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Frontpoint vs Vivint (2020)

Courtesy Frontpoint

Frontpoint and Vivint are two popular home security companies that offer their services in the U.S. and Canada. Learn which provider is best for your home by reading our Frontpoint vs. Vivint side-by-side comparison.

Frontpoint and Vivint are two prominent home security companies that sell security equipment and plans in the U.S. and Canada. In this article, the This Old House Reviews team analyzes both providers’ equipment, professional monitoring plans, and pricing in order to provide a Frontpoint vs. Vivint comparison to help you determine which company best suits your needs.

Our Take

Frontpoint has a much longer trial period and sells more affordable security equipment than Vivint. However, Vivint provides professional installation and offers less expensive monitoring plans. Both Frontpoint and Vivint offer video surveillance, smart home compatibility, and multiple security packages.

Founded in 2007, Frontpoint is recognized as the first nationwide home security company to include smart security in every system. Frontpoint has been awarded for its top-notch customer service, and our Reviews team named it one of the best home security companies of 2020.

To learn more about Frontpoint, view plans and security packages here or give the company a call at 833-823-5612.

Founded in 1999, Vivint is recognized for its in-house equipment development and professional monitoring services. Vivint was listed among Fast Company’s 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2017, and our Reviews team named this company among the top home security companies in the industry.

To learn more about Vivint home security, view plans and packages here or contact the company at 855-740-4217.

Frontpoint vs. Vivint Equipment

Both Frontpoint and Vivint offer a variety of security and life safety devices for homeowners. Learn more about each company’s equipment below.

Frontpoint Equipment Packages

Frontpoint offers five different equipment packages: Safe Home Starter, Build Your Own package, Safe Home Everyday, Safe Home Select, and Safe Home Preferred.

Safe Home Starter

The Safe Home Starter package includes the following items:

  • One Frontpoint hub & Frontpoint keypad
  • Two door/window sensors
  • One motion sensor
  • One yard sign
  • One set of window decals
  • One door sticker

Build Your Own

This security package lets homeowners purchase the security items they want separately. Here are the security items the company sells, broken down by category:

Control Panel

  • Frontpoint Touchscreen
  • Extra keypad

Intrusion

  • Door/window sensor
  • Motion sensor
  • Glass break sensor
  • Garage door tilt sensor

Environmental

  • Smoke and heat sensor
  • Carbon monoxide sensor
  • Flood sensor

Cameras

  • Indoor camera
  • Doorbell camera
  • Outdoor camera
  • Premium indoor camera

Home Automation

  • Smart door lock
  • Wireless light control
  • Light bulb

Accessories

  • Keychain remote
  • Panic pendant
  • Yard sign
  • Window decals
  • Door stickers

Safe Home Everyday

The Safe Home Everyday package includes nine items. Compared with the Safe Home Starter package, this plan offers one additional door/window sensor and one additional motion sensor:

  • One Frontpoint hub and Frontpoint keypad
  • Three door/window sensors
  • Two motion sensors
  • One yard sign
  • One set of window decals
  • One door sticker

Safe Home Select

The Safe Home Select package includes 12 items. This package includes a smoke and heat sensor and a glass break sensor, along with four door/window sensors:

  • One Frontpoint hub and Frontpoint keypad
  • Four door/window sensors
  • Two motion sensors
  • One glass break sensor
  • One smoke and heat sensor
  • One yard sign
  • One set of window decals
  • One door sticker

Safe Home Preferred

Safe Home Preferred, Frontpoint’s premium package, comes with 14 items. This is the only package that comes with an indoor camera for video monitoring, and it includes five different door/window sensors:

  • One Frontpoint hub and Frontpoint keypad
  • Five door/window sensors
  • Two motion sensors
  • One glass break sensor
  • One smoke and heat sensor
  • One indoor camera
  • One yard sign
  • One set of window decals
  • One door sticker

Vivint Equipment Packages

Vivint sells five different equipment bundles. The company allows homeowners to purchase extra cameras, sensors, and detectors as needed with these bundles.

Smart Hub Starter Kit

This is Vivint’s most basic equipment package. The most significant item it includes is the Smart Hub, the touch screen panel that is the command center of the security system. It also includes two smart entry sensors, one motion sensor, one water sensor, and $100 toward additional sensors.

Home Security System Bundle

The home security system bundle includes everything in the Smart Hub Starter kit plus a smart smoke detector that is capable of unlocking smart locks in case of an alarm. This equipment bundle is designed for homeowners that subscribe to the company’s Smart Security plan.

Smart Home Control Bundle

This bundle contains everything in the plans above plus a smart garage door opener, a smart door lock, and a smart thermostat. This bundle is designed for homeowners who subscribe to the company’s Smart Home Control plan.

Video Security Bundle

This plan includes everything in the Smart Hub Starter Kit, plus an indoor camera, outdoor security camera, and a video doorbell. It also comes with Vivint Smart Drive, a storage device that saves all playback recordings. This bundle is designed for homeowners who subscribe to the company’s Smart Home Video plan.

Smart Complete Bundle

The most comprehensive equipment bundle, Vivint’s Smart Complete bundle includes everything in the Smart Home Control bundle plus the security devices in the Video Security bundle.

Frontpoint vs. Vivint Professional Monitoring Plans

Frontpoint and Vivint both offer multiple professional monitoring plans that homeowners can choose from. Below, we cover the benefits that come with each plan.

Frontpoint Professional Monitoring Plans

Frontpoint offers two different professional monitoring plans—an Interactive Plan and an Ultimate Plan:

Vivint Professional Monitoring Plans

Vivint offers three different professional monitoring plans, a Smart Security plan, a Smart Home plan, and a Smart Home Video plan:

Frontpoint vs. Vivint Pricing

In terms of pricing, Frontpoint’s equipment is more affordable than Vivint, but Vivint’s professional monitoring plans are less expensive than Frontpoint.

Frontpoint Pricing

Frontpoint’s pricing is relatively straightforward and can be viewed in the tables below. Homeowners who choose the company’s Build Your Own package can calculate their anticipated cost using the prices listed on the company’s website.

Monitoring Service Cost

Frontpoint charges $44.99 per month for its Interactive plan and $49.99 per month for its Ultimate plan.

Equipment Cost

Here is the cost of Frontpoint’s equipment packages:

Vivint Pricing

Vivint gives homeowners a few options in terms of pricing structure. If homeowners pay for all of their equipment upfront, they can pay month-to-month for monitoring services. If they want to finance their equipment, they will need to bundle it with monitoring services and sign a five-year contract with a monthly payment.

Monitoring Service Cost

Here are the prices for the company’s monitoring services alone:

Equipment Cost

Below, we have broken down the cost of Vivint’s equipment, both upfront and as part of a bundled, financed plan:

Our Conclusion

Both Frontpoint and Vivint have solid reputations and offer a variety of equipment packages and professional monitoring plans. If you’re looking for a provider that offers professional monitoring but prefer DIY installation, consider Frontpoint. If you’d like professional monitoring and installation, then Vivint may be the better option.

