Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Did You Know Dirty Light Bulbs Waste Energy?

Here’s how to clean your fixtures and brighten the room to boot.

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Granted, cleaning light fixtures is a hassle that requires a stepladder and a steady hand. But it’s a necessary spring-cleaning chore that freshens your home and gives you the light you’re paying for.

Dirty bulbs shed 30% less light than clean ones, says the U.S. Department of Energy. Add a dusty, dead-bug riddled cover, and you’ve got an automatic dimmer, whether you want one or not.

Got a dirty light fixture? We’ve got your cleaning tips.

Chandeliers

Yes, you should dust your crystal chandeliers weekly, especially during pollen season. But once or twice a year, you should make those crystals sparkle with a thorough wash.
1.  If the chandelier isn’t too big, take it down and lay it on top of a towel spread on a table. If it’s huge, hire a handyman to bring it down, or grab a stepladder and clean it while it hangs.
2.  Take a picture of the chandelier before you start cleaning. That way you’ll remember where each crystal belongs if you take them off during cleaning, says Meg Roberts, president of Molly Maid cleaning service.
3.  Mix a solution of 1 ounce mild dish soap with ¼ cup white vinegar and 3 cups water. 
4.  Add to a spray bottle.
5.  Spritz each crystal. 
6.  Let dry and polish with a microfiber cloth.
Related: Kitchen Lighting Design Tips

Light Bulbs

These days, bulbs have long lives thanks to new LED and CFL technology. They’re bound to get dirty and should be cleaned.
Mary Beth Gotti, manager of the GE Lighting Institute, says a thorough wipe with a dry cloth is the best way to get rid of dust and dirt.
“If you use a damp cloth, you can get water into crevices in the lamp that can damage electronics,” Gotti says.  Also, don’t spray cleaning solutions directly onto the light bulb, which could damage the bulb.
Most important: Turn off the electricity to the fixture before messing with the bulbs. To be extra cautious, turn off the circuit breaker, or put a piece of tape over the switch so no one else turns it on while your working.

Ceiling Fixtures

Ceiling fixtures can be a dusty, grimy, buggy mess. Carefully take down the fixture cover and slide it into a sink full of soapy water. Dry and shine with a microfiber cloth.
Avoid the temptation to put glass fixtures into the dishwasher. The glass can shatter, ruining your fixture and your dishwasher.

Pendant Lights

These usually are easier to reach than ceiling fixtures, so you can clean in place.
Turn off the light, let bulbs cool, then spray and wipe the outside of globes with a microfiber cloth and cleaning spray.
Wipe bulbs and extension rods and cables with a dry cloth.

Recessed Lights

Dust weekly with a long-handle duster, such as a Swiffer, that traps dust and cobwebs.  For a more thorough cleaning, wipe the insides of canisters and the bulbs with a microfiber cloth or a slightly damp rag.
Caution: Before cleaning, make sure the electricity is off and the bulb is cool.

Ceiling Fans

Dust the lights on ceiling fans weekly when you clean the fan blades. When a bulb goes out and you have to climb a ladder anyway, clean globes and bulbs with a microfiber cloth. If the globes are really dirty, take them down and clean with soapy water or a cleaning solution.
When removing or returning globes or bulbs, be sure not to steady yourself by grabbing fan blades, which will turn if touched.
Related: Ceiling Fans: Know the Spin Before You Install

Tricks of the Trade

1.  Dryer sheets are low-cost alternatives to microfiber clothes. They’re great for dusting bulbs.
2.  Wear goggles when dusting or spritzing overhead fixtures to prevent dust or cleaning solution from hurting your eyes.
3.  If you’re having trouble removing the bulb in a recessed light, cut a 12-inch strip of duct tape, and fold it over the bulb so that the ends act like handles that are easier to grip than the glass.

HouseLogic for REALTORS® © Copyright 2020 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Friday, March 27, 2020

Don’t Let Frightening Headlines Scare You

Don’t Let Frightening Headlines Scare You | MyKCM


There’s a lot of anxiety right now regarding the coronavirus pandemic. The health situation must be addressed quickly, and many are concerned about the impact on the economy as well.
Amidst all this anxiety, anyone with a megaphone – from the mainstream media to a lone blogger – has realized that bad news sells. Unfortunately, we will continue to see a rash of horrifying headlines over the next few months. Let’s make sure we aren’t paralyzed by a headline before we get the full story.
When it comes to the health issue, you should look to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO) for the most reliable information.
Finding reliable resources with information on the economic impact of the virus is more difficult. For this reason, it’s important to shed some light on the situation. There are already alarmist headlines starting to appear. Here are two such examples surfacing this week.

1. Goldman Sachs Forecasts the Largest Drop in GDP in Almost 100 Years

It sounds like Armageddon. Though the headline is true, it doesn’t reflect the full essence of the Goldman Sachs forecast. The projection is actually that we’ll have a tough first half of the year, but the economy will bounce back nicely in the second half; GDP will be up 12% in the third quarter and up another 10% in the fourth.
This aligns with research from John Burns Consulting involving pandemics, the economy, and home values. They concluded:
“Historical analysis showed us that pandemics are usually V-shaped (sharp recessions that recover quickly enough to provide little damage to home prices), and some very cutting-edge search engine analysis by our Information Management team showed the current slowdown is playing out similarly thus far.”
The economy will suffer for the next few months, but then it will recover. That’s certainly not Armageddon.

2. Fed President Predicts 30% Unemployment!

That statement was made by James Bullard, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. What Bullard actually said was it “could” reach 30%. But let’s look at what else he said in the same Bloomberg News interview:
“This is a planned, organized partial shutdown of the U.S. economy in the second quarter,” Bullard said. “The overall goal is to keep everyone, households and businesses, whole” with government support.
According to Bloomberg, he also went on to say:
“I would see the third quarter as a transitional quarter” with the fourth quarter and first quarter next year as “quite robust” as Americans make up for lost spending. “Those quarters might be boom quarters,” he said.
Again, Bullard agrees we will have a tough first half and rebound quickly.

Bottom Line

There’s a lot of misinformation out there. If you want the best advice on what’s happening in the current housing market, let’s talk today.