saatva-adjustable-mattress

This Is the Bed of Your Dreams

This Is the Bed of Your Dreams

With clever comfort-boosting features, this smart bed is a game changer for nighttime (and anytime, really).

adjustable-mattress

Like most people, I’ve always been pretty content with my bed: medium-firm mattress, crisp white sheets, cushy down comforter, and plenty of room even when the kids pile on to watch Survivor. The thought of an adjustable bed had never occurred to me until recently when, at Real Simple, we heard about a new, modern version from Saatva called The Lineal. It moves your mattress so you can get into the most comfortable positions for reading, texting, TV-watching, breakfast in bed, and more.

It is on the pricier side—$1,300 for a full size, and up—but it’s also pretty genius, and a good investment if, like me, your bed has become the perpetual family hangout spot. I took the chance to try one out, and here’s how it works:

l

Push a button on the remote to move the head of the bed (say, for a better TV view) or the foot (for a loungey recline). Or move them both. The mattress glides into position and the motor makes barely any noise. If you want to level out the bed later for sleeping, just press “Flat” to return it to its original setup. You can even program the remote to remember your favorite settings.

As a bonus, there’s a Brookstone-like feature too: head, foot, and full-body massage options powered by remote control. It’s not the kneading strength of an actual shiatsu session, of course, but it’s a fun little extra that makes you feel pampered (and a big hit with the kids).

 

Another plus: under-bed lighting. Press a button to subtly illuminate the room at night when you need to find your way to the bathroom, or anytime you’re cleaning to get all the dust bunnies.

The Lineal works with most mattresses that are able to flex, but you can also find mattress options compatible with an adjustable base on Saatvamattress.com. The bottom line: It’s high-quality, easy to operate, and takes lounging to a whole new level—a worth-the-splurge purchase for anyone who’s big on spending time in bed.

Woman watering flowers in garden with watering can

How to Keep Your Garden Thriving All Summer Long

How to Keep Your Garden Thriving All Summer Long

Beat the heat and keep your garden in tip-top shape this season.

Summer can be an exciting month for gardening when you think about everything that’s in season (dahlias, tomatoes, and so much more), but with rising temperatures, scorching sun, and unwelcome pests taking over, your garden may need a little bit more TLC during this time of year. “Dry soil, wilted plants, overgown weeds, and brown grass are common signs of an unhealthy garden,” Danny Watson, The Home Depot garden center associate, says. “Thankfully there are easy ways to combat these problems.” But where do you even start? Watson shared his best advice for summer gardening with us. If you follow these care tips your garden will look lush and vibrant all summer long, which is ideal if you’re planning on hosting a lot of backyard gatherings this year. Don’t worry, it won’t take up too much of your time (or cost too much money), so you can prep and care for your garden and still be able to hit the beach, head out on your road trip, or just enjoy a lazy summer afternoon at home.

1

Be Smart About Watering.

woman-watering-flowers

Photo by Paul Bradbury/Getty Images

While the temperature may be warmer and drier, you don’t have to spend every moment of your free time watering your plants. Watson says it’s all about being smarter about watering. “The typical rule of thumb is to water flowerbeds twice a week with plenty of water,” he says. “This will be more effective than watering the flowerbeds more frequently, with less water.”

2

Don’t Water at Night.

It might seem like a good idea to do this task when you get home from work, but think again. “Try avoid watering plants in the evening—the warmth and moisture encourages fungus growth,” he says. “As we head into the hottest part of the summer, try to do your heaviest watering in the morning. Only water in the evening if the plant really needs it.” He also advises against watering in the middle of the day when it’s the hottest as the soil will soak up the water faster, leaving less for the plants to use.

3

Feed Your Plants.

“Plants need more than just extra water to endure increasing temperatures and strong sun exposure during the summer months,” Watson says. “Place a 3-inch layer of Earthgro® by Scotts® Mulch in beds and around plantings to help the soil retain moisture and keep plants insulated from high temperatures. It is also important to feed plants throughout the summer season. The LiquaFeed® Universal Feeder from Miracle-Gro attaches directly to your hose and automatically delivers the right amount of food so you do not have to worry about burning your plants.”

4

Prune Away.

