Outdoor Living

Charlotte Pools, Weather too Pretty for Full Winterizing, Expert Says

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Carolinas weather allows for many fall evenings to enjoy an outdoor pool (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Tim S. of Charlotte).

Pool professional says don't completely cover up sparkling water, for better maintenance and for more enjoyment into the fall season.

Contractor Stamps New Design in Pool Deck

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Schraner Masonry only had to remove some grass to expand this pool deck. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Sharilyn W. of San Diego, Calif.)
Schraner Masonry only had to remove some grass to expand this pool deck. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Sharilyn W. of San Diego, Calif.)

A San Diego contractor extends a homeowner’s pool deck by building an adjacent concrete platform, then matches the surface with a stamped concrete pattern.

Why August in D.C. is the time to think about winterizing your pool

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Swimming pool in Maryland.
August isn't too soon to think about the condition of your pool cover. (Photo courtesy of Potomac Pool Service)

Mild Washington, D.C., falls may extend your swimming pool season, but August is when you should be making plans for pool closing, covers and winter chemicals.

Seminole pool contractor makes splash with remodel

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Pool Perfection of Seminole did a complete remodel of this pool built in 1971. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Matthew M. of Seminole, Fla.)
Pool Perfection of Seminole did a complete remodel of this pool built in 1971. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Matthew M. of Seminole, Fla.)

Homeowner describes the remodeled pool and cool deck as an amazing transformation and says Pool Perfection completed the work faster than she expected.

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Garages & Driveways

In Charlotte, Little Libraries are a Big Way to Grow Community

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library (Photo by Courtney St. Onge)
Little free libraries are popping up in neighborhoods across Charlotte. (Photo by Courtney St. Onge)

A carpenter can help, or you can build your own box of books to share and join Charlotte's little free library list.

20 Things to Throw Away in 20 Minutes

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Often times, you are so used to having pesky items lying around, you seem to see past them, says Nelson. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member James F. of Chicago)
Often times, you are so used to having pesky items lying around, you seem to see past them, says Nelson. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member James F. of Chicago)

Is your home feeling cluttered? One highly rated provider shares 20 items that you can throw away in 20 minutes for a cleaner, more organized home.

3 Areas to Consider Rightsizing in Your Home

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If you examine why you eat out more often than you'd like, it may have more to do with lack of storage or preparation areas rather than a busy schedule, says Jaggers. (Photo courtesy of Staging Your Next Move)
If you examine why you eat out more often than you'd like, it may have more to do with lack of storage or preparation areas rather than a busy schedule, says Jaggers. (Photo courtesy of Staging Your Next Move)

You may be considering upsizing or downsizing, but it may be most effective to consider rightsizing. Here are three places to look for rightsizing in your home.

Fresh Mulch in Fall Feeds Soil, Protects Plants Over Winter

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A layer of fresh hardwood mulch improves the soil and offers protection for plants. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Brian B.)

The best time of year to lay down mulch? That varies. But this expert advice on choosing the best mulch for Charlotte, N.C., yards is helpful any time.

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Pests

Does Charlotte Have a Rodent Problem? Exterminators Rank Rat, Mice Calls 20th in U.S.

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Mice can be a health hazard in your home. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Sophia K. of Dallas.)

Rodent infestations are common around Charlotte homes in late fall, early winter, exterminators say. Here's how to prevent calling a pest control company.

Chicago Tops Rat List Despite Increased Control Efforts

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A city of Chicago Streets and Sanitation worker baits rat traps in the city as part of stepped up rat control efforts. (Photo courtesy of the City of Chicago)
A city of Chicago Streets and Sanitation worker baits rat traps in the city as part of stepped up rat control efforts. (Photo courtesy of the City of Chicago)

Chicago has stepped up rat control efforts by 30 percent in recent years, but that's not enough to keep the city off the top of a list for rodent infestation.

Organic Tips to Control Pests in Your Garden

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If you are going to pay extra to eat things that aren’t exposed to chemicals, why are you exposing yourself to chemicals in your own yard, says Code. (Photo courtesy of Gardens By Larisa)
If you are going to pay extra to eat things that aren’t exposed to chemicals, why are you exposing yourself to chemicals in your own yard, says Code. (Photo courtesy of Gardens By Larisa)

Weeds and pests may be bugging you, but there are ways to fight them off without using harsh chemicals in your home and your yard. Take them on the natural way.

