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How to Make Your Home Pet Friendly

In one of our past posts we discussed how you can budget for a new family pet. In today’s post we’ll discuss how you can make your home pet friendly in preparation for your new furry friends arrival.
Most American households include a beloved pet, but are we really considering their comfort and safety when we bring them home?

Sure we love them, play with them, feed them and so on, but what more can you do to ensure their happiness and wellbeing?

Examine the Problem

Every pet can be frustrating and messy at times, but it is important to examine your house and lifestyle before blaming your pet. Ask yourself, “Is this a pet problem or a people problem?”
For example, is your dog constantly getting into the bathroom garbage? It might seem as though your dog has a behavior problem, but might actually be a people problem. The solution could be as simple as closing the bathroom door when you’re not around. You could even try getting a garbage can with a lid. Changing your routine or placement of items is usually the easier fix!

Avoid Harmful Ingestion

Keep toxins and Poisons out of reach of your pet. This includes medications, household cleaners, and plants, but also food that may be hazardous to your pet. Animals are drawn to smells and can and will eat things that are bad for them.

Empty your garbage cans frequently and keep a tight lid over them; or conceal them where your pet can’t access them. It will save you from cleaning a big mess, but might also save their life.

Common poisons and hazards for dogs:

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Caffeine
  • Coffee
  • Nutmeg
  • Xylitol (commonly found in sugar-free chewing gum)
  • Alcohol
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Onions, garlic and chives

Common poisons and hazards for cats:

  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Xylitol (commonly found in sugar-free chewing gum)
  • Milk

These substances can cause diarrhea, liver failure, strokes and more in your pet, even in small doses.
If you think your pet may have ingested something poisonous call the ASPCA poison control center at 888- 426- 4435.

For a complete list of toxins refer to the ASPCA website.

Inspect Your Home

Just as you would baby- proof your home for an infant, you may need to pet- proof your house as well.
This may sound silly, but by crawling around your house on your pet’s eye level you will be able to spot hazards lurking behind furniture and even out in the open.

Is there anything they could get caught in, injured by or otherwise find trouble? You may need to cover a few outlets, shorten some blind cords, cover electrical cords, etc. It’s always a good idea to fix, remove, or cover anything that could harm your pet.

Dedicated Pet Area

Creating a comfortable place for your pet to relax and sleep is very important. Animals instinctually want a space that is warm, soft, and comforting.

A soft bed or blanket placed in a warm corner is the perfect place for your pet to relax. You can also add a toy or two to encourage them to play in this area as well. However, be cautious about choosing toys that are appropriate in size, strength, and material for your pet. Choosing a chew toy too small for your dog or cat could result in choking, injury, intestinal blockage or worse.

Make sure water is readily accessible in a safe location and that it is easy to drink from. Find a place to store their food, toys, and accessories so that you have control over your pet’s access.

This also applies to small animals such as birds, fish, and rodents. The area in which you place their cage is very important. Make sure to avoid drafts, extreme heat, fumes, high ledges, etc; anyplace that causes stress, breathing problems or extremes in temperature or a risk of falling.

Birds, rodents and other small pets like to be able to hide, so placing them in a corner rather than the middle of a room will cause them less stress. Avoiding windows is a good idea as well. Some animals may see outdoor animals as predators and will always be on guard. If appropriate for your pet, purchase a safe hiding toy to help them feel secure.

How do you ensure that your pets are safe and happy at home? Let us know in the comment section below.

DIY Home Security Ideas

There are many thousands of homeowners across the nation that want to make their home as secure as possible, but simply do not have the funds to afford expensive and lavish ways of securing their house. Such things as professionally installed and monitored security systems are nice, but their cost is seldom worth the reward especially when there are plenty of other ways in which a homeowner can make their home safe from would-be burglars by undertaking simple DIY improvements and inexpensive measures.

These home security improvements are both effective in keeping the bad guys at bay and saving a homeowner money in their home’s security costs. In fact, first and foremost, there are several strategies for making the home as safe as possible by simply changing personal habits, which will not cost a thing for the homeowner.

Totally Free Ways to Protect the Home

Some ways to change habits to add protection to the home include always remembering to lock doorways and windows, leave a light or two on while out of the house (make sure that the lights in the home are the energy efficient kind in order to save on electricity costs), and keep the outside of the home in good repair (those homes that look rundown are more likely to be targeted by criminals as it appears that the homeowner is rarely in the house).