Keep an eye on your garden and remove any diseased, damaged, or dead debris as they block airflow and growth. “If you notice a plant with dead blooms, cut them back now to ensure it grows healthier next season,” he says. “Light pruning all year encourages steady growth and builds a healthy plant.” You’ll also want to be vigilant about dealing with any weeds, too. Weeds thrive off summer heat and steal nutrients and water from other plants, so catch them before they grow and spread.

5

Combat Pests.

Bugs can be abundant in the summer months, so much so that it can be overwhelming. “It is important to know which types of insects you are dealing with and which products to use,” he says. “I recommend Ortho Bug B Gon Insect Killer Granules to rid your lawn of pesky ants, ticks, and spiders. A single application, with thorough watering, helps keep pests from crashing your summer fun for up to three months. For flying insects, such as yellow jackets, Japanese beetles, and wasps, try placing traps, like the RESCUE Reusable Yellow Jacket Trap around your yard, making sure to avoid doors and high traffic areas.”

6

Add Some Shade.

“If an area of your yard or garden is exposed to strong sunlight for the majority of the day, find a way to create shade,” Watson says. “You can use a stunt plant, such as a tree or cluster of bamboo to provide shade for your flowerbeds.”

spring-garden

This Favorite Bedding Brand Just Launched a Baby Line

This Favorite Bedding Brand Just Launched a Baby Line

You’ve decorated your crib, now it’s time to accessorize theirs.

Three years ago, Parachute was born as a bedding brand, and now its family is growing to include a gender-neutral baby collection that celebrates the brand’s core colorways and themes that make for a perfect night’s sleep.

From darling crib sheets with prints featuring mini moons and stars to quilts in hues including blush, fog, and white, the line is a must for mix and matching so you can customize your baby’s room however you’d like.

The collection is made up of seven pieces that are non-toxic and Oeko-Tex certified, meaning that the products are chemical-free so both the earth and your baby are safe and sound. As if things couldn’t get better, everything meets REACH requirements, which stands for “registration, evaluation, authorization, and restriction of chemicals.” Basically, it’s a protocol by the European Union that ensures that manufacturers are held responsible to identify chemicals in their products.

And if you thought the brand’s mission to save the environment stopped there, there’s more. When the package arrives at your doorstep, it’s placed inside a reusable bag made of the same luxe materials as your linens, so you can use it as an upgraded laundry bag or whatever else your heart desires. All the bedding and bath products are crafted with Egyptian and Turkish cotton fibers in family-owned factories in Europe, so you’re getting the highest quality products backed by generations of trusted methods.

Currently, the Venice Beach based company has two storefronts, a hotel, and is sold online. So no matter where you live, the linens of your dreams are within reach.

house-hills-closeup

Smart Organizing Tricks for a Clutter-Free Closet

Smart Organizing Tricks for a Clutter-Free Closet

How to Hang Pictures Right the First Time

How to Hang Pictures Right the First Time

Painting hung over mantel

Framed paintings and photographs add a splash of color to a room and give it a unique personal touch, but some homeowners are reluctant to tackle the job for fear their walls will end up resembling aged Swiss cheese. With the right hardware and know-how, you can approach your next picture hanging project with confidence.

Finding the Right Location

The first step is to decide where you would like the picture to hang. Recruit a helper to hold the picture on the wall while you evaluate its placement using the following guidelines:

  • The center of the picture should be at eye level, approximately 60” from the floor.
  • Leave at least a 3” to 6” gap between the top of a sofa and the bottom of the picture frame, and 4” to 8” inches from a table top.
  • Treat a grouping of pictures as a single unit.
  • Center the picture or grouping within the available wall space or over the piece of furniture below it.
  • Position pictures away from direct light and high humidity.

Deciding on a location for one picture is fairly simple, but arranging several pieces in a single space can get a bit more complex. The answer is to make paper templates with arrows on them to indicate whether the piece will be hung vertically or horizontally. Tape the templates to the wall, using easy-release painter’s tape, and rearrange them until the grouping is to your liking.

Once you’ve decided on the perfect spot, use a stud finder to identify wall studs and mark their location with Post-it Notes or painter’s tape.

