Home Health Hazards

9 California Companies Agree to Lead-Safety Settlement with EPA

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Dr. Nicholas Newman of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center says the miniscule amount of lead dust in this vial is enough to raise blood lead levels if inhaled or eaten. (Photo courtesy of Newman)
Dr. Nicholas Newman of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center says the miniscule amount of lead dust in this vial is enough to raise blood lead levels if inhaled or eaten. (Photo courtesy of Newman)

Nine companies in California pay civil penalties for violating EPA's RRP rule governing lead safety. The EPA says it's cracking down on lead-safety violators.

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.

4 Unusual Sources of Lead in Your Home

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When most people think about exposure to metallic lead, they typically focus on lead-based paint, but lead can be lurking in many other household items, says Dalsing. (Photo courtesy of Testudo LCC)
When most people think about exposure to metallic lead, they typically focus on lead-based paint, but lead can be lurking in many other household items, says Dalsing. (Photo courtesy of Testudo LCC)

If you are looking for lead in your home, you need to be suspicious of more than just that peeling paint. Here are four unexpected sources of lead.

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.

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Roofing

Roofers Accused of Scams in 11 States Await Trial in Florida

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Carlton Dunko (Photo courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff)

Alleged storm chasers who perpetuated roofing scams and insurance fraud across 11 states left homeowners with little or no repairs and the loss of millions of dollars, say Florida law enforcement officials who recently arrested eight people associated with Tampa-based NBRC Construction, also known as NBRC Roofing Company.

Polar Vortex Heading for Chicago, Use These Tips to Winterize Your Home

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Winter-like weather is heading for Chicago next week. Make sure your home is prepared. (Photo courtesy of  Adam Alexander Photography via the city of Chicago)
Winter-like weather is heading for Chicago next week. Make sure your home is prepared. (Photo courtesy of Adam Alexander Photography via the city of Chicago)

Below average temperatures are predicted for Chicago this week. Now is the time to complete these home-improvement projects to keep you cozy all winter.

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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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.

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Home Interiors

No More Wallpaper Hang Ups as D.C. Embraces New Trends

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Going bold is no problem when shopping for wallpaper. It's all about making a statement. (Photo by Jason Hargraves)
Going bold is no problem when shopping for wallpaper. It's all about making a statement. (Photo by Jason Hargraves)

Bold patterns and textures give new life to the once-shunned choice of wallpaper for your home. Learn what's new and what's changed with this trendy option.

Will Wallpaper Trend Stick This Time?

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Wallpaper with a textured finish has been popular lately, says Denise Jordan of Jordan Wallcoverings. (Photo courtesy of Jordan Wallcoverings).

Home decorators and designers say wallpaper is gaining popularity again — for some rooms — with new designs, textures, formulas and all the old style benefits.

Second Opinion Saves Charlotte Couple's Countertop

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The uneven seam in the granite countertop was repaired and a new top installed on a kitchen island. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member L. Wolowiecki of Charlotte.)

Granite countertop seam could be repaired after all, leaving money and creativity for other improvements in the couple's new Charlotte home.

Custom Closets Will Change Your Life

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Create your dream closet with organization features such as shelves, cabinets and jewelry drawers. (Photo courtesy of Eco-Nize Closets and ORG Home)

Tired of searching through your closet? Contractors explain how custom closets can boost functionality, add space and improve closet organization.

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Windows & Doors

Polar Vortex Heading for Chicago, Use These Tips to Winterize Your Home

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Winter-like weather is heading for Chicago next week. Make sure your home is prepared. (Photo courtesy of  Adam Alexander Photography via the city of Chicago)
Winter-like weather is heading for Chicago next week. Make sure your home is prepared. (Photo courtesy of Adam Alexander Photography via the city of Chicago)

Below average temperatures are predicted for Chicago this week. Now is the time to complete these home-improvement projects to keep you cozy all winter.

