Tuesday, April 22, 2014

We Have News!!! | Another DIY Journey

It's the final countdown and I'm finally ready to make the public announcement to everyone!

We are closing on a house in a week!! EEEE!

As you know I moved back up to MN with the kids beginning of March, and my husband and I immediately jumped on the house hunting wagon.  We discussed back and forth a few different options and paths we wanted to move forward for our next home.  We discussed the opportunity to get a 203K loan (a home renovation loan) to help us get instant equity in a home and really be able to get a fixer upper to our preferred style in a short amount of time.  With a 203K loan all financed renovations need to be completed within 6 months of closing.  That alone made it so tempting to push forward with getting a 203K. 

You, and everyone else, all know that I LOVE DIY projects (obviously) but there was a part of me that was not excited about the overwhelming idea of buying a home that was "less than turn key" and planning out years and years of renovations.  We have had a very unsettled life for the past 6 years.. in fact it's been quite hectic.  And now that my husband was out of the Navy and finally home with us, plus we were back in Minnesota with all our family and friends.. I wasn't quite sure how much I wanted to keep living in "limbo" with tons of renovations going on.
BUT, that was a small stubborn part of me, because we all know even if we bought a turn key home I'd still do renovations, even superficial ones.  If I'm going to be spending our money and alte nights up working on home projects, they might as be ones that are going to truly build sweat equity into our home. 

We started looking in cities that were about half hour - 45 minutes from our parents location (our parents live minutes from one another - pretty convenient).  We wanted to be "comfortably distant" but still be in a great area with great schools.  Well a few weekends after another of seeing homes that were "okay" but nothing jumping out at us, I was starting to feel that frustration and wonder if "we'll ever find what we're looking for". 

Well, one day we were out driving around and my husband wanted to go look at a home that was for sale in the same city as our parents.  I rolled my eyes and said ooookay but I knew it was outside our budget. We drove down the street to see a big "sold" sign, but happened to notice right across the street was another For Sale sign.  Out of curiosity I Googled the address to see listing price... fun for us there happened to be an open house going on right then. We thought it'd just be a for fun walk in, see the home and leave.  We walked in and I knew instantly we both had that "oh crap" feeling.  That feeling of you just fell in love with something you know you can't have.
We walked around and I INSTANTLY was dreaming up ideas for each room.

It has charm, it has character and it has potential. And in one week it'll be OUR potential.

It all happened really fast!  We called our realtor and gave him a heads up about the home.  Billy and I came back and instantly started crunching numbers, we put in an offer that night. The next day we went back for the second open house and showed both our parents the home as we were "patiently" waiting for the answer to our offer.
After a couple days we finally received the final call that offer was accepted!

Now this home doesn't have any shiny new things to show you... but it does have endless potential of amazing DIY projects that I will do to it.
It needs help from head to toe, exterior to interior, major demolition renovations to easy cosmetic changes.  There's even some big downer fixes that need to happen like foundation repair and tree removal.

Want a long laundry list of pictures of inside?! I snapped a few quick pictures the other day when we were there taking measurements... they're phone pictures but they'll work :)

This is the living room right when you walk in

This is the kitchen -- can you say 50's?! Big reno projects going on in here!

Then off there is a "spare" room they they considered a part of the kitchen but we'll make into the dining room/eat-in kitchen

Next to there is this little room that has slate floors, scary built-ins and this weird other built in shelf.  They used this as the office... do you see all that paneling? Yah.

All three bedroom's: They aren't in rough shape, just need some loving with new paint

The first picture is the master bedroom, the second (where you see my kids) will be Jackson's room, and the little cloud room will be Baby Girl's room.
In Jackson's room was this little closet that gives you a surprise when you open it:

Both my dad and my father in law had this curious expression on their face when they saw it and were like, "how have I seen this wallpaper before?" Apparently both had it in their home growing up. #yikes

Then there's 1 bathroom that we'll ALL be sharing, including any guests. YAY. (it's a scary thought)

Then the backyard is a pretty good size but needs major landscaping.  There's a small little deck off the dining room/kitchen area and to the left of that is a screened in patio:

That will be taken down... it isn't the safest of dwellings.  In fact during the walk through the inspector just looked at the footings (or lack there of) and just turned to me and says, "Just rip it down...just rip it down).  Done.

I wasn't able to snap any pictures of the basement, but it's a dungeon as-is.  We'll be gutting and redoing walls, carpet, ceiling the whole sha-bang down there.

Guess what that means for you guys! LOTS OF NEW AMAZING DIY PROJECTS COMING YOUR WAY!
Stay tuned because I truly want to take this home and use it as a teaching opportunity.  I am going to be learning so much and every little trick, tip, and tutorial I can share - I will be.

Want to know what's craziest of all.... our children will be going to the same exact elementary, middle, and high school that I attended.  Never in a million years did I expect that to happen. In addition we're less than a minute from both our parents houses. NEVER did I expect that to happen. 

Are you as excited as we are for House #2?!  What should we call this bad boy?


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Air Filters - debunking the common questions and confusion!

I am a Filtrete Filters Ambassador and this is a sponsored post, however all thoughts are my own -- except the ones from Larry.  Those are his.

If you remember I have done a few posts over the last year about the importance of changing our your air filters in your home.  Not only for health reasons, but it can be a costly fix if your air filter system becomes clogged and doesn't run properly. 

