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Fire, Preventative
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, three out of fire home fire deaths are a result of smoke alarms being absent or not working properly. 

1.) Choose interconnected smoke alarms, so that they all sound at once.
It’s important that your smoke alarms are interconnected. This will allow all the alarms to go off at once during a fire. This is important in case you are not near the source of the fire once it has ignited. In addition to being able to hear your alarms at any location in your house, interconnected smoke alarm systems usually will tell you which alarm was triggered first. This allows you to know where the fire started and where to avoid. 

2.) Put smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and on every level of the home.
This tip speaks for itself. It’s important that there are smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and on every level of your home to ensure that you and your family can hear the alarms sounding no matter where you are.

3.) Test your smoke alarms to make sure that they work.
Just because you have smoke alarms in place doesn’t mean that they will always work properly. You should test your smoke alarms regularly throughout the year to make sure that they are functioning properly. A good way to do this is to have a friend or family member stand as far away from the smoke alarm as possible and click the “Test” button. 

4.) Replace your smoke alarms every 10 years.
Like all technology, smoke alarms need to be replaced after a certain amount of time has passed. It is recommended that you replace your smoke alarms every 10 years to make sure that they operate the right way in the event of a fire. 

U.S. Fire Administration
BRK Electronics



As reported by the National Fire Protection Association, a fire department in the United States responds to a fire somewhere every 24 seconds. The best thing that you can do to avoid a house fire is take the proper preventative measures. Taking the time to make sure there aren’t any fire hazards around your home will greatly reduce the chances of a house fire. If you do find yourself in the middle of a house fire, it’s essential that you act fast. 

1.) Get a fire extinguisher.

If your alarm sounds, do not wait to see if there’s actually a fire or not. Fire spreads very quickly, so it’s important that you act fast. If you have a fire extinguisher nearby, you should grab it and put out the source of the fire. 

2.) Raise an alarm. 

You shouldn’t rely on your fire alarm to warn everyone of the fire. If there are other people in the house, you need to yell that there’s a fire and everyone needs to get out. 

3.) Get out of the house.

Your main objective should be to get you and everyone you live with out of the house. You should not stop to get any valuables. It’s important to remember that no material items are worth risking the lives of you and your loved ones. 

4.) Call 911.

Once you’re safely outside the house, you should call 911 immediately. Tell them how many people live in your house, how many are accounted for, if you have any pets in the house, and where you saw the fire in your house. It is important to remember that once you are out of the house, you should not re-enter the house under any circumstances. If you believe that someone else is still in the house, notify the fire department so that they can get them out. 

5.) Meet at specified meeting point.

If you have a pre-determined meeting point, you should make sure to get there as soon as possible. That way you will be able to account if everyone has made it out of the house or not. Meetings points usually are a neighbor’s house, sign, phone pole, tree etc. 

National Fire Protection Association



How to Identify Black Mold
In most cases, black mold isn’t terribly hard to identify. Its appearance matches its name. However, it is usually present in dark, unventilated areas in walls, ceilings or on floors. Sometimes it can be hidden inside drywall and on wood framing as well. The common denominator between all places where black mold is found is that they are moist, usually from a leak or humid air. If certain rooms possess a musty smell, this could also be an indication that there is some sort of mold growing. This can sometimes be the only way to discover black mold in a room if it is hidden from sight. 

The Health Risks of Black Mold
If you discover black mold in your home, you should not hesitate to get rid of it as soon as possible. All mold possess toxins that can be harmful to your health. However, black mold has been identified as the most toxic. When the toxins are inhaled, they usually cause irritation and fever. In extreme cases, they can actually cause brain and nerve damage. 

How to Remove Black Mold
The CDC recommends removing black mold by physically scrubbing it with water and detergent. Many people have the misconception that they should use bleach, however this will only kill the mold on the surface. If you don’t kill all traces of the mold, then it will only temporarily be gone. Eventually, it will grow back just as it was before. If black mold grows on porous materials where it is extremely difficult to remove all traces of the mold, it is suggested that you throw it away and replace it with new material. 

How to Prevent Black Mold Growth
The best way to prevent the growth of black mold is to make sure all rooms have proper ventilation to prevent humidity. Additionally, if you notice any leaks make sure to take care of them quickly. Black mold needs wet environments, so if you keep your home dry then it will not have the proper conditions to grow. 





