How to Safely Hang Christmas Lights

The following is a guest post by Rodney Southern.

Getting ready for the holiday season probably includes putting up decorations and lights, which is why it is a good idea to learn how to safely hang Christmas lights outside your home. Following these steps will ensure that you can enjoy the holiday season from home instead of from a hospital bed.

How to Safely Hang Christmas Lights at The Happy Housewife

Prepare in Advance

Before you climb on a ladder, make sure you have everything you need. If you are using old lights, inspect the strings for cracked bulbs, frayed wires, or any other hazard that could make the lights unsafe.

Invest in plastic clips to hold the lights in place, and have a bucket or organizer that can attach to your ladder. This will make it easy to grab the clips as you need them without bending over or losing your balance. You should also create a plan for your lights so you know in advance how many strings you will be hanging and where they will be placed.

Ladder Safety

Ladders can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Make sure that you have a safe ladder that reaches the height you need. Don’t take it upon yourself to modify an existing ladder to make it reach. This can make the unit unstable, which can cause injuries.

Have a spotter with you to help hold your ladder steady, and always make sure that the ladder is placed on level ground. You should never stand on the top step of the ladder. Remember, if the waistline of your pants is over the top of the ladder, you have climbed too high.

Electrical Safety

Aside from falls off of the ladder, electrical hazards are the other big safety concern for hanging Christmas lights. You should never connect more than three strings of lights together, and you should ever use a damaged set of lights.

If you are using an outdoor outlet, be sure that it is a GFCI outlet. These outlets are designed to prevent shock and injury. Should you use an indoor power source, use a strip surge protector, but don’t overload it with too many lights. When you use indoor power, make sure that your extension cords don’t cause a tripping hazard in the home.

Knowing how to safely hang Christmas lights will prevent injuries to you and your family. Making your home beautiful shouldn’t be dangerous, so make sure you use these steps to safely install your lights and decorations. Once in place, these lights will add a little bit of holiday magic to your home.

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Rodney Southern is a long time content writer specializing in a wide array of niches both online and in print. His work has been featured on sites such as Yahoo.com, The Sporting News and numerous others over an eleven plus year career. He also runs his own website on diabetes called Dashing Diabetes. He was the National Call for Content Winner for 2008. Southern resides in Greensboro, NC with his wife, Julie, and identical twin daughters, Valerie and Brooke.


This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

How to Ice Proof Steps During Winter

The following is a guest post by Rodney Southern

Among the many hazards that come with winter, simply navigating the front steps can be one of the worst. Icy roads are challenging enough, but you can avoid driving for at least a limited amount of time. However, you do need to know how to ice proof your steps during winter so that, if nothing else, they can be used in emergency situations.

How to Ice Proof Steps During Winter at The Happy Housewife

The easiest way to keep your steps free of ice continuously is to remove any kind of buildup that lands on them, whether it is hail, sleet, or snow. This may seem unnecessary if you don’t plan to go outside, but you really don’t want to have to remove a thick layer of snow or ice when you’re in a rush to head out for supplies or if emergency personnel need access. Other than that, you never know when someone might stop by. You don’t want to put them at risk.

Rock Salt

Since you can’t stand on your steps all day removing ice, you need to take steps to prevent the stairs from freezing whether you clear them or not. Rock salt is relatively inexpensive and can be liberally sprinkled over the steps to thaw forming ice and prevent further icing. When facing a heavy snow, remove the snow and then sprinkle on the rock salt. Though rock salt works fast and is larger than table salt, table salt and even Epsom salt can be used in a pinch.

Other Options

When you absolutely don’t have any kind of salt to use, it’s time to look for other methods. Sand works well for traction, but you don’t want to dig in the frozen ground and you probably don’t have a sandbox in your living room. Kitty litter can absorb some of the moisture and provide some traction at the same time as can Oil Dry, if you happen to have it in your garage. While these won’t melt the ice, they will help with traction on the steps.

Another method is to use outdoor mats that you occasionally shake off, but these need to be tacked down or they become a hazard themselves.

Don’t Use Hot Water

You might be thinking that some hot water would serve you well, but this method can actually cause you more problems than you are already dealing with. Hot water actually freezes faster than cold water does. This means that hot water might clear the ice for a moment or melt at least some of it, but then you are left with a thin layer of hot water on your steps and a false sense of confidence in the safety of your steps.

Combine those two things with sub zero temperatures and you may as well have an ambulance on standby. Instead, keep a shovel, broom, and salt on hand through the winter and simply maintain your steps.


Rodney Southern is a long time content writer specializing in a wide array of niches both online and in print. His work has been featured on sites such as Yahoo.com, The Sporting News and numerous others over an eleven plus year career. He also runs his own website on diabetes called Dashing Diabetes. He was the National Call for Content Winner for 2008. Southern resides in Greensboro, NC with his wife, Julie, and identical twin daughters, Valerie and Brooke.

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This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

How to Weatherstrip Doors and Windows

The following is a guest post by Rodney Southern.

