Clean with Baking Soda

Debra Johnson, a Merry Maids home cleaning expert, offers these tips for using baking soda to keep bathrooms clean and fresh.

Spruce up the shower. On a wet microfiber cloth, sprinkle a small amount of baking soda and a couple drops of dishwashing liquid. Work the cloth between your hands to create a lather and use the cloth to scrub shower walls. For shower floors, sprinkle baking soda across the surface, squirt dishwashing liquid over the baking soda in an “S” motion, and scrub the floor with a wet brush. Rinse all shower surfaces with warm water. Wipe down the walls and floor with a dry microfiber cloth. Clean shower curtains with a damp microfiber cloth sprinkled with baking soda; rinse with hot water.

Cleaning drains with baking soda. Keep drains odor-free and flowing with the help of baking soda. Once a week, clean sink, tub, and shower drains with baking soda. Run hot water through the drain before pouring in 1/2 cup of baking soda. Let the baking soda sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with hot water to wash away musty smells and debris.

All-purpose scrubber. Sprinkle it on a damp sponge equipped with a scrubbing surface and scrub out tubs, sinks, and toilets.

Grout cleaner. Mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to create a paste for cleaning tile grout.

Kitchen Cleaning with Baking Soda

Baking soda works well as an all-purpose surface cleaner. But, when partnered with other household liquids, it becomes a high-powered potion that breaks through greasy residue, polishes metal, and unclogs drains.

Bust up grease. “I love baking soda for so many things,” says cleaning expert Mary Findley (Go Clean), who shares her favorite method for cleaning scorched and stove drip pans. Bring vinegar to a boil in the microwave. Sprinkle baking soda on dirty pans and add the boiling vinegar. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes. Wipe with a wet sponge and rinse. Repeat as needed.

Mix up a miracle cure. Jill Nystul, a cleaning expert and blogger,(One Good Thing by Jillee) creates her own kitchen cleanser. She places 1/4 cup baking soda in a small glass bowl and squirts in hydrogen peroxide to create a paste that she uses to clean large and small kitchen appliances, remove water-stains from utensils, and erase greasy residue that builds up on baking pans.

Easily clean an oven with baking soda. Leslie Reichert, a home-keeping expert and author (Green Cleaning Coach), recommends brushing a paste of baking soda and water on the sides and bottom of your oven. Spray the paste with vinegar and let it foam. Repeat spraying as needed until you can easily remove baked-on food particles.

Sink cleaner. Sprinkle baking soda on a half of a lemon (or make a paste of lemon juice and baking soda) and use it to clean stainless steel sinks.

Unclog kitchen drains. Shake a few tablespoons of baking soda into the drain; pour in heated vinegar, which will make the baking soda fizz to break up clogs, and rinse the drain with boiling water.

More Household Uses for Baking Soda

Who knows baking soda better than the folks at Arm & Hammer? Here are some cleaning tips from company experts.

Painted surface cleaner. Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge and lightly rub the sponge on walls and painted furniture to remove dirt. Wipe dry with a clean cloth.

Wax-free and tile floor cleaner. Mix a half cup of baking soda in a bucket of warm water, mop the floors, and rinse.

Laundry helper. Banish odors from dirty clothes and keep whites white and bright colors bright by adding a cup of baking soda to each laundry load.

Freshen the air. Sprinkle baking soda between accumulating layers in your kitchen waste can to control smells.

Carpet and upholstery refresher. Sparingly shake it onto carpets and upholstered furniture, let it sit for 15 minutes, and vacuum to remove the baking soda and the odors it has absorbed.

Shoe deodorizer. Make stinky sneakers less stinky by sprinkling baking soda inside sports shoes.

Clean with Vinegar Too

Get Customized Cleaning Tips

BHG.COM

Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty Welcomes Kathleen Shattuck

Portland and Damariscotta, Maine Real Estate (May 18, 2015 )—Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty is pleased to announce that Kathleen Shattuck has joined our Damariscotta real estate brokerage office as a Vice President.  With offices in Portland, Brunswick, Kennebunk, Camden and Damariscotta Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty is one of the largest real estate companies in Maine and the #1 ranked luxury property company in the state.

Kathleen Shattuck has appreciated the extraordinary Lincoln County lifestyle for over 40 years, earning Top Selling Broker awards and Customer Service awards time and time again. She is eager to share what she has learned and loves about the coast of Maine.

Prior to beginning her successful real estate career in 2001, Kathleen earned a degree in public relations from Syracuse University and a graduate degree in Administration from Northeastern University. After a decade of counseling special needs children, she created a clothing manufacturing company in Midcoast Maine.