It is peak wildfire season in Central Oregon, and it is important that everyone is equipped with a plan of what to do if they ever happen to get stuck in the middle of one.  Since wildfires are often caused by people, they are impossible to predict when they are going to occur. It is important that you know if you live or are visiting a fire-prone area so that you can have a plan of what to do if ever faced with a wildfire. There are a few different actions that you can take that will greatly help your chance of making it out. 

1.) Do not try to outrun the fire.

Natural instincts would tell you to run away from the blaze as fast as you can, however this is one of the worst things that you can do. Fires double in size every minute, which makes them travel at an extremely fast pace. This makes it impossible to outrun a fire. Your best bet is to look for a body of water such as a pond, lake or river to crouch in.

2.) If you cannot find a body of water, find a clear, depressed area.

Unfortunately, there will not always be bodies of water nearby. If this is the case, your next best option is to find a clear, depressed area. Once you are as far away from any vegetation as possible, lie as low to the ground as you can and cover your body with wet clothing, blankets or soil. You will want to stay put until the fire completely passes.

3.) Breathe in the air closest to the ground.

The smoke given off by the fire can be very dangerous to breathe in. Due to this, you will want to get as close to the ground as possible to avoid as much smoke as you can (smoke rises). If possible, put a wet cloth over your mouth to breathe into. 

National Geographic


When you notice that your plumbing is having problems, it can be tempting to think that you should try to fix it yourself. You may think that this could save you a lot of money, however if you do something incorrectly it could do the opposite. There’s some common signs that you could look for to see if it’s time to throw in the towel and call a plumber. 

1.) If your water is not clear or running. 

This is a huge red flag that there is something going on with your plumbing. Since there are numerous things that could be wrong, this is an indication that you should call a professional plumber. They have seen this many times, so they should be able to quickly identify the source of the problem and find a solution.

2.) If your hot water is not working.

If you notice that your hot water isn’t working, the first thing that you should do is check your water heater. If you see that it is turned on and there are no leaks, you may want to contact a plumber and see if something else is happening. They will likely want to check the water heater to see if there are any cracks or if it isn’t an adequate size for your home. 

3.) If your water pressure is low.

There are numerous factors that can be the cause of low water pressure. Since this is the case, it’s best to have a professional take a look at everything to find the source of the low water pressure. 

4.) You want to have a major installation done.

You should never attempt to install any major appliances yourself. Although it may seem like a much cheaper alternative to having a plumber come in, if you make a mistake it can lead to very expensive fixes. It is best to have a professional come in and make sure that it is done correctly to avoid any current or future problems. 

The Spruce


Home renovations can seem like daunting projects for many homeowners. However, not all renovations have to be major. There are many simple things that can be done to improve your home in a single day. Here is a list of a few quick home renovations:

1.) Tidy up your drawers.

Every homeowner has a drawer or two that they throw all of their junk in. This may not seem like a big deal at the time, but this can quickly get out of hand and start spreading to other areas of your home. A great way to organize the drawers in your home is to take everything out and put it into baskets (you can get some at the dollar store if you don’t have any). Once everything is out, you can more easily figure out how to put each item in its rightful place. If you stay focused, this shouldn’t take more than a few hours. 

2.) Redo the caulk in your bathroom. 

Although putting new caulk in your bathroom may not sound like the most glamorous project, it can greatly improve your bathroom’s appearance. Old caulk that is chipping away can make your bathroom look old and unappealing. Something as simple as redoing the caulk can give your entire bathroom a fresh appearance. The best part is all that you need is a scraper and a caulk gun. 


Looking at the price tags for home renovations can be overwhelming for many homeowners. However, even though the cost can be high in some cases, it can end up being a profitable investment. If you pick the right remodeling projects, it can greatly increase the value of your home.  

One big reason people consider home remodeling is when they are thinking about selling their house. You may think, “If I’m going to sell it anyways, why would I put any extra money into it?” Although this is a valid thought, you may want to change your perspective. If potential buyers see that you have old appliances, it can be a turn off and cause for them to look elsewhere. Doing something simple like a painting touch up or updating your cabinets can make a huge difference. In addition to that, remodeling can extremely increase the resale value of your home if done right.

