14 Tips for Repairing Carpet

repairing carpet

Many people feel that one of the downfalls of carpet is that if it gets stained, ripped, burned, stretched or ruined in any way you have no other option but to replace the whole thing. However, that is not necessarily true. Sure, in some drastic cases there might not be an easy fix, which leaves you with no other choice but to replace the entire carpet. But oftentimes there are much cheaper carpet care options that people forget to consider. Here are some tips on how you can fix some common carpet problems, such as rips, stains, burns, lifting and snags.


The simplest way to prolong the life of your carpet is to stop big problems from happening in the first place. You can prevent rips, burns, stains and other issues by following these easy prevention tips.

1. Rotate Your Furniture

By regularly rotating your furniture, you can prevent certain areas of your carpet from getting crushed. Try to avoid allowing kids or pets to jump on furniture as this can put more pressure on the legs, which can damage the carpet.

2. Use Furniture Coasters

Furniture coasters not only help evenly distribute the weight of heavy furniture, but they act as shock absorbers. Some furniture coasters can even help you move the furniture across the floor more easily than you would otherwise be capable of.

3. Use Carpet Pads

Another way you can lengthen the life of your carpet is with the use of carpet pads. Carpet pads can act as shock absorbers as well as prevent the carpet from rubbing against the rough floor beneath it.

4. Keep Small Rugs in Entryway

If you commit to wiping your feet before you come indoors, you can limit the amount of dirt you track in and leave on your carpet. To accomplish this, keep a welcome mat by any entrances into your house and don’t walk on your carpet with your shoes on.

5. Vacuum Regularly

Though it isn’t the most enjoyable chore, regularly vacuuming your carpets can help keep them looking nicer for longer. Not only will they look nicer, but keeping them vacuumed can also help reduce your allergy symptoms.

6. Steam Clean

In addition to regularly vacuuming your carpet, make a point to steam clean your floor at least once a year. This can help get rid of harder to remove stains that your vacuum can’t accomplish. This is also much cheaper and easier than replacing the carpet where the stain is.

7. Apply Carpet Treatments

As preventative care, apply stain and soil resistant treatments to your floors. Even if you religiously vacuum and steam your floors, a good preventative treatment can do wonders for the health of your carpeting.

8. Clean Spills Right Away

When it comes to stains, the more quickly you act, the more efficient you will be at cleaning it. The longer a stain sits on carpet, the more challenging it will be to remove it. When caring for your carpet, don’t procrastinate to keep it in good shape.

9. Avoid Constant Direct Sun Exposure

If you always have your curtains open and allow the sun to beat down on your carpet, it can slowly alter the color of your floor and damage the fibers. To avoid this, keep your curtains or blinds closed when you are not in the room. This will also help you save on cooling and heating bills.

Following these prevention tips will help keep your carpet looking nice. Unfortunately, accidents will happen, which is why you need to learn easy repair tips too.

Rips, Stains and Burns

Rips, stains and burns in your carpet may seem like the end of the line, but even these nasty holes can be fixed.

10. Patching Burned, Ripped or Stained Carpet

When your carpet gets ripped, stained or burned, you’ll need to learn to patch it. This may sound daunting, but it’s a really easy process. First you need to make sure you have the proper tools: utility knife, scissors, marker, gloves, single-sided carpet tape, extra carpet, masking tape and a can or another cylindrical object big enough to fit around the damaged area.

  • The first step to this project is finding a remnant piece of carpet. If you don’t have extra carpet from installation, you can just cut a piece of carpet from the back of a closet. Use the cylindrical object as a guide and cut around the circle to create you replacement piece.
  • Next you have to figure out which way the fibers of the carpet run, so that way you can install the repair piece facing in the same direction. Use the masking tape to indicate the direction of the fibers on both the repair piece and the carpet near the damaged sight.
  • Now you have to remove the damaged area from the rest of the carpet. Use the cylindrical object as an outline guide around the rip or burn. Carefully cut around the outline with your utility knife.
  • Once you have the damaged area of carpet removed, it is time to put the carpet tape in. You want to cut the strips of carpet tape so that they are bigger than the diameter of the hole you just created, and stick them in there so that a portion of the tape is stuck to the surrounding backing of the carpet.
  • Next it is time to put in your replacement piece. Make sure to note the direction of the fibers, so you put the piece in the right way.
  • Use the scissors to trim any long pieces of carpet.
  • Place a stack of books or a heavy piece of furniture on the repaired area for a few days to ensure it is fully assimilated into the rest of the carpet.
  • Use scissors to trim. For burns that are not that drastic, you can just use a scissors to trim away the burnt part. Try not to cut too deep, or that part of the carpet will look odd.
carpet sample

Now you’re ready to patch your carpet!


Carpeting lifting can happen in a few different ways. Your carpet can be loose and bubble in certain areas, or it can start to pull out from metal thresholds.

11. Restretching Carpet

If your carpet is bubbling or loose, you have to re-stretch it.

  • Remove all of the furniture from the room and loosen the tack strips. If the carpet is older, you should make sure to use a seam sealer so the edges do not unravel.
  • While your carpet is up you should check the padding underneath to make sure that it is not bunched up in places.
  • Stretch out the carpet and put it back down. Make sure it is pulled tightly.
  • Replace tack strips, and trim the carpet as needed.
12. Threshold Replacement

If your carpet is coming loose from the threshold, you have to remove the old threshold and replace it with a new one. Bubbles and lifting in your carpet can lead to bigger issues and unraveling. Make sure the threshold is doing its job correctly to avoid these issues.


How you go about fixing snags depends on the type of carpet you have. Below we cover the snags that happen in two common types of carpet: Berber and Loop Pile carpeting.

13. Berber Carpet

If your carpet is Berber carpet, you will have to examine the snag in order to figure out where the next loop forms and where the yarn is in the material. Follow these steps:

  • You’ll have to use a screwdriver, pencil, knitting needle or some other long, thin tool to pull up the next loop. Do not pull it all the way through the backing.
  • Using another thin tool, you want to pull up the next loop in order to start pulling the snag back down. Make sure to leave the snag bigger than the loops that you pull up.
  • You will have to repeat this process until you get the snag down to its original spot.
14. Loop Pile Carpet

If your carpet is Loop Pile, a snag usually indicates that the loop has come undone. Follow these tips to fix it:

  • You will have to examine the area and count the curls. Cut the strand in the middle, so that there are an equal number of curls on each side.
  • Outline the run with masking tape.
  • On the inside of the run, apply carpet tape or another adhesive.
  • Then, use a screwdriver or nail to put the push fiber back in place.

Fixing snags can get a little complicated, but it can be done with the proper instructions and tools.

Save Money on Carpet

If your carpet gets stained, ripped or otherwise ruined, you do not have to replace it all. Follow these carpet care tips to keep your carpet looking good for as long as possible.

