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Energy Star-qualified lighting provides bright, warm light and uses about 75 percent less energy, produces 75 percent less heat and lasts up to 10 times longer than standard lighting.
Making improvements to your lighting is one of the fastest ways to cut your energy bills. An average household dedicates 11 percent of its energy budget to lighting. Using new lighting technologies can reduce lighting energy use in your home by 50 to 75 percent. Advances in lighting controls, like timers and dimmers, offer more energy savings by reducing the amount of time lights are on but are not being used.
Use linear fluorescent tubes and energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs for indoor fixtures throughout your home to provide high-quality and high-efficiency lighting. Fluorescent lamps are much more efficient than incandescent, or standard, bulbs and last about six to 12 times longer.
Today's CFLs offer brightness and color rendition that is comparable to incandescent bulbs. Although linear fluorescent bulbs and CFLs cost a bit more than incandescent bulbs initially, they are cheaper over their lifetime because they use little electricity. CFL lighting fixtures that are compatible with dimmers and operate like incandescent fixtures are now available.
Home-Selling Tip: Staging sells homes faster
Re-arrange your furniture, pick a soothing color palette, clear out the family photos, and your home will sell faster, and for more money. Sound too frou-frou to be true?
It’s not, according to Keller Williams Realty. The soft and decorative side of staging is backed by hard facts. Turn on any popular home network on cable TV and you’ll find a program on staging.
Bottom line: Staging is more than an exercise in tasteful interior design. It is a business decision that can have a huge impact on your financial return and timeline.
How To: Patch up peeling paint
When old paint chips, flakes or peels, it leaves behind a shallow depression. You'll need to repair these spots before painting because new coats of paint won't hide them. Use a fast-drying patching compound to fill the hole.
Patching a single area will only take a few minutes, but you'll have to wait for the compound to dry before painting.
What you’ll needPutty knife or flexible wallboard knife Sanding block 150-grit sandpaper Materials Spackling compound
Scrape away any loose paint with a putty knife or paint scraper. Apply the spackling compound to the edges of the chipped paint with a putty knife or flexible wallboard knife.
Sand the patched areas with 150-grit production sandpaper. The patched places should feel smooth to the touch and not have any edges. If the walls have a textured surface, then you'll need to re-texture the patched areas to match.
Did You Know … Americans admit maintenance negligence
A new study from Pella Corporation finds plenty of items in homes across the country need urgent attention. According to a recent survey conducted for Pella by Kelton Research, 66 percent of homeowners in the U.S. admit they have a major item in their home that needs some type of maintenance. In fact, the average person has five major items that need to be repaired or replaced.
Home Improvements: Low prices drive appliance hunt
Most people who responded to a Shopper Satisfaction survey conducted by Consumer Reports said they had decided on the store they chose to buy from because they were looking for low prices. That was especially true in the hunt for small appliances.
There was also good news for hagglers. Almost 10 percent of small-appliance shoppers, and 1/3 of those shopping for major appliances, tried to negotiate for a lower price. Of those shoppers, about 7 in 10 succeeded, to the tune of $50 off their small appliance purchase and $100 off a major appliance. An annoying problem to watch out for, according to Consumer Reports’ Home Gripes survey, is excessive delivery or installation costs.
Garden Guide: Moving indoors
Now that the weather is turning colder, many gardeners are moving their herb gardens inside. However, a different environment for your herb plants also means different care instructions.
Herbs, and indoor plants in general, crave the sun, so it is important to provide them with the most amount of light possible. Since they are not getting as much sun as they would outdoors, they will also require less water and fertilizer.
If your plants begin to brown at the base or at the tip of the leaves, you may be over watering or overfeeding it.
-- National Gardening Association
Backyard Buddies: In Indonesia, toad rules
After so many sad tales of invasive species overwhelming hapless natives, scientists have found a native toad in Indonesia that’s fighting back.
The common Sulawesi toad turns out to be a prodigious eater of ants, even aggressive invading ones, says Thomas C. Wanger of the University of Göttingen in Germany and the University of Adelaide in Australia. On the island of Sulawesi, the Ingerophrynus celebensis toads readily feast on yellow crazy ants, which are colonizing the island as well as other tropical locations.
GateHouse News Service