This year’s allergy season? Nothing to sneeze at. More Americans than ever are finding themselves suffering from seasonal allergies, or are finding that their allergy symptoms get worse each year. Around the world, the intensity and length of allergy season, as well as the rates of people affected by seasonal allergies, are increasing making allergy prevention a top priority.
While there’s not much you can do about conditions outside, there’s a lot you can do inside your home to get allergy relief by keeping seasonal allergens at bay. Here’s a checklist for making your home an allergy-free zone this spring.
1. Lock Out Pollen: Keep allergy producing pollens outside by instituting a shoes-off policy to avoid tracking pollen into living spaces. If you spend the day outdoors, change clothes as soon as you get home, and bathe before bedtime to wash away the pollen and outdoor mold spores that can cling to your hair and skin.
2. Banish Mold and Mildew: Mold can cause major allergy problems. Mold growth usually starts in the basement or crawlspace and is caused by excessive moisture that makes its way up through the foundation and spreads all over the house. For allergy prevention, take steps to prevent wet basements and keep moisture levels in check.Photo Credit: moldremediation101.com
Also, avoid mold buildup in other damp places like kitchens and baths by cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces regularly and using bath exhaust fans to remove the water vapor that can settle and create a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Launder kitchen and bath linens frequently, and be attentive to plumbing leaks that can lead to hidden mold issues.
3. Cut Out Carpet: For allergy sufferers, carpet is just about the worst choice for floor covering. Carpeting tends to trap and hold allergens of all kinds, and is especially welcoming to dust mites. Wherever possible, replace carpet with wood, tile, laminate or linoleum flooring and use washable area rugs for a bit of carpet-style cushioning. By doing so, you’ll banish 90 percent of dust mites from a space!
4. Clean the Air: Those soothing springtime breezes also carry allergens, so if you are lucky enough to have central air-conditioning, use it! Keeping windows closed and attic fans off minimizes the amount of pollen that can float into your house and helps with allergy prevention. You can also prevent the development of other indoor allergens like mold by keeping home humidity at about 40 percent with the help of whole home dehumidifiers and inexpensive at-home humidity monitors.
5. Choose Dust-free Décor: Just like carpet, the presence of upholstered furnishings, fabric-heavy window treatments and ornate, dust-grabbing accents can all contribute to your allergy misery. Get relief by selecting washable slip covers and pillow shams, clean-lined décor and a clutter-free design.
6. Filter Away Allergy Threats: A vacuum equipped with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter will help keep your home super clean year-round, as will sticking to a good routine of cleaning and replacing furnace filters. Efficient whole-home air cleaners can also be extremely effective in delivering allergy relief — some can filter out even virus sized particles. You can further supplement your clean-air efforts with portable air filtration devices. Available in such varieties as mechanical, electronic and hybrid, the best and most effective single-room air filters will carry both the UL seal and FDA Class II medical device approval.
7. Surface Treatments: Many allergens are airborne, but far more are resting on surfaces within your home. As an allergy sufferer, you may be reluctant to stir up dust and other particles by cleaning, but the longer you wait the higher the risk that what lies on those surface will go airborne and make you miserable. Frequent light cleanings are the best way to stay on top of what falls on your hard surfaces.
8. Laundry List: If you are a green-minded, energy-saving type who loves to skip a clothes dryer in lieu of an all natural clothesline approach to drying laundry, keep in mind that doing so means that pollen will easily embed itself in your freshly cleaned clothes. Find a space for an inside clothesline and wash clothing and bedding in hot water to kill dust mites and clear away other allergens.
9. Pet Peeves: We may love our pets but not the allergens they bring into our homes! Pet dander can also aggravate allergies in a big way, so be sure to bathe pets weekly and keep their bedding clean. Minimize their contact with soft furnishings and banish them from your bedroom to help keep it a dander-free zone, allergy prevention zone.
10. Sleep Easy: For sounder sleep with fewer interruptions from sneezing and sniffling, choose a non-allergenic mattress and bedding, and use dust-mite-proof casings for mattresses, comforters and pillows. Also remember to wash bedding weekly, and carefully store clothing quickly instead of leaving it out where it’s exposed to airborne dust and allergens.
For the best allergy relief, follow these tips and you will most certainly breath a lot easier through the entire allergy season!
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From Source Article: moneypit.com
Strength, durability, and a great look should seal your home’s envelope at the roof level. While a well-constructed roof provides many years of service, with all the elements it battles year-round, wear and tear are natural results. Proceeding with roof replacement is a big-ticket project loaded with choices impacting the structural integrity of your home, so carefully consider your options before hitting the roof.Repair or replace?
How do you know when it’s time to repair or replace your roof? A well-built, well-maintained roof will usually have a lifespan of around 20 years, and you’ll definitely know it needs attention from such signs as damaged or loose shingles, a film of moss or algae indicating moisture retention, and visible wear around chimneys, pipes and other penetrations.