Marking wall even with edge of frame

Marking the Wall

While holding the picture in place, put a strip of painter’s tape on the wall with the bottom edge even with the top of the frame. Mark each end of the frame on the tape then remove the picture.

If the picture will have only one wall hanger, find the width of the frame, divide by two, and measure this distance in from the marks on the painter’s tape. Split any difference between the two marks for the center.

Mark wall at center of painting

For added stability on wide frames, use two hangers that are equidistant from the center point. If the frame has a hanger on each side, measure in from the outside edge of the frame to the center of each hanger and transfer these measurements to the tape.

Next, turn the picture over and measure from the top of the frame to the point the picture will hang. For pictures with a hanging wire and one hanging point, hook the metal end of a tape measure under the center of the wire. Pull up until the wire is taut, and measure up to the top of the frame.

Measure from wire hanger to top of frame

For frames with a wire that will have two hanging points, pull up on the wire at both points simultaneously then measure up to the top of the frame.

Measuring wire to top of frame for double wall hangers

For pictures with D-rings or sawtooth hangers, hook the tape over the top of the frame and measure down to the spot where the wall hanger will be attached.

Transfer the hanger location on the wall by measuring down from the bottom edge of the painter’s tape.

Measuring wall to frame hanger location

Then use a level to make sure it is plumb with the mark on the strip of tape.

Use level to measure down to hanger location

Choosing Hardware

In order to select the right hardware to hang your picture, you need to know:

  • The approximate weight of the picture.
  • The type of hanging hardware on the frame.
  • The wall material.
  • If the wall hanger will be attached to a stud.

Types of wall hanging hardware

There are a number of hardware options for hanging pictures, with the label on the package usually giving the maximum weight each one is designed to hold. To find the weight of the picture, weigh yourself on a bathroom scale while holding the picture then subtract your weight from it.

Traditional metal picture hooks work well for lightweight frames fitted with wire while screws or nails are a better choice for sawtooth and D-rings hangers.

Standard wall picture hanger hardware

If the hanging hardware will attach to a wall stud or solid wood paneling, just about any hanger suitable for the frame and rated for the weight of the picture will do. If the picture is heavy and a stud isn’t present, you’ll need to use a wall anchor on drywall or plaster walls. Self-tapping threaded anchors are suitable for attaching all but the heaviest pictures to drywall.

Anchors that spread out behind the wall—such as toggle or molly bolts—provide the most holding power and help keep plaster from cracking.

Wire hanger picture hanging hardware

The latest innovation in picture hanging hardware is a thin curved spring steel wire sold under brand names such as Heavy Duty Wall Hanger, Hercules Hook, and Monkey Hook.

To use, simply twist the sharpened point through the drywall and push the wire into the wall cavity until it locks in place.

Wire hangers will only work where there’s not a stud or other obstruction in the wall. They are quick to install and remove, leaving a very small hole that is easy to spackle and paint over.

Installing Hardware

Keep in mind that the spot marked on the wall and the location you attach the hanger may differ since the hook often extends down from the nail or screw that holds it. To make sure you get it right, position the lowest point of the hook at the mark before attaching the hardware to the wall.

While you can nail or screw directly into drywall, always drill a pilot hole first in plaster to prevent cracking. Brick and concrete walls require drilling a hole with a special masonry bit then either hammering in a masonry nail or using a plastic anchor and screw.

Hang Picture

To prevent your picture from marring the wall and keep it hanging level, apply self-adhesive rubber bumpers to the bottom corners on the back of the frame before hanging. After suspending the picture on the hanger, remove the strip of tape, and use a level to check your work.

Source: https://www.todayshomeowner.com/hanging-pictures-right-the-first-time/

20 EASY WALL HANGING IDEAS

20 EASY WALL HANGING IDEAS

20 Easy Wall Hanging Ideas abeautifulmess.com      The fastest and (often) least expensive way to add color or personality to your walls? Hang something up! We adore changing up the walls in our homes too, too much. Here’s a few of our very favorite projects.

