Category: House and Home

5 Cool Benefits of Solar Attic Fans You Need to Know

solar roofEver walk into your attic only to feel the suffocating rush of hot air, then quickly turn back around, shut the door and abandon your reason for going in there?

If so, you’re familiar with the fact that it’s one of the top spaces in your home known to trap a ton of heat and moisture.

The reason? Attics are often poorly ventilated. When the sun beats down on the roof, that solar radiation becomes stuck, quickly heating up the air — and leaving it that way.

That’s where solar attic fans come in.

Designed to fit into your roof, these handy devices convert sunlight into power then use that energy to properly ventilate and cool your attic space and improve the overall air quality in your home.

Today we’re taking a look at five reasons you can’t afford to live without them!

Ready to get started? Let’s go!

1. Solar Attic Fans Give Your Roof a Boost

Once your fan is installed into your roof, it will begin its work of capturing solar power and restoring proper airflow both around and within your home.

One of the benefits of this process is that it prevents warm, moist air from building up on your roof. Traditionally, this humidity is known to cause mold and mildew to grow on your roof’s surface, especially under your shingles. Naturally, the problem is exacerbated in the hot summer months.

In this sense, solar attic fans play an important role in extending the life of your roof, helping you avoid the negative effects that heat damage can cause.

2. Reduced Moisture Leads to a Cleaner Home

Chances are, you’ve got more than a few things stashed in your attic that hold sentimental — if not monetary — value. Yet, without a fan designed specifically for that space, you run the risk of losing some of your most cherished items to rust or rot as a result of excess moisture.

When an attic isn’t equipped with a solid ventilation system, your mementos — and the insulation surrounding them — aren’t the only things that could be compromised.

In fact, a moist home is more susceptible to the growth of fungus and mold, which could lead to significant respiratory problems. By attacking one of the main moisture sources, these fans help circulate clean, healthy air throughout your home.

3. Energy-Efficient Solutions Save You Money

Did you know that if you install a solar-electric property, such as a solar attic fan, into your home, you may be able to claim a tax credit that covers 30% of the associated expenses?

In this sense, not only will going green save you money in the long run by making your home more energy-efficient, you could offset much of your initial installation and purchase expenses by cashing in on this tax break.

4. Your HVAC System Can Take a Load Off

By keeping your home naturally cool all year long, solar attic fans reduce the load on your HVAC units.

Not only does this save money on your subsequent power bills, but you’ll also keep your heating and cooling systems from working overtime, allowing them to remain as efficient and long-lasting as possible.

5. Improved Circulation Prevents Ice Damming

So far, a majority of our discussion on the benefits of solar attic fans has centered on how the systems are truly a lifesaver in the sticky summer. Yet, it’s important to note that these fans are equally beneficial in colder months as well.

One key way? By facilitating more direct and effective air movement, they prevent melted ice from damming.

Ice damming occurs when melted precipitation refreezes onto the edge of your roof, preventing excess water from properly draining. As a result, the backed-up water can leak into your home.

The fans help keep moisture and precipitation at bay, ensuring against this type of damage.

Want More Economical Home Solutions? Start Here!

Are you interested in learning more about how little household changes can add up to a big impact? If so, you’ve come to the right place!

We offer valuable tips and tricks to help you save money and live frugally, all while doing so in style.

Got a question, or want to learn more about any topic? Feel free to contact us and start saving today!

Fur Clothing: Because There’s More to Fur Than Coats!

fur clothingFur is fun. But when most people think about fur clothing their minds immediately go to fur coats.

Don’t fall into that trap! Why be typical when there are so many other great clothing options when it comes to fur!

Plus, just like last minute travel deals, or finding beauty product savings, being a little flexible in your approach to fur can save you a lot.

Even fashion models and former PETA activists like Naomi Campbell can’t help but applaud for the beautiful possibilities of fur clothing.

If you are looking to revamp your wardrobe or stay up to date with the latest fashion fur is the way to go. But get beyond the coat.

Here are some great fur possibilities to dress like you belong on the catwalk:

Best Dressed In The Vest

A great way to start to dabble in fur is with fur trim. One of the best fashions that is swinging back into style are winter vests for men and women with fur trim.

You can also go for a full fur vest like the ones at Furclearinghouse.com. There is a great variety of styles with vests that can accompany any event.

We love the long length vests with belted waists. You also can’t go wrong with a zippered look of plush multi-colored rabbit fur.

Get The Boot

Sometimes the worst part of winter wear is hiding all that hard work we do all summer. Whether you are running your butt off in the summertime or sweating off the pound in hot yoga, not everyone loves the bulk of winter clothes.

For those of us who want to wear great fur without hiding behind it, boot covers are the way to go.

