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What is Terrazzo?

10/7/2021

MAURA CALLAN BAIN


What is Terrazzo?

If you’ve been looking for a stylish and durable material for floors, countertops, or other surfaces, there are few finishes more timeless than terrazzo. A material in use in some form for at least 600 years, terrazzo continues to dazzle and dominate in all kinds of locations in the modern home.

Terrazzo: A Brief History

The Renaissance was an incredible time for artists and architects, with plenty of ground-breaking innovations in the arts coming about. But alongside all the fancy sculptures and haunting stained glass, there was an incredible amount of waste in the form of scrap chips. It was probably an accidental discovery outside of artisan workshops that led to terrazzo, but over time, Italians noticed that walking over those marble, glass, and other durable chips pushed them into workshop floors.

The result was an early form of the breathtaking material we know today. Over time, Italians learned to create terrazzo on purpose, by scattering the chips from workshops onto clay bases, compressing them, and polishing them for a more uniform look. It has since been used in such famous locations as St. Peter’s Basilica and George Washington’s Mount Vernon, and spread like wildfire in new homes built from the 1940s through the 1960s.

 

Looking for Sustainability?

Terrazzo is considered a sustainable floor option, provided you choose one made the old fashioned way: out of recycled materials. Leftover bits of glass, marble, stone, and even more modern materials like plastic can be included in a terrazzo floor to create a unique look. And with a zero VOC base, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a floor that’s safer or greener. It’s even approved for LEED-certified buildings and contributes to the points that are required for LEED certification.

As long as there are manufacturing processes going on, there will be plenty of waste that can be turned into terrazzo. It’s an excellent way to use up these materials and prevent them from ending up in a landfill. Plus, the material is incredibly durable, even when used in high traffic areas like entryway floors, so unless you simply want a change, there’s no reason to worry they’ll need to be replaced.

Choosing Terrazzo for Your Home

Terrazzo is one of the most flexible surface coverings available, and considering its long lifespan, one of the best values. Of course, if you’re not planning on being in your home for a while, you may find that the cost (which is similar to high end ceramic tile) to be a bit more than you’d budgeted for. However, if you’re in your dream home or at least the one you’re planning to retire in, there’s nothing that works harder or lasts longer.

You can use terrazzo indoors or out, on floors, inside showers, on walls, or as a backsplash; the possibilities are literally endless. Since it can be purchased as premade tiles or poured in place, it’s also a great solution for oddly shaped areas. There’s no pattern to match, and no wrong direction to turn terrazzo tiles, making a tile option a reasonable DIY project for people who want to try their hand at their own backsplash or shower tile.

If you’d rather use a pour-in-place terrazzo option, you’ll likely need professional help. There’s a great deal of equipment and skill involved in getting everything just so to keep your terrazzo at its best for the long haul.

Great news! You can find a skilled terrazzo installer right here, recommended by your HomeKeepr community where you will be able to connect with the best terrazzo installers in your area.

Landscaping for Curb Appeal

9/20/2021

Landscaping for Curb Appeal

Maura Callan Bain

BHHS Towne Realty

Sep 13, 2021

Maura Callan Bain

First impressions go a long way. This is applicable to not only when you meet someone new, but also when somebody sees your house for the first time. Regardless of whether it’s a friend or colleague coming over to visit or a prospective buyer looking at a property you’re trying to sell, the importance of curb appeal shouldn’t be underestimated.

You might think that it takes a lot of work and money to update the curb appeal of your home, but that doesn’t have to be the case. It’s possible to significantly increase the curb appeal of your home and your property just by changing your landscaping. Here are a few ways that your landscaping can change up the look of your property and give your overall curb appeal a significant boost.

Adjusting Existing Landscaping

It doesn’t take a lot to turn around your existing landscaping and dramatically increase your curb appeal. Depending on the state that your trees, shrubs, and other plants are in, it may just be a matter of trimming everything back and taking the time to shape some of the more unruly growth you’ve got going on. Trim down bushes and create a more uniform texture, cut back overgrown limbs, get vining plants under control, and otherwise reign in your existing growth so that it looks much more manicured.