1. Corner gallery wall20 Easy Wall Hanging Ideas abeautifulmess.com2. Tips for installing a gallery wall20 Easy Wall Hanging Ideas abeautifulmess.com             3. Three easy 30-minute art projects20 Easy Wall Hanging Ideas abeautifulmess.com    4. Song lyric wall art20 Easy Wall Hanging Ideas abeautifulmess.com            5. Create your own instax wallpaper20 Easy Wall Hanging Ideas abeautifulmess.com                  6. Make your own photo wall clock.20 Easy Wall Hanging Ideas abeautifulmess.com           7. Add life to your room with gold dipped hanging planters.20 Easy Wall Hanging Ideas abeautifulmess.com                8. Don’t forget your kitchen walls! Try this easy kitchen wall art.20 Easy Wall Hanging Ideas abeautifulmess.com                    9. Pretty storage? Yes, please! Try hats in place of art.20 Easy Wall Hanging Ideas abeautifulmess.com               10. We are still swooning over this copper pipe wall hanging.20 Easy Wall Hanging Ideas abeautifulmess.com              11. Make this starburst mirror DIY.20 Easy Wall Hanging Ideas abeautifulmess.com                   12. Create a modern wall art with paint swatches.20 Easy Wall Hanging Ideas abeautifulmess.com 13. Craft these triangle shelves. Too cute!20 Easy Wall Hanging Ideas abeautifulmess.com   14. Use a personal photo to make your own canvas portrait.20 Easy Wall Hanging Ideas abeautifulmess.com     15. Get ready for February with this best friend wall art.20 Easy Wall Hanging Ideas abeautifulmess.com        16. Add a soft touch above a dining room table with this fabric chandelier.20 Easy Wall Hanging Ideas abeautifulmess.com       17. Be cool with this skull string art. 🙂20 Easy Wall Hanging Ideas abeautifulmess.com  18. Get out your tools and make these honeycomb shelves.20 Easy Wall Hanging Ideas abeautifulmess.com          19. Make personalized pet art with little more than pens and paper.20 Easy Wall Hanging Ideas abeautifulmess.com                 20. Create this song lyric denim art in one afternoon! Go on and make something pretty this weekend!

Source: http://abeautifulmess.com/2014/01/20-easy-wall-hanging-ideas.html

5 Favorite Picture Hanging Tricks

5 Favorite Picture Hanging Tricks

Hanging a picture is about as DIY as many homeowners get. But although it may seem easy, hanging a picture properly is much more than a haphazard task. Here are five favorite tips for taking a one-hole approach to hanging a picture on the wall.

How to Hang a Picture

1. Don’t eyeball it! If you’re hanging multiple pieces of artwork, you need to figure out how they’ll work together before you start making holes. My recommendation is to make a template. Use newsprint or butcher paper to create true-scale templates of your frames, then use painter’s tape to figure out the best arrangement. Young House Love has a great walkthrough of the technique.

2. Don’t use nails—well, not JUST nails. I know every one of you has hung a picture using a simple brad nail. I’ll even admit there are several in my own home hung this way. But they are the pictures most likely to fall off the wall or require regular straightening. A single nail hammered into drywall is not stable enough to support much weight, so invest in the right hardware. My go-to options are self-tapping threaded anchors and screws, which provide a wider balance point without using wire. I’ve  also used steel, hooked wire hangers to great success.

5 Picture Hanging Tips

3. Use math—really! If you purposefully stagger art so nobody can tell that your frames are not straight, fear not. A little math will enable to hang series of perfectly spaced art works. I shared my favorite technique on the ReadyMade blog. You can just plug your dimensions into the calculator and be good to go (no fancy equations required).

Tips for Hanging Pictures

4.  The best-ever picture hanging tip. Kristen from Celebrate Everyday with Me dubs this trick “the best ever”, and I think she might be right. I’ve seen all kinds of methods for marking a hole on the wall before drilling, but this one tip renders the rest unnecessary. The idea is to create a portable hanger on which to suspend your picture, so that measuring and marking drill holes becomes significantly easier. So brilliant, you should make two!

Picture Hanging Tips

5. Use a sticky note to capture dust. Since hanging artwork is usually a task done in a finished room, it can create drywall, plaster, or concrete dust on your carpet, floors, or furniture. So just use this little tip: Add a simple, folded Post-It underneath your marked hole to collect most of the dust made from your pilot hole. Genius, right?

