78 THE QUEENS COURIER • AT HOME • MAY 17, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Create an outdoor oasis with a personalized shed
Th e backyard. It’s your oasis. Your
happy place. Your second living room.
It’s the place to go not only for “me” time
- but quality time with friends and family.
The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue
Association wants to help you make your
backyard the best backyard it can be.
Th ink sheds. No, not your grandparents’
tattered shed fi lled with a dusty
mower and 30-year-old paint brushes.
We’re talking highly personalized sheds.
Intimate covered spaces that keep the
sun’s rays out but bring the summer in.
Outdoor sheds come in all shapes and
sizes and can be personalized to fi t within
all types of lifestyles. From fun-fi lled
tapsheds where friends gather for a margarita
and grilled salmon to an intimate
she shed stocked with wine and cheese or
even a hobby shed for the family to play
board games while munching on braised
ribs and root beer, sheds can do it all.
Building a personalized shed can be a
daunting task. Consider these fi ve tips to
help you create your ideal outdoor oasis
just in time for summer:
1. Have a plan: Are you starting from
scratch or cleaning out an existing old
shed? What’s the theme? What’s the budget?
What’s the goal? How much room
do you have to work with? Before you
start building your shed, make sure you
have a plan in place. You may be eager to
jump right in but it’s much easier to follow
a well-laid plan than to make decisions
on the fl y.
2. Stick to a theme: A craft shed, a relaxation
shed, a party shed - there are so
many options when it comes to creating
your perfect shed. Choose one theme and
tailor all decisions around your theme of
choice. For example, if you decide to go
with a relaxation shed, choose calming
colors and peaceful decorations.
3. Utilize your resources: Your shed
is a part of your outdoor space and you
should utilize all the free beauty that
nature has to off er when it comes to decorating
your shed. Build your shed under
your favorite tree to off er natural shade
or decorate your shed with dried fl owers
4. Less is more: When designing an
outdoor shed, it is easy to go overboard.
Remember to keep it simple and that
you want to have enough room to entertain
guests and to hang out in your shed.
Keeping things minimal will also ensure
you stay within your budget.
5. Remember the exterior: One easy
way to customize your shed is with a coat
of paint. Choose a paint color that goes
with your theme. Th en invite friends and
family over for a day of painting fun in
For more tips on making the most of
your backyard, visit www.hpba.org.
Simple summer home maintenance tips for comfort and energy savings
Th ings will soon be heating up all over
the country. In fact, the average U.S.
household will spend 3 percent more
on electricity bills this summer than in
2017, due to rising retail electricity prices
and higher usage, according to the U.S.
Energy Administration’s estimation.
Jennifer Franz, an energy effi ciency
expert at Lennox, says the good news is
that homeowners can spend just a few
hours before the season starts to make
some quick fi xes and easy improvements
that will help them save energy and make
them more comfortable all summer long,
Mind the maintenance: Schedule an
annual routine check-up for your heating
and cooling equipment to keep the
system running as effi ciently as possible,
and check the air fi lter each month to see
if it needs to be replaced.
Keep it cool: Add extra insulation to
the attic, which will help prevent your
home’s heating and cooling system from
having to work harder to regulate the
indoor temperature during the hottest
months of the year.
Control cracks: Seal cracks around
windows and doors with caulk or weather
stripping to prevent conditioned air
Set it and forget it: Install a programmable
thermostat to adjust the temperature
at certain times of the day, automatically
regulating the temperature when
you’re away. In addition, always set your
thermostat to the highest temperature
you can stand to save the most money.
Homeowners can save as much as 10
percent a year on cooling bills by setting
their thermostat 7 to 10 degrees higher
than its normal setting for eight hours
a day, according to the U.S. Department
Make a clean sweep: Decrease dust
and dirt in the home by cleaning with
non-toxic, natural household cleaners,
such as baking soda, cornstarch or white
vinegar, and using a vacuum cleaner with
a high-effi ciency particulate air (HEPA)
fi lter, which will trap small particles like
dust that others re-circulate back into
Seal the deal: Examine the home’s pipes
and connections, as well as all vents, and
add caulking or sealant, if needed, to
ensure they are air-tight.
Clear the air: Breathe easier this summer
by installing a whole-home air purifi
cation system, such as the new Lennox
PureAir S, which is integrated with your
home’s heating and cooling system.
Th ese systems are much more eff ective at
eliminating airborne contaminants than
portable room air cleaners and don’t produce
ozone, which is a known lung irritant.
Franz says homeowners should pay
special attention to their heating and
cooling system, which accounts for more
than half of a home’s energy costs. “Th e
easiest thing homeowners can do to save
energy and stay comfortable during the
summer - and all year long - is to change
the air fi lter on their system regularly;
however, if your air conditioner is more
than 10 years old, it’s time to consider
replacing it with a more effi cient system
that will save signifi cant energy and help
lower utility bills.”
By taking on a few quick and easy home
maintenance projects, homeowners can
help reduce the amount of wasted energy,
save money and stay comfortable as temperatures
rise. To learn more about home
energy effi ciency and how to save money
on utility bills, visit https://www.lennox.
com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.