That Stinks: Chicago Suburb Battles Feisty Skunk Population

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Skunk in Chicago
Chicago suburb Vernon Hills is coping with a recent resurgence of aggressive skunks. (Photo courtesy of member Mary C. of Libertyville, Ill.)

The village of Vernon Hills, Ill., has called in a Chicago animal control company to help rid the town of what residents say are increasingly aggressive skunks.

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Home Appliances

In D.C., New Apartments Made Mostly of Recycled Metal Shipping Containers

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D.C. shipping container apartment houses (Photo by Jason Hargraves)
In the Brookland neighborhood of D.C., shipping containers have been repurposed into housing units. (Photo by Jason Hargraves)

Shipping containers as apartments? D.C. is seeing a recycled metal building boom thanks to these unused containers being converted into living spaces.

What Makes Arlington County Such a Highly Rated Place to Live?

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Arlington County Virginia (Photo by Jason Hargraves)
Arlington's Courthouse neighborhood is two subway stops from D.C. (Photo by Jason Hargraves)

Arlington County always seems to rank as one of best places to live in the U.S. Why? As they say in real estate, it's all about location, location, location.

Should You Rent or Buy a Home? Depends on How Long You Stay in D.C.

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D.C. apartment leasing (Photo by Jason Hargraves)
Renting instead of buying may be the best option for those living in the District for only a few years. (Photo by Jason Hargraves)

The savings of owning your home versus renting in the Washington, D.C., area come down to how long you expect to live in the residence. Check out the numbers.

How to Clean Stainless Steel: 3 Tips From a Chicago House Cleaner

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Cleaning your stainless steel appliances might be as easy as applying some water, dish soap and the right kind of cloth.  (Photo by Steven Jack)
Cleaning your stainless steel appliances might be as easy as applying some water, dish soap and the right kind of cloth. (Photo by Steven Jack)

To keep stainless steel appliances shining, you don't need special cleaning products. We asked a house cleaner for her best buffing advice for shiny kitchen appliances.

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Plumbing

What to Know Before a Plumbing Emergency

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Leaky plumbing messy area under the sink
It pays to pick your plumber before you absolutely have to, and to know tricks of the plumbing scam trade. (Photo by Steve Mitchell)

It's a good idea to get to know a good plumber before you have a plumbing emergency. Also, watch out for these red flags of possible plumbing-related scams.

6 Water Heater Maintenance Tips

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Not only should you know where your water heater is, you should have clear access to it, says Carpenter. (Photo courtesy of Water Heaters Only Inc.)
Not only should you know where your water heater is, you should have clear access to it, says Carpenter. (Photo courtesy of Water Heaters Only Inc.)

Keep your water heater in tip top shape longer by following these simple tips for regular maintenance that could even lower your utility bills.

Leahy Plumbing Leaves Downtown Bethesda

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Leahy Plumbing in D.C. (Photo by Jason Hargraves)
Leahy Plumbing will be moving from its downtown Bethesda location after more than 50 years. (Photo by Jason Hargraves)

Leahy Plumbing and Heating is leaving its Bethesda location after more than 50 years. The company has a new building in another part of Montgomery County.

Appliance Shopping? Virginia Tax-Free Event Points to Energy Savings

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Sales tax holiday (Photo by Jason Hargraves)
Keep an eye out for energy-saving appliances if you want to skip the sales tax in Virginia. (Photo by Jason Hargraves)

Columbus Day weekend is when Virginia shoppers can purchase home appliances without sales tax. Of course, the items must promise energy and water savings.

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Home Exteriors

#AskAngie: How to Maintain Cedar Shake Siding

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house with cedar shake siding
For best results, cedar shake siding should be stained, painted or treated with a clear coat. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Bill W. of Newton, New Jersey)

Want your home's cedar shake siding to last as long as possible? Make sure it’s properly treated, stained or painted. And follow these expert suggestions.

Charlotte-area Couple’s Trust Pays off with Big Siding, Windows Job

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Elizabeth Philippus recently replaced windows and doors at her Concord home. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Elizabeth P.)

Concord home renovation, window and door replacement goes smoothly with J.A. Fisher on site.

Is Cracked Brick Always a Foundation Issue?

