Spring-graphic

1. First impressions are everything. Sweep the porch and walk, removing any remnants of winter weather, and add something blooming down low or hanging. Spruce up your front door — things like a fresh coat of paint, a new knocker or even a shiny knob work wonders. Maybe a seasonal wreath with color, brings a smile as you enter.

2. Refresh your walls with vibrant colors. Pick a room in your home and designate it the “summer room.” Repaint, refresh and rejuvenate the walls with a luscious, incredible hue found in a vibrant summer bloom. Muted yellows, soft blues and vibrant greens are great choices.

3. Recycle fabrics and textiles. Lighten up any room by trading heavy fabrics for light and airy ones. In the living room, for example, take down your old drapes and replace them with an open weave such as chiffon or organza. Change out dark throw pillows and slipcovers by adding crisp white, a bright solid or even modern, floral patterns.

4. Clean up your kitchen cabinets. A good wipe down of all exterior and maybe even the interior. Next step, spruce up cabinets with a fresh coat of paint or stain, or simply remove the doors for a truly European-style kitchen. .

5. Declutter for a quick makeover. Just like little squirrels, we hunker down and store our goods during the winter. But come spring, your home can get cluttered with knickknacks, heavy blankets and bulky furniture. Put some of it away in storage. Larger, clutter-free spaces create the impression of a bigger house.

6. Let the sun shine in. Strategic placement of a mirror can add an enormous amount of natural light in your home. If possible, hang a large mirror in the living room directly where the sun beams in. In addition to bouncing light, it creates virtual space and overall appeal to a small room.

7. Follow the three R’s: refurbish, repaint, recycle. Being eco-friendly takes simple smarts and small steps. By reusing items such as old furniture, frames and artwork, you can make your own contribution to saving our planet — while saving money.

House-porch

 

The market is flooded with cleaners for this and special do-dad for cleaning that. You could drown in the choices of cleaners, polishes, stain removers, oh my!

Dish Soap

Dish soap is essential because, well, dishes. But it can be used for a lot more than that—most notably, as a stain remover. Coffee on your shirt, other laundry stains, sponge a small amount (very small — smaller-than-dime-sized is all you need) on the stain to make it disappear. Same goes for stains on upholstery and bedding. Dish soap can also be mixed with water and white vinegar to clean hardwood floors.

If you’ve got a dishwasher, you’ll need a product for use in that machine: Opt for a powder, which can double as a soaking agent for stained or dingy whites.

Laundry Detergent

While powder detergents have a longer shelf life, choosing a liquid laundry detergent will allow you to use it to pre-treat stubborn stains (like your dress shirt collar) prior to washing, and can also be used, to remove stains from furniture, carpeting and other materials.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is God’s gift to cleaning, and we’ll not hear a cross word against it. The stuff does everything. Got salt stains on your winter boots? White vinegar will take it off. Gym clothes retaining order, even after they’ve been washed? Adding a half cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle will take those smells right out. For slow drains, flush the pipes with a combo of white vinegar and baking soda to clear the clog without harming your plumbing. White vinegar can also be used to clean appliances like your coffee pot, microwave, and refrigerator, set the color in dark denim to prevent dye transfer.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a dirt-cheap product with many uses. It’s a great carpet deodorizer, and will neutralize smells in laundry (bonus: it’ll also brighten whites). A liberal sprinkling of baking soda combined with boiling water will make short work of cleaning burnt-on food from the bottom of your favorite pots and pans. It can also be used to scrub cutting boards free of stains and smells. And combining three parts baking soda to one part water will help you polish silver.

Scrubbing Bubbles

No matter which brand you go with, these types of products make short work of cleaning toilets, sinks, and tubs with minimal effort required on your part. Just spray, and let the foam do the hard work before heading back in with a sponge or rag to wipe up the cleaner and the mess it is meant to eliminate. With this trick, you can clean your bathroom in hardly any time at all.

Magic Erasers

They’re not actually made of magic, though they might as well be: These melamine foam sponges will take smudges off walls, remove stubborn stains like coffee, ink, and fruit juice from hard surfaces, (careful on some shinny surfaces is may dull ) and will get a stained stovetop or bathtub looking brand new fast.

