The “don’ts” of home improvement

Overdoing  the upkeep of your home may actually hurt your home.

1. Light bulbs that are too bright. You want a well-lit home, but exceeding a lamp or light fixture’s recommended wattage can be dangerous; especially with incandescents or halogen lights, according to John Drengenberg, consumer safety director for Underwriters Laboratories: “Using a bulb with too-high wattage will cause the fixture and its wiring to overheat“. This could allow the heat to travel to the wall or erode the insulation on the wires and lead to a house fire. Make sure you check the fixture’s label to make sure you use the correct wattage.

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2. Planting trees near driveways or walkways. A line of trees to the house may increase its curb appeal but planting trees near driveways or walkways could be putting your slab at risk. As these trees grow taller, their roots will go outward, potentially pushing up the paving and causing it to buckle or crack. Plant small trees that will remain under 20 feet at maturity and that are at least 10 feet from paved areas. For larger trees, leave at least a 20-foot radius.

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3. Over scrubbing a sink. Don’t overdo it with abrasive cleaners as they can scratch the sink. Cleaners with a grit or grain to them will wear away at the finish and dull it.  That will make the sink more prone to gunk sticking to it and actually make it look dirtier. Try a liquid cleanser like vinegar or lemon juice on the sink and avoid scrubbing it every day.

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4. Overdoing it with can lights. Excessive recessed lighting in a home can cause a lot of air leaks. Recessed lighting is known as causing heat-sucking air leaks, especially when the fixtures are unsealed in vaulted ceilings. Airtight recessed lighting fixtures are available that are rated for insulation contact (IC). Also, use as few recessed lights as you can, especially when it comes to adding them to cathedral ceilings or in rooms directly below unconditioned attics.

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5. Spreading too much mulch outside. Over-mulching will suffocate plants, confuse their root systems, and prevent water from percolating into the soil. Limit mulch to no thicker than 3 inches.

 

 

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6. Using glass cleaner on mirrors. A drop of liquid running around the mirror’s edge can cause the reflective backing to lift or craze. The black edge can occur from using ammonia- or vinegar-based cleaners. Use warm water and a soft, lint-free cloth to clean mirrors. If you do use the sprays, spray it onto a dry cloth first and not directly onto the glass.

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7. Repainting too much. Excessive paint can be detrimental, especially on older homes, which may have layers of thicker oil-based paint, which becomes brittle with age. Power-wash prior to painting, sand areas that need it, and then use 100 percent acrylic-resin exterior paint to avoid thick, cracked or peeling paint.

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8. Fertilizing too much. Fertilizing too often can spur more weeds to grow. Also, the Environmental Protection Agency warns over-fertilizing can cause nutrient pollution, which is when nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from lawn fertilizers and then leads to an overgrowth of algae that can even pollute local waterways. Some lawn experts recommend only fertilizing twice a year, late summer and fall only.

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