Morgan County Herald: Home Improvement

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3 eco-friendly projects to boost home health during pandemic

(BPT) - How healthy is your house? After spending more time at home due to quarantine and social distancing, many homeowners are asking themselves this question.

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Recent Headlines

Monday 11/23/2020
Own A Home? You May Be Wealthier Than You Think
Posted: November 23, 2020

(NAPSI)—The economy has taken its toll on American households over the last year, leaving many homeowners strapped for cash—but you may not have to be among them. Here’s some good news: If you’ve lived in your home for some time or if it has appreciated in value, you may be sitting on substantial wealth in the form of home equity. In fact, The Wall Street Journal found that homeowners with mortgages hold nearly $10 trillion in home equity thanks to a decade of rising home prices.

If meeting financial obligations is straining your cash resources, now is a good time to explore tapping into your home equity. Here are three options, including an innovation that might be right for you:

Home Equity Loans

A home equity loan is one with a fixed interest rate over a fixed term, using your home equity as collateral. Lenders will take a number of factors into consideration including your combined loan-to-value ratio, the appraised value of your home, and your own credit history. Some homeowners like this option because they can accommodate fixed monthly payments and the additional debt burden. However an increasing number of homeowners have found lenders have tightened their criteria and are unable to qualify.

Home Value Investments

A Home Value Investment, also called home equity sharing, is an innovative offering that emerged 4 years ago. Companies, such as Noah, which offer this product provide upfront funding in exchange for a share of your home’s value. Unlike a home equity loan, there are no monthly payments over the period of the investment—typically 10 years. At the end of the term, you buy out the investment by refinancing, selling, or with savings. The amount you owe is based on your home value, whether it has gone up or gone down. Some homeowners like this option because it does not require monthly payments or add more debt to their credit reports. However, Home Value Investments are only available in select places, so you should check your eligibility.

Cash Out Refinancing

When you refinance your mortgage to take cash out of your home, you replace your existing mortgage with a larger mortgage, often at a lower rate. To take advantage of a lower rate, you’ll pay origination fees and likely have higher monthly payments over time. In times of economic uncertainty, if your home declines in value, you could end up with a mortgage that exceeds your home value. 

Learn More

For further information on options to access your home equity, visit


Moving Ideas
Posted: November 23, 2020

(NAPSI)—If you’ll be decking the halls of a new home this holiday season, you won’t be alone. Every year, one in ten Americans moves to a new place. It can take some careful coordination in the best of times, but during the holidays—and a pandemic—it can be even more of a challenge. One of the most important things you can do is to stay connected to the people and things that matter most to you. For that, you’ll want your Internet, Cable TV and phone up and running, so you can continue to work and learn from home, celebrate in new ways with family and friends, watch all your favorite holiday movies and shop online for presents and festive foods.  

Here are hints on how: 

1.Take the proper pandemic precautions: Follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention disinfecting guidelines. While out for move-related errands, be sure to cover your mouth and your nose. Some festive holiday-themed masks are available. Also, wash your hands regularly with soap and water.

2.Stay Connected: A good move, even before you move, is to get in touch with the new home’s local Cable provider through and arrange for new Touchless Installs that let you safely connect your tech services yourself. The cable company delivers the equipment with step-by-step activation information so you can set up your system on your own, or with support over the phone, online, through chat functionality or video tutorials. In most cases, no technician needs to come into your house. 

3.Keep up with holiday traditions—or create new one just for your new home: Use your new online connection to find delivery services to help stock your pantry and fridge. Your new house will feel more like home if you take time to watch your favorite holiday shows, maintain your exercise program (to feel fit and fight those holiday pounds). Make time to connect with people you care about through group video chats or viewing parties and show off your holiday decorations or virtually ring in the New Year. 

Learn More  

For further facts and tips, go to


Friday 11/20/2020
Keep Calm and Clean On: Why You Shouldn’t Ease Up on Cleaning Practices this Winter
Updated: November 24, 2020 - 2:34 am

(BPT) - When the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic first hit the United States, Americans showed up by not showing up.

