Home checklist for a family summer trip.

Healthy Home |

Ready for Travel: The Home Checklist for Your Family’s Summer Trip

2 minute read

Whether you’ve had your big family trip planned for months, or the high 90s temperatures and paralyzing humidity call for a weekend cool-down getaway, check off some boxes before you leave town for your fun summer trip.

Need some ideas for that fun summer retreat? These global destinations stay refreshingly cool during the summer months of July, August, and September – compared to most places in the northern hemisphere, anyway.

Cool Global Cities for a Fun Summer

1. Seattle, Washington
2. San Diego, California
3. Yellowstone National Park
4. Denver, Colorado
5. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
6. Coastal Maine
7. Alaska
8. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
9. Nova Scotia, Canada
10. Mexico City, Mexico
11. Reykjavik, Iceland
12. Buenos Aires, Argentina
13. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
14. Belfast, Ireland
15. Isle of Skye, Scotland
16. Queenstown, New Zealand
17. Melbourne, Australia
18. Cape Town, South Africa

Once you’ve planned your summer getaway, make sure you’re able to fully enjoy it by taking the necessary steps to prepare your home for your time away.

Checklist for a Fun Summer Trip

Inside

  • Notify your credit card company that you’ll be leaving town so your cards don’t get flagged for fraudulent purchases
  • Notify your home security company, if you have one
  • Leave a few lamps on if you’re going on a short trip. Invest in automatic timers for a longer vacation to create the illusion that your house is occupied
  • Let at least one neighbor know your plans and leave emergency contact information with them. This same neighbor can also assist in watering plants and caring for pets that will be left behind
  • Ensure you have a working smoke detector on every floor
  • Dispose of any food in your fridge or pantry that will go bad before you get back, and take out all the garbage to avoid a smelly return
  • Unplug small appliances and electronic devices
  • Set your water heater to “vacation” mode
  • Depending on the length of your trip, you can either shut off your water completely or at least turn off the valves to the dishwasher, washing machine, and the sinks
  • Adjust your thermostat so your air conditioner doesn’t waste energy while you’re away. Setting it to 85 degrees in the summer will allow for a safe environment for plants, animals, and electronics

Outside

  •  Take a walk around the exterior of your house to check for any damage that would need attention: loose fence post, broken roof shingles, etc.
  • Park your cars inside the garage and ask a neighbor to park in your driveway every couple days to make it look like someone is home
  • Hold your newspaper and mail if you don’t have someone that can pick it up for you
  • Install a motion-activated sensor on an outdoor floodlight
  • Make arrangements for your lawn to be mowed
  • Secure any outdoor patio furniture, grills, or pool supplies in case of inclement weather

Sources:

https://magazine.trivago.com/escape-the-summer-heat-at-these-chilly-us-destinations/

https://www.budgettravel.com/slideshow/coolest-summer-getaways_40041

https://www.travelpulse.com/gallery/destinations/beat-the-summer-heat-in-these-20-cool-destinations.html?image=21

https://www.nationwide.com/preparing-your-home-for-vacation.jsp

https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/preparing-your-home-for-worry-free-vacation/

https://www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/clean-and-organize/13-steps-to-prep-your-home-for-vacation

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Breathe easy with the blueprints to a Healthy Home.

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U. S. states that are the most humid.

Healthy Humidity |

Which States Have the Highest Relative Humidity?

2 minute read

You’re in the hot seat: Which state has the highest Relative Humidity levels in the summer?

The answer: Alaska

You might be surprised to see that our most northern state tops this list, but there’s a reason that Alaska has the highest Relative Humidity (RH).

Alaska has an average RH of 77%. The next highest state, Florida, comes in around 74% average RH. While Florida is hot and balmy in the summer, Alaska is much more mild and comes out on top because of its low temperatures.

Because RH is a measure of the amount of water vapor in the air relative to how much the air can hold, it can be much higher in colder areas despite there being much less actual moisture in the air. This is because cold air can’t hold as much moisture as warm air.

While this is somewhat of a trick question, it goes to show the limitations of Relative Humidity. It isn’t always a good indicator of how much actual moisture is in the air, or how muggy it will feel outside.

Top 10 states for Relative Humidity:

1. Alaska
2. Florida
3. Louisiana
4. Mississippi
5. Hawaii
6. Iowa
7. Michigan
8. Indiana
9. Vermont
10. Maine

Is your state on the list?

While you can’t change the heaviness of the air outside, you do have control over the air inside your home. Here’ what a dehumidifier can do for your home, especially in the hot, humid summer:

Improve Health

Dehumidifiers allow you to breathe easier and feel comfortable in your home by reducing irritation to your skin and respiratory system. They make your home less hospitable to allergens like dust mites, mold, and mildew by reducing humidity levels. It can also reduce toxin levels, like formaldehyde, which can be released in hot and humid air.

