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7 Apartment Winter Maintenance Tips for Renters

Winter always seems to sneak up on us, year after year. Because most climates experience the most dramatic change in weather during the colder months, it’s important to understand what apartment winter maintenance or preparatory tasks you’ll be responsible for at your rental property.

While some tasks fall on the shoulders of your landlord or property manager, there are certain steps you can take as a renter to ensure a safe and comfortable winter at home.

1. Check in with your landlord or property manager

Before the winter hits, touch base with your landlord if you’re unclear on what are tenant responsibilities and what are landlord responsibilities. Who’s responsible for removing snow and ice at the property, and what are the expectations?

Some states have local snow and ice removal regulations regarding public sidewalks or other public areas. Discuss acceptable de-icing measures to make sure you aren’t causing damage to any surfaces.

thermostat

2. Test out the heat

While it’s your landlord’s responsibility to have heating and cooling systems serviced regularly, it’s helpful to turn on the heat a bit early for a short period of time to make sure everything is functioning properly.

It’s always better to learn about any issues ahead of time instead of discovering a winter maintenance problem in your apartment when the cold temperatures set in.

3. Avoid unwanted guests

Cooler weather and more precipitation means bugs, rodents and other pests are looking for a warm place to call home. An easy way to attract unwanted pests is by providing them with a food source, so be sure to take a few preventative steps, especially now that many of us are cooking at home more than ever before.

Store your dry, perishable food items inside air-tight containers that pests can’t chew through. Try to take trash containing food scraps out as soon as possible instead of letting it sit. Aim to wipe down countertops at least once each day to get rid of crumbs and food remnants.

4. Prevent frozen pipes

Be sure to follow all of your landlord’s instructions to avoid frozen or burst pipes due to cold weather. Most landlords or property managers will provide guidance on temperature levels and other preventative measures to avoid this issue.

If you’re leaving on vacation or will otherwise be away from your rental for a period of time this winter, give your landlord a heads up and ask if they want you to set the temperature at a certain point or leave a couple of faucets on a slow drip.

woman with blanket and coffee

5. Stay warm and save money

Of course, you want to be comfortable in your own home, but keeping a few things in mind when it comes to turning on the heat can have a dramatic impact on your monthly bill. Experts say you can save up to 10 percent on your yearly heating expenses by turning down the thermostat just 7-10 degrees for approximately eight hours per day, like while you’re at work or while you’re sleeping.

Ceiling fans are an excellent tool to help distribute heat evenly. Many models have a switch that forces blades to spin clockwise, which will push warm air down into a room.

6. Be prepared for emergencies

If you live in an area where winter weather and storms are a frequent occurrence, it’s wise to make sure you’re prepared ahead of time for any worst-case scenarios. Sign up for weather and emergency alert systems to stay informed about any potentially threatening storms and actions should take. In general, stay indoors during major storms and avoid road travel until it is safe to do so.

7. Notify your landlord of any issues as soon as possible

Common winter issues like ice dams, frozen pipes or issues with the heating system can quickly spiral out of control. It’s important to keep tabs on your home and alert your landlord of any potential issues as soon as possible so they can be taken care of as quickly as possible.

Winter is coming

Whether you’re dreading winter or it’s your favorite season, taking the time to prepare your apartment for winter maintenance will help set you up for success as a renter. Come to a clear and established understanding of what your responsibilities are and what your landlord is responsible for, and make sure to hold up your end of the bargain.

The post 7 Apartment Winter Maintenance Tips for Renters appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com

How to Kill Bathroom Mold: 8 Methods to Try

So, it’s happened. You’re in the shower and you spot it — mold. What do you do now? It’s tricky to know how to kill mold in a safe way and make sure it doesn’t come back. Luckily, there are several ways to ensure your apartment is clean and mold-free. Here are multiple ways you can kill mold.

Understanding what causes mold

Before you can kill the mold in your apartment, you have to know what caused it. Mold can occur in a couple of different ways:

  • Lack of or poor ventilation that causes moisture to linger in the air
  • Faulty plumbing like leaking sinks, faucets or drains
  • Damp materials like rugs, towels, wallpaper, grout or drywall that never completely dry

These are the most common ways mold forms in your apartment. Now that you understand the different ways mold can grow, you can identify what caused the mold in your apartment and choose the best tip to prevent and kill it.

