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Monthly Archives: May 2018

9 Quick Ways To Cool Down Your Hot Home (That Only Take Minutes)

9 Quick Ways To Cool Down Your Hot Home (That Only Take Minutes)

Summers are already hot, but if your AC is out or your home doesn’t vent well, your house can seem like an oven. Here are 9 easy ways to get your home to a lower temp to keep you and your guests from melting.

A quick lesson on how heat works

Hotter air goes up, cooler air goes down. This is why your basement is almost always colder than the rest of your house. It’s even the same within rooms—the air near the floor can be considerably cooler than the air near the ceiling.

Moving air removes heat. Wind or stirring air makes you feel colder, but doesn’t actually blow at a lower temperature than still air—it just pulls the heat away from your skin. (This is unless the air is really, really warm. Then the moving air will actually make you hotter.)

1. Open the correct windows

Everyone knows to open the windows if it’s cooler outside, but this trick has a few twists. First, don’t open a window that’s baking in the sun. That will just let more heat radiate into your home.

Secondly, if you have a breeze outside, opening a window on the side of your home where the wind is blowing from and one window on the opposite side can create a noticeable cross breeze inside your home.

2. Close window blinds and curtains

Draw the curtains or blinds to windows that aren’t open. If you don’t have blinds, pin up a white or light-colored sheet or blanket (darker fabrics absorb heat into your home).

3. Shut doors to hot rooms

Does a specific room in your home get a massive amount of sunlight? Keeping the door to that room closed can stop the heat from spreading to the rest of your house.

The same goes for cold rooms. If you have a door to your basement or a room that happens to be cooler (maybe from a stronger vent or shaded window), open it up.

4. Switch your ceiling fans

A lot of homeowners don’t know that your ceiling fans have two settings: one for summer and one for winter. In the winter, your blades need to turn clockwise to push down the warmer air near the ceiling towards the cooler air on the floor.

In the summer, the opposite is true. Find the small switch near the center of the fan that rotates the blades counter-clockwise, drawing up colder air from the floor.

5. Put portable fans in the right spots

Small, portable fans are nice at adding a breeze, but they’re much more effective if they’re in the right spots:

On the floor. Put your fan on the floor (and slightly angled up) to stir the colder air on the floor.

From the basement. Set up a fan so that it blows the cooler basement air into the warmer main-floor areas.

Pointed outside (or inside). If the outside air is cooler, set a fan in a window to pull in air. If the outside air is about the same temp as your home, face it in the other direction so it will blow out some of that heat.

In front of ice. Setting a bag of ice or a bucket of ice water behind your fan forces cooler air to move around the room.

Not in front of heated areas. Make sure there aren’t any running appliances or dark, hot sofas behind your fan.

6. Run the furnace fan

If you aren’t running the air conditioner, at least turn on the furnace fan (from your thermostat). It won’t blow cold air, but moving air feels colder. Just make sure your air vents aren’t blocked.

7. Turn on the bathroom and stove vents

Letting your bathroom exhaust fan and stovetop vent run will pull the hot air near the ceiling out of your home.

8. Shut off unused electronics

Some TVs, spare refrigerators and computers can give off a lot of heat while they’re running. Turn off the electronics you aren’t using until you need them.

9. Turn off unused lights

Light bulbs can make a room warmer, too. Turn off the lights you don’t need, especially incandescent and halogen bulbs, which produce more heat than CFL or LED bulbs.

Bonus tip: keep yourself cool.

To cool down your own body, drink cold liquids, hang out in the lowest (and darkest) part of your home, strip down and throw on The Revenant or another movie about winter. If nothing else, you get to see a stunning performance by Leo DiCaprio.

House Prep To Make Your Visitors Happy

House Prep To Make Your Visitors Happy

So you’re expecting guests. You have your hair combed and your party pants on, but what about your house? There are a lot of little things you can do to make your visitors’ experiences better, and some of them only take a few seconds.

Make your house numbers visible

GPS works well but when the route ends, it may be tough to know exactly which house is yours. Make sure the light bulbs are working near your house numbers on the outside of your house.

Provide parking

Have a garage? Park inside (clean up your garage if you need to) so guests can park in your driveway. Let your guests know where they can park ahead of time.

(Tip: Only have street parking? If you’re a really good host, park your car on the street outside of your house to save a spot, then move your car down the road so your guests can have the VIP area.)

Keep entryways clear

Ever stumble through shoes and umbrella stands when entering a home? Move obstacle and clutter for a big and open welcome.

Have a place for shoes and coats

If you’re expecting a big crowd, clear out the front closet and add some extra hangers for coats and jackets.

(Tip: Rainy day? Get a plastic boot tray for wet shoes and put it as close to the door as possible to avoid wet socks.)


