Cleaning Apartment Walls When You Move Out

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As a form of insurance, most rentals collect a security deposit when renters move in. The security deposit can easily go over a thousand dollars, depending on how much your monthly rent is and if you have any pets. Renters can get deposit back, but only if the apartment has been brought back to the original condition including cleaning the walls, counters, stove and bathroom.

Most move out cleaning is similar to what a renter would do as daily maintenance, but very few people clean their walls on a regular basis. When the furniture is in the room, the walls rarely look dirty, but once you remove the furniture, you can see the difference between the clean portion covered by the furniture and the dirty area exposed to the daily elements. Some apartment dwellers choose to hire a professional to clean apartment, but this can get quite expensive. Others choose to ignore the walls, but you will lose some of the security deposit this way. Instead, cleaning the walls using a simple and effective process is the cheapest way for renters to leave their apartment in the original condition.

Preparation

Start by gathering your materials. You will need clean rags, at least three towels, dry dust cleaner like Pledge Multipurpose, two buckets, a liquid concentrated all purpose cleaner and long rubber gloves. You may also need WD40 or a step stool.

Remove any large dirt and debris from the wall or surrounding area. Make sure to remove anything from the floor near the walls. Lay a dry towels onto the floor next to the wall. Sit the towels next to each other across the entire wall, slightly overlapping when they meet, so that the floor directly below the wall is completely covered by towels.

Combine the all purpose cleaner with water into one of the buckets. Most all purpose cleaners list the amount of cleaner to water in the directions. In the other bucket, add clean water. Keep the buckets separate so you will know which is which later on.

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Put the rubber gloves onto your hands. Spray the dry dust cleaner onto either a rag or the wall directly. Wipe the wall down, removing any dust from the wall. If you have any crayon on the wall, spray WD40 onto a different rag and wipe the wall where the crayon marks are located.

Once the dust has been removed, bring the two buckets over to a corner of the wall. Place a rag into each of the buckets. Take the rag from the bucket with the all purpose cleaner. Start wiping down the wall at the bottom, cleaning about a third of the way up the wall. Wipe the wall in a circular motion. Using the rag from the bucket of clean water, wipe over the same area you cleaned, thoroughly rinsing the area.

Repeat this across the bottom of the wall, working your way all the way across. Once you have completed the bottom, allow the area to dry before moving to the middle of the wall. Repeat along the middle of the wall. If any dirty water drips down onto the clean wall, use the rag from the clean water bucket to wipe it up. Repeat again on the top of the wall. Use a step stool if necessary to reach the top of the wall.

Final Tips

Follow these steps for all four walls in each room of the apartment. Replace the all purpose cleaning solution, clean water and rags as needed. Repeat on any walls as needed.

If you smoked in the apartment, you may need to wash the walls multiple times and it still may not completely remove the stains. You can purchase professional cleaning sponges which may remove the smoke stains, but you need to use this prior to washing the walls and only in a well ventilated area.

These steps will work best on latex paint and most wallpaper, but you should always check in an inconspicuous spot prior to washing your entire wall. If the paint rubs off or if the wallpaper fades, do not continue with this process.

How to Clean Walls & Baseboards!

Walls & Baseboards may not be exciting to most people, but every now and then you’ve got to clean them and that’s probably why you’d be interested in this video. Melissa drops some knowledge about cleaning stains, scruffs and fingerprints off walls and the most effective way to clean baseboards!

Home Innovations for 2017

The future’s looking bright for you and your home. Rachel Rothman, Chief Technologist at the Good Housekeeping Institute, talks what’s in store for next year in home connectivity.

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1. We’ll enter the era of the 4K TV.

If you thought you could see newscaster’s pores before, just wait until you get your hands on a 4K TV which has you guessed it has four times the resolution as a high-def TV. Thanks to hefty price tags, they haven’t been popular, but this year, those prices are dropping (we’ve seen them on sale for $379). Plus, more content providers are making their shows and movies available in 4K. So, if you happen to be on the market for a new TV, Rothman says the 4K is the way to go.

2. Your food will cook itself.

New versions of slow cookers, tea kettles, and coffee machines tap into your home’s Wi-Fi, allowing you to control them via an app on your phone. Think: turning on “brew” from bed so your coffee is waiting for you when you get up and programming an oven to perfectly cook your roast without your stabbing it with a meat thermometer.

3. Plus, your fridge will know what grub you have left.

Samsung Family Hub Fridge’s built-in cameras take a snapshot when you close the door, which you can then access from your smartphone while you’re perusing the grocery aisles. In the future, they may even be able to tell how long your broccoli’s been in there and when your leftovers have turned. Yum!

4. Smart plugs will give your home a Jetsons vibe.

Say you want to turn your lamps on so that the house is bright before you get home. Or you’re in bed when you realize your teen left the TV on downstairs…again. You can control smart plugs like iDevices from an app on your phone, so you never have to walk over and turn a switch.

