Home Laundry: To Vent or Not to Vent

I once believed it was a forgone conclusion that when adding certain laundry appliances to a home, it would mean installing exhaust ducting and cutting a hole to the outside for venting.

However, a recent report from Michele Weaver at Design Basics, LLC highlighted a growing trend in ventless dryers that can be easily located and relocated within a home because vent piping, exhaust holes and venting to the outside are not needed.

The mechanics of a home dryer can cause energy and safety problems if lint becomes trapped in the vent. This demands more energy use and frequent cleaning. Weaver believes one of the major trends consumers will be seeing in these key appliances will be the further refinement of ductless technology.

She says vent hoses snaking through a home’s framing have become a leading cause of the 2,900 (average) home clothes dryer fires reported annually, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

J.D. Wollf at HomeSteady.com recently explained that a ventless or condenser dryer— also known as a Heat Pump Clothes Dryer (HPCD)—doesn’t need a vent because instead of expelling the hot, moist air, a heat exchanger removes the moisture from the hot air and “recycles” it, passing it back through the drying clothes. The excess water is then drained away or caught in a container that is later emptied.

The trade-off for energy savings and safety is a requirement for slightly more maintenance than vented dryers. Wollf says the condensing unit must be cleaned about once a month to remove any lint.

A study at the Florida Solar Energy Center at the University of Central Florida states that while an unvented HPCD uses less electricity than a standard resistance dryer, it was found to release significantly more heat than a conventional dryer during operation, demanding additional cooling energy that may compromise overall savings.

However, the study points out that with a current retail cost of $948, there is only a small premium on the HPCD dryers, making them cost-effective when chosen at time of replacement.

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How to Cancel a Check

(TNS)—Do you have a checking account? What should you do if you sent a check to someone and it hasn’t arrived weeks later? If you’re worried that it may have been lost or stolen, it’s critical you cancel it, or stop payment, as soon as possible.

Here are the steps to cancel a check—and what it may cost you.

Personal Checks vs. Cashier’s Checks
Your personal check contains your name, your account number, a bank routing number, a check number, the payee’s name and the amount payable. When the payee’s bank receives the check, your signature authorizes the bank to transfer funds from your account to the recipient’s account. Usually it takes a couple of business days for a check to clear once it’s been deposited. If a check hasn’t cleared, you can stop payment on it.

A cashier’s check, on the other hand, is drawn directly on the bank that issued the check and not on your account. You may need to use a cashier’s check when you are making a large payment, such as a security deposit on an apartment. You pay the bank the sum needed and a small service fee of $10 or so, and the bank guarantees the funds to the payee. In most cases, banks must honor a cashier’s check when it is presented, and a stop payment is not available.

How to Cancel a Check
If you made an error when writing a personal check—such as making it out for the wrong amount—or if you think the check may have gotten lost in the mail, the first thing you should do is review your account’s transaction history online or call the bank’s 800 number to find out if the check has already cleared.

If the check has not been posted, contact your bank to stop payment. You’ll need a few pieces of information to do this:

  • Your account number
  • The exact amount of the check and who it was made payable to
  • The check number

If you are enrolled in online banking, you can stop payment on a check from your mobile device or computer. Otherwise, you’ll need to call the bank or visit your branch office.

If you make your stop-payment request in time and in writing, your bank won’t be able to cash the check for six months. After that, your stop payment request expires and the check could be paid. Many banks, however, don’t honor checks after six months have passed (but be sure to ask your bank). If you make a stop payment request by phone and do not follow up in writing, the bank can cash the check after 14 days. That’s why it is important to renew your request in writing.

If your check has already been cashed and you suspect fraud, contact you bank so it can initiate an investigation. By law you are generally not responsible for a check if someone forged the signature of the person to whom you made out the check.

Cost of Canceling a Check
Depending on your bank and the type of account you have, you may have to pay a fee of between $15 and $30 to stop payment on a check. If you have an interest-bearing checking account with a fairly high monthly minimum balance, the fee may be waived altogether. Contact your bank to find out exactly what you can expect.

Visit Bankrate online at www.bankrate.com.

©2018 Bankrate.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Infographic: How Recent Buyers Purchased Their Home

Demand and home prices are increasing, but that has yet to keep homebuyers out of the market. Here is how they did it:

For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.

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3 Ways to Throwback Style

(Family Features)—When it’s time for a bathroom or kitchen upgrade, some of the greatest inspiration may come from another time entirely. Some of the most on-trend styles of today are actually throwbacks to bygone eras.