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 If your home has clay brick, this cracking could simply be caused by moisture in the environment, says Pruett. (Photo courtesy of Brick Doctor Corp)
If your home has clay brick, this cracking could simply be caused by moisture in the environment, says Pruett. (Photo courtesy of Brick Doctor Corp)

Are the bricks on your house cracking and you fear there is a problem with your foundation? That may not be the case. Learn why your bricks may be cracking.

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Real Estate

Chicago Ranks High for Halloween Trick-or-Treaters

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Thousands of Chicago children trick or treating during Lincoln Park Zoo's annual Spooky Zoo Spectacular. (Photo courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo)
Thousands of Chicago children trick or treating during Lincoln Park Zoo's annual Spooky Zoo Spectacular. (Photo courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo)

Which Chicago neighborhoods are best for home value, population density, walkability and local crime statistics when it comes to family fun on Halloween night?

Crippling Home Defects That Often Go Unnoticed

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When condensation starts forming in the insulation, it gets saturated, heavy and starts falling apart, says Jimenez. (Photo courtesy of A House on a Rock Home Inspections)
When condensation starts forming in the insulation, it gets saturated, heavy and starts falling apart, says Jimenez. (Photo courtesy of A House on a Rock Home Inspections)

There are places in your home that are easy to forget, but these oft-neglected areas of the house are where defects lurk, waiting to become major problems.

How to Prepare for a Cold Weather Move

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It’s always good to have a plan in place in case a winter storm or inclement weather derails your move, says Komorous. (Photo by Jeremy Deal)
It’s always good to have a plan in place in case a winter storm or inclement weather derails your move, says Komorous. (Photo by Jeremy Deal)

Moving in fall and winter can be cost-effective, but it has risks. Plan ahead with these tips to make sure your cold weather move doesn’t get blown off track.

4 Steps to Pack Fragile Items Like a Pro

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Since lamps and vases require additional protection, bubble wrap is a necessity, says Shoushan. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Elizabeth C. of Washington)
Since lamps and vases require additional protection, bubble wrap is a necessity, says Shoushan. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Elizabeth C. of Washington)

Pack fragile items like vases and lamps securely to protect them during a move so they make it to your new home whole and undamaged with these expert tips.

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Home Health Hazards

4 Signs That You Need Mold Remediation

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Most molds, when allowed to grow in abundance, are visibly seen in certain colors, says Cascone. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Teresa K. of Beachwood, Ohio)
Most molds, when allowed to grow in abundance, are visibly seen in certain colors, says Cascone. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Teresa K. of Beachwood, Ohio)

Mold may be present in your home and affecting your life even if no actual mold is visible. Here are four things that may indicate you need mold remediation.

Lead Paint Still Lurking in Indy

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The Environmental Management Institute in Indianapolis trains contractors to contain and clear away lead debris properly. (Photo by Brandon Smith)

Exposure to lead paint can occur during home renovation. Protect yourself by hiring an EPA lead-certified contractor in Indianapolis for projects on older homes.

How to Keep Your Family Safe from Lead Poisoning

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It's vital to hire an EPA-certified contractor to handle remodeling projects that involve lead paint, says Wright. (Photo by Brandon Smith)
It's vital to hire an EPA-certified contractor to handle remodeling projects that involve lead paint, says Wright. (Photo by Brandon Smith)

On this episode of Chat with the Experts, we talk with Dollis Wright about how to protect your family from lead poisoning and how to handle lead in your home.

Uncertified Lead Renovators Face EPA Fines, Exclusion

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Contractors who work in lead paint and fail to get EPA-certified can face sanctions. (Photo by Brandon Smith)
Contractors who work in lead paint and fail to get EPA-certified can face sanctions. (Photo by Brandon Smith)

EPA fines companies for violating its RRP rule, and Angie's List adds exclusion notices to contractors whose work requires EPA lead-safety certification.

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Roofing

Attack These 3 Attic Problems to Boost Energy Efficiency, Comfort

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Before winter arrives, ensure your attic is sealed properly and has both adequate insulation and ventilation. (Photo courtesy of member Kitty Jones of Columbus, Ohio)
Before winter arrives, ensure your attic is sealed properly and has both adequate insulation and ventilation. (Photo courtesy of member Kitty Jones of Columbus, Ohio)

A comfortable, energy efficient home starts at the top. Those hot spots and cold rooms may relate to problems in your attic. Beyond adding insulation, what's a homeowner to do?