Prevent Damage

Mold can grow in excessive humidity and attract pests like termites. A dehumidifier can help prevent decay and corrosion caused by those pests. They also reduce the amount of mold on furniture, clothing, and other linens.

Save Money

Dry air feels cooler, meaning you won’t have to use your air conditioner as often or at quite as low a temperature. Because it also allows your air conditioner to run more efficiently, a dehumidifier can lower energy costs and prolong the life of your A/C unit by taking on the task of removing moisture from the air.

Healthy Humidity Plays a Key Role in Wellness
Breathe Healthy Air no matter when or where.

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Healthy Home |

Professionals Needed: Here Are The Home Projects You Should Never DIY

2 minute read

So you bought your first house and can’t wait to rip up that crummy carpet. Go for it! But if you hit dirt, you might need to call in backup. As more millennials take the plunge into home ownership, it’s becoming more and more common to see DIY projects big and small. Things like carpet removal are doable. But no matter how many tips and tricks you’ve picked up from HGTV, Pinterest, or YouTube, there are some projects that simply aren’t worth the money, time, or risk to do yourself.

Setting Limits on DIY Home Projects

Skill Level for DIY Home Projects:

For some people, DIY is a way of life. For the rest of us, we need to be honest about our skills and level of experience. Sometimes a “simple” job can actually be a lot more complex than it appears. Hire a professional for these projects before you try it yourself and make a mistake that costs way more to fix.

  • Paving your driveway
  • Custom kitchen and bathroom jobs – backsplashes, flooring, countertops
  • Pest removal
  • Window Installation

Time Commitment for DIY Home Projects:

Some home improvement jobs can take weeks to complete when you try to do them yourself. For big projects, hiring a professional will mean a quicker and more efficient job done well so you can get back to enjoying your home without interruptions.

  • Large landscaping projects
  • Flooring
  • Demolition

Permission for DIY Home Projects:

Some home improvement projects require permits due to building codes. Save yourself the headache, and possible code violation, by hiring a professional who’s familiar with the process when it comes to these types of jobs.

  • Additions and remodels
  • Deck or patio addition
  • Major electrical/plumbing work
  • Pool installation and repairs

Safety Risk for DIY Home Projects:

If there’s any question of your ability to do something without injury or structural damage to your home, it’s most definitely a job for a professional.

  • Mold, asbestos, lead removal
  • Tree removal
  • Roof and foundation repairs
  • HVAC system installation and repair

When you’ve decided you need a pro, try to keep the process simple to save you time and headaches. Start by reaching out to a few trusted contractors in your area to get estimates on the work, (recommendations from friends are a great place to start) and then consider price and professionalism before making your decision.

When it comes to HVAC work, we make it easy to find a pro. Along with plumbing and electrical work, HVAC is an area where it’s crucial to get the job done right the first time.

Sources:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/millennials-take-on-diy-projects-with-more-confidence-and-budgeting-discipline-than-previous-generations-300813538.html

https://www.familyhandyman.com/smart-homeowner/10-home-projects-you-should-always-hire-a-pro-for/

https://www.ahs.com/home-matters/quick-tips/8-household-projects-to-leave-to-professionals/

https://www.rd.com/home/improvement/diy-home-improvement-projects/

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/projects-you-should-not-diy_n_3923456

https://www.hallerent.com/blog/when-to-call-professional-for-home-improvement-repairs/

Raise a Happy, Healthy Home
Breathe easy with the blueprints to a Healthy Home.

Learn More

Family |

Summer Crafts and Activities for Kids

3 minute read

School’s out! Learning and homework have officially become the last things on kids’ minds. That’s alright for a few weeks of summer, but it’s important to have a plan in place to prevent academic backsliding. We have a number of summer crafts and activities to keep your student engaged!

As a parent, we know it can be a challenge to strike a balance between fun and learning. To help you out, we’ve assembled some brain stimulating ideas that are enjoyable and affordable so your kids can enjoy their time off of school while staying mentally sharp at the same time.

Listed below are summer crafts and activities for different age groups to help keep both your younger and older kiddos from that dreaded summer brain drain.

Toddlers and Preschoolers

Young children still need a lot of routine and structure in their days regardless of the season.

  • Hands-on fun encourages exploration and builds fine motor skills, plus young kids love to get messy!
  • Reading is a must. 2 -4 year-olds can read the same book every day without getting sick of it, but try to aim for at least one new read a week to keep their minds going. This doesn’t mean a brand new book, maybe just one they haven’t reached for in a while, or a trip to the library for story hour.
  • Baking is another great activity that doubles as a snack. A well-fed toddler, is a happy toddler.

