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Housing Feature Articles


First aid for leaky basements

If your basement sprung a leak during recent intense rainfalls, you’re not alone. These tips can help until the professionals arrive...more


Simple steps to avoid injuries in the home

Each year, thousands of Americans are injured at home. The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your family. Here are some suggestions to make your home safer...more


Rental Inspection Checklist (video)

Moving into your first rented property can be a challenge. Use this video by MU Extension Housing & Environmental Design Specialist Kandace Fisher-McLean to know what to look for BEFORE you sign on the dotted line. Download this Rental Condition Checklist (created by Housing & Environmental Design Specialist Marsha Alexander) for your rental inspection.


Sealing gaps and cracks to save money, prevent problems

The fair weather of autumn offers the best time to get outside and inspect our homes and businesses for gaps and cracks that can allow unwelcome outdoor air, dust, moisture and insects to enter...more


Saving water in your bathroom

We all need to conserve as much water as possible. Much of the water used in the home is used in the bathroom; therefore, the bathroom is a good place to begin when looking for ways to conserve water...more


Low-cost strategies for staying cool and saving energy

The summertime heat and humidity has many homeowners and renters concerned with their utility bills and looking for ways to reduce usage while staying comfortable. These strategies will help cool down you and your home while saving energy dollars...more


ENERGY STAR – What it means to you

You may have seen it and asked yourself: What is ENERGY STAR and how does it affect me? ENERGY STAR is the trusted, government-backed symbol for energy efficiency...more


WaterSense: Making every drop count

You can save water and energy, help the environment and keep money in your pocket with a few simple changes to use water more efficiently...more


Warm, wet weather can trigger mold growth

Moisture and rising temperatures can turn parts of your home into ideal sites for mold growth, said a University of Missouri Extension housing and environmental design specialist (includes audio clip)...more


Edible landscaping combines best of both worlds

One of the best methods of edible landscaping is to incorporate food producing plants in with more traditional landscaping in an esthetically pleasing arrangement that mixes beauty with food and function...more


New labels illuminate light bulb choices

All light bulbs are not created equal, but with a little understanding homeowners can choose the right ones to improve the quality of light in their homes while saving money...more


Home cures for mold, mildew problems do exist

Although wet weather creates mold problems inside many homes, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to test a home for mold. The key is to keep water out...more


Don’t forget about recycling during and after holidays

Many people find their homes cluttered after a holiday or birthday. It’s important to consider recycling when deciding how to clean up...more


When purchasing a new washer, consider high efficiency

Are you planning to buy a new washing machine soon? If you are, there are many things to consider before the purchase...more


Air conditioner needs regular maintenance to be efficient

Central air conditioning systems need regular maintenance to perform at peak efficiency...more


Weatherizing your home has year-round benefits

It’s the season when many Missouri homeowners are getting hit with cold drafts and higher heating bills. University of Missouri Extension specialists note that it’s not too late to take advantage of federal tax incentives for household energy-efficiency improvements...more


Frequently Asked Questions: Compact fluorescent lights (CFL's)

CFL's are small fluorescent light bulbs that use 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and can be screwed into a regular light socket...more


Efficiency investments in home, appliances result in smart, tax-free savings

In these rough economic times, finding a safe and productive place to invest money seems nearly impossible. By investing in the efficiency of your home and home appliances, you can realize returns that are safe, tax free, directly in your control and profitable...more


Take steps to offset soaring heating costs

Keeping warm air inside and the cold air out can be relatively inexpensive, according to Barbara Buffaloe, a University of Missouri Extension housing specialist...more


Compact fluorescent light bulbs help save energy -- and money

Consumers may feel sticker shock when paying $4 to replace that burnt out 50-cent incandescent light bulb, but that pricey new bulb can last for years...more


Safety at home should be part of your family’s holiday plans

Each year holiday decorations and Christmas trees account for almost 2,000 fires and cause more than $41 million dollars in property damage. Your family can avoid these hazards if you take the time to plan the placement and use of your decorations...more


Give extra care to newly purchased holiday houseplants

When bringing home newly purchased houseplants to brighten the holidays, be sure to follow a few simple steps to keep your plants healthy...more


Radon: A silent killer can lurk in homes

Radon can't be seen, felt, smelled or tasted, but it can make you and your family very sick. Learn more about this radioactive gas that lurks undetected in many homes (see accompanying video as well)...more


Realizing the risks of radon

Radon is a radioactive gas that you cannot smell, see or taste, and it is dangerous when it accumulates in your home. Radon exposure is the second leading source of lung cancer in the U.S. Fortunately, it can be detected to keep your family safe. Here are steps for testing your home for radon...more


Energy Efficiency over the Holidays

The holiday season is a time of celebration and most homes are decorated to the nines. However the holiday season is also a time of higher energy bills because of our home heating needs and the electricity for holiday decorations. Certain behaviors need to be adopted by homeowners to decorate their homes for the holidays, but not waste electricity doing so...more


MU Extension expert recommends replacing older smoke detectors

Even if you regularly check the batteries and test your home smoke alarm, you may not be alerted if a fire breaks out...more


Hiring a reputable contractor

Although most contractors are trustworthy and fair, home repairs remain one of the most common types of consumer complaints. The following guidelines will help you find a reputable contractor who will perform repairs in a timely manner and for a fair price...more


Are dust mites a problem in your home?

