8 HOUSEHOLD USES FOR APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

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ACVYou’ve probably heard about all the benefits of apple cider vinegar in the beauty department – it can be used as a toner, a deodorant, and even a conditioning hair rinse. But did you know Apple Cider Vinegar can be used as a cleaning product? If you’ve been thinking of going non-toxic, replacing your current cleaners with apple cider vinegar is the affordable, easy way to do just that. Here are some of the household items you can replace and how to do so!

1. Fabric Softener

Apple Cider Vinegar is a great way to condition your laundry if you have sensitive skin. Just add 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar in place of your fabric softener and stop all the itching caused by harsh chemicals.

2. Household Cleaner

Apple cider vinegar has a great deal of antibacterial properties so it works extremely well as an every day household cleaner. Mix equal parts water and Apple Cider Vinegar in a spray bottle and you’re ready to clean! While the vinegar smell will fade, you can add a few drops of citrus essential oil to leave a great smell once it dries.

3. Drain Cleaner

Instead of buying drain cleaner filled with dangerous chemicals, use safe items you probably already have! Mix 1/2 cup of salt and 1/2 cup of baking soda and pour that down your clogged drain. Then, pour 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar. Let the products react for 1-2 hours and then rinse with warm water.

4. Window Cleaner

Using the same combination as the everyday household cleaner, mixing equal parts apple cider vinegar and water to create a smear-free window spray.

5. Stainless Steel Cleaner

Your typical stainless steel cleaner can get pricey. Instead, use apple cider vinegar straight out of the bottle to clean your stainless steel.

6. Sticker Remover

Sticker removal can be a giant pain. Soak the area where the sticker won’t budge with apple cider vinegar for about 20 minutes, and then scrape it off!

7. Weed Killer

We’ve all read the warning labels on weed killer found at local hardware stores, so it isn’t a surprise that we can be hesitant when it comes to using those products in the yard where our children or pets spend a great deal of time. Avoid those harsh chemicals and create an alternative, effective weed killer. Mix 1/2 gallon of Apple Cider Vinegar, 1/4 cup of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of dish soap in a large spray bottle. Be sure to spray on each set of weeds individually and avoid spraying any plants you want to keep.

8. Mildew Remover

If you’re trying to get rid of mildew in your bathroom, use apple cider vinegar! For heavy mildew, use Apple Cider Vinegar on its own. For lighter stains, use equal parts Apple Cider Vinegar and water. You can add essential oils to this mix as well for a scent booster.

Looking to buy or sell or invest in real estate? Let Great Lakes Home Team help you with all your real estate needs. 440 299-5137 or greatlakeshometeam@gmail.com. Visit us at greatlakeshometeam.com.

Durable Kitchen Floor Options

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durable floors

Kitchen floors get put through quite a lot! Between all of the dropped utensils, the spills and drips, and everything in between – your kitchen is often one of the most used rooms in a home. Your kitchen floors need to handle kitchen hazards and look good doing it. A large variety of floor materials won’t be an ideal fit for the kitchen because of this. Below, we are listing our favorite kitchen floors that will help keep them low maintenance while keeping a balance between style and functionality.

CERAMIC TILES

Ceramic tiles can be a great fit for the kitchen because they are resilient, hard, and impervious to stains and water. It also helps that they are resilient to heat and breakage, under normal conditions. They come in a variety of colors and even faux finishes to add a beautiful, yet smart, addition to your kitchen.

DURABLE CONCRETE

Concrete is a great option for ground level kitchens and is a long-lasting option for homeowners. Sometimes, concrete slabs may have already been placed beneath your existing flooring. The surface of concrete can be polished or stained to provide a stylish look for your kitchen.

NATURAL STONE

Natural stone is a hard rock which allows it to remain durable and long-lasting. The only drawback to stone is that it is porous, which makes it susceptible to water and liquid stains. This can be avoided with an annual application of chemical stone sealer, which simply provides an invisible coat of protection.

HARDWOOD

Hardwood can be tough to work within a kitchen because the material is porous and relatively soft. However, if you like the look of hardwood in a kitchen, you’ll just want to have it treated with a quality polyurethane-based finish. Keep in mind that it will, overtime, take on a more aged look. If you find character and personality in imperfections, then hardwood will work great for you.