10 Ways to Protect Your Trees from Ice and Snow

icy tree

Winter is a dangerous time for plants. Snow, ice and wind can tear branches from trees. Extreme temperatures can freeze the ground hard enough that tender roots can’t find the moisture needed to survive. Hungry animals may find a feast in your yard, damaging bark, branches and buds. Even the rock salt that makes sidewalks and streets less dangerous for people can kill vulnerable plants. To protect your landscaping from the harsh elements, winter lawn care should begin in the fall, long before the first freeze.

1. Lawn Preparation

Lawns require little care through the winter, but some preparation can ensure grass will return healthy and green in the spring. Water your lawn well several days before the first frost sets in, and apply a layer of fertilizer. This will give the roots a final serving of nourishment before the long winter, allowing them to absorb the nutrients they’ll need to make a glorious, green return in the spring.

2. Target the Roots

Most plants can survive some amount of damage to their branches and foliage, but root damage can kill the plant completely. Luckily, roots are hardier than the rest of the plant, and are semi-protected by the earth around them. Soil temperatures are usually warmer than air temperatures and cool much more slowly, protecting roots from the shock of a sudden temperature change.

Moist earth nourishes roots and holds more heat, so hydrate plants well before a frost. Water two to three days before a frost sets in so soil has time to absorb the moisture. This is particularly important for newly planted trees, which have not yet established roots deep into the ground and therefor may lack access to sufficient moisture through the winter.

3. Mulch as a Barrier

Trees, bushes and other plants benefit from a layer of wood chip or straw mulch around the base, which can keep ground temperatures elevated. This staves off frost, keeping moisture liquid and available for thirsty roots. Mulch should be applied in a four- to eight-inch layer radiating at least two feet out from the base but should not actually touch the trunk itself.

Mulch can also protect roots from frost heaving, which occurs when repeated cycles of freezing and thawing cause soil to expand and contract. This disrupts root structure and can even heave new plantings and shrubs completely out of the ground. Mulch insulates the soil against the sudden heat of a sunny day as well as the cold, keeping temperatures more constant and less disruptive to roots.

4. Wrap Your Trees

Wrapping your trees is another way to protect them from cold. Nurseries and home improvement stores carry special tree wraps that can insulate the trunks of vulnerable trees. Newly planted trees should be wrapped through their first two winters, while those with thin bark, such as willows and maples, should be protected for at least five years.

5. Construct a Screen

If extreme cold or wind is expected, you might want to erect a barrier around your trees and bushes. Construct a screen from burlap or plastic, taking care that it does not weigh down branches, and that plastic does not touch foliage. This holds heat in and keeps wind off.

For additional warmth, fill milk jugs with hot water and place them around the base of the plants. Holiday lights can also be looped through branches and around trunks, providing warmth while giving your plants a festive look.

6. Spray Anti-Desiccant

Winter sun and wind can damage trees in several ways. Frozen roots are unable to replace lost water in dry foliage, so leaves can quickly become dry and desiccated. In addition to a windscreen, many trees benefit from a layer of anti-desiccant, which can be sprayed directly onto leaves and needles, keeping moisture in through the cold, dry season. Anti-desiccant can wear off and should be reapplied mid-winter and after rain or heavy snow.

7. Prune Your Trees

Broken branches can damage more than just your trees. Thick ice and snow can weigh down and weaken branches and strong winds can tear them from the tree, flinging them into your home or car. Branches can damage shingles and flashing, leaving your roof vulnerable to leaks. They can also break windows, dent siding and damage exterior décor.

There are several ways to protect your trees and home from broken branches. Begin by pruning the trees closest to your home with shears or a chainsaw, cutting back any growth that touches or hangs over the walls and roof, as well as branches that already seem weak.

snow covered tree

8. Tie Branches

Tie branches to prevent breakage. Center branches of evergreens and deciduous trees can be tied loosely together with twine, strong cloth or nylon stockings to protect them from being weighed down by the elements. For large-stemmed trees with wide-spreading branches you may wish to hire a professional arborist to cable branches together. Remove the wraps and cables in the spring to prevent girdling and prune damaged boughs to prevent disease from spreading.

9. Tree Placement

In areas with icy winters, salt is often used to deice roads and walkways. Salt runoff can be absorbed by the plant, injuring roots and foliage alike. Spray from passing cars can also damage branches, stems and foliage. The best way to prevent salt damage is to avoid planting trees near heavily salted areas and places where runoff collects.

If you’ve already planted and your trees are in danger, a burlap screen erected between the trees and the roadway can provide some protection. You might also dig a small ditch to divert salty runoff away from vulnerable roots.

10. Deter Wildlife

Hungry wildlife can also threaten your landscaping. Guard the base of your tree from animals that chew on bark by installing a plastic or metal tree guard. The guard should fit easily around the tree and measure about a foot higher than the anticipated snow level. For taller herbivores such as deer, a repellent such as thiram can be sprayed or painted directly onto the tree or onto heavy rags that can be hung from the limbs.

Winter snow and ice can damage your trees’ roots, branches and foliage. It can also lure hungry animals out to nibble away protective bark and tender buds. Take proper lawn care precautions to protect your trees and plants so you can continue to enjoy them for years to come.

11 Benefits of LED Lighting

LED Benefits

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (PDF), the average American household spends approximately $114 every month on electricity. And if you aren’t using energy-efficient lighting, you could be spending even more than that. This is where light-emitting diodes can help.

Light-emitting diodes, commonly known as LED’s, are one of the most efficient lighting technologies currently available to consumers. There are a number of reasons why you should consider using this type of lighting in your home. Below, we will highlight eleven benefits you should expect from using LED lighting.

1. Available for a Number of Products

LED lighting has a wide range of uses, from your basic household lamp, to large industrial buildings and even for infrastructure lighting. LED technology is becoming increasingly more common in parking garages, parks and even in streetlights.

Around the home, you can use LED bulbs for better lighting in your kitchen, making it easier to read recipes and measure ingredients while you cook, or you can place them in hallways, bathrooms and other places where traditional incandescent bulbs don’t provide enough light. LED bulbs can easily replace the 40-, 60- and 75-watt bulbs in your home, and save you plenty of money as a result.

LED Bulb

To figure out which type of LED bulb is best for different areas of your home, read the label on the box to help you determine which type is right for your intended location.

2. LED Lights Are Safer

If you have babies, toddlers or even a rambunctious pet or two, you probably spend more than a few minutes a day worrying about their safety. There are many ways to childproof your home, one of which is to replace traditional lightbulbs with LED bulbs.

Traditional bulbs can get very hot, very quickly. This leaves those little hands susceptible to being burned the moment they touch the lightbulb. This may not be much of a concern for lights attached to ceiling fans or other light fixtures, but there are many ways that curious children can get their hands on lightbulbs while in use, including night lights, table lamps and even Christmas lights. LED lighting emits very little heat, so while you should still warn your children against touching them, they will not cause severe pain if an accident does happen.

Traditional bulbs are also made of glass, making them vulnerable to breaking rather easily. The last thing you want is hot glass to break around your children. LED bulbs, on the other hand, are made of durable epoxy lenses, so it takes much more strength to break one. On a side note, it’s also wise to know how to clean up a broken CFL bulb, as this can bring a whole other host of health concerns.