How to kill mold in your apartment

It’s recommended that if the affected, moldy area is larger than 10 feet or if you notice mold is growing in your apartment’s insulation, you should call a professional. However, if it’s a small area and the mold is already there, you need to get rid of it.

Here are some mold-prevention tips to make sure mold never inhabits your apartment and living space again.

1. Use or install a bathroom fan

bathroom fan

Use the bathroom’s ventilation fan while you bathe and leave it on for 30 minutes after you get out. If you don’t have a ventilation fan, think about installing one. The fan can help suck the moisture out of the air so it doesn’t linger and lead to a mold infestation.

Another tip on how to kill mold is to keep down the humidity in your home. Fans and dehumidifiers can help improve ventilation in the space, therefore reducing moisture that can cause mold.

2. Organize your bathroom products

shampoo bottles

Yes, organization can actually help keep your space safe and mold-free.

When you leave things like shampoo, body soap and bath toys on the side of the shower without ever removing them, water gets stuck underneath allowing mold to grow. By frequently adjusting their placement and cleaning underneath them weekly, you can reduce the risk of mold growth in your bathroom.

3. Apply tea tree oil

tea tree

Not only does tea tree oil have a nice smell, but it’s also a great way to get rid of and kill bathroom mold. Simply mix one teaspoon of oil and one cup of water. You can either pour the mixed solution into a spray bottle or pour it into a bowl and dip your scrubber into it. Scrub the moldy area with the mix to remove the mold.

Once the area has been cleaned don’t rinse it with water as it’s best to let the mixture sit to prevent future mold from growing. Note, when buying tea tree oil for mold removal, make sure it contains melaleuca alternifolia in the ingredients.

4. Clean with vinegar

vinegar

Vinegar is an effective, non-toxic way to get rid of mold. If you go with this method, here’s how to use it. Pour white vinegar into a spray bottle and make sure to not dilute it with water. Spray the affected area with the vinegar and let it sit for one hour.

If you have windows in the area you’re cleaning, it’s best to leave them open for ventilation. After an hour, use hot water to wipe the area clean. Finally, dry it off completely as mold thrives in damp places.

5. Use baking soda

baking soda

Baking soda is another option if vinegar isn’t for you. Not only does it kill mold but it absorbs moisture. This is a great option if you have pets as it isn’t harmful to animals.

Mix a quarter of a tablespoon into the water and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray the area and scrub the mold away, then rinse the area with hot water. Finally, you can spray the area again and let it dry to prevent future mold.

6. Sanitize with bleach

cleaning with bleach

Bleach is a good way to get rid of mold on nonporous surfaces, however, it’s not recommended to use bleach on surfaces such as wood. Make sure when using bleach that you take all the safety precautions, such as wearing gloves and having proper ventilation. Remember to never mix bleach with any other cleaning solution as it can cause toxic fumes.

The most effective way to use bleach to kill mold is to mix one cup of bleach with a gallon of water. Spray it onto the affected area, let it soak and scrub that nasty mold away. When you’re done, rinse the area down and dry it completely.

7. Scrub with borax

scrubbing with borax

Borax can be found at most grocery stores in the laundry detergent aisle and is a great option to get rid of and kill most molds in your bathroom. Mold Help for You has a great recipe for a borax solution to kill mold that’s easy-to-make and effective.

8. Clean using hydrogen peroxide

hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is easy to find and easy to use to kill mold. All you have to do is spray the area with it and let it sit for 10 minutes, then scrub the area and rinse with hot water.

Getting rid of mold for good

Mold is never a welcome guest in your home or bathroom. But with these cleaning solutions and tips on how to kill bathroom mold, you’ll be prepared and ready to attack and kill next time it strikes.

The post How to Kill Bathroom Mold: 8 Methods to Try appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com

What is Accidental Death Insurance, and do you Need it?