BAMBOO

Bamboo has a similar look and feel to hardwood, and can be a great alternative. It is a harder and more durable material which helps it to be more resistant towards moisture and water damage. The only drawback? It’s tough to refinish because there is no direction to the natural grain.

LINOLEUM

Made popular about 50 years ago, linoleum seems to be making a comeback. Linoleum is made from all natural linseed oil, which makes it pretty environmentally friendly. These floors also pretty easy to clean and maintain. If it is properly cared for, it can generally have a lifespan for upwards of 40 or so years. However, if it is immersed in water, it is highly susceptible to damage. Be sure to avoid basement-quality linoleum in your kitchen or it may begin to curl when faced with humidity.

VINYL

Vinyl is a great and affordable kitchen flooring option. The lifespan of vinyl generally tends to run from 7 to 10 years before it starts showing significant signs of wear and fade. Vinyl is man-made and is nearly impervious to water issues, stains, and other damage. It is also very easy to clean!

Don’t want to replace your flooring? You can always give us a call and we’ll find you a house with the type of kitchen flooring that you love!

http://www.greatlakeshometeam.com

#homeremodeling  #kitchenflooring  #loveyourkitchen #greatlakeshometeam

10 Home Chores To Do Annually

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10 Home Chores To Do Annually

Ten chores around the home that you really only need to do annually, minus special circumstances. Let’s dive in!

1. Curtains & Drapes

Unfortunately, we don’t mean the dusting part. You’ll want to dust at least once a month, but when it actually comes time to getting them cleaned, you only really need to do that once a year. You can take them in to get dry cleaned or follow the instructions on their tags if you choose to wash them at home.

2. House Gutters

Gutter guards can be a great investment, especially if you live around trees that shed all year long. These can keep your gutter cleanings minimal, generally about once per year. You’ll want to do this in the autumn when all of the leaves from the trees have already fallen. If you have alot of leaves, we recommend you do this more often.

3. Fireplace & Chimney

After the winter, you’ll want to give your fireplace a thorough cleaning. You can use a shop vacuum to clean up the embers. Make sure to wash down the fireplace tools as well. Go an extra step further and schedule an appointment with a chimney sweeper.

4. Carpets

We wish we meant vacuuming, but that’s pretty much a weekly or biweekly task for most households. In this case, we mean a deep clean. The best time to get this taken care of is right after summer.

5. Outdoor Furniture

The best time to clean outdoor furniture is when you bring them out of storage for Spring. Of course, if messes up happen while you’re using them, you want to clean the spots right away, so you avoid an accumulation of stains in a short period.

6. Mattress

Mattresses have improved through the years but they still need a little bit of attention. At least once a year, give your mattress a thorough cleaning and change the position of it.

7. Kitchen Cabinets & Pantry

Early November is a great time to clean out kitchen cabinets, drawers, and the food pantry to get them ready for the holidays. Do a section of cabinets at a time and empty them out completely. Wipe down the shelves and reline with shelf paper if needed.

8. Linen Closet

Just once a year, empty out your linen closet and give it a thorough cleaning. Take time to vacuum away dust and spiderwebs and reline any shelves.

9. Garage, Basement, & Attic

No one is expecting you to have a perfect garage, basement, or attic. However, a good cleaning at least once a year can help you keep an eye on things, such as moisture or insect problems. It can also feel good to get rid of junk that tends to accumulate in these hidden spaces.

10. Grill

To keep your grill working well it is a good idea to clean the parts. Wearing work gloves, remove the grates and the metal plates under them. Place in a bucket of hot water and regular dish soap.Clean the interior and exterior.

If you’re in the market to sell your home, we can refer you over to some of our preferred vendors that can help you knock out your cleaning tasks. Great Lakes Home Team with Keller Williams Greater Cleveland Northeast is here to help and only a phone call away! Jody Finucan and Danielle Dooley…www.greatlakeshometeam.com.

Tips To Get Settled In A New Home

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Moving into a new home? We know how exciting it can be! We’ve compiled a list of a few things you can do after your move to make sure your experience is comfortable. The hardest part of a move is getting settled in, after that, let’s handle a few loose ends that sometimes get forgotten about till the last minute.