Once you’ve got your current growth under control, consider adding some accents to your landscaping. This can come in the form of colored mulch or gravel beds to add more definition to some of your flowers or plants, fountains or other features to provide a bit of contrast, and possibly even removing a few plants or moving potted plants to a new area to ease up on crowding and create a bit more symmetry in your yard. Even if you don’t make major changes, these little accents and changes can still make a big difference.

New Landscaping Additions

If you want to make bigger changes, consider adding more plants to your yard that will accentuate what you’ve already got there. Put in additional bushes or shrubs of similar types to what you’ve already got on your property to help fill out areas that seem a bit thin in coverage. Add sod to create more uniform ground coverage so that the various clovers, creepers, and other plants don’t distract from the look of your home. Put in some flowering annuals if most of your landscaping contains plants that don’t really flower to add splashes of color to break up all the green. Just look at what you’ve already got and think about how you might improve it.

Of course, it’s important to remember that sometimes a bit of contrast can really help your landscaping as well. Don’t be afraid to add flowers or other plants that don’t seem to go with everything else if you find something that you really want to stand out. If you take the time to come up with a landscaping plan that will be visually striking, it will really get people’s attention the first time they see your home.

Give Your Landscaping a Boost

Depending on what you have in mind, there are a number of ways that you can change up your landscaping through DIY projects. In some cases, though, you may need to bring in a landscaping pro to make more significant changes to your home’s landscaping. Not only will a professional be able to tackle larger projects more quickly, but they may also be able to offer suggestions on the specific shrubs, plants, and other landscaping choices that you add to your property.

If you do want to bring in a landscaping pro, HomeKeepr can help. Using the HomeKeepr app you can find pros in your area based on real recommendations from people you know and trust. Creating a HomeKeepr account is free, so sign up today and find the landscaper that will help you take your curb appeal to the next level.

Smart Tags Help You Find the Missing Pieces

8/5/2021

Smart Tags Help You Find the Missing Pieces

Maura Callan Bain

BHHS Towne Realty

Aug 05, 2021

Maura Callan Bain

Day to day life has a lot of moving parts. Unfortunately, this sometimes makes it a little too easy to misplace some of those things that we use every day. This can be a real hassle, causing you to spend time looking for the various things you need instead of using them. Most smartphones come with a “find my phone” feature, so wouldn’t it be great if everything else had a similar function?

With the advent of smart tags, this is actually possible. These tags make it easy to locate lost items around the home and can even provide extra security against theft or loss while you’re out and about. The specific features and functions depend on the brand of smart tags that you use, but regardless of brand you’ll find that there are some features that are universal.

How Do Smart Tags Work?

Smart tags are small battery-powered devices that you can connect to with a phone or some other smart devices. When you’re looking for an item with a smart tag attached, the smart app can either show the location or cause the tag itself to make a noise to make it easier to find. Items with attached tags that are outside of Bluetooth range can still be tracked using the smart tag app as well. Many smart tags also feature GPS features, and even those that don’t tend to show their location the last time they were detected by the app so that you at least have a starting point in finding them.

Depending on the manufacturer and the specific model of smart tag you’re using, there are a few different ways that you can attach smart tags to items. Some tags are designed to attach to a keyring, carabiner clip, or similar attachment point, while others use adhesive backings to stick directly to objects. Specialized holders for smart tags can also be used to further customize your experience and keep track of the important things in your life.

Using Smart Tags in the Home

There are a wide range of items that you can use smart tags to keep track of around the home. Attaching smart tags to your keys seems like something of a no-brainer, saving you the time it takes to track them down when you’re already running late. Tablets, wireless home phones, remote controls, and purses are also good candidates for the smart tag treatment. Wallets featuring built-in smart tag holders or custom holders shaped like credit cards can make your wallet much easier to find as well.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finding uses for smart tags in and around the home, however. Small tags can be attached to screwdrivers, hammers, or other tools that see frequent use around the home. Beloved toys can also have a tag attached, giving you an easy way to check that they aren’t left behind when traveling or visiting others on playdates. You can even attach a tag to your phone in case it’s lost, or for some models you can double-press a button on one of the tags and it will ring your phone to help you find it through the app. The usefulness of smart tags is limited only by your needs and your imagination.

