Friday, February 24, 2012

How can I clean mold when I see it?

Like people, mold needs food and water to thrive. And there's plenty of both in your home.

Food for mold can be the dirt and dust that collects inside your home. Water in the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room and even from leaky pipes can help mold grow.

If you see mold, clean it up right away so it can't spread. For people who are allergic to it, mold can cause breathing problems and irritation.

A University of Arizona study of 160 homes across the country found mold in every one of those houses. Most often, the mold appeared in places that people normally overlook, like window sills, refrigerator seals, under the kitchen sink and in air registers.


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Thursday, February 16, 2012

What are the pros and cons of building a patio with concrete pavers?

Description: Concrete pavers, or paving stones, are concrete shapes in various colors and textures that interlock to form a patterned surface.

Benefits: Because these long-lasting pavers aren’t set in mortar (except around the perimeter of the patio), they can be removed and replaced if there’s a problem with a particular tile. Pavers come in an endless array of shapes, styles and finishes, and can mimic almost any kind of stone.

Expect weeds to grow in the joints of your pavers; a regular spray of herbicide should keep them under control. Also, the same “efflorescence” that sometimes appears on poured concrete - whitish, water-soluble salt deposits - occasionally appear when the pavers are new. To remove, scour the spots with a stiff brush.


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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why your home should have a water-filtering system

If your home gets water from the city, it’s clean and safe to drink. Still, it’s “hard” water, and frankly, it could taste better.

Lots of Arizona homeowners have installed water softeners or filters so the water coming out of the tap looks, feels and tastes the way they like it. You’ll find all kinds of water treatment gadgets if you look on the Internet, so buyer beware. Avoid any equipment that has no trustworthy certification that shows it’s been tested and proven.

To deal with your water at home, I recommend installing a water softener and a reverse osmosis system.

A reverse osmosis system mounted under your kitchen sink will improve the taste of your water enormously.

A sort of super water filter, the reverse osmosis system removes up to 98 percent of the metals, pathogens, chlorine and dirt that can add foul smells and tastes to the water you drink and cook with.

Here’s how it works: Your drinking water flows through the system’s filter, which removes sediment, chlorine taste and odor, and tiny contaminants. Then the system pushes the water through a semi-permeable membrane that catches most dissolved solids and flushes them down the drain.

The result is clean, filtered water that stays in the device’s storage tank until you turn on the tap. Its filter removes or absorbs tastes and odors just before it flows through your faucet.

A quality system costs an average of $700 and $900 installed, depending on how large your home is and the quality of the equipment.

A tip: You’ll need to change the filter once a year. I like to have a qualified water treatment specialist to do it. If you touch the filter by accident, bacteria from your hands can contaminate your drinking water.


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Thursday, February 2, 2012

What architectural styles make up the majority of homes and neighborhoods in Arizona?

It’s safe to say that homes in Arizona have their own unique charm, but just what exactly makes up an Arizona home? Today neighborhoods throughout Arizona are made up of a mixture of architecture, ranging from ultra-modern and contemporary to traditional, southwestern, country and territorial.

Early settlers brought several styles of architecture from different regions of the country to build their homes as a reminder and a little piece of home. That’s why, in our historic districts, you’ll find a mixture of Victorian homes standing side-by-side with homes displaying a Spanish Colonial flare.


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