January Home Tips
As you know, 2013 was a really crazed year for real estate, so the monthly tips from me fell by the wayside, sorry to say. However, to compensate—and to assuage my guilt—here are several:
If you haven’t cleared the leaves from your house gutters, please hire someone to do it. Clogged gutters could cause ice dams, water damage to the exterior and interior of your house, the vegetation will attract insects, etc. (I wrote to “hire” someone for good reason: I knew someone who was on a ladder, clearing his mother’s gutters. A snake reared its head in the gutter and the shocked man fell backwards off the ladder and fractured his back in several places.)
According to Consumer Reports, the following are the best rated, energy-saving, general purpose light bulbs (prices will vary, depending on store):
60 watt; 3 equally good; LED—Samsung A19 60-Watt Warm White for $30 (warm yellow); the Felt Electric A19/OM/800/LED for $35 (white); the Utilitech A19 13.5 60-W Warm White LED for $20 (white); GE A19 Dimmable 60W for $35 (white);
40-50 watt; LED—Toshiba A19 40W LDAB0827WEGUSD for $40 (warm yellow);
75 watt; 2 equally good; LED—Phillips A21 17W 75W Soft White for $31 (warm yellow); Sylvania 14W A19 75W LED Dimmable for $40 (warm yellow);
100 watt; 3 with same overall score; CFL:
Utilitech 100W Soft White CFL for $2.50 (warm yellow); brightness—good; warm-up time—very good; frequent on/off performance*—very good; no light distribution rating; Felt Electric Ecobulb Plus 100W CFL for 42.50 (warm yellow); brightness—very good; warm-up time—good; frequent on/off performance—very good; no light distribution rating; EcoSmart 100W Soft White CFL for $1.50 (warm yellow); brightness—good; warm-up time—very good; frequent on/off performance—excellent; no light distribution rating.
* Reflects the average number of 2-minute-on and 2-minute-off cycles each bulb survived
One glass of water contains a lot of water. A flood from a 40- or 60-gallon water heater can be disastrous. Paul Cornell, who is tops on my inspectors’ list, likes the easy installation of an alarm for your water heater. Paul suggests a Kidder Watercop, which comes in a variety of prices, depending on your needs.
In a previous Tip of the Month, I wrote about the dangers of English Ivy to trees. English Ivy is not native to this country. It’s invasive and pernicious, attacking the trunks of trees, affixing its centipede-like roots to the bark, keeping water from the trunk and eventually strangling it. The vines are easier to remove now, when their grasp on the trunk has been lessened, by cutting the vines and pulling the roots out of the ground when weather permits. The vines are damaging to houses, too. Take a look at the Foster Street side of the yellow house at the corner of Foster and Lowell. The vines were removed from the side of the house but not before they made their imprint on the paint and made indelible tracks on the stone foundation. If you know anyone with English Ivy-covered trees, do let the owners know. The ivy is attacking so many trees in Cambridge and Belmont and in Somerville on the grounds of the Academy of Arts and Sciences.
To end, here’s some fun; you’ll love it.