No Roof Left Behind? Mooresville Roofer Replaces 3 Roofs for Homeowners in Need

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Asphalt roof replacement
Angie’s List members reported paying an average of $8,900 to replace an asphalt shingle roof in 2013. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Michael J.)

What if a "roof over your head" seems out of reach financially? A national roof donation program replaces roofs for homeowners in need, including 3 near Charlotte, N.C.

Gutter Cleaners Find More than Leaves Up There

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Keeping gutters clear can prevent myriad damage to your home and its foundation. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Marshall H.)

Animals, tools and balls are also likely to be clogging your gutters, say longtime gutter cleaning professionals.

Suburban Chicago Roofing Company Fulfills Longtime Volunteer's Dream

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A crew from Licitra Roofing works to replace the roof of longtime community volunteer Bonnie Krozel of Western Springs, Illinois. (Photo courtesy of Licitra Roofing)
A crew from Licitra Roofing works to replace the roof of longtime community volunteer Bonnie Krozel of Western Springs, Illinois. (Photo courtesy of Licitra Roofing)

No Roof Left Behind program provides new roof for a struggling Chicago-area community volunteer who has dedicated her life to putting the needs of others first.

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Home Interiors

In Charlotte, Little Libraries are a Big Way to Grow Community

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library (Photo by Courtney St. Onge)
Little free libraries are popping up in neighborhoods across Charlotte. (Photo by Courtney St. Onge)

A carpenter can help, or you can build your own box of books to share and join Charlotte's little free library list.

#AskAngie: Does a Whole House Fan Help When it's Humid?

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Big windows in lovely home
A whole house fan lets you open your windows and allow fresh air to be pulled through your home. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member James W. of Clemmons, North Carolina)

Want to bring fresh air into your home? Learn how a whole-house fan can augment, and in some climates even replace, your home's air conditioning system.

Lead Paint Is Still a Threat, But It Shouldn’t Be

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worker handling lead paint risk
Because of the health risks from lead paint, it's important to take extra steps when working a pre-1978 home. (Photo by Brandon Smith)

If you live in a pre-1978 house, be aware of the dangers that lead paint poses, even in the tiniest amounts. Children face the greatest risk. Follow these tips:

Tips and Tricks for an Eye-catching Interior Paint Job

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With a little prep work and the right tools, you can pull off a dazzling interior painting project, says Cavagnaro. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Vikas W. of Chicago)
With a little prep work and the right tools, you can pull off a dazzling interior painting project, says Cavagnaro. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Vikas W. of Chicago)

On the latest episode of Chat with the Experts, we talk with Dan Cavagnaro about tips, tricks and advice to help your next interior painting project shine.

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Windows & Doors

Chicago High-Rise Window Replacement a Complex, Costly Job

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Just like a single-family home, windows on high-rise residential buildings need to be replaced every so often. One big difference, though, is the cost. (Photo by Steven Jack)
Just like a single-family home, windows on high-rise residential buildings need to be replaced every so often. One big difference, though, is the cost. (Photo by Steven Jack)

Living in a Chicago high rise has its share of perks, but it when it comes to replacing your old windows navigating the process takes some know-how.

Charlotte-area Couple’s Trust Pays off with Big Siding, Windows Job

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Elizabeth Philippus recently replaced windows and doors at her Concord home. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Elizabeth P.)

Concord home renovation, window and door replacement goes smoothly with J.A. Fisher on site.

Lead Paint Is Still a Threat, But It Shouldn’t Be

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worker handling lead paint risk
Because of the health risks from lead paint, it's important to take extra steps when working a pre-1978 home. (Photo by Brandon Smith)

If you live in a pre-1978 house, be aware of the dangers that lead paint poses, even in the tiniest amounts. Children face the greatest risk. Follow these tips:

Wood vs. Vinyl Windows: Which Is Better for Your Home?

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A perk of wood windows is that they can be stained to match existing woodwork in the room they are being installed in, says Lindus. (Photo courtesy of Lindus Construction)
A perk of wood windows is that they can be stained to match existing woodwork in the room they are being installed in, says Lindus. (Photo courtesy of Lindus Construction)

Not sure what type of window materials are best for your home? One highly rated provider breaks down the differences between wood and vinyl windows.