DIY Projects Anyone Can Do

Source: https://www.bobvila.com/articles/picture-hanging-tips/#.WWW3rBWGPIU

10 Quick Home Maintenance Tips

10 Quick Home Maintenance Tips

Home maintenance isn’t restricted to repairs. In fact, certain tasks–when performed regularly–may actually prevent things from breaking in the first place. But when things do go wrong (and it’s inevitable that they do), we have some backup plans that you can try before you grab the phone to call for pro. Appliances and plumbing are the most frequent offenders, but they also often can be the simplest to care for. From the gutters to the living room carpet, there’s a reliable method for keeping every part of your home clean, safe, and well maintained.

MUST-DO MAINTENANCE:

The quickest fix is to not have the problem in the first place. Here’s a checklist of items every homeowner should get to regularly.

1. Test your garage door opener monthly to ensure that it reverses when it hits an obstruction or when its sensor beam is interrupted.

2. Vacuum the clothes dryer’s exhaust duct at least once a year. If the duct is plastic, replace it (it’s a fire hazard). Rigid sheet-metal ducting is best.

3. Replace furnace filters quarterly, or as recommended by the furnace manufacturer.

4. Test all GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets monthly. Press the test button and use a voltage tester to make sure the power goes off.

5. Clean leaves and debris from the condenser of a central air conditioner seasonally.

6. Once a year, vacuum the refrigerator coils underneath the appliance.

7. Have the fireplace chimney inspected and cleaned annually.

8. Inspect window and door caulking and weather stripping yearly.

9. Replace the batteries in smoke detectors yearly. And remember, even recent hard-wired smoke detectors have backup batteries that must be replaced. If you have never checked yours, do so.

GUTTERLY SIMPLE:

Cleaning your gutters is the chore you abhor.

THE QUICK FIX

Make gutter cleaning easier–and safer (no ladder required)–with a long spray wand made from a 1/2-in.-diameter by 10-ft.-long PVC pipe. Cut two 6-in. lengths of pipe. Then use PVC cement to join these short sections and two 90-degree elbows with what is now a 9-ft.-long pipe, forming a J-shaped hook. At the short end of the hook, glue on a solid endcap. Drill three 1/8-in.- diameter holes in the cap. Glue a threaded adapter onto the opposite end of the pipe and attach a garden hose. Place the short end of the J-shaped hook inside the gutter and turn on the hose. As you walk along the house, high-pressure streams of water will rinse the gutter clean.

Source: http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/interior-projects/how-to/a3705/4290864/

9 Ways to Never Grout Again

9 Ways to Never Grout Again

Grout’s a pain. Here are 9 grout-less looks you’ll love.

These solutions will help you skip all that, plus it doesn’t hurt they’re pretty cool looking, too.

 

#1 An Instant Patio That Snaps Together

Groutless tile patio outside a home

Setting real stone tiles in mortar or sand is mind-crunching work. These outdoor tiles are backed with plastic grids with interlocking tabs that simply snap together. Best of all: no grungy grout to repair or refill. Turn your deck into a patio — they’ll cover any level surface. DIY-friendly, groutless stone tiles are about $12 per square foot.

#2 An Unexpected Shower Wall in Metal

Corrugated, galvanized steel roofing panels make nearly seamless shower walls for this house in New Mexico. They’re held in place with trim pieces so there are no nails. Before the panels were installed, the walls were completely waterproofed with cement tile backer board and an acrylic sealer. The panels are cheap — $12 to $15 for a 2-foot-by-8-foot panel — and recyclable.

#3 Vinyl That Looks Like Real Tile and Grout

Sheet vinyl is getting better and better at reproducing the look of real stone tiles, complete with (fake) grout lines that you’ll never have to seal or repair. Premium sheet vinyl with a cushioned backing and 20-year warranty is about $3 per square foot.

 

#4 Gorgeous Plaster That Eliminates Seams

Plaster shower walls in a home

Good old plaster over a wood-and-wire-mesh frame creates this seamless bath enclosure. A powdered colorant added prior to mixing the plaster makes a mottled look; a waterproof sealant finishes the job. Plastering is $3 to $5 per square foot.