Smart Tags to Organize Your Life

By making use of smart tags, you can ensure that items are easy to find and put back where they go. You can even use this as part of a larger overall organizational strategy, setting up specific places for various things and tagging them accordingly. If that sounds like a big task, there are pro organizers out there who can help you get it done. You can even use HomeKeepr to find them! Sign up for a free account today so you can start organizing and tagging your life tomorrow.

Does Your Tree Need a Trimming?

7/12/2021

Does Your Tree Need a Trimming?

Maura Callan Bain

BHHS Towne Realty

Jul 12, 2021

Maura Callan Bain

For some homeowners, trees are a major component of their landscaping. Trees can bring a lot of beauty to your yard while also providing shade and habitats for birds and other animals. Unfortunately, unkempt trees can be kind of ugly and in some cases may even be dangerous. If you’ve got trees on your property that are looking a bit shaggy or that have simply seen better days, here are a few things to consider when trying to decide if they need a trim.

Cosmetic Issues

When you’re trying to decide whether to trim your trees, the first thing that you should do is look at the general appearance of the tree. You can obviously trim off lone branches that stick out at odd angles, but there’s more to cosmetic considerations than just that. You should also look at whether there are many crisscrossing branches, greenery that is too dense and difficult to see through, or branches that are growing too far horizontally compared to the tree’s vertical growth.

Taking care of cosmetic issues like these are important for a number of reasons. They obviously make your trees look nice and improve the overall look of your landscaping, but these cosmetic trimmings serve other purposes as well. Periodic cosmetic trimming helps to prevent future damage to your trees, and also keep them from becoming so dense that other plants nearby have trouble getting enough light. Occasionally thinning out your tree’s branches can also make it easier to notice other problems with your trees as well.

Safety Issues

Beyond just making your trees look better, trimmings can also improve the health of the trees and an prevent potentially dangerous situations. Broken or dead branches can fall and potentially hit someone, so removing them before they have a chance to do so is very important. You should inspect your trees periodically to look for dead material, especially after large storms or heavy winter precipitation. Inspections are also important if you notice anything weird going on with the tree, such as leaves turning brown in certain portions of the greenery or sudden changes to the general shape of the tree.

There are other potential issues that can prompt a tree trimming as well. Missing bark or other signs of disease or insect infestation can be a big red flag, since this can lead to part of the tree dying and becoming a hazard. You should also keep an eye on any trees growing near electrical lines and trim them before they crowd the lines too much, since heavy winds or other severe weather could lead to the tree pulling down the line and creating a major safety hazard.

Trimming Your Trees

If you just have a few wayward branches to trim, you can usually trim your trees yourself with a few specialized cutters. Larger jobs may require bigger tools, and in some cases could even require a ladder or a crane to reach the areas that need to be trimmed. Be sure to wear a hard hat and other protective equipment even for small jobs, since the last thing you want is to end up hurting yourself while trying to make your trees safer!

If the trimming job is too big or you simply don’t have the equipment necessary to get it done, you can also hire professional tree trimmers to come in and do the job for you. These pros already have everything they need to do things right, and they may notice other issues with your tree that you missed during your inspection. If you aren’t sure where to start in finding professional trimmers, HomeKeepr can help. Sign up for a HomeKeepr account today and to find tree-trimming professionals in your area that can take care of your trees without issue. Best of all, your HomeKeepr account is free!

This Year’s Tile Trends!

7/8/2021

This Year’s Tile Trends!

Maura Callan Bain

BHHS Towne Realty

Jul 01, 2021

Maura Callan Bain

Tile is a very versatile material, offering strength and beauty while also providing color and decorative flair wherever it’s installed. Useful on both floors and walls, tile can really define the look of a room and can even be paired with other flooring and wall décor types to create complex looks from relatively simple materials. Tile provides something of a timeless look, though that doesn’t mean that it isn’t subject to decorating trends like any other material. If you’re curious as to what’s hot in tile at the moment, here are some of the biggest current trends out there.

Neutral Colors

Throughout the years, tile trends have covered just about every color imaginable. Deep browns and light tans used to be hot, and it seems like every few years monochromes and grayscales come back into prominence. Sometimes we even get bold and bright colors as the “it” trend. At the moment, though, a lot of tile trends seem to be gravitating toward more neutral colors. Tans, grays, and greens are especially popular within the last year or so.

