Consumer Real Estate News

    • Pool Maintenance 101 for New Pool Owners

      16 September 2019

      Are you the brand new owner of a pool, or currently considering adding a pool to your property? While pools can bring you and your family hours of endless fun in warm weather, it's important to know the basics of pool ownership. To help, removable pool fence manufacturer LOOP-LOC discusses basic pool knowledge for new pool owners.

      Organize Your Files. While it may not seem like this is a part of pool care, it is crucial that you keep every manual, receipt and any paperwork that comes with your pool. By organizing them and keeping them in a place where you can easily find them, whenever you have to fix something in your pool, whether it be you or a handyman,  you will have no issue figuring out what parts are needed for the situation. Also, with smartphones in each of our pockets, it is wise to take a couple of photos of key information involving the pool in case you misplace documentation and need the information in a pinch. By doing all of this, you will have the foresight of being prepared five or ten years down the road when you inevitably need to replace a part or two.

      Study Online. It can be troubling to not know how to take care of your new expensive investment. By researching online, you can read and watch instructional videos on how to learn to properly care for your pool. This information can range from learning the correct chemicals to purchase to knowing exactly when to use them.

      Put it on Your Calendar. While pools are beautiful, they require regular maintenance to stay that way. They also require you to put the information you learned about pool care into practice. The best way to do this is to create a weekly schedule for all your pool care activities. It can be best to stagger the cleaning activities so it does not all pile up at once, and if you live a busy life and do not have time to properly maintain your pool, you could always hire a pool cleaning company to ensure that your pool is always in prime swimming condition.

      Observe and Report. If you can implement everything you've learned about pool care,  you will be well on your way to becoming a successful pool owner. However, a key part of being a pool owner is being vigilant about how your pool is holding up. By keeping an eye on your pool equipment, you can not only prevent a disaster in your pool but avoid a financial headache as well. Things like maintaining seals, checking for leaks, paying attention to any sounds that are out of the ordinary can all save you from potential issues that may arise in your pool.

      Source: LOOP-LOC

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Ways Technology is Transforming Hearing Aids

      16 September 2019

      (Family Features)--Around 37.5 million adults in the United States report some trouble hearing, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). However, it is an undertreated condition with the NIH also estimating 28.8 million adults with mild to severe hearing loss could benefit from hearing aids. Thanks to ever-evolving technology, devices that improve hearing loss are more user-friendly than ever. 

      Of course, today's hearing aids help people hear better, but technology also is revolutionizing the way people use their hearing aids. For example, people can now use them like a headset to enjoy music, take calls and more, simply by streaming sound directly from their mobile devices.

      If you're considering a hearing aid for yourself or a loved one, or are just intrigued by how technology is changing the future for those who experience hearing loss, consider these five technology advancements that are helping people connect and hear better:

      1) Rechargeable batteries. The tedious chore of changing hearing aid batteries is a thing of the past. Now you can have hearing aids with rechargeable batteries and portable chargers. Recharging at home is simple: an overnight charge is all they typically need to be ready again in the morning. Some models even feature batteries and chargers that can be ready to go another 8 hours on just 30 minutes of charge time. 

      2) Direct streaming from mobile devices. Until recently, only iPhone users have been able to stream music or calls directly to their hearing aids. Now, using updated Bluetooth Low Energy streaming technology, people with hearing aids can stream audio directly from their compatible Android device for more than 12 hours while still preserving 24 hours of battery life before a recharge is needed. Previously, hearing aids that directly streamed from Android devices have relied on "classic Bluetooth, which can cut 24 hours of hearing aid battery usage in half after only 4 hours of direct streaming.

      3) More natural sound. The latest microprocessing technology means hearing aids deliver a clearer, fuller and richer sound experience in any listening situation. Now users can hear the textured tones that make everything from a dinner conversation to a quick joke to a theater performance more fulfilling. Technology is also able to help people manage situational changes, make conversations and ambient noise sound more natural and allow users to choose which sounds to focus on. The hearing aids can even make automatic adjustments to account for sudden loud noises.

      4) Smartphone apps make it easy. Hearing aid users can use smartphone apps to discreetly manage device functions, such as checking battery status and adjusting volume to using more advanced fine-tuning features that control speech focus, noise and wind filters. Some apps even offer a "find my hearing aid" feature.  

      5) Tech-enabled customer care. Working with a hearing-care professional is essential in treating hearing loss and maximizing the benefits of hearing aids, but it doesn't mean you have to spend time trekking back and forth to your audiologist's office. For example, Beltone's Remote Care program enables users to connect directly with their hearing care professional via the HearMax app. After submitting a request, users can adjust their hearing aids with a simple tap on their phones without an office visit.

      Source: Beltone

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Fueling Your Power Equipment: Know the Right Way to Do It

      16 September 2019

      Ready to DYI a few outdoor projects with a new or infrequently used power tool? Make sure you’re well informed about how to properly fuel your machinery for both optimal efficiency and maximum safety.

      According to the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), before homeowners start up their mowers, trimmers, blowers, power washers, etc., they need to conduct a complete maintenance check, including finding out the right type of fuel to buy. OPEI recommends taking these four steps before filling the fuel tank:

      1. Read the owner’s manual. Sounds basic, however, many times we’re too excited about a new piece of equipment to thoroughly read the instructions, and with older equipment, we tend to think we already know it all. However, now is the perfect time for a refresh to find out the manufacturer’s fueling recommendations and make sure you’re using the type of fuel specified.