3. LED Lighting is Eco-Friendly

LED lighting is popular among the environmentally conscious for several reasons. First, the technology uses no toxic chemicals, unlike CFL bulbs that use mercury and other potentially hazardous materials. Not only does this eliminate your risk of exposure, it also makes it easier for you to get rid of the bulb when you’re done with it.

LED bulbs are also 100 percent recyclable, whereas incandescent bulbs aren’t and CFL bulbs need to be taken to a special drop-off point to be recycled.

But the main reason that LED bulbs are eco-friendly, is because they use a fraction of the energy that other lightbulbs use, and they also last significantly longer. Not only does this help you reduce your overall carbon footprint, but you end up spending less money on both electricity and replacement bulbs.

4. Does Not Cause UV Emissions

LED Lighting is Eco-Friendly

Another great benefit of LED lighting is that it does not emit any ultraviolet (UV) light and very little infrared light. You can use LED for items that are sensitive to heat or UV rays, such as priceless art or your wine collection. This is precisely why this type of lighting is becoming commonplace in art galleries and at archaeological dig sites across the globe.

5. Flexible Design

Light-emitting diodes can be combined into any shape to allow you to create just the right illumination for the space you’re trying to light. Additionally, you can dim diodes individually, allowing for total control over the amount of light, its color and where you distribute it. Airplanes and classrooms have been using the technology for years thanks to its design capabilities.

6. Can Operate in Extreme Temperatures

LED bulbs are designed to withstand extreme temperatures. These bulbs are an ideal choice in hot weather because they won’t become so overheated that they burst, nor will they create extra unwanted heat. On the flip side, they are also popular in cold weather because they can withstand frigid outdoor temperatures, making them a great choice if you want to put out holiday decorations in a cold climate. We’ve also found that restaurants are starting to use them for walk-in freezers that lack good lighting.

7. Brightens Instantly

Both incandescent and CFL lightbulbs can take a few moments to reach their full brightness, but LED bulbs reach 100 percent brightness instantly. They are also great for rooms where the lights go on and off frequently. Switching other types of lightbulbs on and off many times throughout a day can greatly reduce its overall life span, but doing so with an LED bulb does not have a negative affect its performance or durability. It will light up to its full brightness and continue to last for many years, no matter how frequently you turn them on and off.

8. Don’t Need High Voltage

LED lighting is popular for walkways and other outdoor areas because it doesn’t need a high-voltage power source. This is an essential benefit for outdoor use. Since LED lights only need a low amount of power, outdoor lights can charge via a solar energy source and remain bright throughout the night.

9. Can Last For Years

Once you screw in and start using an incandescent bulb, it has approximately 2,000 hours of use before it burns out. An LED bulb can last approximately 50,000 hours, some may even last up to 100,000 hours before needing to be replaced.

For the sake of perspective, let’s imagine that you never turn these bulbs off. The incandescent bulb will only last you 83 days before it needs to be replaced. In contrast, an LED bulb will last at least anywhere between 2,083 to 4,166 days before you need to replace it. That’s over eleven years of nonstop use!

11 Benefits of LED Lighting

Now that you know the potential life span of this technology, imagine how you currently use the lights in your home, and how long an LED bulb will last with that amount of use.

10. LED Lights Are Energy Efficient

Another main benefit of LED lighting is how little energy they use. According to Energy.gov, residential LED bulbs use 75 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb, and it lasts 25 times longer than a traditional bulb. Traditional lightbulbs only operate at 20 percent efficiency. That means 80 percent of the energy they use is simply generating heat, not light. LED bulbs are much more efficient at 80 percent to 90 percent.

11. Saves You Money

The above ten benefits of LED lighting all lead up to what might be the most important benefit of all — LED lighting will save you a bunch of money!

Many people are initially turned off by the upfront cost of these bulbs because they cost more. This is understandable, but once you do the math and consider the amount of savings you will receive over the years, it just makes sense. Here’s some numbers to consider:

  • An incandescent bulb that costs $1 will still equal out to more than $50 over the course of 20 years due to how often you’ll have to replace it.
  • An LED bulb that costs $5 will still only be $5 after 20 years since it’s not likely to need replacing.

And these numbers above don’t even factor in the amount of money you will save from using less energy. Once you consider the amount of money you save on your monthly energy bill, there’s simply no denying that LED lighting is the obvious choice for homeowners.

It’s easy to see that LED lighting benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. By switching all the bulbs in your home to LED, you are guaranteed to save a bunch of money and energy, while simultaneously reducing your carbon footprint.

7 Reasons You Should Use a Humidifier in Winter

winter humidifier

In the warmer seasons, it’s not always the heat that gets you, as they say–often it’s the humidity. In the search for a comfortable indoor temperature, though, many people neglect the thought of humidity when the season turns cold. However, the fact is, the amount of moisture in the air is just as important to your comfort in the winter as it is in the summer.

Using a humidifier when it’s cold outside is not only one of the better ways to regulate your home’s temperature, it’s a great way to promote improved health for you and your family. It can even lend benefits to your house itself, as well as any plant or animal inhabitants. Consider these seven reasons to invest in a quality humidifier as winter approaches.

1. Better Skin, Better Healing

Honeywell Humidifier

Dry air is capable of wreaking havoc on your skin. Many people are familiar with the effects of biting winter cold, from chapped lips to dry, cracking knuckles, all problems which can be caused or made worse when insufficient moisture is present in the air. Before you invest in bulk quantities of lotion and lip balm to rehydrate your skin, think about rehydrating the air.

Humidifiers add that crucial moisture back into the air to reduce the painful symptoms described above. While those with more sensitive skin will still need to keep the aloe handy, humid air is a great first step toward lessening dry skin issues.

2. Ease Sinus Congestion

Just as your skin can become parched if the air remains too dry, your respiratory system can suffer as well. Winter is cold and flu season for more than one reason–many people who suffer from sinus problems are victims of the dry, chilly air that circulates. When your throat and nasal passages become dried out, your body has a much tougher time fending off viruses and bacteria. If you wake up on particularly crisp mornings feeling like you’re fighting off a cold, it can very likely be from sleeping in dried-out air.

Running a humidifier not only aids in protecting your body from becoming ill, it’s also a good idea if you’re already sick. The conditions that make it easier to get sick are the same ones that make it harder for you to recover, so make it a point to get that moisture circulating again and you’ll be back on your feet in no time.

3. Spare the Static

Have you ever found your home overrun with static but you just couldn’t figure out the cause? A lack of humidity inside may be to blame. When moisture’s lacking, the air’s more conductive to static electricity. You’ll know it every time you go to get dressed, pet the cat, possibly even brush your hair–and the drier it gets, the worse your shocks are likely to be.

Humidifying the air in your home is an ideal way to put your pets at ease, tame the frizz in your hair, and avoid the annoying stick and snag your clothes and linens encounter.

4. Plants Need Two Things

Fred Humidifier

Your houseplants usually only need two things to thrive: water and sunlight. Obviously there’s no replacement for timely watering of your indoor flora, but not all of their hydration comes through you directly. Just as people and animals do, plants utilize moisture from the air; when insufficient humidity exists, unfortunately many types of plants will feel the effects.

