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Making Our Homes More Airtight

Many types of insulation to pick from

As energy costs rise, there’s a lot more focus on making our homes more airtight to reduce energy consumption.You can save money when your heating and air conditioning systems run less. At the same time you’ll need to use mechanical ventilation similar to your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans, to remove stale air and replace it with fresh air from outside.

You’re going to start hearing more about Indoor Air Quality or IAQ. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineering (ASHRAE) is the organization identified most often with respect to air quality. The first term you’ll want to get... 

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Holiday Safety Tips


We love holidays and most of us try to do too much and that’s when things happen. If you don’t have enough time, pick half your decorations to put up and leave the others for next year. There aren’t any rules about how many decorations you need and if you’re worried about disappointing the kids, let everyone pick their favorite and while it might take a bit longer, make it family time to put their favorite decorations up together.

We want to help you have a relaxing and safe holiday so we’ve put together these tips for you. Just take a... 

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Home Safety and Fire Prevention

Emergencies happen at any time. Prepare for fires now

October is fire prevention month so it makes sense to review some of the statistics around fires and the home.

More than 500,000 residential fires each year are serious enough to be reported to fire departments. 4,000 people die each year in home fires. 90 percent of residential fire deaths and injuries happen in one and two family houses/apartments. Property losses from these fires exceed 4 billion dollars annually. Residential Fires Down ~30% since 1980

The statistics aren’t great but there’s hope. The number of fires has decreased with more focus on fire safety along with products that are fire resistant. Smoke detectors... 

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Update on Corrosive Drywall / Sheetrock

US homes use drywall for their interior walls

We’ve heard about recent quality problems with Toyota cars. We’re not surprised to get a postcard for a recall on our cars and with only a few car manufacturers, they’re able (required?) to keep track of owners and send out recall notices. Our homes are stick built, using 1,000s of pieces of wood, copper, etc which come from 100s of manufacturers, making it almost impossible to monitor the safety of each component in home construction.

Building materials have primarily been manufactured in the US, with the exception of high end appliances and cabinets imported from Europe. As the global... 

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Our Homes: How Safe are They?


People have always considered their home to be a safe haven, where we eat, sleep and relax with our families. We take for granted that our homes are safe but how do we know this? We’re living longer so we expect to see more illness but how do we account for increases in childhood diseases like autism? There are 2 forces driving new building codes – those that make homes more energy efficient and those that focus on home safety, and these need to be carefully balanced.

How Safe are Our Homes?

In the US, new home construction is subject to building... 

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Lead Paint Statistics You Can’t Ignore


Like you I’m a home owner and a parent. I also own a handyman business so I’ve been struggling with the the EPA’s new ruling for Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP Rule) which takes effect April 22, 2010. It’s too soon to tell how the construction and real estate industries will respond, even with fines up to $37,500 for those who earn a living that involves home repairs and remodeling.

More important to me is helping home owners understand and determine how they should respond … as unfortunately the EPA isn’t broadcasting this information besides a pamphlet on the web, Renovate... 

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New EPA Rules for Lead Safety


Beginning in April 2010, strick new EPA rules go into effect for all renovation, repair and painting projects in homes built before 1978. The rules focus on lead present in paint sold prior to 1978. Lead if swallowed or breathed can poison people, and young children are especially vulnerable.

Damages children’s nervous system causing developmental and behavioral problems. In adults, causes health problems and pregnant women are especially vulnerable.

All contractors (includes carpenters, electricians, plumbers, window installers, painters), property managers and others who perform renovations, repair and painting work in residential houses, apartments and child-occupied facilities built before 1978, are required to... 

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Tips to Removing a Popcorn Ceiling

Popcorn Repair Damage

We get a lot of calls to find and repair leaks, both roof leaks where water is getting in from above (sometimes around a window too), other times it’s from bathroom plumbing and once in a while, we’ve had to make repairs after the central air conditioning unit in the attic leaked. Covering water stains with a stain block can solve small problems. Often though, the sheetrock has enough damage that it has to be cut out and replaced.  With a popcorn ceiling, finishing off the repair is tricky. You have to remove the popcorn around the new sheetrock, in... 

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Consumer Alert: Child Safety

Roman Shades

Yesterday the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) along with the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) announced a voluntary recall to make repairs to Roman shades and roll-up blinds. Both of these window coverings involve cords that can cause strangulation to young children. To help you visually see what can happen with these cords, here are the photos on the CPSC web site:

Safety Recall for Roman Shades and Pull Up Blinds Risk of Strangulation to Young Children per CPSC

Roman Shades

Roll Up Blinds

Similar problems were identified as early as 1994 when the CPSC and WCSC announced recalls to repair horizontal... 

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Home Safety Starts with Prevention


This week is Fire Prevention Week, October 4-10, and the theme is “Stay Fire Smart, Don’t Get Burned”. Burns are painful and easily avoided so take a few moments to review the following burn prevention checklist.

Whenever you are considering repairs around your home, remember …

Safety is Your #1 Priority at Home Keep young children away from anything hot, in the kitchen and elsewhere. Keep your hot water heater no higher than 120 degrees, to avoid scalding someone. When giving your children a bath, check the temperature personally. Be careful with open flames – watch loose clothing, don’t leave the room and if you have... 

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