To get a free quote from Frontpoint or Vivint, use the tool below.

If you’re not sure whether Frontpoint or Vivint is right for you, see other top-rated security providers in the table below.

Our Rating Methodology

The This Old House Reviews team is committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. This means earning your trust through transparent reviews and having the data to back up our ratings and recommendations. Our rating system for home security providers is on a 100-point scale based on 10 factors:

  • Number of systems (5)
  • Special features (10)
  • Installation options (5)
  • Connectivity and smart home automation (15)
  • Pricing (15)
  • Contract period (5)
  • Warranty (15)
  • Trial period (15)
  • Usability (5)
  • Trustworthiness (10)

Our team reviewed 32 companies and spent 744 hours researching and testing out products to help us compare home security systems on key factors such as package options, cost, reliability, and ease of use. Read more on our methodology here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Vivint better than ADT?

Vivint and ADT were both named among the best home security companies by our review team. We named ADT as the best overall home security provider and Vivint as the best provider for smart home integration services.

Can Frontpoint be hacked?

Frontpoint systems are secured by bank-grade encryption, which is typically 128 or 256-bit AES. As such, Frontpoint is very unlikely to be hacked.

Does Frontpoint work without Wi-Fi?

The Frontpoint Hub can function without Wi-Fi by using cellular communication. However, many homeowners choose to connect their Hub to Wi-Fi as a backup communication method.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.

Lemonade Home Insurance Review 2020

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Newcomer Lemonade offers peer-to-peer provider home insurance with accessible technology and a socially responsible mission.

Buying home insurance is an important but sometimes daunting task. Protecting your most valuable asset and likely largest ever single purchase requires time, patience, and research. Different companies offer different coverage options at different prices. The This Old House Reviews team has created a thorough Lemonade home insurance review to help you decide if the company is the best fit for your needs.

Table of Contents

  • Our Take
  • Pros & Cons
  • Coverage
  • Extra Coverage
  • How to File a Claim
  • Availability
  • How Much Does Lemonade Insurance Cost?
  • Discounts
  • Giveback Program
  • Reviews of Lemonade Insurance
  • Comparison
  • Our Conclusion
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Company Information
  • Our Methodology

Our Take

Launched in 2015, Lemonade Insurance Company is a newcomer to the home insurance industry that offers basic coverage with a focus on accessibility and technology. Unlike traditional homeowners insurance companies, Lemonade is a peer-to-peer provider, meaning that customers, grouped into “peers,” pool their premiums in a collective pot to cover each other’s claims. We gave Lemonade a score of 83.50 out of 100 on a variety of metrics, including coverage, discounts, customer service, availability, and more. Lemonade’s lower score is largely due to the fact that presently, it is only available in about half of the country, and is a relatively new company.

Lemonade offers an easy-to-use mobile app that allows customers to request a quote, make adjustments to their policy, and file a claim instantly—with 30% of claims handled instantly by artificial intelligence. On Lemonade’s Better Business Bureau profile, a variety of customer complaints note unexpected cancellations of policies and difficulty with the app. Customer reviews are largely positive, citing a smooth claims process and responsive customer service.

Pros & Cons

Compare the advantages and disadvantages of Lemonade homeowners insurance.

Coverage

Lemonade offers basic home insurance coverage, and the company claims that it only takes 90 seconds to get insured.

Lemonade home insurance covers damage or destruction caused by the following 16 named perils:

  • Fire or lightning
  • Windstorm or hail
  • Explosion
  • Riot
  • Aircraft
  • Vehicles
  • Smoke
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Falling objects
  • Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
  • Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam
  • Sudden and accidental tearing, cracking, burning, or bulging
  • Freezing
  • Sudden and accidental damage due to short circuiting
  • Volcanic eruption

Extra Coverage

Lemonade base policies cover jewelry up to $1,500 in total. If your jewelry is worth a greater amount, you can sign up for Extra Coverage, which can also cover fine art, cameras, bicycles, and musical instruments. Extra Coverage will take effect once items have been submitted and approved by the Lemonade team. Customers need to send in a short description, photo, receipts, or appraisals for each item. You can also add on coverage for earthquake damage.

How to File a Claim

Customers can file a claim with the Lemonade Insurance app. Lemonade claims it takes three minutes to get paid.

To file a claim, tap the “Claim” button on the app and record a brief video explaining the damage and how it happened. An artificial intelligence program will run anti-fraud algorithms and assess your claim. If instantly approved, your claim will be paid in seconds. If not, the program will send your claim to a team of real people for further assessment.

Availability

Lemonade homeowners insurance is currently not available nationwide. The company covers homeowners in the following states:

*Lemonade home insurance is available in AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, GA, IL, IN, IA, MD, MA, MI, MO, NV, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, TN, TX, VA, WA, WI

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

How Much Does Lemonade Insurance Cost?

Lemonade home insurance premiums start at $25 per month. The exact cost you’ll pay depends on a variety of factors, including your property value, where you live, the size of your home, the coverage limits you select, the insurance deductible you choose, and more.

With its peer-to-peer platform, Lemonade covers home insurance by keeping a flat fee of 20% to cover expenses like salaries, running costs, and technology replacement, reinsures the remaining amount as needed, and gives back whatever is left between expenses and reinsurance to charity.

We requested a sample quote for a single-family home in Eureka, CA, of roughly 2,200 square feet. The monthly cost of Lemonade came out to $60.75 per month, cheaper than the national average per month of $101, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Discounts

Lemonade offers a variety of homeowners insurance discounts that can lower the overall amount you pay.

Giveback Program

Leftover money from expenses and reinsurance will be donated to charity. The first year, Lemonade Insurance donated more than 10% of its annual revenue to charity.

Reviews of Lemonade Insurance

Lemonade Insurance is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau and has a B+ rating from the organization. It holds 4.5 out of 5 stars on its profile. Here is what some customers have had to say in their Lemonade home insurance reviews on BBB.

Elina Pinkhasova said:

“I am so lucky I remembered to get a Lemonade insurance policy when I moved in because I don’t know how else I would have my equipment for work replaced that was ruined by the water damage in my room. The process of claiming was really simple and the customer service representative Jeremy who followed up was really a pleasure to work with and communicate with. This was over the holidays and my policy was reviewed quickly and I got my claim resolved in just a short few days. I am so happy to use lemonade as my insurance policy.”

Ethan said:

“Very poor customer service. I was allured by the missions and business model, but was very disappointed when emailing support for clarification on my policy that they dodge and avoid easy questions. When I got their phone number I called, but nobody picks up and voicemails are not returned.”

Comparison

See how Lemonade stacks up against some of its top competitors on key metrics.