The key to the popularity of these colors lies in how well light shades of brown, gray, and green tend to go with a variety of different decorating styles. Soft greens are especially popular lately and pair well with green, blue, and even brown shades in bathrooms, kitchens, and other rooms where tile is commonly used. While these colors are the most popular at the moment, other neutral shades including soft yellows, creams, and even pinks and blues are finding their way into more homes as the neutral color trend continues.

Hexagons Are Hot

Most of the time, tile comes in some variation of squares or rectangles. Even tiles with repeating sweeping designs or that are arranged to create vivid images tend to mostly be square. That may be one of the reasons that hexagonal tiles are so popular these days, since they really shake up convention while still offering an easily repeatable shape that captures the essence of classic tile.

Hexagonal tile is available in a wide range of options, including classic glossy ceramic tiles, marbled tiles, matte finishes, and even 2D images that repeat over the face of the tiles. Some hexagon layouts even use different types of hexagons to create a more complex pattern, combining classic hexagons with others that have two sides longer than the rest to create a remarkably interesting look overall. You can even combine hexagons with rectangular or square tiles to create very striking patterns on your walls or floors. The options are limitless, and they’re sure to catch the attention of any guests who see them.

Textures and Tile

While tile has often gone hand in hand with complex design work, a lot of emerging trends seem to be dialing back on that to keep things a little simpler. At the same time, more tiles are adding subtle bits of texture to make up for the lack of design complexity. This gives the tile more of a 3D look, allowing light and shadow to add subtle touches of depth without the need for a wide range of tiles in different shapes and colors to create complex patterns. This texture can mimic the look of natural stone, create flecked patterns on the tile, or even create ridges or waves that seem to flow from one tile to the next. These textured tiles are redefining what many people think of when they think of tile wall coverings and flooring.

Whether you want to follow one of these new hot trends or stick with more traditional tile layouts, HomeKeepr can help you find the pros you need to get your tile installed exactly how you want it. Sign up for a free account today to find installers in your area. They may even help you to find new trends that you weren’t even aware of that will meet your needs perfectly.

Small Changes Make Big Bathroom Impacts

6/24/2021

Small Changes Make Big Bathroom Impacts

Maura Callan Bain

BHHS Towne Realty

Jun 24, 2021

Maura Callan Bain

Nobody likes a small bathroom. Unfortunately, a lot of houses have them. If you live in a home with a bathroom that makes you feel a bit claustrophobic, you might think that there isn’t much you can do without some major (and majorly costly) renovations. This may not be the case, though. There are actually a number of small changes that you can make to your bathroom to make it not only appear bigger, but possibly even give you some more space to work with.

Bear in mind that some of these options are a matter of personal taste. You’ll need to think about how these would work with your own personal style preferences. With that said, even if you only use one or two of these suggestions, you may be surprised at how big of a change they can make in your bathroom … all without having to tear down a wall or anything.

Change Up the Look

The first thing that you should do is stop and take a good look at your bathroom. Are the walls some dark, unappealing color that was last seen in the wilds of the 1970s? Does the lighting give everything kind of a dull yellow tint or cast some big shadows everywhere? Did some unfortunate soul decide that the bathroom really was the place for some deep-pile carpeting? The look of your bathroom can have a big effect on how open (or not) it appears, and in many cases can make the bathroom seem smaller or more unpleasant than it actually is.

Some options for fixing this include adding mirrors (which are always useful in the bathroom anyway), painting or adding wallpaper to cover up dark or grungy walls, and replacing light fixtures with something that will give you a bit more illumination everywhere. Try painting one wall a different complementary color as an accent. Choose wallpaper with repeating patterns but also with ample open space between repetitions. Paint your cabinets or add light-colored veneer to help lighten up the space. The lighter and more inviting the bathroom is, the larger it will seem.

 

Revamp Your Storage

Another thing that can make a bathroom feel small is clutter. If every available surface seems covered with soaps, styling products, makeup, or manscaping tools, it’s going to trigger that part of your brain that doesn’t like crowded spaces every time you enter the room. This is where good storage can come into play, since it will give you a place for all that clutter, so you don’t have to just shove everything into an unorganized mess in the cabinet.

