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Surviving The Chaos Of Moving Day

by Samia S. Morgan

 Anyone who has had to move to a new home, whether down the street or across the country will know that it can be a highly stressful time, especially when things don't go as smooth as you had planned. When things don't seem to go quite the way you intended you may wonder how can you keep it organized and keep yourself sane.  Here are a few tips to calm the chaos and have a more pleasant move.


Things to Remember:

  • When you are packing remember to MARK THE BOXES.  Some movers do some of the packing for you but if they do, they won't pack certain things. Marking the boxes will make it easier when you arrive at the the home and when you unpack.
  • When you are marking the boxes,be sure to mark the boxes of things that you will need first so these items can be loaded last. Things like kitchen and bathroom supplies need to be more readily available.
  • Be sure to pack a bag or box of the necessary items that you will need on the drive to the new home or when you first arrive.  Remember essential items like medication and personal items.  This way, you don't find yourself struggling to find something you need immediately.
  • Make yourself a folder for everything that concerns the move so that it doesn't get packed or shipped with the things from the house.
     

Before the truck arrives:

  • Remove all rugs, door and floor mats. Area rugs and the likes will not help the movers protect your floor, they will only get in the way.  Most professional movers have pads that will protect you floor.
  • Be sure all pets are locked in a crate or secure room so they don't escape accidentally.
  •  Disconnect the spring on the screen doors so that they stay open while you are loading process.
  • If the moving company did the packing for you, help by keeping the walkways clear for the driver and crew.

Remember that the “Arrival time” of you household goods is only an estimate.  Things happen that the driver may have no control over and even the best laid plans can have some hiccups. The key is to prepare an plan the best you can and try to enjoy your new home! 

Soundproofing Made Simple

by Samia S. Morgan

If you are looking for a new home and you found one that is perfect  but the only downside is there excessive noise, you still have options. It might be barking dogs, airplanes, loud neighbors or a busy road, either way this unwanted noise contributes to noise pollution.  Don't pass up that dream home however, there are a few things you can do to create a peaceful and quite environment.

Windows are the biggest culprit, they are the most common way that noise travels in and out of a room. Most homes are equipped with single pane windows which are installed on a wood frame and they typically don’t offer a lot of noise reduction. But here are a few things that you might do to help solve of the sound problems:

• Replace the windows: Double-paned windows or windows that come with an acrylic frame are designed for noise reduction. In fact, double-paned windows have an STC rating of between 28 and 35 (unlike most single-paned windows, which have STC ratings of 20) that can reduce noise by up to 20%. Acrylic frames for your windows can reduce noise levels by up to 50%.
• Add Soundproofing Windows. Sound proofing windows are additional windows that can greatly reduce sound issues.
• New Drapes: If you can’t replace windows or if you need additional sound relief, you can purchase sound deadening drapes.  These are similar to the ones used in hotels. These drapes come in a variety of styles and help to block sound waves from entering or exiting through the window. Although they may also darken the room, many styles are available in many fabrics and colors.
• Create Window Plugs: You can create window plugs out of 1" or 2" soundproofing mats that are placed over the windows around the frame.  However this is a lot like boarding up a wind and there will be no light from the window. 

The walls in a room are also a major source of concern when it comes to noise. Noise can easily travel through thin drywall so what can you do with “thin walls”?   Soundproofing your walls can be done in a few different ways. Some of the things to consider are:

• Adding Drywall: Adding more layers of drywall to a wall can improve sound resistance. The thicker the drywall, the better. Simply apply silicone caulking to the stud side of the wall. Attach the drywall with screws or nails. Then apply a second layer of caulking and another sheet of drywall. Just adding drywall won’t be enough, the silicone is the key.
• Adding Insulation: You can also add insulation to your walls to help improve sound absorption. If you are moving into a newly built home, apply fiberglass insulation to the wall before both sides of drywall have been put up. The thicker the insulation, the better sound absorption you will have. If your walls have already been built, you can cut holes in the drywall between the wall studs. You can then blow in foam or paper insulation, which will deaden sound.
• Adding Wall Coverings: If you don’t want to go inside your walls, you can apply wall covering material with soundproofing capabilities on the outside of your walls. These can be painted to suit any décor. Simply tack the material to the top of the wall and along the baseboards.