In addition to the above changes to behavior that can keep a home safe, a homeowner can do even more to secure their home if they will keep their valuables out of clear sight from outside the home. Those homes with valuable possessions in clear view of the street (such as a television one can see through the window) are more likely to be targeted because the criminals know that they will be able to steal at least the one valuable item.

DIY Home Security Projects

After practicing safe home habits, a homeowner can do even more to protect their homes from criminals by undertaking a few of the following DIY home security projects. The first project that can be undertaken if not already equipped in the home is to install an extra bolt lock on all external doors and a bolt lock on the garage door.

Install Motion Sensors

Another effective and inexpensive home security measure that homeowners could implement themselves is to install motion sensor lights around the exterior of the home. Outside lights that are tripped by motion detectors are great deterrents to criminals because they increase the risk of being caught.

Other simple and quick DIY projects that can secure the home include placing a wooden dowel in the tracks of sliding doors and windows and planting thorny bushes beneath ground floor windows. Plants such as rose bushes are especially effective in thwarting would-be criminals due to their own self-defenses in the form of painful thorns.

With these few ideas a homeowner can safe and tightly secure their residence at little cost. And, with these added measures and others as suggested by the homeowner’s insurance company, a homeowner may even be able to receive discounts for home safety from their home insurance provider.

Furnishing a Home on a Budget

The Holidays are rapidly approaching and for many families that means that it’s their turn to host the annual family get together. The stress of having the entire family over to your house can often lead to thoughts of needing to redecorate but many families have found that furnishing or redesigning their homes can be an expensive endeavor. But the costs of furnishing or simply reforming a family’s home does not need to be overly exorbitant if the family will know how to furnish their home on a budget.

As most families know, keeping a budget is an integral part of their fiscal success, and the same principles of budgeting one’s money can be applied to furnishing a home. When budgeting, a family will look at what they can afford to spend of specific items as well as what items they need to buy first, such as food and rent or mortgage.

Set Priorities

In the same way, a family who is endeavoring to redesigned or furnish their home can decide what specific items they will want to spend money on first in order to accomplish their overarching goal of furnishing the home. For example, some items, like a refrigerator or a stove, will most likely need to take precedence over wall decorations or reupholstering an old chair.

These types of prioritizing decisions will get more difficult as items get closer together in relative importance, but before delving headlong into a full re furnish of the home, a family should remember their budgeting steps to create a list of prioritized projects. Once this is done, a family will be able to move forward with their work of furnishing the home with the assurance that they can do so with fiscal responsibility.

It Starts With Yard Sales

After the planning phase of furnishing a home, a family will need to know some practical tips and techniques on how they can cheaply but effectively furnish their home. And the first tip in furnishing a home with a tight budget (or even if a family simply wants to save money on furnishing their home) is to start hitting up yard sales.

Cheaper than most secondhand stores, a neighborhood yard sale is a common occurrence in towns across the nation. Mostly held on the weekends, yard sales can be an extremely viable and inexpensive way for a family to furnish their home.

A family who knows how to scan neighborhood yard sales for the items they have on their list of furnishing needs will be able to find the majority of items for cheap. Yard sales will often have a wide range of items and as such each individual yard sale can provide a viable treasure trove of usable items for the home.

Second Hand Stores

Coming in as a close second to yard sales in price are the items found in second hand stores. As was stated, a yard sale will most likely offer the same previously owned material that a second hand store would and for less money, but when yard sales fail to provide the chair, desk, sofa, or whichever piece of home furnishings a family needs, they might consider stopping by their local thrift shop.

Often times, a second hand store will have a wide variety of items available for purchase as the store will attract donations from a wide ranging population. This variety and at a low price can often give a family more options for the items they need to furnish their home.

Try Doing it Yourself

Other ways of saving money on furnishing the home include do it yourself projects and fixer uppers. Many people have found pleasure in working to create something for their home themselves or by refurbishing an older piece into something new that perfectly complements the arrangements of the home.

There are countless ideas for do it yourselfers around the home, but the most common include decorating, refurbishing, and reupholstering. Decorating the home is a critical part of furnishing a home for most families.

Simple decorating tips that can be done for less include projects like simple framing. Buying an inexpensive frame to turn an old letter, memorabilia, or appealing fabric squares into elegant and unique wall art is a simple way to decorate a home on a budget.

