There’s Just Nothing Sexy About Humidifiers

humidifier buying guideIt’s true, sadly.  There’s nothing sexy about humidifiers. You’re not likely to boast about your streamlined ultrasonic humidifier like it’s a BMW or a new iPhone 5, but it’s probably a more important purchase than either of those.  So when you think of the great conversations of your life, more than likely it won’t be the debate between a warm air and a cool air humidifier, you should spend some time on it.  Without knowing the differences between the various models and options, you might as well toss money down the metaphorical drain.  You may end up choosing the option that absolutely doesn’t meet your needs, wasting money and time and definitely creating a frustrating situation.

Instead of allowing you to make that mistake, we’ll help you discover which option best suits your needs so that you can invest wisely.

Do You Need a Humidifier?

How do you know if you even need a humidifier? Most people wait until cold or flu symptoms have them coughing to consider a humidifier, but other scenarios may make the regular use of a humidifier a positive change for your home.  Think about whether or not the following scenarios fit your home or family:

  • You are frequently “shocked” by static electricity when you touch surfaces.
  • The rooms you are in seem colder than they should, based on your thermostat setting.
  • Your nasal passages and throat seem oddly dry.
  • You or your family members suffer from cracked lips, bloody noses, or excessively dry skin.
  • You’d like to keep cold and flu viruses from spreading as quickly.
  • Someone is coughing at night, leading to less sleep and more illness.
  • You’re frequently running the heater during the winter or air conditioner during the summer.

If you’ve found yourself nodding to one or more of these, then a humidifier may be an inexpensive solution so some pretty obnoxious problems.

Which Humidifier Is Best for You?

A humidifier is a humidifier is a humidifier, right?  Well, yes and no.  They all work basically the same way—a reservoir of water is turned into a fine mist to compensate for a lack of humidity in the room. Depending on your circumstances and the purpose for the purchase, one type of model may be better than another.

Types of Humidifiers

Standard, Ultrasonic, Impeller, UV Germ Free—Oh My!

humidifier buying guide

With a sea of options before you, how do you choose the “right” humidifier? Ultimately, you’ll choose the one that works best for you.

A standard humidifier uses a fan to blow water through a wicking filter, which propels a fine mist into the room.  These are the cheapest options, though they may not be the easiest to use (you may need to take them apart to refill, etc.).  You’ll likely find a wide variety of designs, including some that are adorably animal shaped, to suit your décor.

If you’re looking for quiet above all, an ultrasonic humidifier may be the best bet.  It’s quieter than most any other model, almost so quiet that you may not even realize that it’s on.  Rather than using a fan, this type of humidifier uses ultrasonic sound waves to vibrate a metal diaphragm, which breaks the water down into a fine mist.

Impeller humidifiers use a spinning disk to spin water toward a diffuser, which breaks the water down into the fine droplets that are dispersed as a fine mist.  These types do not require any filter replacement but can, as a result, be more prone to leave a mineral deposit residue on furniture (which usually looks like a white film) if the water contains any mineral properties at all.

UV Germ Free humidifiers use an ultraviolet light to kill 99% of germs and bacteria present in the water, something that may be attractive to people with compromised immune systems or the parents of young children.  This technology is available on many warm mist humidifiers and, only recently, some cool mist models as well.

Cool or Warm Mist Humidifier?

Warm mist humidifiers may be very attractive for those who suffer with winter issues, like dry skin and nasal passages, simply because it will more quickly warm up a room rather than contribute to the chill.  As an added bonus, these models are often quieter than the fans of the cool mist humidifiers.

However, because the warm mist humidifier boils the water inside the unit and emits the steam, they can be dangerous.  The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend their use for children, simply because if children accidentally touch the steam or the unit is tipped, they can be burned by the water.  The machine itself, with the heating element inside, also gets quite warm. For adults who know to be cautious, the warm mist humidifier can be a much better and more comfortable solution for winter usage.

Cool mist humidifiers are recommended for homes with small children or pets.

The cool mist humidifier is probably the most popular and safest of the models, simply because it does not pose any risk other than a minor water spill if knocked over and the mist is harmless to children and pets.  It can be used regardless of season (nobody wants boiling water during the spring and summer, when allergies may require the use of a humidifier) and can double as a white noise machine for those who need them (perfect for babies and young children).

A Word of Caution: Using Humidifiers Properly

No solution is a good solution if it is not maintained properly.  Humidifiers, especially, need more careful attention because of its use of standing water. Warm, moist environments can become a danger rather than a help, but only if you do not pay attention to and follow manufacturer’s recommendations.