#5 A High-Tech Look With Aluminum

Diamond plate as a backsplash in a home kitchen

We love imaginative backsplashes but hate cleaning grout. To the rescue: Aluminum diamond plate metal adds modern pizzazz to your kitchen and is virtually seamless. Fix it in place with construction adhesive, then easily wipe off cooking grease and splatters. A 1-foot-by-8-foot panel of 1/16-inch-thick (.063) aluminum diamond plate is about $45.

 

#6 A Veneer of Real Stone With No Grout

Forzastone used in a home's shower

Thin veneers of real stone laminated to layers of metal alloys and plastic make for eye-candy panels that are waterproof and virtually seamless. They’re 85% lighter than stone slabs typically used for shower enclosures, but the beauty is all real.

#7 An Easy DIY Backsplash Using Glass

Fabric backsplash in a home kitchen

Blogger Stevee at JSquared put a piece of fabric behind her stovetop and covered it with a piece of clear, easy-to-clean glass. When she needs to change the vibe, she switches out the fabric. Off-the-shelf 3/32-inch-thick glass is $12 to $15 for a 36-inch-by-24-inch piece.

#9 Handcrafted Beauty From a Moroccan Plaster

Bathroom with tadelakt plaster

A centuries-old Moroccan plastering process called tadelakt is finished with olive oil soap that’s hand rubbed to a soft luster using a special stone. The result is a smooth, seamless surface that’s so waterproof it can be used for shower walls. Cost of the process is about $50 per square foot.

#9 A Magnetic Wall for Fun and Memoroies

A DIY magnet wall in a family's hallway

Tattered Style blogger Dana wanted an easy-to-use memorabilia wall in her hallway. Her low-cost solution was a one-piece steel panel where she can use magnets to hang ever-changing photos and trinkets. The panel was cut to order by a local metal shop, and the sharp edges were folded over (wrapped) for safety. Dana attached the panel to wall studs using sheet metal screws.

Source: https://www.houselogic.com/organize-maintain/home-maintenance-tips/groutless-tile/?site_ref=mosaic

13 Simple DIY Home Maintenance Tips & Ideas

13 Simple DIY Home Maintenance Tips & Ideas

interior paintingIt’s tempting to disregard the steep price tag and hire a professional contractor for home improvement repairs rather than doing them yourself. Home repairs can seem complex and intimidating to the uninitiated, and fear that your own attempts at fixing that leaky faucet or drafty window will cause further damage may further discourage you from going DIY.

However, having a home maintenance plan can make a huge difference in your bank account. And, fortunately, performing proper home maintenance does not require a lot of specialized know-how or training, nor does it require a lot of time or money.

Simple Home Maintenance Tips

1. Toilets

Water leaking from your toilet tank will not only cost you money when it comes to your utility bill, but it can also cause water damage to your bathroom floor and premature wear of your toilet’s internal workings. To find out whether your toilet tank is leaking, add some red food coloring to the water in the tank. Come back in about an hour and see if the water in the bowl is pink. If it is, you have a leak.

If you find that your toilet is leaking from the tank to the bowl, the flapper needs to be replaced. To change your toilet’s flapper, first shut off the water supply to your toilet. To do this, simply turn the water valve located directly behind the toilet. Remove the tank lid and flush the toilet in order to empty the tank. Use a towel or sponge to mop out any excess water left in the tank. Remove the flush chain from the lever, and then slide the old flapper up off the overflow tube. Slide the new flapper in place over the overflow tube, reconnect the chain, and turn the water supply back on.

toilet cistern

2. Faucets

The main cause of leaky faucets is worn out washers. The washers inside of the faucet handles are rubber and tend to wear out quickly. Replace them by turning off the main water supply, unscrewing the leaky handle that controls the flow of water to the spout, removing the old washer, and dropping in the new one.

leaky faucet

3. Washing Machine & Dryer

It is important to regularly inspect your washing machine water supply hoses for leaks. One of the top reasons for insurance claims is for water damage caused by leaky washing machine supply lines. Inspect washing machine water supply lines at least annually and replace them every three years if they are plastic. If you notice that the metal ends of your water supply lines are discolored or rusty, replace them immediately.