Accidental death insurance, also known as accidental death and dismemberment insurance, is a type of limited life insurance often acquired for a nominal fee or added to an existing policy. As the name suggests, it releases a benefit if the policyholder dies from an accident or suffers a dismemberment. 

Accidents kill an estimated 160,000 Americans a year and are far more common amongst men aged between 18 and 44. Many of these deaths occur as a result of falls and motor traffic accidents, both of which are covered by most accidental death insurance policies.

When You Don’t Need Accidental Death Insurance

If you already have life insurance, you can probably overlook accidental death insurance. In such cases, it will simply increase the value of the payout when you die, known as “double indemnity” coverage.

Unlike whole-life insurance policies, it does not provide policyholders with a separate investment vehicle that they can cash out at a later date. Generally, accidental death insurance doesn’t offer anything that a traditional life insurance policy can’t provide, and it may therefore be deemed an unnecessary expense.

However, there are exceptions.

When You Need Accidental Death Insurance

An accidental death benefit can’t provide you with anything that you won’t get from a traditional life insurance policy. However, it’s a different story with dismemberment insurance. This will cover you in the event that you lose a finger, toe or arm, which means you’ll have the money you need for medical costs and may be compensated for lost work.

Accidental death insurance can also help to cover any additional medical fees that result from necessary treatment taken after an accident and before death. Your family may be forced to cover these bills, and an additional death benefit can help them with that. 

Accidental death and dismemberment insurance is not something we would recommend in lieu of traditional life insurance, but if you have the option to add it to an existing policy for a few bucks a month, it’s well worth considering.

How Much Does Accidental Death Insurance Cost?

The price of your accidental death insurance premiums will depend on your payout as well as your risk factor. The average person can expect a charge of roughly $5 per month for every $50,000 of coverage, which means a benefit of $100,000 could cost as little as $10 a month.

But, as we have discussed many times before, underwriters focus on probabilities. The more likely you are to die from an accident, the higher those premiums will cost. For instance, if you’re an 18-year-old who has just started driving and enjoys a few high-risk hobbies, you may see those premiums climb.

How Long Does Accidental Death Insurance Last?

Accidental death insurance policies typically run for up to 40 years. You choose the desired term at the start and this is used to calculate your premiums, with longer terms leading to higher prices on account of the increased risk.

What is Not Covered by Accidental Death Insurance?

Accidental death insurance generally doesn’t cover all accidents and all dismemberments. The exact coverage will depend on the policy, and it’s possible to tailor your policy to include some of the things not traditionally included, but this may increase the premiums.

Suicide

Suicide is a tricky one. Many life insurance policies will payout if the policyholder commits suicide, but only if it occurs after the first two years and it is proved that they committed suicide so their loved ones would benefit (although this is not easy to prove).

However, accidental death insurance policies tend to rule suicide out altogether. Many deaths caused by misadventure may be queried as suicide, such as falls and drownings, but unless there is actual proof that they intended to take their life, the death will often be ruled as misadventure, in which case an accidental death insurance policy may payout.

War Injuries

Accidental death insurance rarely pays out for deaths resulting from war injuries. This is true whether the policyholder is shot or dies from an explosion or fall. That death was certainly not intentional, so you could argue that the policy should pay, but most insurers will refuse.

Illness and Disease

An accidental death insurance policy is not designed to payout in the event that you die from an illness or disease. Your beneficiaries may also face some resistance if you had a serious illness or disease at the time of your death but an accident was ultimately the thing that killed you.

For instance, if you have a serious mobility problem and this causes you to fall, hit your head, and die, then technically an accident killed you, but that accident wouldn’t have happened if not for the illness, creating some technicalities that will no doubt lead to problems when filing a claim.

Drugs or Alcohol

An accidental overdose is rarely covered by accidental death insurance. There will be no benefit for your loved ones if it leads to your demise, and no benefit for you if it leads to long-term health complications.

This is not true for all policies, however, and there may be exceptions for drugs that were prescribed.

How Can the Cause of Death be Proved?

As alluded to already, the cause of death isn’t straightforward. With a traditional life insurance policy, if the policyholder dies outside of the contestability period, the insurers will rarely get involved. That changes if they have suspicions about the death and believe that a crime was committed (fraud, murder) but it’s rare.