5. Those plugs can keep you safe, too.

The Brio Safe Outlet will only deliver electrical current if it senses a plug — not a tiny finger. And Brio’s Smart Outlet will alert you if there’s smoke or Co2, so can breathe easy. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

6. Appliances will soon be able to fix themselves…

Eventually, your gadgets will be able to communicate with repair technicians about what parts need to be replaced, says Sharon Franke, director of the GH Institute Kitchen Appliances and Technology Lab.

7. …and turn on when you ask them.

Voice-activation platforms like Apple HomeKit and Works with Nest allow you to control some of your devices with Siri and Amazon Echo. Also look forward to Google Home, which should launch at the end of 2016 — it too boasts a central home hub and voice control.

8. You’ll stop dreading laundry.

Look out for the LG Twin Wash System, which lets you outfit a new or compatible LG washing system with a mini washer below the full-sized one. That means you’ll save time and money when you’re just flinging in a dress for tonight’s event — or doing a load for your kid’s beloved (and juice-covered) bunny.

9. Your yoga mat will fix your downward dog.

Your pigeon may not be perfect, but the SmartMat’s sensors will tell you how to correct your pose. Set it to home mode and you can hook up with a yoga class on the app, because we could all use a little more om in in our lives.

Common Winter Home Problems

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Is your home ready for winter? Sustained low temperatures, combined with cold winds and winter precipitation, can cause problems for the interior and exterior of your home. Here are some common winter household problems to anticipate and avoid:

• Heating system breakdowns can be an uncomfortable – and sometimes expensive – issue when cold weather hits. Make sure your system is inspected and well maintained before you need to depend on it for warmth.

• Air leaks, particularly around doors and windows, can cause drafts and heating system inefficiency, raising your energy costs. You can find some useful tips here for keeping your home energy efficient during the winter months.

• Gathering around a cozy fireplace is one of winter’s pleasures, but chimney fires are a big winter safety hazard. Make sure your chimney has been cleaned and inspected before you light the first fire.

• Roof leaks often occur during the winter due to missing or loose shingles, or because of poor design and maintenance. If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow or precipitation, check your roof for potential problems before winter begins and keep an eye on it for potential problems.

• Ice dams can also be a seasonal issue in many parts of the country. They are usually caused when melted water backs up, causing leaks. Keep an eye out for potential trouble spot along your roof and roofline.

• Clogged gutters can also cause leaks in the roof, trim, or walls of your home. Clean out your gutters each fall, especially if you have a lot of falling leaves.

• In-ground automatic sprinkler system pipes can leak when they are not in use. Be sure to drain and winterize your system to avoid this problem.

• Burst pipes, especially around outdoor faucets, can cause extensive damage this time of year. Proper insulation and good heat circulation can prevent this problem. Always leave cabinet doors open and the heat on when temperatures plummet.

• Tree branches that are stressed due to ice, snow, or even just a lot of moisture can fall and damage your home, fence, and landscaping. Keep dead branches trimmed from large trees, and cut back trees from your roof whenever possible.

Even a well maintained home can’t always avoid winter problems and inevitable system and appliance breakdowns. An AHS Home Warranty covers the repair and replacement of some of the most frequently occurring home system component and appliance malfunctions, and some of the most expensive ones to fix – such as heating and cooling systems.

Best Front Loading Washer: Best Washing Machines for the Money

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Finding the best front loading washer requires evaluating the needs of the family before searching for an appropriate machine. Some front loading washers offer a larger washer capacity for big families, while other washing machines offer features such as the steaming de-wrinkle cycle for busy families.

Consider the location of the washing machine to determine the acceptable noise level the family can tolerate. Quietly operating machines are available, but generally cost more. If the washing machine is near a bedroom or family room where a loud machine will be a disturbance, then a quieter machine will be necessary. If the front loading machine will be located in a garage or basement laundry room, the noise is less important.

Do not be talked into and pay for features that will never be used. A steaming de-wrinkle cycle sounds great, but is generally only used for t-shirts and blue jeans. If the family most often wears clothing that requires ironing, or ironing is a personal preference, then the de-wrinkle cycle will be less useful. Evaluate all the available options and think about how and how often they will be used before paying for options that are unnecessary.

Frigidaire Front Load Washer

Frigidaire manufactures several front loading washers ranging in price from $499 to $1149, and they are available for purchase at most larger appliance stores. Frigidaire front load washers offer a vibration control system that keeps the noise to a minimum. Frigidaire front load washers range from 3.1 cubic feet washer capacity to an enormous 4.4 cubic feet. With TimeWise technology, the wash time for the load equals the dry time, so long dry cycles are no longer an issue.