The festive, puffy look of the boots seems to make legs longer and leaner too. You get the best of both worlds with this fur item– fashion and fun.

What’s That? We Love Fur Earmuffs

Fur is great because of the beautiful soft textures it creates. It’s almost impossible to resist petting fur or wanting to touch it.

And for those of us who spend long hours in the beauty salon getting our hair just right, there’s nothing worse than crushing it down with an ugly hat at times.

Fur earmuffs are so great because they offer a beautiful accent to hairstyles and can be an elegant highlight to our winter attire.

Plus, if you haven’t tried a pair of earmuffs yet, get ready! There’s nothing like fur for keeping your ears and head warm on those cold winter nights.

Fur Clothing For Everyone

Looking for something more daring and iconic? What about something to wear without snow falling in the background?

It may make no sense, but Raquel Welch’s fur bikini is still considered one of The Top 10 Bikinis in Pop Culture— and that’s more than 50 years after she wore it on the big screen! The two-piece helped crown Welch “the most desired woman of the 70s.”

But for those of us who prefer our bikinis a little more traditional, there’s no shortage of options for fun with fur. From coats to accessories, vests, and hats– fur has something for everyone.

Don’t forget to take a look at our latest deals. And let us know in the comments below what your favorite fur fashion is.

How to Buy Safe Trampolines for Kids and Toddlers

trampolines for kidsKeeping yourself and your kids entertained is not always easy. You can try crafty DIY projects and games, but everybody wants to get outside and get moving eventually. What better way to keep your kids healthy and engaged than with a trampoline?

Trampolining has been shown to have many health benefits. However, for safety purposes, buying trampolines for kids requires a little bit of research beforehand. Ready to find out what kind of trampoline is best for you and your kids? Read on!

Top Things to Keep in Mind When Buying Trampolines for Kids

Trampolines come in many shapes and sizes. There are certain things to look for when purchasing trampolines for kids. The top things to keep in mind are:

Indoors or Outdoors

There are great options for both outdoor and indoor trampolines. When deciding which is right for you, consider the average weather in your area, and also the space available in both categories.

Size

The age of your children and the intention you have for their usage of the trampoline are both important to consider when considering size.

Will they jump on a very small trampoline while inside, watching TV or listening to music? Will they want to jump with their friends or siblings on a larger trampoline outside?

The size of a trampoline is also related to its height off the ground. Since smaller trampolines are generally closer to the ground, they often work better when buying trampolines for kids, and vice versa for the larger ones.

Shape

Trampolines come in a variety of shapes, including circles, rectangles, ovals, and squares.

While you might think a square would be more spatially efficient, the circle is generally the most common. Rectangular trampolines tend to come in larger sizes and are preferred by gymnasts.

Price

Generally, the price of a trampoline goes up with the size. Circle trampolines tend to be cheaper than other models.

Looking for more ways to save? Check out these hot deals.

Ready to start scoping out trampolines for kids? Here are some trampolines for sale!

Tips for Safety

Buying trampolines are a great way to encourage fitness in a fun way, but without careful consideration, they can be a dangerous toy. Here are a few ways to minimize the safety risks of trampolining without diminishing the fun.

Include a Net

The height of a trampoline poses a safety issue, even if you were just walking on it. Add jumping to the mix, and the need for a net becomes abundantly clear.

Trampoline nets should be a minimum of six feet, with a working closure, and maintained in good condition.

Be Cautious of Size to Person Ratio

The space you’re willing to devote to a trampoline is obviously a limit to how big your purchase may be, but the size of the trampoline also limits how many people should use it at any one time.

Small trampolines pose a risk of in-air collisions. For example, any trampoline under 10 feet should be used by only one person at a time.

In contrast, a larger trampoline, like one with a 12-foot diameter, can accommodate two children at the same time.

5 Tips for Buying Beautiful Roses on a Budget

beautiful rosesFragrant, beautiful roses are a fantastic addition to any home. But roses don’t always come cheap. You can potentially take a big hit to your budget if you want to fill your home with roses all the time.

But it’s not too difficult to purchase your roses for cheap, as long as you know a few secrets.

Here are 5 tips for buying beautiful roses on a budget:

Buy Beautiful Roses Wholesale

Search the internet for online wholesalers or wholesale retailers in your area. There is a good chance that you will be able to find high-quality roses at a low price from these providers.

Purchasing roses from a wholesale retailer enables you to cut out the middle-man. You won’t have to cover certain inventory costs that are often passed on to the consumer.

Look for Discounts

Many florists and big-box stores will have occasional discounts on roses. For example, you may get a price cut if you buy the roses in bulk.

This is a good option if you are looking to purchase a lot of roses, as you will save money in the long run.

Try Local

If you are having a hard time finding cheap roses at a traditional retailer, try your local farmer’s market!