Thursday 11/19/2020
Winter Weather Emergency Preparedness
Updated: November 23, 2020 - 2:31 am

(Family Features) As temperatures drop, the risk of severe winter weather conditions and sudden power outages rise. Preparing your family ahead of time can help minimize the impact of a power loss.

5 Pro Tips to Prep Homes for Winter
Updated: November 23, 2020 - 2:31 am

(Family Features) Before blustery winter days arrive, there are plenty of home improvement projects contractors can tackle for homeowners. Many cooler weather projects focus on cost efficiency and sustainability, making the improvements all around smart investments.

Autumn Additions
Posted: November 19, 2020

Fall upgrades for enhancing your home

Make the Most of Holiday Gatherings This Year
Updated: November 23, 2020 - 2:31 am

(Family Features) The holiday season may look different this year, but family, friends, gratitude and good food never go out of style. This year, you can make the most of your intimate holiday gatherings with new traditions, cooking shortcuts and creative ways to keep friends and family close, no matter how far apart you are. For more information and ideas to spice up your holiday meal this season, visit

Skip the Holi-daze
Updated: November 23, 2020 - 2:31 am

How to spend added time making memories

Quick Ways to Freshen Up Your Home for Fall
Posted: November 19, 2020

(Family Features) As fall weather sets in, many homeowners take advantage of cooler days to spruce up their living spaces since they’re confined indoors. However, fitting all that work into a busy season filled with school, sports and other family demands isn’t always easy.

Properly Powered
Updated: November 23, 2020 - 2:31 am

Tips for proper use of battery-operated power tools

Stocking Stuffers for Everyone on Your List
Updated: November 23, 2020 - 2:31 am

(Family Features) Before you can hang the stockings by the chimney with care, you have to figure out how you’re going to stuff them. Nearly every family has a different approach, but practical presents that match the personality of the recipient is almost always a winning strategy for filling out your loved ones’ stockings.

Wednesday 11/18/2020
DIY Weatherization Tips to Keep Your Home Cozy All Season Long
Updated: November 20, 2020 - 2:30 am

(StatePoint) As temperatures fall outside, it’s time to get ready for the chillier months ahead. Most homeowners want to keep their home cozy and their heating bills low during the winter, but struggle to keep the warmth in and the cold air out. Weatherizing can seem daunting, but there are many benefits -- from reducing drafts to lowering energy use. Follow these low-cost tips to protect your home and your wallet. 

Help Families Struggling this Christmas Due to COVID-19
Updated: November 23, 2020 - 2:31 am

(Family Features) Nearly half of low-income Americans reported that they or someone in their household experienced some type of income loss during the pandemic, according to information published by Pew Research Center. Because more people are facing hardship this year due to the impacts of COVID-19, more families in your community will likely be in need of assistance this holiday season and into 2021.

Safe Winter Driving: 4 tire tips for cold weather
Updated: November 23, 2020 - 2:31 am

4 tire tips for cold weather

Make Quality Time Thanksgiving's Secret Ingredient
Updated: November 23, 2020 - 2:31 am

(Family Features) Perhaps more than usual, the centerpiece this Thanksgiving won’t be the turkey, the stuffing or even family-famous recipes for sweet potato casserole or pumpkin pie. Instead, when gathering around a table with loved ones, the precious moments of togetherness will be what many families treasure most.

4 Tire Tips for Safe Winter Driving
Updated: November 23, 2020 - 2:31 am

(Family Features) Even the most experienced drivers can encounter challenges when driving on slick roads caused by ice and snow or dealing with the impact of colder temperatures during the winter months. In fact, inclement weather and sloppy road conditions are a factor in nearly half a million crashes each winter, according to research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Get the Dish on Proper Nutrition for New Pets
Updated: November 23, 2020 - 2:31 am

(Family Features) As families continue to cope with changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, many are taking advantage of more time at home by welcoming a new puppy or kitten to their households.