Since houseplants have been shown to offer mental and physical health benefits for people, particularly when they’re healthy, it makes plenty of sense to pay a little extra attention to their well-being. Of course, plants aren’t the only inanimate object that can benefit from additional humidity.

5. This Old House

Does your home seem to make more noise when the temperature drops? If you’re hearing lots of creaks and cracks, it’s likely because dry, frigid air is tough on wooden items. Wood shrinks naturally in the cold, and without adequate moisture, it can split and suffer damage. Cold can have a similar effect on paint, necessitating more frequent home repairs and improvements.

Humidifiers don’t just help the living things within your home–they also help your home itself. They’re ideal for achieving a balance in your indoor atmosphere: air which is not overly-dry but also not too wet and dewy.

6. Counteract the Cold

Perhaps the greatest impact humidifiers can have is in helping to regulate your indoor temperature. The website for the Old Farmer’s Almanac confirms that adding humidity to the air helps it to feel warmer without actually raising the temperature. This is the same reason that a humid summer day often feels several degrees hotter than the thermometer reports.

There are several alternative strategies for adding moisture into the air without the use of a dedicated appliance. For example, if you enjoy hot baths in the winter, consider leaving the warm water sitting after you’re done. This adds subtle moisture to the air until the water goes tepid (think of hot water giving off steam).

Essick Humidifier

7. Stop Snoring

Last but not least, a healthy amount of humidity in the air is a good way to fight snoring problems. Many people suffer from chronic snoring (as do their bedmates), and for a sizeable portion of those individuals, it’s worse in the winter. Try upping the moisture in your bedroom at night to keep sinuses and nasal passages moistened to fight the effects of snoring.

Closing Thoughts

A humidifier can be one of the most effective and affordable home heating solutions when the cold weather sets in, providing your household with a host of benefits in addition to warmth. It’s important to make sure that you properly clean and maintain these types of appliances for optimal performance, and always be sure that you’re not introducing too much moisture into the air. You can keep tabs on your indoor humidity with a hygrometer, often available where you purchase humidifiers and accessories.

When all is said and done, the important thing is to avoid excessive exposure to dry air. You can’t always control the atmosphere in your workplace, and you’re subject to the elements while outside and often while traveling. At home and when you sleep, however, you can assure yourself of better health and comfort with the right level of indoor humidity.

7 Tips for Protecting Your Sprinklers in the Winter

winter yard sprinkler

Your sprinkler system is an important part of your landscaping. If it breaks down, you run the risk of losing your lawn, trees, shrubbery and flowers. Hand-watering your yard and plants with a garden hose just doesn’t do the job as effectively as an in-ground sprinkler system. Without a reliable irrigation system in place, going on vacation during the spring and summer months can become challenging, because relying on neighbors to perform the time-intensive task of hand watering can be an imposition. Lawns, trees and plants are very expensive to replace, so it is important to protect and maintain your sprinkler system at all times. Before the temperatures drop with the onset of winter, take the appropriate steps to winterize your watering system.

1. Shut Off the Water

The first thing to do as winter’s freezing temperatures are drawing near is to turn off the water to your sprinklers. Make sure to shut it off at the main valve. Your sprinkler system’s shut-off valve should be housed in a space where it can’t freeze. If this wasn’t done during the installation, perform this task before the frigid weather arrives.

2. Turn Off the Controller

Once you’ve gotten the water turned off, you need to shut off the timer, also known as the controller. Timers sometimes have settings marked rain mode. If yours doesn’t, you’ll need to disconnect it from the power source. If your timer is outdated, you may want to update to a model such as a solid-state controller, which has digital displays for time settings as well as efficient energy usage to reduce your electric bills.

3. Remove Backflow Preventer

Your system has a device to prevent backflow, which is great for lawn-watering season, but during the winter, it must be removed and stored safely until spring. After it is removed, it’s time to drain the water. You can do this by following these steps:

  • First, you can try to siphon it out.
  • If siphoning doesn’t work, pump it out with a shop vacuum designed for wet/dry use.
  • It’s helpful to attach duct tape to the hose in order to narrow the opening.
  • Drain above ground valves and store them, as well.
  • You can use pipe-heating cables on some areas, but this can be problematic in case of power failures.

4. Remove Water From Pipes

It’s crucial to remove all the water from your sprinkler pipes and mechanisms to prevent freezing, expanding, cracking and bursting systems during cold winter weather. You can use a shop vacuum to do this process, which can be time consuming, or you can take an easier route. The simpler alternative method to clear your sprinkler valves is to blow them out. To do this, you should:

  • Get a large compressor: To drain your valves with the blowout technique, you’re going to need the right equipment: a compressor with 50 cubic feet per minute rating. It’s imperative that the regulator valve gauge on your compressor is accurate.
  • Take off the backflow prevention: If you have an anti-siphoning lock on your valve, remove the entire mechanism.
  • Turn on the air compressor: Connect this equipment to the backflow-prevention riser.
  • Switch on valves: Using the automatic controls, turn on your valves one at a time as you blow out your irrigation system. It’s best to start with the highest elevation and open the hand valves manually.
  • Turn on compressor: Take your time and gradually increase the pressure. If it’s too hot or powerful, attach a hose length to modify it.
  • Blow out the H2O: Watch the pressure gauge and temperature as you slowly blow the water out.
  • Move to the following valve: One by one, move around your yard, blowing out each valve. Repeat this process until the draining process has been completed.
  • Blow out main line: You’ll also need to blow out your irrigation system’s main line if it has one.
  • Finish up: At the end, you’ll need to replace caps, set rain mode or turn your power source off.

5. Know Your System

It helps to understand the ins and outs of an efficient sprinkler system before you winterize it. For example:

  • Drain valve locations: Your system should have drain valves at each pipe’s low point. You also need them at high points, so air can be released; otherwise, the water won’t be able to drain properly.
  • Easy-to-read chart: Stay organized by having sprinkler zones and information outlined on an easy-to-read chart. Place the chart in a waterproof and convenient location.
  • Slope: When a sprinkler system is installed, there should be a slight slope to allow for easy draining.
  • Auto-drain valves: If you install automatic drain valves, your annual winterization can be greatly streamlined.

6. Know Your Region’s Climate

Before performing the above winterizing steps, take time to think about the climate in the region you’re living in. If you live in an area that always has freezing temperatures, snow, and ice, by all means, you’ll have to fully prepare. If you live in a more temperate climate, you won’t have to drain water from the underground pipes because they won’t be in danger of bursting. For milder climates, you’ll just need to:

  • Shut off the water supply.
  • Turn off the timer or set it to rain mode.
  • Drain rotor sprinklers that are above ground.
  • Insulate above ground pipes with insulated foam tape.

7. Protect Spigots and Hoses

In addition to protecting pipes and valves, you can also safeguard other parts of your landscape-watering system, including:

  • Spigots: Protect the spigots by covering them with Styrofoam protective devices that can be found at home improvement stores.
  • Hoses: Drain water from garden hoses and store them in an area away from ice and snow to prevent cracking.