Farmer’s markets often feature local businesses that produce high-quality flowers. These flowers will likely be less expensive and fresher than at other stores.

Wait For Off-Peak Times

You obviously will not be able to find the cheapest roses on Valentine’s Day. Retailers often raise the prices of roses and other flowers around holidays, especially Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Christmas.

Don’t fall victim to their money-making schemes. Sometimes, it may save you a lot of money to just purchase your roses a few days before a major holiday.

They will be much cheaper because there is less demand. However, you don’t want to buy them too far ahead of time, or they might wilt before you get a chance to give them to your loved one.

Consider Single Stems

If you’re at a loss and you cannot find a bouquet of beautiful roses within your budget, consider buying a single stem rose!

At first, you may think that single roses are not as impressive as a bouquet, but they can be very romantic gestures.

Be creative. Put your rose in a gorgeous narrow vase and impress your loved one with its simple elegance.

The rose is a delicate, graceful flower that is full of meaning. But just because they are beautiful, doesn’t mean that you have to break the bank to have them in your home.

For more tips on how to save money for you are your family, check out our frugal living section!

 

The Best Flashlights to Have On an Outdoor Adventure

best flashlightsSummertime is here! And you know what that means – plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures.

Whether you’ve been looking forward to a camping trip all year or you’re planning a last-minute vacation, it’s essential to have the right gear.

You probably already have items like backpacks, tents, and sleeping bags on your list of outdoor gear. But what about flashlights?

Flashlights are an often overlooked but essential item for any outdoor adventure. How do you know which type of flashlight you need?

Here’s a list of the best flashlights for your upcoming excursion.

Handheld Flashlights

For a camping trip or day hike, a standard handheld flashlight should be sufficient.

Here are a few of the best flashlights:

  • 511 Tactical Light For Life. Used by ETMs and police officers, this flashlight charges in just 90 seconds and lasts up to four hours.
  • Lumens Pelican 3310PL LED Flashlight. Perfect for overnight trips, this flashlight features a glow-in-the-dark shell and a run time of up to 190 hours.
  • PeakPlus Flashlight Kit. This versatile flashlight can zoom in or light an area up to 100 yards. It also has an SOS mode in case you run into trouble.
  • LE Adjustable Focus Mini LED Flashlight Torch. This lightweight but dependable flashlight is small enough to fit in your pocket.
  • Fenix E Series. Bright, compact, and economical, these flashlights are some of the most popular LED devices on the market. Use this link for more information on Fenix flashlights.

Headlamps For Camping and Night Hiking

For hands-free illumination, a headlamp may be the most practical choice.

Some of the best headlamps on the market include:

  • Fenix HL10 Series. Easy to use and incredibly bright, these headlamps are perfect for any nighttime activity. They’re waterproof for up to 30 minutes underwater.
  • Shining Buddy LED Headlamp. With four settings and a lamp that swivels down 45 degrees, these headlamps comfortably fit any head or hat.
  • Luxolite LED Headlamp Flashlight. This headlamp features two buttons – one for a white light and one for a red light. It also has a long battery life of 30 hours.

Camping Lights and Lanterns

For anything you need to do around the campsite after the sun sets, a lantern is a practical choice.

Here are a few of the best camping lanterns:

  • Etekcity 2 Pack Portable Outdoor Camping Lanterns. These lanterns feature 30 low-powered LED bulbs to illuminate your campsite or the path to the restroom. Because they’re water resistant and battery operated, they can be safely used inside a tent, a camper, or outside.
  • SUBOOS Gen 2 ULTIMATE Rechargeable Camping Tent Lantern. Perfect for backpacking, this small, lightweight lantern features three light settings and a hanging clip.
  • Suaoki LED Camping Lantern. For those who love to go green, this compact lantern features a solar panel for daytime charging.

Final Thoughts on the Best Flashlights

With so many flashlights on the market, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your needs. Now that you know the best flashlights, you’re ready for your outdoor adventure!

Need ideas for your upcoming trip or other family-friendly activities? Be sure to check out my family life section for fresh inspiration.

Home Staging Designed to Sell (Without Spending a Fortune)

designed to sellYou don’t need a designer to stage your home for a quick sale. Sure, you could hire an interior designer, but expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $200 per hour.

If you’re selling your home, it’s in your best interest to spend as little as possible so you can make a handsome profit in the end.

In this article, we’ll give you a few designed to sell tips so you can skip the professionals altogether.

Home Staging Without Going Broke

“Can I really sell my house fast without spending a fortune?”

Yes! Here’s how…

Spruce Up Your Yard

Your first task is to get buyers out of their car and in the front door. The best way to do that is with a little curb appeal. And a little can go a long way.