Consider installing rotating storage or under-shelf racks in your cabinets to make organizing easier. Adding a high shelf with a towel rack under it can also help, letting you move towels out of your cabinet and position them closer to your bath or shower without taking up precious floor space. Hanging a multi-panel medicine cabinet is also a great idea, since it gives you more storage for small items and medicines while also adding additional mirrors to the bathroom. Once you deal with some of the clutter on your surfaces, you’ll be surprised at how much more open the bathroom seems.

Bringing the Bathroom to Life

If you aren’t exactly sure how to revitalize your bathroom, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Painters and interior designers may have suggestions on how to change the look and functionality of your bathroom without breaking the bank and can assist you in picking colors and other options to really open the place up. They may have additional suggestions based on the actual layout of your bathroom as well, helping you to feel more comfortable in the bathroom without all the cost of significant renovation.

HomeKeepr can help you to find the pros you need to make your bathroom revamp a reality. Sign up for a free account today to find local pros in your area that can get the job done. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s one more little thing that will make a big difference in your bathroom revitalization project.

Clever Uses for Useless Spaces

6/21/2021

Clever Uses for Useless Spaces

Maura Callan Bain

BHHS Towne Realty

Jun 21, 2021

Maura Callan Bain

There are a lot of areas around the home that may seem kind of useless or wasted. Partial dividing walls, areas below (or even above) a staircase, or little nooks or alcoves that were created by the house’s unique design are all common examples. You might not think much about these areas, but if you consider them for a moment, you might see how they could be some serious missed opportunities. With a little bit of creativity, though, you can change all of that for the better.

That blank wall around a doorway doesn’t have to stay empty, and the space under the stairs isn’t just for boy wizards anymore. There are a number of ways that you can revamp these empty and otherwise useless spaces and make your home more functional and fun in the process. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

Surfaces and Seating

Look around your home at the various nooks and crannies that seem to just be empty space. With a little bit of work, it’s easy to add seating, tables, desks, and more to these areas and make them much more functional. Once you start thinking creatively, a whole wealth of options opens up.

Some of the open space in your foyer could have benches added for you and your family to sit and get your shoes on in the morning, possibly with bins that slide under the benches to keep those shoes in when they’re not being worn. A little alcove could be a great place to install a small desk or computer workstation for homework, bill paying, creative writing, or even grabbing a quick bite to eat. You could even stick a chaise lounge or part of a sectional couch in a largely unused corner to give people a private place to wind down or relax. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Storage and Organization

Some of these seemingly useless places can be a great place to add storage solutions to your home. Shelves and cabinets can instantly transform empty walls, giving you additional storage even in the small spaces around doorways or in closets. Drawers are also great additions, as are sliding cabinet racks that pull out and then slide fully back into the wall. There are even more options available if you really want to get creative.

If your kitchen has a small dividing wall separating it from other rooms, consider adding a built-in wine rack within it to hold a few of your favorite bottles. A pull-out vertical cabinet next to the sink or stove can also be a great area to add a spice rack or store cutting boards. Bookcases are relatively easy to install, and if you have a large unused area, it might even be an ideal place to add a built-in pantry. Not only do details like these really liven up your home, but they can also help reduce clutter in other areas and make everything a bit more organized in general.

A Use for Every Space

You might be surprised at just how much space there is in your home for these types of projects. The options can increase even more if you start looking at the outside of your home or in the garage, too. While some projects might require a bit of work, others are simple modifications that can really go a long way toward improving both the look and functionality of your home.

If you aren’t sure where to start, consider bringing in an interior designer or general contractor to discuss what you want and see what your options are. HomeKeepr can help you find the right pro for the job, too. Sign up for a free account today to get connected with professionals in your area that can help make your renovation dreams come true. They may even be able to offer up suggestions you haven’t even thought of yet.

Custom Cabinets for Laundry Rooms!

6/18/2021

Custom Cabinets for Laundry Rooms!

Maura Callan Bain

BHHS Towne Realty

Jun 17, 2021

Maura Callan Bain

The laundry room can be one of the busiest rooms in the house. The problem with this is that many laundry rooms aren’t actually designed with all of the functions of a laundry room in mind. In many homes, the room is just the place where clothes are cleaned, and various detergents and other laundry aids are stored. Your laundry room can be so much more, though!

One great way to take an ordinary laundry room and make it serve a greater purpose is to install custom cabinets. This won’t just help you to keep all your laundry supplies organized, either. Custom cabinets can add more functions to the room, completely changing up the way you do the laundry. Here are a few ideas that can help.