Snowy winter days can be fun if you like to ski, sled and build snowmen. It can also be a relief to be free from gardening and mowing the lawn for a few months, but if you want a beautiful yard when spring arrives, it’s crucial to winterize your yard and irrigation system. To do so, follow these seven tips, and if you don’t feel that your handyman skills are up to the level needed to work with air compressors and other tools, hire a professional to do the job for you. You and your front yard and backyard will be glad you did.

6 Tips for Preventing Your Pipes from Freezing

icy faucet

If you live in a cold climate, you probably know all too well the dilemma of frozen pipes. If you’re new to cold climates or new to owning a house, you need to know how to prevent frozen pipes in your home. In order to be the best prepared, you have to look at what causes pipes to freeze, how you can prevent it, how you can monitor it, how you can thaw your frozen pipes and when you need to call a professional.

1. Why Pipes Freeze

The cause of pipes freezing is pretty self-explanatory. Low temperatures cause the water in the pipes to freeze. Normally the pipes that freeze are ones that are in poorly insulated parts of your home or areas that are not heated. When water freezes and becomes ice it actually starts to expand. That’s why when your pipes freeze it may lead to your pipes bursting, which can cause you even more problems.

2. How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Now you know why pipes freeze, but you need to know how to prevent it from ever happening. You can prevent frozen pipes by:

  • Fully draining water from water sprinkler supply lines as per manufacturer’s directions.
  • Disconnecting garden hoses and storing them indoors.
  • Closing any inside valves that supply water to outside faucets.
  • Opening the outside valve, so if water does freeze it can expand without breaking the pipes.
  • Insulating any pipes in areas that are not heated, such as the basement, crawl space or garage.
  • Heating pipes with approved heat tape.
  • Opening cabinet doors to allow heat to circulate.
  • Knowing where the main water valve and the valve on your water heater are located.
  • Closing all windows near water pipes.
  • Covering and/or closing open-air vents near pipes.
  • Heating your basement.
  • Weather sealing your windows.
  • Shutting off water supply valves to your big appliances if you plan on being away for a while.
  • Making sure your home is at least 55°F even if you are leaving for the winter.
  • Keeping garage doors closed during extreme cold.
  • Relocating and paying special attention to exposed pipes that have caused trouble in past years.

These tips can help you prevent your pipes from freezing. Assuming you’ll be around during the cold season, you can also keep an eye on the pipes to make sure that your preventative steps are working.

3. How to Monitor Your Pipes

Knowing how to prevent frozen pipes in your home and yard is only part of the battle. You also have to know how to monitor the pipes. You can tell if your pipes are freezing by:

  • Allowing facets to drip.
  • Running the ice maker in your freezer.
  • Regularly running the fill-cycle on your washing machine on warm if there isn’t a faucet in the laundry room.
  • Checking your faucets for water flow and pressure regularly, such as when you wake up and before you go to sleep, because the first sign of frozen pipes is reduced water flow from faucets.
  • Regularly checking pipes in certain areas, such as around your water meter, in areas without heat and near exterior walls.

Knowing how to keep an eye on your pipes is important. You want to be able to catch frozen pipes as soon as possible, so you can take the necessary steps to thaw them.

4. How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

If the worst happens and your pipes freeze, you can thaw them by:

  • Keeping the spout open while treating the frozen pipes, because this will allow the slowly melting water to move through the pipes which helps speed up the melting process.
  • Applying heat to the trouble section of the pipes with a heating pad placed directly on the pipe, heat lamp, hair dryer or a portable space heater.
  • Continuing heating the pipe until water pressure is completely restored.
  • Knowing where to start the process. For instance, you want to start thawing a pipe closest to the faucet, so that melted water can drip out.

You can follow these steps to try to thaw pipes yourself. You need to remember to check for leaks once you have successfully thawed the pipes.

5. When to Call a Professional

frozen gutter

As you try to thaw pipes, there are some things you have to keep in mind. You do not want to try to thaw your frozen pipes using any sort of open flame tool, like a blowtorch, charcoal stove or propane heater. These types of devices could start an uncontrolled fire. There are also certain instances when you have to call a professional:

  • If you cannot locate the frozen pipe or are unable to reach it to begin the thawing process, call in a professional plumber.
  • Also remember, if one pipe is frozen, you need to check the rest. When one pipe freezes it is likely that more will have frozen as well. You may need to call a professional if you cannot locate all of the trouble pipes.
  • If a pipe breaks, you need to close the main shut-off valve and immediately call a plumber.

Sometimes you just need a professional to come out and help you. You don’t want to let frozen or busted pipes get out of control, because that can lead to flooding and further damage to your house.

6. Properly Preparing

Properly preparing for winter is one of the best ways that you can prevent your pipes from freezing. Of course, it is not all about knowing how to prevent frozen pipes in your home, but it is also about what to do if it happens to you. If you live in an area that gets cold weather, you have to familiarize yourself with the prevention, monitoring and thawing of frozen pipes. It could save you huge hassles in the future.

Remember all of the tips discussed here, and don’t forget to use the tools you have at your disposal. That means you should talk to your regular plumber to get further tips and advice from someone who knows the ins and outs of plumbing. You should also make sure to talk to your insurance agent to ensure that you’re covered in case anything should go wrong in your pipe-freezing-prevention plan.

No matter how your winter goes, the only way you can truly be ready for the disaster that is frozen pipes is to learn the important steps to prevent and fix frozen pipes. The faster you can take care of your frozen pipe problems, the easier and probably cheaper it will be. Knowing where your important shut-off valves are located is one of the most important steps. Remember, don’t let frozen pipes sneak up on you. Learn what you can do to prevent, monitor and fix frozen pipes by talking to a trusted plumber.

10 Tips for Protecting Your Plants in Winter

indoor plant in winter

Your garden doesn’t have to die when winter’s chill sets in. Trees, bushes, succulents and perennials can easily be kept alive through the cold of winter and revived again in the spring. Whether you’re facing an unexpected cold snap or preparing your garden for a long winter’s rest, it’s important to protect your plants from frozen soil, frost and snow. Use these 10 tips for winter garden care and watch your plants come to life again year after year.

1. Know Your Plant’s Hardiness

plant in a pot

Each plant has a hardiness rating that gives growers important information about how much cold it can tolerate, and for how long. Robust selections have a lower rating and are referred to as “hardy”, and delicate selections with a higher rating are referred to as “tender”. However, a plant’s hardiness is also determined by its maturity: a young shoot may not survive a freeze that a more mature tree would weather easily.

It is important that you know the hardiness rating of your trees, vines, bushes and flowers, as well as how they relate to the expected temperatures in your own area. With the right care, many plants can survive colder temperatures than their rating predicts.

2. Plant for Protection

Very tender flowers, herbs and succulents can be grown in pots and moved indoors during a chill. If grown outdoors as a part of your landscape, they should not be placed in exposed or low locations. Placement near a southern or western wall offers the greatest protection, but planting near other trees, bushes and tall vegetation also affords some shelter from wind and extreme temperatures. Raised beds guard delicate roots and stems from drainage damage and death by ground frost.

