Proposed Rule That Could Help Kids Replace Stolen Social Security Numbers

 

Every child that is born in the United States is granted a Social Security number. Certain processes, people that are born outside of the United States can also obtain one. If these are children, and they have come in with their parents, their parents typically keep their Social Security card safe. They will often memorize the number writing it down somewhere in case the card is ever lost. The same is true for kids in the US that have likely never seen their Social Security card, packed away safely in some corner of their home. However, protecting the card is not going to protect anyone that has had their Social Security number stolen. There are literally thousands of them that are stolen and used by criminals for improper reasons. There is a proposed rule that could actually help children replace social security numbers that have been stolen. Let’s discuss what that proposed rule is and how it can benefit kids of all ages that have had theirs stolen recently.

An Overview Of Identity Theft

Identity theft has become more rampant in recent years. It has crescendoed because of everyone’s access to the Internet. People are placing more of their information online than ever before. Although most of this is protected secured servers, there are always going to be hackers that can get into large databases of information. Some of that information will contain the Social Security numbers of children. When these are stolen, they can be used for the wrong reasons. People will actually do illegal things with them, and parents may find authorities at their doorstep looking for someone that has committed a crime, only to realize that the Social Security number belongs to a small child.

How To Prevent This Type Of Theft From Occurring

To prevent this from happening, it is always better to not ever use a Social Security card online if possible. There are times when you will need to do so such as applying for a job, or applying for a loan, but this does not apply to children in most cases. Sometimes the Social Security number will be on a database with a school, or perhaps a business where the child is getting some type of extracurricular help. Regardless of how it got there, if it has been digitized, this means that hackers will be able to potentially extract this information. If it does occur, this rule will make it possible for those that have experienced the theft of their Social Security number to get it back very quickly.

How Will This Will Make It Easier For Children?

It is because children are such alluring targets for criminals that more of them than ever before are losing them to criminal activity. Some people have written books on how to prevent this from happening, books that tell parents what they need to know to prevent this theft using many different strategies. By simply showing that the child was recently disadvantaged, specifically by an unknown person using their Social Security number and identity, as of 2013, the Social Security Administration may allow certain children to get new numbers because of the circumstances. If you think about it, if they are able to cancel those numbers, and then provide the children with new numbers, then the problem will be eliminated. Criminals using the numbers that are no longer functional will not be able to do what they need to do and the child will be free from this disadvantage. This proposal requires the parents to show that the Social Security card was stolen in some way, was misused by an identifiable third-party, or that the number was publicly disclosed inadvertently. They would not have to show, however, that the child had experienced any harm at all. Essentially, this is a way of cutting off the ability of a criminal that may or may not use that Social Security number, before they have a chance to in the future.

An Example Of How This Would Be Beneficial

There are many examples of how this has been detrimental for children, as well as their parents, when a child’s Social Security card is stolen. A mother reported that her daughter’s Social Security number was used in order to file a tax return that was fraudulent. Regardless of the intent on doing so, the person using their number was obviously not the child who, at the age of five, would obviously not be submitting any type of tax return. Likewise, the child’s credit would be damaged long before she would start to build it, and therefore issuing a new number would be the most appropriate decision to make.

Are There Any People Opposed To This?

Despite the fact that the Justice Department, along with the FTC, support the idea, there are those that believe that this should not occur for children. They base this assertion upon the fact that until a child is old enough to have a job, they would not be able to experience any type of credit related damage. However, it is looking more promising for this to go through. It seems to be the most common sense decision. Once it becomes enacted, any child that has lost their Social Security number, or if it has been used for fraudulent means, will be issued a new one immediately.

Although this would seem like common sense, there seems to be some hesitation in allowing this to go through. This proposal eliminates so many problems. With identity theft becoming worse than ever before, and with children being victimized because of these criminals stealing their Social Security numbers, it is the best decision that could be made. It will circumvent their ability to use these numbers which will be in active. Hopefully this will become standard practice so that children are protected long before they will ever have a great need to use their Social Security number. If all it takes is printing out several thousand extra numbers every year, it seems to be the most logical decision to make.