4 Tips to Protect Your Home This Holiday Season

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Make sure your locks are operating and installed correctly, and be sure to use them, says Campbell. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Alisha G. of Los Angeles)
Make sure your locks are operating and installed correctly, and be sure to use them, says Campbell. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Alisha G. of Los Angeles)

No one wants to have their Christmas gifts stolen in a holiday break-in. For home security, check your locks and safeguard your keys and garage door openers.

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.

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Basements & Foundations

Water Shutoff Valve Key to Stopping Damage

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dc sink (Photo by Jason Hargraves)
Knowing where to shut off your water supply could save you time and money. (Photo by Jason Hargraves)

Broken water valves can make shutting off water a problem for plumbers in an emergency. Find the location of your home valve to save time and repair bills.

Chicago Park District Faced with Costly Lakefront Path Repairs

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Waves crash into Chicago's lakefront path at Fullerton Avenue during the storm of Friday, Oct. 31. (Photo courtesy of Michelle Stenzel)
Waves crash into Chicago's lakefront path at Fullerton Avenue during the storm of Friday, Oct. 31. (Photo courtesy of Michelle Stenzel)

High winds and 20-foot waves battered Chicago's lakefront from Streeterville to Lincoln Park, leaving the city with a huge concrete and asphalt repair job.

Is a Quarter-inch Crack in My Foundation a Major Concern?

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If you notice a crack on your foundation, call a professional to inspect it. As the crack grows larger, the potential for water intrusion into your home increases. (Photo courtesy of Dale W., of Boones Mill, Va.)
If you notice a crack on your foundation, call a professional to inspect it. As the crack grows larger, the potential for water intrusion into your home increases. (Photo courtesy of Dale W., of Boones Mill, Va.)

Home inspectors say the width of a crack on your home's foundation determines what action should be taken. This is what pros consider a large crack.

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Home Security

Water, Winter Can Be Costly Combination

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faucet (Photo by Courtney St. Onge)
Experts recommend homeowners leave a faucet dripping inside on nights when the temperatures could cause pipes to freeze. (Photo by Courtney St. Onge)

Winter weather can be a bad mix with water. Utilities, experts recommend special care for pipes, plumbing and irrigation systems as cooler temperatures arrive.

Protect Online Deliveries Against a Rash of Charlotte Thefts

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Police warn homeowners not to let packages sit at their front door during the holiday season. (Photo by Courtney St. Onge)

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police offer tips to be sure your online shopping deliveries are safe and secure from thieves after they arrive at your home.

#AskAngie: How to Maintain an In-Home Fire Sprinkler System?

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Sprinkler head for residential fire sprinkler system
Regular maintenance of a residential fire sprinkler system can, in many cases, be a do-it-yourself project. (Photo courtesy of the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition)

Regular maintenance for residential sprinklers is fairly easy. In most cases, you can inspect and check an in-home fire sprinkler system yourself.

4 Tips to Protect Your Home This Holiday Season

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Make sure your locks are operating and installed correctly, and be sure to use them, says Campbell. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Alisha G. of Los Angeles)
Make sure your locks are operating and installed correctly, and be sure to use them, says Campbell. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Alisha G. of Los Angeles)

No one wants to have their Christmas gifts stolen in a holiday break-in. For home security, check your locks and safeguard your keys and garage door openers.

See More About Home Security

Chimneys & Fireplaces

Chimney Sweeps Share 5 Bizarre Flue Finds

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Chimney sweeps say soot isn't the only thing they find in chimneys. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member James C. of Minneapolis)

There's nothing better than an evening by the fire, but have you ever wondered what's hiding in your chimney? Three chimney pros share odd things they've found.

What's the Price of a Chimney Sweep in Chicago?

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Before lighting that first fire of the season, make sure to have your chimney inspected and cleaned. (Photo courtesy of member Charles S. of Lyons, Illinois)
Before lighting that first fire of the season, make sure to have your chimney inspected and cleaned. (Photo courtesy of member Charles S. of Lyons, Illinois)

Cold weather has already moved into Chicago. Before you light that first fire of the year make sure to have your chimney cleaned and inspected.