3. Invite Plants Indoors

The easiest way to protect potted greens is to bring them indoors. Pots can be moved into the house and incorporated into your décor, or can be placed in a garage, shed or sunroom. It is important to be sure your plants are still receiving adequate sunshine for their needs, but of course not more sun or heat than they can tolerate. Don’t place pots near vents as the air there will be too dry. Don’t place them too close to cold windows either, as cold can be transferred to the leaves and damage them. If a container is too big or heavy to move, wrap it in blankets or mulch around the sides to protect the roots and base.

4. Water Thoroughly

If you are anticipating a freeze but have a day or two to prepare, a proactive measure to take is to water the soil heavily. Dry soil freezes more quickly than wet soil does, and moist soil can protect the roots and keep the plant hydrated through the cold. Do not water succulents, which can’t abide excess moisture, and do not water already frozen ground or water before a very hard freeze.

5. Cover Your Ground

Before a frost settles in, apply a two- to four-inch layer of mulch around your tender plants. This insulates the root system and can keep the soil warm enough to continue providing moisture. It also protects them from the damage that can be caused by rapid changes in temperature. Unexpectedly warm weather can be as perilous as cold, evaporating a plant’s last reserves of moisture. If the ground remains frozen, the roots will be unable to replenish the water supply and may not survive the vacillating temperatures. Bark, sawdust and straw are excellent mulches, but a light covering of snow can also protect from frost and ground freeze.

6. Anti-Transpirant

Evergreens and newly transplanted shrubs can be sprayed with an anti-transpirant, which you can find at your local gardening center. This treatment creates an invisible polymer film on the surface that can protect your plant from winter drying and frost damage for up to three months. It should be sprayed on the leaves of a well-watered plant before cold weather sets in.

7. Share Your Covers

A simple sheet or blanket can provide adequate warmth during a light freeze or a short cold spell. The covering can be arranged directly on sturdy trees and bushes, but a frame should be made for more delicate greenery. A layer of plastic over the blanket will add protection, but plastic alone should not be used as it can damage the leaves.

8. Frame Your Flora

pvc plant

For long-term protection, you can build a frame from wooden stakes, PVC or metal rods, then cover with plastic, sheets or burlap. To ensure that you can use this structure over and over again, try building a frame that can be moved and stored easily. Coverings should not touch any leaves or branches, and should have a small opening to maintain some air circulation. Warm water jugs and even non-LED holiday lights can be placed around the base of plants to add warmth. Perennials can be protected by a wide, bell-shaped dome called a cloche, which guards the crown of the plant from cold and frost. Fold the fronds over the crown for insulation, then place the cloche over the entire bundle. Drape pine boughs over the enclosure to keep it from warming too much in the sun.

9. Insulate

Tall stalks and vines cannot be protected by mulch alone, but heavy mulching puts stems in danger of breaking off. A covered frame will offer some warmth, but for maximum defense the stalk should be tethered to a wooden stake and surrounded by insulation. Begin by pounding stakes in a circle or box around the tethered stalk, then covering the frame with burlap. Fill the enclosure with straw, leaves or another insulator. Warm jugs of water may be placed around the base to add heat, but lights and other heat sources should not be used as they may create a fire hazard.

10. Don’t Be Overprotective

Coverings like frames and cloches should not be left through the winter, but removed daily so plants receive adequate sunlight and fresh air, unless the day is unusually cold. Remove covers early in the day before condensation can build up. Mulch can stay until the spring, then can be raked away and incorporated into a compost bin.

Protecting your plants takes some planning, but it is worth the effort to preserve the perennials you’ve invested so much time and money into. With the right winter garden care, your flowers and trees will bloom year after year, rewarding your green thumb with their enduring vitality.

5 Tips for Protecting Your Outdoor Kitchen in the Fall and Winter

outdoor kitchen in winter

An outdoor kitchen is a great feature to have at your house if you enjoy entertaining and spending time outdoors. Nothing quite beats a warm evening spent cooking outside and socializing as the kids run around the backyard. As summer turns to fall, however, you will need to ensure your outdoor kitchen is prepared for the colder weather. Failing to winterize your outdoor kitchen can result in expensive repairs the next year. By knowing how to protect your outdoor kitchen in winter and following these guidelines, you can ensure that your appliances and features will be in good shape and ready to go when the warm weather returns.

1. Take Care of Your Plumbing

Water that remains in the pipes and plumping system of your outdoor kitchen can cause a big problem if you don’t manage it properly. When it starts freezing outside, the water in these pipes can freeze too, causing your pipes to burst. This problem can turn into a huge nuisance, racking up hefty plumbing bills, leading to flooding, and making your outdoor kitchen unusable for a period of time. By making sure to evacuate water from all faucets and supply lines, you can avoid issues with freezing pipes.

To clear your pipes, you should first find and shut off all water supply lines leading to the kitchen from the indoor plumbing system. Make sure to perform the shut off using a valve inside your home so that water does not rest in outdoor pipes. Once the water is shut off, begin draining the lines. Make sure you do not neglect water supply lines connected to refrigerators, ice makers, and sinks. Unless you have a gravity-based kitchen winterization system in place, compressed carbon dioxide often works best for clearing water from lines. Finally, ensure that all drain valves are in the open position for the duration of the winter. By guaranteeing that no water remains in your pipes as winter sets in, you can save yourself from expensive repairs.

2. Prepare Your Grill

It’s a good idea to do some maintenance on your outdoor grill at the end of the summer. Even if you plan to use the grill occasionally during the colder months, a good cleaning will make sure it’s working well when barbecue season rolls around. To clean and prepare your grill, complete the following steps:

cal flame grill
  • Use a degreaser to rid your grill of built up grease that will be difficult to scrub off.
  • Polish the grill with stainless steel polish.
  • With a metal grill brush, scrub areas that remain dirty.
  • Remove the grates and clean underneath.
  • Season cooking surfaces by applying vegetable oil to grates and allowing the grill to heat at 500 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
  • Turn off the gas line if you will not be using your grill during the winter.

Depending on the material and quality of your grill, it may be able to resist the elements without a cover. If you do choose to use a cover, however, make sure to use one designed for your type of grill that will allow moisture to escape. Synthetic materials work best for withstanding weather and allowing moisture to move through.

3. Cover or Seal if Needed

Covering surfaces and appliances in your outdoor kitchen can prevent wear, cracks, and stains due to cold and wet weather. Use caution when covering surfaces, however, as allowing moisture to get trapped underneath a cover can be more damaging than exposure. Ice makers and refrigerators, for example, often do better when left uncovered because they can easily accumulate moisture. It is advised to contact the manufacturer of your appliances for instructions on how best to protect them from the elements.

You can also apply sealers and finishers to protect surfaces from wear. If you have stainless steel appliances or cabinets, it would be a good idea to apply a coat of stainless steel finish. Make sure everything has been removed from cabinets and that they are free of dirt and debris. Wood cabinets and surfaces should be oiled. Weather can wear down the finish on stone countertops over time; you can purchase sealers designed for stone to prevent this from happening. Applying one of these products will help guard expensive outdoor stone surfaces from stains and damage.