School-Aged Children

Kids’ imaginations are going crazy at this young and exciting age. It’s a great opportunity to dive deeper into their interests and expand their knowledge and understanding.

  • When it comes to summer reading for these kids, it’s a good idea to make frequent library trips to let them find books that they are interested in reading. It could also be fun to help them write their own book for the summer.
  • Take a theme and roll with it.
    • If your child has a passion for oceans, for example, make that the focal point of their learning opportunities with books about oceans, ocean-themed movie nights, ocean crafts, a trip to the aquarium, ocean-inspired snacks, etc. You get the idea, and your child will be over the moon that you’re investing time and energy into something they love.
  • It’s also a great age to think about signing them up for summer camp. Camp allows kids to branch out a little in a safe environment and learn new skills and make new friends. There is a camp for any interest and comfort level, from day camps to over-nighters, from sports camp to music camp.

Teenagers

If the idea of reining in a teenager for the summer scares you, you’re not alone. Thankfully there are pioneers out there that have survived a summer with teens and are willing to share their wisdom.

  • An “I’m bored jar” can be a lifesaver. Take some cues from this Ultimate List for ideas to include so they never have an excuse to complain. It’s also good to remind them that being bored is ok and their personalities and creativity can be developed through boredom.
  • For older teens, a summer job can provide them with the opportunity to learn a new skill, meet new people, and earn some money for their summer plans with friends. There are so many positions available for teens to take advantage of:
    • Camp Counselor/Lifeguard
    • Plant/Pet Sitter
    • Nanny/Housekeeper
    • Tutor
    • Little League Coach
  • For fun with the family, you can entice them with movie/game nights or let them plan the menu and help prepare at least one meal a week. It’s something that can end up being fun without feeling like you’re desperately trying to make them have fun with you. After all, freedom at this age is something they cherish.

Sources:
https://www.adventhealth.com/blog/how-keep-kids-brains-stimulated-over-summer

https://www.coloradoparent.com/keeping-your-child-stimulated-all-summer-long/

https://www.raisesmartkid.com/all-ages/1-articles/3-kids-summer-activities-to-make-them-smart

https://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0612/10-great-summer-jobs-for-teens.aspx

Family |

Family Fun: A Summer Bucket List

2 minute read

There are endless possibilities when it comes to fun summer activities. Rather than getting overwhelmed by trying to do them all, make a summer bucket list with your family to make it a summer to remember.

We gathered some ideas for beating the heat and staying on budget. See if you can fit all of them in before fall arrives!

Summer Bucket List: Backyard Blast

Your own backyard is the perfect setting for some amazing family traditions. It’s nearby, free of charge, and open 24/7.

  • DIY Slip n’ Slide: Who needs a water park when you can set this bad boy up for your family and friends?
  • DIY Sponge Bombs: All the fun of a water balloon fight without the tedious cleanup afterwards
  • Camping – Backyard camping can include so many different activities to fit the needs and preferences of your family:
  • Obstacle Course: Running through the sprinkler is a timeless tradition that’s tons of fun

Summer Bucket List: Indoor Hoopla

Sometimes, the weather doesn’t allow for outdoor adventure. Whether the rain won’t let up or the temperature just keeps climbing, indoor ideas are great to have on hand.

  • Homemade Playdough: Practice shapes and colors with younger kids or let older children compete in a sculpting contest – either way it’s a great hands-on activity
  • Yummy Snacks and Treats: Summer might mean you finally have time to try some of those cutesy Pinterest finds you’ve been pinning like crazy
  • Game Night – Pick a new board/card game. Or if you’re feeling extra ambitious, you could make your own

Summer Bucket List: Special Outings

Whether big or small, adventures outside the home can be affordable and fun for everyone.

  • Library/ Movie Rental: Pick out new books and/or movies for the family to enjoy
  • Splash Pad/Community Pool: Often times, these summer hot spots are free of charge or very inexpensive for the whole family to cool off together
  • Park/Picnic: You can have a picnic in your backyard, or even your living room, but going to a park just adds even more excitement
  • State Park/Nature Hike: In our backyard, Wisconsin is home to over forty state parks that make for a beautiful family adventure. Find outdoor options in your area to give your kids a new perspective on the world and a break from their screens.

Archive |

2019 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Healthy Home Edition

2 minute read

2019 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Healthy Home Edition

The world has celebrated Father’s Day for hundreds years. But instead of getting your dad his one hundredth #1 Dad coffee mug or two hundredth tacky tie, why not try something he’ll really love? Check out our Father’s Day Gift Guide and get dad something he will actually enjoy this year!

Home renovations, well-kept lawns, and beautiful landscaping. Things that your dad can gaze at with his hands on his hips, admiring a job well done. 2019 Father’s Day Gift Guide

And beyond looking nice, it’s important to dad to keep a healthy home that his family can play, relax, and thrive in.