No one likes having to move toys and old paper out of the way to set their drink down. Get that junk out of there. Plus, a de-clutterd home can make your rooms look and feel larger.

Dust and vacuum

Lots of people have allergies to dust and pet dander. Don’t stop at the bookshelf—allergens are in the carpet, couches and on the curtains, too.

(Tip: Don’t forget to dust the top of the blades of the ceiling fan!)

Smell test

Be aware if your house has a funny smell. Sometimes you can get rid of it by deep cleaning and taking out the trash. If nothing else, light a candle.

Prep for small children

If you’re expecting small children, block or remove anything with sharp corners like shelves and decor. You should also put away valuables and close doors to off-limits rooms.

Make sure AC and heat are working

You may not use either, but if a guest asks to turn on the heat or turn on the air conditioning, you’ll want to make sure it’s working (and can get it fixed in time for your visitors).

Food and drinks

Whether you plan on serving your guests or just want to have some ready in case they ask, have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks ready as well as foods that can fit in diets, like gluten-free or dairy-free dishes and snacks.

Have extra toilet paper

There are few things worse than being in a foreign bathroom with no toilet paper. Stock up and set out extra rolls of toilet paper before visitors arrive.

Have a toilet plunger in every bathroom

The same goes for plungers—have one in every bathroom so guests don’t have to awkwardly text you from the powder room.

Set out your Wi-Fi password

If your Wi-Fi is password-protected, write it down and leave it in the coffee table for guests to use, or create password specifically for the night.

Have phone chargers ready

If you have phone chargers for iPhones (both old and new versions) and Android phones, set them out so they’re accessible for those low batteries.

Renting vs. Owning: Which is Best for You?

Renting vs. Owning: Which is Best for You?

There are plenty of living options out there—apartments, townhomes, houses, etc. But should you be renting your living space or is it time to put money down for a house? There are a few questions you should ask yourself before you make your decision.

How’s your bank account?

Down payments on houses are usually between 5 and 20 percent of the home’s value. That means if you’re buying a $250,000 house, you need to have $12,000 to $50,000 ready to go at signing.

Don’t get too put off by high prices, though. Some monthly mortgages are lower than monthly rent prices, meaning you’ll have more in your bank account each month.

You’ll also want an emergency fund so you don’t default on your mortgage, granted you’d want this if you’re renting too.

Have a good cushion in your bank? Buy a home.

A little short on cash? Stick to renting for now.

Staying put or eager to move around?

Are you at a job you can see yourself at for years down the line? Then you may want to consider buying a home.

If you’re going to be living in the same area for a while, you might as well put your rent money towards your mortgage. The same goes for if you’re near the friends and family that you want to live close to for a long time.

Renting is good for when you’re not sure if you’re comfortable in your city or a change in your career may have you moving across the state or country. Leases are relatively easy to get out of while selling a home could take months or longer.

Sticking around? Get a house.

Not sure where you’ll end up? Rent.

Rolling up your sleeves or putting up your feet?

If you’re big on mowing, shoveling and home repairs (or at least paying for them), then a house is for you. There’s no landlord that will come by with a toolbox or snow shovel when you need it.

Luckily, housework tips and how-tos can be found everywhere on the internet. Faucet leaking? YouTube can help. Need to clean your furnace’s flame sensor? Google is your friend. And when all else fails, there are always repair people and landscapers that can help.

There are also neighborhood associations that will charge each homeowner and collectively hire people to shovel and mow. This is a good idea for you if you want a home but don’t have the time or ability to do some of the work that goes along with it.

If you’re not too keen on manual labor, renting can give you a little more freedom on the weekends. Most (if not all) repairs and yard work are taken care of by the landlord.

Eagar to throw on some work gloves? Buy a house.

Don’t want to get your hands dirty? You should rent.

Love to host or be the guest?

Are you a party animal or usually have a lot of family show up on holidays? Houses can give you more space, more privacy and more freedom for loud voices and booming music.

If you rarely host large get-togethers or don’t need to practice your drum set at 10pm, renting is a safe bet. Neighbors won’t get upset and you also don’t need to worry about buzzing everyone up to your unit.

Throwing parties? House.

Hushed guests? Rent.

Want some extra security?

Apartment buildings often have multiple locked doors to keep strangers out, security cameras that deter thieves, and more eyes from neighbors to see who’s walking through your hallways.

In a home, there are fewer people watching out for you. Though we’re currently seeing a boom in home security systems that are less costly and easier to install than before. You can even buy a video doorbell to see who’s knocking whether you’re in your bedroom or in another country.

Able to buy a security system? You’re ready for a home.

Want a few more eyes watching out for you? Renting is your answer.