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Basements & Foundations

Where to Splurge and Save on Your Basement Remodel

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Depending on the natural light in a basement, artificial lighting can be really important to the atmosphere and utility of the space, says Pillow. (Photo courtesy of Moss Building and Design)
Depending on the natural light in a basement, artificial lighting can be really important to the atmosphere and utility of the space, says Pillow. (Photo courtesy of Moss Building and Design)

Planning a basement remodel? One highly rated provider shares tips for where to trim your budget during the remodeling process and where you can splurge.

A Level Foundation May Still Need Underpinning

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Relying solely on measurements to determine the condition of a foundation often leads to risks incurring further damage to a home, says Granott. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Dale W. of Boones Mill, Virginia.)
Relying solely on measurements to determine the condition of a foundation often leads to risks incurring further damage to a home, says Granott. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Dale W. of Boones Mill, Virginia.)

Measuring your foundation for levelness alone is not enough to determine if your foundation needs repair. A foundation expert will evaluate all the factors.

Why Should I Insulate My Crawl Space?

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The damage done by neglecting a crawl space is likely affecting you more than the eye can see, says Vallone. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Nancy T. of Seattle)
The damage done by neglecting a crawl space is likely affecting you more than the eye can see, says Vallone. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Nancy T. of Seattle)

It’s easy to do, but forgetting your crawl space can have plenty of negative consequences for the rest of your home from poor air quality to high energy bills.

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Home Security

You're Ready for Vacation, but Is Your House?

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Car in driveway
When you're away on vacation, having a car in the driveway is one of the best ways to make a house seem to be occupied. (Photo courtesy of member Marshall B. of Virginia Beach)

Before you put on that out-of-office email and lock the doors to catch a flight, here's what you need to do — and what not to do — before leaving on vacation.

8 Home Security Tips For Protecting Your Children

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Being prepared is everything when it comes to keeping your kids safe, says Garber. (Photo courtesy of Protecht Home Security)
Being prepared is everything when it comes to keeping your kids safe, says Garber. (Photo courtesy of Protecht Home Security)

Talk with your kids early about 911 calls and stranger danger to make sure they are prepared and you can keep them safe with these home security tips.

Why Locks Are Not Enough

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The real weakness with most residential doors is the frame around it, says Campbell. (Photo courtesy of Altic Lock Service)
The real weakness with most residential doors is the frame around it, says Campbell. (Photo courtesy of Altic Lock Service)

Locks secure your home, but they can only secure as well as the door they are attached to. Here are common weakness to look for in your home security.

How Secure is the White House? Fence Jumper Highlights Home Security

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White House fence (Photo by Jason Hargraves)
A man who scaled the fence around the White House was able to enter the executive mansion. (Photo by Jason Hargraves)

What many considered the safest residence in D.C. turned out not to be so secure after a fence jumper entered the White House. Just how secure can any home be?

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Chimneys & Fireplaces

Cold is Coming to Charlotte. Winterize Your Life.

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chimney
Prepare your chimney for winter with a check and cleaning. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Dean A.)

Forecasters predict a colder, wetter-than-usual winter. Your home needs your help to get ready.

Shaken Up? How to Prepare for Next D.C. Earthquake

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D.C. National Cathedral
Washington's National Cathedral continues to undergo repairs after a 2011 earthquake struck the region. (Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress)

The National Cathedral was the site for a recent event focusing on earthquake preparedness in the Washington region. Find out what geologists learned.

N.C. Hotel Deaths a Reminder of Carbon Monoxide Danger at Home

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A carbon monoxide detector can alert homeowners to odorless but potentially deadly gas leaks. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member James T. of Arden, N.C.)
A carbon monoxide detector can alert homeowners to odorless but potentially deadly gas leaks. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member James T. of Arden, N.C.)

Deaths in N.C. caused by carbon monoxide gas poisoning prompt changes. Experts suggest all homes, especially those with gas appliances, should have a working CO detector.

That Lives in My Chimney! D.C. Sweeps Do More Than Keep Out Critters

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Keep the fire roaring all winter by having your chimney inspected in early fall. (Photo courtesy of member Cathleen F.)
Keep the fire roaring all winter by having your chimney inspected in early fall. (Photo courtesy of member Cathleen F.)