Another reason to renovate your home is to avoid maintenance issues. By making sure that things such as your plumbing, air conditioning and heating are working well can save you a hassle in your daily life. Additionally, if you are trying to sell your home, you won’t want potential buyers seeing old pipes and malfunctioning plumbing. This will likely be a red flag and cause them to look at what else is out there.

Lastly, it is important that you live in a place that you love. If you truly love your home then you’ll want to spend most of your time there. This can save money on many expenses from avoiding going out on unneeded occasions.

In conclusion, next time you look at the price for a home renovation project, try to think of the pros and cons. Putting some money into your home now can end up being a profitable investment down the line.

Source: Knock Off Decor

Outdoor, Renovations, Restoring
Is your outdoor patio starting to look old and worn out? No worries! There are a few do-it-yourself projects that you can do to renovate it and give it a completely fresh look within a reasonable budget. 

As the weather warms up with summer on the horizon, you’re likely starting to plan out all of the outdoor activities that you will be partaking in soon. As you think about grilling outside, having company over and soaking up the sun, you may notice that your patio looks like that it has had better days. The thought of throwing a bunch of money down for a new patio can be unsettling for a lot of people. Instead, why not just do it yourself? This way you don’t have to be self-conscious about your patio when you have company over, and you get to save money on having a professional come and tell you that you need to redo the whole thing. Here are a couple techniques that can help give your patio a new look that wows all of your guests this summer:

1.) Cover up cracks with the right concrete repair products. 

If your patio has accumulated cracks over the years, you can cover them up with concrete repair products. All you need to do is find a respected Re-Cap Concrete Resurfacer product at your local hardware store. This product will smooth out the cracks and make your patio look like it’s brand new! The best part? It will likely take you less than an hour to finish the whole patio. After as little as eight hours, the patio will be dry and ready for use. 

You must make sure that you properly clean your patio before applying your re-cap concrete resurfacing product. It is recommended that you use a pressure washer to remove all of the loose concrete before filling in the cracks with the re-cap resurfacing product mixed with water. Once you have finished patching the repairs, rinse the patio with water and then remove the water. Next, use a trowel to spread the re-cap surfacer over the patio to make an even surface. Lastly, use a broom over the new surface to apply a broomed texture (this way people won’t slip from it being too smooth when it is dry).

2.) Overlay your patio with pavers.

Another method that you can do to revitalize your patio is overlaying it with pavers. Why deal with all the cracks when you can just cover them up and make it look as good as new? In order to do this, you can get “remodeling pavers” that are designed to go right over the top of your concrete patio. Before doing this, it is recommended that you use a joint sand product to fill in all of the cracks and create an even surface for the pavers. Simply lay the pavers on top of the joint sand and tap them into place with a rubber mallet. Make sure that you glue the outermost row with a construction adhesive (this prevents the pavers on the inside row from shifting). When you are finished, simply sprinkle more joint sand over the surface until it is evenly distributed in the spaces between the pavers. 

That is all there is to it! We wish you the best of luck on making your patio fresh and presentable this summer. 

Source: Bob Vila

Custom Home Building, Design

Why buy an over-priced concrete coffee table when you can make it yourself? 

High-end retailers make great stuff, but the prices are extremely high. Instead of paying hundreds of dollars for an item, follow these instructions and make it yourself. 

Kim from The Kim Six Fix fell in love with a coffee table from high-end retailer, but it had a price tag of $1250. She knew that she could never pay that amount for a table, so she decided to take matters into her own hands and make one herself. She purchased all of the materials that she knew that she would need and set herself to work. 

When she was finished, she was more than satisfied with her result. If you want to see the building plans that Kim used, check out The Kim Six Fix.

Source: Knock Off Decor


Fire, Preventative, Uncategorized

No one likes to think about the possibility of fire, flood, storm damage, or theft. But should such a disaster occur, you’d need to provide your insurance company with a detailed list of your belongings in order to be reimbursed for lost or damaged items. Without a home inventory prepared in advance, that list would need to be pieced together from memory. In the stressful aftermath of a disaster, could you count on your memory to recall what items have been lost and what they were worth? If not, you’ll likely get less compensation than you deserve. Now’s the time to compile that essential inventory so you can start the year with a greater sense of security that your personal property will be protected. Here, answer to all your questions about a home inventory—and helpful pointers on how to get it done.