Faulty washing machine drain hoses are as important as water supply lines when it comes to keeping water off of your floor and in your drain where it belongs. As with supply lines, regularly inspect the ends of your washing machine drain lines for discoloration or rust, and replace them immediately if you find evidence of leaking.

Additionally, check the snugness of the drain lines by using a crescent wrench or a pair of pliers. You should not be able to tighten the line any further if the line is properly tightened. Plastic lines should be replaced every three years.

When it comes to your dryer, it is important to make sure that you regularly clean your lint screen in order to prevent fires. Not only will a clean lint screen prevent fires, but it will also increase the life of the heating element. Physically remove the lint from the screen between each load of laundry. Also, be sure to remove fabric softener residue by washing the screen with warm water and dish detergent once per week.

fix washing machine

4. Water Heater

There is nothing more frustrating than turning on the hot water in your shower and instead receiving cold water. Water heaters, like other appliances, need maintenance to increase longevity and reduce the possibility of damage.

Water has sediment suspended in it, and as the water sits in your water heater, these particles will often settle to the bottom of the tank, causing damage to the floor of your water heater. At least once per year, drain the water from your water heater and clean the inside surface of its floor.

To drain your water heater, first turn off the water supply and power to the water heater. For electric water heaters, turning off the power means that you simply flip the circuit breaker to the “off” position. For gas water heaters, turn the thermostat setting to the pilot position.

Next, connect a water hose to the drain fitting at the bottom of the tank and put the other end in a place, such as your driveway, where the draining hot water won’t cause any damage. A typical garden hose is a direct fit to the drain fitting. Turn on all the hot water faucets in your home and then open the drain valve on the water heater. Turn the water supply back on with the drain valve still open to remove any built up sediment in the bottom of the tank. Then close the drain valve, refill the tank, and turn the power back on.

water heater

5. Plumbing

In order to keep water flowing freely through your pipes, keep the following things in mind:

  • Accumulating fats and oils are the main cause for clogs, so never pour fats or other oils down your drains. This includes oils that are not solid at room temperature. If you accidentally spill oils or fats down the drain, run hot water down your drain along with a healthy serving of dishwashing liquid. The soap will emulsify the fat or oil and move it on down the pipe, preventing a clog.
  • Get a hair strainer for the bathtub drain. If fats and oils are the main source of clogs in the kitchen, hair is the primary culprit in the bathroom. If you have a strainer, make sure that you remove any accumulated hair from it following each shower. This will reduce the amount of hair that finds its way through the strainer and into your plumbing.
  • Skip the Drano. Though the acids it contains can help unclog a drain, they also cause significant damage to your plumbing, including premature leaking. This can lead to costly repairs later on. If your bathtub or toilet is completely clogged, use a small drain snake – which you can purchase at any hardware outlet – to pull the offending clog to the surface. If your kitchen sink is clogged, try plunging it before trying to snake the drain. If you cannot remove the clog using a drain snake, call a professional.
unclog drain

6. Air Conditioning

Air conditioners are among the most overlooked appliances when it comes to performing regular home maintenance. However, they can be one of the most costly appliances to repair.

Regularly inspect the condensation hose to make sure that water can flow freely from the line. If there is standing water where your condensation line drains, create a drainage path using a small garden trowel and line the path with gravel to keep mold and algae from forming, which can be a serious health hazard when the spores are drawn into the appliance and blown into your home.

Additionally, keep the screen around your air conditioner free from debris to keep air flowing easily. This will prevent your air conditioner from using more power than necessary to keep your house cool and keep the internal parts from wearing out too quickly.

fix air conditioner

7. Humidifiers

Some climate control systems have in-duct humidifiers that help keep air moist and healthy during the winter when artificial heat systems are in use. But when these systems aren’t working properly, they become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria, which can cause serious air quality issues.

At the end of each winter season, it is important to drain the unit and close the water valve to keep water from stagnating in the system. Also, cleaning the reservoir with a mixture of water and white vinegar helps to keep mineral deposits to a minimum.

8. Air Filters

Change the air filter in your central heat and air unit often, especially during peak usage months. Thirty days is the absolute longest you should ever leave an air filter in place; two weeks is maximum for high-usage months.

