Do we Need a New Light Bulb?

lightbulbI have been an environmentalist for a long time. I do my best to be green.  I recycle religiously.  I cringe when I see wasteful persons and yes, I might be that person you have seen taking a recyclable item back out of the trash.

I make sure never to allow fertilizers to leave the lawn and when needed am careful about its application and run off potential.  We mow into the lawn, not onto the street.  Well, you get the picture.

I have slowly filled the house with flourescent bulbs only to find that in general we don’t like them.  They are slow to brighten, sometimes are too white, or have a fake yellow hue.   The biggest bummer is that sometimes they do not last nearly as long as the packaging had claimed.  Did you know these are hazardous and cannot be tossed into the trash when done?  They need to be recycled in a safe way.

All this said, I just am unclear how I feel about these new LED lightbulb‘s that have come out.  They are supposed to last 25 years!  That’s a long time.  They also have a rather large price tag at about $25.00 a piece.  I just bought a 4 pack of regular old 40 watt bulbs for a buck at Christmas time so its going to be a bit of a tough sell to give these a try when the budget has so many other options to be spent.  On the upside these new bulbs promise to ony cost $1.63 a day when used 3 hours per day over the 25 year stand.

Where do you sit on the great light bulb debate.  Will you be giving the LED a try, sticking with flourescents or crying over the soon to be lost low cost incandescent?

Gas Fireplaces, Kids, Ouch!

As a parent I have long been worried about the hot fireplace gas when

Fireplace safety tips

Fireplace safety tips

the fireplace is on.  They make guards but few use these as they take away from the enjoyment of watching the rolling fire.

As a caregiver I have chosen to not use the fireplace when children are present.  This pretty much ensures the safety of everyone.  Its the law to make sure that no harm comes to children.  This being said, homeowners are sometimes very unaware of just how hot the glass becomes.

New laws are being created and will take place in January of 2015 that will put a screen, gate, or protective panel barrier in front of all new fireplaces.  This leaves the eleven million households with older fireplaces as a risk for burns.  Caution must be used to make sure that the screens or other protective devise is approved for your particular fireplace or you may still have a risk of burns or a fireplace that no longer operates as it was intended.

Will these new features still cause a burn?  They may if a hand is placed upon the barrier for any period of time.   The bottom line is that as a parent or a family with young house guests that you make sure to remind and supervise all little persons who would be curious about the fireplace.

Some extra tips to ensure safety might be to:

– read the owners manual or check with a licensed dealer to make sure your fireplace is safe

– Check the surrounding frames and such on the fireplace, these too can be burn hazards

– ALWAYS supervise children, the elderly and pets while using your fireplace and remember that it takes a good while before these are cool to the touch.

– Make sure remotes or switches are out of children’s reach

– Consider adding a lock over switches that are in children’s reach

– Remind all guests that fireplace glass and surrounds can be hot enough to burn

– Lastly – have your fireplace serviced regularly to ensure it is operating properly and to ensure that no new laws have made it a dangerous item in your home.

Mom and Dad Spaces – Dealing with Aging Parents

rocking chairMore and more families are going back to years gone by and making spaces for aging parents.  Some are adding additions so that parents can have separate living quarters and yet have their family very near by.  Others opt for a shared space with a bedroom devoted to mom, dad or both.

When my husband and I were young we built our first home.  While we were in the construction phase we bought a camper and moved it to my parent’s farm.  This worked pretty well as we hooked up to their sewer and used their water.  We had our own space and this worked for us even though it was cramped and did not allow for a lot of storage.  It was a short term living space.

As fall came and then the snow, it became too difficult to keep the little camper heated and we had to refill the fuel tank daily.  My parents let us move into their home for the last month of construction.  We made it work.  We were all a bit more cramped and my hubby and I shared a place on a pull out couch that had to be cleaned up and put away daily in their living room.  We were both allergic to cats and my parents had several.  It worked, but wasn’t the best living arrangements.  Let’s say we were happy to finally move into our new home and they were happy to see us move out and into our new space.

There are certainly things to consider when having your parents or your spouses move into your home.  Will it be separate, will you plan to hang out during the day, will noise be a factor, will you be sharing meals, will you have them sign a lease or will they be allowed to occupy the space for free?  Planning for success will bring success and many families are doing it already.  What a great way to save on rent, lower housing expenses and keep your parents near as they age.  I would love to hear success and horror stories and of course any tips you might have.

