Spring Cleaning: Natural Cleaning Products

Spring Cleaning

The first day of spring has come and gone, and it is time to get that layer of dust off the furniture and clean out those closets!

The purpose behind spring cleaning is to create a clean home that feels welcoming and happy. Why not add “healthy” to that list? Around this time we are often still working on those New Year’s resolutions to maintain a healthy lifestyle, so this might be the perfect time to consider incorporating health into your cleaning regime as well.

Certified Organic cleaning products have become increasingly popular with the rise in use of essential oils and home remedies. Home owners are taking into consideration the ingredients that are in most household cleaners and the effects they might be having on themselves and their families.

When it comes to household cleaners, GreenHome.com advises us to choose cleaning products that “are made from naturally occurring, non-toxic substances. Be sure to avoid cleaners containing phosphates, chlorine, and VOC’s, all of which are toxic to humans or damaging to the environment.” And let’s face it, for those of us that have bleached anything and experienced its lingering lung-stinging aroma, it probably isn’t the safest substance to use in abundance around the home.

Now that we know a few of the ingredients we should be looking for, which products are genuinely the best options? We’ve compiled a list of our top five natural cleaning brands, using factors such as affordability and availability.

1. Mrs. Meyers Clean Day
2. Method
3. Seventh Generation
4. J.R. Watkins
5. Honest Company

Looking for more of the DIY approach?

Try some of these common household items to take care of some of your cleaning needs:
• Baking Soda- Use as a water softener or add to your dishwasher to help remove stuck-on food.
• Vinegar- Easily dissolve calcium build-ups in coffee pots, and sinks. Vinegar also gets rid of foul odors in drains by taking odors with It as is evaporates.
• Lemon Juice- Not only does it smell great, but it removes stains, deodorizes toilets, and inhibits mold build-up. Try slicing off an end and rubbing it around the edge of your sink, then simply wiping away the dirt and leftover juice.

Want more Spring cleaning tips?  Email us at Info@JeanGroesbeck.com and let us know! We are always happy to provide helpful home tips.

4 DIY Projects for a “Greener” Home 

Going “green” is gaining popularity every year. A high percentage of home builders and contractors are already building “green” and energy-efficient homes and expect to continue to do so in the future. Making your home “green” may actually make your home more appealing to potential buyers.  Did you know that home buyers are not only continuously interested in energy-efficient homes, or homes with “green” features, but they are also willing to pay more for them? Even if you’re not ready to sell your home this year, going “green” is environmentally conscious and at the same time it may also help you save money on your monthly energy bills!

 

Green20Home-3

 

1. Bamboo flooring

Thinking about putting in a hardwood floor?  Consider bamboo instead.  Because bamboo grows much more quickly than wood, bamboo is an ecologically friendly alternative to hardwood flooring.  It is an affordable product that is still just as durable, natural, and beautiful as wood.  Furthermore, bamboo is slightly more resistant to water damage than hardwood.

2.  Low-flow toilets and faucet aerators

It may be time to remodel your bathrooms.  If so, a low-flow toilet is more environmentally friendly than a traditional toilet, and is also a great money saver.  It can save up to four gallons of water per flush!  Want to cut your water use in half?  Aerators for your water faucets are another water-saving product.  They also happen to be affordable and very easy to install.

3.  Zero-VOC paint

Did you know that the paint in your home may contain chemicals called Volatile Organic Compounds, and that these toxic VOC chemicals evaporate over time into the air you breathe as you watch TV in the den, or cook meals in kitchen?  Replace the paint on the walls of your home with low or zero-VOC paints, which can be found at almost any paint or home improvement store.

4.  LED or compact fluorescent light bulbs

You may not know this, but incandescent light bulbs actually put out a lot more heat than they do light.  LED and compact fluorescent bulbs are an easy fix.  They fit into incandescent sockets, they’re much more energy efficient, and they last about ten times longer.

What will you do with all the money you save from implementing these “green” improvements to your home?  Let us know in the comments!

If you’re interested in more tips for making your home “green” before you sell, call, text or email us anytime with any questions you have on selling your home in Anacortes, Whidbey Island or Skagit County. We’d love to talk with you.