Frigidaire washing machines also offer specialty cycles, and have a quick sanitize feature that sanitizes a load in an hour, half the time of a regular sanitize cycle. Frigidaire machines are NSF certified to reduce 95 percent of allergens, and claim to use up to 60 percent less energy than standard washing machines.

Maytag Front Load Washer

Maytag manufactures six front load washers priced from $749 to $1399. Maytag front load washers offer up to a 4.5 cubic foot washer capacity, a smooth balance suspension system for stability and noise reduction, NSF certified sanitary cycles, and a Sensi-Care Wash System that ensures the items are washed gently.

Maytag has introduced a new Fresh Spin feature that continues to spin the clothes to keep them fresh for up to 6 hours if the load cannot be transferred to the dryer immediately, a great feature for busy families who put in a load in the morning and may not be back until late afternoon to complete it.

LG Front Load Washer

LG offers several superior washing machines that boast special features. LG front load washers have TrueBalance technology that allow them to operate quietly, making these machines ideal for a family with a second-story laundry room or a hall or kitchen laundry area. With 4.8 cubic feet of washer capacity, the LC front load washers can hold a king size comforter with bedding. Washing more in a single load saves time and money by using less water and energy.

The LG front load washer also uses ColdWash technology that allows the user to wash with cold water rather than warm or hot, which LG claims to save the user 50 percent to 80 percent on utility bills. LG machines also offer TrueSteam, which allows a user to steam clean and de-wrinkle clothing. LG appliances are available at most home improvement and appliance stores and are priced from $629 to $1889.

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How to Prevent Water Damage to your Foundation

One of the parts of your house that should never fail is the foundation. However, you must have heard of foundations that failed. Foundation failure can be caused by various things including sudden earth tremors, gradual soil erosion, and more. Note that water damage is another common cause of foundation failure. This article will focus on how you can minimize the water damage to your foundation.

Prevent water damage in your house

One of the telltale sign of water damage in your home is leaks. Hissing pipes, dripping faucets, or clogged toilets are some of the signs of leaks. If you notice such things in your home, it’s time to call an expert to analyze and address the issues. Don’t attempt to fix the problems on your own unless you are a professional plumber and you know what you are doing.

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Other signs that your pipes and other water channels are leaking include crumbling concrete, rot and mold, stains and discolorations on your floors walls, and foundations, and more. Keep in mind that foundation damage might remain invisible until it’s too late.

For example, it is add to know if a pipe below your house floor has busted or have loose valves. One way of spotting such leaks is by turning off all the taps in your house for a few hours and then check if the meter reading continues to change.

Note that if such leaks are left unaddressed, they might damage your foundations gradually. This might be costly to correct and in worst cases might make your esteemed house to crumble down. Besides, you are likely to be paying higher water bills if the problem isn’t corrected.

To be on the safe side, you should conduct home inspections from time to time to ensure that any leak is spotted as early as possible.

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Prevent water damage outside your house

Rain and runoff can have negative impact on your house foundation. Therefore, it is advisable to frequently inspect your property’s exterior. This will include:

  • Check for and fix loose, broken or missing roof tiles
  • At the beginning of every winter, clean your gutters to ensure that the water from rooftop is channeled away to prevent it from damaging the foundation.
  • Make sure that all the downspouts eject water for the roof top at least two yards away from the foundation

Always check your foundation to ensure that its strong. If you notice any flaw, it should be corrected by an expert.

 

 

 

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Painting and Decorating Your Outdoor Space at Home

Amidst the blistering cold of the winter months, you cannot help but imagine how lovely it would be to spend time outdoors. Basking under the sun on a warmer day can be something you want to look forward to. However, you can prepare for the spring or summer by working on your outdoor space in the coming weeks. You can come up with ideas on painting and decorating your outdoor space at home just like a pro.

Before you go crazy with your design plan, you should consider the kind of activities that you would want to have in your outdoor spaces. You can either use it for entertaining your guests or as your personal nook. You should include your personal style and customize your space according to the activities your family would want to engage in.

Here are some amazing ideas which you can use as inspiration for your outdoor space:

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  1. Give your porch a well-deserved makeover. You can find affordable and easy to use accessories that can effectively transform your boring porch into an inviting and cosy sitting nook.
  2. You can paint your porch white to have that sleek and clean look. Crank up your style with the use of comfortable furniture covered with fabric which is weather-resistant. By doing so, you are trying to make your porch feel like a living room where you can hang out. Try painting your ceiling with pale blue paint to mimic the beautiful azure skyline.
  3. For those art enthusiasts, you can include your favorite artwork as interior wall decorations. If you wants something rustic, you can leave the all whitewashed or unfinished. Hang your art collections for a classy ambience.
  4. You can decorate with paint by simply adding color to your floor. You can use primer for bare wood. Choose the paint hue which will complement your house interiors very well. Aim for a color pallet that is serene and relaxing.
  5. Curtain shades can be used to make your porch or any outdoor space to be inviting and relaxing. You can make use of the curtains to provide privacy during the night and shades to block the glaring sunlight at day time.
  6. To add some whimsical charm, you can use a porch swing in your outdoor space. You can use it in the narrow lengths of your house. This will give you comfort and plenty of cushions while having your favourite snacks and beverage. Make sure your throw pillows are colourful and dainty to create a more welcoming space.

