Tagged : Tips For Maintaining Your Home

Found 80 blog entries tagged as "Tips For Maintaining Your Home".

You’ve heard about the plight of honey bees. But did you know there are 4,000 species of native bees in North America? Many of them are in peril due to habitat loss and pesticides. While they don’t produce honey, these insects are a vital part of our ecosystem. If the (non-native) honey bees continue to have troubles, we will need our native bees more than ever to pollinate our crops and gardens.

The vast majority of native bees are solitary rather than social insects. Unlike honey bees and bumble bees, each female has her own nest, so you don’t need to fear the possibility of being attacked by the colony. Solitary bees are docile and do not have the painful sting of honey bees.

Here are some ways to welcome native pollinators to your Santa Cruz

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Spring heralds the arrival of blooming flowers, chirping birds and warmer weather. It is also a perfect time to do some after-winter indoor maintenance.  Here are eight indoor maintenance tips to help keep your Santa Cruz home in perfect operating condition:

1. Change air conditioning unit air filters monthly: Clean air filters help your unit run more efficiently, saving money on your energy bills.

2. Install environmentally-friendly window treatments: Save on utility bills by adding blinds to windows that face south and west. Open windows when the sun sets and close them at sunrise.

3. Examine your sump pump: Make sure the sump pump is operating correctly, and install a battery backup pump. The backup, another pump that floats above the original

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Sure, it’s still winter outside, but what could be better than dreaming of next summer in your garden? Now is the time to order your seeds, before the rush. Make 2012 the best year yet for gardening at your Santa Cruz home. Here are some advantages of ordering your seeds from home:

• Enjoy a wide selection. You’ll find a wide variety of seeds in seed catalogs, from heirlooms to hybrids. View page after page of vegetables in different varieties, with details on each one’s traits, giving you loads of options.

• Relax in your Santa Cruz home. No need to waste gas and fight the crowds next spring.

 Order online. Most seed catalogs have online ordering. What this means is, if you know a particular cultivar you want, you can do an online search for it

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If you have easy access to your attic, a quick inspection will either put your mind at ease or alert you to situations that need to be remedied before they cause problems. Why is now a good time to check your attic? If you’ve ever been in an attic in the summer, you know why you should do it now.

Here are just some of the things you should check out in the attic of your Santa Cruz home:

• Insulation. Is it adequate? Has it shifted around into peaks and valleys? Is it properly installed? Are there gaps that need to be filled?
• Ducts. Are there open joints in the ductwork? Are the ducts insulated?
• Ventilation. Are vent openings blocked? If you see frost on roofing nails, or rust stains or mildew around roofing nails, it means the attic needs more

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Is there anything cozier than enjoying a warm fire inside during the winter months? There is something primal about watching the flames of a contained fire that reaches back into our ancient human past.

If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace or woodstove in your Santa Cruz home, please follow these precautions:

• Call in a chimney sweep. Every year, you should have your chimney cleaned to remove creosote buildup. This keeps air flow unobstructed and prevents a chimney fire, which would be devastating to your Santa Cruz home. A professional chimney sweep should also check for cracks in the flue liner and proper functioning of the damper.

• Inspect your chimney cap. The chimney cap keeps the rain and snow out of your flue. It also prevents

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Here is a painless way to reduce your energy use and your heating bill: Set your thermostat to go down 5 to 10 degrees while you’re gone all day and while you sleep at night. This could reduce your heating bill by 15% without compromising comfort.

Programmable thermostats cost anywhere from $30 to $150, so they quickly pay for themselves. By programming your thermostat to return to  your comfort level before you arrive home or get up in the morning, your Santa Cruz home will be just as comfortable as what you’re used to, and you’ll reduce your carbon footprint.

Here is how easy it is to install a programmable thermostat:

• Turn off the circuit breaker for the thermostat. Since you will be handling wiring, you must cut off the electricity going to

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Holidays are full of joy and family fun – and potential hazards all about. To maintain harmony and health in your Santa Cruz home this season, keep these safety tips in mind:

• Sparkly, Not Sparking, Electrical Safety: Plugging extension cords into extension cords into extension cords to create a wire farm of electricity can be a fire hazard. Blown circuit breakers are one sign that you're overloading the capacity of your Santa Cruz home. Don't wait for the sparks. If you are using lights outside, make sure that they are approved for outdoor, all-weather use.

• Season of Light, Not of Fire: Never leave candles burning unattended or where pets or children can knock them over. Period. Flames are lovely only when contained in fireplaces and candlestick

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Now that winter is here, we’re spending more time indoors and keeping our homes closed up against the cold. These two factors mean we should pay more attention to the air quality in our homes. Here are some things to consider at your Santa Cruz home:

• Ban the use of pesticides in your home. Insecticides are toxic to all life forms, not just insects. Many are carcinogenic. If you have a serious pest problem like roaches, try using boric acid against them. Otherwise, the occasional spider or beetle is not a real threat to you.

• Simplify cleaning. Most commercially available cleaners are a stew of chemicals. You don’t need to be breathing their fumes. Instead, you can use baking soda and/or white vinegar for most jobs.

• Ventilate the bathroom. In

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If you need to replace flooring, countertops or a backsplash in your Santa Cruz home, consider ceramic tile. Here are some of the great attributes of ceramic tile:

• Natural, renewable and very green. The production of ceramic tile is non-polluting and energy efficient.

• Durable. It can last the lifetime of your home.

• Non-flammable. Great around the fireplace, woodstove and kitchen stove.

• Wide variety to choose from. Ceramic tile is available in a multitude of textures and colors. You can also create tile patterns to add interest to any décor.

 Easy to clean. Spills are no big deal.

• Non-allergenic. Carpet is a fur magnet and provides breeding grounds for mold and insects such as fleas.

 Beautiful. Whether you’re the creative

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If you’re closing up your summer vacation home to head for warmer climates or leaving your home in Santa Cruz for an extended period, follow these tips to safeguard your home from harsh weather, pests and vandalism:

1. Trim bushes, shrubs and hedges. This isn’t to make your yard prettier. It’s to improve your home’s security by providing an unobstructed view of your doors and windows.

2. Prune tree limbs and branches. You don’t want any branches hanging over your house. They provide easy access to rodents and robbers and could fall during storms, damaging your home in Santa Cruz.

3. Bring in outdoor furniture and decorations. Don’t chance having your outdoor chairs, tables or decorations destroyed during winter storms.

4. Securely store

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