Spot roof repair may be possible if the majority of your roof surface has plenty of mileage left in it; Otherwise, there are a few roof replacement strategies to choose from.
A whole new roof is one of them, providing the opportunity for secure sealing, the latest in underlayment materials and flashing, and a longer guarantee of material integrity for a lifespan of 20 years or more. The other is to apply a new roofing layer on top of the old, possible only if your existing roofing is one layer thick and in good condition, has strong decking, and has shingles compatible with the new application.
With a second roof layer, longevity isn’t as extensive, being around 25 percent less than that of a single-layered new roof. This is due to the additional heat that will be contained in the original roof and dry out the new layer. If your roof’s condition provides the opportunity to choose between these options, consider the number of years you plan to stay in your re-roofed home. If a long haul is in the cards, a whole new roof is the wise choice, while a shorter stay justifies saving cash with the second-layer option.So you need a new roof. What now?
There are 5 most common roofing materials that we recommend for roof replacement: asphalt shingles, roll roofing, metal roofing, built-up roofs, and clay roofing. Each material has its pros and cons, but with these tips, we can help you choose the right one for your home.
Roof replacement options for weather protection
An important part of repairing your roof is the weather protection incorporated underneath the shingles you see. Accumulated moisture is the ultimate enemy of every kind of roofing material and can cut down on its lifespan in a hurry, so an underlayment specifically designed to serve as a barrier against snow, ice and rain is a worthwhile investment. This type of material is applied under the shingles and directly to the roof’s decking, creating a watertight bond that not only protects your roof from pools of water caused by ice dams, but also from wind-driven rains and snow.
Repairing the areas around chimneys, skylights and dormers also benefit the structure of your home, and that’s where a material called flashing comes in. Placed where these features meet the roof, flashing creates a water and air-resistant seal for strength outside and comfort and energy savings indoors.Ventilation is important!
Ventilation helps you keep cool in the house and also makes your house last longer, with attic ventilation in particular helping to prolong the life of your roof. Without good roof ventilation, excessive heat builds up in the attic and causes the asphalt roof shingles to overheat and crack. In our opinion, the best ventilation is a system of continuous ridge and soffit vents.
A ridge/soffit system combines a ridge vent that runs along the whole peak of the roof, opening up the top peak end-to-end, with a soffit vent at the underside of the overhang. This works well because as wind blows against your house, the soffit vents are positively pressurized and they let air in. The ridge, which becomes negatively pressurized, lets air out. As the air rides up under the roof sheathing, it takes moisture out in the winter (reducing condensation and making insulation more effective) and heat out in the summer. In a cycle that repeats 24/7/365, it’s a very efficient way of cooling your roof.Skylights
When is putting a hole in a roof a good thing? When you fill it with a skylight! When properly installed, a skylight can deliver years of care-free light to your home and adding one during a roof replacement projects is clearly the best time. There are several types of skylights. The least expensive and least durable are plastic “bubble” skylights that are installed flush with the roof. These don’t last very long, crack easily and need frequent replacement.
The most common type of skylight is the curbed skylight, which simply means it sits up on the roof like a box. These units rely on a sealant that is applied between the curb and the roof surface which will break down over time, causing leaks.
The best type of skylight is one that incorporates a built-in flashing system like those from AndersenÒ or Velux®. These have a plain wood frame that is mounted to the roof opening with brackets to hold it in place and a customized flashing kit to complete the leak-free installation. Skylights can be fixed or operable, and even come with built-in or automatic shades. They can be operated manually with a crank or a long rod that reaches up to them for access, or you can operate them via remote control. There is also an easy to install version called a Sun Tunnel which is a tube with a mirrored interior that transmits light from the roof into virtually any interior room or hallway that you want to brighten.
If you’re going to install a skylight absolutely choose low-e glass, especially on the south side of your roof, because there’s nothing that brings more heat into your house than a skylight that’s not treated with this energy-efficient shield.Choose a roofing contractor with care
Roof replacement is a huge investment and should be handled only by experienced and qualified professionals. So take care of your roof and your cash by spending time to research candidate contractors. Start by verifying the roofer’s permanent place of business, telephone number, tax identification number and business license. Before repairing your roof, ask the roofer for proof of insurance, then make sure the roofer is properly licensed or bonded and financially stable (a good roofer can easily provide financial information about his company).
Also ask for a list of references and take the time to verify them. Finally, remember that the best roofing contractor is only as good as the workers who install the system, so be sure to ask what type of safety training and educational programs have been provided for the contractor’s team before you begin repairing your roof.Warranty warnings
When repairing your roof, another area for careful consideration is the warranty zone. Roof replacement warranties only cover materials, so the skill and training of your contractor can have an adverse effect that won’t be revealed until it’s way too late. A so-so installation can cut a 20-year roof down to 10 years of service, sinking the return on your coverage accordingly. Beware of warranty coverage limits and loopholes when it comes to repairing you roof, and resist the temptation to select roofing material based on a possibly empty marketing claim.