“We are pleased that Kathleen has joined our team in Damariscotta.  Her love for the community, local market expertise and years of experience will be a great asset and a good fit for us” says Chris Lynch, President of Legacy Properties Sotheby’s international Realty.

Kathleen,  a Newcastle resident, enjoys living in coastal Maine.  She has served on the Boards of the Damariscotta River Association, Pemaquid Watershed Association, Round Top Center for the Arts and the Midcoast Children’s Theatre.

When asked why she chose to join Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty, Kathleen stated “It is a perfect fit for me and the way I do business.”  She adds, “I see the Sotheby’s International Realty Brand and extensive broker network as an invaluable tool to provide more for  my clients.  Their business platform, global marketing and distribution is simply unsurpassed.”

On a personal note, Kathleen lives with her husband, John, in the home where they raised their three children Michaela, Collin and Morgan, and numerous horses, dogs and cats.  In her pastime, she enjoys rowing her wooden skiff on the Damariscotta River and around her beloved island in Webber Pond.

Kathleen Shattuck can be reached at the office at 207-563-2775, by cellular phone at 207-215-4161 and by e-mail at kshattuck@legacysir.com.

Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty is Maine’s leading luxury and lifestyle property company with more than 60 agents and 5 offices serving the state of Maine.

Buying a Home is 35% Less Expensive than Renting!

Buying a Home is 35% Less Expensive than Renting! | Keeping Current Matters

In the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia, they explained that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage throughout the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

The updated numbers actually show that the range is from an average of 16% in Honolulu (HI), all the way to 55% in Sarasota (FL), and 35% Nationwide!

The other interesting findings in the report include:

  • Interest rates have remained low and even though home prices have appreciated around the country (3.9%), they haven’t greatly outpaced rental appreciation (3.7%). “In the past year, these two trends have made homeownership even more affordable compared with renting.”
  • Some markets might tip in favor of renting if home prices increase at a greater rate than rents and if – as most economists expect – mortgage rates rise, due to the strengthening economy.
  • Nationally, rates would have to rise to 10.6% for renting to be cheaper than buying – and rates haven’t been that high since 1989. 

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. Rents are predicted to increase substantially in the next year, so lock in your housing cost with a mortgage payment now.

KCM Blog

Is Remodeling Your Home Worth The Cost?

Home remodeling projects can come up for many different reasons. Your spouse got a new job and could use a home office. Your kitchen hasn’t been updated since 1973. You’ve heard if the right homebuyer were to come along, a hot tub could equal bonus bucks in your pocket.

When considering a remodeling project, how do you decide what will make your life better while possibly adding to your home’s resale value?

Read more…

5 Secrets to an Energy Efficient Home

What are the secrets to an energy efficient home? We’re glad you asked! There are a few things you can do to transform your home from a standard dwelling into an amazing, money-and-energy-saving abode of awesomeness!

1. Insulate Properly

Insulation is key to keeping a home comfortable and energy costs low. Tips to effectively insulation your home include:

  • Locate problem areas: Many homes have little or no insulation in areas like attic spaces.
  • Check the ‘R’ value: An R-value specifies your insulation’s resistance to heat flow – the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness. Your certified RESNET Home Energy Professional can recommend the right R-value for your home.
  • Select the right type of insulation: There are several types of insulation – each with properties and applications suitable for different areas of a home. Your certified RESNET Home Energy Professional can recommend which insulation works best for your home.
  • Seal windows and doors: This is the easiest way to begin insulating your home. Many homes have doors and windows that don’t have a proper seal.
  • Seal vents and ducts: According to ENERGY STAR, around 20% of heat moving through the vent and duct system of a typical home is lost due to leaks and poorly sealed connections.

2. Energy Efficient Lighting

Lighting accounts for nearly 25% of your energy bill, so it makes sense to switch to energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Making the switch can save an average of 8 cents per kilowatt-hour or $45 over the course of the light bulb’s life. CFLs generate the same amount of light as traditional incandescent bulbs but last longer and use around 8% less energy.

3. Heating and Air

Heating and air is easily the largest home energy expense, accounting for nearly 56% of the household budget. An energy efficient HVAC can significantly reduce this cost, as well as reduce carbon pollution and greenhouse gases.

4. Appliances

Old and inefficient appliances can be responsible for a lot of energy wastage in your home. Replace them energy efficient ENERGY STAR qualified ones.

ENERGY STAR qualified appliances offer the following advantages:

  • Refrigerators: 20% more efficient than the federal minimum energy efficiency standard.
  • Dishwashers: 10% more energy efficient than conventional units.
  • Washing machines: use over 50% less water and 30% less energy than standard washing machines.

