Water Filters And You!

 Liz Johnson

There’s something you should know about your water: it’s not as clean as you might think.

In fact, depending on where it comes from, you could be having that skinny half-caf latte with extra primordial soup. Lots of little living things are in your drinking water right now, right in this moment. There are also plenty of minerals and more complicated compounds floating around in it, maybe even agricultural waste, if you get the drift.

It’s a pretty unpleasant picture, there’s no doubt about it. But without water, we mere mortals won’t last long. Just how do you keep from drinking a slurry that would potentially give you superpowers if you were in a comic book?

Water Filters for the Masses

Anyone who has a well should understand the need for regular testing and heavy filtration to protect their families from the things that can concentrate in the water supply, but most people who are on municipal water don’t give it a second thought. And why should they? Water goes to a treatment plant and it comes back as pure and glistening as new fallen snow.

Except that’s not really true. There are always contaminates that can’t be filtered out, no matter how hard you try. The technology is getting better all the time, but until it’s perfect, you may want to take some of the work of cleaning your drinking water into your own hands.

What Can a Water Filter Do?

There are plenty of water filters on the market today, mostly because many can only cover a portion of the contamination spectrum. It’s a lot to ask of one filter, though. The way you capture protozoa and eliminate them is completely different from how you’d get rid of excess calcium.

Unfortunately, this isn’t made very clear by those filter manufacturers. What ends up happening in many cases is that homeowners buy a single filter and are disappointed that their water is still kind of dirty.

For most whole-home filtration systems, using more than one type of filter will get you the best results possible. You will not get water that is perfectly free of anything but a couple of Hs and an O, but it will be much better overall.

Types of Filters

As mentioned above, there are several types of filters out there, most of which only cover a limited range of impurities. Some remove biological contamination from your water, but will not remove chemicals. These include:

  • Ceramic
  • Mechanical
  • Ozone
  • Ultraviolet

Others are really good at getting the chemicals, but don’t do much for things like cysts and bacteria. A few popular filters and techniques on that list are:

  • Activated Carbon
  • Deionization
  • Distillation
  • Ion exchange

Then, you have reverse osmosis.

Reverse Osmosis for Household Water Filtration

This particular filter technology as it’s regularly deployed to homeowners is a multipart system that not only includes a semipermeable membrane that prevents water contaminants like arsenic, hexavalent chromium, nitrates and perchlorate from entering your faucets, a carbon filter comes along with most standard systems to catch chlorine and other materials.

Part of what makes a reverse osmosis system so effective at cleaning your water are the multiple filtration stages. Of course water’s going to be cleaner with several polishes rather than the single pass your Brita pitcher gets.

The typical reverse osmosis filtration system uses pre-filtration to eliminate sand, dirt, silt and other sediments, carbon filters to remove chlorine and organic compounds, as well as the reverse osmosis membrane. By installing a reverse osmosis system, you are really installing multiple water filters that work together to create very clean water.

The Flip Side of Reverse Osmosis

Mostly, reverse osmosis systems are really pretty amazing. They do a lot of work without complaining much and need minimal maintenance if they’re installed properly. However, nothing in this world is perfect and the reverse osmosis filtration systems do have a few drawbacks to consider:

  • Not all systems are the same. Just because many reverse osmosis systems include multiple pre-filters, it should not be assumed that the one you’re looking at on Amazon does. The quality of reverse osmosis systems varies dramatically, make sure you read the reviews and invest in a good system that will last.
  • You need decent water pressure. Because the water has to be forced through what is essentially a super fine mesh, you need decent water pressure for a reverse osmosis system to work. If you’ve had water pressure issues in the shower, it’s a good bet you need a plumber out to take a look before you spend the money on a reverse osmosis filtration system.
  • They use a lot of water. Many homeowners are surprised to see how much waste water their reverse osmosis system produces. How much discharge water is collected will vary based on local water conditions and the number and types of filters you use, but you can expect something like three to five gallons of discharge water per gallon of reverse osmosis purified water. The waste water, however, is totally useable for anything you’d use the purified water for, aside from consumption by humans or animals. Hook it up to your gray water discharge system and water your trees with it — it’s not wasted anymore!

