Show Notes: Floods, Barn Doors and Home Inventories – On the House

Show Notes: Floods, Barn Doors and Home Inventories

By on September 24, 2016

Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 10:21 AM EDT means it is officially fall. Time to get your home ready for cooler weather, beautiful fall color and a few fix-ups. Thinking about a barn door for your home? How about outdoor entertaining in cooler weather? Our tips today are as easy a wrapping up in a warm blanket.

 Thank you to our guest: Mr. Don Westover with Quick Dam Flood Protection and Absorbent Specialty Products

 To learn more about these products visit:


 No TV? Just Use This Light Bulb

 Luckily, there’s a new smart light bulb that can project a big screen onto any flat surface. It’s called Beam, and it’s about to make your dreams of watching the latest and greatest streaming goodness on your ceiling a reality.

The LED-powered bulb, which is just slightly bigger than your average Solo cup, screws into any standard light socket, and easily connects to your smart devices via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Propped on its side on the floor or a table, it casts an excellent 854 x 480p screen on the adjacent wall, but when you feel like getting clever, there’s also a special long-armed stand that makes it easy to maneuver and point it in any direction you please.

At $560, this thing isn’t cheap, but it’s also capable of a lot more than just projecting your never-ending Netflix queue. It’s got 8GB of built-in storage, enough to load up on a number of other apps or photos, and supports both AirPlay and Miracast, so you can freely broadcast content to it from a whole slew of apps via your laptop or phone.

For instance, you could screw it into the light socket above the kitchen counter to follow along with your favorite recipes, or set it up in your bedroom as a wall-sized alarm clock that wakes you every morning with the daily headlines and forecast. Even better, it doesn’t necessarily need to be hooked up to external speakers, since there’s one built in.


 Do This One Thing To Prepare For A Natural Disaster

 Here’s the news: You can be prepared. If a wildfire, hurricane, or other disaster wrecks your home, you could lose everything you own. Certain things—heirloom jewelry, family photos—can’t be replaced. But others (wide-screen TV, furniture) can, with reimbursement from your insurance company. And in order to get that reimbursement, it’s essential to have detailed information about your possessions—and many people just don’t.

Use an app on your phone to log everything. Programs such as MyStuff2 and DreamVault will walk you through each of the steps. They provide an easy, cloud-stored way to assure your home inventory is always up to date.

Take detailed photos. Use your camera phone to take pictures of each room—down to the drawers and closets. While this may not replace a detailed log, it does make it easier to quickly review your belongings in an emergency.

Go room by room. Overwhelmed? Going through each room one by one—maybe over the span of a week or two—can be easier to handle. Plus, it will reduce the possibility of getting bored or tired and skipping over something critical, like your jewelry box.

Maintain a spreadsheet. Don’t want to store your inventory in the cloud? Log everything on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, organized by room, purpose, or function. Make sure to include the value of each item, as well as its age and condition.

 Know what to log. While you’ll want to chronicle everything, you don’t need to get into the minutiae of that weird knickknacks basket in the kitchen. You can lump small items into categories (e.g., “dishes” or “spatulas”), but consider separating individual items of clothing.  People tend to forget what’s in their closets and drawers, There’s a lot of value there, and you want to make sure you’re getting reimbursed for what you actually own.

Keep a copy off-site.  Storing your inventory, whether it’s a physical copy of the spreadsheet or a flash drive with the Excel file, in either a bank safe-deposit box or the cloud. You can also email a copy to yourself with an easily remembered subject line (suggestion: “Open this if the world is ending”). “If you have a fire and your list is in your house and it gets destroyed, it’s all for nothing,” she says.

Update regularly. Logging everything is just half the battle: You’ll need to update your list at least yearly, or whenever you make a large purchase. Keeping receipts to make the reimbursement process even easier. If you have trouble remembering to update your list every time you buy a big-ticket item, try scheduling an annual review after the holidays.


Help to Save Your Home From Flooding

Quick Dams, What Are They And How Do They Work?

Quick Dams contain a super absorbent polymer (similar to what’s inside baby diapers) that react and swell on contact with water. Once activated (typically 5 minutes), the water is contained as a gel within the fabric, thus acting as a barrier.

 How do you activate them?

Lay them in position and wait for the rain, spray with a hose, dunk them in a bucket of water, lay them in a puddle or place them in a water source like a stream.

 Can Quick Dams be used indoors and outdoors?

Yes they can, although they will be moist, so be careful when leaving them on floors that may get water damage.

How long do Quick Dams last?

Un-activated: indefinite as long as kept dry, so store in their closed package until needed.