If possible try to use absorbent materials, such as carpeting, furniture, or draperies in each room.  These materials help dampen sound waves, and absorb sound.
Entrance ways can also be a source of noise problems. Try to install solid-core doors throughout your house, or keep doors to your rooms closed. This will reduce the amount of sound that travels from room to room. While all the options may help, however, remember that most of the sound is probably coming from the windows and it may be possible to reduce the noise by 90% by just replacing your windows with soundproof windows.

Household Safety Tips For Children

by Samia S. Morgan

If you have children or ever have children in your home you know the importance of  keeping them safe. This month, September is National Child Safety Month, and according to government figures 2-1/2 million children are injured or killed by hazards in the home each year.  Injury in the home is the leading cause of death in children and young adults. According to the most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were approximately 2,800 children, ages one to 14 years, that died from an unintentional injury. These are sobering facts, so what can you do to try and keep your child safe?

 Childproofing is a major way to keep your small child safe.  Every room and area of your home should be evaluated for dangers.  The following is a list of items that can be used to help in your childproofing efforts:

  • Safety Latches and Locks for cabinets and drawers in kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas to help prevent poisonings and other injuries. Safety latches and locks on cabinets and drawers can help prevent children from gaining access to medicines and household cleaners, as well as knives and other sharp objects. They are easy to install and only cost about $2 a piece.
  • Anti-Scald Devices To prevent burns you can add anti-scald devices to  faucets and shower heads and set your water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.. Anti-scald devices for regulating water temperature can help prevent burns but may need to be installed by a plumber. If you have your own home and hot water tank, set the temperature to 120 degrees or slightly lower.  Typical cost of an anti-scald device: $6 to $30. Unless you have to have a plumber install it
  • Safety Gates help prevent falls down stairs and to keep children away from dangerous areas by installing Safety gates keeping children away from stairs or rooms that have hazards in them. Look for safety gates that children cannot dislodge easily, but that adults can open and close without difficulty. For the top of stairs, gates that screw to the wall are more secure than "pressure gates."   A gate may run from $ 9 - $40. Gates should meet safety standards and display a certification seal from the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association http://www.jpma.org/.  If you have an older safety gate, be sure it doesn't have "V" shapes that are large enough for a  child's head and neck to fit into.
  • Mini-blind cords can cause strangulation. Information on tassels and mini-blind ties or modification can be found by calling 1-800-506-4636. Protect Children From Window Cord Strangulation: Never place a crib or child's bed near a window, Never put a chair, sofa, bench, or bookcase near a window with a dangling cord, Get rid of loops on two-corded horizontal blinds. 
  • To help prevent electrocution of children adding outlet covers and outlet plates is a simple thing. Outlet Covers and Outlet Plates are a non expensive way to ensure their safety, be sure the outlet protectors cannot be easily removed by children.  Typical cost for a box of outlet covers is less than $2.

Children can get into danger easily, and these are just a few of the many household hazards to children.  Even with the best safety devices, NOTHING replaces you being there and attentive.  However, no parent can be there every moment, so these inexpensive items can help prevent injures and offer a little extra piece of mind.

 

Solutions For Hard Water

by Samia S. Morgan
According to the U.S. Geologic Survey, 85 percent of the homes in the United States have hard water.  While hard water is not considered to be unhealthy for people to drink, it can be damaging to household plumbing, water-using appliances and it can make it difficult to clean. The minerals present in hard water can accumulate in the form of a hard scale which can build up and eventually clog pipes and damage water-using appliances.

What Is Hard Water?

Hard water contains calcium and magnesium and while this is quite natural, excessive amounts create what is commonly referred to as hard water. Hard water is not considered a serious health risk but people who are more prone to rashes and skin problems can have problems because it changes the skin’s pH and soap remains on the skin, clogging pores.