*Lemonade home insurance is available in AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, GA, IL, IN, IA, MD, MA, MI, MO, NV, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, TN, TX, VA, WA, WI

Our Conclusion

Lemonade home insurance offers all of the basic coverage at a low cost, with a quick, efficient claims process completed through the mobile app. Lemonade could be a solid option for customers looking for accessibility, ease, speed, and a focus on technology, or who are concerned about social responsibility. Our score is 83.50 due primarily to the low availability and recent founding, but we believe Lemonade is a solid choice for home insurance.

However, Lemonade does not offer auto insurance, so there are no available bundles or the opportunity for one-stop shopping. Lemonade also only offers homeowners insurance in a limited number of states and may not be the best fit for homeowners seeking interaction with real people in real-time.

When evaluating home insurance providers, we always recommend getting multiple quotes from companies serving your area to help determine which one is right for you:

Company Information

  • Company name: Lemonade Insurance
  • Company type: Public
  • CEO: Daniel Schriber
  • Year founded: 2015
  • Headquarters: Five Crosby Street, New York, NY 10013
  • State availability: 23, plus Washington, D.C.
  • BBB rating: B+

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Lemonade a legitimate insurance company?

Lemonade Insurance Company is a legitimate home insurance business that operates on a peer-to-peer platform with an emphasis on technology and social responsibility.

Why is Lemonade Insurance so cheap?

Lemonade Insurance offers low prices potentially because of its peer-to-peer platform, instead of a traditional platform. Groups of customers pool their premiums into one collective pot that is drawn from when a claim needs to be paid out.

Who underwrites Lemonade Insurance?

Lemonade is backed by investors, including Aleph, General Catalyst, GV, Sequoia Capital, Thrive Capital, XL, and SoftBank.

Does Lemonade offer auto insurance?

At this time, Lemonade only offers home and renters insurance.

What makes Lemonade Insurance different?

Lemonade Insurance differs from the competition through its peer-to-peer platform, emphasis on artificial intelligence for processing claims, and policy on donating remaining money to charity every year.

Our Methodology

The This Old House Reviews team values accuracy, transparency, and trust. With that in mind, we created a thorough, objective rating system to score each home insurance company based on the following six factors:

  • Coverage (30)
  • State availability (7.5)
  • Customer service (15)
  • Technology (12.5)
  • Reputation (20)
  • Additional benefits (15)

Our Reviews team has a full-time researcher who collects and regularly updates data points from every company to help us compare them on key factors such as coverage, service, and dependability. Read more on our methodology here.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.

ARS Rescue Rooter Review 2020

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In this ARS Rescue Rooter review, the This Old House Reviews team shares customer reviews and examines the company’s services, cost, and customer service.

When your home needs professional maintenance, it’s always important to call on a company that provides reliable service without hitting you with unnecessarily high costs. That is especially the case with heating and cooling or plumbing issues, where the stakes are often high.

In this ARS Rescue Rooter review, the This Old House Reviews team examines the company’s services, cost, customer service, customer reviews, and more so you can evaluate whether it’s the right fit for your needs.

ARS Rescue Rooter Background and Availability

Established in 1975, ARS Rescue Rooter provides heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and sewer and drain services. The company is based in Memphis, Tennessee, and is available in 24 states, which include:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington

As a home services company, ARS Rescue Rooter is known for offering a one-year service guarantee and a variety of financing options to homeowners. It’s also known for its certified technicians and community outreach efforts to organizations like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Alpha Omega Veterans Services.

ARS Rescue Rooter Coverage

ARS Rescue Rooter provides eight different core services for the following: air conditioning, heating and furnace, indoor air quality, plumbing, smart home products, attic insulation, commercial, and HVAC system.

Here’s what ARS Rescue Rooter covers under each service:

  1. Air conditioning: Air conditioning repair, installation, and maintenance
  2. Heating and furnace: Heating system repair, installation, and maintenance
  3. Indoor air quality: Duct cleaning and indoor air quality installation
  4. Plumbing services: Plumbing repair, plumbing installation, drain cleaning services, plumbing maintenance, sewer, and water line services, gas line repair, water heater services, sump pump services, and garbage disposal services
  5. Smart home products: Installation of Nest thermostats, Nest Protect, Nest cams, and Google products and LeakSmartⓇ leak detection
  6. Attic insulation services: Radiant barrier, attic ventilation, and attic insulation
  7. Commercial services: Commercial plumbing and commercial HVAC services
  8. HVAC systems: HVAC repair, installation, and maintenance for your swamp cooler, ductless mini-split, geothermal, zoned HVAC, radiant cooling and heating, heat pumps, and dual-fuel

Emergency Services

ARS Rescue Rooter offers emergency services for plumbing and HVAC, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These services include repairs and replacements for the following:

  • Broken air conditioning system
  • Frozen pipes
  • Leaky pipes
  • Broken water heaters
  • Overflowing toilets
  • Emergency gas line issues
  • Sewer line stoppages
  • Burst washing machine hoses
  • Kitchen and bathroom drain clogs

How Much Does ARS Rescue Rooter Cost?

The cost of ARS Rescue Rooter services depends on the nature of your HVAC or plumbing issue and any code requirements from your municipality. ARS Rescue Rooter’s certified technicians provide homeowners with pre-printed pricing guides and written options upfront, and the technicians will not start work without approval from the homeowner.

Financing Options

ARS Rescue Rooter offers the following financing options to homeowners:

  1. 12-month loans on approved credit by EnerBank USA—Through this payment option, homeowners don’t pay any payments or interest for 12 months, and the interest is waived if repaid in 365 days.
  2. Customers can take out reduced interest loans of 6.99% APR for up to five years with approved credit by EnerBank USA.
  3. The company accepts all major credit cards.

Customer Service

ARS Rescue Rooter provides 24/7 customer service and emergency services when necessary. Homeowners who need regular services can contact the company by calling 1-866-399-2885 or schedule a service using the online tool on the company’s homepage.

For same-day, emergency services, homeowners can call 1-866-399-2885 or contact the company using the live chat function on the emergency plumbing services and emergency HVAC services webpages.

ARS Rescue Rooter Reviews

ARS Rescue Rooter holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). It’s important to note that the BBB rates ARS Rescue Rooter locations separately from its headquarters. For example, in Raleigh, North Carolina, the company holds a 4.5-star average rating based on 100 reviews. Most reviews from homeowners mention that their HVAC technician was on time and performed an impressive job on their HVAC unit.

Here’s a sampling of ARS Rescue Rooter reviews we found for the company’s Raleigh, North Carolina, location:

“[My technician] was very thorough and professional when he serviced my air conditioning unit. He explained everything that was wrong, as well as what he did to fix the unit.” — Kristin T. via BBB on May 12, 2020

“[My technician] was timely and efficient during his visit. [He was also] respectful of safety precautions due to COVID-19.” — VB via BBB on May 5, 2020

“ARS employees were very considerate of my home while completing the installation of our furnace and air [conditioning system]. They completed the job quickly and efficiently, just as promised. We have only had our new HVAC system for one day, but it’s working great!” — Krista J. via BBB on April 28, 2020

“I’ve been using ARS for years, and I’m always satisfied with the technicians and the efficiency of my furnace and AC unit. My technician today was professional and knowledgeable.” — Patricia E. via BBB on April 27, 2020

Our Conclusion

With its 24/7 availability, certified technicians, and service guarantee, ARS is one of the best providers of home services in the industry. In addition to these benefits, our team was impressed to learn that the company’s technicians all receive background checks and drug tests and follow stringent COVID-19 protocols for ultimate safety. To get a free quote for services, call ARS at 1-866-399-2885.