Activated: if left in position, they can last for 6-12 months

Can I re-use them?

Yes, you can re-use them. Once activated, Quick Dams will remain active until the water evaporates, typically taking a several weeks for complete evaporation. If left in position, they will shrink while evaporating and grow when re-exposed to water.

What do I do with them when I’m done?

Quick Dams are environmentally friendly and can be disposed of in the trash. Quick Dam contents will degrade with UV exposure, pressure and time, leaving an empty pouch that can be thrown in the trash.


One To Cross Off Your Fall Maintenance List

 Don’t be a neat freak!

Here’s what fall yard maintenance doesn’t mean:

Raking, deadheading, and pulling every last piece of dead organic matter in your yard. That’s so last century. Today, experts say you should leave fallen leaves on the grass, then shred them with a mower into shards that decompose and feed the lawn all winter and into spring.

While you’re at it, leave dried, hollow stems of plants so pollinators, like native bees and wasps, can move in for winter. It’s their version of going to Palm Beach for the season.

There’s a shift in landscaping not to be overly tidy, native pollinators use hollow stems to hibernate. Leave some of them standing.”

Pollinators particularly like the stems of gladioli and black-eyed Susans. Still, you’re not entirely off the hook: You should still collect and shred fallen branches; bag and toss diseased plants; and gather and store garden stakes and cages.

But don’t go crazy, OK?


 Is A Barn Door Right For You?

 5 Questions to Ask Before Installing a Barn Door

 Find out whether that barn door you love is the right solution for your space

   1.What is the structural stability?

One of the most important considerations before adding to or removing from an existing structure is whether you will be compromising it in any way. Unless you have a set of plans for your prebuilt home, there is no way to know just by looking whether your door was framed adequately underneath the drywall.

Although a barn door, aka a sliding door system, provides a parallel diffusion of weight across the header, the point load for the track, hardware and door will be on the exterior of the frame. You’ll need to know whether the door or doors you’ve chosen are too heavy for the track system they’ll be utilizing, which is especially important if this is a DIY project.

  1. What are you trying to cover up?

 Take, for instance, the bathroom barn door. Keep in mind that a barn door does not lie flush with the door opening (in nearly all instances). A barn door essentially hovers over the opening on the exterior track. It covers the opening completely but does not seal the opening the way a typical door does, and depending on the type of track you choose, there can be a small gap between the door and the drywall. If you prefer privacy, especially when using the restroom, ensuring that you get the best possible contact between door frame and door is essential.

  1. What look are you going for?

Choose a barn door material and style that harmonizes with your home.

  1. How big is your hardware?

When it comes to barn doors, nothing sets them apart as much as their hardware. Whether you choose a wrought iron rustic rail with oversize wheels or svelte steel rollers on a barely-there track, use scale and placement to vary your style statement.

  1. Is this a long-term love affair?

Barn doors are a beautiful alternative to the traditional hinged room closure. While they are lauded as space savers because they do not require a specific radius for opening and closure, they do take up significant wall space — both open and closed. Prepping for a barn door installation isn’t without a few sacrifices, either. The track requires a lot of holes in the wall, and an investment (in both time and money) would be involved in restoring the opening to a standard door closure should you need or want to down the road.


Tips For Flawless Fall Outdoor Festivities

  •  Decorate for the Season

Many people decorate the front of their homes or their dining rooms to coincide with the season, but never think to take the same concept to the backyard, where everyone gathers. Put away the bright summery throw pillows and exchange them for warmer or even earthy tones, like the ones on this link. Place a few pumpkins in a basket to create harvest-themed centerpiece on an outdoor buffet or table. Add little touches of autumn all around your outdoor rooms.

  •  Light Up the Night

Nothing says “festive” like flickering lights. Who says stringed lights are only for Christmas? Now that the sun goes down earlier, you can take the opportunity to add some fun and festive lighting to your backyard. Get creative in how you light up your outdoor rooms. Look for LED lanterns, solar landscape lighting, or flameless candles that can be set on timers to light up as soon as the sun goes down.

  • Get Warm and Cozy

Provide your guests with opportunities to warm themselves on chillier evenings. Options can be as simple as a hot beverage or a comfy throw blanket or can include any variety of outdoor heaters, from permanent overhead installations to portable floor or tabletop butane heaters.

  • Crank Up the Fire

Whether a simple chiminea or a custom outdoor fireplace, guests love to gather around a fire. The crackle and smell of an open fire warms the heart and soul as much as the body. Make the fire an interactive part of your event by roasting marshmallows or hot dogs, or just open a nice bottle of wine and relax.

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