How to Improve the Standards of Your Home

How to Improve the Standards of Your Home

To many, the definition of a perfect home is tidy, organized, quiet and relaxing. For others, this is an unrealistic view, as work, time and family life takes over. Therefore to those with such a schedule, perfect homes are filled with noise, laughter, dirt, clutter, and love.

Whether your home is scrubbed entirely or filled with unconditional love, there is always room for improvement to up the standards of your home.

You can improve the standard of your home in many ways, some expensive and some with the help of an easy DIY tutorial. The way you want your home to look starts with a vision, resources and of course a budget. Here are some ideas on how you can improve your home.


Investing in your home usually asks for a bigger budget which might make you rethink making those improvements. Some home improvement can increase the value of your home and give you better living standards. Upgrading your home does not have to happen overnight, small changes one day or one month at a time will have you looking back a year from now with a feeling of accomplishment. The important thing is to start somewhere, anywhere. Here are some investments to consider:

– Installation

Installing insulation  in your roof, walls or floors will help your home keep warm in winter, and cooler in the summer. This limits your HVAC use and lowers the bills.

– Sealing those leaks

Windows and doors can leak air and causes your home to lose and use more energy.

– Water efficiency

By installing taps with sensors, dual flush toilets, and water saving showerheads, you can reduce water waste.

– Windows

Double glazed windows is another way to ensure energy does not go to waste in your home.

– Replacements

When it is time to buy new appliances, make sure you buy those which are more energy efficient.

– Remodelling

If you are adding an addition to your home or redoing the kitchen, make sure to use eco-friendly resources as they can bring more value to your home and in many cases improve the quality of your life.

Add some nature

Plants are an easy way to bring some life into your home and they look great! Certain plants can even help you improve the air quality of a room. Some of the new solutions are green roofs or vertical gardens.


By simply getting rid of old light bulbs and installing new LED bulbs you are giving your home a better and greener standard while saving some energy along the way. Individual smart light bulbs even give you the option to change the atmosphere of your room by changing color according to what you like.

New furniture

You do not always have to buy a new furniture if you wish to give a room a new look, a great money saver is to upcycle an old piece with a coat of paint. Antique stores or flea markets may hide some treasure that might suit the style of your home.





Hysteria or Common Sense? Closings Caused by Bed Bugs

bed bug Bed bug infestations have become a growing concern throughout the U.S. in recent years.  The reason why these infestations have become so common is because they are so easy to go unnoticed.  Bed bugs are tiny pests that are difficult to spot and even harder to kill.  Even if only a few bed bugs are in your home they can breed very quickly, turning a small problem into an infestation.


This is why an emergency room in New Port Richey shut down their entire facility for a day after a patient came in crawling in bed bugs.  You might ask yourself, was this really necessary since only one person came in with bed bugs?  The answer is an astounding yes because without proactive treatment bed bugs can quickly infest an entire facility leaving others in harms way.  No matter if its a hospital or your own home, not treating the situation promptly can lead to a much bigger problem that can become both expensive and unhealthy for those who live there.  The key to avoiding an infestation is to understand what causes bed bugs to enter your home and what you can do to prevent an infestation from growing.


Causes of Bed Bug Infestations

The reason why bed bug infestations have become so common is because the bed bugs themselves are very small and difficult to spot. Most bed bug infestations also go unnoticed because bed bugs leave few signs of their presence to the untrained eye.  Able to fit into spaces that are no wider than the edge of a credit card, bed bugs will hide until they need to feed, which is only once every three days.  Baby bed bugs, or nymphs, will need to eat more frequently but they are so small you can hardly see them with the naked eye.  When a bed bug eats, it usually sucks blood from a human when they are most vulnerable which is when they are sleeping.  What makes them so hard to detect is that most people will not feel the feeding process.  The only traces they will leave behind are small bite marks on a person’s body.  Over time, even a small amount of bed bugs will grow into an infestation if gone undetected.

Detecting Bed Bug Infestations

The good news is there are some distinct signs that reveal the presence of bed bugs in your home.  When bed bugs feed, they leave a pattern of bite marks on their victims in the form of a line.  Although not everyone will have severe reactions to the bites, you can still spot the bites if you look carefully.  Another sign to look out for is bed bug excretion. After a bed bug feeds it will excrete small black dots which you can spot on your bed or infected furniture.  These small dots will be easy to spot if you take a moment to do a full examination of your mattress.  Also be sure to look our for the distinct musty odor they excrete and the spot of blood they leave behind when crushed.  If you feel you have witnessed any of these signs you should contact a professional for an assessment in order to avoid an infestation from growing.