4. Winterize the Refrigerator and Ice Maker

Before the weather gets cold, your ice maker and refrigerator should be prepared to handle the weather change. First, turn the power off on both units. You should have already shut off the water supply and drained the water lines leading to the machines. After these steps are complete, either turn off the ice maker and refrigerator’s circuits in your home’s electrical panel or unplug the devices. Then, clean the units according the following steps:

  • Empty the ice maker’s storage bin, clean it, and make sure the drain valve is closed.
  • Completely empty the refrigerator, and gently clean it with soap and water.
  • Take off the front grill of both machines and use a vacuum cleaner to clean the area behind it. Reattach the grill when done.
  • Do not cover your ice maker or refrigerator. This can lead to an accumulation of moisture that can damage the unit.

5. Get Your Fire Pit Ready

real flame fire pit

If you have a fire pit outside your home, you will also need to take steps to ensure it is ready for the cold and will function readily come spring. First, remove debris, ash, and wood that may have accumulated in the fire pit throughout the summer. If your fire runs on gas, make sure to turn off the supply. Then, you may want to cover the fire pit with a weather resistant cover to keep out snow, leaves, and animals. You can purchase a fire pit cover that is custom designed for the dimensions of your unit.

If you have faced repair costs in the past or are preparing for your first winter with a new outdoor kitchen, you may have questions as to how to protect your outdoor appliances in the cold. Keeping your kitchen safe from damage caused by the elements comes down to being prepared. Advancement of technology has made the winterization process much easier, but you still cannot be passive. By taking the proper precautions and taking care of all features, you can rest assured your outdoor kitchen will be in great shape come summer.

11 Tips for Keeping Your House Warm This Winter

warm fireplace

Winter is on its way, and if you’re not careful you might end up spending a fortune on utility bills. There are definitely ways to cut down on costs while remaining comfortable inside your house. There’s no need to suffer! If you follow even a few of these 11 tips for winter house care, you can stay warmer this season without draining your bank account.

1. Seal the Leaks

Your goal is to keep the warm air inside your house and the freezing air outside, and you can accomplish this more successfully if you seal all the leaks around your abode. You might not think a little crack here and a draft there is a big deal, but these crevices can cause you to spend a lot more than you need to on your heating bills. Some of the areas around your house to seal up are:

  • Around your windows
  • Under your doors
  • Basements
  • Attics

To seal the leakage, you can use caulking, weather-stripping, and door-sweeps.

2. Tend to Your Fireplace


Even though your fireplace may seem like a source of heat, it can be a heat-drain if you don’t tend to it properly. Don’t let the warmth generated by the flames go up in smoke; harness it to keep your household more comfortable. Ways to make your fireplace work for you include:

  • Buy a glass front to keep the heat from escaping.
  • Close the flue when you’re not burning firewood to keep heat from going up and out of the chimney.
  • Use a fireplace blower to circulate the heat around the room.

It is important to know the proper maintenance tips for all kinds of fireplaces, including wood-burning, electric, etc.

3. Use Space Heaters

If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in certain rooms, you can close off the other rooms and use a space heater in the areas you frequent. Be mindful of safety, however. For example, don’t leave your space heater on for an extended period of time, be wary of models that feel hot to the touch, and properly vent gas-powered space heaters. Consider heaters fueled by:

  • Kerosene
  • Propane
  • Electricity

4. Program Your Thermostat

Another great way to save cash on your energy bills is to install a programmable thermostat. When you can program your device ahead of time, you can regulate heat without having to constantly readjust your thermostat. This translates to lower bills and higher efficiency. Consider turning down the temps while you’re at work and when you’re sleeping. Here’s an example of a temperature schedule:

  • 68 degrees: Early morning while you’re getting ready for work
  • 60 degrees: While you’re away from your house and at your job
  • 68 degrees: When you come home from work until you go to bed
  • 60 degrees: While you’re sleeping

5. Rearrange Your Furniture

Do you have your sofa in front of a heating vent in the living room? Is your dresser in front of the vent in your bedroom? You might not have thought about heating your house when you arranged your furniture, but you might want to reconsider it now. If your furnishings are in front of vents, you are blocking potential warmth. Take a look around your house, and if you see vents being blocked by furniture, it’s time to do some rearranging.

6. Cook Some Comfort Food

When you use your oven to cook foods such as homemade bread, cakes, roasts, and stuffed turkeys, you are not only preparing comforting dishes, you are filling your house with warmth. Winter is the perfect time to bake and roast meals in your oven, and it’s a great time for eating cookies, pies, and holiday treats, too.

7. Insulate Your Floors With Rugs

Hardwood and laminate floors that are not insulated can contribute to a home’s heat loss. The National Energy Foundation reported that there can be up to a ten percent heat loss when floors are not insulated. To keep your household warmer, trap the heat by adding:

  • Throw rugs
  • Room-sized carpets
  • Area rugs

8. Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your Windows

Windows add light and beauty to a home, but they can also be a source of heat loss. You can improve the efficiency of your windows in several ways, such as:

  • Replace your windows with energy-efficient models.
  • Install storm windows for another layer of insulation.
  • Minimize heat loss with mini-blinds, shades, and curtains that are designed with energy efficiency in mind.

9. Reverse the Direction of Your Ceiling Fan

ceiling fan

An often-overlooked winter house-care trick is to simply reverse the direction of your ceiling fan. Many fans have settings specified for winter, which makes the apparatus spin clockwise rather than counterclockwise. When you flip the switch, you are essentially pushing heat down into your rooms instead of around the ceiling.

10. Insulate Your House

You can retain the heat in your home more effectively if your structure is properly insulated. Newer homes may have adequate insulation, and you should be able to confirm this with the builder. If you live in an older home, there’s a good chance that your insulation is lacking. When in doubt, you can either have an energy assessment by a professional, or you can inspect your own house to find:

  • The type of insulation you have
  • How deep, thick, and what R-value your existing insulation is
  • Which rooms in your home have insulation, and which ones don’t

You can find out how much insulation you have by turning power off to an outlet, taking the plate off, and shining a flashlight in to check out the inner workings of the wall. You should be able to see the insulation, and you can even pull out a piece to inspect it even more closely. Check each room: just because one room is insulated doesn’t mean the others are.

11. Dress Warmly

In addition to keeping your house warmer with tricks of the trade, you can also streamline your utility bills if you dress in layers and fabrics designed to stave off the chill. Save the shorts and t-shirts for summer, and inside your house during winter wear:

  • Sweaters
  • Sweatshirts
  • T-shirts under long-sleeved shirts
  • Thermal undergarments
  • Knit caps
  • Wool socks
  • Fur-lined slippers

This winter, practice a few or all of these 11 winter house-care tricks and stay more comfortable all season long. With all the money you save on your utility bills, you can start a savings account for a vacation to a sunny, warm tropical island.

