Protecting Your Investment From Mold

Posted by Héctor H. Zorrilla On 3.24.2009 0 comments

Tips for Homeowners

(NewsUSA) - In these hard economic times, it has never been more important to protect what for many people is their most significant investment: their home. And one way to do that is to keep mold at bay -- because not only does mold present health concerns, but it also can damage your home.

Areas of your home that are continually wet -- like the insides of walls or attics and basements, often out of view -- will eventually shorten the life of your home and lead to expensive repairs. Research shows that if you keep moisture out of your home, you'll likely avoid mold. In the presence of moisture, mold will grow on virtually any surface -- steel, plastic, even fiberglass.

Fortunately, there's a new source of information to help avoid such problems. The Responsible Solutions to Mold Coalition, funded by USG Corporation, National Gypsum and American Gypsum is an excellent source of information on how to keep your house dry -- from the way it's designed, to the way it's built, to the way it's maintained. RSMC's members, including academic, government and building industry associations, developed the Guiding Principles for Mold and Moisture Control-50 steps that can be taken to build and maintain a house free of mold.

Here are some helpful hints:

- Run bathroom and kitchen vents for an extra 10 minutes after you finish showering or cooking. Also, make sure your vents go outdoors. If they vent into the attic, you're not getting rid of the moisture.

- Make sure the grade around your home slopes away from the foundation. Often, houses will settle as they age, creating a drainage problem. If the ground around your home slopes inward, which may or may not be visible, it provides a pathway for moisture to enter your basement.

- Make sure sprinklers are pointed away from the home. Over time, sprinklers that are directed toward your house will allow thousands of gallons of water to penetrate the walls.

- Take a look at the caulking around doors and windows. If it's cracked or falling apart, water can seep into your walls.

- Replace washing machine hoses every five years. This is the single largest category of water-related claims filed with insurance companies each year.

The Responsible Solutions to Mold Coalition ( provides a wealth of information for homeowners -- whether you're building, remodeling or maintaining your home. Be a "water detective" in your own home. If you see water or dampness, find out where it's coming from -- stop it -- and repair or replace any materials that have been damaged.

Take Green Tips From Hollywood Homes

Posted by Héctor H. Zorrilla On 0 comments

(NewsUSA) - When it comes to the green movement, Hollywood has been moving ahead of mainstream America. Take Ed Begley, Jr., a character actor known for roles in "A Mighty Wind" and "Batman Forever." Begley embraced environmentalism back in 1970, even riding his bike to red carpet events.

Ed Begley
Today, Begley lends his name to "Begley's Best," a line of all natural, nontoxic household cleaners. He recently published a book about green living, "Living Like Ed: A Guide to Eco-Friendly Life."

When it comes to the green movement, Begley's home is surely where his heart is. The 1936 home now features a wind turbine and 6 kilowatts of solar panels -- Begley pays only $300 a year in electric bills.

Fitting a house with a wind turbine might seem extravagant to most Americans, but that doesn't mean that you need celebrity status to conserve energy and resources at home.

Here are some tips for Americans hoping to live more sustainably:

- Watch your water use. Taking simple steps, like only running your dishwasher or laundry machine when you have full loads, can save thousands of gallons of water each year. Take showers instead of baths, and when you need to replace kitchen or bathroom fixtures, choose high-efficiency appliances. Monitor your water bill for unusually high prices -- they might indicate leaks.

- Consider buying a high-efficiency water heater. Heating water can use up to 25 percent of a home's energy supply. If it's time for a new model, look for one that qualifies for the federal tax credit for energy-efficiency improvements, like A.O. Smith's Vertex model. Begley uses the Vertex in his home to provide all of this home heating and hot water needs.

- Upgrade your lighting. If every American home replaced just one lightbulb with an ENERGY STAR compact fluorescent light (CFL), it would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars for a year. Better yet, CFLs are inexpensive and easily installed.

Go Green With Recycled Counters and Floors

Posted by Héctor H. Zorrilla On 3.19.2009 0 comments

(NewsUSA) - The eco-savvy homeowner is always looking for the next great breakthrough in earth-friendly, environmentally safe features to suit their lifestyle. Especially if these new features can add beauty to their home.

So, what is the next ground-breaking home improvement that will have homeowners living in the lap of luxury while committing to save the environment? Try recycled porcelain countertops and floors.

Green countertop
EnviroGLAS has recently released a new terrazzo application used for countertops and floors, called EnviroMode. Terrazzo is an ancient method of creating walkways, floors, patios and panels by exposing marble chips and other fine aggregates on the surface of finished concrete or epoxy resin. The aggregate used in EnviroMode is made of recycled porcelain.