I have had a handful of conversations over the year last year as I've began working with 3M Filtrete Filters as a brand ambassador.  A common "issue" I've heard from so many people is they don't understand the difference in all the styles of filters.  As with many products there's the lower cost items and then there's high cost products. What's the difference when it comes to air filters when you buy a $1 filter and the $20 filter.  Where does the compromise happen? Is it to the people living in the home and the quality of air they're getting, or the air system in the home? 
Questions kept coming up like:
Why would I buy a $20 filter if I can buy a $1 and just change it every month? -- But who actually remembers changing it every 30 days?
Will I actually see a health benefit if I buy one that's made for odors/allergens/pets or am I just buying into a marketing scheme?
I haven't changed my filters in like a year -- does it really matter?  I don't get sick so I don't see why it matters?

All these questions were similar ones I myself had when I used to rent.  I especially didn't care about the quality of the air filter when I rented because I didn't own the air system so I won't be fixing any repairs down the road anyways.

But, when I joined the Filtrete team I learned a lot more about the true science behind the filters and what I learned has been truly helpful it making the right decisions on something that does effect my family and my health.  Also the health of my home.

I wanted to do a true Q&A with 3M to get down to the nitty gritty science-techy nerdy details of air filters so I could provide my readers with the same knowledge and hopefully start to answer some of the common questions I hear!

I would like to introduce the King of the 3M Science-Techy Nerd team (and I mean that with the up-most respect and jealousy that they probably have really cool label printers):

Larry Cavalier

Let's first share a little background on Larry so you know his credentials, so go ahead Larry - share your story!

A: "I have 35 years of experience in the air filtration and non-woven web industry and currently serve as a 3M Technical Service Specialist for Filtrete Brand. In this role, I act as the primary liaison between the customers and the lab to improve our existing technologies and develop new innovations in the air filtration category based on the needs and feedback of the customers. I also do this by monitoring industry trends, testing our products against competitors and working to guarantee the accuracy of our product claims."

Q: So you know what your talking about here?
A: "Yup."

Why is it important for people to be educated on what exactly is the purpose of air filters?

A: "The filter aisle in your local store can be very confusing and even a bit overwhelming. Understanding the various types of filters available to you is important because different filters serve different purposes. Homeowners should choose their filters based on their family’s specific needs. Are you looking for a basic filter to help maintain your heating and cooling system? Or do you have pets or allergy sufferers in the home?

A few things to look for when choosing a filter are the number of pleats and the durability of the filter frames. Pleats increase the amount of surface area in the filter frame, allowing more particles to be captured and making it easier for air to pass through the filter. Strong frames help filters withstand pressure created by the air movement through the filter without bending or collapsing. Bent frames can allow unfiltered air to bypass the filter, while collapsed frames can be drawn into the furnace fan and result in damage to the system."

Q: There are SO many types of air filters out there -- it's almost harder to pick out my air filter than it is to pick out my outfits.  Can you help narrow this down for the average shopper?
Understandably there are air filter varieties for high allergens, pets, etc on the market.  However to narrow it down to the “average” user can you help us understand why there is such a wide price range and style of air filters?

A: "There are a wide variety of filters designed to help maintain the system and capture varying levels and types of airborne particles. The line of Filtrete Filters are rated by a microparticle rating (MPR). The higher the MPR, the more microscopic particles, such as smoke, smog, pet dander, and bacteria and viruses, are captured.

 If someone in your family has allergies, consider a high performance filter like the Healthy Living Filter (MPR 2200), which captures up to 40 times more microscopic particles than fiberglass filters. To help reduce pet dander and/or odors in the home, you may want to use the Odor Reduction Filter (MPR 1500). If you’re simply looking to maintain airflow, prevent stress on the system and capture particles such as dust, pollen and lint, consider a lower MPR-rated filter.

Q: Why have I been told by so many people (real estate agent, landlors, property manager etc) that there's no need to spend $ on the costly air filters and the $1 work just fine.  As someone that studies the science of these things - can you please spell it out for me finally?
 A: There is a misconception that pleated filters restrict airflow, but not all pleated filters are created equal. We frequently run tests in our lab to measure the performance of our Filtrete Filters against other pleated filters. What we’ve found is that other filters with similar ratings are tightly woven and may restrict airflow in the system, causing the system to work harder and run longer. An example of one of these airflow tests can be seen in this video: http://www.filtrete.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/FiltreteNA/Filtrete/Resources/VideoLibrary/

Filtrete Filters will help capture airborne particles for up to three months, but sometimes they need to be changed sooner, especially during the hot summer months and cold winter months when you are running the system constantly. An easy way to test the filter is to hold it up to light. If the filter is completely blocking the light, it’s a good idea to change it.

Q: What's the difference between using air filters and getting an air purifier?  Do I need both?

A: While air purifiers can be effective for air cleaning, they are limited to only the room you are running the system in. If you want to help reduce airborne particles and improve air quality throughout the entire home, the best way to do so is to regularly change the filter in your forced air heating and cooling system. And, what many homeowners don’t realize is that you should be changing your heating and cooling system filter regularly anyway as part of maintaining the system—at least every three months. An easy way to remember to change it is to do it at the start of every season when you’re checking your smoke alarm batteries.

Q: If you could share one important tip and little known fact about air filters – what would it be?
Since your readers are often conducting home improvement projects at home, it’s good for them to know that work indoors can contribute to poor indoor air quality and add more particles, such as sheet rock or soot, into the air their families are breathing. During home improvement projects, homeowners should consider upgrading their filter to one with a higher MPR rating to help capture more of those airborne particles. Additionally, because the air is dirtier, they should also change the filter more frequently, especially during long-term projects.

Dirty filters are the most common cause of heating and cooling system problems, and when not changed regularly, can cause the system to shut down. Before calling in repairmen and paying costly fees, often times all it takes is checking and changing the filter.


He spells it out pretty easily actually!!!
There were a few key points he mentioned that really stood out to me so I wanted to share those again and hopefully can help you remember certain things about your air filters.

Be sure to check out Filtrete.com for more information and available products!

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