With accidental death insurance, however, there are many more nuances. As a result, an official investigation may be ordered, and this can include an autopsy.

How Does the Dismemberment Payout Work?

If the policyholder losses an appendage as a result of an accident, they may receive a partial benefit paid direct to them. The policy will dictate how much is paid and why, but generally the payout will be made following a non-excluded accident that results in the loss of:

  • An arm
  • A leg
  • A finger
  • A toe
  • Sight

Higher payouts may also be provided if the policyholder suffers complete paralysis.

What is Accidental Death Insurance, and do you Need it? is a post from Pocket Your Dollars.

Source: pocketyourdollars.com

3 Tips for Finding an Affordable Life Insurance Policy

Life insurance offers protection for your family’s financial security. Many people buy themselves a life insurance policy that will protect their family. It’s also possible for people to purchase life insurance policies for someone else. For example, children can purchase policies for their parents and vice versa.

Life insurance coverage offers valuable financial protection. You need to find a policy that meets your coverage needs and fits your budget. Here are three tips that will help you find the right fit:

Understand Policy Options

Premium rates vary based on the kind of policy you choose. There are two broad categories of life insurance—temporary and permanent.

Temporary life insurance, or term life insurance, offers a death benefit payout if the insured passes away during the timeframe the policy covers.

Policyholders can choose the length of the term and the death benefit amount. Some companies offer additional coverage options, called rides, that can be attached. These range from accelerated death benefit riders to return of premium riders. These additional riders add more value to the policy, which also affects the rates.

Permanent life insurance has its own two categories—whole life and universal life. Both kinds of permanent life insurance accrue cash value over time. The cash value can be used to purchase paid-up additions, pay premiums or be borrowed against.

Like term life insurance policies, policyholders can choose to add additional coverage with riders. Riders vary by company and affect the monthly premium.

Whole life policies typically have the highest premiums because the coverage is permanent, and there’s generally a guaranteed cash value growth rate. Most whole life policies come with high death benefit amounts. Policyholders can choose the amount when they sign up for the policy.

However, for those who need less coverage or only enough to cover funeral expenses, final expense insurance policies are a great option. Final expense insurance is designed for seniors. It’s a type of whole life insurance, but the death benefit amounts are much lower. Because the death benefit is only enough to cover funeral expenses, premiums tend to be lower.

There are a few kinds of universal life insurance policies. The biggest difference with these policies is how the funds are invested. The cash value of variable universal policies is invested in multiple accounts, including stocks and bonds. The cash value of indexed universal policies is invested in indexes, which are diversified investments.

Because there is no guarantee of how the cash value will grow in the investments, universal life insurance premium rates tend to be lower than whole life insurance premium rates.

Work with an independent agent

While the various types of life insurance are common among life insurance companies, not all companies carry every kind. It’s a good idea to know what kind of life insurance policy you want before starting to work with companies.

If you’re not sure what kind of life policy you want, work with a life insurance agentto ensure that you find an affordable policy that meets your coverage needs. A licensed agent can help you through the entire process of selecting and applying for a policy.

Working with a licensed independent agent also has other advantages. The specific terms, riders and premium rates can vary by company. Independent agents sell policies from multiple companies, so they can help you compare similar policies across companies.

An independent agent can help you understand the underwriting process and find a policy that is a good fit for your situation. In addition to comparing coverage and terms across companies, an independent agent can help you compare premium rates.

Working with an independent agent makes the research process easier for you because you don’t have to reach out directly to companies. Instead, you can work with one person to find the best company and rate for you.

Use quote websites wisely

While some people like working with an agent, others may prefer to do independent research. Quote websites come in handy because they make it easy to quickly view your options.

There are many life insurance quote websites to choose from. So, how do you know if you’re working with a good company?

First, it’s important to understand what kind of quote website you’re using. Some websites, like Geico and Progressive, show quotes from multiple life insurance companies. These quotes allow visitors to compare their policy options across companies. However, these companies just show quotes and connect their visitors to companies.

Others, like Bestow, Haven Life and Ladder, only show quotes for the policies they offer. These companies help their clients through the application process, which is another benefit of working with them.

