Blog :: 09-2015

Ways to Allergy Proof Your Home

Winter is just around the corner (we may not want to admit it, but it is) and this means we'll be spending more time inside... cooped up with pets, and dust, and dander... oh my. If you're one the 20+% of Americans who are affected by allergies, this may sound like a nightmare. Luckily, we found this great article by Courtney Soinski at The Real Estate Book with 8 simple, yet great guidelines for allergy-proofing your home. They'll help battle allergies all year round so why wait to get started? 
 
1. Lay down doormats.
In each entryway of your home, lay down two doormats - one on the inside and one on the outside. This helps prevent allergens from being tracked inside. Another alternative is to have your family and guests remove their shoes when they enter your home. Otherwise, allergens are just spread around.
 
2. Upgrade your vacuum cleaner
If you don't have one already, make sure your vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter. These are specifically made to trap particles as small as 0.3 microns. Basically, they'll be able to capture the majority of allergens.
3. Replace air filters
Remember to always clean or replace the air filters in your heating or cooling system as often as required. You can refer to the manufacturers' instructions regarding when to change them and how often.
 
4. Beware of mold
Minimizing mold, especially in your bathroom, is one of the most effective ways to lessen allergens. With more than 100,000 species of mold in the world, the last thing you want is for your bathroom to turn into a war zone. Clean regularly and remind yourself to dry off surfaces that collect standing water. Also, it's important that your bathroom has good ventilation. Every few years, you should replace any broken tiles and re-caulk sinks and tubs. This keep mold from growing behind the walls.
 
5. Say bye-bye to drapes
Consider switching from curtains to blinds or shades because they hold much fewer allergens. However, if you insist on having drapes, make sure they're machine washable since those are easier to keep dust-free.
 
6. Get an air purifier filter
From cooking fumes and cleaning vapors to dust and pet dander, there are so many different types of particles that can pollute the air inside your home. Air purifiers can be very effective in helping reduce allergens in the air, but just make sure you stay away from those producing ozone. We recommend using one with a HEPA filter.
 
7. Use a hygrometer to measure humidity levels
By investing in a hygrometer, you'll discover the exact moisture levels in your home. Take a measurement in each room and if the reading is above 60 percent, you may consider using a dehumidifier. High humidity can lead to mold growth, so this is your best tactic to prevent that.
 
8. Ditch the carpet
Carpet does a great job of trapping in countless allergens, so it's a good idea to replace your carpeting with hardwood or linoleum flooring. If that's not an option, use low-pile carpeting instead of high-pile. Be sure to vacuum at least once a week and shampoo your carpet frequently.
 
Check out Courtney's original article here.

Stowe Oktoberfest

We are gearing up for a wonderful celebration of beer, bands, festivities and food! It's incredible to watch The Stowe Events Field come alive and transform into a Bavarian village full of music, dancing, local brews and more. 
 
This year a portion of the proceeds raised will support Friends of Stowe Adaptive Sports, who help Vermont residents with permanent disabilities access some of Vermont's most liberating recreational activities.
 
You're not going to want to miss out on the 19th Annual Stowe Oktoberfest, October 2-4! Click here to see the events schedule.

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Before Moving Into a New House...

We found this article from Realty Times and thought it was just too good not to share. Things you wouldn't necessarily think of when your just trying to move and settle in as quickly as possible. 

Here are 11 things to do before moving into a new house:

  1. Change your address: You'll have to stop into your local post office or visit the United States Postal Service's website to change your address at some point. Doing it early ensures that your mail will make as smooth a transition as you do. A side benefit to changing your address is the coupon package that comes with the form. That 10% off Lowe's discount will surely come in handy in a new home.

  2. Update your contact info: Change your address online with creditors, financial institutions, schools, publications, and anyone else that is important. Your change of address form from the post office will forward your mail but going right to the source will ensure your new address is on file.

  3. Tell your mailman and say "Thank you": A little consideration goes a long way when it comes to forwarding mail.

  4. Change the locks: How many of us have moved into a new place and used the same locks and keys that were provided to us? "You really don't know who else has keys to your home," said HouseLogic. "That ensures you're the only person who has access. Install new deadbolts yourself for as little as $10 per lock, or call a locksmith -- if you supply the new locks, they typically charge about $20-$30 per lock for labor. 

  5. Get the house deep cleaned: The previous occupants probably cleaned the house or had it cleaned when they left. But is it up to your standards? Get a crew in there before you move in. It'll be money well spent. Make sure the crew also gets inside the closets, cabinets, and drawers. You don't want to start your new life with someone else's crumbs and dust bunnies. 

  6. Clean the carpets too: This is another area where you will probably want to focus a little energy--unless you're a fan of "germ hotspots," said Huffington Post. The blog reported that carpets are "botanical and zoological parks...that can be 4,000 times dirtier than your toilet seat," said microbiologist Dr. Philip Tierno, according to Men's Health. Let that set in for a moment.

  7. Call an exterminator: Nothing ruins your first night in a new house like critters scurrying across the floor.

  8. Research utilities: The current providers might be the best (or only) options...but they may not be. Deregulation in some areas means competitive rates for utilities that can pay off for you. Be sure to ask about any new user discounts for cable or satellite, and, also for bundling packages that might be available. 

  9. Shut off the utilities on the house you're moving from: Sounds like a given, but it's one of the most common errors people make when moving--an error that can turn out to be costly when you're paying double utilities. 

  10. Alert your service providers: Let your gardener and anyone else that services your home regularly know you are moving early on. Details like this can be easily overlooked during a move, and giving ample notice will allow them time to try to replace the business if you're moving out of their service area.

  11. Pare down your stuff: The only thing worse that having boxes of stuff you don't use and don't need crowding your space is carting them from house to house. Days disappear quickly when you're packing and preparing to move. If you are at all concerned you won't have time for a garage sale or even to drive to the local donation spot, take advantage of charities that will come to your house and do a pick up. Then all you have to do is haul the stuff to the front porch and bring in your tax receipt once they're done. (Check out the blog we have on Mistakes to Avoid While Decluttering Your Home!

Check out the original blog here.

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