Interest in chimney cleaning and repairs heats up in D.C. during the fall. Hiring a sweep can help you keep your fireplace safe and working all winter.

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Household Lighting

LEDs Win Nobel Prize, Gain Fans at Home

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Modern LED lights can be purchased in different color ranges, even mimicking the warmth of incandescent bulbs. (Photo by Chris Curry)
Modern LED lights can be purchased in different color ranges, even mimicking the warmth of incandescent bulbs. (Photo by Chris Curry)

Huntersville lighting store owner says replacing incandescent bulbs with LED saves energy, increases light.

How to purchase and install motion lights

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Adding motion-sensors to outdoor lighting can help reduce your monthly electric bill. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Jason B. of Simsbury, Conn.)
Adding motion-sensors to outdoor lighting can help reduce your monthly electric bill. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Jason B. of Simsbury, Conn.)

Motion lights can provide better visibility, safety and protection from burglars. Learn how to purchase and install sensor lights for your home.

Outdoor lighting trends improve security, boost curb appeal

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LED home exterior lighting
LEDs illuminate the exterior of this Indianapolis home. (Photo by Brandon Smith)

Looking to light up your home exterior? Angie Hicks reports the latest outdoor lighting trends, such as installing LEDS, and using lights to boost curb appeal.

Landscape lighting illuminates home features at night

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Landscape lighting can make outdoor living spaces a focal point. (Photo courtesy of member Karin L. of Tuscon. Ariz.)

Landscape lighting isn't just for home security. Check out the latest lighting trends, such as spotlighting home features and installing LEDs.

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Construction & Remodeling

Charlotte Cabinet Painter the Right Choice for Choosy Customer

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cabinets
Wood Artistry and Restoration refinished these cabinets to brighten up a 1970s kitchen. (Photos courtesy of Angie's List member Tara D. of Charlotte.)

Refinishing cabinets with special glaze brightened couple's kitchen just as they'd hoped.

Should I Add a Mudroom to My House?

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Mudroom
Mudrooms can keep the outside from getting inside your home while helping you stay organized and save money. (Photo courtesy of member Ken R. of Galena, Ohio)

Does adding a mud room to your home make sense? Mud rooms can keep dirt outside, help you stay organized and increase your home's value. Here's what to know when considering a mud room.

3 Unexpected Kitchen Backsplash Ideas That Pack Personality

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colorful stone tile backsplash
A multi-colored stone tile backsplash creates a focal point in the kitchen. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Jason I. of San Jose, Calif.)

Who says a kitchen backsplash has to be tile? Not us! Discover unique backsplash ideas that will showcase your kitchen's unique style and personality.

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Heating And Cooling

Attack These 3 Attic Problems to Boost Energy Efficiency, Comfort

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Before winter arrives, ensure your attic is sealed properly and has both adequate insulation and ventilation. (Photo courtesy of member Kitty Jones of Columbus, Ohio)
Before winter arrives, ensure your attic is sealed properly and has both adequate insulation and ventilation. (Photo courtesy of member Kitty Jones of Columbus, Ohio)

A comfortable, energy efficient home starts at the top. Those hot spots and cold rooms may relate to problems in your attic. Beyond adding insulation, what's a homeowner to do?

With Chicago Winter Approaching, Help Available for Home Energy Bills

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Chicago's harsh winters can lead to some large heating bills. Help is available for those in need. (Photo courtesy of the City of Chicago)
Chicago's harsh winters can lead to some large heating bills. Help is available for those in need. (Photo courtesy of the City of Chicago)

Illinois utility companies along with a federal agency this year will offer over $150 million in assistance to customers struggling to pay their bills.

Cold is Coming to Charlotte. Winterize Your Life.

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chimney
Prepare your chimney for winter with a check and cleaning. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Dean A.)

Forecasters predict a colder, wetter-than-usual winter. Your home needs your help to get ready.

#AskAngie: Does a Whole House Fan Help When it's Humid?

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Big windows in lovely home
A whole house fan lets you open your windows and allow fresh air to be pulled through your home. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member James W. of Clemmons, North Carolina)

Want to bring fresh air into your home? Learn how a whole-house fan can augment, and in some climates even replace, your home's air conditioning system.

See More About Heating And Cooling

Contractor

Is Cracked Brick Always a Foundation Issue?