Do You Really Need a Home Inventory?

It’s fairly easy to remember large items, such as big screen TVs and the grandfather’s clock in your living room, but could you name every necklace in your jewelry box without looking? If you had to list all your valuables after a natural disaster or property crime, it’s likely you wouldn’t remember all of them. And once you accept reimbursement from your insurance company, you can’t make additional claims. In addition to helping you file a claim that truly reflects the value of your property, a home inventory can be instrumental in obtaining more insurance coverage. If you collect original art, for instance, the value of your collection may well exceed your policy’s coverage limit for personal belongings. In that case, your home inventory can serve as evidence of the value of your collection, and you’ll be able to purchase a rider to your policy that specifically covers the art at a higher reimbursement value.

What Should a Home Inventory Include?

Just because your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policy lists a maximum coverage amount for personal belongings, that doesn’t mean you’ll receive that amount after a loss. The reimbursement you receive depends on your ability to prove what items you owned, so in addition to a list of appliances, electronics, jewelry, and other valuables, you should briefly describe each individual item, including identifying the model and/or serial numbers as well as estimated value. To establish value, the inventory should include the original receipt or a copy. (If you file original receipts with your income tax papers, a copy should be kept with your home inventory.) Finally, a photo of each item should be included with the inventory as well

When Should You Compile an Inventory?

January is the ideal time to create or update your home inventory. The excitement of the holidays will be over yet you can still easily locate receipts from big-ticket purchases—many of which are made between Black Friday and Christmas. Get in the habit of addressing your home inventory needs every year at this time, and you’ll be protected in the event disaster strikes.

What Format Options Are Available?

The traditional method of creating a home inventory is to make a list of all your belongings on paper, supplementing it with photos, videos, valuations, and receipts. Because you’ll need access to the information in the event that your belongings are destroyed or stolen, if you choose to go this route, it’s wisest to store the inventory documents outside your home in a safety deposit box. A fireproof, waterproof home safe might keep the inventory intact through a natural disaster, but if the lockbox is stolen you’d be out of luck. Today’s technology offers another format for a home inventory that may be simpler to compile and safer to store. Mobile apps such as Sortly, which may be available for both iOS and Android devices, let you record each item’s photo, serial number, and purchase date, as well as add a description and a picture of the receipt. Best of all, your home inventory can be stored in a Cloud-based file, such as Dropbox. In addition to general home inventory apps, you may be able to use an insurer-specific app, depending on the company you’re insured with. Apps are available from major insurers, such as American Family and Allstate. Check with your insurance agent to see if they have a free home inventory app you can download

What’s the Best Way to Take Inventory?

The rule to remember when making a home inventory is: If it’s in your house, it has value. To make your home inventory, go room by room and detail all the belongings therein. If you’re including a paper copy, consider using a home inventory form, such as this one from Allstate. Your insurer can also provide a free form on request.

  • Start on one side of a room and systematically work your way around until you’ve documented every item in the room.
  • You need not document perishable food items and short-term supplies, such as pencils, paper, rubber bands, and other items that are used up quickly.
  • You need not document perishable food items and short-term supplies, such as pencils, paper, rubber bands, and other items that are used up quickly.
  • Photograph each wall in every room for item location purposes.
  • Take multiple photos of expensive items, such as computers, and when possible, get close-up shots of model numbers and serial numbers.
  • Open drawers and closets and document their contents.
  • Take close-up photos of receipts, or keep them with your inventory.
  • When a receipt isn’t available, document the year the item was purchased and its original cost.
  • Pace yourself so you don’t get overwhelmed. Allow one or more weekends to get through it all.

When Should a Home Inventory Be Updated?

Hold onto receipts from all major purchases you make throughout the year and update your home inventory annually, preferably around the first of the new year. Updating includes taking new room photos if you’ve moved items, in addition to recording new purchases and gifts. If the estimated value of your home inventory exceeds the maximum amount your insurance policy allows, contact your insurer and have your policy updated to reflect the additional value.

Source: https://www.bobvila.com/articles/home-inventory/