How do I go from wood to gas in my fireplace?

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Many homeowners choose to install gas logs in an existing wood-burning fireplace. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Yvonne H.)

Charlotte-area business says homeowners should consider the look, heat, efficiency in deciding to convert to gas logs.

Polar Vortex Heading for Chicago, Use These Tips to Winterize Your Home

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Winter-like weather is heading for Chicago next week. Make sure your home is prepared. (Photo courtesy of  Adam Alexander Photography via the city of Chicago)
Winter-like weather is heading for Chicago next week. Make sure your home is prepared. (Photo courtesy of Adam Alexander Photography via the city of Chicago)

Below average temperatures are predicted for Chicago this week. Now is the time to complete these home-improvement projects to keep you cozy all winter.

See More About Chimneys & Fireplaces

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

Is Black the New Neutral for Kitchen Cabinets?

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Basic black is making its way into Washington-area kitchens as a popular cabinet color. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Jeffrey Q.)
Basic black is making its way into Washington-area kitchens as a popular cabinet color. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Jeffrey Q.)

Choosing black for kitchen cabinets is a popular choice among high-end kitchen designers. The trend also is catching on for DIYers who want a contemporary feel.

Retailers Beginning Black Friday on Thursday This Year

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Though many retailers are opening on Thanksgiving, some stores, including Pier 1 Imports, are waiting until Friday. (Photo by Courtney St. Onge)
Though many retailers are opening on Thanksgiving, some stores, including Pier 1 Imports, are waiting until Friday. (Photo by Courtney St. Onge)

Charlotte-area malls and stores are opening earlier in the evening on Thanksgiving Day, offering more hours of sales for shoppers and employees.

Accessories: Essential to Stylish Room Decor

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Without accessories a room lacks personality and feels unfinished, says Marsh. (Photo by Kathryn Interiors, Inc.)
Without accessories a room lacks personality and feels unfinished, says Marsh. (Photo by Kathryn Interiors, Inc.)

Don't forget the accessories when interior decorating: they are essential elements of style and powerful components for creating beautiful, personalized rooms.

Second Opinion Saves Charlotte Couple's Countertop

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The uneven seam in the granite countertop was repaired and a new top installed on a kitchen island. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member L. Wolowiecki of Charlotte.)

Granite countertop seam could be repaired after all, leaving money and creativity for other improvements in the couple's new Charlotte home.

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Heating And Cooling

#AskAngie: Do I Really Need Separate HVAC Inspections?

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There are two major reasons why top-rated HVAC pros recommend keeping your A/C and heating inspections separate and about six months apart. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Ingrid F. of Bloomington, Indiana)

There are at least two major reasons why top-rated A/C and heating experts suggest separate, routine maintenance check-ups of your cooling and heating systems.

How to Stay Ahead of D.C.'s Polar Vortex

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Winter is approaching in D.C. as evidenced by this week's first polar vortex. (Photo courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol)

A polar vortex is expected to bring some winter weather this fall to the D.C. region. It's a great opportunity for home owners to prepare for winter's worst.

Chicago Veteran Backs His Company's Service with Military Values

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 Karl Schleitwiler (left) and Joshua Zajac started Veteran Air Cleaning Service in suburban Chicago in February 2013. (Photo courtesy of Joshua Zajac)
Karl Schleitwiler (left) and Joshua Zajac started Veteran Air Cleaning Service in suburban Chicago in February 2013. (Photo courtesy of Joshua Zajac)

Joshua Zajac served in the U.S. Navy for nearly 10 years. It was with that service in mind that he launched his highly rated Chicago air duct cleaning service.