Learn how to make your updated spaces pay tribute to re-emerging trends and add your own modern touches with these three new-again looks.

Retro-Modern
A retro-modern design is unique in every way, with elements transitioning from the historically unfitted 1920s to 1950s charm and eccentricity. The result is a space that represents many eras and design styles, and the kitchen is the perfect space to bring this look to life.

Start by establishing a focal point for your retro-modern design, such as a functional nod to the past. Long before modern refrigeration, iceboxes were used in many of the homes in the early 20th century to keep foods fresh. It’s possible to mimic this look with the Wellborn Cabinet Premier Series, to achieve an icebox look that actually functions as storage space.

Use contrasting finishes, colors and textures to uniquely define a small space. For example, a modern cabinet scheme in a dark stain or paint contrasts beautifully with stainless steel hardware and a pop of color to break up the cold nature of stainless steel.

Then bring some uniformity with an option like Shaker decorative legs, which adds to the multi-era design feel. Deriving from the Shaker lifestyle and tradition, the tapering effect offers a beautiful yet simple design feature. Integrate the look across multiple elements, such as a wooden-style tapered leg icebox, along with stainless steel tapered legs on wall and peninsula cabinets, which can pair nicely with stainless-steel hardware and a 1950s Malt Shop grooved countertop.

Accessories are an important part of kitchen design, which is why they should be kept top of mind when building or designing that dream space. Features such as removable under-sink baskets and a double wastebasket kit lend ultimate practicality.

No matter the era, lighting is a must for a functional kitchen space. A carefully crafted, multi-layered lighting design is an essential component of a dream kitchen. An option like Hafele lighting, now offered through a partnership with Wellborn Cabinet, makes it possible to illuminate cabinetry, delivering ambient, accent, task and decorative lighting to create the right mood for any space.

Elegant
A beautiful, ornate bathroom with plenty of traditional features can truly be an interpretation of elegance in design. Plan for an abundance of luxurious, spa-like elements to achieve this look. Incorporate features such as warm hickory covering every inch of the walls and built-in lighting to set the tone for a relaxing atmosphere. Then incorporate antique-styled mirrors and glass hardware to create contrasts among the rich tones and texture.

You can create a distinctive alcove effect by situating the sink vanities directly between matching cabinet ends and recessing two mirrors into the wall. A decorative arch valance can add beauty and function, as this is an ideal place to tuck away lighting that provides depth and visibility.

Let a large soaking tub take center stage between the sink vanity and a custom makeup area. While you can rely on cabinetry for functional features, it’s also a way to continue adding elegant touches, such as a beautifully crafted tub skirt and arch that complements the vanity area.

No luxury bathroom is complete without a standalone makeup alcove outfitted with unique features like drawer dividers (perfect for hair accessories) and countertop hideaway cabinets. Consider creating a focal point using rounded spindles to create depth and allow the custom makeup section to stand out in the design. Lastly, embellish the distinguished look with molding options that highlight the feature areas and create a defined line around the room.

An elegant, spacious master bathroom is luxurious and functional, proving that practicality can be used in a glorious way.

Retro
Going to the extreme with your aesthetic with a retro design is all about fun, with features such as pops of color in the tile behind the vanities or fun and whimsical wallpaper. A 1950s-style bathroom lets you play on your childlike senses. From bright colors to mixed metals and textures, this unique design style pays respect to the era of carhops, Airstream Travel Trailers and Lucille Ball.

The key to making a throwback-styled design work for your contemporary needs is all in the modern elements. Think along the lines of illuminated drawers and cabinets and base pull-out wire baskets. These fun twists of technology paired with retro-styled elements make for a winning solution.

When it comes to the vanities and cabinetry, remember that both style and color can bring your retro design together. Don’t be afraid to step outside more traditional wood tones, and use unexpected colors, such as the pink hue available in Wellborn Cabinet’s ColorInspire program. For the woodwork, look for details such as conical-styled, slender legs that add to the 1950s feel.

Reminiscent of days past, a fabulous ’50s bathroom is the ultimate definition of an eccentric design.

There’s no time like now to begin planning your on-trend home upgrades. Explore the latest styles and home design options at wellborn.com.

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5 Interior Design Details for Winter

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Are you interested in adding a little seasonal oomph to your space? Below are a handful of cozy—and inexpensive—winter updates.

Cozy blankets galore. Nothing is better than a snuggly blanket on a cool winter evening. Drape heavier blankets over sofas, chairs or reading nooks, and even fold one up by the fireplace for stretching out on the floor. Just make sure it’s safely away from the flames!