These recommendations usually involve using distilled or demineralized water rather than tap water, frequently replacing the water in the reservoir, wiping down the interior parts, and cleaning regularly with a hydrogen peroxide solution. These steps are simple and straightforward, ensuring that the positive benefits that you receive from your humidifier are the only things you get from them.

If you’re concerned about oversaturating the air, look for a model with a humidistat, or a built-in sensor that measures the humidity of a room.  These models will turn off when they reach a set humidity level, ensuring that you do not develop condensation on windows, furniture, and fabrics (or create a mold-loving environment.)

Some recommendations

HCW10B-mThe Luma HCW10B is perfect for the bedroom or office in your house. It offers both cool and warm mist modes, so you don’t have to choose and you can adjust the settings depending on the season. It’s built in hygrometer also offers custom humidity control.

The Luma HC12W is a fashion statement for any large room. Designed to look like a tall vase, it is unobtrusive and can blend seamlessly with your existing decor. It is an ultrasonic cool mist humidifier. The HC12W humidifier also has several different attachments so you can adjust the height of the unit. This means that not only can you put it anywhere, but you can also determine the coverage by adjusting the stem’s height. This unit will never get your couch or floor wet, just add more tubing to the top so that the mist is released higher up. With a handy remote control included, what more could you want?

Whatever model you choose, using your humidifier properly and safely can alleviate many problems that you may have thought you just had to live with. Make springtime allergies, wintertime colds, and seasonal dry skin easier with a humidifier!

My Man Pad Smells Like Socks

One of the worst things you can have in your home is foul odor. What makes it even more difficult to deal with is the fact that foul odors are next to impossible to remove. But with the right guidance and equipment, you can ensure that you have a fresh smelling home.

How to Get Rid Of Foul Odors At Home

My Man Pad Smells Like Socks

There are many types of foul odors at home. At times, the odor is merely because the home isn’t cleaned thoroughly. If your bachelor pad smells, there could be some cleaning that was missed along the way. Even if they make the utmost effort to clean their home, they may still miss a few spots. In such a case, there are only two options for those single men out there.

  •  Hire a Cleaning Service

Hiring a cleaning service is one of the best options. Cleaning services are fully aware of common places that are left out of most cleaning routines. Moreover, they bring their own specialized equipment for cleaning the home. Without a doubt, a cleaning service professional can make a huge difference when it comes to home cleaning. However, they are quite expensive. Low-end cleaning services can charge between $8 an hour and $100 for two weeks. High-end cleaning services charge more. A good cleaning service may cost more than $40 per visit. This is why hiring a cleaning service is not always convenient.

  • Purchase a Quality Air Purifier

The second and perhaps the best option for single guys is to buy an air purifier. You can clean the home to the best of your abilities and purchase an air purifier to go along with it. Any foul odors that you may have missed will be eliminated. In addition, you will be able to improve the quality of air in your home. In some cases, the cause of a foul odor at home is simply insufficient ventilation. Once that problem is eliminated through an air purifier, you will have a fresh smelling bachelor’s pad.

Top Causes for Odor At Home & Possible Treatments

There are many causes for odors at home. At times the issue is simply a choked drain or can be as severe as foul smoke smell trapped in the carpets. Either way there are treatments to eliminate these odors. Some of these treatment methods will cost you a hefty amount. But it is better to get rid of the smell sooner rather than later. If you wait to get the issue resolved, the odor and the problem could possibly worsen.

1.     Sewer Vents on the Rooftop

Sewer pipes require vents for the sewage to flow freely. Sometimes the vent pipes are placed on the roof. This is what causes the foul smell in the home, but only if the vent pipe is short. When the odor exits the pipe, it gets caught in the draft and can make its way into your home. To cure this issue, you can either call a plumber or extend the vent pipe’s length yourself.

First and foremost, you will need to get on the roof and determine the diameter of the pipe. Once you have that, you can go to a hardware store and acquire a similar pipe but with a larger diameter. This pipe can simply be slipped on top of the already installed vent pipe. Just make sure it’s a snug fit so it does not come off.

2.     Water Heater Anode Rod

In many cases, the foul odor is because the anode rod in a water heater is shot. It is quite common for the anode rod to be shot but it is an easy fix. However, if you don’t repair it, it will result in a foul odor in the water. The worst part is that this odor travels to other parts of your home.

3.     Mold Inside Walls

Mold within the walls and in the basement is not only the cause of foul odor, but also results in various health issues. If you have tried everything else but the smell won’t go away, it is best to hire a mold inspector and have it removed. If left untreated, it can spread to other parts of your home and the treatment cost will increase.