CHECK MAJOR APPLIANCES

Be sure to check all the appliances to ensure everything is still in working order after the move. You want to make sure nothing was broken in the move or stopped working suddenly. Look at things such as your stove, dishwasher, washer and dryer, refrigerator, and microwave. If you brought any appliances yourself and you used movers, you’ll want to make sure everything still works with them, since mover’s insurance companies give a limited timeframe for when you can make a claim.

CHECK ALL OF YOUR BOXES & FURNITURE

Be sure to go over all your boxes and furniture to make sure nothing got damaged during the move. Be sure that everyone has arrived and didn’t get lost in the process. If you notice something is missing a month later, it may be too late to file a claim with the moving company. Even if you don’t plan on unpacking everything as soon as you move in, just do a quick review and inventory everything you brought to protect yourself and your belongings.

SET UP UTILITIES

Did you remember to set up your utilities before moving in? There’s nothing more frustrating than moving into your home to realize the lights don’t work. Make sure you’ve gotten with all of the necessary utility companies to have everything turned on in time for your move.

REGISTER INTO A GOOD SCHOOL

You may have already known to look for a school for your kids prior to your move, but if you haven’t yet found one, be sure to research all the schools local to you to find the right fit for your family. The sooner you can find the right school and register, the easier and less stressful it will be to get them in and settle.

REGISTER YOUR CAR

If you’ve moved to a new state or country, you’ll want to make sure to register your car in your new hometown and update your driver’s license, tags, and plates.

CONNECT TO YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD

Join sites like Nextdoor.com or get a subscription to your local magazine/newspaper to stay in touch with what’s going on in your neighborhood. Be sure to also join local community Facebook groups. You can find out about events or concerns relating to your community.

GETTING YOUR MAIL

Have you updated your address from all the people you’ll be expecting to get mail from? Like your bank, friends, family, and services you still pay for after your move. Check with the post office to have things redirected to your new address while you work to update your info with everyone else.

FIND THE RIGHT PROFESSIONALS

If you’re moving far from your last home, you’ll want to have the right connections. Find a new doctor, dentist, vet, handyman, plumber, etc. Add them into a contact book that’s easily accessible.

EMERGENCY CONTACT LIST

Make sure you have all the correct numbers in the case of an emergency. This can also include doctors, the local police station, a vet, etc.

INSURANCE COMPANIES

More than likely, you handled home insurance and home warranty during the purchasing process. If you haven’t, be sure to get those taken care of right away. You’ll also want to get your auto, health, and any other necessary household insurances sorted for your move.

Great Lakes Home Team is here to help you with or someone you know to buy, sell or invest in real estate. We are only a phone call away…440 299-5137.

greatlakeshometeam.com for a list of homes for sale.

Simple Sprucing Tips For Your Home

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pic for blog

You don’t need thousands of dollars to fully refurbish your home to make it feel like new again. Instead, you can DIY a lot of features in your house to help spruce it up for the upcoming season. Whether you plan to sell your home, have guests over, or are just tired of how drab it’s been feeling lately, here are a few tips and tricks you can use to refresh your space:

CLEAN + DECLUTTER
Throw out all of the junk taking up space! You’d be surprised by how much more you’ll fall back in love with your home when you take out the collection of accumulated stuff that has piled up over the years and finally get to see your home’s features for what they are. Store what you don’t need/use in either the attic, basement, or in a storage unit. After you’ve decluttered, be sure to finish it off by cleaning your home. Clean windows, walls, and the floors for the best results.

BRING IN NATURAL LIGHT
Do you have heavy curtains covering your windows? Bring them down! Not only will this make your space feel bigger by removing stuff off the walls, it’ll also feel alive again with all of the natural light that pours in.

ADD FRESH PAINT
Nothing refreshes a home like a new coat of paint. If you have dark dull colors, opt for lighter tones. Covering up stains on the walls, or drab old paint, can help your house feel brand new all over again.

ADD TILE
Consider adding a tile backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get beautiful results. Be sure you get tiles that compliment the colors in the space, so it doesn’t clash and look unappealing.

