Show Notes: New Year Tips – On the House

Show Notes: New Year Tips

By on January 7, 2017

Happy New Year 2017! We have habits for you to ditch this year and more. And, it’s our 30th broadcast birthday. Like all birthdays each year is filled with great memories. We agree the most memorable was our broadcast live from the White House. Can’t wait to do it again.  


What’s New From The Consumer Electronics Show 2017

Get Into Hot Water

Moen’s new smart shower system wants to fix this by adding the ability to remotely start the shower from a smartphone so you can pre-heat the water temperature.

The U shower system lets you connect up to four water outlets (regular shower head, body spray, tub faucet, or overhead rain shower) and comes with a digital control panel. It connects to an app via Wi-Fi and lets you program up to 12 settings, such as a cold shower for post-workouts or a warm one for wintry nights. You can get really specific, too: the water temperature can be set precisely between 60 to 120 degrees.

Smart Garbage Can 

The GeniCan is a smart accessory for converting your boring, analog garbage can into an internet-connected smart trash can of the future. Look, smart devices are going to enter every facet of your house anyway, and when you actually think about it, a smart garbage kind of makes sense.

The GeniCan automatically adds things you throw out to a shared shopping list, making it easy to figure out what you need to buy the next time you’re in a grocery store. That list is then available in an accompanying app, which also has the same barcode scanning and manual item adding options as the GeniCan itself.

Of course, it’s a little more complex than that — you have to actively scan a barcode on a box to get the GeniCan to add it to your shopping list, so it doesn’t just add everything you throw out. Products without barcodes can also be added by using voice recognition to identify the item while holding it in front of the GeniCan’s cameras. The GeniCan runs off four AA batteries, and claims to work for about a year before you’ll need to swap the batteries out for new ones (ideally, using the GeniCan to order more batteries).


8 Terrible Habits Homeowners Should Ditch In 2017

Terrible habit No. 1: Thinking ‘If it’s not broke, don’t fix it’

Wrong! Appliances, furnaces, paint jobs, and hardwood floors all need regular maintenance, whether they look as if they need it or not. Home exteriors need to be repainted every four or five years, before you see peel or rot. HVAC filters should be cleaned or replaced every month. Granite should be sealed every year before stains form. So try this new habit: When you buy or install something, read and obey maintenance instructions, which will keep your home working well and looking good longer.

Terrible habit No. 2: Hanging dry cleaning on doorknobs

Clothes, bags, whatever … just put it in the closet.

Who doesn’t hang their office clothes on door handles on some occasion? Not to mention purses, gym bags, and any number of other things? It seems like no biggie, but this actually strains doors and can pull them out of alignment. Looks kind of crappy, too. Is it really that hard to hang dry cleaning in the closet? Of course not. If necessary, get some wall-mounted hangers or coat racks.

Terrible habit No. 3: Wearing shoes inside

Shoes scuff floors, stain carpets, and deliver dust, dander, and disease into your home. In fact, a University of Houston study found that 39% of shoes contained Clostridium difficile, aka C. diff, which causes bad diarrhea and is increasingly resistant to antibiotics. Nasty! So leave comfy socks or slippers at your entry door and slip into them when you or your guests enter your home. Foot coverings are better than going barefoot. Your skin produces oil and sweat, which isn’t good for flooring, either.

No matter how cute it may be, no one should wear shoes inside.

Terrible habit No. 4: Tossing cleaning tablets in toilet tanks

Sure, they’re an easy way to clean your toilet. But eventually the chemicals will corrode the plastic parts that keep your toilet flushing. Instead, use a little elbow grease and scrub your toilet with a brush, or use a flush-by-flush product that you attach to the bowl, not the tank.

Terrible habit No. 5: Packing stuff under your deck

It’s OK to store some, say, patio furniture under your deck. But if you pack that storage space with everything, you’ll trap moisture that can warp decking. Always keep at least 1 foot of space between stuff and the joists.

Terrible habit No. 6: Smoking inside

Even if you don’t care about your health, care about the health of your investment when cigarette smoke seeps into walls and floors. “Stop smoking in the house. When it comes time to sell, you’ll be glad you did,” says Lee Williams, a New York City realtor with the Level Group. If you must smoke (must you?), do it outside, away from windows and doors that could allow smoke to seep in.