Does your home have a problem with dust mites? It may be surprising to learn that dust mites are part of everyday life and can be found in virtually every household. High humidity increases the presence of dust mites. Often they are most prevalent during the summer months when the humidity and heat are increased. However, dust mites can also be problematic in the winter months...more


Carbon monoxide detectors should be replaced every five years

Homeowners may be surprised to learn that they need to replace the carbon monoxide detector they bought just a few years ago. "Carbon monoxide detectors are only good for about five years," said Michael Goldschmidt, a housing and environmental design specialist with University of Missouri Extension...more


Protect your bath and shower from mold and mildew

Moisture makes bathrooms attractive to mold and mildew growth. To reduce mold and mildew in the bath and shower areas, Marsha Alexander, housing and environmental design specialist, offers these tips...more


Mold and mildew control in your home

Many of us have seen mold and mildew around our homes from time to time. The problem can be particularly noticeable during the spring and summer months. Molds that generate mildew thrive wherever it is damp, warm, poorly lighted, and /or where air is not circulated. Molds produce tiny spores to reproduce. These spores float through the indoor and outdoor air continually...more


Universal design gifts improve ease of use for people of all ability levels

Universal design products are designed to assist people who may have difficulty with hearing, memory, mobility, vision and more. Based on a nationally accepted standard of seven design principles established by a group of product designers, engineers and environmental design researchers, these products accommodate a wide range of abilities and continue to meet the needs of people as their abilities change...more


CCA Treatment in Playground Equipment

CCA Treatment (chromated copper arsenic) was used until recently in wood that was exposed to weather, such as playground equipment. CCA was a preservative that kept wood from rotting and was required by building codes for just about all wood used outside. It is estimated that about 90 percent of children’s playground equipment contains CCA...more


Dealing with drought…Watering your home’s foundation can help prevent cracking

While drought conditions that have plagued Missouri can take a toll on crops, landscape plants and lawns, extended dry periods also can cause shifting or cracking in the foundation of your home. In addition to watering your lawn and trees, it’s a good idea to water your home’s foundation...more


Select Flooring With Care

Floor coverings are major elements in our homes. Careful consideration should be taken when selecting the specific flooring type and finish. There are three basic categories - hard (non-resilient), resilient, and soft...more


Safety Check-Up

Take this test and see how much you know about making your home a safer haven...more


Remodeling: Is now the right time?

Many households are choosing to remodel their current home rather than moving to a new house. Many important factors should be considered in the decision to remodel or renovate...more


Insects trying to get out of your home may cause alarm

In most cases, you get concerned about insects coming into your house. Sometimes, however, an insect problem can be caused by insects trying to get out! This situation might sound unusual, but it happens every spring when outdoor temperatures begin to increase...more


Environmental quality

Environmental quality is an important aspect of life consideration. Environmental quality can be examined from indoor air quality, mold, radon, and water supply perspectives...more


Environmental Safety

Environmental safety is a critical component of quality of life. It can be investigated from a burglary and theft, fire, hazardous waste, universal design, and general crime prevention perspectives...more


Home Ownership

For many Americans, owning a home is the ultimate dream.  However, there are several aspects to consider before making your purchase.  This article discusses items such as the "purchase vs. rent" debate, finding an ecologically responsible home; and the costs of a house...more


Remodeling / Renovations

Remodeling/renovations are economical ways of improving one's home and thereby improving one's quality of life. Several important factors should be considered in the decision to remodel or renovate...more


Environmental Systems

Environmental systems are the mechanical systems in a house that are required to support human activities. Knowledge about what these systems are and how they operate is important to every homeowner.  This article contains information about the plumbing system of your house; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC); and thermal insulation...more


Timeless Ways of Building

One way to increase the quality of one's housing is to use design principles that are enduring. These sustainable and enduring principles are referred to as "design guidelines" or "design patterns." This articles lists various suggestions to help improve the "timelessness" of your house...more


Test your smoke alarms — It could save your life

Each year more than 4,000 Americans lose their life to fire and approximately 25,000 are injured. At least 80 percent of fires in the US occur in the home; however, there are many things we can do to prevent these fire tragedies and injuries...more



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Last update: Wednesday, May 03, 2017