ADD COLOR
Although neutral colors are always recommended as the base of any home decor, don’t be afraid to compliment your neutrals with a pop of color. You can add it throughout the home by using flowers, pillows, decor, or even light curtains that are staged on the sides of your windows.

CHANGE OUT FIXTURES + HARDWARE
You’d be surprised by how much more a kitchen can look different just by replacing the hardware on the cabinets. A bathroom or living room can come alive again by installing a brand new light fixture. If you moved into a place that still has the same stock hardware or fixtures, replace them and add a little creativity with the new pieces you have installed.

REARRANGE FURNITURE
Head to Pinterest and get inspired for new living room, bedroom, or dining room arrangements. Most homeowners decorate “incorrectly” when it comes to standard staging rules. View a variety of furniture set-ups on social media and let it motivate you to rearrange your space. You don’t have to buy a bunch of new furniture to make a drastic change.

Have a real estate question? Interested in buying, selling or investing in real estate? Great Lakes Home Team is here to help. Contact us today to discuss your wants and needs.

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree at these Northeast Ohio Farms

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Cutting Christmas Tree   Are you looking to cut your own tree this holiday season? Listed below in alphabetic order by city are many located in Northeastern Ohio.  Have Fun!
NORTH CORNER FARM
13800 Butternut Road, Burton Township
440-785-3692
northcornerfarm.com
Open 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

SOBUSTA FARMS
11380 Thwing Road, Chardon Township
440-357-8568 or 440-256-1768
soubustafarms.com
Open Nov. 24 through the weekend before Christmas on Fridays from 1 p.m. until dark and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to dark.

SUGAR PINES FARM
9500 Mulberry Road, Chester Township
440-729-1019
sugarpinesfarm.com
Open beginning Nov. 24 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays (and the day after Thanksgiving); noon to 5:30 Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and noon to 8 p.m. on Thursdays.

KATHY’S CHRISTMAS TREES
6861 Williams Road, Concord Township
440-352-8779
Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays

MOUNTAIN CREEK TREE FARM
7185 Williams Road, Concord Township
440-354-8928
mountaincreektrees.com
Open Nov. 18 through Dec. 24. Open Saturdays and Sundays and the Friday after Thanksgiving from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesdays through Fridays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays.

DIVENCENZO FAMILY TREE FARM
16101 Island Road, Grafton
440-926-3873
divichristmastree.com
Open on Saturdays and Sundays until Dec. 17, check the website for hours.

RHODES SISTER
12020 Clay St., Huntsburg Township
440-636-5498
Open starting Nov. 24 seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

SARNA’S TREE FARM
1137 E. Jefferson St., Jefferson
440-576-3450
Sarnastreefarm.com
Open beginning Nov. 24 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays through Monday. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays or by appointment.

BENDER TREE CHRISTMAS TREE FARM
3381 Sheffield Road, Jefferson
440-944-5240
bendertree.com
Open Nov. 24 through Dec. 23 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

WILCOX TREE FARMS
17620 Diagonal Road, LaGrange
440-355-4027
wilcoxtreefarm.com
Open Nov. 24 through Christmas every day 10 a.m. until dusk.

EMERALD RIDGE CHRISTMAS TREES AND WREATHS
7000 Warner Road (Route 307), Madison Township
440-428-6132
ohiochristmastree.org/emerald-ridge
Open beginning Nov. 24 Fridays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays

WINTERGREEN TREE FARM
3898 Winchell Road, Mantua Township
330-221-3835
wintergreentreefarmohio.com
Open Nov. 24 through Dec. 19 seven days a week from 9 a.m. to nightfall.

PINEY PARADISE TREE FARM
1647 Snyder Road, Monroeville
419-668-9334
piney-paradise.com/index.html
Open Nov. 25 through Dec. 17 Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
677 S. Norwalk Road West, Norwalk
419-668-9334
Open starting Nov. 24 weekdays only from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

MANNERS CHRISTMAS TREE FARM
780 Dodgeville Road, New Lyme Township
440-294-2444
Open seven days a week Nov. 24 through Dec. 23. Weekdays 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and weekends 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

KENNEDY LANDSCAPING & TREE FARM
320 Bowhall Road, Painesville Township
440-352-6769
kennedyco.com
Open starting Nov. 25 seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

