Is Your Home Affecting Your Health?

Your home is a safe haven. But, there are ways your home can damage your health.

A healthy home is a happy home. What do we mean? Well, did you know about these seven home hazards that could be affecting your health? Not to worry, our friends at Home Advisor tackle how to identify them as well as how to fix them.

#1 Mold, fungus and mildew

Aside from their smell and unsightly nature, mold, fungus and mildew can pose a serious threat to your health. If you notice any signs of these hazards (especially mold and mildew), have them removed immediately.

#2 Water-borne pollutants

Public water supplies are generally kept to a very high standard. But, it’s impossible to eliminate all water contaminants. If there is a failure in any part of your purification system, your water supply could contain dangerous pollutants. Replace your purification system to ensure your water is clean.

#3 Carbon monoxide

In sufficient quantities, carbon monoxide can kill. Carbon monoxide is difficult to detect because of its odorless and colorless nature. Address any carbon monoxide problems by ventilating your impacted space. For a long-term solution, consider installing a carbon monoxide detector.

#4 Lead

Lead causes memory loss, muscular issues and dementia. Make sure to check your paint and plumbing for lead if your home was built before 1975. If you find lead in your home, have it removed immediately.

#5 Home chemicals

Most of us have potentially harmful chemicals in our homes. These include:

  • Detergents
  • Cleaning agents
  • Bleach
  • Nail polish
  • Pesticides

Most of these substances can be replaced by safer, organic products. If not, keep your toxic chemicals out of reach of children and pets.

#6 Dust

Dust can irritate your respiratory tract. Clean any obvious dust using a damp cloth or an electrostatic wipe. Regularly vacuum curtains, upholstery and carpets. Make sure you use a HEPA filter in your vacuum cleaner. Less efficient filters allow too much dust to escape back into a room.

#7 Dampness and leaks

Moisture encourages the growth of molds and other harmful microorganisms. Eliminate any leaks in your plumbing or roofing to avoid mildew and mold problems.

Conclusion

If you feel unwell in your home, you may be suffering from a home hazard. Tackle any health problems in your home to stay healthy.

Stressed About the Mortgage Changes?

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As you may have heard, Canada’s Finance Minister Bill Morneau unveiled a series of changes to the rules used to underwrite insured mortgages. Included in those changes, effective October 2016, was one termed a mortgage “stress test.”

The stress test is applicable to insured mortgage applications. It’s designed to ensure that borrowers are capable of paying their loans in the event interest rates rise, or their personal financial situation worsens. So now, no matter how low their actual mortgage rate, Canadian borrowers must show that they qualify for the Bank of Canada’s Mortgage Qualifying Rate, which, for example, was 4.64 percent when the new rule came into effect — about twice what a borrower might actually be paying.

Prior to the new changes, the historically low mortgage rates allowed even first-time home buyers with a modest income to qualify for a large loan. Now, buyers who previously qualified for a higher-priced home may experience a reduction in affordability.

If you’re considering a move, you’ll want to clarify if or how the new mortgage restrictions might apply to you, and if they do, what your best course of action is in today’s ever changing real estate environment.

Please call today for questions on this, and all your other real estate queries.

When Was the Last Time You Cleaned These 20 Items in Your Home?

These common items in your home need to be cleaned ASAP!

Did you know there are 10 MILLION bacteria per square inch of a kitchen sponge? (dailymail.co.uk) What about the fact that your pillow is as germy as a TOILET SEAT! (NY Post) Those are just two of the mind blowing (and scary) facts about common household items that are probably not getting cleaned as regularly as they should be. With that said (or rather written :)) here are 20 items that you should give a little extra TLC to this weekend!

Remote Control

Good Housekeeping spilled the dirty truth on the Today Show by reminding us that while we know remotes are often the dirtiest item in a hotel room the same holds true for our homes. You should clean this, and game controllers, once a month with some rubbing alcohol and a q-tip for those hard to reach spots.

Portrait of handsome young black man watching tv at home.