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 If your home has clay brick, this cracking could simply be caused by moisture in the environment, says Pruett. (Photo courtesy of Brick Doctor Corp)
If your home has clay brick, this cracking could simply be caused by moisture in the environment, says Pruett. (Photo courtesy of Brick Doctor Corp)

Are the bricks on your house cracking and you fear there is a problem with your foundation? That may not be the case. Learn why your bricks may be cracking.

Home health dangers you can avoid right now

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An indication of serious moisture being trapped behind masonry is efflorescence, which appears as a white powder or stain, says Rantanen. (Photo Courtesy of Jamison Home Services, LLC)
An indication of serious moisture being trapped behind masonry is efflorescence, which appears as a white powder or stain, says Rantanen. (Photo Courtesy of Jamison Home Services, LLC)

Even if your home looks safe from the outside, there are invisible hazards like moisture, radon and carbon monoxide you need to be on the lookout for.

Are shoddy gutters putting your masonry exterior at risk?

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Water spilling down the side of a building causes premature masonry failure by repeatedly soaking the wall, allowing freeze thaw cycling, says Bard. (Photo courtesy of Integrated Home Improvement)
Water spilling down the side of a building causes premature masonry failure by repeatedly soaking the wall, allowing freeze thaw cycling, says Bard. (Photo courtesy of Integrated Home Improvement)

Are bad gutters and downspouts putting your masonry exterior at risk? One highly rated provider explains why this happens and how to stop it.

6 tips to update your home with brick staining

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brick staining before and after
Brick staining changed the look of this fireplace in less time and with less dust than resurfacing. (Photo courtesy of Harry Brax)

An alternative to resurfacing or painting brick, use brick staining to transform the exterior of a home or fireplace while keeping costs affordable.

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Insulation And Winterizing

Attack These 3 Attic Problems to Boost Energy Efficiency, Comfort

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Before winter arrives, ensure your attic is sealed properly and has both adequate insulation and ventilation. (Photo courtesy of member Kitty Jones of Columbus, Ohio)
Before winter arrives, ensure your attic is sealed properly and has both adequate insulation and ventilation. (Photo courtesy of member Kitty Jones of Columbus, Ohio)

A comfortable, energy efficient home starts at the top. Those hot spots and cold rooms may relate to problems in your attic. Beyond adding insulation, what's a homeowner to do?

Convert Attic Space Into a Room You Can Use

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Converting an attic creates an additional room in the house. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Peter K. and Melanie S. of Cleveland, Ohio)
Converting an attic creates an additional room in the house. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Peter K. and Melanie S. of Cleveland, Ohio)

Wish you had more room in your home? There might be usable space in your attic. Get tips to convert your attic space into a functioning living space.

Chicago airport noise complaints skyrocket amid new flight patterns

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Noise complaints from residents near Chicago's two international airports have dramatically increased in 2014. (Photo courtesy of the Chicago Department of Aviation)
Noise complaints from residents near Chicago's two international airports have dramatically increased in 2014. (Photo courtesy of the Chicago Department of Aviation)

There's little annoyed residents near Chicago's airports can do about the flight noise outside, but one soundproofing window company can help cut noise inside.

Is poor attic ventilation damaging your roof?

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Ideally, you want your attic temperature to be close to the outdoor temperature. (Photo courtesy of Jennafer T. of Newcastle, Calif.)
Ideally, you want your attic temperature to be close to the outdoor temperature. (Photo courtesy of Jennafer T. of Newcastle, Calif.)

What you don’t know about attic ventilation may cost you in possible roof damage. Roofing pros say many attics are insufficiently insulated.

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Electrical

LEDs Win Nobel Prize, Gain Fans at Home

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Modern LED lights can be purchased in different color ranges, even mimicking the warmth of incandescent bulbs. (Photo by Chris Curry)
Modern LED lights can be purchased in different color ranges, even mimicking the warmth of incandescent bulbs. (Photo by Chris Curry)

Huntersville lighting store owner says replacing incandescent bulbs with LED saves energy, increases light.

Electrician Shortage in Indy May Cause Longer Waits

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electrical apprentice wiring a light switch
First-year electrician apprentice Jared Sweet wires a light switch at the Electrical Training Institute in Indianapolis. (Photo by Eldon Lindsay)

As aging electricians in the Indianapolis area begin to drop out of the workforce over the next few years, experts predict a shortage of qualified electricians.