Gray space. The color gray is a winter staple. Swap out your fiery fall throw pillows for a gunmetal shade, unroll a deep gray rug in the living or dining room, or update your window coverings to a gentle ash tone.

Candle craze. Soft lighting in winter can create a romantic, warm effect. Place candles around the house and ditch the harsh overheads as you settle in with that evening glass of wine.

Bring out your book lover. Stacks of books offer an inviting way to spend those chilly winter hours. Create attractive assemblies on side tables, shelves, inside your unused fireplace, or even in corners on the floor.

Wooden wonders. Adding wood accents to your home in the winter makes you feel like you’re living in a ski lodge. Pile logs in the corner for fire (or simple aesthetics) and add a rustic wood table by the sofa for setting that warm mug of tea. No table? Try a large, seasoned stump for some real rustic vibes.

Zoe Eisenberg is RISMedia’s senior content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at zoe@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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#CES2018: Tech Up Your Style

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By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

The mega consumer electronic showcase, CES, lands in Las Vegas this week. It may not be the place you typically go to for décor trends, but technology is having an undeniable influence in home design, like see-through refrigerators and smart lighting.

Consumers look to you for expertise too. Forty-two percent of Americans say they would look to their sales agent to provide suggestions about how staging their home with smart home products could impact the sale of their home, according to a newly released Coldwell Banker Real Estate survey of more than 3,000 Americans.

So what do we see that has potential this year to spice up some designs? Here are a few picks from CES 2018.

Accent Wall Light Show

Photo credit: Nanoleaf

Nanoleaf’s color-changing Aurora light panels would make for an attention-getting accent wall in small or big doses. Connect them in any configuration you like. They just stick to the walls. The panels change colors, and you can sync the lights to music and also with one of your AI’s, Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant. The panels are touch-sensitive so with a tap you can turn them on and off, dim them, or change the color.

Statement Refrigerators

Refrigerators just keep getting smarter. LG’s new InstaView ThinQ smart refrigerator features a 29-inch touchscreen that becomes transparent if you knock on it twice. You can also use the touchscreen to manage your food and get automatic reminders when items are running low.

Photo credit: LG

Photo credit: LG

Samsung has a similar model in appearance with its 2018 version of its Family Hub smart refrigerator. This year’s model offers support for Samsung’s Bixby voice assistant to handle voice commands. It can connect to other third-party devices for the smart home too. So you can actually view what’s happening outside your front door from your refrigerator door.

Photo credit: Samsung

Photo credit: Samsung

Notice both the Samsung and LG models are both featured in black stainless, which we still believe will be a growing competitor to traditional stainless steel.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall …

Photo credit: Kohler

Photo credit: Kohler

Check out this smart mirror. Kohler is introducing a new Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror, which is a bathroom mirror that has Amazon’s Alexa built-in. It features a dual-microphone solution for accuracy in voice-control and speakers are housed in the casings. There is also a motion-activated wayfinding nightlight for safety, and LED lights for makeup application or other grooming needs. It can also communicate with other connected products in your Wi-Fi network.

Is that an AI in your ceiling?

Photo credit: GE

Photo credit: GE

Talk with your ceiling lights. You’ll be able to with GE’s Smart Ceiling Fixture. It is a large disk that boasts a speaker in the middle. You can give it voice-driven tasks on anything, like adding an item to your grocery list or telling it to play music. You can also tell it to adjust the warmness or coolness of the lights. It responds to your commands. Flush mount or recessed can lighting options will be available.

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‘Aging in Place’ Begins Early: Report

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Homeowners are getting older, and to continue on in their current house, improvements are necessary.

“Aging in place,” however, is not just about adding railings and ramps—in fact, 46 percent of homeowners aged 75-plus began improvements early with the expectation that they would grow older, but stay put, according to a HomeAdvisor report. The most common remodels, the report shows:

  • Add Lever-Style Doorknobs
  • Add Pull-Out Shelves
  • Add a Smart Fire Detection System
  • Add a Smart Security System
  • Replace Stone/Tile With Carpet/Wood

Homeowners at an earlier stage, aged 55-75, are also making modifications, but not necessarily due to aging concerns (though they are, fortuitously, ideal for just that). These include adding automated features like a programmable thermostat or voice activation, and, in bathrooms, grab bars and higher toilets.

According to HomeAdvisor, a “holistic” movement is occurring—a comprehensive, and, at times, preventative, approach to living over the years. Early on, that could mean addressing issues that could be unsafe, like a cracked walkway. Later, that could mean cutting clutter and organizing (accessible storage, for example), or eliminating labor-intensive chores, such as adding gutters that clean themselves. The outcome is a lifestyle that is not only beneficial currently, but also crucial down the line, when age can impede the ability to carry out chores and upkeep.