Kim is a real estate agent working in the north metro area with Keller Williams Premier Realty.  Let her find you your next home.  Perhaps a home large enough to support your family and a space for mom or dad!

Here is a you tube clip that will give additional considerations to shared space living.  http://youtu.be/XDZdMAJ7KOA

 

 

The Toilet, the Throne, The Comode. No matter what you call it, its missed when your without it!

Kim Woehl - Keller Williams Premier Realty  651-214-1459  http://kwoehl.kwrealty.com/

A resting place indeed!

The lake home is again blessed to have a place to rest for a few short minutes.  Yes, that’s right.  We have a working toilet again.

I have been sharing a bit of the remodeling story and we now enter a new chapter of successes.  We have been working on so many things in the lake home.  It wasn’t so long ago that the hubby pulled out all of the plumbing with the help of my son.

Well that is pretty much back in place but as a result of losing the plumbing he decided to also pull out the bathroom and kitchen.  Yes!  All of it!

Needless to say we have been without running water of any kind for quite some time.  A few weeks ago we got the hose outdoors working again and so while that was really appreciated, it sounds as though we are yet another step closer in the bathroom remodel.

If you look below and around the toilet you will see we are also tiling and  I am happy to report that the floor is done!  The walls are taking a bit more time but I understand that the bathtub will fall into place possibly before the next weekend!

I am beyond excited to have an indoor place to rest.  I cannot wait to share how the tile comes out.  The shower will be going together soon as well as the vanity.  It looks like we just might get this bathroom complete after all.

I almost forgot to mention that this toilet is green!  You can push one button for liquids (uses 1 gallon) or a differing button for solids (uses 2.6)  We have a holding tank at the lake so not only are we saving water but we are saving the cost of having the tank pumped as often.  This particular toilet sells for about $200.00.  An investment in going green, water conservation and cost savings in the long run.

What home improvement project are you currently working on?  Please share as I love to hear what everyone is doing.

Looking to buy or sell please give me a call.  I listen to my clients and help them find just what they need.  Call today!  651-214-1459

Do you Need that Home Inspection Before Buying?

http://kwoehl.kwrealty.com/ - Kim Woehl Keller Williams Premier Realty 651-214-1459

Choose a trusted home inspector – one that looks at the foundation, heating system, cooling system, electrical, plumbing, roof, attic, insulation, windows, doors, basement and structural components.

I am frequently asked if buyers need to pay for a home inspection prior to purchasing a home.  As a licensed Realtor I work for my client.  My role is to provide them with as much information as I can so that they can make an informed decision.  In most cases I feel obtaining a home inspection is a good use of funds.  As a Realtor I write a sale, contingent on if the house passes the inspection.  It can save the potential home buyer tons of stress and money.  In some cases that inspection gives you your walking papers and you look for the next home that does pass inspection.

An inspection will shed light on some potential huge issues with a home such as structural damage, non working or very old heating and cooling systems, perhaps the roof will need to be replaced sooon.  You want to make sure that you ask what the home inspection includes. Does it include a look at the inside and the outside?  Will they look at the foundation, electrical work, the furnace and air conditioner?  Will they check to see that the appliances actually work? Do you feel like this inspector is someone you could trust?

What if your that handy guy/gal and you plan to be doing a bunch of upgrades to the home yourself?  A quality home inspection can still share details about what project you might wish to start first.

Work with a reputable home inspector and they can save you much worry and lots of expense.  This is just one of the many reasons that it is good to select your Realtor as you would your personal Doctor.  Your Realtor will look out for you and will help you to make informed decisions that will allow you to find that perfect home.

If you want a Realtor that will look out for you and make sure that your next home is the right one for you, give me a call.  I make it my job to inform the buyer so that they can make an informed decision.  Will you get a home inspection when you find that next home?  If you need a recommendation in the North metro, give me a call.  I would love to be your Realtor!

I am a licensed Realtor with Keller Williams Premier Realty.  You can reach me by calling 651-214-1459 or by visiting my website.  You can search for homes for free at http://kwoehl.kwrealty.com/  Look me up!  I am waiting to work with you!

Saving Money in the Laundry Room

I am getting greener as I get older and as a result I have found some great ways to save money in the laundry room while also having a smaller footprint.

First off make sure you are only running full loads.  This is true even if you have one of the washing machines that is smart and knows to reduce the water level.  While you are saving on water (this is great), it still is costing you to run that load at the same rate as that full load.  Also, while the washer is smart, the dryer is not and will cost you full price to dry that smaller load.