3 Price Reductions on 3 Beautiful Tehaleh Homes!

$495,000 *3 bedrooms 2 bathrooms *2,216 sqft *18326 134th St E, Bonney Lake, WA 98391 Exquisite, move in ready RAMBLER in Tehaleh! This gorgeous 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms home is light, bright and loaded with features and upgrades! Features include extensive wood flooring throughout main living areas, Hunter Douglas blinds, kitchen with quartz & granite, walk in pantry, Master Suite with enormous walk in closet, Laundry room with sink & cabinets, Mudroom off garage with built ins, A/C and remote controlled privacy shades! Outside you’ll love the covered patio with fireplace and level yard to enjoy the garden!

Price cut: $5,000

*************************************************************************************************

$519,950 *5 Bedrooms 3 Bathrooms *2,709 sqft *18717 135th St E, Bonney Lake, WA 98391 Why wait for a new build when this barely lived in 5 bedroom home in Tehaleh on corner lot is ready for you to call home?! Gleaming wood floors throughout main level aside from the bedroom & 3/4 bath on main. Kitchen with huge island open to great room w/ tons of natural light. Upstairs you’ll find a huge master suite, 3 more bedrooms, laundry, bath & loft. Backyard is level & features a covered patio with gas fireplace. Walking distance to dog park plus Tehaleh features 15+ miles of trails & 11 parks.

Price cut: $5,000

*************************************************************************************************


$464,950 *4 bedrooms 2.5 bathrooms *2,486 sqft *13120 183rd Ave E, Bonney Lake, WA 98391 Welcome your guest with a covered front porch! This 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms offers plenty of space in your Great Room & Formal Dining area. The home features granite counters with stainless steel appliances, large master bedroom, washer and dryer. Enjoy cool summers with A/C. Great covered outdoor living space with fireplace and fully fenced backyard to enjoy! Tehaleh features multiple parks & walking trails with many amenities just minutes away.

Price cut: $5,000

Gorgeous Tehaleh Listing!

Dream home alert! Imagine sitting on the rooftop deck, enjoying the warmth of the gas firepit while taking in amazing views of Mt Rainier! This 4 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom home on greenbelt has it all! Main floor features wood floors throughout, den with balcony, chef’s kitchen with massive commercial grade fridge and island open to great room. Off the great room, you’ll love the covered patio with fireplace, extended patio and level yard with hot tub! Surround sound, AC, and 3+ garage make this home the obvious choice!

13711 187th Ave Ct. E., Bonney Lake, WA 98391
MLS #1454912

http://13711187thavcte.ihousenet.com/mlsmax/home.htm

Tehaleh Tour of Homes – Saturday and Sunday, May 18 & 19, 11:00am – 3:00pm

Come tour over 30 homes in Tehaleh!

New Homes. Resale Homes. Model Homes.

Starting in the mid $300s.

You may just find your forever home and neighborhood in the beautiful community of Tehaleh. 

Make The Post

19001 Cascadia Blvd. East

Bonney Lake, Washington 98391

Your First Stop to

Pick up a Tour of Homes Map and to

Receive a FREE Limited-Edition (while supplies last) 

“At Home in Nature” Tehaleh T-shirt.

Have friends or family you’d like to invite? Bring them! The Tour of Homes is open to anyone curious about life in Tehaleh. 

RSVPs are encouraged for priority check-in, but not required for attendance. 

Click here for more information or to RSVP!

5 Ways to Make Your A/C Dollars Go Further

Liz Johnson

The aqua jeweled waters of the Caribbean pared with lush, jungle-like vegetation that seems to stretch along the beach forever greet you every single summer. It’s amazing, really, and you hope that one of these days you’ll be able to turn off the Travel Channel and see them in person. But your air conditioning bill is such a killer — and ruiner of vacation plans.

There has to be a way to knock those electricity bills down while staying cool this summer. After all, the islands are calling you. Will you fill up your travel penny jar this year?

How Air Conditioners Work (The Abridged Explanation)

Air conditioners are very simple devices. They were actually invented to remove the humidity from rooms where paper was stored. It was only after they’d been in use in industry a while that anyone thought to use them for cooling.

There’s not much to these devices. Essentially you’ve got an outdoor condenser unit that works like a giant heat sink to carry heat collected from indoor air to the outside. Ultimately, the cooler that outside unit is, the more heat it can remove and the more efficiently the whole system works.