Using cheap fiberglass filters is actually preferred as opposed to more expensive HEPA filters for two reasons: First, replacing the more expensive filters often isn’t cost-effective. Second, the fiberglass filters actually allow for more air to flow into your climate-controlled unit, reducing the amount of energy needed to effectively heat or cool your home.

replace air filter

9. Paint

You can easily give your house a facelift by repainting the interior. However, repainting the entire interior of your house can be costly and difficult to accomplish. You can save both time and money by strategically touching up your paint job every so often. The first thing you need is a spot-on color match. The only way to get this is to save paint from your current paint job for future touch-ups. If you have leftover paint, simply roll the paint over the dirty spots on your walls. When the paint dries, it will dry perfectly, leaving you with a wall that looks as though you just painted it.

If you don’t have any leftover paint, you can still touch up your walls, though your efforts will be more labor intensive than spot painting. Take a sample of your color to your local hardware outlet and have your paint tinted to match. When you are ready to touch up your walls, paint the dirty wall from corner to corner, being careful to keep the new paint off any surface you aren’t looking to touch up. If there is a shade difference, you won’t notice it, even if the wall you are painting butts up against another wall.

If you are trying to cover up nicotine-stained walls, you will need to apply a stain blocker to the walls before applying paint. Nicotine will prevent your paint from adhering properly to the wall surface and will cause bubbles. Additionally, if stale smoke or other odor is an issue, add a few drops of vanilla to your paint. This will help combat odors that have seeped into your drywall.

painting

10. Refrigerators

The main component of your refrigerator that should get your attention is the door seals. Keeping your door seals tight will reduce the amount of energy it takes to keep your food cool or frozen, but will also keep your refrigerator working efficiently, preventing premature wear on internal parts.

To test the door seals, close the door on a dollar bill and attempt to pull it out with the door closed. If you cannot easily pull the dollar bill out from the door, your seals are in good shape. However, if the bill slides out without much resistance, it’s time to replace the seals. You can purchase new seals from any home repair outlet store.

Also, if you have a refrigerator that has coils along the back, periodically vacuum these coils to remove dirt and dust build up. These coils contain the coolant the refrigerator uses to keep the internal temperature cold. If they become dirty, they won’t work efficiently and your refrigerator may stop cooling altogether.

As a general tip, keeping your refrigerator full uses less energy than trying to cool when it’s empty. Therefore, keep as many items in your refrigerator as possible to help reduce energy costs.

refrigerator door

11. Drafty Windows

Drafty windows are a major culprit of high energy bills in the summer and winter months. Periodically check the condition of the caulk line that holds your windows in place. If the caulk appears to be dry, cracked, or otherwise weathered, remove the old caulk with a box cutter or other sharp knife and run a new bead of caulk along the seam.

For added utility bill savings, you can further insulate your window by applying an insulating window film over the glass. These methods cost much less than the price of replacing your windows and implementing green energy technologies in your home.

windows caulk

12. Gutters

While gutters may go practically unnoticed when you look at your house, they are the main line of defense between your foundation and siding and the elements. Gutters are designed to capture water and debris runoff from your roof and divert it away from your foundation, and one of the main causes of water accumulation in basements is a lack of gutter maintenance and proper water diversion.

Clean your gutters at least once per year by physically removing debris from the channels and rinsing them thoroughly by using a garden hose. Avoid installing gutter guards – not only do these not adequately prevent debris from entering your gutters, they also make it extremely difficult (if not impossible) to properly clean your gutter system.

Also, be sure to regularly check that your gutters are properly affixed to your fascia boards, and replace any sections that appear to be damaged or leaking.

cleaning gutter

13. Roof

Periodically check your roof for damage. Damaged, discolored, or gravel-less shingles should be quickly replaced to prevent the need to replace your roof, water-damaged trusses, or drywall when you finally discover a leak. During the inspection of your roof, pay special attention to shingles that surround skylights, vents, and chimneys, as these areas are the most leak-prone.

small roof repair

Final Word

Keeping your home properly maintained will not only save you money by increasing the longevity of your appliances and existing structures, but it will also help you become more energy-efficient and save money on your utility bills. These tips merely scratch the surface of the things you can do around your home to keep everything running in tiptop shape.

Source: http://www.moneycrashers.com/diy-home-maintenance-tips-ideas/