(360) 941-3734

Info@JeanGroesbeck.com

809 7th St. Anacortes, WA 98221

809 7th St.
Anacortes, WA 98221

 

DIY Patio Decor Ideas

Summer is approaching quickly and we have a few ideas to help make your patio the place to be for entertaining with family and friends or a relaxing place for you to enjoy! If you want to spruce up your patio look no further, these ideas will help brighten your patio and help create a functional outdoor environment.

Start by selecting a theme for your patio, this will help make the transition from indoors to outdoors smooth. A popular theme right now is rustic country. The recent trend is creating patio furniture out of pallets and wooden crates. Pallets can be broken down and the wood can be re-purposed to create just about anything the mind can imagine. Wooden crates make for good side tables as well as planter boxes. Making your own furniture or restoring old furniture, you are able to design from a blank slate…with a little paint and imagination you’ll surely brighten up your patio.

Patio furniture..select the right size furniture for your patio to avoid loosing space. Creating a “L” shaped bench in a corner is a great way to conserve space and makes for a more intimate setting. There are many different ideas using pallets and crates to create patio furniture for the less expensive approach as well as a conversation piece. Brightening up your patio furniture with outdoor decorative pillows also adds comfort.

Decorating your patio should start with a general theme…have fun with it and try to have purpose and function for all of your ideas. If you are interested in more do-it-yourself patio decor ideas..Contact Us!

Are you a homeowner and want to learn more about the real estate market trends in our area? Click Here to learn more! There is always the right time for selling your home, Click Here to learn when the time is right!

809 7th Street Anacortes, WA 360-941-3734

Weeds Got You Down?

If you are like us, here in Anacortes our flower beds have sprouted many weeds that take away from the beauty of our garden beds, driveways, and walkways! As a homeowner it is important to keep up with the task of refreshing the outside of your homes, there are many different techniques to getting rid of the eye sores of weeds and unwanted grass on your property.

We have a non-toxic solution that has helped maintain your lush gardens, driveways, and walkways from being consumed by weeds, especially dandelions. Weeding your garden is labor intensive and is counterproductive; when you weed it brings seeds to the surface and germinates new growth.

We have taken the time to creatively design our flower gardens and would like to enjoy them without the eye sore of the dreadful weeds. Taking the extra time in spray the weeds will not ensure that they will not come back, it only kills them. If you want to help prevent the weeds from coming back in your garden mulch or wood chips will reduce the new growth of pesky weeds.

All you need is a container with a spray nozzle and these 3 ingredients to make your own pet and child friendly weed killer!

Non-toxic Weed Killer Recipe

½ Gallon Apple Cider Vinegar

ÂĽ Cup Salt

½ Tsp Dawn Dish Soap

On a nice sunny day with no rain in the forecast for the next several hours, mix up these ingredients and spray each weed thoroughly. Make sure to completely cover the leaves and the central growing point of the weed. The dish soap will eliminate the protective oils on the weed and will allow the apple cider vinegar to work its magic!

Note: This non-toxic weed killer not only kills weeds, it will kill grass as well, it is best not to use this on weeds that are in your lawn.

For more helpful gardening tips, please feel free to Contact Us, call Jean Groesbeck 360-941-3734 or email Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com

Do The Bloom! 5k Color Run 2015

Looking for a healthy community event in Anacortes? Anacortes Art Festival presents its 1st annual Do The Bloom Run on Saturday April 18, 2015! The location of the run will start at the Anacortes Depot Art Center located at 611 R Ave. Street parking is available as well as parking at the Cap Sante Marina.

Running 5k Individuals $30 (all ages)

Kids 1 mile Color Run $10 (ages 4-12)

Color stations will be at every half mile mark and by the end of the run each runner will be decorated in fun spring colors and will resemble walking art! This is a fun, healthy event that we encourage runners from beginners to intermediate to participate to join the community in raising money for public art. We are happy to see that this event is pet and child friendly, please feel free to bring along your strollers and dogs on their leashes!

If you would like to pre-register or find out more information for the 5k Color Run or the Kids Mile Run, you can do so online! Hope to see you there!

For more community events information, please send us an email at info@JeanGroesbeck.com

Anacortes Community Garden Open House

The Anacortes Community Garden is getting ready to start it’s second garden at the Mt. Erie Elementary School.  They will be holding an Open House on October 16th from 1-3pm at the 29th Street Garden with raffle prizes, proceeds to help build the second garden.  They will also have snacks from this year’s harvest.
 