The Benefits Of DIY Green And Organic Landscaping

Savvy homeowners across the country are taking control of their front lawns. The homeowner’s adventure into DIY landscaping has led to a lot of unique and interesting ideas. In particular, organic landscaping has grown incredibly popular over the last decade. It has even managed to evolve into an entirely new concept that is sometimes referred to as “green landscaping”. This involves all of the same principles as organic landscaping, but with a few new additions.

Green landscaping tactics will benefit from organic products, but they also focus on recycling supplies and limiting water use. The overall goal is to have the smallest negative impact on the environment possible. This means reducing as much air, water, and soil pollution as possible.

Surprisingly, there are still plenty of DIY landscapers who don’t realize that landscaping can actually have a negative impact on the environment. Even organic landscaping alone can still result in excessive waste of water and energy.

The natural benefits of green and organic landscaping can be separated into at least three categories. They are the benefits specifically associated with organic landscaping, the benefits of carefully choosing plant life, and the benefits associated with the use of non-living items and tools.

  1. The Benefits Of Organic Landscaping

Most people begin their journey to green landscaping through the use of organic products. Natural and organic fertilizers are considered a must-have for any green landscaping plan. They may be a little slower than their dangerous, chemical counterparts, but they offer plenty of advantages that make them worth the investment of time. The use of organic products is a major aspect of reducing air, water, and soil pollution. They also happen to be better for most plants in the long run.

Most organic lawn care products will slowly release a combination of potassium, phosphorous, and nitrogen into the ground. The exact combination of minerals is going to depend on what you use for your organic fertilizers. Over time, the grass roots will absorb this in small doses. This results in grass that grows stronger and more vibrant than it ever could with a chemical fertilizer.

As mentioned at the onset of this section, the pollution reduction is a huge benefit. Organic fertilizers are completely biodegradable and do not leave behind any harmful residue. They do not contribute any harmful chemicals to the soil, water, or air. The fertilizer is not harmful to any fish, wildlife, pets, or humans who might encounter it.

It’s great that organic fertilizer doesn’t harm the soil because it spends much more time there than a chemical fertilizer. Chemical solutions will eventually get washed away with the rain. That’s why we find so much of it in our streams and rivers. Organic alternatives break down and become part of the soil for many generations of plant life to come.

Overall, the only advantage that a chemical fertilizer has in comparison to an organic fertilizer is the speed with which it works. But that’s hardly a good enough reason to harm the soil, the plants, and any wildlife that encounter it. Organic landscaping products are safer, longer lasting, and deliver better long-term results.

  1. The Benefits Of Careful Plant Selection

It’s a common misconception that putting as many plants in a lawn as possible must be good for the environment. After all, the plants are producing oxygen, they look great, and it’s certainly better than a parking lot. Unfortunately, putting too many plants in a lawn or putting the wrong types of plants can cause more harm than good. This is primarily because of the significant amount of resources that are required to keep the plants alive.

Over millions of years, plants have evolved to live in very specific climates. When you remove a plant from its original climate and bring it elsewhere you are putting extra strain on that plant to stay alive. It’s entirely possible for a plant that prefers tropical climates to survive in a more arid region, but it’s going to come at a cost. That plant is going to require a lot of extra water to stay alive.

Nativar is a term used to refer to plants that are native to specific regions. If you live in Arizona, then you should landscape using Arizona nativars. Those tropical plants may be beautiful and tempting, but you’re going to waste a considerable amount of energy and water to keep them alive.

By simply choosing native plants you can eliminate a huge portion of your watering routine. After all, these are plants that grow naturally in the region without humans watering them every day. They have evolved to survive with the rainfall in the region. Use that to your advantage to conserve resources and protect the environment.

  1. The Benefits Of Using The Right Tools And Objects

You might be surprised to learn that green landscaping isn’t all about the plants. As a matter of fact, by using a recycled brick instead of a plant you have eliminated waste and slightly reduced water usage. That’s not to say you should brick over your entire lawn, but rather that you should know when and where to use stationary objects to reduce water consumption.

It’s always a good idea to use recycled stones, bricks, plastic, and glass whenever possible. Through the simple act of recycling you are already making a big difference. But the next step is finding the best places to use these stationary items.

