I Feel My Temperature Rising
Thank you for tuning in to learn how to heat up! And check in next week for more cool tips!
“Feel My Temperature Rising” Show Notes for On The House with the Carey Brothers aired November 14, 2020.
Missed our live show? Don’t worry! Because we have a podcast of the show. It’s the same thing we aired on the radio, but ready for you whenever and wherever you are! Check it out here.
We spoke with Kevin Durawa the Public Affairs Information Officer about hiring a contractor for disaster recovery!
What can fire survivors do to protect themselves?
- Head to cslb.ca.gov and go to Disaster Help Center.
- Watch CSLB video “Rebuilding After a Disaster.”
- Disaster Hotline: 800-962-1125
- You’re not alone. There are lots of agencies on the local and state level designed to help you.
How can you find a licensed contractor?
- Disaster survivors should use CSLB’s “Find My Licensed Contractor” feature to search for a licensed contractor by using their ZIP Code.
- Check the contractor’s license numbers on CSLB’s website and compare the license number to the contractor’s pocket license and a picture ID. That confirms they are the same person.
- A CSLB license is required for any job that is $500 or more (including labor and materials).
- Referral websites are no guarantee you’ll get a licensed contractor. Check the license on cslb.ca.gov!
What should remember before hiring a licensed contractor?
- Don’t rush into repairs. Don’t work with the first contractor that comes along. Get at least three bids.
- Check the references of the contractor. Try to get at least three references of their past work.
- Never sign over checks from your insurance company to your contractor.
- Work with your building department to determine the proper procedure for rebuilding and debris cleanup.
- If your contractor has employees, make sure they have workers’ compensation insurance.
- Get your contract in writing.
- Stick to the payment schedule in the contract. Don’t let your payments get ahead of the work. Money is your best leverage!
- If your contractor wants a down payment, remember the down payment can’t be more than 10% or $1,000 whatever is less. One of the biggest problems is paying too much money up front and then the unlicensed contractor takes off with your money, leaving an unfinished job.
What should you remember during the work project?
- Get lien releases throughout the duration of your project. Know which subcontractors and suppliers your contractor is working with and make sure lien releases are signed by both parties. Lien release forms are available on cslb.ca.gov.
- Make sure your contract is as specific as possible. Consumer wants a $800 steel sink? Make sure that is written in the contract.
- Create a project file that contains the contract, copies of checks, signed payment orders, lien releases and photos of the project.
- Make sure the contractor pulls any necessary permits for the job. Try to be present when building inspections take place so you know of any problems and necessary corrections.
- Don’t make the final payment to your contractor until you have written approval from the building department and you’re satisfied with the work.
What should unlicensed contractors be aware of?
- CSLB warns unlicensed contractors that it is a felony to contract without a license in a declared disaster area.
- Punishment for unlicensed contracting in a declared disaster area may include up to 16 months in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Anything else you’d like to mention?
Sting Properties are always Needed. There is always a need to find sting properties in areas affected by disasters. To learn more about these operations or offer a property for a future sting please contact the Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) office closest to you:
- Northern California 916.255.2924, SWIFTNorth@cslb.ca.gov
- Central California 559.490.0580, SWIFTCentral@cslb.ca.gov
- Southern California 562.345.7600, SWIFTSouth@cslb.ca.gov
The Best Temperatures to Set Everything in Your Home
Do touch that dial! Finding the best temperatures to set everything in your home can keep you comfortable and save money, too.
Why Temperature Settings Are Important
Where we set the temperatures of just about everything in our home — whether it’s the bedroom or the garage, the refrigerator or the whole-home thermostat — determines how comfortably we live and how much money we pay in utilities.
According to Energy.gov, the U.S. Department of Energy’s consumer website, home heating alone accounts for 42 percent of our annual utility bill. And adjusting thermostats up or down depending on the season can save as much as 10 percent annually on heating and cooling costs.
So those little temperature variations matter — a lot. Take a look at the best temperatures to set everything in your home.
Best Temperature to Set Your Refrigerator
To keep refrigerated food safe, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends an interior fridge temperature of no higher than 40 degrees F, while Energy.gov says 35 F to 38 F is best.
If you have a newer fridge with an adjustable digital temperature control, choose the temperature that’s best for the amount of food you typically have on hand. A full refrigerator will run a few degrees warmer as it works to cool its contents.