As the forefathers of recycled glass, EnviroGLAS has developed a relationship with Kohler Co. in which they recycle their imperfect, pre-consumer sinks and toilets by crushing them into chips and tumbling them to a smooth surface. The result is beautiful porcelain stone for their EnviroMode products, which in turn creates a harder surface than traditional marble terrazzo.

"I am always looking for companies that are creating new and innovative products from recycled materials," said City of Dallas Recycling Manager Sherlyn McAnally. "The crushed porcelain has a beautiful pearl-like finish and can be used in a versatile array of applications."

With hundreds of epoxy resin colors, the recycled porcelain creates a sustainable housing material that can be crafted to fit any home. It is available for both commercial and residential uses and can even be used for landscaping.

For Long Beach, Miss., EnviroGLAS donated 15,000 pounds of EnviroMode aggregate for the rebuilding efforts of their city park. The resulting efforts of sustainability have earned EnviroGLAS the "2008 Greater DFW Recycling Alliance Award" and the "2008 Contractor's Choice Top Products" award.

For more information on sustainable home improvements, visit

Inspections Ensure Healthy Homes

Posted by Héctor H. Zorrilla On 3.18.2009 0 comments

(NewsUSA) - Homeowners often assume that their homes are healthy -- but indoor spaces can be more heavily polluted than the air outside.

Poor indoor air quality can seriously impact health. Many chemicals, including formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are often found in homes and offices, can contaminate indoor air, leading to allergic reactions or chronic illness in certain individuals.

Home scene
Poor indoor air quality has been linked to a number of ailments, including cardiovascular stress, asthma, fatigue, headaches, digestive problems, impaired coordination and respiratory disease. Individuals with known conditions, like allergies, respiratory ailments and chemical sensitivities, or people who spend a lot of time indoors, such as children, women, seniors and the disabled, experience elevated risk.

Homeowners want to guarantee that their homes won't hurt their families, and some companies have perceived a need. Environmental Service Professionals, a company that provides Certified Environmental Home Inspections for allergens, mold, radon, home energy tune-ups and other issues, has recently started a new program, USA Healthy Home Warranty (USAHHW). Previously, home inspections could not guarantee that the home would remain healthy after or between inspections. USAHHW aims to create peace of mind even after the inspector leaves.

The USAHHW program provides warranty assurances against defects that occur in the home one year after the inspection. The warranty can even provide up to $100,000 in aggregate coverage limit.

The USAHHW offers homebuyers and homeowners protection against specific intrusions, like mold and moisture, which can affect human health and a home's habitability. Mortgage lenders can also use the inspections to protect the value of their assets.

For more information, visit

Improve Your Outdoor Décor

Posted by Héctor H. Zorrilla On 3.17.2009 0 comments

(NewsUSA) - Chances are, your deck or patio décor includes a variety of surfaces such as wood, wicker, metal and plastic, all of which may become weathered from summer sun and winter storage. Armed with a few cans of spray paint, you can give your backyard oasis a great new look, quickly and affordably.

Outdoor deco
When decorating outdoors:

- Use color to unify your space. Selecting a palette of a few colors allows you to unify disparate furniture pieces into a pleasing whole. White is an ever-popular classic that can be paired with almost any accent color to achieve striking good looks.

- Especially in areas filled with bright sunlight, don't be afraid of bold or saturated colors. Use bright, bold colors to infuse a space with energy and whimsy, or consider textured or metallic hues for more subtle sophistication.

- For the brightest, boldest colors, prime the surface or apply a white basecoat. Next, apply the color coat over the white surface.

- Group furniture together to create intimate conversation areas. Use interesting containers to hold plants. Consider lighting for both evening safety and ambiance.

- Always follow the directions on your can of spray paint. Application instructions and dry times, as well as how long you should shake the can and how far away you should hold it from the surface, vary from paint to paint.

There are a number of products available to help with your patio makeover. Krylon's Fusion for Plastic is a one-step, super-bonding spray paint. It can be used on wood, metal, wicker, hard vinyl and a wide range of plastic surfaces. Available in many colors, it now comes with the new EZ Touch 360-degree Dial Spray Tip for more comfortable spray painting with increased coverage per pass, reduced overspray, less chance of runs or drips and greater accuracy.

Rusted metal? No reason to worry. Instead of making a mess scrubbing away rust with a wire brush, you can paint right over it with Krylon Outdoor Spaces Rust Converter. It chemically transforms rust into a waterproof, paintable surface that is protected from future rust formation.

When completely dry, simply coat Outdoor Spaces Rust Converter with any Outdoor Spaces Satin, Metallic, Textured or Hammered Finish to keep outdoor décor looking its very best. These finishes withstand harsh weather, offering superior protection on metal, wood, wicker, drywall, masonry and even pottery.

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