Please stop by the garden behind the Bowling alley (29th street and Commercial) on October 16th and help them raise funds to build their second Garden.  They will have a sign up sheet there if you would like to participate in building the next garden later in the year.  The Anacortes Community Garden is in the process of organizing efforts and will be contacting volunteers soon.  You can also reply to Sylvia Cooper at ssylviac@yahoo.com with your contact information and she will add you to the list to help build this garden.

If you are thinking of moving to Anacortes, please stop by the Coldwell Banker Bain office to see me for all your real estate needs!

Anacortes Farmers Market News

Winter Greetings!
 
Are you missing your Farmer’s Market favorites? 
Is Winter getting you down? 
Well, here’s your chance to find Winter Cheer and most of your favorite food and craft in the middle of Winter.  We’re moving indoors so that we can be available in any kind of weather (note our new location below). 
We’ll be having one Winter Farmer’s Market every third Saturday of the month until regular season begins allowing you access to your favorite vendors, produce, as it comes into season, specialty cheeses, fresh baked goods and so much more.   
 Our very first Winter Market is this
Saturday, January 15, 9am – 2pm,
 
at the Frontier Auto Building on Sharpe’s Corner (the Whidbey Island turnoff at Hwy 20).
For questions about the Winter Market, call 293-7922. 
Future Dates:
February 19
March 19
April 16

Stop by Coldwell Banker Island Living after your trip and we’ll capture a photo of you with your winter veggies!

Guest Blogger Tim M. Hance from All Islands Home Inspections

Air Leakage & Air Sealing
(Air leakage represents up to 40% of the heating costs wasted in residential structures!)

 What can I do to better air seal my home?
+ Seal and insulate attic hatches!  This represents a huge area of thermal inefficiency and air leakage in most homes.  Simply installing good weather stripping to seal the attic hatch and insulating the hatch are two simple improvements that can lead to substantial energy savings.

+ Seal any openings noted in the exterior of the home.

+ Caulk windows, doors, utility, and all exterior penetrations around the home.

+ Seal plumbing and electrical wiring penetrations within the attic.  Also, seal interior wall partitions and joints in building sections, if accessible.  Caulking and foam are typically used to seal such areas.

+ Properly seal chimney penetrations through the attic with non combustible materials.

+ Duct air leakage typically wastes 10%-30% of heating energy purchased by homeowners.  A duct blaster test can determine if air sealing ducts is warranted.  Sealing ducts and insulating ducts in unconditioned spaces yields the biggest savings.

+ Weather strip exterior doors and windows.

+ Seal air leaks from the inside, whenever possible.  Seal around heating supply registers, outlets, switches, etc. 

+ Get a BPI Energy Audit!  Energy audits are comprehensive audits of the home and include blower door and duct blaster testing together with infrared thermography and a comprehensive home analysis.  Combustion appliances are also tested to determine efficiency, carbon monoxide levels, satisfactory draft, and if there is sufficient combustion air present.  A BPI Energy Audit for most homes costs $450. 

How much does my home actually leak?
Testing for air leakage is conducted with a blower door test.  In essence, a blower door test consists of a big fan- installed in an exterior door- that depressurizes the home to a specific pressure (50 Pascals) and measures how much air is flowing through the fan in cubic feet per minute (CFM).  Blower door tests will be required for all new construction in Washington State starting in 2011.  Some states require blower door testing for all real estate transactions.  Sealing air leakages in buildings represents a tremendous opportunity for energy conservation. 

How much room for improvement is there?
Comparing the measured blower door air flow to the calculated minimum air flow for the home will tell us how much room there is for improvement.  For instance, if the blower door measurement is 4000 CFM and the minimum air flow requirement for the home is 1500 CFM, an air sealing opportunity of 2500 CFM is possible before mechanical ventilation is required.

Can I make my home too air tight?
Yes!  If the home is air sealed and subsequently measures below the minimum ventilation requirement calculated for the home, then mechanical ventilation would be required.  This is not the end of the world, however.  Mechanical ventilation is controlled ventilation, can be filtered, and can be coupled with a heat recovery ventilator (which takes heat out of the exhausted air and keeps it in the home).  Uncontrolled ventilation brings in air from the crawl space, attic, and outdoors.  It is important to conduct a blower door test after a home is air sealed to ensure minimum ventilation requirements are maintained for the safety of the occupants and the home.