Likewise, a family can undertake projects to refinish old tables to become beautiful end tables, nightstands, or coffee tables. Old chairs or other furniture do not need to be thrown out when instead they can be reupholstered to look and feel brand new.

When families get creative with their needs for furnishing they can begin to save loads of money on furnishing or redesigning their homes.

Transforming a Rental Space into a Home

It is a feeling that many renters have felt after they have been renting homes for a majority of their lives. The feeling of living in a rental can sometimes make a person feel like they never have a true home at all.

A person may come home to their own stuff, such as their own television, their own furniture, and their own bed, but even then, if the renter has been renting for long then they may feel like the house itself really is not theirs. The ugly carpeting, dull light fixtures, and weird tile in the kitchen serve as constant reminders to some that their rental home or apartment houses their possessions but is not truly their home.

How Can You Make It Yours?

With feelings like these being common among long term renters, many have begun to ask how they can improve their rental space to be uniquely their own. The answer is that a person can accomplish the monumental task of making a rental their own by performing simple home improvement projects, decorating to one’s preferences, and making little changes here and there.

Get Permission First

But before one can head into such a major transformation of the rental home, they must first seek and gain permission from their land lord to make specific changes to the rental unit. While some changes, like the addition of furniture or free standing decorations, may not need to be clear by the land lord, other changes, like adding a coat of paint or hanging pictures on the walls, will need to be approved by the owner of the unit.

After gaining approval for specific projects, a renter can begin to make their rental unit their own by implementing a few strategies in every room of the house or apartment. These projects can be large or small, but all can be done with a budget in mind and at a relatively low cost.

Try Some Paint

One of the best and least expensive ways to transform a rental unit into feeling like a person’s true home is by applying a coat of paint to some walls. Choosing colors that match the desired feel of the room, a renter, again after getting permission from their land lord, can transform a drab rental space into their own home by applying just a few coats of paint onto the walls.

Painting the living room of a rental will immediately change the feel of the room and conform it to the desires of the renter. While adding paint may seem like a no no for many land lords, renters may be surprised at the number of land lords who would actually welcome a fresh coat of paint being applied in their units.

Beyond painting the walls of the living room or living spaces, a renter can cheaply and quickly change their rental space into a home by the addition of new furniture or decorations to the living area. New furniture, like a refurbished antique coffee or end table can bring a new feel to the living area and decorations can be assembled with relatively little costs.

Try Framing Things

A few simple decoration ideas for renters redesigning their living space on a budget include framing things that are not simple pictures. Items such as old memorabilia or retro artifacts placed behind a frame and hung on a wall can instantly bring the personalized feel of personality into one’s living area.

Once the living space has been revamped to reflect the style and preference of the renter, they can then change their focus to the kitchen in their rented home or apartment. Like the living area, the kitchen can be transformed from a drab rental-looking kitchen to a tailored area by simply improving or adding personalized touches here and there.

Rental units are often known for their drab, ugly, or even damaged flooring in the kitchen, and so to make the rental one’s own, the kitchen floor must first be tackled. The quick fix is a nice rug to simply hide the flooring underneath, but the permanent and more personal fix would be to get permission from the landlord to redo the flooring with easy to assemble flooring kits purchased at the hardware store.

After the flooring of the kitchen has been dealt with, a renter can further improve upon their kitchen by switching out the lighting fixtures to a more modern, or at least less run down, look. By making small and often relatively simple and inexpensive changes to their rental unit, a renter can change the mood in their house from a rented space to a true home.

A Lesson on Making Money from Investing

For many people, the safest place they can think of to keep their money is between the mattresses or in a safe in their home. That’s where they feel their cash is safe, in a place that they can pull it out and touch it if they wanted to. Banks won’t give you very much interest, not to mention you could lose all your money should they fail. Many folks like their green backs where they can see them.

The only problem is that unless that money is meant to help pay off a mortgage soon, start a new business with, or spend on some other large purchase, that money is doing nothing more that gathering dust and age, when it could be gathering value.

In the game of monopoly, can you win the game by circling the board; never buying properties and collecting your $200 every time you pass Go? Of course not, in fact, you start the game by purchasing every property you land on, hoping to be the lucky one to purchase the biggest investments (that have the biggest payouts) at the end of the board.

The person that holds onto their money in Monopoly is quickly forced out of business as everyone else snatches up property. Although they lose access to their money, they are rewarded over time with payouts much larger than they could have ever hoped. They also put folks out of business that keep stashing away their money under their mattress.