 

The possibilities are really endless when you are trying to extend your living space. Take pride in your creativity. You will surely have a lot of quality time with your friends and families.

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Create a Woodland Garden

You can take a good deal of creative liberty to make a woodland garden reflect how you look at the world, by giving it your own personal touch. If you are a nature-lover and would like to see life blossoming in all its glory, a woodland garden is just right for you. Planting one isn’t a very tedious process, requiring attention to just a few basic essentials.

A perfect choice of place to plant a woodland garden would be a cool, shady landscape. With a limited entry to the summer sun, forest plants will thrive beautifully and joyously. When it comes to the qualities of the soil, you will need the moist type, enriched with humus and compost. Wildflowers thrive on acidic soil, and bloom to their fullest under the shade of tall trees. The falling leaves provide a good and continuous source of organic fertilizers, making a rich bed for the woodland garden.

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When this is ready, you have to move on to deciding on the plants that will adorn your garden. And since it is a woodland garden we are talking about, you will have to choose from among the wild, native ones. But it is suggested that you choose ones which are most adaptable, so that they blend in comfortably with the environment. There are many nurseries which promote native plants. While picking the plants, be sure to keep in mind the five basic layers that must be planted. Starting from the tall trees, which will provide the essential shade, move on to the understory ones that will add beauty and contrast to your woodland garden. The northern red oaks and the red maples make good choices for the taller variety, while you can choose from the beautiful Redbuds, Dogwoods, and the alien, but magnificent, Japanese Maples.

Next in line are the shrubs and you can choose a year round variety, like the Oak leaf Hydrangea. Shrubs are followed by the herbaceous plants that come in the most diverse ranges. You can choose the ephemeral ones, like the Virginia Bluebells, but be sure to team them up with the longer-lasting ferns, so as to keep a continual bloom in your garden all year long. Right at the bottom of this beautiful forest are the ground covers, which provide a significant texture for your woodland plants, which is particularly helpful during the budding season. You can pick the maidenhair ferns or the iris cristata for the ground covers. You can also make your own creative departure from these basics and indulge in an exotic ‘wild’ affair.

Once you have put together your woodland garden, make sure to tend to it, by constantly checking for the quality of the soil and the amount of sunlight. Before you set in your plants, be sure to put some leaf compost in each of the planting pockets. Woodland flowers blossom beautifully in a good amount of sunlight, so ensure that they receive enough of it during the blooming seasons. You can do so by chipping off some low branches to let in more sunlight. Keep trimming the edges as and when needed so that your garden doesn’t overdo its simulated jungle appearance. Go ahead. Bring the jungle to your yard.

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Low-cost Gutter Maintenance Insights

Gutter cleaning can really get into your nerves especially if the house you are working on is old and the thought of you getting on top of the ladder trying to scoop your gutter clean. The rotten wood can really disturb your mind and send you into a panic mode which is a very risky affair as you get to cleaning.                                                      

What if there is something you can do to ensure your gutters are in perfect condition without spending much money or time scooping dirt out of the gutters and scrubbing them? Before we get down to low-cost gutter maintenance, note that safety should be the main concern when cleaning the gutters and if you feel it is lacking, you will keep procrastinating the roofing duty as real damage settles in.

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Manufacturers have come up with a way they claim will keep the gutters clean and free from leaves. Though they are not well proved to work as advertised, they do help. You need to put in mind the pros and cons as they might be costly than the conventional seamless aluminum roof gutters. The two common designs of leaf deterrent are the deflector and the mesh screen. You will need to inquire your area carefully to see which systems are available and if you can get reliable installers.

Gutter reflectors

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This style of roof gutter has a solid cap over the top of the gutter and the front edge of the cap is rounded. This makes the water to follow the curves and drops into the gutter and the leaves and needles fall off the rounded edge to the ground. Some of the problems to be faced are that the deflector gutters allow some needles inside, although they are better rejected broad leaves. They also let dirt and pollen into the gutter.

Gutter meshes

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This style of leaf free gutter uses a mesh covering that lets water through, but blocks debris. The manufacturers argue that debris that gather on the mesh should dry and blow off by the wind the problem is that they are not durable.

Conclusion

Installing gutter deflectors and gutter meshes doesn’t mean that you will never inspect or clean your gutters. However, it minimizes the amount of dirt that accumulates in your gutters significantly. With that, you will pay a professional gutter cleaner less, or you will spend less time cleaning the gutters.