Comparing Medicare Plans Can Save You Money
Updated: November 23, 2020 - 2:31 am

Medicare open enrollment is here. With plan premiums at historic lows, now’s the time to review your coverage options

Tuesday 11/17/2020
Snow Thrower Safety Tips: Keep Best Practices In Mind This Winter
Updated: November 21, 2020 - 2:34 am

(NAPSI)—Clearing snow and ice from driveways, sidewalks and parking lots is no small job. You rely on your outdoor power equipment to do the heavy lifting, and it’s important to keep safety in mind. The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) reminds home and business owners to use snow throwers, often referred to as snow blowers, safely and offers tips to help.

“Weather today is more unpredictable than ever, and you need to have your snow thrower serviced and ready to power up,” says OPEI President and CEO Kris Kiser. “Have the right fuel on hand and review your owner’s manual now so you can use your equipment safely.” Kiser says preparation is key and that home and business owners should consider the following:

Review the owner’s manual. Check the owner’s manual for safe handling procedures. If the manual cannot be found, look it up online, and store a copy on your computer so it’s available to reference in the future. Review how to operate controls. Be able to shut off equipment quickly.

Check equipment. The snow thrower should be powered off when being checked over. If fuel was not drained last winter before it was stored, empty the gas tank now. Adjust any cables and check the auger.

Purchase fuel. Be sure to use the correct fuel recommended by the equipment’s manufacturer. For most gasoline-powered snow throwers, that is E10 or less. Often fuel stations are closed after a storm so buy gasoline in advance of storms. Fuel that is more than 30 days old can phase separate and cause operating problems. For more information on fueling properly see

Store and use fuel properly. Place gasoline in a proper fuel container and label it with the date purchased and the ethanol content. Store fuel safely and out of the reach of children. Fill the fuel tank outside before starting the engine and while the engine is cold. Never add fuel to a running or hot engine.

Tidy the yard. Snow can sometimes hide objects. Doormats, hoses, balls, toys, boards, wires, and other debris should be removed from areas you intend to clear. When run over by a snow thrower, these objects may harm the machine or people. 

Dress for winter weather. Locate safety gear now, and place it in an accessible closet or location. Wear safety glasses, gloves and footwear that can handle cold and slippery surfaces when operating the snow thrower. 

KEY SAFETY TIP: Never put your hands inside the auger or chute. Use a clean out tool (or stick) to unclog snow or debris from the snow thrower. Your hands should never go inside the auger or chute. 

Turn OFF the snow thrower if you need to clear a clog. If you need to remove debris or unclog snow, always turn off the snow thrower. Wait for all moving parts to come to a complete stop before clearing any clogs or debris.

Operate in visible conditions. Never operate the snow thrower without good visibility or light. 

Aim with care. Never throw snow toward people or cars. Keep children or pets inside and away from your snow thrower when it is operating. 

Use extreme caution on slopes and hills. Use caution when changing directions on slopes. Do not attempt to clear steep slopes. 

Know where the cord is. If using an electric powered snow thrower, be aware of where the power cord is at all times. Avoid tripping. Do not run over the power cord.


Delicate harmonies create balance in the bath
Updated: November 24, 2020 - 2:34 am

(BPT) - The bath space should feel spa-like in nature and create a sense of tranquility. To establish balance within the bath, coordinate different design styles and incorporate striking natural details. Bathrooms that push the boundaries on contrast, while maintaining a minimalistic tone, create the most coveted sanctuaries.

Monday 11/16/2020
Whole Home Air Purifier Helps Eliminate Coronavirus in Filtered Air [Infographic]
Updated: November 24, 2020 - 2:34 am

(BPT) - Testing by the University of Colorado Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering found that the Carrier® Infinity® air purifier with Captures & Kills® technology inactivates 99% of coronavirus trapped on the filter. Other third-party testing has concluded that this technology also inactivates 99% of select viruses and bacteria trapped on the filter, such as a common cold virus surrogate, Streptococcus pyogenes and human influenza. The Infinity air purifier works with most forced air HVAC systems and is a product in the Healthy Homes suite of indoor air quality solutions from Carrier's Healthy Buildings Program.

