Take Steps to Pest-Proof Your Home and Prevent Infestations
As temperatures begin to cool, it’s time to turn up the dial on protecting your home from pests that seek out warm places as refuge from the winter weather. By taking proactive pest management steps, hom- eowners can prevent infestation, structural and aesthetic damages and disease from negatively affecting their home and families. In a recent survey conducted by RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environ- ment), nearly 70 percent of homeowners said zero was the acceptable number of pests they would allow into their home before taking action to get rid of them. To help homeowners take a proactive approach to pest-proofing their homes, DebugtheMyths.com
offers the following easy-to-follow tips to safely inspect and pro- tect their homes from pests. This acronym, INSPECT, is an easy way to remember the steps to quality pest control. IN: Investigate your home to identify any current problems or areas that could cause problems in the future. Do a thorough walk through and identify places with cracks in interior walls, open food containers, vents to the outside, holes in screens, or dark, cool places in attics and basements where pests like to hide. But don’t stop there; take a look outside, too. Keep an eye out for cracks in exterior walls, holes around the house where rodents or other pests can en- ter, unsealed garbage cans and wood piles too close to the home.
than one solution, such as bringing in a pest control specialist, conducting more consis- tent maintenance or making adjustments such as moving a wood pile away from your home.
S: Study up. Once you have identified
your pest problems, take a deeper look into what is causing those problems or if there are potential residual issues. If you cannot identify specific pests, look online or ask a pest professional. Diagnosing your problem is an important step so you can ensure that the product you use is the correct one to solve the problem. P: Prepare your next steps by conducting
research on how to most effectively solve the problem. Your plan may include more
E: Eliminate your pest problem. This means eliminating a pest’s entry way into your home and any problems that already exist. Visit your local home and garden store to find the most effective pest con- trol solutions for your needs. Always read the label of pesticide or fertilizer products before using them. If you are uncomfortable about doing this yourself, call in a local pest control professional to help. CT: Clean and treat your home for any problem areas you may have discovered af- ter conducting research on pest problems in your neighborhood. After eliminating those invitations to pests, proactive activities will help you prevent problems in the future. For instance, cockroaches, which accord- ing to the survey are the most frustrating pest, need food to survive and if they can’t find their midnight snack in your kitchen or crumbs in the living room, they are not going to hang around. Keep in mind that outdoor maintenance can also help prevent indoor problems and make your home’s curbside appeal soar. An easy first step is to make sure plants and shrubs are planted at least 12 inches from the house to discourage pesky critters from thinking of your home as their winter hotel.
Here are some other easy-to-implement tips for keeping a healthy lawn: * Poison ivy, sumac and oak are con- sidered three of the most annoying pests for a homeowner’s outdoor space. To deter harmful weeds from encroaching on your lawn, set-up a regular schedule to check your lawn and conduct rou- tine grooming. Keep falling leaves and debris from accumulating on your home by cleaning gutters regularly. * Choose plants that will do well in your local conditions to help to control weeds and ensure the plants will grow. * Move all wood piles
away from the home and keep an eye on potted plants which can provide shelter for pests during the winter months.
for more information about common pests, how to choose and use the pest control products safely, and applicable tips for your own lawn and community.
Fast, Simple and Amazing DIY Projects
time with their children. A DIY project offers the perfect activity mix for spending happy, produc- tive, cost-effective time together to accomplish a common family goal. DIY projects can be as rewarding as the results: a brighter bathroom, an updated living room or a dramatic touch to any room in the house. The pos- sibilities of easy home improvement projects are seemingly endless. “Improving and updating your home doesn’t
Call the family and grab the toolbox. Do-it-
yourself projects can become a family affair this fall.
According to a recent survey by economists at the University of California, there is a trend of parents looking for ways to spend even more
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have to be a chore,” says Erinn Valencich, a Los Angeles-based interior designer and blogger for HGTV’s Design Happens. “You don’t have to renovate to create a big impact; just a few small changes will do the trick and you can get the whole family involved.” One of the easiest ways to update a room is by refreshing the floor, says Valencich. “Floors set the tone of the room,” she says. “A floor adds so much to the look and feel of the room.” Hard surfaces, including laminate, are once again dominating home flooring options. Lami- nate flooring is a popular option and the fastest growing flooring material around, according to HGTV, because of its practical benefits including durability, beauty and lasting wear. While the thought of installing your own floors can be daunting, Valencich assures homeown- ers that the installation of laminate floors is fairly simple. In fact, according to flooring industry experts, new floors can be installed in a weekend. “Laminate floors, like Quick-Step, can be installed directly on top of existing wood, tile or vinyl flooring and Quick-Step’s Uniclic design needs no glue, nails or staples during installation,” says Valencich. “Planks simply click together, for a lasting connection. Because of the ease of installa- tion, older children can get involved with putting in new laminate floors.” Following these easy tips from Flooring Trends. com will make your room look like a million bucks. * To help reduce moisture, mold, mildew and a
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hollow sound when walked on, put down a qual- ity underlayment first. * Order 7 to10 percent more product than you
think you’ll need to allow for cuts and custom fits. * Order matching or coordinating molding and
trim. “This finishing touch will set you apart,” says Valencich. * Acclimate your laminate floor products before installation. Put unopened cartons in the room they will be installed in for 72 to 96 hours. This is important if you live in a very dry or humid climate.
* Make sure the concrete or wood subfloor is
level before you start your installation. Additional simple DIY projects In addition to installing a new floor, there are other simple DIY projects that will add to the beauty and comfort of your home. * Add attic insulation. If the insulation in your attic is not up to par, the house can lose almost 30 percent of its warm air. Properly insulating an attic can save anywhere from 10 to 30 percent off your monthly heating bill, U.S. News & World Report’s My Money blog says. Batt insulation - rolled fiberglass insulation - can often be added for 70 cents to $1 per square foot. * Lighten up your bathroom. The bathroom is a great place for a do-it-yourself project. Try add- ing can or recessed lighting. “Recessed lighting becomes part of the architecture,” says Valencich. * Replace that kitchen faucet. Update your
kitchen faucet to refresh your sink area, and younger children can help with the removal and replacement of the old faucet. Installing a new faucet can be an economical decision, too. “A new faucet can help lower your water and energy costs,” says Valencich. * Go green. You don’t need to install solar panels or a wind farm to go green and save money. There are several small things you can do to help save the planet and your wallet, from sealing drafts and air ducts to installing a pro- grammable thermostat. Caulk and spray foam are
inexpensive and can be used to seal drafts, saving up to 20 percent on a monthly heating bill. Use a programmable thermostat to turn down the heat while you’re at work and to turn it back up right before you come home. To make floor selection even easier, Valencich
has curated her own collection of Quick-Step “Designer’s Choice” floors, which can be viewed at quickstepstyle.com
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