ARS Rescue Rooter Overview

  • Company name: American Residential Services LLC
  • CEO: Donald Karnes
  • Years in business: 44
  • Phone: 866-399-2885
  • Website: https://www.ars.com/
  • BBB Rating: A+

Frequently Asked Questions About ARS Rescue Rooster

Does ARS Rescue Rooter provide a warranty for its work?

ARS Rescue Rooter provides a standard labor warranty for one year, and all parts are warranted by the manufacturer from defects for up to 10 years. If you’re dissatisfied with the company’s work, ARS will try to meet your expectations or remove the equipment and refund 100% of your money.

Is ARS Rescue Rooter available in Washington, D.C.?

Yes, ARS Rescue Rooter is available in Washington, D.C.

Do ARS Rescue Rooter technicians follow COVID-19 safety measures?

Yes, all ARS Rescue Rooter technicians receive daily temperature screenings and are equipped with masks, gloves, shoe covers, and disinfectants when entering homes and businesses. They also maintain social distancing procedures.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.

Read This Before You Buy a Mattress

You spend a third of your life in bed, so finding the right mattress is key to getting your zzzs. Read on for our experts’ tips

When is it Time to Get a New Mattress?

  • It’s more than 10 years old and sports lumps, dips, or trenches.
  • Your hips sink too low, so you wake up with a sore lower back. Sagging means the springs are worn, the batting has flattened, or the mattress or box spring was poorly made.
  • You wake up stiff or with shoulder or neck pain.
  • You’ve changed: You’ve gotten much lighter or heavier, which can affect the body—mattress fit.
  • You’ve gotten older. Young folks tend to like firm mattresses, but as the body grows more mature, it requires more cushioning, especially if you are a side sleeper. Incidentally, getting a good night’s sleep generally gets harder as you get older, no matter how your mattress is made.

What Should a Mattress Cost?

 Photo by George Doyle/Getty Images

The range for a quality queen-size runs from $700 to $1,600. Yes, you can pay more, especially if you crave long-lasting hand-tufted cotton, wool, and, say, hog hair, but experts aren’t convinced this will help you sleep. Remember, if you need a new foundation it could double the cost.

Should You Flip Your Mattress?

 Photo by Liza McCorkle/Getty Images

When the top and bottom layers are the same, a mattress can be flipped, extending its life. Some traditional companies, like Shifman, still make them this way. But most mattresses today have only one comfort layer, so flipping won’t work. Be sure to ask what the maker recommends.

Mattress Store Smarts

It’s always a good idea to try before you buy. But forget speed dating around the showroom. This is a once-every-10-years purchase, so take your time.

Ignore the hype: Retail-store sales are so common that the list price is often meaningless. Don’t be afraid to haggle. Another challenge: The same mattress may be tweaked and sold under a different name in a different store. Yes, this is done to stymie comparison shopping.

Feel them out: Get a sense of the sales staff, advises The Mattress Underground, a consumer watchdog group. Salespeople should be ready to talk specifics, from the density of the foam and the nature of the springs to the fiber content of the topping and ticking.

Pack your own pillow—and a timer: Wear a comfy outfit, like workout clothes, kick off your shoes, relax in sleep mode, and give yourself at least 15 minutes on the mattress, shifting positions. Are your hips and shoulders aligned and well cushioned? You should feel like you’re floating.

Two more tests: Pressure points like shoulders should sink in while being supported by the core layer, keeping your spine straight. Place one hand under your waist; it should be tough to slide it out. If you jump when your partner plops down on the edge, ask to see a more stable mattress.

What’s Your Body Type?

Sleep style is important, but so is your physique.

Big + heavy:

You need extra support from the core, especially if you sleep on your back. Curvy bodies, heavy or light, need a thicker, softer comfort layer.

Thin + bony:

Look for a softer, thinner comfort layer so you don’t float too high over the support layer. If you are a stomach sleeper, slightly firmer will do.

Latex, Foam, or Both

Mad scientists are cooking up fresh latex and foam formulas and sandwiching them in artful new ways so that a mattress can omit springs altogether.

Natural latex, made from rubber-tree sap, is prized for its resilience and durability and is a good choice for the comfort layer. There are two ways it is molded, called Dunlop and Talalay, but more important is to test it for a buoyant, not bouncy, feel.

Foams are typically made from petroleum, though alternatives like soybean and other vegetable oils are increasingly going into the mix. Some makers also add gel.

Latex-foam blends are common because all-rubber latex is expensive. Don’t assume a “natural latex” label means 100 percent rubber.

Memory foam responds to body heat and weight by “melting” around pressure points (while remaining firm, for better support, deeper down). It has its fans, partly because it doesn’t jiggle, though others find its slow response to changes in sleep position and “sleeping hot” a problem.

Safety Check Look at the label to see whether the materials used in the mattress meet independent organizations’ standards. CertiPUR-US certifications mean the foam in the mattress has been tested for formaldehyde and other chemicals. For latex, there are Global Organic standards. Bear in mind that both of these apply to components used to make mattresses, not for the mattress as a whole.

Innovative foams are rated for such things as their ILD (indentation load deflection) and open vs. closed cells, but never mind: Manufacturers do the thinking so you won’t have to, and what’s key is your comfort. (Note: Old-school springs are said to be better for, ahem, romance.)

Inside Innersprings

 Photo by Kathy Dewar/iStockPhoto

Mattresses are made with a softer top, or comfort layer, and a denser middle core, or support layer, which traditionally holds steel springs. Watch out for springs that allow motion transfer from one side of the bed to the other, a.k.a. “partner disruption.” Lower-gauge springs offer the most support, so they may be best for folks who are big and heavy. Thinner, higher-gauge springs can be more responsive, or springier. But when talk turns to coil counts and springs that are “oven-baked,” “tempered,” or made of titanium, keep in mind that what matters is how your body responds when you give the mattress a whirl: The goal is to feel both supported and cushioned.

Shown: It’s best to have springs encased in separate pockets, or even “socks,” as seen in this sample from Room & Board, so they can flex separately to respond to shifting positions and provide support where it’s needed.

The Trend: Hybrids

 Photo by STUDIO BOX/Getty Images

More and more, mattresses combine innersprings and latex or memory foam, with springs at the core and a soft top layer to cushion joints.

3 Things to Remember When Mattress Shopping

 Photo by Tanya Constantine/Getty Images

1. Try to get a handle on it. A queen-size can weigh 75 pounds or more. Four comfy handles will help you reposition the mattress or even move it one day.