Learning how to weatherstrip your doors and windows is a great way to improve the efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling system. It can also save an average of 10 to 15 percent on your monthly energy bills. Here are a few quick and easy steps you can use to seal the gaps on your home’s doors and windows.

How to Weatherstrip Doors and Windows at The Happy Housewife

Choose Your Weatherstripping Product

There are several different types of weatherstripping products to choose from. Some are more expensive than others, and some require more work to install. Typically, felt is the most economical option. You can also choose metal strips, foam, or vinyl. When you research the different types, you will want to look out for price and ease of installation. Products that come with pressure-sensitive adhesive backings are the easiest to install on your doors and windows.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

You will need to cut your weatherstripping to fit the size of your door or window. Most products can be cut using heavy-duty scissors. Once you have measured the area where you will be applying the weatherstripping, simply cut each strip to the appropriate size. Make sure to measure twice so that you don’t waste any of the material.

Easy Application

Begin by washing the area where you will apply the weatherstripping. This will allow adhesive to stay secured to the bottom of your door or window sash. Once the area is clean and dry, simply remove the backing and press the weatherstripping into place. You will want to allow some time for the adhesive to set before you open or close the window or door.

Metal Strips that Require Nails

If you choose to install metal strips, you will need to follow a few more steps. You will want to have a screwdriver, hammer, nails, and metal-cutting snips. Once you have cut each strip into place you will need to position them so that you can see any areas where you might need to trim the metal around locks or hinges. Next, nail each piece into place at the top and bottom. This will allow you to remove them easily if you find that your measurements are off. Once everything is in place, you can affix the rest of the nails to secure the metal strips.

Improving your home’s heating and cooling efficiency is as easy as following these simple steps. Now that you know how to weatherstrip your doors and windows, you can start inspecting your home for air leaks. You’ll be able to keep warm air in during the winter and keep cool air in during the summer once you install weatherstripping in your home.


Rodney Southern is a long time content writer specializing in a wide array of niches both online and in print. His work has been featured on sites such as Yahoo.com, The Sporting News and numerous others over an eleven plus year career. He also runs his own website on diabetes called Dashing Diabetes. He was the National Call for Content Winner for 2008. Southern resides in Greensboro, NC with his wife, Julie, and identical twin daughters, Valerie and Brooke.


This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Reduce Stress with LifeLock Ultimate Plus

Currently our family is going through a lot of changes. We are in the middle of a move, my husband is retiring from twenty-seven years in the military, our daughter got married this summer, and we are in the middle of buying and selling houses.

moving

These can all be stressful situations, but we experienced the added stress of applying for a mortgage and finding out I had a tax lien on my credit report!

That’s exactly what happened to me last month when our bank pulled my credit report for the mortgage application. The worst part was that I never owned property or worked in that state so the lien was not mine!

If you know anything about tax liens, having them on your credit report is a pretty bad thing when you want to get a mortgage. It is even worse when you are trying to meet closing deadlines. I was able to get the lien removed from my report, but not without a lot of phone calls, letter writing, and stress.

It was very frustrating to me that a state could file a lien against me without letting me know, and damage my credit in the process.

My life has enough little stress moments without dealing with mistaken tax liens and state governments!

These days it seems like almost everyone knows someone or has personally been affected by identity theft. My husband experienced it a few years ago and just recently it happened to a good friend of mine.

Here are some simple ways to keep identity theft from happening to you.

  • Use a secure connection when going online. Protect your home internet network with a password so only authorized users can get online using your connection.
  • Choose good passwords and pin numbers (do not use your phone number or birthday for passwords or pins!)
  • Buy from reputable sites online. Always look for trusted security symbols on a website and never store your information.
  • Shred any papers or mail with your personal information on it. 
  • Monitor your bank accounts/ credit cards for suspicious charges. 
  • Check your credit report at least once a year. (Had I done this I would have known about this lien and contested it sooner)

For additional peace of mind LifeLock offers identity theft protection that takes the stress out of monitoring your accounts and activity because they do it for you.

lifelock

Lifelock helps protect you against identity theft with three different plans. You can choose the one that fits best with your needs and budget.

Lifelock Standard

LifeLock Standard identity theft protection helps proactively safeguard your credit, your finances and your good name with vigilant services that alert you of potential threats before the damage is done. 

LifeLock Advantage

LifeLock Advantage provides all the benefits of the standard plan plus account alerts, data breach notification, online annual credit report, fictitious identity monitoring and more.

LifeLock Ultimate Plus

The LifeLock Ultimate Plus program offers several new activity alerts that give you peace of mind and can help protect you against identify theft. Some of the alerts included in this plan are:

  • Notification of data breaches. (Think Target and Home Depot)
  • Monitors bank and credit card statements for unauthorized purchases.
  • Notifies and protects against file sharing network searches.
  • Monthly credit score tracking
  • Reduces the number of unwanted credit card offers you receive in the mail. (YAY!)

Currently LifeLock is offering a 10% discount when you use the code LifeLockSafety. Visit the LifeLock site to learn more and start protecting yourself against identity theft today.

I’m a LifeLock brand ambassador. All opinions are my own. 

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This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.