kitchen & bath safety

 If you’re a parent, you’ve already thought about minimizing or eliminating safety hazards in your bathroom and kitchen. With new, recently developed products, you can easily remove much of the risk. Start by taking a fresh look at your home while conducting a safety check-up. Does your bathroom and kitchen have the following safety features?

Bathroom

  • Slip-resistant strips in the tub and nearby to minimize the risk of slipping and falling.
  • Grab bars in tubs and showers.
  • Towel bars/rings close to the tub or shower.
  • Impact-resistant safety glass or Plexiglas shower enclosure.
  • Recessed soap dishes (those that stick out from the wall can cause injury if a person falls against them).
  • The new soft bathtubs, which are made of impact-absorbing materials to reduce the risk of injury for young and old alike
  • Non-slip tile to reduce the risk of falling on a wet surface.
  • Toilet latches to prevent children from opening the lid.
  • Electrical outlets designed to automatically cut off power in the presence of water contact (GFCI).
  • Door hardware that can be unlocked from either side.
  • Temperature-controlled faucets to avoid serious skin burns (older faucet can produce water temps greater than 120 degrees F).

 

Kitchen

  • A stove with top controls so it is difficult for children to reach.
  • Appliances, sharp knives and other sharp objects kept out of sight and reach in garages, in-drawer knife blocks, or built-in storage units.
  • Slip/impact resistant flooring.
  • Cabinet latches to keep children from dangerous products.

Remodeling Through Color

Did you know that the colors you select for your home have meaning and can set mood? Studies show that color can complement architecture, enhance or diminish the sense of space, create a particular ambience, and impact your daily moods. Color experts have studied how color is likely to affect you. Here is what they have found:

  • Blue, universally a favorite is recognized for its tranquil effects. However, if too dark or used too expansively, it can have a depressing effect.
  • Red evokes excitement, and is an excellent accent. Often used in kitchens, it’s felt that red enhances one’s appetite.
  • Green is either loved or heartily disliked, so take care when making this selection.
  • Brown and orange are viewed as friendly and informal colors.
  • Yellow, generally perceived as a cheery color, may make children feel depressed, so use it sparingly.
  • Neutral colors can serve as dramatic backdrops for furnishings, collections, and accessories. Neutrals also add the flexibility to introduce new colors seasonally with throw pillows, artwork, and other decorative items.

 

 

When selecting your colors:

  • Select exterior shades that harmonize with the home’s surroundings—steer towards the earthier shades (e.g., a grey-blue vs. a bright royal blue).
  • Consider the style and era of your home—there might be some traditional colors associated with them—especially with Victorian and traditional Colonials.
  • When viewing paint samples, look at chip sizes proportionate to how they will ultimately be used (if a wall will be painted taupe with a red accent, view a larger sample of the taupe paints against a smaller sample of the red). You can actually get test samples now and paint a portion of a wall or room to do a visual test.
  • Less is more. Don’t overuse a color, especially in a small room.
  • Even though a color may be too strong for an entire wall, consider it for an accent color.
  • Most importantly, select colors that work for you and your lifestyle, not what’s considered “in” or “out” at the time.

Like my wife says, “I choose colors for my rooms that I look good in.” It works for me. Don’t be afraid to color your world—you’ll find it will make a world of difference!

Benjamin Moore is my paint preference. I like the way the paint covers and applies. I especially like their low odor paints and self priming paints. Most of all I like the people who work there and their personal service.

The Golden Years?

While aging is inevitable, it’s not inevitable that we will be forced out of our home when we become less active. With some carful planning, we can create a home that will continue to work for us throughout our lives.

A home that’s user-friendly for the elderly and the disabled doesn’t have to look like a hospital. More and more products designed for disabled people have broken the “utilitarian” design mold and are now quite attractive. Plus, the simple structural modifications won’t even be noticed. Here are some things to think about.

Make Things Easier to Reach

  • Raise electrical outlets from 12 to 18 inches above floor: people in wheelchairs will find this height more accessible.
  • Lower electrical switches and thermostats from 48 to 42 inches from the floor.
  • Move the bathroom medicine cabinet to the side of the bathroom vanity. Cabinets over the sink aren’t practical.
  • Have multiple light switches installed. For example, at the top and bottom of stairs.
  • Lower racks, shelves, and poles in closets to make them more accessible.