Green and clean: Eco-friendly tips for a healthier home
Updated: November 24, 2020 - 2:34 am

(BPT) - With social distancing, remote work and digital learning the new reality, there's no question that time spent at home has significantly increased. Keeping spaces clean and healthy is a top priority particularly as we head into winter months. Creating a healthy home is easier than you think — consider these five simple steps.

Friday 11/13/2020
To Pre-Rinse or Not to Pre-Rinse Your Dishes? [Infographic]
Posted: November 13, 2020

(BPT) - There are two types of people: those who rinse their dishes before putting them in the dishwasher and those who don't. But most people agree the most common pain point for people is finding food on their dishes after running a wash cycle. Fortunately, new dishwasher technology with Dual Power Filtration allows you to skip the soaking, scrubbing and pre-rinsing no matter your preference! Shop these powerful new dishwashers here.

Wednesday 11/11/2020
How Family Travel Has Changed Throughout the Years
Updated: November 16, 2020 - 2:34 am

(Family Features) While 2020 has brought some definite and dramatic changes to the way people travel, there have actually been numerous changes in the travel industry throughout the course of the last 25 years.

5 Ways to Make Your Home Eco-Friendly
Updated: November 16, 2020 - 2:34 am

(Family Features) An earth-friendly approach to your home isn't just good for the environment. Making minor adjustments with sustainability in mind can enhance your enjoyment and comfort while reducing expenses related to energy consumption.

5 Tips for Managing High Cholesterol
Updated: November 16, 2020 - 2:34 am

(Family Features) High cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke, but typically shows no symptoms. Understanding the role cholesterol plays, potential risk factors and how to manage it are important aspects of protecting your heart health.

Get Personal with Your Workplace Benefits
Updated: November 16, 2020 - 2:34 am

(Family Features) Choosing employee benefits during annual enrollment is often one of the most important financial decisions you make each year.

Controlling Potassium When You Have Kidney Disease
Updated: November 16, 2020 - 2:34 am

(Family Features) Foods high in potassium, an essential mineral and electrolyte, offer health and nutrition benefits. Potassium helps muscles, including the heart, expand and contract, but for people whose kidneys can’t filter out excess potassium, its buildup can be deadly.

A Difference-Making Disinfectant
Updated: November 16, 2020 - 2:34 am

Building Children's Emotional Resilience Amid Uncertainty
Updated: November 16, 2020 - 2:34 am

(Family Features) For parents facing uncertain school schedules, new ways of working and concerns about the health and safety of their families, life in a pandemic is stressful enough. Add in the potential for children to feel overwhelmed or unable to cope with the unfamiliar and many families feel they are in no-win situations.

Level Up Your At-Home Oral Care Routine
Updated: November 16, 2020 - 2:34 am

(Family Features) With many people hyper-focused on their health, there’s no better time than now to level up your oral care routine. In just a couple minutes each day, you can work your way toward a healthier mouth.

Monday 11/09/2020
5 kitchen upgrades to increase joy and well-being
Updated: November 24, 2020 - 2:34 am

(BPT) - Just about everyone likes the look of an attractive, on-trend kitchen. But what truly elevates design is function. Form follows function. So when you dig into the core purposes of a family kitchen — safe food preservation, nourishment for the body and family bonding — it’s clear that health and well-being go to the very heart of a well-designed kitchen.

Beyond beautiful: How plants improve mental and physical wellness
Updated: November 24, 2020 - 2:34 am

(BPT) - Flowers and plants are staples in many American homes, adding to the style and aesthetic of virtually any space. While the visual benefits of plants are widely embraced, many people are unaware of the ways plants can support mental and physical well-being, too.

Wednesday 11/04/2020
Home Decor 101
Updated: November 09, 2020 - 2:30 am

Decorating with bold colors

Clever Kitchen Upgrades
Updated: November 09, 2020 - 2:30 am

Fresh colors and textures for a functional kitchen style

Energy Savers that Make Cents'
Updated: November 09, 2020 - 2:30 am

(Family Features) A home that operates efficiently isn’t just better for the environment. Ensuring your home systems are as efficient as possible can also help reduce the financial burden of maintaining your home throughout the year.