Reduce the Strain on Your A/C, Stretch Those A/C Dollars

There are plenty of ways to help your air conditioner work more efficiently short of replacing the whole system. That will increase your efficiency, but you’re going to put a lot of money into a system upgrade that may not be needed just yet.

Before you do anything rash, give these a try:

Change your filter when it’s dirty. Dirty air filters are a huge drag on efficiency. After all, the more air that can be pulled into the system at once, the faster the air in your house will cool and the less time your A/C will spend running. You’ll know your paper air filters are dirty when they change color from white to gray or brown. That’s dust and other tiny particles clogging the pores.

Another way to tackle this would be to buy an electrostatic filter. These are reusable and washable, saving lots of money on filters, as well as energy (if you keep them pretty clean).

Clean your air conditioner condenser. That outside unit is too often neglected to the point that it can affect your energy efficiency. The fins get clogged with dirt, vegetation grows around the bottom of the unit and things like blowing leaves or plastic bags get caught in and around the unit.

Throw away any trash that’s clinging to the condenser, even if it’s inside. Just make sure the unit’s off before you stick your arm in. Next, remove vegetation that’s threatening to grow into the unit, treat it with weed killer if it’s particularly aggressive. Last, get your garden hose and spray the whole condenser down using minimal pressure. Crank up the water pressure and go over it again, slowly, working from the top to the bottom. Work in sections, moving to the next one when the water coming off the condenser runs clear. You may be surprised how much dirt was hiding in those fins.

Shade your unit. Plant a tree or install a solar shade over your A/C condenser to help keep it cool on those hot summer days. The less heat already being carried by the system, the easier to expel heat from your home. Blocking direct sunlight can make a huge difference, just be sure to allow at least two feet around the unit on all sides so your condenser has plenty of air circulating around it.

Install ceiling fans. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, using properly sized ceiling fans in conjunction with your air conditioner can make 78 degrees feel just as cool as 74 degrees. Those four degrees can add up to serious cash, too. The reason this works is that ceiling fans cool people using a wind chill effect. It doesn’t change the actual temperature in the room, but it does change how it feels to you.

Hang heavy drapes. If your house has any windows that get particularly hot during the summer, you need to insulate them right away. The easiest way to do this is with heavy drapes, and the heavier the better. Make sure those curtains are closed during the hottest part of the day to prevent heat radiating into the rest of the house. To further help those windows stay cool, you can add Low-E film into the equation. When used together, heavy drapes and Low-E film will make a noticeable impact on your indoor temperatures.

What’s a Reverse Mortgage?

“What goes up must come down,” so goes the saying. And, to that end, what goes forward must also go in reverse. Turns out the same also applies to mortgages, sort of. Except, instead of being a direct inverse from a “forward” mortgage, reverse mortgages are kind of their own special thing.

If you don’t read beyond this opening section, just remember that the big takeaway here is going to be that some reverse mortgages are good, some are bad and you need to always, always read the paperwork before signing on the dotted line. This goes doubly if your parents are considering a reverse mortgage and you’re going to be helping them deal with their finances as they age.

Reverse Mortgages and Their Bad Reputation

When reverse mortgages were first becoming fairly popular, banks willing to make the loans proliferated. And so did con artists who took advantage of an aging population made of people who were often desperate to hold on to their homes or simply were medically incapable of understanding the consequences of the monthly payment they’d receive.

This was good for no one but the scammers.

That’s why a whole lot of legislation has been written to remedy these kinds of situations. Now, if you or your parents are worried that a reverse mortgage offer might be a scam, you can opt for an FHA reverse mortgage. It’s easy to verify that an FHA lender is legit, where it may be less clear if certain brokers are on the up and up. You may get a better deal with a non-FHA reverse mortgage, but they provide confidence that you’re on the right path and that’s worth something, too.

How Do Reverse Mortgages Work?

Reverse mortgages are designed to help people who are retirement age afford to stay in their homes longer. Generally, this means that mortgage payments stop and there might even be some form of payment to the homeowner. So, if your grandmother shows up to the next family gathering in a brand new convertible roadster, it might be a good idea to ask her about the terms of her reverse mortgage. Some are genuinely helpful and decent; others are not so much.

The good part is that reverse mortgages are now heavily regulated by the government, so it’s much harder for scammers to take advantage of older people who may be having money problems already.