A great example of using stationary objects to your advantage is capturing rainwater from your roof in a bucket or barrel. You can easily set up a system to capture this rainwater after a shower. You’ve now collected a barrel full of free water without having any negative impact on the environment. You can even build an entire garden in an area directly below where rainwater runs off of your roof. These are commonly referred to as rain garden. Capturing this water at the source prevents it from mixing with unwanted chemicals and rejoining the local water supply at a later point.

Green and organic landscaping clearly offers many benefits to eco-friendly homeowners. You can invest in a professional landscaper that specialize in these tactics or you can learn to perform them yourself. Most of them are incredibly simple and will offer you plenty of opportunities to express your creativity.

Simple Christmas Decor and Traditions

Simple Christmas Decor

Have you decorated for Christmas yet?  If not, don’t worry!  In no time at all you can turn your home in to a winter wonderland without breaking the bank.  Today I’m going to share some simple ideas and tips for decorating your home this Christmas and any season, and I’ll be talking about a few Christmas traditions I like for the family.

Christmas Wreath

 

I got his wreath a couple of years ago; it was in a set with some garland and trees.  It was pre-lit but very plain looking, so I just spent a few dollars on some Christmas balls and ornament hooks, and attached them to the wreath.  I chose all red to match our door and shutters and also just to keep things simple and clean.

And one thing I love about this is that I can easily remove these and add other balls or ornaments for a totally different look.

Of course, Christmas stockings are a must!  Even before having any kids I always put our stockings for the dog and cats.  Atop this shelf, I also  have a cute little Christmas sign; you’ll notice as I decorate I’ve got some kind of Christmas sign sign or signs on each shelf.  I get a lot of these from the bargain section at Target, and I’ve also gotten some at the dollar store.

I also enjoy getting things like jars, lanterns or other containers and placing Christmas balls inside.  During other seasons, I like to use similar containers and fill them with fall leaves, Easter Eggs, flowers, or anything else that fits the season.  It is an easy and cheap way to decorate, and you can often use items you already own.

Christmas Decor

For this shelf, I just added a few items in front of my already existing decor.  As you can see, we have more signs and a container of Christmas balls.  There’s also a Santa Hat; since taking this photo, I’ve added another Santa hat on top of the lantern on the left side.  Again, the Santa hat is something cheap, and yet it is very festive for this time of year, and quite often you may already have a Santa hat on hand.

We also have a Christmas Countdown.  I think these are so fun for kids.  I’ve had the one pictured above, but I may get another when Thaxton is bigger.  Here is a great collection of Christmas Countdowns.  This one from Melissa & Doug is very cute and inexpensive.

I’m also considering doing a Jesse Tree as part of our Christmas traditions for advent and am currently looking at resources for that.

You’ll also notice that we have an Elf on the Shelf here.  Thaxton got this for his birthday, and I’m looking forward to doing this tradition with him as he gets older.

And of course, we have our Christmas tree. (Here’s a great deal on a Christmas tree if you need one.  And Target has a great selection of shatterproof balls.  I got a box of 50 for just $15.) The Christmas tree is my favorite Christmas tradition.  I’m actually planning a post on ornament traditions.  I have a ton of Christmas ornaments, some of which I’ve had since childhood, and I always have a good time selecting which ornaments will appear on the tree.

I hope you enjoyed checking out some of our Christmas decor!  I’d love to hear your comments and any ideas you’d like to share!

 

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Pros and Cons of Living in a Condominium

Buying a condominium can always be a great idea, whether for young families or the older ones with grown up kids. Before investing in a condo, there is the important issue of checking the benefits and the downsides attached with residing in this kind of home.

What is a Condo?

A ‘condo’ is the more popular term for a condominium. Most people lump up condos in the same category as an apartment, viewing the both as more or less the same, but they are not. The biggest difference is that a condo is usually a private residence situated within a building. These condos also share some of the sections of the building, including the swimming pool, gym, and grounds. Apartment owners might not pay their dues monthly, but condo owners do.

