927 Lee Road 268, Valley, AL (706) 773-9274

Clean Your Dryer to Prevent House Fires

Keeping the ductwork and vent clear is vital. Dryer Vent Wizard founder Dave Lavalle has seen it all, including black spots that could be mold (yikes) or burnt lint, a signal that lint is igniting during drying. To prevent a fire—and other potential problems—be sure your ductwork is doing its job. An annual professional inspection is a smart move, but you can clean the dryer duct and vent yourself, too. To make the job easier, pick up a specialty tool kit like the Gardus LintEater Rotary Dryer Vent Cleaning System ($30; Home Depot). With the dryer unplugged, use the smaller…

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TLC for Wood Patio Furniture

START WITH CLEANING > Working in the shade, clean furniture using an oxygen bleach to remove any loose remnants of old finishes, dirt, and mildew (unless it’s redwood; then opt for oxalic acid to help maintain its color). Mix the bleach in a garden sprayer following the manufacturer’s instructions. Spray it evenly on each piece, let it foam up for 15 to 20 minutes, then gently scrub with a soft-bristle brush and rinse with water. When dry, you may need to lightly sand the wood surface.SEAL OUT WATER > Water is wood’s biggest enemy, and the most important line of…

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10 Things Nobody Tells You About Replacing Your Kitchen Appliances

Embarking on a full kitchen remodel, or just want to swap out your fridge, dishwasher, or range for a newer (better-looking, more eco-friendly, quieter) version? Here are a few things to know about making the switch: Above: Photograph from Kitchen of the Week: At Home with the Ultimate Minimalists, the Creators of Cereal Magazine. 1. Know your appliances’ birthdays. Appliances, now matter how high-tech, have finite lifespans: Fridges have a life expectancy of about 13 years, and gas ranges about 15 years, according to a study from the National Association of Home Builders via This Old House. Dishwashers? They only last about…

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TOH INSIDER | Win a New Yankee Workshop Plan Signed by Norm Abram

It's the last week to enter for the chance to visit the New Yankee Workshop, but in case that wasn't exciting enough ... we're also giving away a framed measured drawing for one of master carpenter Norm Abram's classic woodworking projects that's been signed by Norm himself!Did you know that as part of This Old House Insider, we have giveaways like one this every single week? We've given away prizes from Festool, WORX, General Tools, and more, with a new one beginning every Sunday.  And speaking of New Yankee Workshop plans—Insiders also get free access to the plans for all…

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All About Raised-Bed Gardens

The right top layer-—about 3 inches thick—discourages weeds, retains moisture, adds nutrients, and keeps the soil where it belongs.Use these to improve the soilSTRAW OR HAY: Straw (harvested grain stalks) stays put, doesn’t mat, and insulates the soil. Hay (alfalfa or a grass) breaks down faster, enriching the soil; but avoid the fresh stuff used for animal feed—it contains weed seeds. Instead, spread salt hay (a marsh grass) or old feed hay that has started to decay; their seeds won’t sprout. FALLEN LEAVES: Another boon to soil fertility, if you can find enough of them in the spring. Grinding them…

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The Life Aquatic in Cornwall: A Waterfront House—and One-Time Dinghy Club—Reinvented

When lighting designer Chris Millard and interior design Flo Millard relocated from London to the fishing village of Rock in Cornwall, they hoped and dreamed for exactly this sort of project. A one-time dinghy club and restaurant perched on the waterfront in tiny, steep Polruan, on Cornwall’s south coast, the wooden structure had long ago been converted into living quarters, but was in need of a top-to-bottom rethink. “The house had been reinvented several times over the years,” Flo tells us, “and the result of these reiterations meant it was a patchwork of rooms with a rather confusing layout.” Millard…

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