4.     Small Decaying Animals

Mice and other pests can often make their way into your home or behind walls. If they cannot get out they may die in there. Once the dead animal begins decaying, it fills your entire home with a foul odor. The best way to deal with this scenario is to call an exterminator. They are experts at locating dead animals and removing them, even from behind walls.

My Man Pad Smells Like SocksHow Can You Eliminate Certain Odors Yourself

There are many things you can do to eliminate the odors yourself. You may require professional assistance if the problem is too extensive. However, it is always a good idea to give it a shot and possibly save money on hiring a professional.

Install an Exhaust in your Kitchen

The most common culprit of foul odors in a home is the kitchen. When you cook food, the oil evaporates and sticks to various parts in the form of grease. It then begins stinking. The best way to eliminate this odor is to install an exhaust system in your kitchen. The exhaust system will prevent the evaporated grease from staying in your kitchen.

Clean Your Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are convenient but they begin stinking after a while. This is because of the food items that are thrown down into it. The waste that you throw down the garbage disposal often sticks to the walls causing a foul odor to build up. The best way to get rid of this odor is to throw a few slices of lemon down the disposal. The citrus in lemons eliminates the odor by dissolving the grease buildup inside.

Eliminate Odors in Rooms

Another excellent method of eliminating odors in rooms is to leave a bowl of vinegar in it. Ideally you should leave it for 24 hours. But if you smoke at home you should consider leaving a bowl of vinegar out every day. You will be surprised at how effectively vinegar eliminates odors.

Air Purifiers You Should Consider Buying

A sure shot way to eliminate odors at home is to invest in an air purifier. Not only will it eliminate odors, but it will also improve the quality of air in your home, making it healthier for you. You should purchase an air purifier with a good range and an advanced filter system. One of the best air purifiers on the market is the Luma Comfort AP170W air purifier. Let’s look at the features that this fabulous air purifier offers:

  • My Man Pad Smells Like Socks

    Luma Comfort AP170W Air Purifier

    The Luma Comfort AP170W has a range of 170 square feet. This guarantees that
    you will get pure air in any room in your home.

  • There are four filters in the Luma Comfort AP170W which ensure excellent air quality and odor elimination. The first pre-filter is made from carbon, the second one is a HEPA filter, after the HEPA filter the VOC filter takes over and finally there is a TiO2 filter. There is also a UV light to kill airborne bacteria and germs

There are certain types of odors that can be difficult to remove and it is essential that you take action immediately. The sooner you begin working to eliminate the odor, the better your chances are of getting rid of it, even if your man pad smells like socks.



Traffic Pollution and Asthma: The Experts Weigh In

Traffic and AsthmaIt may not seem like much of a revelation for anyone who has had the misfortune of traveling too close to a truck with an exhaust problem, but the particulates and pollution that come from dense traffic has been linked to increased respiratory issues.  As parents and concerned citizens, how can we protect our homes and bodies from these environmental stresses?

Scientists Connect Traffic to Asthma

Scientists have been studying the connection between pollution and asthma in children for years, generally finding that the more that people already at risk for asthma encounter pollution, the more likely that those same groups will experience asthma symptoms.  A study in the journal Thorax in 2009, however, showed how detrimental those same pollutants could be to adults as well.

This study in Thorax comes on the heels of several other studies linking pollution to the health of children.  In August 1997, Environmental Research published a study that showed a greater likelihood that children who lived within 100 meters of a heavily traveled freeway would experience a cough or wheeze, runny nose, or even be diagnosed with asthma.  A November 2004 study in Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology cautioned medical professionals to be aware of the negative health effects of gaseous and particulate pollutants can have on children.

People living within 250 feet of a busy road are more likely to have asthma symptoms.

In the 2009 study, Dr. JR Balmes measured the correlation between a closer proximity to busy roadways (around 250 feet) and the existence of asthma and asthma symptoms in adults.  They found that the dangerous mixture of pollutants in high traffic areas have a larger, more adverse effect on the population’s health than a single pollutant does, perhaps unsurprisingly.  This study also found that the same exposure that negatively affected children also could increase adult-onset asthma as well as exacerbate any underlying allergic or upper respiratory symptoms.  Because the particulates in traffic pollution are so difficult to separate and study, this study could not identify which element of road pollution was most dangerous.

Who’s At Risk for Asthma?

While anyone can be diagnosed with asthma, certain groups may be at more risk to develop upper respiratory symptoms when exposed to pollution, which may later lead to the development of the lung disorder.

The American Lung Association makes clear that this type of pollution is dangerous for a few key populations.