Other key improvements to consider, the report shows:

  • Lighting
  • Modifications in Shower (Bench, threshold)
  • Moving Master Bedroom to First Floor
  • Ramps
  • Wider Doorways

Source: HomeAdvisor

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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White Kitchen Fatigue?

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Are homeowners growing tired of the all-white kitchen? Some design experts believe so. White kitchens have been popular over the past few years, but Houzz editor and writer Mitchell Parker predicts that the number of homeowners who will get “white-kitchen fatigue” will grow in the new year.

Some homeowners may experiment with adding more colors back in to the kitchen.

“While white kitchens aren’t going anywhere, expect to see a rise in color, especially other neutrals like gray and blue,” Parker notes in reporting on 2018 home trends. “Plus, warm wood tones are becoming a popular replacement for painted cabinets, leading to sophisticated, rich palettes.”

The two-tone look started catching on in 2017, in which cabinet colors were mixed and matched in the kitchen. For example, the bottom cabinets might be a darker color, such as gray, and the upper cabinets then all in white. Or, homeowners were making a bigger statement with their kitchen islands by painting it a bolder color that contrasted with the rest of its kitchen cabinets.

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Real Estate Q&A: When It Comes to Condo Boards, Apathy Can Be Expensive

(TNS)—Q: In our condo association we don’t have enough people who want to serve on the board of directors to fill all of the seats necessary under our documents. What can we do? –Tom

A: Owner apathy is probably the most significant issue facing community associations. For your community to run properly, enough of your neighbors will need to volunteer for the difficult and often thankless job of serving on the board. If enough people do not step up to fill the required seats, the law allows any owner in the community to apply to the court to have a receiver appointed to run the association until enough owners can be found to serve.

Unlike neighborhood volunteers, a court-appointed receiver will be paid a salary by the association, and the costs of having the receiver appointed will be reimbursed to the owner who applied. Receivers can be expensive, so a special assessment will most likely be levied against all owners to cover these costs.

Since this is a drastic move, the owner making the application must notify the association at least 30 days before filing with the court and must post the notice conspicuously for other owners to see. The announcement tells the other owners that unless the vacancies are filled, the court will be asked to have a receiver appointed. Upon seeing this, your neighbors would be wise to find volunteers to serve their community.

Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar.

©2017 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Visit Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Would You Play Pretend Neighbors With These TV Characters?

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Good neighbors are hard to find—unless you live near your favorite fictional star. Which character on the small screen is the most sought-after in 2018?

The best on the block, according to the annual Celebrity Neighbor Survey by Zillow, are Leonard and Penny from “The Big Bang Theory,” with 19 percent of the vote. Leonard is played by Johnny Galecki, whose ranch in San Luis Obispo was destroyed in a fire last summer. Penny is portrayed by Kaley Cuoco, who, after briefly residing at Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian’s former home in Tarzana, made headlines with her single-gal spread.

One TV twist: Nine percent of respondents to the survey said they’re not fans of “Big Bang” characters Sheldon and Amy. The most nightmare-ish, however? Thirty-one percent said they’d dread living in proximity to the titular Simpsons—but 11 percent, still, said the opposite.

“‘The Big Bang Theory’ is one of the most popular shows on television, so it is not surprising that American adults chose its leading couple as the most desirable neighbors for 2018,” says Jeremy Wacksman, CMO at Zillow. “On the other hand, it wouldn’t be easy to live next to the Simpsons, who have spent nearly 30 seasons causing chaos for neighbor Ned Flanders and the rest of Springfield. However, as the stars of one of TV’s longest-running shows, the Simpsons are certainly beloved by some: they also tied for second on the most desirable neighbor list.”

The faves following Leonard and Penny in the ranking: The Dunphys from “Modern Family” (No. 2 alongside the Simpsons); Will and Grace from “Will & Grace” (No. 3); Jack and Rebecca Pearson from “This Is Us” (No. 4); and The Johnsons from “Black-ish” (No. 5).

After the Simpsons, the neighbors not welcome are: The Lannisters from “Game of Thrones” (No. 2); Olivia Pope from “Scandal” (No. 4); and the Jennings from “The Americans” (No. 5).

2018’s choices differ from those in prior years, when Americans were asked to pick a real-life star to share a fence with. In 2017, that honor went to the Obamas.

For more information, please visit www.zillow.com.

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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