Terrible habit No. 7: Using closets to hide clutter

Even if visitors can’t see it, you know it’s there (and God forbid a guest needs to rummage around in there). Clutter makes your home look messy, small, and uncared for. Stop letting mail accumulate, keeping clothes you don’t wear, books you won’t reread, and dishes you’ll never use. You don’t have to declutter in a weeklong sweep; you can do it little by little. Every day, find one or two things you don’t use, put them in a bag or box, then donate, gift, or sell them when the container is full.

Terrible habit No. 8: Ignoring small problems

It’s easy to ignore a small wet spot on the ceiling, or a slight musty smell in the basement. But you disregard these small problems at your peril. A wet spot on your ceiling can mean anything from ice damming, cracks around roof vent collars, or missing or failing roof shingles. A persistent musty smell could mean mold is growing. These conditions are easy to fix at the beginning. But if you wait, you’ll spend more repairing small problems that have become big problems.

And now that you know the bad habits to break, stay tuned tomorrow for more good habits all homeowners should adopt in 2017.


Great Winter Quick Fix

Doors, drawers, hinges: A few drops of oil can improve the longevity of hinges and drawer guides. Avoid products such as WD-40, which is high in toxic chemicals. Vegetable oil works, but it can become rancid. Try mineral oil instead; although it’s a petroleum byproduct, it’s nontoxic.


Has The Flu Hit Your Home? Here Are 5 Cleaning Tips To Keep It From Spreading


A person who has the flu can infect people as far away as six feet by coughing, sneezing and talking — and, depending on the type of flu virus, this can continue for five to seven days, even longer with sick kids. By keeping the sick person confined to one room and one bathroom, you’ll reduce the area exposed to the virus and so limit the number of rooms you have to disinfect.

Clean germ-infected areas

Clean the rooms used by the sick person every day. Use an antibacterial cleaner to wipe key areas such as: bedside tables, toilets, bathroom surfaces, doorknobs, countertops and light switches. If a child has the flu, wipe down favorite toys, too.

Don’t forget remote controls, video game controls, cell phones, iPads or other personal devices. Use cotton swabs to reach crevices and spaces in between keys.

Line the wastebaskets in these rooms with plastic grocery bags to minimize contact with germs. Empty at least once a day, replacing bags each time.

Open windows to bring in fresh air.

Tidy up the toothbrush

“It is not necessary to toss your toothbrush after having the flu. Fact is, you cannot give yourself the flu again by using the same toothbrush,” Roberts said. “You can infect others in your household so keep your brush uncovered and far away from the others while you’re sick.”

If you don’t want to replace your toothbrush, run it under hot water or soak it in antibacterial mouthwash to kill off any germs. And after each use, rinse the toothbrush thoroughly in tap water, allowing it to air dry away from other toothbrushes.

Sterilize sponges

Kitchen sponges are already a breeding ground for bacteria and are often used on multiple surfaces. Avoid spreading germs by microwaving wet sponges on high for one to two minutes every day.

Laundry precautions

Use a laundry hamper to transport the sick person’s towels, bedding and clothes (and the clothes of the caregiver, too) to the washer. “Hugging” laundry could spread germs to you.

Wash the washer. After washing the bed sheets, clothes and towels of a sick family member, take time to wash your washing machine. The moist environment in the washer is a breeding ground for germs. Run an empty cycle on hot water and add bleach to the dispenser. Run an additional cycle to ensure the bleach is gone


Quick Winter Tips

  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy walkways.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. It’s a serious workout, and going at it too hard can bring on a heart attack − a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, stretch before going outside.
  • Wrap water pipes in your basement or crawl spaces with insulation sleeves to slow heat transfer.
  • Consider an insulated blanket for your hot water heater.
  • If you have a fireplace, keep the flue closed when you’re not using it.
  • Have a contractor check your roof to see if it would sustain the weight of a heavy snowfall.
  • Make sure your furniture isn’t blocking your home’s heating vents.


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