Polar Vortex Heading for Chicago, Use These Tips to Winterize Your Home

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Winter-like weather is heading for Chicago next week. Make sure your home is prepared. (Photo courtesy of  Adam Alexander Photography via the city of Chicago)
Winter-like weather is heading for Chicago next week. Make sure your home is prepared. (Photo courtesy of Adam Alexander Photography via the city of Chicago)

Below average temperatures are predicted for Chicago this week. Now is the time to complete these home-improvement projects to keep you cozy all winter.

See More About Heating And Cooling

Contractor

Chicago Park District Faced with Costly Lakefront Path Repairs

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Waves crash into Chicago's lakefront path at Fullerton Avenue during the storm of Friday, Oct. 31. (Photo courtesy of Michelle Stenzel)
Waves crash into Chicago's lakefront path at Fullerton Avenue during the storm of Friday, Oct. 31. (Photo courtesy of Michelle Stenzel)

High winds and 20-foot waves battered Chicago's lakefront from Streeterville to Lincoln Park, leaving the city with a huge concrete and asphalt repair job.

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.

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Insulation And Winterizing

Polar Vortex Heading for Chicago, Use These Tips to Winterize Your Home

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Winter-like weather is heading for Chicago next week. Make sure your home is prepared. (Photo courtesy of  Adam Alexander Photography via the city of Chicago)
Winter-like weather is heading for Chicago next week. Make sure your home is prepared. (Photo courtesy of Adam Alexander Photography via the city of Chicago)

Below average temperatures are predicted for Chicago this week. Now is the time to complete these home-improvement projects to keep you cozy all winter.

6 Things to Consider Before Installing Your Own Insulation

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With insulation technology always advancing, you’ve got choices to make when it comes to the material you pick, says Lindus. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Lynn M. of Columbus, Georgia)
With insulation technology always advancing, you’ve got choices to make when it comes to the material you pick, says Lindus. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Lynn M. of Columbus, Georgia)

Thinking of installing your own insulation? One highly rated provider shares six things that every homeowner should be aware of before attempting to DIY.

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.

See More About Insulation And Winterizing

Electrical

Blown Transformer Sparks Fire, Power Outage

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Delivering electricity to your home can be a complicated process that's often taken for granted. (Photo courtesy of OSHA)
Delivering electricity to your home can be a complicated process that's often taken for granted. (Photo courtesy of OSHA)

A fire in a wooded section of Bethesda was started by a blown transformer. Hundreds of Pepco customers were without power as firefighters battled the blaze.

Solar Panel Performance Terms to Know

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solar panels on home
A contractor installed this 20-panel, 5,500 kilowatt rooftop solar system on this New England house. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member David L. of Hopedale, Massachusetts )

As you learn about solar panel systems, it’s helpful to know some of the key efficiency and performance terms. These will help you when you comparison shop.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Solar Panels

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Solar panels
These solar panels were installed on a house in the South. Savings on the utility bill was one immediate payoff: The homeowner's electric bill for August was a mere $1.50. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Bob B. of Hudson, Florida)

If you’re pondering a solar panel system, learn about the basics before you contact a professional to assess your home's suitability for solar power.

#AskAngie: Should I Turn Off Circuit Breakers When I'm on Vacation?

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Flipping circuit breakers is not the key to saving energy when you're gone from home. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Eric T. of Allentown, Pennsylvania)

It's smart to take action to reduce energy use when you're away from home. But find out why top electricians say turning off circuit breakers isn't a good idea.

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Landscaping

Water, Winter Can Be Costly Combination

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faucet (Photo by Courtney St. Onge)
Experts recommend homeowners leave a faucet dripping inside on nights when the temperatures could cause pipes to freeze. (Photo by Courtney St. Onge)

Winter weather can be a bad mix with water. Utilities, experts recommend special care for pipes, plumbing and irrigation systems as cooler temperatures arrive.

