; reuseable bags, paper bags, or even, no bag at all!
5. Replace the Sponge!
Sponges are bacteria incubators. Although a sponge seems like a great cleaning tool, it may not be the healthiest solution. Replace your sponge with dish rags!
6. Create a Recycling and Compost System
If you don’t recycle, the best way to get into the habit is to set up a simple system. Get a second trash can for inside your home and put it next to the trash can and label it recycling. If you are ready to take it a step further, composting is a great way to turn your waste into soil like material that can be used in your lawn and garden.
7. Replace Nonstick Cookware
Nonstick cookware releases toxins when over high heat, has a short life-span (nonstick coating usually wears out in a year or two) and the nonstick coating can scratch off into food. Healthy alternatives include stainless steel, cast iron, copper and glass.
8. Buy In Bulk
Buying in bulk means less packaging and fewer trips to the store. You’ll also benefit from financial savings!
9. Update Kitchen Lighting
Kitchen lights are some of the most frequently used lights in the home. Energy efficient lights may be a high upfront cost but they use 75% less energy, generate 70% less heat and last up to 10 times longer.
10. Buy ENERGY STAR Appliances
If you are in the market for new appliances, choose one that has been proved more energy efficient. Many old appliances use a lot of unnecessary energy. If you don’t already have HWA’s GreenPlus option— add it today!
Make your home more appealing for yourself and potential buyers with these quick and easy tips:
- Trim bushes so they don’t block windows or architectural details.
- Mow your lawn, and turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes before the showing to make the lawn sparkle.
- Put a pot of bright flowers (or a small evergreen in winter) on your porch.
- Install new doorknobs on your front door.
- Repair any cracks in the driveway.
- Edge the grass around walkways and trees.
- Keep your garden tools and hoses out of sight
- Clear toys from the lawn
- Buy a new mailbox.
- Upgrade your outside lighting.
- Buy a new doormat for the outside of your front door.
- Clean your windows, inside and outside.
- Polish or replace your house numbers.
- Place a seasonal wreath on your door.
You can’t smell it, taste it, or see it, but it’s out there: carbon monoxide is the number one cause of accidental poisonings in the United States. In California, all residential properties with a fossil fuel burning heater, fireplace or attached garage are required to have a carbon monoxide detector installed. Make sure your home and your family are covered!
Sound the alarm
Install a carbon monoxide on each floor of your home. If you only have one detector, keep it close to the sleeping area so it will be heard if the alarm goes off. Do not place detectors near flames.
If the alarm does go off, get everyone out of the house and check for symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Call 911 if any family member shows symptoms of poisoning, including:
- severe headaches,
- nausea or
Don’t enter the home until emergency responders clear the area.
Every hardware store sells carbon monoxide detectors. Reliable carbon monoxide detectors cost between $30-$50. Detectors are typically plugged in, but purchase one with a battery backup, just in case of a power outage. Perform weekly checks to ensure all detectors are fully functional.
Carbon monoxide is produced by burning any type of fuel, including wood and gas. Prevent the risk of a carbon monoxide build-up by following this list of DON’Ts:
- DON’T idle your car in a garage
- DON’T use a gas oven to heat your home
- DON’T use appliances indoors that don’t vent fumes outside; and
- DON’T ignore the signs of CO poisoning.
Important note: A carbon monoxide detector does NOT replace a smoke detector. Residential properties require both!