Treatments for Bed Bug Infestations

If you think you have a bed bug infestation after conducting a thorough inspection, there are many ways to exterminate them.  Although home remedies are an option, it is recommended to contact a professional bed bug exterminator to ensure procedures are done correctly.  Professionals will use a number treatments to eradicate the bed bugs from your home.  The first and easiest is to remove all infested items.  Although this can be the easiest, it is often unnecessary and can be costly.  Another common treatment is chemical spray.  Chemical spray will fill a room with toxic gas that can kill most all of the bed bugs and has been a standard in the industry for decades.  The third and most modern treatment is using heat.  A bed bug exterminator will use special heating machines that raise the temperature of a home to around 140 degrees.  Once set, they will maintain that heat for up to three hours to ensure all bed bugs either flee the property or die due to the heat.  This option is a very effective solution to kill bed bugs and provides the least amount of health risk as well.  No matter what method you find to be the most effective, it is key to attack the problem as quickly as possible, because even a few small bed bugs can turn into an infestation in no time.


Bed bugs can effect anyone, and without proactive detection can grow to an infestation in no time.  In order to keep your home bed bug free be sure to look out for the key signs these small pests leave behind.  If you notice any suspicious signs of bed bugs, contact a professional exterminator immediately to ensure they are removed from your home and don’t grow into a frustrating and expensive problem.


About the Author:


Daniel Mackie, owner of The Bed Bug Tracker, is a Toronto pest control expert well-known as an industry go-to guy, an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions, and is a regular guest on HGTV. Mackie, along with business partner Sandy Costa, were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.







Swim Season is Here: Tips to Make Your Pool Look Young Again

Escaping the summer sun in the pool Ah, summer. It’s hot, the kids are out of school and murmurings of “I’m bored” are around the corner. If you haven’t already gotten up your swimming pool in tip-top shape to carry you through the next three months, it’s time to get going.

These easy fixes can make swimming pools and the surrounding area look new again:

Get a New Pool Liner

The first step in replacing the liner for your pool is to determine its dimensions, including the wall height, length and width. You’ll also need to know the shape of the pool where the bottom meets the wall. This typically occurs about four inches up the wall and three inches in from the wall, according to Inspect the pool to ensure it doesn’t have any major problems at this point.

Determine the type of liner your pool requires, which will generally be a beaded liner or an overlap liner. Most pools today use beaded liners, which are available in a variety of types such as EZ-Bead, J-Hook, Uni-Bead and V-Bead liners. A beaded liner extends over the top of the pool wall by a quarter- to a half-inch, whereas an overlap liner lies on the outside of the pool wall.

Renew the Concrete

You can renew the concrete surrounding above-ground swimming pools over the weekend by staining it on Saturday and sealing it on Sunday. A gallon of stain will cover at least 200 square feet, as will a gallon of sealant, according to Separate areas that will have different colors by cutting the concrete to a depth of one-quarter inch with a circular saw and a masonry blade.

Wait for a calm, cloudy day to apply the stain. Wind can cause the stain to drift and direct sunlight can cause the stain to evaporate instead of soaking into the concrete. Tape a plastic sheet around the siding of your house to protect it from the concrete stain. Fill one sprayer with each color of stain and apply the stain according to the directions.

Allow the stain to dry for at least 24 hours. Apply a second coat if you wish to make the stain more vibrant. You will typically need to reapply stain to bare spots that you missed the first time, especially along the edges. Perform these touch-ups by spraying a cloth and dabbing the cloth onto the bare spot.

Improving Pool Color

Green pool water typically indicates that your pool water doesn’t contain enough chlorine. This generally requires you to add a large amount of chlorine to your pool at one time, which is commonly known as “shocking” your pool. Your pool will turn cloudy if you add chlorine when your pool water has a pH of 7.2 or higher, experts caution, so you’ll need to lower your pool pH by adding a gallon of hydrochloric acid (commonly marketed as muriatic acid). Circulate the pool water for four hours and retest the pool pH. Repeat this procedure as needed to reduce your pool pH below 7.2.

Turn the pool’s filter pump on and apply the chlorine evenly over the pool’s surface. Add five pounds of granular chlorine in the form of calcium hypochloride or 10 gallons of liquid chlorine to your pool. Add algaecide as directed after the water has been circulating for a few hours.