      2. Make sure the fuel already in your equipment is fresh. If you’re pulling out a piece of equipment that hasn’t been used in a while, make sure you start with fresh fuel. OPEI says that fuel should not sit in the tank for more than 30 days. Untreated gasoline (without a fuel stabilizer) left in the system will deteriorate, which may cause starting or operating problems and, in some cases, damage to the fuel system. 

      3. Purchase the correct fuel. Be aware that the fuel you use for your automobile may not be the right fuel for your machinery. OPEI says that you should only use E10 or less fuel in any outdoor power equipment. Some gas stations may offer 15 percent ethanol (E15) gas or higher ethanol fuel blends, but any fuel containing greater than 10 percent ethanol can damage – and is illegal to use, says the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – in small engine equipment not designed for it.
       
      4. Look into a fuel additive or the manufacturer’s fuel. The manufacturers of your power equipment may make fuel additives and fuels to improve equipment performance and mitigate any fueling problems caused by ethanol-based fuels. Check with your manufacturer’s recommendations to see if these products may help the efficiency of your equipment.

      When you’re done with your outdoor power equipment for the season, remember to drain the fuel before storing. OPEI also recommends servicing and winterizing your lawn mower, string trimmer, leaf blower and other equipment before tucking them away. This will help keep them in good shape when they’re ready to be used again.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 10 Gutter Facts You Should Know

      13 September 2019

      How important are your gutters? According to gutter company The Brothers Who Just Do Gutters, pretty important! Below are 10 facts about your gutters they think you should know, from gutter history to maintenance and more.

      - The first people to incorporate gutters on their dwellings was the Indus Valley civilization, the area that is now Pakistan and northwest India. Their clay brick gutters date back to approximately 3000 BC.

      - The Romans brought gutters to Western civilization when they introduced them to Great Britain in 47 BC.

      - Gargoyles are essentially gutters with faces. These structures were originally designed to direct water away from the side of the buildings they were installed on.

      - Before the 1980s gutters were commonly featured on automobiles to prevent drivers and passengers from getting wet when they exited the vehicle.

      - If gutters are not maintained properly, they can trap moisture and rot the wood boards of your home’s roof and siding.

      - Neglected gutters can be harmful to your physical health as well. Debris caught in gutters can decompose and generate mold. Standing water becomes a breeding ground for disease carrying insects.

      - Mesh guards may be the most effective way to keep gutters clean. If you live an area with high pollen conditions, try to find mesh gutter guards with a lower micron count (larger holes) to prevent pollen from clogging the screen.

      - Electrically heated gutters are also available for those living in climates with extreme snow and ice. These devices prevent ice dams and the damage they cause.

      - Cleaning gutters is a dangerous job. Falls from ladders are the number one cause for accidental injuries at home and account for hundreds deaths in the U.S. every year.

      - Gutters impact the value of your home. Even if you haven’t experienced water damage to the structure of your house, gutters in poor condition can detract approximately $500 – $1000 from your home’s selling price.

      Source: The Brothers Who Just Do Gutters

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Plan the Ultimate Kitchen Upgrade

      13 September 2019

      (Family Features)--A kitchen serves as command-central of most homes, so it's also one of the first rooms homeowners choose when it's time to make upgrades. When approaching your kitchen remodel, it's important to keep your family's lifestyle at the forefront of your planning to create a space that fits the way you like to live.
      Get the most livable space and enjoyment out of a kitchen remodel with these tips from the experts at the National Association of the Remodeling Industry:

      Make purposeful changes. A desire to bring your kitchen's style up to date is plenty of motivation for a renovation, but to get maximum benefit from your new space, spend time considering what functional improvements you can make, too. Do you need more cabinets for storage? Is there enough counter space for meal prep? Does the overall layout suit your family's needs? Even if you chose the original layout and floorplan, chances are good that over time you've found a few things you'd change given the chance to do it again.

      Consider physical space. If yours is a family that cooks together, or if guests tend to congregate in the kitchen when you're entertaining, a renovation is the perfect time to make adjustments that accommodate more bodies in the kitchen. You might want more work zones for multiple cooks or an island or peninsula set away from the high-traffic zone for guests more interested in snacking and chatting then getting hands-on with food prep.

      Evaluate your shopping style. You may be in the habit of doing your grocery shopping to fit your available space. However, with a larger refrigerator and more pantry space, your shopping habits could change, allowing you to become a bulk shopper or at least increase the time between shopping trips.

      Be realistic about mealtime. If your family's activities have everyone eating at different times, you may benefit from a feature like a warming drawer that keeps dinner warm until each family member makes it home for a meal. Think about features that would make the table space more practical, such as task lighting so kids can tackle homework at the table or convenient access to power for laptops.

      Choose appliances with care. It's easy to get carried away with all of the design elements that go into a kitchen renovation, but at the end of the day, remember the appliances are the true centerpiece of the space. Be sure to leave room in the budget to select the best appliances for your needs so you have all the functions, features and space to make using your new kitchen as enjoyable as possible.

      Think into the future. A kitchen renovation can be a costly venture, so it's a good idea to project years down the road as you consider your needs. Are there features that would enhance the safety if a baby (that soon will become an inquisitive toddler) joins the family? Are there elderly family members who may benefit from a lower or higher workstation down the road?

      Source: National Association of the Remodeling Industry

      Published with permission from RISMedia.