Hanging and Folding

For many people, doing the laundry involves bringing clothes into the laundry room, putting them through the wash, then taking them somewhere else to put them away. Custom cabinets can make the whole process easier, though. Long cabinets featuring things like built-in folding tables and hanging racks can give you a place to fold your clothes or hang items that need to stay wrinkle free without carting them all over the house.

The fact that these items are built into cabinets makes them especially convenient. It lets you get to the laundry immediately after taking it out of the dryer, and when the table isn’t in use you can fold it back up and close the cabinet to get everything out of the way. Delicates and other items that are washed but need to skip the dryer can also be taken out and hung up right away, even if it’s only temporarily while you deal with the rest of the load before taking them out to hang on a line.

Custom Racks and Storage

Depending on how you do your laundry, there may be a number of products that you use on the regular. This can cause some clutter in the laundry room, especially if you have certain items that have to be washed in certain ways while everything else is handled differently. This is where items like sliding racks, spinning racks, and other cabinet customizations can come in handy. You can store things neatly, sliding out or spinning your storage to get what you need without having to move everything else around just to find it.

A cabinet featuring drawers or other organized storage solutions can also be a great addition to the laundry room. When temperatures start to change and it’s time to swap out wardrobes, you can store items that aren’t being worn in the laundry room to free up space in bedroom drawers. The location of the storage is convenient because you can wash things as they go through the laundry, fold everything up, and then put them right into storage while they’re clean.

Custom Cabinet Options

There are many other options available for custom laundry room cabinets as well. Cabinets with under-shelf storage for dryer sheets, garment bags, and other laundry essentials can be great for staying organized. Custom cabinets with panel doors to hide the washer and dryer themselves can be great if you’re going for a modern look or simply need the laundry room to serve multiple purposes. Regardless of your needs, you’re sure to find custom cabinet designs that can meet them.

When it comes time to actually make your cabinet dreams a reality, HomeKeepr can help you connect with cabinet shops or contractors that can get the job done. Signing up for a HomeKeepr account is free, and from there you can find pros in your area based on real recommendations from people that you trust. Create your free account today to get connected and make your laundry room into so much more than just a place where you wash and dry your clothes.

How Do You Use a Bug Zapper?

6/10/2021

How Do You Use a Bug Zapper?

Maura Callan Bain

BHHS Towne Realty

Jun 10, 2021

Maura Callan Bain

To get this out there, there’s very little chance that you don’t know what a bug zapper is. There’s also at least a chance that you’ve never actually used one in real life and have just seen them used in a cartoon, movie, or TV show. Bug zappers have all but become a part of pop culture, usually indicating that a character lives in a very rural setting and more often than not comes from the poorer side of the tracks. So let’s get rid of that mental image right off the bat, because bug zappers are actually very useful tools that can make your home and yard a bit more comfortable as bugs that bite are out looking for a nibble in the heat of summer.

How Bug Zappers Work

While the “zap” in the name gives away a large part of how bug zappers work, the system is a bit more complex than just tossing out some voltage and killing wayward bugs. Inside the average bug zapper is an ultraviolet light source, which depending on the model of the zapper could be a light bulb, a fluorescent light tube or even UV LEDs. It’s this light source that attracts insects to the device, causing them to fly in between a grid of wires in hopes of reaching the light within. This is where the zap comes in; the grid contains electrified wires that provide a small shock to any insects that fly inside, killing them and causing them to drop onto a removable tray for easy cleanup.

It’s important to keep in mind that this is just a general description of how they work, of course; different models may have additional features such as scent or pheromone cartridges designed to attract specific types of insects. There also may be some differences in design between bug zappers intended for indoor use and those designed to use outside. Some small units may even be battery powered or built into the form factor of a flyswatter to make killing specific insect pests easier.

 

Placing Bug Zappers

For stationary bug zappers, there are two main types: Indoor units and outdoor units. Indoor bug zappers are typically only needed in residential homes if you have problems with bugs in certain areas (such as flies in the kitchen or flying bugs coming in through sliding doors in the summer.) If that’s the case, a bug zapper can be placed around the area where you have the largest problem or near the most obvious entry point.