Pros of Living in a Condo

1. Security

Due to condos being enclosed within a larger community, and often coming with security amenities and maybe a gated entry, they offer much more security than regular homes or apartments. Some condos even come with a doorman and qualified security personnel.

2. Access to Amenities

Most condos include fees for access to their community amenities in their monthly dues. These amenities include a swimming pool, a community clubhouse, fitness centre, and manicured grounds.

3. Affordability

Affordability is perhaps the most attractive feature that comes with owning a condominium. For the average young family who do not have excess money to spare, condos are often priced lower than family homes, and can be a great first home. Say for example, if you are from Santa Monica, you can get most affordable accommodation options in city centre. You can find a quality Santa Monica realtor to have the best available information about accommodation or real estate investment options in Santa Monica.

4. Less Maintenance

Not too much into house maintenance and handy work? Then a condo is perfect for you. One of the benefit of living in a condo is you do not have to stress over maintenance and fixes. If you are extra busy with work, or suffer from poor health, a condo is a good option for you.

Cons of Living in a Condo

1. Extra Fees

Living in a condo might be more affordable and secure, but there are extra fees attached with all those other benefits. Each resident in the condo has to pay a monthly homeowners association fee (HOA) monthly, and the fees are funnelled into the upkeep of the property.

2. Lack of Privacy

There is a potential lack of privacy that comes with living with a larger community. This is another area where condos are more like apartments. There are neighbours on both sides of the walls, and the noise levels are usually high. Your noise and activities will also be quite clear to them. For people who prefer privacy and quiet, this might not be the best venture.

3. Delinquency

Due to shared upkeep fees with other community members, the state of the property might deteriorate due to failure to make payments by other condo owners. And when the grounds incur damages or defacement, the dues will be increased for all homeowners within the community.

4. Rules

If you are going to live in a condo, you will be ready to live by and obey all of the stated rules and obligations that comes with condo living. For example, you would not have the liberty to install amenities that you want in your homes without the permission of management. Living by another person’s rules is not for everyone.

So, now understanding better the pros and downsides of condo living. The Venice beach area in California is a great place to own a condo. If you want to buy a new condo for your family in Venice beach, look out for the best Venice beach real estate agents.

6 Baby Must-Haves for Cold and Flu Season

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. The opinions are my own.

6 Baby Must-Haves for Cold and Flu Season

My baby boy just turned a year old.  So far we’ve been pretty lucky in the doctor visiting department.  He got his first case of the sniffles a couple of months ago, and right now we are currently battling an ear infection and virus at the same time…but considering the fact that he’s already a year old, and I hear about so many people going back and forth to the doctor that first year, I am considering us very lucky!  Today I am talking about some items that I consider to be must-haves for the cold and flu season if you have a baby.

Before we get started I have a couple of disclaimers: First off, I am not a doctor.  The medicines discussed in today’s post were recommended by our pediatrician, and I’m just passing along the information.  Second, if your child is ill, always call your doctor for medical advice and to find out if you need to bring them in.

 

Nose Frida

Nasal Aspirator

First off, we have the NoseFrida. Before having our son, I saw this product and was very intrigued by it.  I watched a number of videos and read reviews before buying it.  A lot of people, including my husband are grossed out by this product, but once I tried, I realized you’re not going to get any actual baby snot in your mouth.  (And let’s be honest…even if you did, I’m sure you would live, and it wouldn’t be the worst thing that every happened.)

It DOES work!  My son doesn’t like having his nose sucked out; he cries, and so it can be a little difficult for me to use it on him, but he doesn’t like the bulb syringe either, and this works so much better than the bulb syringe.

We also have the Oogie Bear. It is also a nose cleaner and an ear cleaner.


Tylenol

Pain Reliever / Fever Reducer

Next we have Infant Tylenol. This is no brainer, I’m sure! I always keep this on hand, along with Infant Motrin. Our doctor explained that a lot of people like to rotate between these two, but she just recommends going with what works.

Thaxton takes both medicines well. He likes the taste, and both appear to help with his fever and pain.  I often choose Tylenol, because it can be taken every 4 hours, but depending on the situation and time of day, I might go with Motrin.  (Again, be sure to read labels and consult with your own doctor for proper dosing instructions.)