Can you tell EXACTLY where my home is leaking?
Yes!  Coupling a blower door test with infrared thermography, we are able to tell precisely where a home is leaking and specifically which areas should be targeted for air sealing.  Infrared thermography will also specifically tell us what areas of the home would benefit from improved insulation. 

This blog entry is not intended to endorse any person, product, or company but is intended to help educate viewers on the home buying and selling processes.  The information provided is believed to be reliable but is not guaranteed by Coldwell Banker Island Living, nor do they add any implied warranties.

What is your dream of an island retreat?

What is your dream of an island retreat? 

You want to be able to get to it easily.  You want low maintenance so you don’t spend your weekends working.  You are used to nice things and you want quality but you don’t want to spend a fortune.  You want a home that is sensitive to the environment, and of course an active water view.  You don’t want a huge home to have to maintain, but you plan to entertain and have friends visit so maybe a big clubhouse on site with a full kitchen and patio for entaining a crowd.

You have just described The Isles in Anacortes, WA  just a short 90 minute drive from Seattle.

We are very excited about the newest home at the Isles, “Catala” which is a new floor plan based on the feed back provided by Anacortes real estate agents as to what home buyers want in today’s market. 

” As a builder, my goal is to provide Anacortes home buyers with product that is right for Anacortes at a price that is right for the times.”  states Pete Peterson, developer and builder of The Isles.  “I look forward to building more homes in Anacortes to fulfill the dream of building a highly interactive, cottage community. Salmon bakes at the clubhouse, family gatherings, and other fun activities are picking up at the clubhouse. Our neighbors who have invested as vacation rentals/second homes are coming into town regularly to enjoy ‘their cabin’.”    These are the things the current home owners love about living in The Isles.


 
Prices start at $429,000. If you would like a tour of The Isles, please call Connie Moulaison 360-391-5561 or call the Coldwell Banker Island Living Anacortesreal estate office
at 360-293-4511.

Help Protect Puget Sound

Skagit, San Juan, and Island County are the three most beautiful Counties in the NW.  WE want to ask each of you to help preserve the amazing way of life that we have the North Puget Sound area by caring for our environment.

Over the past 25 years, we’ve done much to improve the onshore salmon habitat.   The Salmon industry was saved from extinction by hatcheries dumping salmon – more than two billion – into Puget Sound waters. However there continues to be a decrease in the numbers of this magnificent fish.  Scientists are attempting to get people to change behavior to protect Salmon from conserving water which affects stream flows and temperatures, to the avoidance of landscape chemicals which destroy insects and plants integral to the salmon habitat. 

  All of us need to think about protecting the waters not only around Anacortes and the San Juan Islands, but in our streams and runoff.  We need to be more careful about what we use, where we use it and how we dispose of it – it’s the little things that add up. 

Here are eight things you can do as a homeowner to help the environment in the Pacific NW:

  • Conserve Water – it’s the salmon’s home:  Water lawns once a week – only one inch is needed.
  • Cut your lawn high and let the clippings feed your lawn: Trim to 3 inches, let the clippings lie which reduces the need for water and fertilization.
  • Help storm water soak in – not rush in – to nearby streams:  Downspout water should discharge onto the lawn or flowerbeds. Direct hard surface water displaces salmon spawning gravel.
  • Put hazardous chemicals in their place:  Don’t pour solvents, paint, anti-freeze, or herbicides down the drain because fish will eventually swim in it.
  • A clean car doesn’t mean dirty water – if you go to a  :  Avoid washing cars in the driveway.  The soapy water may end up in Puget Sound.  A car wash filters and recycles water.
  • Keep the lead out of our air and water:  Consult experts about sealing or removing lead paint.  Once in the streams, it damages small salmon food supply.
  • Make your garden grow naturally:  Use natural insect control.  Avoid chemical sprays and dusts that wash off into streams, killing the small salmon food supply.
  • A healthy roof will gather no moss:  Moss shortens roof life.. To retard growth, use zinc or copper flashings – avoid zinc or copper sulfates – which are toxic to aquatic life.

Helpful websites: www.newsdata.com/enernet/fishletter (salmon information); www.governor.wa.gov/esa (salmon recovery); www.nwr.noaa.gov (National Marine Fisheries Service site)