5. Energy Efficient Windows

Significant energy loss can take place through leaky windows. The most effective to solve this problem is by replacing them with new, energy efficient ones. A couple of points to consider are:

  • Look for windows that are double-glazed and use low e-technology. Low e-technology involves coating the window to filter the sun’s heat and reduce airflow.
  • Make sure your windows are ENERGY STAR qualified. Windows carrying the ENERGY STAR logo are proven to be energy efficient and can lower your energy bills anywhere from 7% to 15%.

If you can’t afford to replace your windows, then weather-stripping them can yield immediate benefits. In addition to financial benefits, your home’s comfort level will increase dramatically as well.

For best results, talk to a certified RESNET Home Energy Professional before making any changes to your home. They can advise you how to achieve maximum results in the most cost-effective way possible.

Fight Allergies with Energy Efficiency!

So what does home energy efficiency have to do with allergies? Nothing, right? After all, one is all about making your home more comfortable and saving money and energy, while the other makes you sneeze, causes itchy eyes and a general feeling of misery. The two don’t seem to be related in any way whatsoever.

But there is a connection and it’s through your heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) unit. A HVAC unit draws air from a room, pulls it over coils to either heat or cool it, and then distributes the tempered air through the house via ductwork. An air filter traps and removes microscopic particles like dust, pollen, pet dander, bacteria, plant and mold spores, and prevents them from contaminating your indoor air. However, when a filter becomes clogged and dirty, instead of removing these particles from your air, it actually contributes to the pollution. The result is higher energy bills and increased allergy symptoms.

Fortunately, the solution is a simple one. All you need to do is change your air filter. Ideally, you should check it on a monthly basis, and if your air filter already looks dirty then don’t wait – change it! Otherwise, do it at least once every three months.

  • An air filter needs changing when it’s covered by a gray, ashy-looking material.
  • Have your HVAC checked annually by a certified RESNET HVAC contractor to keep it running properly.

A clean air filter enables your HVAC to run more efficiently, which means it doesn’t have to work as hard to heat or cool your home. That leads to energy savings and more money in your pocket – energy efficiency at work. It also leads to cleaner indoor air and a healthier home environment, which helps alleviate allergy symptoms.

So there it is, the connection between energy efficiency and allergies. To understand more about the role your HVAC unit plays in maintaining a healthy and energy efficient home, talk to your local certified RESNET HVAC contractor.

RESNET.US

Your Checklist to an Energy Efficient Home Renovation – Infographic

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The Deal of the Century??

The Deal of the Century?? | Keeping Current Matters

Recently, Freddie Mac published a blog post titled Mortgage Rates: Still the Deal of the Century. They explained that, if you are planning to purchase a home, now may be the time:

“If you are in the market to buy a home, today’s average mortgage rates are something to celebrate compared to almost any year since 1971.”

And they let their readers know that there is no guarantee that rates will remain this low:

“Over the past few years, we’ve enjoyed a long run of historically low mortgage rates. While no one expects them to change dramatically overnight, they are expected to head up. Most experts agree that mortgage rates will drift up in the coming months to end the year approaching 4.50%…Buying a home is a big investment – perhaps the biggest one you’ll make in your life. So, it’s important to be sure you are ready to make that purchase. If you are ready, today’s rates are not to be missed.”

The article went on to calculate what the principal and interest payment would be based on a $200,000 fully amortizing mortgage at different times in history.

Mortgage Payments | Keeping Current Matters

Here is a look at rates over the decades:

Historic Mortgage Rates by Decade | Keeping Current Matters

Here is a look at rates over the last four years and what Freddie Mac projects for next year:

30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Rates | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of buying your first home or looking to move up to your dream home, now may be the time to do it.

KCM

 

Pending Home Sales Rise for 3rd Straight Month

NAR: Traditional buyers are replacing investors, boding well for the housing market

The number of homes that went under contract rose for the third straight month in March, the National Association of Realtors reported today.

Pending home sales — a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings — climbed 1.1 percent from February to March, and were up 11.1 percent from the same time a year ago, according to NAR.

“While contract activity being up convincingly compared to a year ago is certainly good news, the increased number of traditional buyers who appear to be replacing investors paying in cash is even better news,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “It indicates this year’s activity is being driven by more long-term homeowners.”

Pending home sales in the Northeast fell 1.5 percent in March, slipped 2.5 percent in the Midwest, increased 4 percent in the South and rose 1.7 percent in the West.

Read the full press release below:

Pending home sales