Chicago Sculptors Turn Dying Trees into Works of Art

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Margot McMahon's "Flock" is on display in Jackson Park. The tree used in this sculpture is a 125-year-old elm. (Photo courtesy of the city of Chicago)
Margot McMahon's "Flock" is on display in Jackson Park. The tree used in this sculpture is a 125-year-old elm. (Photo courtesy of the city of Chicago)

As part of the Chicago Tree Project, 10 local artists have spent the year breathing new life into dead or dying trees in numerous city parks.

To Fully Winterize, Look Outside the House

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You'll probably enjoy the season more if you know you've winterized inside and outside your home. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Fred C. of Bloomington, Indiana)

To winterize: Seal windows, have your furnace checked and gutters cleared. But don't forget to also look outside your home when preparing for the cold.

Where to Find Tree-lighting Events in D.C.

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Tree-lighting ceremonies aren't just for the White House and Capitol any more. Venues across D.C. are getting in on the action. (Photo courtesy of the White House)
Tree-lighting ceremonies aren't just for the White House and Capitol any more. Venues across D.C. are getting in on the action. (Photo courtesy of the White House)

Three new tree-lighting ceremonies will occur in November around the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Events will include a variety of holiday festivities.

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Flooring

Charlotte Company Has Vision for What Flooring Can Do

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New flooring gave new life to a home built in the 1970s. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Anita W. of Charlotte.)

Couple replaces decades-old carpeting with laminate and hardwood options, creating a fresh look they love in their east Charlotte home.

Avoid Unsightly Stains with These Carpet Cleaning Tips

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Chris Stone cleans carpets at a Northwest Indianapolis home. (Photo by Brandon Smith)
Chris Stone cleans carpets at a Northwest Indianapolis home. (Photo by Brandon Smith)

On this episode of Chat with the Experts, we talk with Chris Stone about choosing the right carpet for your lifestyle and avoiding unsightly carpet stains.

3 Steps to Make Your New Carpet Installation Go Smoothly

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Be sure all other remodeling projects are completed before the new carpeting is installed. (Photo by Action Carpet & Floor Covering)
Be sure all other remodeling projects are completed before the new carpeting is installed. (Photo by Action Carpet & Floor Covering)

Who will move the furniture and rip up the old carpeting? These simple preparation tips will make your carpet installation go smoothly, and can save you money.

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.

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Outdoor Living

Indy Senior Citizens Targeted By Contractor Scams, AG Says

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Indianapolis homeowner Robert Adams says his deck remains unfinished because he can't afford to replace it again. (Photo by Steve C. Mitchell)
Indianapolis homeowner Robert Adams says his deck remains unfinished because he can't afford to replace it again. (Photo by Steve C. Mitchell)

Indiana attorney general accuses four Indianapolis home improvement contractors of scamming elderly residents for promised repairs that were never delivered.

A Porch Where Everything Goes As Planned

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Exterior Additions made this porch addition easy. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Dale S. of Charlotte.)

Indian Trail company's addition is just what Charlotte homeowner had hoped to replace aging deck

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.

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Garages & Driveways

#AskAngie: Why is my Concrete Garage Floor Discolored?

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Discolored concrete garage slab
There are several causes of discolored concrete and a few possible fixes you can try. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Paula B. of Richland, Washington)

Concrete pros say perfectly uniform concrete is not always possible, but excessive discoloration can occur for several reasons. Here are some possible fixes.

Avoid Holiday Chaos With an 8-Week Organization Plan

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Declutter the pantry before the holidays by removing expired food and mismatched plastic food containers, says Nelson. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Joan R. of Boston)
Declutter the pantry before the holidays by removing expired food and mismatched plastic food containers, says Nelson. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Joan R. of Boston)

Get organized with an 8-week plan for Christmas and Thanksgiving. From mailing cards to having guests, prepare for more fun and less stress during the holidays.