The game of Monopoly is won off of the principle of investments. Earning money is one thing, putting your money to work for you is another. The key is to know what investments are worth your money.

Investing in Real Estate Property

Since we’re on the topic of Monopoly, why not continue with the only investment built into the game: purchasing property. Property is, and always will be, valuable. As there is a limited amount of it, its supply will always remain stagnant. As the worldwide population is always rising, the demand for living space is rising as well. Therefore, the more property you own, the richer you are.

Some pieces of property are worth more than others. For instance, a half-acre lot located across from the entrance to Disneyland is going to be worth a heck of a lot more than an acre of dessert in the middle-of-nowhere, Nevada. That said, real-estate is always a worthwhile investment, because it will always have value. Some just have more than others.

There are three great ways to make money off of a piece of property. First, purchase a piece of property, sit on it for a few decades, and then turn around and sell it. Without settling, you can often get more from it than what you paid for it. That’s more money than you’ll get with it under your mattress.
Second, purchase a lot that has a building on it (residential or commercial) and rent out the property to other companies. Set rent prices just above your costs (eg. mortgage, property taxes, etc.), have residents pay for utilities and damages, and you’re golden. Your property is not only gaining value, but it’s also giving you monthly, financial gains. When you purchase an apartment complex close to a university, you have a lot of earning potential. Although you have to become a manager of a property, you can make money immediately off of this. Why not make money in your sleep though?

Third, flip houses like pancakes. Purchase a run-down, foreclosed, or short-sale home, fix it up, and sell it. There are plenty of bank-owned properties out there just waiting to be sold at a cheaper price. Buy one, spend some time fixing it up and sell it. You can often earn up to $30,000 to $40,000 dollars off of a single house.

There’s always a risk that the home won’t sell right away, but you still own property that will appreciate in value as you sit on it.
Investing in property is just the Monopoly way to go. Many people have made their fortunes in the stock market, investing in companies that take off and then selling at their peak. Others invest in startup businesses.

There are a number of opportunities out there, you just have to be willing to reach out and grab them. When you have money that you don’t plan on using for a good long while, consider investing some of it in a bond, stock, or property that could pay out a bigger sum than a mattress ever could. It could mean the difference between a comfortable retirement and no retirement at all.

Spring Cleaning the Finances

As people thankfully lose sight of winter and gratefully greet the onset of pleasant spring weather, many individuals, families, and homeowners are turning to the old tradition of spring cleaning. Spring cleaning is the time for families and homeowners to set themselves to work at giving their home a sufficient, quality and deep cleansing.

Spring cleaning is the time for families to take an inventory of their possessions, clean out the winter’s clutter, and get reorganized. While these principles are usually applied to physically cleaning out the home, this year a family may wish to consider applying the same principles of spring cleaning to their personal finances.

Save Big Money With Generic Products

And as long as the subject of spring cleaning is fresh on the minds of family members, a family might as well start their financial spring cleaning by saving money on their actual spring cleaning supplies. One of the best ways to save money on household cleaning supplies is by buying generic or off brand cleaners.

Generic brands, store brands, and off brand cleaners, as opposed to the well-known name brands, can be found at discounted prices and overall cheaper costs for the same basic cleaning ingredients that the more expensive name brands include in their cleaners. Buying generic cleaners over name brand cleaners has been shown to save consumers up to thirty eight percent on cleaning costs.

Take Advantage of Coupons and Sales

In addition to buying generic brands, a shopper can save money on spring cleaning supplies by being aware and looking out for discounts and coupons on cleaning supplies at local markets and grocers. Choosing to buy discounted cleaning supplies can be better accomplished by planning ahead for the upcoming cleaning projects.

Beyond saving money for the physical spring cleaning of the home, a family can take their spring cleaning ambition into cleaning up and revitalizing their finances. In some ways, spring cleaning the family’s finances is a very literal cleaning process, what with the various important documents and financial paperwork that will need reorganizing.

To keep better track of one’s finances, and thereby become more effective with their finances, a simple but clear organizational process is typically required. This can be either physical hard copies of important documents that will need to be organized in a clear manner or a digital organization of online or electronic documents.

It’s Time to Go Paperless

As a part of this, a family can greatly improve their organization of financial documents if they will shred those documents that can be found online. For example, if the family receives their monthly bank statement in the mail and online through an online banking system provided by their bank, then the need for the monthly mailed copy is superfluous.

