• Why You Should Give Storm Windows a Look

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    By Michael Franco for BobVila.com

    If your windows let in anything other than a view, you may be thinking it’s time for replacement windows. But, not so fast! You may want to consider storm windows, which offer the insulating properties of replacement windows for a fraction of the cost. Some experts even argue that when laid over existing windows in decent condition, storm windows insulate better than replacements do. One group in particular has favored the use of storm windows over the years — owners of old houses. Why? Because storm windows allow improved insulation without harming the original windows or, by extension, the home’s architectural character.

    Exterior vs. interior: Storm windows install either outside or inside. In choosing between these approaches, aesthetics are perhaps the main consideration. Exterior storm windows alter how your home looks from the curb. Interior storm windows, in contrast, are virtually invisible from the exterior but are plainly evident indoors.

    Window operability is another distinguishing factor between exterior and interior storm windows. Exteriors enable the …read more  

  • Renting Your Home on Airbnb: How to Reduce the Risk

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    By Adam Levin

    As the warm afterglow of your holiday spending spree morphs into the harsh reality of bloated credit card balances, daunting minimum payments, and depressed credit scores, and the pressure of Valentine’s Day and April 15 creates a burning sensation in the pit of your stomach, you may well find yourself looking around for viable ways to make a few extra dollars. Maybe you’ve even thought about renting out your home on a short-term basis using Airbnb.

    In the past five years, more than 550,000 people have turned to Airbnb to rent out all or a portion of their homes to 10 million users. Seems like a relatively painless way to reduce debt, boost income and maybe even do something fun at the same time, right?

    Not to be a buzz-kill, allow me to assume my Shiva God of Death persona for just a moment and remind you of the risks inherent in the decision to open your home (indeed your life) to a complete stranger. And unfortunately, there are plenty of <a target=_blank …read more  

  • Household Hazards, Holiday-Style

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    Almost as reliable a tradition at this time of year as reading “The Night Before Christmas” and watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” is — at least among public safety officials — issuing warnings about the household hazards that come with celebrating the holidays. And that’s likely to continue as the number of people in the U.S. who are injured at their homes from holiday-related accidents continues to grow dramatically. As the above video describes, the number who’ve ended up going to hospital emergency rooms has increased from 12,000 in 2009 to 15,000 in 2012. So it’s risen to about 250 per day, says the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    The causes in 2012, uh, broke down to things like falling from ladders; leaving candles unattended; carelessly selecting and maintaining Christmas trees; and decorating under the influence of alcohol. If you’ve watched “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” you’ve already seen a kind of slapstick version of the CPSC’s list, but ER personnel would likely agree that the following list is a classic that bears another reading, and needs to be taken more …read more