Others, like Quotacy, show quotes from multiple life insurers and help their clients through the application and underwriting process. Quotacy agents even assist their clients in making updates to their policy after they purchase a policy.

Second, it’s important to know what kinds of policies the website shows. Many online tools focus solely on term life insurance. While this is a shared characteristic across many quote websites, each one has its unique features.

For example, Ladder stands out because its policies allow policyholders to adjust coverage during the term as their needs change.

In contrast, other quote websites show quotes for different kinds of permanent life insurance. This is true of many sites that only offer quotes, like Geico and Progressive. Websites that offer more comprehensive services, like Quotacy and Policygenius, also offer quotes for permanent life insurance policies.

Finding affordable life insurance

Life insurance offers valuable financial protection for your family. It can pay off remaining debt, cover funeral expenses and even replace income.

While the protection offered is highly valuable, it’s important to find a plan that fits into your monthly budget. The first step is determining what your needs are and which kind of life policy best meets those needs. From there you can work with an independent life insurance agent and do your research into policies and premium rates offered by different life insurance companies.


Alice Stevens loves learning languages and traveling. She currently manages debt and tax relief, life and health insurance, and car warranty content for BestCompany.com.

The post 3 Tips for Finding an Affordable Life Insurance Policy appeared first on Credit.com.

Source: credit.com

How To Clean An Iron To Make It Look Brand New

Cleaning an iron is a household task that’s easy to forget about. However, with all the shirts to press, sheets to smooth and pants to unwrinkle, it’s no wonder our irons get worn out. Giving your iron the TLC it needs can be simple and way cheaper than opting for a newer model.

There are many different ways to clean and shine your iron using some elbow grease and a few items you may already have in your home. Keeping your iron clean is necessary to keep the chore easy and productive, so check out these tips to clean an iron without any fancy cleaning products required.

1. Clean with baking soda

Baking soda is used to clean almost anything, whether it’s your household appliances, fruits and veggies or your iron. You can create a stain-fighting paste using two tablespoons of baking soda mixed with one tablespoon of warm water. Gently rub the paste on a cool iron plate, coating areas that have mineral deposits. Wipe the paste off using a damp cloth.

Pro tip: Avoid getting the paste in the iron’s steam holes. If you manage to get it in there, use a damp cotton dipped in distilled water or a wooden toothpick to clean it out.

2. Clean with sea salt

person filling up water tank in an iron

Believe it or not, using salt to clean your iron can get the job done. Turn your iron on the hottest setting and lay out a brown paper bag or newspaper on your ironing board. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt over the paper bag or newspaper and begin to iron the salty surface. Continue this process until the salt takes away all the dirt on your iron. After this, wipe the salt residue away with a damp cloth.

Pro tip: Iron in circular motions to maximize the amount of dirt you take off.

3. Clean with a towel and vinegar

If your main issue with your iron is corrosion, the towel and vinegar trick will make it look good as new! Soak a towel in vinegar and then set the iron onto the towel with the soleplate facing down. Let the iron sit in the vinegar-soaked towel for 30 minutes before wiping it down.

Pro tip: Place your soaked towel in a bin or other container to avoid vinegar seeping into unwanted areas.

4. Clean an iron’s steam holes

person steaming their iron

A common problem with dirty irons is the steam holes getting clogged. A good indication of some much needed cleaning is when the iron sputters and leaves mineral-filled or rusty water spots on clothing. Mix ½ cup of vinegar and ½ cup of distilled water into the iron’s reservoir and inspect the steam ducts in an upright position.

Use an old toothbrush, wooden toothpick or cotton swab to clear away build-up. Test the iron by heating it up and depressing the steam button until the steam flows out freely. Let the iron cool before pouring out the mixture into the reservoir.

Pro tip: Never use metal to clean the soleplate of your iron as this could scratch or damage it.

5. Clean with nail polish remover

Not only does nail polish remover clear away nail polish, but also the gunk on your iron plate! Heat up your iron and dip a cotton ball into some acetone nail polish remover. Use a heat-protecting glove like an oven mitt and wipe the cotton ball along the surface of the hot iron. This method helps dissolve any unwanted residue on your iron. Let your iron cool and wipe away excess nail polish remover.