Older and non-“smart” fridges have temperature dials that can be set from one to five, or sometimes one to seven. The middle-to-high end of the dial should be the equivalent of 35 to 40 F, but you may want to invest in an old-school fridge/freezer thermometer to better ensure accuracy.
Ideal Refrigerator Temp: Between 35 F and 40 F.
Best Temperature to Set Your Freezer
This is an easy one — 0 is the magic number! Frozen food kept at 0 F will stay good indefinitely, though long-term freezing may alter taste and consistency, particularly of prepared foods. If there’s a dial on your freezer separate from the fridge dial, set it on a mid-to-high number.
And here’s a tip from Energy.gov: To confirm the freezer is cooling properly, stick an appliance thermometer between frozen items. For a true reading, check it after 24 hours.
Ideal Freezer Temp: 0 F.
Best Temperature to Set Your Home in Winter
Energy.gov recommends 68 F as the optimal temperature for your home in winter for comfort and energy savings. If you can go a few degrees lower than that in the evening, you’ll save even more money. Sleep experts say you’ll have a better night’s sleep, too.
Ideal Home Temp In Winter: 68 F.
Best Temperature to Set Your Home in Summer
For air-conditioned homes, the optimal temperature for energy savings and personal comfort is 78 F. Keeping the house higher than 80 degrees, says Jason Gassman of Bell Brothers Heating and A/C, Inc., will make it humid and force your A/C system to work harder. Settings lower than 72 F can overwork your air conditioning system and cause it to freeze up.
Ideal Home Temp In Summer: 78 F.
Best Winter Temperature for Your Cabin
If you plan to visit here and there without closing it up, you can turn temperature down to the 50 F to 40 F range.
If you’d rather not leave the heat on, take care to winterize your cabin. Drain the water out of the toilet tanks and disconnect the water supply from the toilets. Open all sink and shower/tub taps to just a drip — the slight but constant flow of water will help keep pipes from freezing. And remove any canned or bottled goods that could freeze in extremely cold temperatures.
Ideal Cabin Temp In Winter: No lower than 40 F to 50 F.
Best Temperature to Set Your Bedrooms
You might be surprised (we were!) that the National Sleep Foundation recommends the same bedroom temperature in winter and summer — a cool 65 F. Our body temperature decreases at night, so a lower room temperature is actually better for sleeping.
In the winter, figure on extra blankets and heavier PJs if you turn down the dial. In the summertime, you’ll save money by sleeping with the thermostat as high as 78 F — and with a lot fewer clothes on!
And keep in mind that some smart thermostats allow you to adjust the temperature of specific rooms, such as the bedroom, without cooling off the rest of the house.
Ideal Bedroom Temp: 65 F.
Best Temperature to Set Your Water Heater
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the highest safe temperature for a water heater is 120 F. Anything higher can result in scalding and even third-degree burns.
Optimal safe shower and bath temperature is between 100 F to 105 F, so you could conceivably set your water heater lower to save money. Your dishwasher and washing machine heat their own water so they’re not dependent on the water heater setting.
Ideal Water Heater Temp: 105 F to 120 F.
Best Temperature to Set Your Storage Room
Non-living spaces of your home, such as that storage room, walk-in closet or mudroom, can be kept cool in the winter, as low as 59 to 65 F.
And in the summer, make sure closets and storage rooms stay cool enough to preserve sensitive contents such as photos, keepsake clothing and important documents. Those can be damaged by mildew and condensation in warm, closed-off environments. Like the rest of your home in the summer, these spaces should be kept no warmer than 80 F.
Ideal Storage Room Temp: 59 F to 65 F in winter; less than 80 F in summer.
Best Indoor Temperature for Your Pet
Your dog or cat is probably used to your favored in-home temperature. But if you turn the thermostat up in the summertime when you leave the house, just remember that animals with heavy fur coats can heat up quickly — 80 F is the maximum safe temperature for pets when you’re not home.
In winter, most furry pets can tolerate temps as low as 60 F. But remember that small dogs, short-haired or hairless breeds, older pets and those with health problems need to stay warm and cozy. So if you lower the thermostat during the day, make sure to provide a warm place for them to sleep.