Stove Knobs

Cleaning stove knobs can be a pain but it is an important part of keeping your kitchen free of icky germs we spread from handling food. For a quick clean simply pull off the knobs and soak them in a bowl of white vinegar.

Oven knobs

Dishwasher

Sometimes we forget to clean the things that clean :) Add cleaning this appliance at least once a month to your to do list. Here is how to do it.

Smiling man using dishwasher.

Light Switches

“When cleaning your house, keep one thing in mind: If hands touch it, it needs cleaning” says Karen Gibbs of TODAY. So how often should you actually clean switches? The answer is weekly! Learn the best way to clean them here.

Baby hand touching a panel with five light switches

 

Door Knobs

I think we are all guilty of forgetting this one…especially the doorknobs outside! Cleaning professionals recommend wiping down doorknobs with a household cleaner or disinfecting wipe about once a week.

Children hand open door handle

Garbage Cans

Sure you take the trash out when the bag is full but when was the last time you actually scrubbed the inside of the can? And how about the can(s) outside?

Open trash can in empty room with wood flooring, blue wainscoting and a power outlet.

Comforter

You may change your sheets every week (or every other week) but when was the last time you cleaned your comforter? The experts at Good Housekeeping suggest cleaning it once a season.

Teddy bear on bed

Pillows

Dust mites, pet hair and and dead skin…oh my. Gross, right? Yes, I agree. But sadly all of these things might be living in and on the place where you lay your head to sleep each night. Interior design expert Robin Wilson recommends washing your pillow cover every three weeks in the washing machine. Then, wash the pillow itself every three months. (Huffington Post)

Unmade bed with white pillow and messy

Keurig/Coffee Maker

Is your morning cup of Joe contaminated? We hope not. To be sure experts recommend that a Keurig be cleaned (and descaled) every 3-6 months. Wondering how to clean it? Here you go.

coffee maker

Dish Sponge

Did you know that a kitchen sponge is actually 200,000 times DIRTIER than a toilet seat?  (dailymail.co.uk) Learn how to clean your sponge here. Also, if your sponge is over a month old then toss it.

Hand with sponge above kitchen sink

Drying Rack

Anything that has standing water in it tends to be…well…stinky. Be sure you scrub down that drying rack every few days to avoid a slimy mess.

Dish rack on kitchen countertop

Top of the Fan

Cleaning a ceiling fan can be a dirty and dusty job if you let it go too long. Real Simple suggests cleaning fans every other month if you use the fan year round. Here are some helpful tips for getting it clean.

A spinning ceiling fan -- but it's not in a home, it's in a rural barn -- that's why you can see wooden rafters and a steel roof, and lots of dirt, dust, and cobwebs if you zoom in.

Pet Toys

If your house is anything like mine then there are more toys than your little fur baby could possibly ever need. It is important to give their toys some cleaning tlc regularly as they often end up in their mouths. Here are some great tips on how to keep them clean.

Brown sleeping dog with paw on pink monkey cuddly toy

Lint Trap

This is a super important one not only to keep your home clean but also safe! “The U.S. Fire Administration (part of FEMA) cites that there are 2900 home clothes dryer fires every year resulting in an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss. And the leading cause: failure to clean them.” (cushmaninsure.com)

Dryer vent in a home being cleaned out with a round brush. There is a large pile of lint that has been removed from the vent on a white tiled floor. The walls and baseboards are white. The lint is gray. Taken with a Canon 5D Mark 3 camera. rm

Dryer vent in a home being cleaned out with a round brush.

Washing Machine

Washing machines are pretty clean since you use often use hot water to clean your clothes but they still need attention about once a month. To clean your washer just run an empty  load with hot water and bleach.

Shot of a young family having fun while doing laundry

Toothbrush Holder

According to NSF International, this is one of the germiest items in a home. Pretty gross considering it holds the item you clean you mouth with.

Single toothbrush in white beveled cup against blue tile

 

Sofa

According to thesweethome.com you should be cleaning your sofa with a vacuum every 2 weeks and it should get a deep clean once a year. Hey, the silver-lining is you may find some spare change while you are flipping those couch cushions over!