In this situation, a family can contact their banking institution and ask that their monthly banking statements be sent to them through email or posted on their online account. In this way, a family can cut the clutter of monthly bank statements from their hard copy financial documents and thereby become more organized in their financial records. In addition to getting statements from your bank online, it’s also possible to sink your bank account with most of the popular budgeting apps that are on the market.

It is important for family to remember, however, that while they are going through their financial documents they should have a paper shredder on hand. Sensitive information such as birthdays, social security numbers and bank account numbers may be present on unwanted paper documentation and can be stolen, yes stolen, from the trash and used by identity thieves to wreak havoc on a family’s finances.

While some feel that hard copy financial records are more secure than online records from those who would steal their information, the truth is that with modern firewalls and protective servers in use by financial institutions a person’s records are much safer in electronic form than they are in a hard copy paper form. Because of this, as part of this year’s financial spring cleaning, a family may wish to consider talking with their banking institution about switching all that is possible into an electronic form of record.

Spruce Up The Family Budget

Lastly, a family that is undertaking the project of a financial spring cleaning will probably want/need to refurbish and revise their family budget. Budgets are vastly important tools for a family to use in order to stay financially secure and stable.

But the usefulness of a budget immediately decreases if a family chooses not to abide by the financial guidelines they have set out for themselves. Additionally, an outdated budget can lose its effectiveness quickly as fluctuations in family income or needs arise.

While performing their financial spring cleaning this year, a family might want to consider taking another look at their family budget. Revising where needed and reaffirming their commitment to living with a budget will add to the family’s financial success in the coming year. As always, when you start to focus on budgeting it’s important to stick to your budget and work towards your financial goals but also understand that things come up.

As you work on financial spring cleaning this season understand that there might be times when you come up a little short, if you find yourself in that situation Check City has several services that can help get you through until your next Payday such as cash advances or pay day loans.

Springtime Car Tips

Spring showed its beautiful face for only a couple days and gave all the hope that winter had past. But recent weather across the nation, and especially in the west, has showed that the winter is not over just yet.

Winter storms and winter weather are a common occurrence throughout the spring time for many areas of the country. The sporadic and varying warm and cold weather of spring has left many communities to claim that if outsiders don’t like the weather, all they need do is wait fifteen minutes.

While the colloquial saying has been adopted by numerous communities, there is still some shade of truth to be found in their assertions. Spring is a blending of weather, from rain to sunshine to and sometimes back to bitter cold and snow.

The continued cold weather means that all of the dangers associated with winter weather must still be considered and prepared for by all. For many, these winter preparations and precautions will include re-winterizing their vehicle for their daily commute.

Winterizing one’s vehicles, even at the tail end of the winter season, can greatly improve the reliability of a person’s vehicles throughout the spring and into the summer. The first step that people can take to guard their vehicle against the continued colder weather is to ensure that the car is up to date on its maintenance.

Vehicle Maintenance is Essential

Proper maintenance of the vehicle should include having the oil changed regularly. As the sporadic weather of spring turns an engine cold, the oil in that engine may thicken, reducing the oil’s ability to lubricate the engine properly.

By keeping up with the maintenance schedule of a vehicle, the vehicle’s owner will be able to ensure that the engine runs smoothly throughout the tail end of winter. Additionally, the owner’s manual of the vehicle may include suggestions as to which type of oil should be used during the cold months of next year to avoid this oil-thickening issue.

Other items on the vehicle can likewise be re-winterized to improve performance. Wiper blades can be upgraded to ensure clear visibility during the wet spring months as can the car’s battery to prevent the cold days from draining the vehicle’s power supply.

More winterizing tips for vehicles include purchasing and equipping snow tires, keeping those tires properly inflated, and using the right anti-freeze for the make and model of the vehicle. By re winterizing their vehicle properly, individuals can better ensure that their spring commutes will go more smoothly.

Need Cash? How About a Title Loan

Another responsible use of a person’s car is to help them get back on their feet financially with a title loan. A car is an asset owned by a person and can therefore be used to help the person or their family to achieve financial stability.

But what is a title loan? How can it help a family financially? These and questions and others like them are common questions that some people have when they hear the phrase “title loan”.

At its most basic level, a title loan from Check City is a loan issued to an individual that is borrowed against, and therefore based upon, the value of that individual’s car. Or in other words, a person can receive a loan from Check City by borrowing against the value of their car.