Chicago Park District Faced with Costly Lakefront Path Repairs

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Waves crash into Chicago's lakefront path at Fullerton Avenue during the storm of Friday, Oct. 31. (Photo courtesy of Michelle Stenzel)
Waves crash into Chicago's lakefront path at Fullerton Avenue during the storm of Friday, Oct. 31. (Photo courtesy of Michelle Stenzel)

High winds and 20-foot waves battered Chicago's lakefront from Streeterville to Lincoln Park, leaving the city with a huge concrete and asphalt repair job.

Hiring Help for the Holidays

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Don't be afraid to hire help around the holidays for shopping, gift wrapping or decorating. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Terry L., of Powell, Ohio)
Don't be afraid to hire help around the holidays for shopping, gift wrapping or decorating. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Terry L., of Powell, Ohio)

If you’re overwhelmed with your holiday to-do list, consider hiring a concierge service to tackle some of the tasks, like shopping or wrapping gifts.

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Pests

Bed Bugs a New Foe for Chicago Police

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A red or brown stain on your mattress is one sign of bed beg infestation.  (Photo courtesy of Eric Erikson
A red or brown stain on your mattress is one sign of bed beg infestation. (Photo courtesy of Eric Erikson

Chicago's bed bug problem is the worst in the country. Now, the Police and Fire Departments are battling their own infestations at two separate facilities.

Hog Wild: Feral Pigs Pose Problems for Southern States

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Feral pigs root up valuable lands to get the food they need. (Photo courtesy of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)
Feral pigs root up valuable lands to get the food they need. (Photo courtesy of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

Wild hog populations are on the rise throughout the Southern U.S. and California. Learn how feral pigs destroy agricultural land and cause damage to property.

Bald Eagle Rescued in Virginia Euthanized

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A bald eagle similar to this one recently was captured after being injured in Fairfax County, Virginia. (Photo courtesy of Wildlife Prairie State Park)
A bald eagle similar to this one recently was captured after being injured in Fairfax County, Virginia. (Photo courtesy of Wildlife Prairie State Park)

Professionals can be the best choice for animal rescue or removal. Fairfax County workers recently tried to save an injured eagle, but it was later euthanized.

Polar Vortex Heading for Chicago, Use These Tips to Winterize Your Home

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Winter-like weather is heading for Chicago next week. Make sure your home is prepared. (Photo courtesy of  Adam Alexander Photography via the city of Chicago)
Winter-like weather is heading for Chicago next week. Make sure your home is prepared. (Photo courtesy of Adam Alexander Photography via the city of Chicago)

Below average temperatures are predicted for Chicago this week. Now is the time to complete these home-improvement projects to keep you cozy all winter.

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Home Appliances

How to Care for Your Kitchen Appliances During the Holidays

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Ovens and dishwashers often undertake a heavy workload during the holidays, making proper maintenance vital. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Joanna W. of Washington)
Ovens and dishwashers often undertake a heavy workload during the holidays, making proper maintenance vital. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Joanna W. of Washington)

On this episode of Chat with the Experts, we talk with Chris Sublett of Vogel Appliance about how to care for your kitchen appliances this holiday season.

Charlotte Aims to Help, House Homeless Veterans

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Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are working with community groups to help veterans find housing. (Photo courtesy of City of Charlotte)
Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are working with community groups to help veterans find housing. (Photo courtesy of City of Charlotte)

Charlotte mayor says city will work with community to help find housing for homeless veterans in coming year.

D.C. Neighborhood Named Priciest Place to Rent

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Rental costs for a D.C. home or apartment can vary widely by neighborhood. (Photo by Jason Hargraves)
Rental costs for a D.C. home or apartment can vary widely by neighborhood. (Photo by Jason Hargraves)

The trendy and booming neighborhoods of Chinatown and Logan aren't the priciest D.C. neighborhoods for rents. That honor belongs to a more established area.

Companies Offering 24-hour Emergency Service save Holidays

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Don't get burned by a broken appliance this holiday season! Know the number of a highly rated appliance repair service that can help you out of a jam. (Photo by Brandon Smith)
Don't get burned by a broken appliance this holiday season! Know the number of a highly rated appliance repair service that can help you out of a jam. (Photo by Brandon Smith)

What happens if your pipes burst or your furnace breaks on Christmas? Angie’s List members share their stories of getting emergency help on the holidays.