Finally, remember that pool chemicals are highly toxic. Always make sure your kids have zero access to them and any other dangerous household items.

Laura Cooper

Laura is a home improvement and organization consultant who lives in the New England area.








A 6-Day Cruise to the Caribbean: Be Cool Parents

Mother and Daughter It’s been a long and exhausting year. You’ve taken the children to and from soccer, dance, basketball and all other activities. You have managed to keep the house clean while working part-time. And you make sure your husband is fed every night while the kids get their homework done … all while staying up to date on your Pinterest projects.

Treat you and your family this year by taking a fun vacation to the Caribbean. Known for its beautiful weather and picturesque beaches, this vacation will be one to remember. Celebrity Cruises offers an amazing cruise to the Caribbean — a 6-day Western Caribbean cruise. If you’ve used up all your “rainy day funds” and don’t have any extra money to take a cruise, there are other options. Bring the cruise to you. All you need is inspiration from a real cruise (and Pinterest) to recreate the cruise of your dreams.

Cruise Ideas: The cruise departs from Miami, Florida. Pack your bags and get to Florida a little early to jumpstart your vacation at Disney World, perhaps? Your first full day aboard the ship is a day at sea, which gives you ample time to get to know the ships features.

Home Ideas: Spend the day at a nearby amusement park. It won’t cost as much as a cruise but it will be equally as fun for the kids. And since you live there locally, you can most likely get a great discount.

Youth Programs

Cruise Ideas: The award-winning cruise line keeps you and your children in mind for the best onboard experience possible. Youth programs are geared toward five age groups that start around 9 am daily. The Fun Factory for ages 3-11 features exciting games, treasure hunts, themed parties, movies and karaoke. The teens have a special place as well — they have the latest gaming consoles and tablets as well as social activities and teen-only dances.

Home Ideas: Buy a game your children want to play. According to, kids 18 months and up can play board games. Find the right game for them.

  • Eighteen months and up: Roll and Play
  • Three and up: Zingo, Hi Ho Cherry-O
  • Four and up: The Ladybug Game, UNO, Candyland and Sorry!
  • Five and up: Bug Trails, Guess Who, War or make make Treasure Rocks

Play the game as a family for a little family bonding/game night.

Spa & Fitness

Cruise Ideas: Pamper yourself with a relaxing massage or acupuncture, and finish the afternoon with a manicure and pedicure. Utilize the fitness center so you don’t gain too much weight after eating the award-winning cuisine aboard the ship.

Home Ideas: For a fun spa day, make your own facial! First, pamper yourself in your hot tub, pool or bathtub … anything will do. After you’re warm, relaxed and calm, use a four-step process to get the best facial from home you’ve ever experienced.

  1. Cleanse: 1 tablespoon almonds, 1/2 tablespoon oats, 1/4 teaspoon honey and 1/4 teaspoon soy milk is all you need. Combine oats in food processor. Add almonds and pulse until finely ground. Mix in honey and soy milk and place a generous amount on face. Rinse cleanser off your face with warm water and pat dry.
  2. Tone: Toner closes your pores and rids them of the last traces of dirt and oil. Simmer 1 cup of green, black, red or white bag of tea and simmer to half of the original volume. Leave overnight in refrigerator with a slice of cucumber.
  3. Mask: Create a creamy avocado mask to clean your pores, eliminate dead skin cells and balance your pH levels. Add 1/2 teaspoon avocado, 1/2 teaspoon honey, 1/2 teaspoon yogurt, 1/8 teaspoon Brewers Yeast and 1/2 teaspoon cranberry or apple juice to a food processor and pulse until creamy. Place on face and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse with a warm hand towel.
  4. Moisturize: Add equal parts Jojoba oil, olive oil, sesame oil, avocado oil and safflower oil and rub into your face.

World-Class Cuisine

Cruise Ideas: The food is a globally influenced blend of classic and contemporary food and the menus are created by John Suley, a James-Beard featured chef, one of the highest and prestigious awards in the chef world. There are many different kinds of dining experiences to choose from so even the pickiest of eaters can find something.

Home Ideas:  For a five-star meal with a two-star budget, Real Simple has a mouthwatering pan-roasted chicken and green bean recipe. Stick with a classic, yet easy-to-make dish and serve on your best dishes. Have your family dress up for an elegant evening.

Author Info: Stephanie Griffith

After working on as a travel agent, Stephanie decided it was high time she switched gears and became a travel writer. She visits faraway lands by plane, train and car, but loves to go on cruises the most.