You and your home deserve the best roofing solution that money can buy, and any cash-saving shortcuts will come back to haunt you with the arrival of the first big storm. By taking these steps before repairing your roof, you can ensure that your roof repair will be safe, efficient and long-lasting.
The post Roof Replacement? Best Options for Durability & Cost appeared first on The Money Pit.
From Source Article: moneypit.com
Lеt’ѕ fасе іt Wіntеr wеаthеr іѕ tough on Dogs ....whether уоu’rе ѕіmрlу fасіng соldеr tеmреrаturеѕ оr battling wіth ѕnоw аnd ice, wіntеr is dіffісult оn us аll–аnd that includes оur dоgѕ. Whеn you are wаlkіng your dоg іn thе wіntеr, Hеrе аrе 10 tірѕ tо mаkе sure уоu аnd уоur dog are wаlkіng іn a wіntеr wonderland that’s safe fоr уоur dоg:
Wе аll wаnt tо ѕtау active іn the wіntеr but, іf the temperature іѕ tоо соld fоr uѕ, it’s tоо соld fоr our dоgѕ. Thаt mеаnѕ wе nееd tо bundlе uр аnd tаkе extra precautions tо kеер оur dоgѕ ѕаfе durіng thеѕе wіntеr dауѕ. Prоtесtіng your dog’s bасk and bеllу wіth a ѕwеаtеr or соаt саn hеlр hоld іn thаt bоdу hеаt, just аѕ оur own соаtѕ dо fоr us.
BRING THE BOOTIES
Wе wоuldn’t ѕtер outside іn the wіntеr without оur ѕhоеѕ, ѕо whу ѕhоuld оur dоgѕ? Booties not only рrоtесt your dog’s раwѕ from cold раvеmеnt, ісе аnd ѕnоw, but аlѕо frоm dаngеrоuѕ de-icing сhеmісаlѕ. If уоur dog hаѕ a difficult tіmе ассерtіng bооtіеѕ, ѕее thе Snuggу Bооtѕ ѕуѕtеm for hоldіng your dog’s bооtіеѕ, muсh lіkе mitten clips hold уоur child’s mittens.
SKIP THE SALT
Avоіd salted аrеаѕ (аnd аll dе-ісіng сhеmісаlѕ). If уоur dоg dоеѕ wаlk thrоugh сhеmісаllу-trеаtеd areas wіthоut booties рrоtесtіng hіѕ раwѕ, bе sure tо wаѕh hіѕ paws thоrоughlу.
EYES OUT FOR ANTIFREEZE
Antіfrееzе іѕ extremely tоxіс tо dоgѕ-аnd, unfortunately, аlѕо very арреаlіng duе tо іtѕ ѕwееt taste. Wаtсh fоr puddles of аntіfrееzе аnd ѕtееr your dоg сlеаr!
TRIM BETWEEN TOES
Thе fur bеtwееn your dоg’ѕ toes can hоld раіnful bаllѕ of ісе as wеll as de-icing сhеmісаlѕ. Keep раw fur trimmed ѕhоrt to mаkе сlеаnuр еаѕу.
DON’T GET LOST
A blanket оf snow on the ground makes it tоughеr for dоgѕ to fіnd their wау by scent. Keep уоur dоg оn leash оr іnvеѕt іn a GPS trасkеr so thаt you саn trасk your dоg wіth your smartphone.
WATCH FOR FROSTBITE
Freezing tеmреrаturеѕ рutѕ extremities аt rіѕk; аrеаѕ like unprotected еаr tips are еѕресіаllу vulnеrаblе. Lіmіt the time your dog іѕ оutѕіdе іn freezing temperatures and wаtсh fоr white оr blue ѕkіn.
HEAD OFF HYPOTHERMIA
A drор іn уоur dоg’ѕ соrе temperature means dangerous hypothermia. Sеnіоr dogs, dogs wіth short coats, аnd very уоung рuрріеѕ are especially ѕuѕсерtіblе. If you ѕuѕресt your dоg mау have hуроthеrmіа, саll уоur veterinarian.
WATCH FOR BALLS OF ICE
When уоu rеturn home аftеr a wіntеr wаlk, сhесk between уоur dоg’ѕ tоеѕ if he’s nоt wearing booties. Painful bаllѕ оf ѕnоw аnd ісе can hide bеtwееn paw раdѕ, attached to fur.
MOISTURIZE PAW PADS
As with оur own ѕkіn, your dog’s раw раdѕ bесоmе drу аnd can crack duе tо wіntеr wеаthеr. Be ѕurе tо moisturize уоur dog’s раw раdѕ to prevent раіnful cracking.
From Source Article: dogtipper.com