A title loan is an effective and efficient way to receive a loan because it is classified as a secured personal loan. This means that the loan’s interest rates will be lower and the terms of agreement for restitution will be more flexible than they would be for other types of loans.

A title loan from Check City can be a financially reasonable option for those who are in need of a short term loan of money to help them pay for such irregularities as an emergency hospital visit or an expedient home repair expense. These people should first determine whether they can afford a loan by looking at their finances and determining if their income is sufficient to support an additional debt.

It should be here noted, however, that for emergency situations a title loan is perhaps the best way to receive a safe and affordable loan from a trusted financial institution such as Check City. This is because a title loan will provide enough money in the form of a loan to cover expedient needs without charging exuberant costs in interest rates.

What Does it Take to Get a Title Loan?

Applying for title loans at Check City is surprisingly simple. All that is required by Check City to approve your title loan is the following:

  • Your vehicle on hand, the car’s title, and spare key
  • Valid Picture ID
  • Proof of insurance and registration
  • Proof of residence
  • Proof of income

Bring these items into one of our many Check City locations today to apply for and receive your title loan.

5 Important Home Security Tips

Make Your Home Safety a Priority

It is very important to make sure your home is always as safe as possible! A home invasion or a robbery can break your sense of security and lead to more than a loss of physical possessions. When someone disrupts your personal space, you feel violated, whether you’ve been robbed or not.

As a renter or a homeowner, it’s crucial to increase your sense of safety to protect your family, yourself and your home. Here are some home security tips to help ensure you and your family’s safety:

Alarm System

First, an alarm system. An alarm system is very important for your family and home safety. Whether you are at or away from your home, an alarm system will really help. Most companies installing your alarm system will give you a sign for you to put outside your house. This sign will warn people that your house is secured by that company. By using this sign, it will help people know that your house is secured with an alarm system! An alarm system is one of the most important home security tips.

Close Your Garage

One of the simplest home security tips is keeping your garage closed. It is always very important to close your garage. Usually there are a lot of expensive and important items stored in garages. If you leave your garage open, it’s basically an open invitation for thieves. Garage theft is very common, so it’s extremely important to keep your garage secured and closed! Keep your garage closed for your safety!

Cameras

Having security cameras inside and outside your home is extremely beneficial for both safety and theft. Seek a professionals help to install them and place them in the correct spot. Cameras are also great because they prevent and help if something were to ever happen.

Family and Friends

Yes, that’s right, family and friends can be extremely helpful. It is always helpful to have good family and friends keep an eye out on your house. Whether you are in your house, or out of town, your family and friends can always help keep your home secure and safe. Family and friends are a great do it yourself home security idea.

Activity

Another thing to remember is noise. If your home has noise and activity, thieves will be less likely to break in. Avoid causing your house to look vacant. If your house looks occupied, it will really help with safety and theft. If you leave on vacation, don’t make it obvious.

Consider adding motion sensor lighting around your house. This way if anyone is walking around your house, lights will turn on and scare them! It always helps to keep things lit up if possible.

With a few simple strategies, you can help protect your home from whatever hazards are out there. You and your families safety is always the most important thing. We hope you have enjoyed these home security tips and home security ideas!

5 Excellent Natural Home Decor Tips

Decorate Naturally

How often do you walk through your home and think about the things you would like to have, but it’s just not the right time? When you walk in the door after being outside in the rain, you wish you had a place to hold your coat. Maybe you misplace your keys all the time, but would keep better track of them if you had a key rack. Unfortunately, these are a mere want, and not a need in your life, so you can’t justify the purchase. Well why not use a few cheap screws and make one yourself using the resources Mother Nature gave you? Here are some great natural home decor tips:

Wood

You can actually use wood as a wall rack for your home. If you live near a beach or a river, take walks along them and look for driftwood. Find a piece that looks straight, generally symmetrical, and sturdy. Take it home, strip it of excess twigs, and dry it out. Use your artistic abilities to make the wood into a beautiful wall rack! If you want more color, use some spray-paint and paint the wood. Driftwood art and driftwood furniture are great options for natural home decor!

Additions

One way to invite natural home decor is adding a piece to an existing display. Keep your eyes peeled for items that have an interesting shape. You might find a branch or rock that would sit atop a table to balance out a decorative mirror. Such a display adds a sense of style to any room. If you want some color, feel free to use your artistic skills and add some paint to the item!