Ideal Temp for Pets: Within a few degrees of “normal” temp, depending on the animal.
Best Temperature to Set Your Basement
If you have an insulated finished basement that your family uses in the winter, the underground or partially underground location will probably keep temperatures around 60 F — comfortable for daytime use. An unfinished basement will get colder, and that cold air will make your home heating system work harder. Try using rugs and even roughed-in insulation to warm the space to at least 55 F.
In the summer your basement will probably stay cooler than the rest of the house, but keeping it at 80 F or lower will help suppress humidity and mildew.
Ideal Basement Temp: 55 F to 60 F in winter; less than 80 F in summer.
Best Temperature to Set Your Pantry
If your dream kitchen includes a walk-in pantry, you’ve likely stored a lot of dry food there. Keep it from going bad by maintaining a constant temperature of between 50 F to 70 F. Tile, stone or marble floors and walls can help keep temperatures down, and you can install small computer fans to pull air out of the pantry.
To help keep dry food cool in kitchen cabinets and non-walk-ins, store it away from the oven, range, dishwasher or fridge.
Ideal Pantry Temp: 50 F to 70 F.
How About Hanging in the Garage?
This past summer, the outdoors provided a much-needed outlet for safe socializing during the pandemic. Now, as the weather cools, many of us are investing in our backyards and patios to keep the fun going. But with unpredictable temperatures, plus rain and snow, some are looking to the garage as the next place to hang out safely with a little added warmth.
Though the outdoors is still best, a garage can be a viable option, so how do you turn a space usually used to store cars and household items into an area that’s safe and stylish to hang out in?
Start With the Floors
If you’re going to do just one thing to your garage, it should be the floors if you are going to be spending more time in your garage, you’ll want to cover the concrete that attracts so much dust, fluid and dirt.
Using a Polyaspartic floor coating is recommended. The look is similar to epoxy but it has better abrasion, so you won’t see the tire skid marks. Plus, it can be installed in hot or cold weather. The best part? Liquids wipe up very easily, so you can get rid of any car fluids that leak out before your gathering, or soak up any beverages before you park your car.
Your garage may already be spic and span, but many of us use our garage to store everything from paint cans and basketballs to strollers and snow blowers. If you are going to utilize your garage, cleaning up is also key to make sure your space doesn’t become a safety hazard in a different way. Purge what you don’t need and organize the rest, whether it be via slat wall panels with peg boards, or simply bins to remove the clutter. If you’ll be hosting children in your garage, make sure to put any harmful chemicals or sharp tools out of reach.
Add a Safe Source of Heat
In order for it to be a safe place to gather, you’ll want to keep your garage doors open—and windows, if possible—for airflow. On chilly nights, heat will be key. We likely don’t have to tell you this, but live fire in a garage is a bad idea, so if you want a fire pit, keep it outside.
The best way to heat a garage is by adding insulation, if your garage doesn’t have it already. There are also overhead garage heaters that can be installed. They do make portable heaters for the garage, but make sure they are specifically designed for garages (propane patio heaters won’t fly) to avoid potential fire hazards. If you aren’t sure, consult someone at your local hardware store or a general contractor.
Have a Game Plan
You probably never thought entertaining in your garage would be a thing, but here we are in 2020. Part of making it COVID-19-safe for your guests is having a plan, setting up tables or chairs in advance to ensure guests are properly spaced six feet apart and as close to the open air as possible. Setting a time limit is key. A quick tea with friends in the garage is great, a four-hour tailgate exposes you to much more risk. Make sure to also set expectations with guests about mask wearing and have things like hand sanitizer readily available.
Using your garage to be social this fall doesn’t have to revolve around food or drinks. In fact, There are much more creative options; a basketball hoop to be set up on the slatwall for rainy day play. Garage gyms have also been a popular request, as people section off a part of their garage to add rubber mat gym flooring/rubber foam and some equipment. Visit sites like https://www.cir.net/rubber-foam-sponge/ for additional guidance.
Others are thinking of garages as places to put a small art studio or even a small office as more people are working from home.
To-Dos: Your November Home Checklist
With Thanksgiving approaching and the winter holidays around the corner, there are things to look forward to (and prepare for) this time of year — even with the adjustments we are having to make because of the pandemic. Batten down the hatches for winter weather and get a jump on holiday prep, so you can relax and savor the simple pleasures of the season, like family dinners and walks in the crisp air outdoors.
