SOURCE: Neighborworks America

February 13, 2009 15:30 ET

NeighborWorks America Urges Homeowners to Love Their Homes Throughout the Year With Cost-Effective and Green Home Maintenance

Go Green, Save Green

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - February 13, 2009) - This Valentine's Day, NeighborWorks America urges homeowners across the nation to "love" their homes and families through regular, seasonal, and semiannual green maintenance, repairs, and cost-effective improvements. In today's economy, a little green preventive maintenance can go a long way in terms of saving green that would otherwise go toward more costly repairs down the road.

Regular Maintenance

Because your home is likely your largest investment, it pays to protect it and create a safe, enjoyable, healthy space for your family. Regular maintenance like green cleaning is an excellent way to maintain your family's health using natural cleansers that don't release toxic chemicals in your home. Instead of using harsh chemicals that will pollute your indoor environment, try cleaning with products you likely already have in your kitchen cabinet or refrigerator. Some examples of green cleansers you may already have in your home include:

--  Baking soda is a mild, natural abrasive that can be used to clean all
    surfaces without worrying about scratching surfaces.
--  White vinegar is mildly acidic and handily removes soap scum.
--  Lemon juice is a natural bleach and disinfectant. It's a great stain
    remover and deodorizer.
--  Club soda is also a natural stain remover and works well on fabrics
    without bleaching.
    

Seasonal Maintenance

In addition to regular maintenance like green cleaning, NeighborWorks suggests homeowners perform seasonal preventive maintenance, such as routine checks and repairs that not only improve a home's appearance and functioning, but may also prevent more expensive damage from occurring, at least once each season.

Seasonal preventive maintenance activities include:

--  Begin a preventive maintenance journal. Record every activity in the
    journal so you can keep track of what you have done, and when. Keeping a
    home maintenance record will help you keep your home running like
    clockwork.
--  Inspect your home's roof, basement, and outside walls to protecting
    against leaks and insect damage.
--  Inspect doors and windows for unusual wear and tear.
--  Repair and replace caulk, weather-stripping, glazing, window and door
    seals as needed.
--  Inspect insulation and replace any wet or damaged pieces.
--  Clean debris from gutters and downspouts.
--  Examine carpets and flooring, and treat minor mold growths quickly
    with a bleach and water solution.
--  Make sure your fire extinguisher is properly pressurized. Check the
    gauge; the needle should be in the green section.
--  Keep pests at bay without using pesticides and other harsh chemicals
    and that can pollute your home and expose your family to harmful toxins.
    Nontoxic preventive pest control includes regular vacuuming, cleaning
    inside cabinets and drawers, caulking cracks in your kitchen and bathroom,
    and ensuring your screens are in good condition.
    

Semiannual or Annual Maintenance

Semiannual or annual home repairs and replacements include fixing or replacing appliances, fixtures or systems in your house as they wear out through normal use.

--  Routinely replace smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries. If you
    can't remember the last time you changed your batteries, stay on the safe
    side and replace them.
--  Repair or replace leaking faucets and plumbing.
--  Have your furnace, air conditioner, or water heater inspected. Any
    minor repairs that can be done now may help you save money right now and
    give you more time before a replacement is necessary.
--  If you do need to replace an inefficient furnace, air conditioner or
    water heater now, a more energy efficient furnace, air conditioner and
    water heater will help you save money in the long run.
    

Don't forget: Hire a reliable professional when more extensive work is needed. Many local NeighborWorks organizations maintain a list of professionals in good standing that they have worked with. For references, please contact your local nonprofit NeighborWorks organization. To find a NeighborWorks organization near you, visit www.nw.org.

About NeighborWorks® America

NeighborWorks® America creates opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and to safe and affordable rental housing. Since 1991, we have assisted nearly 1.2 million low- to moderate-income families with their housing needs. Much of our success is achieved through our support of the NeighborWorks network -- more than 230 community development organizations working in more than 4,400 urban, suburban and rural communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated more than $15 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation's leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals.

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