Flowers

Flowers are a great option for natural home decor! Soft and warm colors are often used in natural decor. You can make a room pop with a splash of color. A dish of bright flowers, or a brightly colored piece of coral can add a great touch to an otherwise boring environment.

Natural & Woodsy

You can also add a natural design, rather than a natural object. If you are a bit crafty, sew up some stunning throw pillows with a beach or woodsy theme. You can also find abstracts which can remind you of a natural theme. Most fabric stores offer a variety of interesting edges to give your pillows some character.

Tucked & Grouped

You can add some great touches when you tuck natural objects among your accessories. For example, you can tuck sea shells among your mantel designs. Try weaving in branches, shells, starfish and rocks.

If you have a lot of small objects, try storing them in groups. Those small items will turn into a great piece when they are grouped together!

Each of these ideas can be created with little or no money. You have to develop your eye to make your home as pleasing and calm as you desire. Start looking around for an object to add character to your home! We hope you have enjoyed these tips, good luck finding some natural home decor.

5 Important Water Heater Maintenance Tips

Prolong the Life of Your Water Heater

Many people don’t think too much about their water heater. It works when they move in, and they expect it to continue working forever. But just lighting the pilot light isn’t going to ensure your heater will always work. There’s a very good possibility that it will break sometime during its lifetime and you can help avoid that with proper maintenance.

To keep your water heater in good working condition, you can practice some annual maintenance that will prolong the life of your water heater. If you keep your water heater maintained, you can extend the lifetime, lower your energy bill, and keep the risks of leaks very low. Here are some great water heater maintenance tips:

What You’ll Need

Keep a record of the brand, model, and serial number of your water heater. If you have to replace parts, this information will be vital to purchase the correct parts. You should also know the following about your water heater:

  • Is your water heater tankless, or a storage tank water heater?
  • What is the gallon capacity?
  • What is the age of your water heater?
  • How is your water heater powered? Gas, electric or propane?
  • Is your water heater under warranty?

It is very important that you know all of this information for proper water heater maintenance.

Know the Location

In order to maintain your water heater make sure you know where it is located. If your home is big enough to have more than one water heater, know the location of both water heaters.

If there is an emergency, make sure you know how to turn off the water and power source to your water heater in case there is a leak, smell of gas or burning, etc. Most water heaters have a disconnect switch or a gas valve close to the water heater. If your water heater is gas, you should also know the location of your gas main shut-off or the breaker if your heater is electric.

If you need help finding these switches, valves, or water heaters, contact a professional to show you!

Keep it Clean

Keep the area around your water heater clear. A gas unit needs a good oxygen supply to burn the gas to power your unit. If the unit is crowded it can lessen the efficiency or cause damage to the burner chamber and even cause carbon monoxide leaks.

Also, you might not see if the unit starts to leak. In addition, if the area around the unit is clear, you can keep any water damage of personal items to a minimum.

Drain or Flush

Drain or flush your water heater at least once a year using the drain valve. You can use either a 5-gallon bucket or run a garden hose to a place where the water can drain without causing damage. Because the drained water will be hot, do not drain onto plants or lawn to avoid burning your plants.

If you notice a lot of debris or sediment, then a full flush is recommended. The drain valve will be open long enough to drain the entire unit. To perform a full flush, turn the temperature down, completely drain the tank and then turn the water back on. Let the unit continue to drain to help any lingering sediment or debris. Once, you’ve drained the unit; turn the temperature back to the desired setting.

If you have any questions or concerns, contact a professional and they will help you learn how to flush a water heater.

Inspect

You should inspect your water heater frequently. Check for leaks, from the top to the bottom. You will want to look for heavy corrosion on the valves and pipes. For gas units, make sure the draft hood is placed properly to allow a few inches of space between the tank and where it connects to the vent. Also check around the thermostat.

If you noticed any black residue, charred metal or soot you are having combustion problems and will need to have the unit serviced by a professional. Check for any sign of leaks, rust streaks or residue around the panels covering the electrical components.

When you perform a yearly tune up or maintenance, you can prolong the life of your water heater. You also won’t be surprised if the unit breaks, since you’ll have inspected the unit yearly. It is always smart to contact a professional and get helpful tips and tricks when performing these tasks! We hope you have enjoyed these water heater maintenance tips! Thanks for reading.

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