Here’s a list of the latest tools and toys to help him achieve a healthy home he can be proud of:

Gardening and Landscaping Tools

Whether it’s grading landscaping away from the house to protect the basement from moisture, or installing solar powered lights to cut down on electric bills, dad will love these outdoor gifts that he can put to work right away:
Long Handled Shovel
Hand Rake
Gardening Knife
Hand Pruner
Hedge Trimmer
Solar Power Sensored Lights
LED Solar Spotlight
Noise Blocking Earmuffs
Electric Gutter Cleaner

Climate Control

Saving energy means saving money, and a programmable, digital, or WiFi thermostat is a great addition to any home. Thermostats make it easy to provide the ideal balance of temperature, humidity, air purity, and fresh air–a gift that everyone can enjoy:
WiFi Thermostat
Programmable Thermostat
Digital Thermostat

Basement Maintenance

The basement can be one of dad’s favorite spots in the house. But man cave or not, the indoor air quality in the basement is important to the overall health of the home. Here are a few gifts to help him maintain the freshest air possible:
Dehumidifier
Air Purifier
Vacuum with HEPA filter
Microfiber Mop

Garage Gear

Is dad always vowing to “clean up the garage”? Call his bluff with these handy tools and upgrades that will make it easier for him to follow through on his promise.
Wall-Mounted Storage Hooks
Concrete Floor Coating
Better Lighting Options
Extension Cord Organizer
Wet/Dry Vacuum
Garage Radio (makes the cleanup go faster)

 

 

Healthy Home |

Landscaping Tips for the Eco-Conscious Homeowner

2 minute read

Trying to keep up with the ins and outs of the latest trends in home and landscaping can be overwhelming. But the current popularity of environmental awareness/conservation is hopefully one that will be trending forever, because showing concern for the environment should never go out of style.

While there are endless ways to incorporate “green living” into your daily life, through the food you eat, the clothes you wear, and the cleaning products you use, we are going to focus on becoming more eco-friendly in your own backyard.

Eco-Conscious Landscaping Tips

Efficient Irrigation

Water conservation is one of the biggest ways to be mindful of the environment.

  • Install a sprinkler system to not only reduce the amount of water used, but to control the time and rate of application
  • Drip irrigation systems for garden beds grant longer but less frequent watering times to promote deep root growth and tolerance of droughts
  • Using your irrigation system in the morning or evening minimizes evaporation due to lower temperatures
  • Practice xeriscaping:
    • Place plants with similar watering needs together
    • Replace some of your grass with drought-resistant alternatives
      • Blue oat grass
      • Purple fountain grass
      • Yellow pampas grass

Lawn Care

The less grass you have, the more eco-friendly your yard will be.

  • Plant large flower beds
  • Utilize hardscapes to upgrade landscaping design
    • Boulders
    • Pavers
    •  Steppingstones
  • Install artificial grass to reduce water usage and avoid pesticides and fertilizers all together

Smart Planting

Choose plants that require the least amount of water and do your planting in the most strategically eco-conscious ways.

  • Plant perennials and grasses that don’t need a lot of water but still add a lot of dimension to your landscaping
  • Utilize ground cover plants:
    • Help prevent erosion by stabilizing sloping areas
    • Fill in spaces in flower beds to reduce weeds without any pesticides
  • Incorporate slopes and hillsides by making use of native shrubs, boulders, and rocks to enhance an otherwise challenging landscape design element
  • Nourish your soil with essential nutrients to ensure the best health for your plants:
    • Nitrogen – Leaf and stem growth
    • Phosphorus – Root growth
    • Potassium – Overall health
    • Plant and animal based organic fertilizers – Improve soil texture and condition
    • Compost and manure- Nourish the soil naturally

Reusable Materials

Reduce your waste by reusing.

  • Recycled content is remanufactured into landscaping materials:
    • Decorative glass for tiles and pavers
    • Milk jugs and soda bottles can be turned into composite decking and fencing
    • Crumb rubber can be ground and reconstituted for multiple purposes
  • Salvaged items are repurposed but used in their original form:
    • Bricks for patios or walkways
    • Pallets for vertical gardening
    • Lumber for raised beds, benches, gates, or fencing
  • Garden refuse can easily be transformed into some of the best eco-friendly landscaping materials:
    • Run trees through a chipper to make mulch for your walkways or garden beds
    • Plant debris, like leaves and grass clippings, can be composted into decayed organic matter
    • Work it into the soil or use it as mulch to amend your soil, add      nutrients, prevent erosion, and improve moisture retention

Sources:

https://www.easyturf.com/2017/04/25/creating-environmentally-friendly-landscape/

https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/eco-friendly-landscaping-ideas.php

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/recycled-landscaping-materials-21492.html