Cleaning Sofa Pillow

Toilet Bowl Handle

Think outside of the box bowl. Use a disinfectant wipe and make sure to close the lid to avoid airborne germs!

All done!

Ice Trays

Does your ice taste funny? There is a chance that may be from the ice tray being dirty and not actually your water. Here is a quick way to clean it.

Stacked ice cube trays in a freezer

Make Up Brushes

Brushing bacteria onto your face may not be your first thought you have as you apply powder, blush or eye shadow to your face but if you aren’t cleaning them regularly it is exactly what you are doing. Make sure to clean all of your brushes once a month.

brushes on eye shadows palette

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The Smartest Home Improvements for 2017

Why not add home improvements to your 2017 resolutions?

Here are a few tasks to kick off in 2017.

Replace Your Garage Door
Your garage door is one of the first things visitors and potential buyers will notice about your home. That’s why it’s important to ensure that yours is in great shape. Consider installing a new garage door if yours is damaged or showing its age.

Insulated garage doors will boost the energy savings of your home. Your garage is an open pocket of air attached to your home. As it gets colder outside, an uninsulated garage will trap cold air against your home, forcing you to spend more on energy bills. Insulated models will keep cold air out and help you eliminate extra spending on utilities.

Install Smart Locks
Smart locks allow you to control and monitor the security of your home through your smart phone. The price of smart locks will vary depending on the features. Most models come with Bluetooth connectivity and remote access.

Get a Nest Thermostat
Learning thermostats will improve the environment in your home and save you money. Smart thermostats learn your heating and cooling habits and automatically adjust your HVAC to meet your needs. You can install a smart thermostat yourself or with the help of a pro.

Complete a Minor Kitchen Remodel
Your kitchen is a busy place. Everyone loves to gather around food and enjoy good conversation while keeping the host or hostess company. If you’re dealing with a cramped kitchen, consider a minor kitchen remodel to help open up your space.

Worried about the cost of a remodel? A kitchen remodel will return 83 percent of its cost at the time of resale, making it one of the better ways to spend your money in 2017.

Update Your Bathroom
Your bathrooms are another great location for home improvements. You don’t have to overhaul the entire room to recoup the cost of your upgrades. Head to your local home improvement store and pick up any of the following items to boost the appearance of your bathrooms:

● New faucet and handles
● Modern mirrors
● New towel racks
● Floating shelves

Channel Your Inner Handyman
You can also tackle some home improvements yourself. It’s as simple as focusing on what’s already in your home rather than what it lacks. Go through your home and check for the following:

● Leaks in the shower
● Leaks in the sink
● Knicks in the drywall

Andrea Davis is the editor at HomeAdvisor, which connects homeowners with home improvement professionals in their area for free. Connect with Andrea on Google+

Clean Credit

PhotoPlanning on moving this year, or applying for a loan? You’ll want to check your credit report before contacting your lender. But what happens if, upon review of the document, you discover it contains information that will negatively impact your credit worthiness; what can you do to improve your standing in the eyes of creditors?

First, check your credit report for omissions and errors. If you notice any errors, write to your reporting agency, outlining the reasons for your disputes and requesting that they investigate your claims. Be sure to enclose copies of any supporting documentation. The credit bureau will investigate your claims by contacting your creditors to verify the information you’ve supplied.

As for negative entries in your report that are accurate, know that bankruptcies and other entries such as late payments will remain on your report for a number of years. For accounts that have previously been past due, but which you’ve since paid off and maintained — they might comply if they see you’ve been handling the account positively.

Be persistent with both the creditors and your credit bureau in finding the source of any incorrect information and getting it rectified. If a correction can’t be made, you can request that the credit bureau include a brief explanation of your version of events next to the entry in question. Make sure the reporting agency sends you an updated report to confirm all the changes.

The Sweetest Way to Kick Off Valentine’s Day at Home

We found the best recipes for breakfast on Valentine’s Day

In case you haven’t noticed yet, Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year. Yuck, a Tuesday. If you are anything like me then going out for a nice dinner (or worse cooking one) after a long day at work sounds anything but romantic. That’s why this year I am flipping the script and focusing on kicking the day off with something sweet and what better way to do than with breakfast at my favorite place in the world…my home.