2. Carry a ruler. Measure the height of the frame, the mattress, and any base or foundation, lest you literally have to climb into bed. Make sure your sheets still fit, too.

3. Give it a month. It can take 30 days or more to adjust to a new mattress. Many comfort guarantees allow you to live with it for 60 to 90 days.

Customize Your Mattress

 Photo by Tanya Constantine/Getty Images

Like so many things these days, mattresses can be adjusted to suit just you.

Split the difference: If you and your partner can’t agree, pay a little more and order a mattress that’s half firm and half less so.

Pump it up: One maker, Select Comfort, uses side-by-side air pockets and an electric pump to allow separate adjustments in firmness in its Sleep Number beds. Its new smartphone app will monitor your sleep, helpful if you want to tweak the setting.

Fill out a form: New online company Helix will customize a foam-and-microcoil mattress based on your age, height, weight, and favored sleeping position. Over time the company’s Netflixesque questionnaire and algorithm should become ever keener. Till then, there’s a comfort guarantee.

Chemical-Free, Fire Resistant Options

 Photo by Tanya Constantine/Getty Images

Used to be that mattresses met fire-safety standards by blending scary chemicals into the flammable foam. But starting in 2007, manufacturers shifted to thin barriers made from fire-resistant natural or synthetic fibers, so if you’re buying a new mattress, you can rest easier.

Natural remedies:

Some fibers, such as wool (shown), sisal, and thistle, keep you cool while also providing fire resistance.

The Fine Print

Before you commit, pin down any delivery costs, and ask if the dealer will also whisk away your old mattress. Most mattresses come with a friendly-sounding policy on returns, or a so-called comfort guarantee. But read carefully: You may have only one month to exercise this option, and you may have to pay for shipping or a restocking fee even if you do return the mattress within the set time.

Long-term warranties (typically 10 to 20 years) guard against lumps, sags, and trenches—but with certain conditions.

  • The warranty may apply only if you use a certain foundation.
  • You may not get a full refund. And a lump or other problem may not qualify as a defect if it’s deemed too small.
  • You may need your original receipt—and the “Do Not Remove” tag that comes with the mattress, which could contain key product information. For instance, to exercise IKEA’s generous 25-year warranty, you have to bring the receipt—and the mattress—back to the store.

Hotel Mattresses

 Photo by Nikada/Getty Images

You’re away from the usual stresses and strains and find yourself sleeping like a baby. Convinced you’d sleep better if you could just take that hotel mattress home? Maybe you can. Ask at the front desk—major brands like Simmons supply many hotels. The website shophbd.com offers Stearns AP Foster and Sealy mattresses made for the Hyatt and the Ritz-Carlton.

Online Options

 Photo by Courtesy of Tuft & Needle

Web-based companies like Leesa and Casper offer one-style-fits-all mattresses made with foam or latex and foam. You save money because there’s no store overhead, and because a no-springs slab can be vacuum-packed, rolled up like a rug, and delivered in a box, like Tuft & Needle’s, above. If you don’t like it, you get a full refund. Online dealer Saatva has risen to the challenge with discounted innersprings and more choices, plus a 75-day comfort guarantee and classic “white glove delivery,” which entails a nonrefundable fee of about $100.

Add a Base

 Photo by Courtesy of Sleep Number

• Traditional mattresses are designed to lie on a stiff wire foundation, which acts as a shock absorber, extending the mattress’s life. Many of today’s models do fine on slats, platforms, and boxes covered with foam and fabric.

• Ask what the mattress maker recommends; the long-term warranty may depend on using a certain base. That doesn’t mean you have to buy them as a set.

• Flexible bases, like Sleep Number’s, here, can elevate your head, knees, and feet and turn your bed into a chaise longue. Sleeping with a snorer? Sleep Number’s remote control allows you to raise your partner’s head.

Topper Lowdown

 Photo by Courtesy of TempurPedic

Integrated pillow tops are giving way to free-floating toppers that are purchased separately. While they can be pricey, they are a way to experiment with new-age options like gel honeycombs (IntelliBed) or plastic yarn spun into washable springy slabs (Airweave). Note: You still need a good-quality support layer underneath.

Find the Right Pillow

 Photo by karammiri/iStockPhoto

Now that you’ve found a mattress that keeps your spine aligned, don’t forget the supporting player: a pillow that will continue that alignment by keeping cricks out of your neck. Unfortunately, pillows generally don’t come with comfort guarantees, and it may take a few tries to get the combination of softness and support that’s right for you. Now all you need is the perfect set of sheets.

The Ick Factor

 Photo by Caspar Benson/Getty Images

Humans throw off dead skin cells and bodily fluids, and if over time all that weren’t weighty enough, dust and dust mites pile in too, never mind pollen and bacteria—and could that possibly be pet fur joining the party? Vacuuming a mattress every couple of months and using a case or cover can help keep it in fighting trim.

Mattress Care and Maintenance

  1. Protect it with a washable cover or mattress pad. Some, like one made by Sure Fit, add a bit of cushiness, too. If you are allergic to dust mites or worried about spills or even bedbugs, there are specially designed covers and cases.
  2. Assuming the manufacturer recommends it, rotate the mattress every three months to even out wear.
  3. To freshen a mattress, sprinkle it with baking soda, let it sit, then vacuum.

Thanks to: Kurt Ling, CEO, poshandlavish.com; themattressunderground.com and sleeplikethedead.com

How to Get Rid of Centipedes

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Learn how to get rid of centipedes in your home and how to keep them away for good.

Although “centipede” means “100 legs,” different species of centipedes may have up to 354 legs. Additionally, centipedes always have an odd number of pairs of legs, so none of them have exactly 100.

Centipedes aren’t actually insects, either; they’re a type of creature called an arthropod. Of course, these bits of trivia might not feel important to know if you see one of these creepy critters skittering across your tile floor. You probably just want it gone.

What You Need to Know about Centipedes

Scientists have identified over 3,000 types of centipedes, and according to livescience.com, there may be as many as 8,000 types on earth. While they do use venom to catch their prey, most have fangs that are too small to pierce human skin, so you don’t need to worry too much about centipede bites. The Florida blue centipede in the southeastern U.S. is the exception, as its bite can cause a reaction like a bee sting.

Centipedes usually live in damp areas. Indoors, this may mean basements and closets or floor drains. Outdoors, you’ll often find them in logs and piles of leaf litter or under stones or wood. Some species of centipede can live a very long time—up to 10 years. Females will lay 15-60 eggs at a time, usually in the soil or rotten wood, but other than for the purposes of reproducing, centipedes don’t form nests that they return to each day.

As carnivores, centipedes are predators, and they may actually serve a beneficial purpose in or around your home in terms of pest control. For example, house centipedes may eat roaches, flies, silverfish, and even termites. Additionally, centipedes don’t live in colonies like ants or bees do, so spotting a single centipede is no reason to assume large numbers of them are lurking in the walls. However, many homeowners dislike having any insects or arthropods in the home and are keen to know how to get rid of centipedes.