Traffic and Asthma

Obviously, these populations are at risk in any situation involving pollution, but we can also add anyone living within 250 feet of a heavily traveled road to the list (based on the research in Dr. Balmes’s 2009 study).

Many of us will probably find someone we love on this list of endangered groups, so the question then becomes this: how can we prevent the negative impact of traffic pollution on sensitive lungs and systems?

What Can You Do?

Most of us are not in a position to eliminate totally our exposure to traffic pollution—we still have to drive to work, live in our homes, and be out and about in the world. Our kids ride school buses and play outside, our parents travel to doctors’ appointments and out to the grocery store, and unless we live in a rural area, there’s likely more concrete than green space. So natural solutions to cleaning the air are probably not as likely as we might like.

While we could debate the merits of governmental interventions until we are practically blue in the face, most people just want to know how to protect their families now.  No easy answers exist, of course, but experts from the American Lung Association give some suggestions that may help.

Live Outdoors!

Nobody should feel like they are trapped in their house simply because of where they live.  But how can you protect yourself from airborne pollutants and still enjoy yourself?

  • Be vigilant about medications.  If you are taking medication for a pre-existing cardiovascular or chronic lung problem, make sure that you are careful about sticking with your schedule. Missing your prescription medication can make you more vulnerable to the pollutants in the air, even when you are taking other precautions. If you feel great, that means it’s working—not that you should stop using it.
  • Avoid “bad air” days.  Some areas of the country have air alerts to caution residents about overly polluted days—normally in summer heat.  Though it may be frustrating, on days when there is an orange or red alert, it’s best that the most vulnerable populations stay inside.  If you must venture out, try to plan your trips in the morning or in the early evening.  Avoiding the hottest part of the day can help mitigate some of the problem.
  • Be smart about exercise.  Unless your doctor has told you otherwise, keep participating in moderate exercise. It’s good for your cardiovascular health and for your attitude as well.  Avoid exercising outside if you live in a highly polluted area (i.e. don’t run next to a crowded roadway) or find a green area (park, designated running trail) to go to exercise.  If your area frequently falls victim to pollution alerts, you may want to consider joining a gym.  Exercising in a climate-controlled environment may be your best bet.

Protect Your Home!

If you live near a crowded roadway, you obviously can’t just up and move away.  In many cases, urban living makes it nearly impossible to get far enough away from traffic pollution to make a substantial difference. So what can you do in your home to eliminate some of the pollutants you’ll find outside?

  • Traffic and AsthmaBanish dust.  Many people with asthma symptoms are very sensitive to dust.  Take a no-prisoners attitude toward anything in your home that might harbor dust: eliminate excess bedding and stuffed animals, frequently clean fan blades and HVAC air filters, and use a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter.  In extreme cases, you may want to consider swapping out your carpet for hardwoods or tile.
  • Eliminate other causes. It’s a really disgusting thing to talk about, but asthma symptoms can be exacerbated by pests that are hiding in your home.  According to the EPA, the protein in the droppings of cockroaches or other pests can trigger or worsen asthma symptoms. If you live in community housing, like an apartment or condo building, there’s not much you can do about your neighbors. But you can help keep the risk for your home and family down by sealing cracks in cabinets and between floors and cabinets, along with keeping food securely contained and your living area free of crumbs and spills.
  • Clean the air.  Even when you’re doing the best you can, pollutants and dust may still be present in your home. The best way to combat that is to invest in a quality air purifier with a HEPA filter.  Run it frequently and keep the filter changed and you’ll be surprised at the difference!

Whether you live in an urban center with constant traffic or a rural area with just a few crowded roads, it’s important to know how to keep you and your family safe from the potential hazards of airborne traffic pollution.



Modern Style Meets Real Life

Modern Design Meets Real LifeSometime, in the middle of all of those Pinterest daydream sessions, reality smacks you in the design face.  I’m as in love with easy breezy modern décor as the next gal, but it’s sometimes a challenge to merge all of those clean lines and chevron prints with something like, say, most appliances. Even something as simple as an alarm clock can become a design puzzle.

Can you really create a cohesive, beautiful room on a budget and while living a normal life? Because, in the middle of normal life are things like toy boxes and piles of bills and Wi-Fi routers and a whole host of other things that just aren’t ever showcased in a staged, designed room.

I’m here to tell you—you absolutely can! Choosing the right appliances and using a few tricks can turn your ordinary, boring room into something that reflects your unique sense of style and makes guests feel welcome.

Are You On Trend? Do You Care?

