It’s National Radon Action Month

Radon is a colorless, tasteless and odorless gas that is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among non-smokers in America. Do you know how to protect yourself and your family from the effects of radon?

Where Does Radon Come From?

Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the earth from the decay of uranium found in nearly all soil types. Radon generally seeps into homes through cracks and holes in the foundation. Homes trap radon inside and can cause a radon build-up in some situations. Radon can also sometimes be found in water supplies.

Some areas of the U.S. have higher radon levels than others, with the most concentrated levels found in the Northeast and the Midwest United States.

What Can I Do to Protect My Family From Radon Exposure?

Radon tests are available at most home improvement stores. It’s wise to consider conducting a radon test in your home to assure that radon levels are below the minimum safety standard set by the EPA.

If the radon levels in your home are higher than is deemed safe by the EPA, a qualified radon mitigation contractor can help show you ways you can lower radon levels in your home to safe levels. The EPA Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction can show you more about reducing radon levels in your home.

For more information, see the EPA’s Citizen’s Guide to Radon.


Don’t Forget to File for Homestead Status for Your New Home

If you moved into a new primary residence home this year, don’t forget to complete your application for Homestead Classification at your county’s Assessor’s Office.

Applications need to be received in person at the Assessor’s Office by December 15th if you owned and occupied your home by December 1st of the same year in order for your home to qualify as a homesteaded property and receive the lower property tax rate.

Here is a link to the Minnesota State Statute information regarding homesteading.

County Assessors require you to show proof of ownership and proof of occupancy in your new home when you submit your homestead application. You’ll need to bring the social security numbers of all owners as well.

Below are links to the applications for Homestead Classification from each of the County Assessor’s offices in the seven county metro Twin Cities Area.

Ramsey County

Hennepin County

Washington County

Anoka County

Scott County

Carver County

Dakota County

Be sure to go to your County Assessor’s office soon to complete your homestead application before the December 15th deadline.


7 Truly Meaningful Gifts You Can Buy for Kids This Year

Ever get tired of buying the kids on your gift list the same old stuff every year? Us too. That’s why we scoured the Net for some original and truly meaningful gift ideas for you.

The gift ideas here are great for your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews or any other child in your life, and they’ll be gift ideas that will be remembered for years to come. Read more

Daylight Savings: Here’s the Scoop

Don’t forget to turn your clocks back!

2 a.m. on Sunday, November 5th will mark the end of daylight savings time (DST) in the U.S. With the exception of Hawaii and Arizona (although Arizona’s Navajo Nation Community uses DST), all of the United States, along with most of North America, some of Easter Europe and scattered other countries around the world do or have used DST at some point.

The History of Daylight Savings Time

According to Wikipedia, entomologist George Hudson was the first to propose Daylight Savings Time, in the year 1895. Hudson proposed a 2-hour DST shift after he discovered that his shift work job gave him more daylight time to devote to the collection and study of insects.

The modern-day DST schedule as we know it was first proposed in 1905 by English builder and outdoorsman William Willett. Willett came upon the idea during a pre-breakfast ride, when he realized how much of daylight people missed during the summer months as they slept in.

An avid golfer, Willett also disliked having to cut his golf rounds short at dusk as the sun slipped away. Willett waited two years before publishing his proposal to the Parliament, but the idea failed to pass again and again until it was adopted in 1916 by Germany, Austria and Hungary.

Other European countries followed, and the United States started using DST in 1918. The concept was largely abandoned in the U.S. during the war years, but was brought back in the 1970’s during the Energy Crisis in order to help conserve energy.

Although Benjamin Franklin never officially promoted daylight savings time, he did anonymously publish a letter in 1784 to Parisians during his envoy to France suggesting they rise earlier in summer to cut down on candle usage.

Franklin lived by his quote “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” and encouraged others to do so as well.

Regardless of whether or not you’re in agreement with Franklin’s well-known mantra, you do have to set your clocks back an hour this weekend, so don’t forget! 🙂



Your Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

One of the most important things you can do as winter approaches is to perform fall home maintenance in preparation for the cold weather. Winter means cold and snow here in the Upper Midwest and getting your house ready for the winter season will help you have a warmer, safer, cozier and more energy efficient winter. Read more