24 Tips for Keeping Your House Pet-Friendly

dog-proof house

If you have a dog or cat, you know that they can get into just as much trouble as kids. Dogs and cats are naturally curious. They might go snooping around your home, and you don’t want them to get into anything that could hurt them. That means you have to try to keep your house as pet-friendly as possible. There are plenty of safety tips you can follow to protect your pets as well as ways you can keep your home clean even with pets.

Keeping Your House Safe

As you start the process of keeping your home safe for your pets, you need to remember that certain things that are not threats to humans can still be dangerous to animals. For instance, certain plants can be hazardous to animals, so if a cat eats a lily, her kidneys can shut down. As a homeowner, you must do some research to find out what is really dangerous for your pets. Beyond knowing exactly what is dangerous for them, you can just try to keep everything out of reach. Here are some ways you can make sure that your pets stay safe and healthy:

  1. Childproof Latches
    Use childproof latches on kitchen and bathroom cupboards. This will prevent animals from getting to foods and chemicals that can cause them harm.
  2. Store Items High
    Keep medications, cleaners and other chemicals on high shelves, so if the childproof latches don’t keep your pets out they still won’t be able to get the dangerous stuff.
  3. Cover the Garbage
    Keep garbage cans covered, and, if possible, store them in a cabinet, closet or outdoors. Garbage cans are usually filled with a collection of old food, dangerous chemicals, and small indigestible pieces of trash that can all be harmful to your animals.
  4. Use Blockades
    Animals can get trapped behind large units and overheat. To prevent this, put up blockades so they can’t get behind appliances like washing machines, dryers, refrigerators or air conditioning units.
  5. Keep Food Out of Reach
    Make sure food is out of reach or behind a closed door. Different food causes problems for dogs and cats, and the wrapper could also present a choking hazard. It is best if you keep all food where they cannot get to it.
  6. Close the Toilet Lid
    Keep the toilet lid down to prevent small animals from drowning. Allowing your pets the opportunity to drink out of the bowl is dangerous too, as it exposes them to all sorts of harmful chemicals.
  7. Avoid Dangling Wires
    Try to eliminate dangling wires from lamps, gaming systems, TVs, stereos or anything of the sort. Your animals might get hurt if they chew on any wires.
  8. Hide Breakable or Chewable Items
    Be wary of placing knick-knacks, picture frames, vases or other dangerous items on low shelves where your cat or dog can get at them. Smaller or breakable items should be kept higher than your pet can get to.
  9. english ivy poison
  10. Dangerous House Plants
    Be aware of plants that may be a danger to your animal, and try to avoid bringing them into the house. Common houseplants that are actually dangerous for your animals to ingest are Lilies, Azaleas, Oleander, Tulips, Yew, Chrysanthemum and English Ivy, and there are many more. Be sure to research if your houseplants are hazards to your beloved animals.
  11. Strings and Threads
    Make sure all thread and string is safely put away. Sewing rooms in general can be very dangerous for pets. It is easy for a cat to choke on some thread while playing with it. Needles also pose a real danger to animals.
  12. Laundry and Shoes
    Keep your laundry and shoes in closets or proper bins, so your pets can’t eat them. Not only can pets ruin your clothes for you, but small pieces like buttons and zippers can be choking hazards.
  13. Closet and Cupboard Traps
    Be careful not to close your cat or dog in closets, cupboards or drawers. You don’t want to trap them without food and water! Make sure all cabinets are clear of animals before you shut the doors.
  14. Rugs and Claws
    Pick rugs that resist stains, such as indoor-outdoor rugs, as well as ones that do not have high loops. Cats in particular can get hooked by their claws and hurt themselves.

Not only do you have to make sure that your home is pet-proof, but you also have to know what you should be letting your dog and cat do. Positively or negatively reinforcing your pets’ behavior can protect your belongings as well as your own health and safety. Here are a few ways you can entertain your furry friend so they chew or scratch on what they’re supposed to:

  1. Healthy Chew Toys
    Make sure dogs, especially puppies, have a few things that they can chew on. These could be durable toys, hooves, snouts or some other dog-friendly chewing snack. It is important to remember that some of these items may pose a choking hazard, such as some rope toys, so make sure to do research before you leave your pet with them.
  2. Scratch Pads
    Give your cats something they can scratch. You may have noticed some new marks on your couch, trim or even carpet. Try setting up scratching posts in the areas that you frequent.
  3. Nail Caps
    Eliminate the sting of a cat’s nails. You can use claw caps to lessen the damage a cat can do to your furniture and favorite clothing. The caps are attached with a little bit of cat-friendly nail glue, they still allow the cat to retract their nails and they fall off naturally.

Your pets are a part of the family, and you want to make sure that they stay safe, happy and healthy. By following these tips and keeping a watchful eye on your animals, you can be sure that they are safe.

Keeping Your Home Clean

Every homeowner wants a clean home. Part of making your home truly pet-friendly is finding a way to keep it clean even with dogs and/or cats running around. These tips will help you keep a clean home while also keeping your favorite furry companions safe:

  1. Hide Pet Hair
    Pick rugs, bedding, blankets, pillows and other décor pieces that won’t show hair. That means if you have a black dog, think about using darker colors in your decorating. If you have a white cat, consider going with lighter colors.
  2. Accident Cleaner
    Be prepared for accidents. Especially if you have young pets, accidents happen. Make sure to have a cleaner that will clean and disinfect animal waste and other messes.
  3. Closed Storage
    Use closed storage. Closed storage means your little puppy can’t pull things off the shelf, which keeps them safer and your home cleaner.
  4. Regular Grooming
    Regular grooming can help lessen the amount of pet hair around the house.
  5. Proper Vacuum Cleaner
    Get a vacuum that has a high efficiency particulate air filter. This will be better at picking up pet hair.
  6. Lint Remover
    Have plenty of lint removers on hand to remove hair from your clothes before you go out.
  7. Dirty Paws
    Wipe off your pet’s paws before you let them in the house. This will eliminate little dog paw prints in your kitchen, and help keep the home cleaner.
  8. Food Bowl
    Keep a plastic place mat under your pet’s dishes to make cleaning spilled food easier. If you keep the food bowls slightly elevated you can avoid having ants or other unwelcome critters from getting into the food.

Keeping your home clean is all about being prepared. You have to have a good vacuum, plenty of lint removers and carpet cleaners ready for when those accidents happen.

Keeping a Good Environment


You want your pets to feel at home in your house. You want them to stay healthy so you can enjoy many years of snuggling with your cat on the couch or playing fetch with your dog in the yard. Following these tips will help you keep a safe and clean home. It is very important to familiarize yourself with what is dangerous for your cat or dog so you know when you have to get them to the vet and when you can just clean up the mess that was made. When in doubt, you should have your pet checked out by a professional.

Knowing how to make your home pet-friendly is one way that you can make sure that your pets stay healthy. Remember, you are making your home pet-friendly because they are animals. That means that not only do they need you to keep the bad things out of reach, but they need you to give them good things to distract and entertain them too. Give your dogs something safe to chew on and your cats something okay to scratch. Finally, remember a safe environment is also a clean environment. Follow the cleaning tips to help keep your home clean. By following these 24 steps, you too can have a pet-safe, clean home.