Appliance Shopping? Virginia Tax-Free Event Points to Energy Savings

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Sales tax holiday (Photo by Jason Hargraves)
Keep an eye out for energy-saving appliances if you want to skip the sales tax in Virginia. (Photo by Jason Hargraves)

Columbus Day weekend is when Virginia shoppers can purchase home appliances without sales tax. Of course, the items must promise energy and water savings.

ComEd Customers Can Lower Bills with New Smart Meter Program

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A ComEd technician works to install a smart meter at a home in the Chicago area. ComEd plans to install 4 million of the meters by 2018. (Photo courtesy of ComEd)
A ComEd technician works to install a smart meter at a home in the Chicago area. ComEd plans to install 4 million of the meters by 2018. (Photo courtesy of ComEd)

ComEd customers in northern Illinois with latest meter technology can save up to $12 per billing cycle by limiting power use during peak times in summer months.

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Landscaping

Tips to Keep Your Pavers Looking Great

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You may want to consider low-maintenance pavers for your patio or another landscape project, says Starr.  (Photo courtesy of Go Pavers)
You may want to consider low-maintenance pavers for your patio or another landscape project, says Starr. (Photo courtesy of Go Pavers)

Consider low maintenance landscape pavers for your next paver patio, walkway or pool deck project. Here's how to keep your paving stones in great shape for years.

Why Should I Seal My Pavers?

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The use of quality sealers for your pavers allows for a variety of finishes, says Sykes. (Photo courtesy of Go Pavers)
The use of quality sealers for your pavers allows for a variety of finishes, says Sykes. (Photo courtesy of Go Pavers)

Pavers can make a great addition to your patio or driveway. One highly rated provider explains why sealing your pavers can add to their lifespan and beauty.

4 Steps to Prep Your Sprinklers for Winter

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Taking the necessary steps for protecting your irrigation system now will avoid costly repairs in the springtime, says Klaas. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Scott B. of Detroit)
Taking the necessary steps for protecting your irrigation system now will avoid costly repairs in the springtime, says Klaas. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Scott B. of Detroit)

Winter and freezing temperatures are a major threat to your irrigation system. A few simple steps ahead of time will save you from costly repairs in the spring.

10 Ways to Prepare Your Landscape for Winter

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Fall aeration and overseeding helps to fill in bare spots to provide a thick green lawn, says Haughtaling. (Photo courtesy of Swingle Lawn, Tree and Landscape Care)
Fall aeration and overseeding helps to fill in bare spots to provide a thick green lawn, says Haughtaling. (Photo courtesy of Swingle Lawn, Tree and Landscape Care)

Fall is not a time to forget about your lawn and garden as it is the perfect time to prepare for winter so you can have a robust and colorful yard come spring.

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Flooring

How to Choose Carpet for High-Traffic Areas

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Darker carpet on stairs
Dark carpet helps hide dirt, stains and wear in high-traffic areas, like stairs and hallways. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Dean R. of Las Vegas)

Trouble tracking down the right kind of flooring for high-traffic hallways and stairs? We found options that save you money by keeping new carpets looking good.

How to Pick the Perfect Hardwood Floor

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There are as many opinions as there are options when shopping for hardwood flooring, says Pfeiffer. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Jeff A. of Boston)
There are as many opinions as there are options when shopping for hardwood flooring, says Pfeiffer. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Jeff A. of Boston)

Hardwood floors these days come with an overwhelming number of options. Know how to make pick the best one for your home with this breakdown of all the options.

Choose Flooring for Rooms that Get Wet

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Bathroom flooring ceramic tile
Tile is a great choice for bathrooms and other moisture-prone rooms. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Charles W. of Murfreesboro, Tennessee)

Here are flooring options to consider for bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens, basements and other areas prone to getting wet.

What Is the Best Type of Flooring for a Bathroom

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The most flooring effective choice for a bathroom is tile, says Wyant. (Photo courtesy of DirectBuy of Indianapolis)
The most flooring effective choice for a bathroom is tile, says Wyant. (Photo courtesy of DirectBuy of Indianapolis)

When it's time for a bathroom remodel, flooring should be at the top of your mind. One highly rated provider shares tips for selecting the best flooring type.

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