Make Moving Around Easier

  • Widen doors to 36 inches to accommodate a wheelchair.
  • Install chair lifts or elevators if necessary to provide access to other levels of the house.
  • Make sure the flooring in the kitchen and bath is made of non-slip finish, and is in a matte tone to diminish the glare of overhead lighting.

Make Things Easier to Use

  • Replace standard doorknobs with levers that are easier to maneuver with arthritic or disabled hands.
  • Consider replacing double-hung or slider windows with crank-style casement windows.
  • Install grab bars and railings (consider textured ones for a better grip) near the toilet and in the bath or shower stall.
  • Use single-level faucets with balled tips for the sink. These allow people to control the temperature with one lever.
  • Make work areas easily distinguishable by using contrasting colors, especially in the kitchen. This is easier for eyes that don’t see quite as well. Install kitchen cabinets that feature roll-out drawers and easy-to-grip “C” or “D” handles.
  • A flat glass-top stove is easy to clean and makes it easier to remove pots and pans. Make sure all appliance knobs are in the front.
  • Don’t overlook the world that remote controls have introduced. A whole new world can be operated with the touch of a finger or with the installation of voice-activated controls.

Want more information on how to adapt your home to universal design? Give us a call.

WAYS TO DRESS UP YOUR BATH WITHOUT DROWNING

  1. Vintage washstand
    Set between matching pedestal sinks, a tiled-back washstand creates a his-and-hers vanity for a lot less coin than a new dresser-style model. Expect to pay about $250 for a similar washstand at antiques or thrift shops.
  2. Wall-Hung Mirrors
    Easy-to-hang flush-mount mirrors don’t require wall-busting construction like recessed medicine cabinets do. Find similarly elegant round models with colored mirrors.
  3. New vanity light
    Instead of a dressy sconce, a caged fixture, like those on farm buildings, offers a lot of light— and style—for just a little money.
  4. Bold Accents
    Scatter glass or other accent tiles within a field of moderately priced field ones. Lake Garda glass subway tiles, about $31 per square foot; ¾” glass Mosaics about $22 per square foot.
  5. Sideboard vanity
    A mirrored dining room buffet replaces both a run-of-the-mill medicine chest and a sink cabinet. Paint it the same color as the walls to give it a built-in look. Find a buffet for your bath at flea markets for about $400.
  6. Utility light
    Instead of a dressy sconce, a caged fixture, like those on farm buildings, offers a lot of light— and style—for just a little money.
  7. Natural stone counter
    A soapstone top, with its river rock color and matte finish, has a warmer look than polished granite. Cut one to your specs using woodworking tools. Slabs start at about $25 per square foot;
  8. Towel cubby
    Better looking than a plumbing access door, a wood-lined niche with a removable back panel stores extra towels. Box-in a void at the end of your tub surround using hardwood plywood and trim for about $50.
  9. Vertical tile wall runner
    Mix small quantities of discounted odd-lot hexagonal mosaics, skinny “liners,” and oversized subways to create a distinctive vertical backsplash. Save 60 percent over custom tile orders.

Beef-Up Your Home Security

House-breaking is one of the most common crimes and can occur at anytime of the day or night.  By looking objectively at your home security using this Home Security Assessment, you can take steps to reduce identified risk areas and improve the security of your home.

Our three-page assessment is designed to allow you to take a fresh look at your home security.  By reviewing home security measures through the identification of security risks both inside and outside the home, you will be in a better position to take appropriate action to correct any problems to prevent your home from becoming a victim of break and enter theft. This checklist is also useful if you have already been a victim of crime and you wish to take steps to prevent it happening again.

“Most burglaries take place through open doors and open windows. In a third of the completed burglaries, the burglar forced entry into the home; in two thirds, the burglar gained entry through an unlocked door or open window.” (Bureau of Justice Statistics data, US Department of Justice)

Crime DOES Pay Unless YOU Prevent It!

Call Billy Today For Your NO-COST Security Check
540-312-6540

 

Basements with a Touch of Class

Looking for space to put an exercise room, entertainment/theater center, or playroom? Go underground! If your home has an unfinished basement, remodeling might be a great way to transform this commonly under-used space.

When considering a basement remodel, start by making a floor plan. Be sure to mark the location of your furnace, hot water tank, washer and dryer, or any other large appliances. Take notes on:

  • Access to the basement from upstairs and outside
  • Location of existing plumbing if you want an additional bathroom
  • Location of vertical support columns (which sometimes can be removed)
  • Location of widows and doors
  • Floor/ceiling/wall materials

Given their constant contact with the earth, basements are vulnerable to dampness, which makes basement remodeling a bit more complex than first meets the eye. We’ll help you take appropriate measures to ensure a room free from moisture.