Outdoor bug zappers are much more commonly used by homeowners, especially during the summer when everyone wants to spend time outdoors. The best locations to place bug zappers outdoors are typically around the edges of the area where you plan to spend time, such as the outskirts of a pool or play area, so that insects will be drawn to the zappers instead of the people within that perimeter. It can also be beneficial to place a bug zapper near outdoor tables where you’ll be serving food, just so long as it’s far enough away that wayward zapped bugs won’t fall out and land on the table. Garden hangers and shepherd’s hooks can be used to hold up the bug zapper units wherever you place them.

Bug Zapper Safety

Because bug zappers use electricity, keep in mind that you’re likely going to need extension cords to provide them with the juice they need. This means that you’ll need cords that are rated for outdoor use, as well as a grounded outdoor outlet to plug them into. It’s also important that the zappers are mounted in such a way that pets or children aren’t going to grab them; even though bug zappers don’t provide enough of a zap to be dangerous to people or pets, it could still hurt or startle them and cause them to knock the bug zapper over (which could then hit someone or become a tripping hazard.)

Using a bug zapper can be beneficial around the house, though it’s important to remember that not all bugs will be attracted to one. For other insect pests, calling in an exterminator or other pest removal pro can be a good idea. Sign up for a free HomeKeepr account today to find pest pros in your area that can help keep your home insect free and take care of whatever the bug zapper doesn’t.

HVAC Hacks for High Ceilings

6/7/2021

HVAC Hacks for High Ceilings

Maura Callan Bain

BHHS Towne Realty

Jun 07, 2021

Maura Callan Bain

Many people like homes with high ceilings because of the spaciousness they convey and the vertical space they provide for hangings, artwork, and a variety of other items. There are a few drawbacks to high ceilings, though, and one significant one is how difficult they can make heating and cooling your home. If you aren’t careful, those high ceilings that look so nice can result in a significant increase in your heating and cooling costs when compared to similar homes with lower ceilings. This doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to spend a lot on heating and cooling, however; there are a few things that you can do to make your HVAC system more efficient in your home even if you do have high ceilings.

Improve Air Circulation

One big thing that you can do is to get the air in your home moving by using ceiling fans or other types of fans. Even though the fans won’t heat or cool the air on their own, they do move the hot or cold air around to provide a more comfortable environment overall. This can be especially important during the hottest parts of summer and the coldest parts of winter, as in both instances fans keep hot air from collecting up high and cool air from staying too low for you to really enjoy.

A whole-house fan can help in this regard as well, especially in the heat of summer. This type of fan will remove the hottest air from your home, which keeps your attic from heating up the rest of the house or trapping warm air. Once the days start cooling down, the fan can then be shut off and insulated to keep warm air from escaping.

 

Make Use of the System Fan

Most people keep their HVAC system on automatic, which uses the system fan to circulate air while the air conditioning or heater is on and then shuts it off afterward. Just like with ceilings fans, though, the system fan can help to circulate air even when the unit isn’t actively heating or cooling the air. This circulation helps to eliminate stagnant, still air that can seem uncomfortable regardless of the temperature you’re shooting for.

Turning on the system fan can be useful throughout the year, but it’s especially useful during the summer when it’s coolest near the floors. HVAC registers at the floor level will move that cool air higher into your home. The added air circulation also provides some benefit in winter too, helping to get heat out from around the high ceilings and down into the rest of the house. During the milder spring and fall, you can enjoy the added air circulation if you wish or simply switch the fan back to auto.

Consider Your HVAC System

If your HVAC system can’t keep up even with additional air circulation, it may be that your unit is too exposed outdoors or simply isn’t powerful enough to fully heat and cool your home. If possible, your HVAC unit should be in the shade for at least part of the day to keep its components as cool as possible even during the heat of summer. Installing a shade or awning over the unit can be one way to accomplish this, just so long as you don’t use large supports or side pieces that could restrict airflow. If the unit is too small, though, there’s not much that you can do other than installing supplementary air conditioning or heating solutions or upgrading the whole system.

If you’re not sure whether you need an HVAC upgrade, HomeKeepr can help with this. You can connect with HVAC pros in your area who will help you determine whether your unit is the right size for your home and who can provide the maintenance necessary to keep it running smoothly all year long. Best of all, you can sign up with HomeKeepr for free.

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