If you hang out on Pinterest at all, or watch all of those HGTV design shows, you know that the trends right now merge the clean lines of modern design with bold colors.  Pantone’s 2014 color of the year is called “Radiant Orchid”—and if that doesn’t tell you most of what you need to know about the trend toward bold but organic colors, I’m just not sure what will.   (Though, you know, if you don’t want to paint your house purple, we won’t judge you.)Modern Design Meets Real Life

But bold isn’t necessarily the only trend.  Though Elle Décor predicts that 2014 will bring a focus on another bold color—turquoise—as well as hides, with fur rugs and leather upholstery becoming more and more popular. House Beautiful, in its poll of designers about 2014 design trend, found perhaps a more realistic view of home design.  Arianna Vargas suggested that a “versatile neutral base” would be the canvas for homeowners and designers to use big impact accent pieces that were interchangeable.  Designer Lindsay Souza suggested that, in our short attention-span culture, a return to tradition in the form of vintage or one-of-a-kind pieces would be the way homeowners would choose to interpret this year’s design trends.

This Year’s Biggest Trend: One-of-a-Kind or Vintage Pieces

Maybe you don’t care about what designers say this year will focus on—and more power to you! The most important thing in your home is for it to reflect your personality and to be comfortable and welcoming to you and your family.

Making YOUR Design Statement Without Sacrificing Practicality

For those of us not able or willing to hire a designer to help us achieve the look we want, we have to figure out how to merge all of the necessities of daily life with our design desires.  Whether your style veers more toward the modern or the shabby chic cottage look, you’ll have to figure out how to include all of the random details—clocks and remotes and flat screens and things that don’t seem to be designed to fit into any streamlined design plan.  The frustration can be overwhelming if you let it—but don’t! Companies are finally taking notice and giving us appliance options that don’t make us want to sit down and give up.

Modern Design Meets Real LifeTake, for example, the Luma HC12W.  It’s a purely practical appliance—a cool-mist humidifier—that is designed like a work of modern art.  If you’re like me, you remember a genuinely ugly plastic concoction your mom once used when you were sick many decades ago.  Maybe it leaked, maybe it had power cords running everywhere, maybe it looked like something out of a bad space movie—whatever it was, it was NOT stylish.

In any room, you want a few statement accessory pieces that will both draw attention but also fade into the background when you want it to. The Luma HC12W does just this.  Its design mimics that of a tall, modern vase—the same kind you might place near your fireplace or unobtrusively next to a piece of furniture simply for design impact.  With this piece, though, you are getting design impact as well as fabulous function.  The organic lines of the piece make it timeless and its simple assembly and use (with a remote!) make it even more attractive from an ease-of-use standpoint.

Compare the Luma’s streamlined design to the other similar appliances out there.

Certainly, humidifiers have moved forward from those bad 80s memories, but not much.  Now, they may look like a giant teardrop or a big water container.  Maybe it has a fun, bold color—but it still looks like exactly what it is, and it certainly doesn’t look like a purposeful decorating choice.  It looks like something you’d want to put under a table and hide—which sort of defeats the purpose of a humidifier, doesn’t it? With the Luma Comfort line of products, there’s no need to hide and no need to worry about trying to find a special spot (aka hiding place) for it.  Showcase it—and make your life a lot easier as you design your room.

Creating Your Dream House Yourself

If you’re not hiring a designer, then more than likely you, like most people, are doing the heavy lifting (metaphorically and literally) yourself.  What does that mean? You’re rolling up your sleeves and painting, reupholstering furniture, and DIYing your way to the room and house of your dreams.

Let me help a bit, with a few painting tips and strategies that will hopefully save you time AND money!

When you paint:

  • Put tinfoil on your paint tray.  When you are finished, just pull off the tinfoil and uncover a paint-free tray that can be reused again and again.
  • Invest in a quality painter’s tape. Especially if you are tackling something more complicated than standard single color coat, you’ll need a tape that won’t allow bleeding.  Inexpensive is not always the best option.
  • Buy some vinegar.  Did you know that a 50-50 combo of vinegar and warm water can dissolve more paint from your brushes than other options? Soak for about 30 minutes and then rinse.  You might be surprised!
  • Roll with imperfection.  No, you don’t want drips and drops all over your house or wall, but if you are painting stripes, you’re not Modern Design Meets Real Lifegoing to get them perfectly straight.  Most walls and surfaces are not perfectly straight or level, so your work will have to adapt.  Think about the overall impression, especially once furniture returns to the
    area.  Embrace less stress—after all, you’re doing this on your own!

Find a way to make your space your own, no matter the challenge.  Find appliances and accessories that, while practical, still fit with your vision of your comfortable, welcoming, beautiful home. You deserve that!