WD-40

We could be here all day talking about the many, many, many uses (2000+ of them, according to the company s website) for WD-40. Some good ones to know: Takes stickum off of various surfaces, including leather; aids in chewing gum, tree sap, shoe polish and tar removal from clothing and accessories; takes grime, tape residue and paint off of tiled floors and walls; and is the key to getting crayon off of walls.

Extra tip

Rubbing alcohol will take ink stains off of clothing and upholstery; put paper towels under and on top to pick up the ink. It will also take it off skin.

Vacuum

Yeah, unfortunately you’ve gotta vacuum. Tip, a bag-less, (empty after each use) will keep dust mites and allergens from being stored in the house.

2014 fire season for us in California, due to drought conditions is very serious. Listed are some tips for keeping your home safe from fire in parks and on private land.

Electrical
Electrical system malfunctions and heating fires are the leading causes of fire in manufactured homes. Together, they account for one-third of housing fires. Prompt repairs by a professional and regular homeowner inspection of any electrical issues can be your best protection.

Keep smoke alarms working
Never remove or disable a smoke alarm. If you experience frequent nuisance alarms, consider relocating the alarm further away from kitchen cooking fumes or bathroom steam. Selecting a photoelectric smoke alarm for the areas nearest kitchens and baths may reduce the number of nuisance alarms experienced. As an alternative, a smoke alarm with a silencing means is allowed to be installed if it is within 20 feet of a cooking appliance. Test all smoke alarms at least once a month by pushing the “test” button. It is not necessary to use smoke or a real flame to test the smoke alarm’s operability, and it is risky to do so. Replace batteries at least once a year, New Years Day is a good anniversary date for battery replacement. When the alarm “chirps,” signaling low battery power. Occasionally dust or lightly vacuum smoke alarms.

Make sure you have enough smoke alarms
If your older manufactured home does not have smoke alarms in or near every sleeping room and in or near the family/living area(s), immediately install new alarms and fresh batteries to protect these rooms. For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.

Install carbon monoxide alarms
Carbon monoxide is formed from the incomplete lighting of any flame-fueled (i.e., not electric) device including ranges, ovens, clothes dryers, furnaces, fireplaces, grills, space heaters, vehicles, and water heaters. If you have any of fuel-fired appliances in the home or an attached garage, install carbon monoxide alarms outside of each sleeping area or bedroom and on each level of the home.

Plan your escape
Know ahead of time how you will get out if you have a fire. Develop an escape plan that includes having an alternate exit out of every room; make sure everyone in the house knows what to do and where to go once outside. Make sure you can open and get out of windows and doors. All post-HUD Standard manufactured homes are required to provide windows designed for use as secondary escape routes for the bedroom. Familiarize yourself with their operation and don’t block access to the, with headboards or the like. Immediately fix any windows that have been painted or nailed shut, doors that are stubborn or “stuck,” and locks that are difficult to operate. Security bars or grates over windows or doors should have quick-release devices installed inside, which allow you to open them in an emergency. With young ones, make a game of knowing what to do, where to meet, or who to call. Hold a fire drill twice a year to practice your plan.

Cooking
Unattended cooking is the leading cause of cooking fires in U.S. homes. Supervise older children who cook and stay in the kitchen when heating anything on the stove. Keep cooking surfaces clean and place anything that can burn well away from the range. Heat oil slowly and know how to slide a lid over a pan if you experience a grease fire.

Heating
Keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn. When purchasing new space heaters, select appliances with automatic shut-off switches. Turn off portable space heaters before falling asleep or when leaving the room. Supervise children and pets when space heaters are operating.

Smoking
If you have smokers in your home, ask them to smoke outside. Wherever people smoke, set out large, non-tip ashtrays on level surfaces and empty them frequently. Thoroughly douse butts with water before discarding.

Combustible Material Storage
Keep the lot area and the area under, around, or on your unit and accessory buildings or structures free from an accumulation of refuse, rubbish, paper, leaves, brush or other combustible material. Keep gasoline, charcoal lighter and other flammable liquids locked in an outdoor shed. Don’t store items underneath your home. Store firewood away from your home and keep trash and other flammable debris cleaned up.