How to Kill Centipedes

In order to completely get rid of centipedes, you’ll also want to eliminate the conditions that make a centipede infestation possible. Follow these simple steps to clear your home of these many-legged pests.

1. Remove or kill any centipedes currently in your home

Unlike swarming or nesting insects, centipedes are unlikely to infest your home in large numbers, so killing or otherwise eliminating individual adult centipedes is worth your time. If you’d prefer not to simply squish them with a shoe, you can buy sticky traps made for general insect use and place them near baseboards or in corners. If any small centipedes cross the traps, they will stick.

Additionally, you can always relocate them outside. Centipedes don’t move very quickly, so put a glass or jar over the centipede, slide a piece of thick paper over the rim, and take the creature outdoors. Remember, centipedes kill nuisance insects, so consider removing them from your home instead of killing them.

2. Create an insecticide barrier around your house

If centipedes keep getting in, you can use a natural or synthetic insecticide to create a barrier that the creatures will have to cross to get inside. There are chemical sprays and dusts that are approved for indoor use, but those will depend on your comfort level with any children or pets around the home. Synthetic pesticides containing pyrethoids will kill centipedes on contact.

Outdoors, natural pesticides like diatomaceous earth and boric acid can be sprinkled around, but make sure to do your research to find out whether they will negatively affect any plants located around your home. Many natural pesticides work by dehydrating anything they touch, and you don’t want to accidentally kill any flowers or shrubs.

For large or tricky centipede problems, consider hiring a pest control service. These professionals will not only help eliminate the existing problem; they’ll also help you with the next step to prevent centipedes from returning.

We recommend Terminix, Orkin, and Aptive for pest control services. For a free quote from Terminix, fill out this form or call the company at 866-569-4035. To contact Orkin for a free quote, complete this quick form or call 877-871-4752. This Old House readers can also get a free quote from Aptive by calling 855-904-0143 or by filling out this form.

3. Eliminate conditions that invite centipedes

There are plenty of things you can do to make your home and yard less centipede-friendly.

  • Use weatherstripping around doors and windows to keep centipedes from getting in. Caulk or expanding foam can also help plug any gaps or cracks around plumbing or wiring that serve as potential entrance points.
  • Get rid of any other insect infestations that the centipedes might be feeding on.
  • Reduce humidity or areas of excess moisture in your home. Mop up spills, use a dehumidifier, and fix any leaky plumbing.
  • Remove piles of dead leaves or other organic debris from your lawn and store firewood and mulch away from the sides of your home.
  • Remember that centipedes require damp conditions, so fix any areas of your home or yard with poor drainage.

Pesticide use to control centipedes is a temporary fix, so use these prevention methods to make your home a less appealing place for centipedes to live.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.

How to Stain Wood

Adding a wood stain can give your project the warm finish you’re looking for. However, it’s important to follow the right steps for applying stain to unfinished wood. Watch this video and follow the guide to learn about the best wood-staining technique.

Stained wood has warmth and depth and can show off the unique grain of a wood project. And while most know the basic steps to stain wood, it’s really the nuances of the application that can make or break to look.

How to Apply Wood Stain

Here are the steps I take to get professional looking results.

Step 1: Proper Prep

It’s easy to lightly sand a fresh board and think it looks okay, but boards from the home center sometimes have a waxy coating that almost has a visible sheen. If I were to apply stain directly to this board, it wouldn’t soak in and would look splotchy. Likewise, when stained, the coloring along the grain of an unsanded board will appear mottled instead of crisp and evenly colored.

StainJenn Largesse
  • To properly prep bare wood, first sand with 120-grit sandpaper to open the grain of the wood.
  • Wipe the dust away, and then sand again with 120 grit.
  • Next I wipe the dust away and then sometimes wipe the wood with a damp cloth to raise the fibers.
  • Then, sand one more time with 120 or 150 grit. If you’re working with a softer wood, you can sand with a higher grit to help close the grain so it doesn’t soak in as much color, but I never really push over 180 grit, even on pine.

It’s also really important to use a truly clean cloth to wipe away the dust between sanding, because a dirty cloth will just push the dust around. Also, use a cloth that is lint-free or else you risk leaving fibers which can get caught in the finish.

Step 2: Apply conditioner

I build a lot of my projects from soft wood like pine and plywood, so applying pre-stain conditioner is a must. But it’s equally important to wipe on the conditioner and wait for it to soak in.

For example, if I just quickly apply the conditioner and then the stain, the stain mixes with the conditioner that’s still sitting on top of the wood and waters down the color of the stain. Instead, let the conditioner soak in for at least 5-10 minutes, but no more than 2 hours, and then apply the stain.

Step 3: Coat the Wood with Stain

Once it’s time to apply the stain, I’m not too picky about how I get it on the wood, whether it’s a brush, sponge, or cloth. Depending on the application, I reach a simple chip brush for flat surfaces, a sponge brush if my project has any grooves or tight corners, and a cloth if I’m working with thin pieces and want to avoid drips along the edges.

The key to getting the stain on the wood is not to splatter or create an end-point where the stain soaks in and appears darker. In general, I like to complete my most visible edges first so the stain doesn’t drip, and then work nearby open areas in long, full passes.

Step 4: Wipe off the Excess

When it comes times to wipe off the excess stain, technique matters. A balled-up rag rubbed haphazardly over the stain will create little lines as it drags through the stain. Instead, I fold a cloth with the edges tucked inside, and then pull the smooth fold over the wood in the direction of the grain—again in long, even passes.

Once you’ve wiped off the excess, fight the urge to keep wiping, as this causes the stain to pull as it gets tacky. I typically let my stain dry overnight to be sure none will pick up as I apply the protective top coat.

In the morning, my dark stain always looks like mud, and the grain isn’t crisp. Don’t panic—the contrast is highlighted in the final step.

Step 5: Apply a Topcoat

StainJenn Largesse

The last step is to apply a topcoat to protect the stain. I like the warmth of traditional polyurethane or shellac, but you can also reach for a water-based product depending on your preference.

Whatever you choose, mix it in a figure 8 motion, don’t shake the can or else you’ll have bubbles in your finish. Apply it with a high-quality brush first coating the surface and then lightly pulling the brush in long, even passes to smooth it out. Just as with the stain, fight the urge to over brush the poly, or else it too will start to pull and won’t lay smooth.

The key to a clear smooth finish is to allow the finish to dry, and then lightly sand it with 180 grit sandpaper, wipe away the dust, and then apply one last coat. This is always the game changer on my finish and gives it the smoothest, most professional-looking feel.


Tools and Materials:

Moving Back To Your Childhood Home… While 7 Months Pregnant… And Updating Your Parent’s House As Your “Rent”… Welcome Ajai!

