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A smart idea!

Key rings have pretty much been the same since the invention of keys. This is a fantastic new idea for keeping your keys organized with the ingenuity of a Swiss pocket knife design.

Keysmart is a product that begun as a successful kick-starter project. Take a look at this video to see how it works:

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Like a house on fire…

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A while back, the Today Show ran a story about how modern homes and furnishings burn faster than those of 30 years ago. According to their report, that means less time to escape a burning home!
If you’d like to read up on this, click here to learn more.

Remember to keep your smoke detectors in good working order, and make sure there is one in every bedroom. Stay safe!

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Feeling pressured?

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Real estate agents can provide valuable information about the home buying process, especially if you are a new or inexperienced home buyer. They can help guide you through the confusing maze of paperwork and legal mumbo-jumbo. They can make recommendations for a home inspector that they trust. I have had the good fortune of developing great working relationships with many of the area agents and they have referred me to lots of clients. But what if you get an agent that wants you to use “their” inspector? Like really, REALLY wants you to use their inspector. They may even act like you HAVE to use a particular inspector. That’s when the red flags begin to wave! Any real estate agent that pressures you into using “their” inspector doesn’t have your best interest in mind.

As a home inspector, I work for the buyer. Period. Not the agent, not the seller, the BUYER. I’m not out to kill deals. I’m not out to make anyone look bad. My job is accurately report the condition of a home so that the buyer can make an informed decision. Most of the time, the inspectors that are recommended by an agent are really good; that’s why they made the list. But take a moment to research: read reviews on Google and Angie’s List. Look them up on the BBB site. Just don’t be pressured to use “their” inspector.

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Your handy tape measure just got handier!

Every good DIYer out there has a tape measure, but did you know that there are features on it that you may not know about? Take a look at this video for some handy tips:

Now if you want to advance to Expert Mode, see if you can master THESE tricks!

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Very Superstitious

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Halloween is steeped in superstition–like putting on costumes to trick evil spirits into thinking you’re someone else, or that black cats are Satan in disguise. But did you know that there are lots of superstitions about houses? Here are a few interesting ones:
mydesignchic-com11If you paint your porch blue, it will deter wasps from building nests. This one is widely believed here in the southern states; in fact I have been told this by more than one person. There may have actually been some truth to this at one time, due to the fact that people used to use a product that was known as milk paint. Milk paint had lye in it, which is a insect repellent. It also faded pretty quickly, which means you have to keep re-applying– keeping a fresh coat of lye on the area. There isn’t any real proof that the color is significant, but still, some people swear by it. Also, people used to believe if you paint your porch blue, it keeps away evil spirits because 1.–it gives the illusion that it’s still daylight out and 2.–ghosts can’t cross water.
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Now’s a good time to check your fire extinguisher.

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Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher. Here are some important tips you should consider:

Make sure your extinguisher is rated A B C. This means that it will put our a variety of fires–“A” for solid combustibles like wood, fabric, plastics, etc., “B” for flammable liquids like grease or gasoline, and “C” for electric fires.
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Store your fire extinguisher in an easy to access place, preferable by an exit.
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Check the gauge on the extinguisher every few months to make sure that it is properly charged. If it falls below the green section of the gauge, discard it if it’s disposable, or get it recharged if it’s refillable.
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Know how to use your extinguisher BEFORE you need it! It’s pretty simple–pull the pin, hold the canister upright, aim it at the base of the fire, squeeze the trigger and use back and forth sweeping motions to put out the fire. Most home extinguishers only hold enough chemicals to spray for a few seconds; 15 or 30 at the most, so work quickly!
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Remember–if the fire is spreading quickly or is too large to contain with a fire extinguisher, get out of the building immediately and call 911. Even if you put out a fire with an extinguisher, you should still call 911 so the fire department can assess that the fire is completely out.

And, just as a reminder, watch this video about what happens when you throw water on a grease fire:

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Don’t neglect your hot water heater!

During the winter, nothing feels better than a nice, hot shower. Nothing is worse than having your hot water heater not be able to deliver! That’s why it’s important to do some simple maintenance to keep your hot water heater working at top efficiency. Sediment will build up inside the tank, and it requires regular flushing to keep it clean and working properly. It’s really quite simple and doesn’t require a lot of time or tools to accomplish. Here’s a video that gives a quick tutorial on how to flush your hot water heater:

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