Last year, 11 Sweet Breakfast in Bed Ideas was one of our most popular posts in February so I decided to write a version 2.0. This year’s theme is all about Red Velvet and these recipes are sure to make breakfast on Valentine’s Day, or any other day for that matter, extra sweet. Enjoy!

Red Velvet Waffles | Go Eat & Repeat | Recipe Here

3 Words… Cream Cheese Glaze (mmmm)

Red Velvet French Toast | Cafe Delites | Recipe Here

What I love most about this picture is the fact that Karina added a few raspberries to the plate. In humble my opinion the fruit on this dish basically cancels out the rest of the calories.

red velvet pancakes valentines day breakfast

Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls | No. 2 Pencil | Recipe Here

Dessert for breakfast…yes please!
red velvet breakfast cinnamon rolls

Red Velvet Crepes | Six Sister’s Stuff | Recipe Here

Close your eyes, take a bite and imagine yourself vacationing in Paris.

Red velvet crepe

Red Velvet Pancakes | DAN 330 | Recipe Here

Short stack or full…whichever you choose will  be a delight!

red velvet pancakes

Red Velvet Donuts | Homemade Hooplah | Recipe Here

While most donuts are fried these are actually baked, so don’t feel bad when you reach for seconds.

red velvet donuts

Red Velvet Nutella Hearts | I Love to Cook | Recipe Here

N U T E L L A!!! Need I say more?!

Red Velvet “Skinny” Shake | Mom on Time Out | Recipe Here

You and your honey can satisfy your sweet tooth with this recipe for 2!

A Quiet Start to the New Year

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People tend to hibernate at home more at this time of year, often to recharge after a hectic end to the previous year. Aim for true peace, quiet and indoor tranquility with these noise-busting tips.

Close the door on squeaky door and cupboard hinges. Most squeaks can be quashed by spraying WD-40 onto the hinges and moving the door or cupboard door back and forth to work in the lubricant.

Silence your steps. Broke curfew? Planning a midnight fridge raid? Make like a ninja on de-squeaked wooden floors, courtesy of a good sprinkling of talcum powder or cornstarch. Force the powder into the floorboards to reduce the friction where the pieces of wood rub together.

Mute the mayhem. While today’s fans, dishwashers and other appliances are much quieter than they used to be, full at-home relaxation requires the muting of as many other sounds as possible. To this end, choose padded carpeting over bare floors, sound-blocking curtains and solid — not hollow core — doors. If replacing doors isn’t an option, at least apply weatherstripping or soundproofing tape around each indoor door to provide a sound barrier/seal. For a more major soundproofing effort, consider sound-blocking ceiling materials that help to block noise traveling from one floor to the next.

Have a silent night. A squeaky bed can keep you, your partner and — if you have someone living downstairs — other people awake with your every turn. If you have a metal bed frame, sometimes simply removing the mattress and tightening the frame’s screws and bolts will remedy the problem.

You can also take apart the bed frame and rub some candle wax or paraffin over the contact surfaces of the joints, or grease with WD-40 to get rid of the friction and help silence the squeaks. If screws are no longer a tight fit, take them out and wrap plumber’s tape around each one, and consider adding new washers too before screwing them back in.

If the squeaks are the result of the metal corners of your box spring interacting with the metal bed frame, you can try cushioning the spaces with old socks, t-shirts or towels.

After all that, if your bed continues to squeak you may want to try placing a sheet of plywood under your mattress to act as a buffer between the mattress and box spring. Plywood isn’t expensive, and most big box stores will cut the wood to the size of your box spring if you give them the dimensions, so it’s worth a try before taking on the expense of a new bed.

Can you see what REALTOR see inside this home?

REALTORS® have their fingers on the pulse of the market. They know the questions to ask, the areas to probe and what to look for so that you get a complete picture of the property and community you’re considering. They can also identify the complex financial and legal issues involved in a real estate transaction.

 

With You Every Step Of The Way

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