Hey there, I’m Ajai (pronounced Asia). I’m a new contributor here on the blog, and I’m beyond thrilled to be sharing here a few times a month, and getting to know you all. Like many, I’m a huge fan of Emily’s, and adhere to many of her design principles when working with my clients, to discover who they are as it relates to their homes. So when Jess reached out and asked me if I’d like to join in on the blogging fun, I said “heck yes” (right after running around the house screaming with joy and excitement). 

That said, I’d like to share with you a little bit about me and what I’m currently up to…I’m the founder and designer of a boutique blog and interior design firm called True Home. How this came to be, well that’s a long story. The short version of the story is; I spent years learning under some of the best fashion brands, architects, and interior designers Los Angeles has to offer. I moved to Atlanta to buy, design, and renovate our first home, only to move back to Los Angeles (during the pandemic) to be close to family. Did I mention my husband and I did all of this during our first pregnancy? Well we did, and we are seven months pregnant now and living in Los Angeles with my parents. To top it off, after finishing all of our home projects back in Atlanta, we’ve piled our plates with more projects that will be taking place here in L.A. In the next few months, we’ve got collaborations, DIYs, and remodels on our schedule. We even promised our parents (mine and the in-laws) that we’d be helping them remodel their spaces, and boy have we got our work cut out for us.

the before and after of our kitchen in atlanta:) 

WHY WE CHOSE TO MOVE IN WITH PARENTS WHILE (VERY) PREGNANT

As you can imagine, moving across the country can be quite expensive. Along with moving expenses and costs to update our home, we also put it on the market and then had to wait for it to sell. Again, this is all during the start of the pandemic, so asking my mom and dad if we could move in was a great idea (or so I thought). What I thought was a simple ask, turned out to be quite complex. Whenever I talk to my parents, they imagine me in a pamper, cooing. Whenever I hear my parents speak, I hear the rumbling the teacher used to make from the Charlie Brown cartoon (pretty hard for either party to take the other seriously right?).

It all started with the conversation about where my husband and I would be sleeping. My husband Jonathan and I would need to transform a space into a master bedroom and nursery, so we needed plenty of room to fit: our baby’s bassinet, an eastern king-sized bed, two nightstands, and a dresser. This meant we needed the second largest room in the house, which just so happened to be my mom’s “girl-cave.” During the conversation (where I had to ask my mom to surrender her precious girl-cave in the front of the house), I could sense hesitancy, and an “I love you so I’ll make the sacrifice, but I really don’t want to” tremble in my mom’s voice. THANK YOU, MOM!

our guest room in atlanta

TRYING NOT TO BE FREE-LOADERS

During the design and moving process of our bedroom, I discovered that in order to make our stay as enjoyable as possible for all parties involved, I needed to make it equally beneficial for my mom and dad, so I offered to design and help with updates to their home (as their home was purchased almost 20 years ago and has only undergone one bathroom update). I’m sure you could imagine how that conversation went…“hey mom and dad, let’s even the playing field here… this place has seen better days, how about I use my interior design knowledge to bring this place up to date and into the 21st century? If you let us move in with you, I’ll even throw in a few DIYs… it’ll be just like the old days, like when I had chores.” We agreed to update and design their patio areas, dining, living, and bathroom. My husband offered to cover the electrical and water bills. We even set a desired move-out date.

the only “before” photo i could find of the first project… the girl-cave

The first thing on our schedule is the bedroom we will be sleeping since the baby is coming soon. We’ve got to take this room from a dated girl-cave to a tranquil master/nursing room for the baby. I know I want the vibe of the room to convey peaceful and grounded, so I’m thinking a neutral color-palette will get the job done. This will help to keep our new babe calm and relaxed (won’t hurt to keep mommy and daddy relaxed too). We’ll want to brighten up the room, so painting the walls white will help tremendously (right now, the walls are a dark grey color). I’d like to mount sconces to have the option of warm lighting for feeding throughout the night. Not having to turn the main room light on and keeping it dim, will help the baby to differentiate between day and night. I also want a bed with an upholstered headboard, Since I’ll be sitting up to feed the majority of the time. This will give me the comfort I’m looking for during this time. I hear the first few months with our baby will be all about feeding and sleeping, so the room set-up will need to be conducive for those things. We’ll need a great pair of sheets and bedding as well (good sleep is on the menu). 

My mom is on board for all of the design changes, as of late, she’s binge-watched several episodes of “Restored by the Fords,” and just discovered that she loves a neutral palette and bright and airy room. My mom also loves mid-century with a touch of glam, so I’ve kept this in mind when sourcing the style of the light fixtures. Even though this is our temporary space, it’s important she be happy with it once we move out.

PARENTS JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND (BUT HOPEFULLY WILL SOON?!)

My parents are really old school as it relates to…well, lots of things, and my mom is having a hard time understanding that her baby is having a baby (she still wants to boss me on an everyday basis). Nonetheless, we are beyond grateful to have a place to stay while we save money to purchase our new home (I don’t have to tell you how expensive it is to live in Los Angeles). I’m also excited to see my childhood home have the makeover it deserves. We’ve already got to work on the living and dining room areas, and the bedroom is getting closer to completion. I’m so thrilled to have you all on this remodel journey with us, as I’ll be documenting it all right here. Be on the lookout because we have so many updates on the way!

Opening Photo Credits: Design and Photo by Ajai Guyot of True Home

The post Moving Back To Your Childhood Home… While 7 Months Pregnant… And Updating Your Parent’s House As Your “Rent”… Welcome Ajai! appeared first on Emily Henderson.

How to Get Rid of Gnats – 5 Ways

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A gnat infestation is a common occurrence for many homeowners. Keep reading to learn how to get rid of gnats and how to prevent future infestations.

Gnats are small flying insects that include fungus gnats, fruit flies, and drain flies. Fungus gnats are dark and have long legs, fruit flies are brown and round, and drain flies have moth-like wings and are attracted to water. Because gnats breed frequently, addressing an infestation promptly is crucial for successful treatment.

In this article, we explain where gnats come from, provide five effective ways to treat and prevent a gnat infestation, and recommend the best pest control companies for treating these pests.

How Do Gnat Infestations Start?

Typically, gnats will enter your house from the outdoors through cracks or holes in your foundation, walls, windows, or doors. Gnats often infest trash cans, rotten fruit, and other moist places where decomposing organic matter exists. They can also be found near sinks, drains, and toilets.

5 Ways to Get Rid of Gnats

There are multiple ways to get rid of gnats, with five effective ways highlighted below. If you have a severe gnat infestation, it may take more than one of these methods to eradicate the pests.

1. Make an apple cider vinegar trap

Place a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, a few drops of dish soap, and a tablespoon of sugar in a bowl and stir the contents. Set your bowl in an area where gnats are prevalent, like your kitchen or bathroom. The sugar and apple cider vinegar combination will attract gnats, and the dish soap traps the gnats and eventually causes them to drown.

2. Make a fruit trap

Homeowners can cover a jar of rotting fruit with perforated plastic wrap. The gnats will enter the jar and get stuck in it.

3. Pour diluted bleach down the sink or tub drain

If you notice gnats around your kitchen sink or bathtub, pour a cup of diluted bleach down the drains to kill the gnats.