They don’t require a credit pull or even decent credit. You just need a home that’s free and clear, or has a significant amount of equity, and be 62 or older. You’ll pay some fees upfront and be required to complete HUD-approved counseling (you will pay a fee for this, too) that will help you determine if you’re really a good fit for a reverse mortgage.

If you happen to die while you still own the house, your heirs have the option to redeem it from the reverse mortgage lender by paying off the borrowed amount in full. Usually this is achieved with another “forward” mortgage.

Reverse Mortgage Payment Options

One of the best things about a reverse mortgage is the money that comes back into the pocket of the borrower. You or your parents can choose how that money is distributed, too. Essentially, you have three options: taking a lump sum, taking a monthly payment or using it as a line of credit. There are also ways to mix and match these, so you might take a percentage as a lump sum for that flashy convertible and the rest as a line of credit to use as you need to fill up on gas.

For a lot of seniors, a reverse mortgage will allow them to age in place without fear of losing their home (provided they keep up with the taxes and insurance). This can be a great option as long as the source of the funds is fully vetted, all the paperwork is in order and read from top to bottom and they have a plan to make the money last as long as possible.

Liz Johnson  |  Liz@LizKeepsItReal.com  |  253.670.0357

Liz Johnson  |  Liz@LizKeepsItReal.com  |  253.670.0357

5 Things to Consider When Planning a Family Picture Wall

One of the best parts of owning your own home is that you can do pretty much whatever you want when it comes to hanging things on the wall. No landlord will charge you $5 per hole you poke through the sheetrock. It’s kind of nice. You can let your creative side have a heyday with a hammer and a bunch of nails.

For a lot of families, putting a family picture wall together is a high priority in their new homes. It can be a fun project that can be the very first of many happy memories in the new place.

Planning Your Picture Wall

If you hop on Pinterest and search for “family picture wall,” you’re going to find an overwhelming number of ways to put one of these together. There’s no one way to do a family picture wall, since every family is different. There are lots of things to consider while you’re planning your wall, though.

Don’t just start hanging pictures willy-nilly. Do some real prep work to ensure that your wall turns out as special as what you have envisioned rather than yet another #PinterestFail. These tips should help:

Pick a theme. You need something concrete to get you started in the planning stage. Choosing a theme can be a good place to start, since it’ll inform your image choices as you go through your Google Drive. A theme could be anything from “vacation photos” to “photos with the color blue in them.” The best photo walls have some kind of unifying theme, choose one before you get started.

Use technology to simulate your photo wall. Art.com’s iOS app gives you the capability to not just imagine what an image or set of images will look like on your wall, it actually can virtually add those photos to the wall using augmented reality. The same technology that powers Pokemon Go can help you get great results with your family picture wall.

Choosy kids choose cool frames. The frames you choose are just as important as the images. If you’re looking for something pretty unusual, scour flea markets and antique shops for old frames with unique designs. If you can’t find anything that tickles your fancy, your home improvement store’s trimwork aisle will have some really fancy trim that you can use to build your own frames!

Incorporate more than photos. Sure, it’s called a “family picture wall,” but who says you have to stop there? Memorabilia from favorite spots, items that reflect interests and hobbies, even accolades like medals have a place on a wall like this. Just make sure that you’re using sturdy materials and secure shelves tightly to the wall to avoid long term issues.

Sometimes, fewer is better. Family picture walls can get pretty overwhelming fast. Instead of hanging every photo you’ve ever taken of your kids, pick the two best from now and the two best from their early childhood. Capture those moments that really meant something and remember that sometimes less is way more. Besides, you’ll want to save some of those embarrassing pictures for leverage later.

PRICE REDUCED $10,000!!! Make Tehaleh your home!

PRICE REDUCED $10,000!!!
Make Tehaleh your home!

Why wait for a new build when this barely lived in 5 bedroom home in Tehaleh on corner lot is ready for you to call home?! Gleaming wood floors throughout main level aside from the bedroom & 3/4 bath on main. Kitchen with huge island open to great room w/ tons of natural light. Upstairs you’ll find a huge master suite, 3 more bedrooms, laundry, bath & loft. Backyard is level & features a covered patio with gas fireplace. Walking distance to dog park plus Tehaleh features 15+ miles of trails & 11 parks.
18717 135th St E, Bonney Lake, WA 98391
MLS #1431490
http://18717135thstreeteast.ihousenet.com/mlsmax/home.htm