Pro tip: Perform this cleaning method outside so that your household doesn’t breathe in the strong chemical fumes.

6. Clean with paracetamol

An unusual yet excellent hack for cleaning your iron (especially with burnt residue) is paracetamol (like Tylenol). In fact, any acetaminophen tablet will do. First, turn your iron on the highest setting. Once the plate is hot, use an oven mitt or other heat-protecting glove to press the pill directly onto the burnt area of your iron. The pill should melt into a gel which then dissolves the burnt spot on your iron. Use a damp cloth to clean the soleplate and repeat if necessary.

Pro tip: Don’t use tweezers or pliers to press the pill onto your hot iron. One slip could result in scratching your iron or burning your fingers!

7. Clean an iron with wax paper

someone holding an iron upright

Similar to the salt trick above, you can use wax paper with coarse salt to clean your iron. Place wax paper on your ironing board or a cutting board and sprinkle about a tablespoon of sea salt over the wax paper. Heat the iron to its highest temperature and iron the salt without applying much pressure. The residue will stick to the salt and your iron will be good as new!

Pro tip: Make sure the steam function is off while you perform this cleaning trick.

8. Clean with toothpaste

Toothpaste not only clears the plaque on your teeth but the muck on your iron as well. All you need to do is smear a small amount of white toothpaste on any affected areas on your iron’s soleplate. Leave the toothpaste there for a few minutes before wiping it away with a clean cloth.

Pro tip: Finish things off by filling your iron’s reservoir with distilled water and setting it down on a towel. Steam your iron leaving in for an additional few minutes to work through.

9. Clean with dryer sheets

Iron assisting with laundry

Dryer sheets have more uses than freshening up your drying clothes. One way to use a dryer sheet you may not have heard of yet is to clean your iron. Simply rub the soleplate with dryer sheets while the iron is on its lowest heat setting. As soon as you feel the dryer sheet get too hot, grab a fresh one. Repeat this process until the iron is clean.

Pro tip: It’s always a good idea to wear a heat-protecting glove or mitt when touching an iron soleplate. You should be fine while in the lowest setting, but be cautious.

10. Clean an iron with ice cubes

If you accidentally left your hot iron near something plastic, you probably have a bit of a mess to deal with. However, melted plastic is easy to get off an iron by using simple items like a big bowl, ice cubes and a plastic knife or spatula. Place your iron in a bowl or pan full of ice to harden the plastic. If your plastic is already hardened, you can skip this step. Now take a plastic knife or spatula and scrape the plastic away, then wipe it down with a damp rag until you feel the iron’s surface to be smooth.

Pro tip: It’s crucial to get plastic off your iron before you use it again, otherwise the plastic will melt into your garments.

How often should I clean my iron?

The answer to this question heavily depends on how often you use your iron. On average, you should make it a habit to clean your iron every other month to remove mineral deposits. If your iron begins to dull or you see any build-up on the soleplate, then you can do a quick cleanse to avoid having to do a deeper clean.

What is the black stuff on my iron?

someone wiping down their iron

Most people notice their iron is dirty when they see “black stuff” on the soleplate. The “black stuff” you see is a result of burn marks, dirt, dust, spray starch and fabric fiber buildup. Additionally, if you leave water inside your iron, it could begin to rust cause rusty spots. It’s important to maintain your iron to avoid it from damaging or ruining your clothing.

Maintaining a clean iron

To maintain a clean iron, there are a few things to consider. First, try using distilled water rather than ordinary tap water in your iron. Tap water contains minerals which over time results in rust and mineral build-up. Another consideration to avoid rust and mineral build-up is to make sure you empty the reservoir and place it in an upright position before storing it in your laundry room.

To keep your iron’s soleplate sleek and shiny, never iron over metal zippers, buttons, snaps or any other decorative item. The plate will last much longer and keep your iron maintenance low. Maintaining an iron may seem low on the to-do list, but it’s a great laundry hack that will save you a lot of time in the long-run.

The post How To Clean An Iron To Make It Look Brand New appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com