Give your home a fresh look by picking up debris in the yard like twigs and leaves or giving your outdoor furniture a quick wipe down. Don’t forget to power wash your driveway!

Keep it minimal by removing any unnecessary items, but set the mood with some cheap string lights.

Remove (or Hide) Personal Items

Have you ever noticed in professionally staged homes all personal items are missing? Toys in the kid’s rooms are minimal if there are any at all. Pictures on the walls are generic

Toys in the kid’s rooms are minimal if there are any at all. Pictures on the walls are generic and closets are empty.

This is a good tactic if you can manage it. This allows buyers to imagine their stuff in those spaces, instead of their vision being cluttered by someone else’s stuff.

You can rent a storage container or use spaces like a shed or garage to temporarily store your personal items. After all, you plan to move everything, so boxing up your non-essentials now will help ease the transition later.

Neutralize Your Home with Paint

A home that’s designed to sell will allow buyers to envision themselves living there. To accomplish this, design your home like a Realtor would stage a house.

A good way to appeal to many different styles is to use neutral colors like white and beige.

You can also try touring a few model homes and open houses to see how the Realtor chose to stage it.

If your child’s room is painted bright pink, consider grabbing a paint brush and giving it a neutral color. Same goes for any room in your home.

Fresh paint can go a long way when you need to sell your home fast.

Designed to Sell

Investing in the services of an interior designer can help sell your home fast, but not everyone has the means to afford it.

You can accomplish your needs without going broke. It’s as simple as cleaning up the house and yard, packing away non-essential items, and adding a little fresh paint here and there.

You’ll be receiving offers in no time! What are some of your favorite design tips? Were you able to sell your house without going broke on curb appeal and interior work? Please share your story in the comment below.

5 Tips for Maintaining a Wood Burning Stove

wood burning stoveA wood burning stove supplements a home’s heating system during those chilly winter months. Proper maintenance is crucial to a top-performing, long lasting stove.

Without it, the stove will not function as intended. A poorly functioning wood stove can lead to smoke damage or cause a fire.

Below are 5 tips for maintaining wood burning stoves.

1. Sweep the Chimney

A blocked chimney creates a risk for carbon monoxide poison or fire so a qualified chimney sweep should be called in once a year. The best time to sweep the chimney is before the weather starts getting colder. In very cold climates, where the stove gets heavy use, more frequent cleanings are recommended.

Be sure your chimney sweep is approved. In the US, the Chimney Safety Institute of America certifies chimney sweeps. The National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS) is a UK certification body.

2. Arrange an Annual Stove Inspection

When calling in a chimney sweep for annual cleaning, it’s also a great idea to have a complete stove inspection done. The chimney sweep will check for cracks, warps and leaks. In addition, they’ll check for corrosion in the stove pipe.

Any issues found should be fixed immediately to make certain the stove and chimney are in perfect working order.

3. Keep the Glass Clean

Nothing makes a wood stove look better than clean glass, inside and out. This is especially important for a double side wood burner. Leaving the glass uncleaned makes tar deposits thicker and harder to remove.

Luckily, there’s something inside the stove that helps with cleaning the glass.

Ash.

A word of warning – never, ever clean a hot wood stove. Let it cool completely before cleaning. Put a moist rag or newspaper into the white ash inside the cool stove.

Rub the damp ash on the glass insert of the stove. This works because of the calcium carbonate in the ash. Calcium carbonate is a liming agent with a high pH. This, along with its abrasiveness, cleans the glass easily.

Wipe the glass clean with the same moist towel then grab a clean, soft towel and polish.

4. Keep the Air Intake Vents Clear

A great way to make sure the stove operates efficiently is to keep the air intake vents clear of excess ashes. This lowers the amount of oxygen needed for an efficient fire. Note the amount of smoke coming from the chimney. Less smoke means a cleaner burn.

5. Burn the Right Type of Wood

While some wood burning stoves use coal or wood, the vast majority are wood only. Not just any type of wood can be used either.

Avoid burning trash, driftwood, treated wood, plywood, MDF, chipboard or artificial logs. Also, avoid unseasoned wood because of the high amount of water it contains. Burning unseasoned wood can create problems with smoke, odor, and creosote build-up.

Seasoned wood that’s been drying outside for several months is recommended for wood stoves. Seasoned wood is identified by its darker color, cracked ends and hollow sound. Softwoods like spruce and pine are good but hardwoods like maple and oak burn longer and smoke less.

Time to Fire up Your Wood Burning Stove

When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing better than coming inside to a toasty warm home heated by a wood stove.

These maintenance tips, along with advances in wood stove technology, will keep your wood burning stove in perfect working order. This means more time spent enjoying the warmth and less time fixing problems.

Stoke the fire, grab a drink and curl up in your favorite easy chair.