How to Tell If You Have Hard Water?

The minerals in hard water can affect the ability of soap to clean kitchen and bath surfaces, dishware and laundry. Most homes have hard water problems without necessarily knowing about it. The best way you can tell if can tell if you have hard water is when it is difficult to get soap to form a lather, or you have to use alot of soap into the water to clean your dishes or if your dishwasher is just not getting the dishes clean. However, not all hard water is the same and depending on where you live it can vary.

Hard Water Solutions

If you suspect you have hard water, call a professional to test your water and recommend soft water solutions. The most common solution is to use a water softeners or water treatment systems. While many systems use salt, there are several water softeners available that have a salt free system. However if you are concerned about the presence of sodium ions in their water, use of sodium ions does not make the water noticeably salty or cause a significant increase in a person’s sodium intake. In fact, the FDA defines water that would result from softening 75 gpg hard water (where much more sodium ions would have to be exchanged that is typically the case) as a “low sodium” beverage.
Whatever type of system is used, the applications can be quite affordable and highly worthwhile for those in hard water areas. A typical household water softener costs around $1,000 to $1,500 with a monthly operating expense of around $2 to $8 if sodium is used, and $3 to $15 if potassium is used. Look for the WQA Gold Seal to find products that have been successfully tested to industry performance standards.

Advantages Of Soft Water

•You’ll have less unsightly spots on dishes, and glassware and your knives and forks.
•Your heating bill will also be lowered because heating hard water in the water heater, causes hardness scale which plugs plumbing pipes and vessels and builds up on the inside of water heaters.
•Your skin and hair will look and feel better after bathing or showering. Scum from hard water clogs skin pores and coats hair.
•Clothes are softer, cleaner, brighter, and last longer
•Your food and beverages will taste better using soft water and ice cubes will sparkle more.

Hard water waste can cost hundreds of dollars each year as it impact laundry operations, water heater, efficiency, household cleaning, and the life expectancy of water-using appliances and plumbing. While hard water is not an emergency, the costs do adds up.

Do You Need Flood Insurance?

by Samia S. Morgan

 With the recent storms across the nation causing heavy flooding you may be wondering if you could ever be at risk. Keep in mind you don't have to live near an ocean, river or lake to become a flood victim. According to FEMA   (Federal Emergency  Management Agency)  “Everyone Lives in a Flood Zone”.  Even if you are dealing with a few inches of water, flooding causes serious damage to your home.

It is important to know that regular homeowner’s insurance policies does not cover flooding. Homeowners insurance covers damage to your property if caused by other means, such as a fire or a tree falling on it, but it does not cover water damage that results from flooding. If you are looking for a unique way to evaluate your risk, there is an assessment tool located on the National Flood Insurance Program, it is also important to locate what flood zone you are in. You do have options however for flood insurance, there are two types of flood insurance available:

Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)

The SFHA, as designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) represents the 100-year regulatory floodplain. What this means is that in any given year, properties in this area have a one-in-100 chance of becoming flooded. Residents in the SFHA are only allowed to carry regular or Standard flood insurance which is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). To get a Standard or Regular flood insurance policy, please contact your local insurance provider. For information about the NFIP or flood insurance providers, please call 800-427-4661 or visit www.floodsmart.gov.

Preferred Risk Flood Insurance (PRPs)
This is available to home-owners that are not considered at immediate risk However, FEMA warns that over the life of a 30-year mortgage, property owners in areas like Sacramento can expect an approximately 26% chance of flooding.  So this really is the “what if’ policy.  Again, just because you haven’t had a flood in 100 years, doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

Once you have flood insurance, it is crucial that you take stock of your possessions and know what your policy covers before a flood occurs can help when you need to file a claim.  Safely store your flood file in a secure place, away from the property you are insuring: typically in a safety deposit box.  Also review your policy and understand what’s covered. Flood insurance covers buildings and/or contents for residential and non-residential structures. It’s important to know what your policy covers and how you would go about filing a claim.

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