Most basements have low ceilings and few windows. But this doesn’t have to limit your needs. There are many creative ways to make your basement light and airy. Talk to us about the variety of wall and ceiling lighting options available. We’ll make sure to provide appropriate electrical lines and outlets.

Here are some tricks-of-the-trade for making your underground space first-class with a “touch of class:“

  1. Stay away from dark wood paneling and instead consider drywall painted in light tones to make the room brighter. Eggshell finish paints will gently reflect even more light into the room.
  2. Open up the visual space. Double doors—even glass double interior doors—take away the typical cubicle look. Or, how about a rounded archway or pass-through area from one room into another?
  3. Check to see if existing window can be enlarged. Or, consider installing a small-boxed window for a mini-garden to grow herbs or starter plant seedlings.
  4. Built-in bookcases and entertainment units add richness and depth to a room. Light them up with interior LED accent lights.
  5. Disguise vertical support beams (if not removed) and horizontal ceiling pipes or floor joists by boxing them in. Or, you might decide to actually use pipes and beams as interesting accents by painting them with bold colors, stain, or subtle earth tones.

An unfinished basement is much like a diamond in the rough—unexplored splendor awaiting your discovery!

Safety Checklist

Much of the initial home remodeling that seniors have done revolves around safety. Items such as grab bars, walk-in tubs, hand rails or ramps, non-slip flooring and others are all very important in addressing home safety. Although there are many items you could focus on, safety issues are the best way to get started. Which leads to…

Our free easy-to-read checklist is specially designed for senior homeowners who wish to “age in place” in their residences and want to have their homes inspected for potential updates to address safety, convenience and accessibility concerns.

This specialized checklist is also useful for any homeowner or resident whose mobility or physical condition is or may become compromised. It highlights specific exterior and interior components for which Dandy Handymen Remodeling may provide suggestions and recommendations for modification, which will then assist homeowners in prioritizing, planning and budgeting appropriately for any necessary upgrades, both short-term and long-term.

Call 312-6540 today for your free safety checklist!

Smart Energy What Is Your Power Factor?

Power factor is the percentage of electricity that’s delivered to your house and used effectively, compared to what is wasted. For example, a 1.0 power factor means that all the electricity that’s being delivered to your home is being used effectively for its purpose. However, most homes in America today have a .77 power factor or less. This means that 77% of the electricity that is coming thru your meter at your home or business is being used effectively, the other 23% is being wasted by your inductive load. With a low power factor, the utility has to deliver more electricity to do the same work. However, the Power Factor Correction Device (KVAR) unit increases that power factor in most cases to .97 or .98, thus increasing the effective use of your electricity and lowering your usage.

How Does the KVAR Unit Work?

It reduces the amount of power drawn from the utility by storing (in its capacitors) otherwise lost electricity (watts) caused by the inductive motors in your home. (Some examples of inductive motors are Air Conditioning units, refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, dishwashers, pool pumps, vacuum cleaners, furnace blower motors, fans etc.) The technology applied by the KVAR 1200™ Unit supplies that stored electricity back to your inductive loads, thus causing you to decrease your demand from the utility. If you decrease your demand from the utility, your meter slows down, and you use less electricity. This whole process is called power factor optimization.

Does KVAR work in any home?

If you say “yes” to only two of the questions below, you can save a significant amount of money on your electric bill right now! You could see actual savings of 8% – 10% and possibly as much as 25% on your electrical usage (and thus power bills).

  • Is your home over 2500 Square feet?
  • Is your central air conditioner / heat pump unit 3 years or older?
  • Do you have a pool?
  • Do you have a well?
  • Do you use an air conditioner?
  • Is your refrigerator / freezer not EnergyStar rated?
  • Is your washer / dryer not EnergyStar rated?
  • Do you have a hot tub or a jacuzzi?
  • Do you use corded power tools?

Call 312-6540 today and start saving rising energy cost!

Modifying Your Home for Greater Independence

Senior Living: Do You Really Need To Remodel Your Home?

To remodel or not to remodel, that is the question? Young people may remodel because they are trying to keep up with the Jones, or because they are trying to find a way to control the chaos in their lives. Older people approach remodeling from a different perspective, but either way it is a big decision. Seniors are looking for ways to make their lives safer and easier, but they find themselves reluctant to spend the money and they wonder if it is worth the bother.