GRAND RIVER VALLEY CHRISTMAS TREE FARM AND GIFT SHOPPE
3553 Laskey Road, Rome Township
440-563-1811
christmastreesohio.com
Open Nov. 24 through Dec. 23 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays

MCKOSKY TREE FARM
14740 Leroy Center Road, Thompson Township
440-298-1412
Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting Nov. 24

SPENCER’S TREE FARM
2611 Chenango Road, Wakeman
440-839-3018
Open starting Nov. 24 on Fridays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

TREASTER’S TREE FARM
13184 Gore Orphanage Road, Wakeman
440-965-7411
Open starting Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. until dark Fridays through Sundays.

KURTZ CHRISTMAS TREES
22350 Quarry Road, Wellington
440-647-3507
kurtzchristmastrees.com
Open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week, starting Thanksgiving Day.

LOG BARN FARM
8711 Stanhope Kelloggsville Road, Williamsfield Township
440-293-7330
logbarnfarm.com
Open daily Nov. 24 through Dec. 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

GREIG CHRISTMAS TREE FARM
35900 Eddy Road, Willoughby Hills
440-487-7158
Open starting Nov. 25 on weekends 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekdays 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The art of cleaning quickly


Have you ever been relaxing on the weekend or after work and thought, “I really need to clean this place up?” At that very moment, the phone rings and it’s your friend/Mom/sister who wants to pop by for a moment to return that thing they borrowed/have coffee/talk about what’s happening. And they just won’t take no for an answer.

The panic clean doesn’t have to be a frenzied battle. There are some steps you have to take to make your home look presentable quickly and efficiently.

Prioritize

You don’t need to give your entire home a deep cleaning in 10 minutes but you don’t need to. Focus on the rooms where you and your guest are likely to spend the most time: bathroom, kitchen and living room.

Prepare

If you are a professional procrastinator or cleaning avoidance master, you should gather what you’ll need into one caddy: cloths, magic erasers, spray glass cleaner, and all-purpose cleaner. Keep it at the ready for just such an occasion and stash it under the kitchen sink.

Plan

Use a systematic approach to guarantee that all areas of each room are cleaned without having to retrace your steps. Clean clockwise starting at the left of the door and go from top to bottom.

Proceed

Spray down toilet bowls, countertops, stovetop and sinks first to give it time to loosen surface stains.

Pick up

After you’ve sprayed everything down, take a couple of minutes to fill an empty laundry basket with all the random stuff lying in the living room and entryway. Keep a box handy for collecting mail and magazines separate. Dust the surfaces as you go.

Polish the bathroom

Focus on the toilet, sink and mirror. You’ve already sprayed the toilet and sink; wipe them down and then work on the mirror. Store bathroom products in a small basket under the sink, just while your guest is there.

Plates and bowls

Time to make the kitchen presentable. Wipe down the surfaces you’ve already sprayed, then put all the dirty dishes in the dishwasher if you haven’t had time to run a load. Don’t worry, you’re only using it for temporary storage.

Perfect

The details will make it look like you didn’t just spend 15 minutes frantically cleaning. Arrange magazines and fluff pillows and put them neatly on the couch and chairs to give your room a finished look.

Power vacuum

Running the vacuum will not only catch any dust that fell on the floor, it is the best way to give the most noticeable thing in your home – the carpet – a quick refresh.

All you need is some planning and preparation and 10-15 minutes to give the major rooms in your home a quick cleaning to make it look more presentable for your guest.

Have a question about real estate? Looking to buy a home?  Looking to sell your home?  I am here to help. Visit my RE/MAX website for more information.

Creating a fire evacuation plan

Whether you have children or live alone, in a duplex or a two-story house, it’s a good idea to make a plan for how to evacuate your home.

If you work in an office building, chances are your company has a fire drill at least once a year. If you have kids, their schools have fire drills at least twice a year. Why not do the same thing at home?

With a proper plan and by practicing regularly, you increase the odds that everyone gets out safely in case of a fire in your home.

Tips for making a fire escape map

Any time you stay at a hotel, you’ve probably noticed a fire escape map on the door of the hotel room. It makes perfect sense to draw a map that shows the exits for every room in your home. It’s easy and there are plenty of options online to help you draw one up. Check out NFPA for more safety tips and advice about creating a fire escape map.