Things to Check Off Your List in an Hour or Less
- Replace floor protectors on chairs. Don’t let dining chairs do damage to your hardwood floors: Check their feet and add or replace floor-protecting pads if needed. Felt pads come in self-adhesive and nail-in varieties; if you’re using the self-adhesive type, be sure to clean the base of each chair foot thoroughly and allow it to dry before applying.
- Examine the sump pump. If you have a sump pump in your basement as protection in case of flooding, make sure it is working properly before the rainy season really gets going, and then repair or replace it if needed.
- Check paths, stairs and railings for safety. Slips and falls on ice and snow can happen anywhere, but they’re even more likely if the footing is uneven or a railing isn’t sturdy. Take a walk around your home’s exterior, paying special attention to walkways, stairs and railings, and make repairs as needed.
- Show some kindness to feathered friends. Nonmigrating birds can use extra help when wild food becomes scarce and water sources freeze. Stock up now on birdseed so you can keep those feeders full, and consider providing a water source as well — refresh it daily to prevent mosquitoes.
Tackle These Tasks Over a Weekend
- Get a jump on holiday prep. If you plan to have a special holiday meal, take a bit of time now to prepare a few things in advance. Launder and iron the fancy linens (roll up freshly ironed linens on old wrapping paper tubes to prevent wrinkles), drop off the kitchen knives for a professional sharpening or polish some silver — you’ll thank yourself later.
- Deep-clean bathrooms. Aim to schedule a deep cleaning of the bathrooms so a quick surface wipe-down will be all you’ll need to get things looking spotless again during the holidays. 7. Check bathtub caulk and repair if needed. While cleaning the bathroom, notice the condition of the caulk around the tub. Cracked or worn out caulk can allow water to seep into your home’s framing. If you spot a problem area, get it replaced as soon as possible
- Inspect the home’s exterior, and then cover gaps. Cover any gaps you find around the exterior of your home that may be large enough for a mouse to enter — it doesn’t take muchspcefor these little critters to sneak in. Cover exterior vents with hardware cloth, and attach door sweeps to the bottoms of exterior doors to stop furry creatures from squeezing in when the weather turns chilly.9. Remove the last of the fall leaves. Aim to fit in one final raking and gutter-cleaning session once the last leaves have fallen — but before the first snow.
Maintenance and Extras to Budget For This Month
- Fix plumbing issues before the holiday crunch. Have a slow drain, stuck garbage disposal or finicky toilet? Don’t wait until the busy holiday season, when it may be harder to find a plumber who’s available. Fix it now.
Sectional or Sofa?
If you are heading out on a sofa shopping trip and you are undecided on a sofa or sectional we can help. First determine if your room can accommodate a sectional and the best way to do that is to measure the space.
First: Decide how many seats you would like to have for family, friends etc… Considered the ideal number of seats for your needs and space.
Then: Decide if the sectional will be best placed against a wall, free floating in your room or if you would like to use this furniture as a room divider.
Now that you have addressed those issues and have made your decision a sectional sofa is the way you want to go for your new furniture, measuring is the next step.
Outside dimensions provided by furniture manufactures are at the outside widest point. This is the dimension of the footprint a piece of furniture will take up of your floor space.
Measuring for new furniture can be done several different ways. Measure twice and order the right size only once. If you are able to clear the area you have chosen for your new sectional then you will have an easier time getting your measurements.
- Disaster Hotline: 800-962-1125
- Disaster Help Center: https://www.cslb.ca.gov/media_room/disaster_help_center/
- Debris Removal Fast Facts: https://www.cslb.ca.gov/Resources/GuidesandPublications/DebrisRemovalFacts.pdf
- Rebuilding after a Disaster Fast Facts: https://www.cslb.ca.gov/Resources/GuidesAndPublications/Disaster_Rebuilding_08_17_2020.pdf
~ Thank you~
A very special thank you to all of our callers! We live to answer your questions, so keep them coming!
Thank you to our Technical Support:
- Danny Bringer – Chief Engineer
- Carol “Remodeling Babe” Carey – Executive Producer
- Sam Reed – Associate Producer
- Rico Figliolini – Digital Master