Transition points in life are what cause most to people to think about remodeling. People surveyed admit that they think of remodeling when the first or third child arrives, when the kids move away from home, and when aging parents come to stay.

People who chose remodeling over moving often say that it is the yard that keeps them from leaving their old home. I know this would be a factor for me. I love my trees and would always wonder if the next person would continue to feed my squirrels and birds. The yard is a factor, but so is parting with all of your “stuff.” You may not be a hoarder per se, but you still have accumulated a lot of cherish belongings along the way. Many people use remodeling as a way to organized space, while figuring out a way to make their homes lighter and roomier. It could be that you need more light to lift our spirits, but from a practical standpoint it is an admission that you need more light to see well as you grow older.

Simplicity and universal design are the trends but a little added luxury isn’t far behind. As people get older they feel that they deserve a few little luxuries, such as a really nice bathroom or heated floors, and why not?

It pretty much boils down to whether you should “stay put” or move. This is the question that people in their 70s or beyond give a lot of thought too. Many people opt to
“stay put.” It is more comfortable living out your life in your home, and in many ways more economical. Lesley Alderman in an article for the New York Times (July 18, 2009) pointed out that assisted living facilities often cost from $34,000 to $70,000 a year depending on the area and the services offered. If you are saving for your money for a rainy day you might have to come to terms with the fact that the clouds are gathering.

While staying at home is cozier and cheaper than moving into a senior community, it is not always safer. If you plan right your home environment can be supportive of your well being, but it can also be health hazard. If you want your home to be safe and supportive, you are going to want to follow remodeling guidelines that will help you achieve this goal. In general, insurance companies will not cover physical upgrades to your house, but they will often pay to have someone like Dandy Handymen Remodeling come in to do an Aging-In-Place Audit and make recommendations.

Know when to improve and when to move.

As you grow older you are going to have to lean toward adapting your home to meet your needs. Don’t make home improvements for the sole reason of boosting the home’s value, although attractive universal design features can do just that. You should be undertaking projects that will give you pleasure and keep you safe.

Home Remodeling for Aging in Place

Home remodeling plays a key role for many seniors aging in place. The reason is that homes generally are not senior-friendly or have Universal Design incorporated into the home to make it easy to live in and use. Remodeling lets a person create the home they need to grow old in.

Home remodeling with safety in mind

Much of the initial home remodeling that seniors have done revolve around safety. Items such as grab bars, walk-in tubs, hand rails or ramps, non-slip flooring and others are all very important in addressing home safety. Although there are many items you could focus on, safety issues are the best way to get started.

Aging in Place Home Ideas

We are creating an Aging-in-Place Home Ideas section to help you begin planning to remodel your home to age in place. We’ve highlighted aging in place to make it easier and safer to live in, we’ve compiled a list of home remodeling and other ideas for you to peruse. Our hope is that these provide inspiration as you build your aging in place plan.

TIPS when looking for surge protection:

Whole Home Surge Protection cannot be achievedby “One Whole House Surge Protector”.
In fact it requires a system of surge protectors working together. We refer to this as Zoned surge protection. Zoned surge protection is accomplished with the implementation of primary and secondary surge protectors.

  • First, surge protectors need to be applied to the incoming electrical, cable/satellite, and telephone utility services to keep externally generated surges from entering your home. This is your primary surge protection.
  • Then at key locations throughout the home, localized secondary protection is provided to safeguard against any residual surges from the main service and any internally generated surges.
  • Don’t confuse a power strip for a surge suppressor. They may look identical. Check next to the UL mark on the unit. It will identify the unit as a “power strip” or “surge suppressor.”

To apply this type of protection for your home or office, surgeassure™ in conjunction with Dandy Handymen Remodeling offers the Total Zone Protection, which consists of dividing the home into three protection zones: Main Zone, Interior Zone and Exterior Zone. Specialized surge protectors are designed for each zone location: Main Zone, Interior Zone and Exterior Zone.

Since homes today may have phones, Ethernet and electrical wiring, satellite dishes, cables and cable modems, electronic dog fences, exterior lights and security and irrigation systems, it’s important to use a trained installer who will take all components into account when putting in a Total Zone protection system.

It is amazing how many items in your house actually need to be protected from an electrical surge. If an electrical surge were to occur today, how much money would you stand to lose? Typically, a Total Zone Surge Protection system costs less than a home security system. You can call for a free estimate. If lightning strikes, are you ready? The Surgeassure™ TOTAL ZONE surge protection package is the most inclusive package anywhere.