Maps should include:

  • Two escape routes for each room in the home.
  • Locations of fire extinguishers in the home.
  • Meeting place outside the home to meet in case of fire.
  • Emergency phone numbers.

After you make a fire escape map

Put the map in the bedrooms and common areas of your home, including the bathroom and kitchen.

Have a discussion with the members of the family to discuss the map and what is expected of everyone if a fire were to happen. Make sure everyone knows where to meet and the emergency phone number.

Above all, make sure to practice. If it’s your first time, do it during the day. Make sure everyone knows the escape routes for each room of the house.

A few weeks later, run through everything again at night. Why? Because most deadly fires occur at night. Knowing this fact is another good reason to make sure that your smoke detectors are installed and working properly.

Do a fire drill four times a year.

Proper planning, practicing, and making sure that everyone knows what to do can mean the difference between everyone getting out safely and a disaster that no one wants to think about.
Find out all the information you need on homes for sale, market data, selling your home and buying a home….click here.  

Avoid snow shoveling accidents this winter

With much of the U.S. getting its first snowfall of the year, people in many areas are getting the white stuff that don’t normally see it.

Clearing the driveway is a rite of passage for many homeowners. According to WebMD.com, snow shoveling injuries send more than 11,000 adults and children to the hospital every year.

Common injuries

Not to sound like a medical disclaimer, but a number of injuries, and even death, can occur while shoveling. Many of the injuries, of course, involve slip and falls, but many are due to technique and the physical demands.

  • Cuts and bruises
  • Broken bones
  • Lower back injuries, ranging from back spasms to much more serious herniated disks
  • Heart-related issues, which accounted for all deaths
  • Head injuries due to flying snow shovels, most victims are children

Why injuries occur

Believe it or not, shoveling snow is great exercise. You’re using every muscle in your body from legs to arms to core to your heart. (Yes… it’s cardio exercise, too!)

The problem is that people don’t use the proper technique – or the proper tools – when shoveling. Most snow shovels are not long enough and not ergonomically designed for efficient use.

How to limit injuries

The cardinal rule when it comes to shoveling snow is to practice a bit of common sense.

  • Stay in shape – People who are physically fit have less concern about injury.
  • Stretch beforehand – Warm up the legs, back and shoulders.
  • Take breaks – Don’t do it all at once. Shovel small areas and take an occasional break, especially if it is wet, heavy snow.
  • Use proper technique – Use the shovel like a bulldozer, rather than a scoop. Use your legs rather than your back. Don’t rotate or twist your body.
  • Use the right shovel – Ergonomically designed shovels with bent handles take the stress off the back.
  • Wear layers – Keeping your muscles warm will help you avoid strain.
  • Wear proper footwear – Wear snow boots with good traction to avoid slipping.

New Year’s resolutions for homeowners

The end of the year is always a great time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the new one. Many people signify this fresh start with a New Year’s resolution. If you’re a homeowner, here are a few resolutions you may want to consider for your home.

Save energy

There are some simple ways to save energy (and a few bucks). Turning down your thermostat when you’re at work or sleeping is a great first step. A better option is to replace it with a programmable thermostat that will remember to do it for you.

Keep your home safe

Many people install new batteries in their smoke detectors on the day the time changes in the fall and spring. Did you forget? Make it a point to ensure that you have fresh batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Don’t have a carbon monoxide detector? They are fairly inexpensive and as easy to install as a smoke alarm. While you’re at it, check to make sure your fire extinguishers are in working order.

Help the environment

Whether your community requires it or not, recycling helps the environment and is everyone’s responsibility. Save water by repairing dripping faucets, installing low-flow showerheads, and replacing old toilets with new water saving or dual-flush models. When buying new appliances or electronic equipment, be sure they carry the federal Energy Star seal for energy efficiency.

Save money

Home maintenance projects can help you prolong the life of your home and make things more efficient, and therefore, save you money in the long run. Changing the air filter on your central air unit every month or two helps you save energy and allows your system to run more efficiently. If you still have a standard water heater, draining the tank once a year removes any sediment buildup, which can make it last longer and work more efficiently.