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Plumbing

Water, Winter Can Be Costly Combination

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faucet (Photo by Courtney St. Onge)
Experts recommend homeowners leave a faucet dripping inside on nights when the temperatures could cause pipes to freeze. (Photo by Courtney St. Onge)

Winter weather can be a bad mix with water. Utilities, experts recommend special care for pipes, plumbing and irrigation systems as cooler temperatures arrive.

Water Shutoff Valve Key to Stopping Damage

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dc sink (Photo by Jason Hargraves)
Knowing where to shut off your water supply could save you time and money. (Photo by Jason Hargraves)

Broken water valves can make shutting off water a problem for plumbers in an emergency. Find the location of your home valve to save time and repair bills.

The Truth About Dealing With Freezing Pipes

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PEX piping should not be installed where it could freeze, because eventually it will lose its flexibility and it could spring a leak. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Matthew B. of Los Angeles)
PEX piping should not be installed where it could freeze, because eventually it will lose its flexibility and it could spring a leak. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Matthew B. of Los Angeles)

Is there a plumbing pipe that can withstand freezing without bursting? PEX piping has many advantages, but over time, freezing and thawing can cause it to leak.

Are You Making These Septic System Mistakes?

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Just as your car requires regular maintenance, your septic system needs maintenance on a regular schedule as well, says Mills. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Diana N. of Chicago)
Just as your car requires regular maintenance, your septic system needs maintenance on a regular schedule as well, says Mills. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Diana N. of Chicago)

Not thinking about your septic tank could lead to a breakdown at the worst possible time. Learn some basic septic system maintenance tips to avoid problems.

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Home Exteriors

U.S. Capitol Dome Repairs Alter D.C. Skyline

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D.C. capitol dome (Photo by Jason Hargraves)
Scaffolding goes up around the U.S. Capitol Dome as repairs are made to the iron structure. (Photo by Jason Hargraves)

Two years of renovations will keep scaffolding around the U.S. Capitol Dome. Work delays, however, could see D.C.'s dome under construction for much longer.

#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

Charlotte’s Lake Properties Stay Hot in Cooler Months

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Properties at Lake Norman and Lake Wylie are selling well, say Charlotte-area real estate agents. (Photo courtesy of Lake Realty.)
Properties at Lake Norman and Lake Wylie are selling well, say Charlotte-area real estate agents. (Photo courtesy of Lake Realty.)

Real estate agents find homes and lots for sale in Lake Norman, Lake Wylie areas are appealing to families, retirees even after water cools.

No More Wallpaper Hang Ups as D.C. Embraces New Trends

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Going bold is no problem when shopping for wallpaper. It's all about making a statement. (Photo by Jason Hargraves)
Going bold is no problem when shopping for wallpaper. It's all about making a statement. (Photo by Jason Hargraves)

Bold patterns and textures give new life to the once-shunned choice of wallpaper for your home. Learn what's new and what's changed with this trendy option.

How Do Estate Sales Work?

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estate sale set up in home
An estate sale professional will appraise, price and arrange everything you plan to sell. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member J. Fletcher of Round Lake, Illinois)

Estate sale liquidators will appraise, advertise and coordinate a residential sale. An estate expert arranges items to attract buyers and discourage theft.

D.C. Suburb Puts Focus on Smart Growth

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Montgomery County, Maryland's Rockville library serves as an educational and community hub. (Photo Courtesy of Montgomery County Libraries)
Montgomery County, Maryland's Rockville library serves as an educational and community hub. (Photo Courtesy of Montgomery County Libraries)

Montgomery County, Maryland isn't your typical suburb thanks to its thriving economy, proximity to D.C. and an emphasis on smart growth instead of urban sprawl.

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