4. Make a candle trap

Place a candle in a candlestick and fill the holder partially with water. Light the candle and turn off the lights. The gnats will flock to the flame and be burned or will fall into the water and drown.

5. Hire a professional pest control company

If you have a lingering gnat infestation, a professional pest control company can help address it. The best pest control companies have expertise in treating gnat larvae and adult gnats and will create a customized treatment plan for your home.

Best Pest Control Companies

Homeowners who wish to save time and hassle can work with a professional pest control provider to treat their gnat infestation. The This Old House Reviews team evaluated every major pest control company in the industry and found that Terminix, Orkin, Rentokil, and Aptive provide the best service.

Each of these companies will implement a customized treatment plan for your home and educate you on ways to prevent a future infestation. Use the table below to compare the best pest control companies and get a free quote.

How to Prevent Gnat Infestations

Once you have treated your gnat infestation, there are a few tips to help prevent a future infestation.

  1. Clean up food and drinks after meals—Don’t allow food or drinks to sit out after meals and clean up any food or drink spillages shortly after they happen.
  2. Take out your trash every night and use a sealed trash can—Gnats are often attracted to items in the trash. By taking out your trash nightly and using a sealed trash can, gnats will be less likely to enter your home and gather around your trash.
  3. Water plants with less frequency—Only water your indoor plants when necessary. If you overwater your plants, gnats may use the area for moisture and to lay eggs.
  4. Put fruit in your refrigerator—Because gnats are attracted to the smell of fruit, leaving fruit exposed on your counters can attract gnats. Place your fruit in the refrigerator instead of leaving them out.
  5. Remove moisture inside and outside your home—Homeowners should repair plumbing leaks and sink stoppages and remove moisture accumulation from rain gutters and birdbaths.

Frequently Asked Questions About Gnats

Does flypaper get rid of gnats?

Yes, flypaper can be an effective method to kill gnats. However, some flypaper formulas have an unpleasant odor and may not be an aesthetically pleasing treatment option, as they hang from your walls and ceilings.

What attracts gnats to a home?

Gnats are attracted to sweet scents from fruit, moisture, garbage, houseplants, and other warm, moist areas like your bathroom or kitchen.

Why are there fruit flies in my bathroom?

Even if there’s no food present in your bathroom, flies and gnats may be attracted to this space because of its warmth and moisture buildup.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.

How to Get Rid of Woodpeckers

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Woodpeckers may be nice to look at, but they can also cause damage to your home and trees. Learn how to get rid of woodpeckers by reading this guide.

Few things interrupt the beauty of a warm spring morning like the sound of a woodpecker drilling into your home. Though the birds themselves are often lovely to look at, the damage they cause to buildings and trees is not. In fact, woodpeckers can do thousands of dollars of damage if they make nests in the exterior of your home. We’ll show you how to safely get rid of woodpeckers and keep them away from your property without harming them.

Signs of Woodpecker Damage

Woodpeckers perform their characteristic pecking behavior for two reasons: to get food and to communicate with other birds. Their hard, sharp beaks can drill into wood in order to retrieve any juicy insects inside. They also drum their beaks against hard surfaces to communicate with each other, mostly to mark territory or engage in courting behavior.

Of course, this fascinating behavior also makes them pests. Repeated drumming from a woodpecker’s bill can damage a variety of surfaces. They can drill holes in trees, wooden structures, and even stucco siding.

Characteristic woodpecker damage often looks like a series of small, deep holes in a horizontal or vertical line. Alternatively, there may be larger nesting holes. You’ll usually know the damage comes from woodpeckers rather than insects based on the accompanying noise and the regularity of the holes.

Although woodpeckers won’t find food or shelter in structures like metal chimneys or gutters, they may find that drumming on these produces a much louder sound — the better to claim their territory with. This probably won’t do much overall damage to your home, but it’ll give you a headache in short order.

As with all bird pests, you don’t want to kill woodpeckers. They’re important parts of the ecosystem, and they’re beautiful and interesting birds. Additionally, in the US, they’re protected by the Migratory Bird Act of 1918 (even though they don’t migrate). Instead of eliminating them, you want to direct their focus away from your home and landscaping.

Three Ways to Get Rid of Woodpeckers

Remove and Change the Food Source

Insects are woodpeckers’ primary food source, so if your home or yard has an infestation, it could look like a free buffet. Bees, ants, and termites are all common reasons for woodpeckers to target a home, so check for signs of infestations including hives, rotting wood, or dead insects. Treat for insects yourself or call an exterminator. A pest control company will be happy to help you root out the problem.

If you’re still having problems after you’ve removed this food source, give the woodpeckers something else to eat. These birds like to eat suet, a product made from cow fat, particularly in the late fall, winter, and early spring when other food is scarce. You can set up a bird feeder near where the woodpeckers are currently feeding to attract them to a different meal. After a day or so, begin gradually moving the feeder away from your home by a few feet each day. You can remove the feeder completely once summer arrives and the birds are trained to avoid your home.

Finally, woodpeckers do eat fruits and berries as well, so you can plant fruit trees and bushes around the perimeter of your yard, well away from your house, to divert the birds’ attention from your home.

Frighten Woodpeckers Away

Deterrents are objects or products that keep pests away from your home, so consider investing in some woodpecker deterrents. Various anecdotal sources recommend hanging or placing objects that reflect light, move, or make a sound. You might set up pinwheels or hang old CDs or wind chimes.

You can also purchase a decoy owl to make it appear as though a predator is in the area. However, many homeowners report that these methods are only effective for a short time. The woodpeckers are smart enough to realize that there is no real threat and return after a few days.

Reflective “scare” tape has a better track record than most other woodpecker deterrents. You will need to place long strips of this tape dangling in front of areas of woodpecker damage. As it blows in the breeze, its extremely reflective, shiny surface will irritate the birds’ eyes and keep them away. However, keep in mind that this tape will deteriorate or detach over time, and it may not work without wind present.

Prevent Woodpeckers from Returning

For a more permanent solution, bird netting is the only product that reliably keeps woodpeckers away. A mesh size of one inch or smaller, hung at least three inches away from the surface in question, will physically prevent the woodpecker from accessing the area. Netting can also be used to protect trees. It can be time-consuming to install properly, but it’s usually less noticeable than reflective tape.

Another preventative step you can take is to hire a pest control company to eliminate any insects that may attract woodpeckers back to your home. We recommend getting quotes from multiple companies so you can find the best pest control provider for your needs.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.

7 Best Garage Heaters in Canada [Guide 2020-2021]

Whether you want to keep your garage warm to work in or just avoid the winter chill, owning a garage heater has many benefits. Not only will they produce enough heat to leave your garage toasty, but it can still be highly cost-effective to do. Still, before you buy just any heater, there are a few factors to consider.

The post 7 Best Garage Heaters in Canada [Guide 2020-2021] appeared first on RenovationFind Blog.