How to Bring More Space into Bathrooms
Updated: November 09, 2020 - 2:30 am

(Family Features) Today’s designers, architects and builders are creating modern bathrooms that are practical, luxurious, comfortable and accommodating. They know homeowners and homebuyers desire – even demand – these features regardless of the bathroom’s size or layout.

Bring New Life to Your Kitchen with Color
Updated: November 09, 2020 - 2:30 am

(Family Features) Just as filling your plate with colorful foods is typically good for your body, filling your kitchen with color can be good for the soul. In fact, color is an important element in interior design not only for its aesthetic value, but also because it can shape perceptions and emotions.

Colorful Kitchen Inspiration: 5 impactful, on-trend cabinet stylings
Updated: November 09, 2020 - 2:30 am

5 impactful, on-trend cabinet stylings

Tuesday 11/03/2020
Building your outdoor winter hangout is easier than you think
Posted: November 03, 2020

(BPT) - As colder weather arrives, many homeowners will be in search of creative ideas to make socially distanced gatherings possible. The challenge is making their outdoor spaces more comfortable so people are inspired to linger.

A Move-Up Homebuyer Turns Moxie into Money
Updated: November 10, 2020 - 2:32 am

(NewsUSA) - Jocelyn Vasquez is a determined Hispanic woman who knows exactly want she wants: To build financial wealth through homeownership.

Friday 10/30/2020
3 fire safety tips that could save your life
Updated: November 24, 2020 - 2:34 am

Ensuring Your Home Heating Equipment Operates Efficiently All Season
Updated: November 05, 2020 - 2:32 am

(StatePoint) Want a snafu-free season of home heating? Better installation and quality service mean a longer life for your heating and cooling equipment, as well as increased energy efficiency and reduced energy bills. Not only that, regular service checks may actually detect problems before you notice them, and catching them in time may extend your unit’s life.

Wednesday 10/28/2020
Caring for Your Nutrition When Caregiving
Updated: November 02, 2020 - 2:33 am

(Family Features) Family caregivers of people with illnesses, injuries or disabilities sometimes spend more time thinking about those they care for than themselves. It’s important to remember that self-care is essential to providing good care to others and must include eating well.

Get Tested for COPD: Your Lungs Will Thank You
Updated: November 02, 2020 - 2:33 am

(Family Features) If you're often short of breath during everyday activities, your chest feels tight, or you cough a lot, you may be chalking it up to getting older, having allergies, or being a smoker (now or in the past). Fortunately, there's a way to know whether something more may be at play. Consider getting a lung function test to find out if you have a serious condition called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.1 Knowing the cause of your cough and breathing problems will not only help you manage your symptoms - it'll help you feel better, too.

A New Way to Tune into the News Without Cable
Updated: November 02, 2020 - 2:33 am

(Family Features) News junkies who have been hesitant to cut the cord and forsake their favorite news channels have an increasing number of alternative sources for their information including online, social media and, more recently, a growing number of streaming options.

Make Virtual Learning Fun and Easier
Updated: November 02, 2020 - 2:33 am

(Family Features) Learning remotely from home is now the norm for many families across the country. Kids and caregivers alike have settled into a routine, though keeping children engaged can still be challenging.

Friday 10/23/2020
Safety Tips for Tackling Home Improvement Projects
Updated: October 27, 2020 - 2:34 am

(BPT) - As we continue to grapple with COVID-19, people spending more time at home are tackling more and more home improvement projects. Home Depot and Lowe’s have reported historically large rises in quarterly revenues as housebound Americans take on do-it-yourself (DIY) projects for their inside and outside spaces.

Wednesday 10/21/2020
Financial Tips to Help Prepare for the Unexpected
Updated: October 26, 2020 - 2:35 am

(Family Features) Over the past year, most people have noticed how truly unpredictable life can be. While it’s impossible to predict what the next few months have in store, practicing a few fundamental financial skills can help you and your family prepare for whatever comes next.

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