For specific questions regarding carbon monoxide detector requirements in mobile/manufactured home please contact the California Housing and Community Development Department at (916) 327-2816

Wildland Fire Tips and Precautions
Maintain a Survivable Space – “Things You Can Do Today”

  • Clean roof surfaces and gutters of pine needs, leaves, branches, etc., regularly to avoid accumulation of flammable materials.
  • Remove portions of any tree extending within 10 feet of the flue opening of any stove or chimney.
  • Maintain a screen constructed of non-flammable material over the flue opening of every chimney or stovepipe. Mesh openings of the screen should not exceed 1/2 inch.
  • Remove branches from trees to height of 15 feet.
  • A fuel break should be maintained around all structures, raked clean of pine needs, leaves, branches, etc.
  • Dispose of stove or fireplace ashes and charcoal briquettes only after soaking them in a metal pail of water.
  • Propane tanks should be far enough away from buildings for valves to be shut off in case of fire. Keep area clear of flammable vegetation. .
  • Garden hose should be connected to outlet.
  • Addressing should be indicated at all intersections and on structures.
  • All roads and driveways should be at least 16 feet in width.
  • Have fire tools handy such as: ladder long enough to reach the roof, shovel, rake and bucket for water.
  • Each home should have at least two different entrance and exit routes.

Be safe and have a great summer.

Size Up Your Space

blog-outdoor-space-size-up-your-spaceStill stuck on how to enhance your outdoor space? Remember, not everything is built to endure the summer. Sun’s effect can be harsh on some materials, and you want to make the most of your outdoor budget. Here are some fool-proof tips for making sure your outdoor space is summer ready.

 

Define the Space

blog-outdoor-space-define-the-spaceWhere will you be enjoying the outdoors? Patio, porch, yard, or deck. Approach your outdoor area with the same attentiveness to detail as you would if it were a room inside. So measure the space and take note of the dimensions you’ll be working with. The last thing you’ll want is to purchase a table that has no room for the chairs to fit around.

 

Identify the Role

How do you plan to make use of this space? Obvious question? Not necessarily and certainly not once you start shopping and see all of the options out there. Decide on your patio personality: Are you the entertaining types? You’ll need a set that is prepared for the standing invitation that you extend to the 20 friends every weekend? Are you the casual lounging duo? Is the back your escape: sunbathing, reading, relaxing with an occasional intimate dinner party. If you use your porch to entertain or simply to read and relax, creating the proper ambience is a key concern. Bringing a bit of the indoors out, gives outdoor living spaces a connection to the home.

Color

From the doors to the fabric color you can add personality. They can be soothing, or bring the energy.

Blog Outdoor Space Color 1Blog Outdoor Space Color 2

Blog Outdoor Space Color 3

 

Lighting

Be sure to install the right lighting for evening hours , do you want candles, some soft up lights in the landscaping, overhead lighting, maybe a fan. Choose more than one and give yourself choices.

Blog Outdoor Space Lighting 1Blog Outdoor Space Lighting 2

Blog Outdoor Space Lighting 3

 

Curtains or Blinds

You can check all the boxes by put up curtains or blinds, they help filter the daytime sun, give elegance or personality, and of course color.

Blog Outdoor Space Curtains Blinds 1

Blog Outdoor Space Curtains Blinds 2

 

Hang a Mirror

A mirror makes the space feel more like an actual room. At night it reflects the candlelight so beautifully,

Blog Outdoor Space Mirror 1

Blog Outdoor Space Mirror 2

 

winterizehouseWinterize your home can save you money on repairs, heating costs and can also help to preserve the life of your home. By winterizing your home each year, you will not only save in heating cost, but you will usually find any minor repairs that may need attention.

#1 Get rid of air leaks. Air leaks can make their way through doors, windows, attics, basements, fireplaces. Fireplaces are a major heat loss area, so make sure the damper is closed when it is not being used. Make sure your home is properly insulated for the area you’re in.Make sure to check all pipes and duct openings.  Caulking and applying foam insulation even in the smallest of areas can provide you big benefits. You can easily check for air flow just by placing your hand around the area you are worried about. If you feel a draft, it is likely that air is escaping from your home.

#2 Another thing you need to know about how to winterize a manufactured home is to have your heating system checked, vents checked, filters replaced and propane or oil filled if necessary.  Make sure yours is performing up to standards.  A professional can inspect your system and make sure it is functioning properly.

#3 It is also a good idea to winterize plumbing, sprinklers and anything that could freeze during a cold winter. Make sure that areas subject to freezing have either been properly insulated or drained to prevent pipe damage from freezing weather. Follow these simple steps and your home will be warm and toasty as well as properly maintained for the winter.