Hang your clothes out if you can they smell terrific and won’t cost a dime to dry.  If you are one of those persons who doesn’t like the stiff fabric that outdoor drying creates, bring them indoors and pop them into the dryer for about 5 minutes just to get tossed around and I find they are nice and soft.

The next secret is to use cold water.  I could not believe what a difference this made in my bill but the clothes come out just as clean.  Oh and don’t waste your time on the cold water detergent.  Regular detergent works just as well.

Let’s take a moment to chat about that dryer.  Make sure to clean the lint filter every time.  This reduces the dry time, cuts down on fire risk and allows the motor to run as it was supposed too.  If you use dryer sheets, make sure you soap up the lint filter at least annually to make sure the screen is still breathing.  They can become clogged and you won’t even see it but once you clean it with a bit of soap and water you will notice your loads drying a bit quicker.  If your machine has choices, set the dryer to a bit less dry and remove them promptly once they are done.

Another great dryer tip is to make sure you washer is doing a great job of spinning your load dry.  The extra spin time will allow for shorter dry times and the difference in appliance cost is worth it!

The last tip I have is to dry similar weights of clothes together.  Example – dry towels together instead of a mixed load so that when you are drying a load of t shirts they will dry quicker, resulting in a faster dryer cycle.

Do you have any laundry room tips to share?  I know some of you make your own detergent I haven’t tried that yet.  I also hear you can make your own dryer sheets, has anyone tried that?  I would love to hear from you!

Kim Woehl is a realtor with Keller Williams Premier Realty and wants to be your housing expert.  If you are looking to buy or sell please give her a call at 651-214-1459 or visit her website where you can search homes in the area for free. http://kwoehl.kwrealty.com/

Common Home Defects – Ask the Realtor

Kim Woehl - Realtor - Keller Williams Premier Realty 651-214-1459 or kwoehl.kwrealty.com

With Spring nearly here this is a great time to discuss water penetration concerns in a home.  Water moving through your pipes, down a drain and out of the house is the only water you really want to see in your home.  This said, this is a prime time of year to find water in your basement.

There are 5 main areas that you should consider when looking for the source of a wet basement.

  • Grade of Yard
  • Grade at Foundation
  • Landscaping
  • Gutters, downspouts and extensions
  • Hard Surfaces

Take a look at your yard – does it appear the home is higher than the surrounding land?  If not you may need to create a swale so that water is drawn into a channel and moved away from your home instead of being allowed to sit and soak into the soil near the home.

Look at the grade near the foundation.  Soil needs to be higher than surrounding yard so that water immediately moves away from the home.  A good guide is a 1 inch slope per 5-6 feet away from the house.

Landscaping is a common culprit.  Lawn edging sometimes pushes up with frost creating a pocket where when water comes it is actually trapped and cannot move out and away from the home.  It can create a moat of sorts around the home actually holding and allowing water to seep into the blockwork.  Get out there and make sure all edging is mounted low enough so that it will not retain water near the home.

Gutters can be a good thing when working and complete.  They push water down a channel and away from the home.  The problem comes when the gutters get filled with debris and no longer work or when the extensions have been removed for winter or perhaps to mow around and then we forget to get these back on.  What happens next is that water might flow into those landscape areas mentioned above and now you have effectively created that moat again.

The last thing that must be considered is the hard surfaces you have outdoors, patios, stoops, and driveways.  These all need to direct and pull water away from the home.  Often times these settle causing water to actually move toward the home instead of away.  Mud or sand jacking can be a reasonable fix for this problem versus replacement and the results are effective.

When you do have water coming in, don’t assume since it is coming in the east side of the house that the water problem is coming from that area.  Block work is hollow and therefore can allow water to move along the full structure, so instead look for potential concerns and address each one until water is no longer coming in.  Block work can and does absorb lots of water so it is important to find the source and correct it.  Water in a basement can create mold issues and can cause block damage.  Both of these will make your home a risk for any potential buyer.

Kim Woehl is a Realtor with Keller Williams Premier Realty and wants to be your real estate expert.  If you know anyone looking to buy or sell, please send me their contact information or give them mine.  I can be reached at 651-214-1459 or kwoehl.kwrealty.com  I will work to listen and find the home that meets your needs.  I am knowledgeable on common home defects and will help guide you to the best choice when looking for a home.  Call me!

Click here to see what’s available in Forest Lake or Wyoming.  http://kwoehl.kwrealty.com/listings/areas/16576,16623/  It’s free!