Zarbees

Cold Medicine

For running noses and coughs, our doctor recommends Zarbee’s Cough Syrup + Mucus. This is an all natural product.  Thaxton is too young to have other cold medicines, including children’s medicines, and so an all natural product like this is really our only option.  Our son loves the taste of this, so it’s very easy to give it to him.  If you’re buying, I do recommend getting a couple of bottles.  Our son had a stuffy nose for about a week, and the first couple of days we were giving him regular doses of this, and the dose was 4 mL each time, so about midway through the week, we had to go out and buy another bottle.

The main ingredients in this medicine are agave and ivy leaf.  You can go look up the benefits of those.  I should also caution you to be sure you get the product that says, “Baby” on it if you have a child under two.  Zarbee’s does have other products on the shelf alongside this one, which contain honey and should not be given to children under two.

Zarbees

Chest Rub

We also Zarbee’s Baby Soothing Chest Rub.  This is also an all natural product with eucalyptus, lavender, and beeswax.  It has a nice scent to it, and it definitely opens you up.  I usually rub in on Thaxton’s chest and on the bottom of his feet before bedtime, and he’s slept very well when he was sick, so I’d like to think it helped with his breathing.

Essential Oil Diffuser

Essential Oils

We love our Essential Oil Diffuser.  We have all of the oils in this kit, and anytime someone has a cold or is congested, we use Breathe Easy. from this kit.

Humidifier

Humidifier

Finally we have a Safety First Cool Mist Humidifer. I know a lot of people swear by these and actually run them all the time. We only run one when Thaxton is congested.  Again, I like to think that it helps.

 

I really hope you guys stay well this winter and can avoid the cold and flu season, but if not, I really hope that you find these tips for baby helpful!

And as always, I’d love to hear from you!  If you have a tip or product you use during cold and flu season, especially sometime that can help, babies, toddlers, and small children, I’d love to hear about it.  Leave your comments on this post, and also join the conversation on social media!

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The Perfect Gift Ideas for Mom and Dad

It’s no secret that the best gifts are thoughtful ones. But sometimes, coming up with a gift idea is challenging despite knowing a person incredibly well; and for a long time. This is especially true for parents; who for many, give and gave so much.

In fact, a gift to symbolize their sacrifice can feel like a lot of pressure. The best ways to consider a gift to give to your mom or dad this holiday season — regardless of how difficult they are to shop for — is what this article will discuss. Surprising them with an unforgettable gift that will make them smile is easier than you think.

Think about what gives them joy or their passion

Parents will always have hobbies or projects that you’ve seen them do for your entire life; so as a result, these gift ideas are simple ones that already expand on what they know and what makes them happy. Presenting them with a gift that’s related to one of their life’s passions will automatically be a hit. For example, gifting mom a set of new paints and paintbrushes if she’s an avid painter, or even a painting class, is a great way to indulge her hobby. Or, if your parent is an avid reader, purchasing a book that teaches them new things; or a familiar genre they already love to cozy up and read.

Give experiences, not items

While it’s easy to wrap a physical object, some gifts are the ones that provide a memory or an activity your parents can remember. Gift them an experience that is totally unexpected. For example, bring them out to an upcoming concert you think they would enjoy. For a parent who’s an avid learner, consider buying a membership or a few classes to learn and practice new skills.

Challenge them with a gift that expands their horizons

In a complete twist, provide a gift that is outside of their comfort zone, or a guilty pleasure for them. For example, while we mentioned a parent who might love to paint, this could be a great gift for a parent who also never touched a paintbrush. A painting class or a “paint night” where you can paint, meet new people — or sip on wine — might be perfect and just outside their comfort zone enough to be a new experience.

While this could be a total ‘bust’ due to the gift being possibly so outside their comfort zone, that’s the point. These are gifts that make them consider a new opportunity or a realm that isn’t typical for them.

Something handmade or sentimental

When you visit your mom or dad at their independent living retirement communities, do they ever reminisce or think about events in their life, the past, or family? A handmade gift is always valuable because it shows you took time and care to complete it; and incorporating elements of family history is a great way.

For example, writing down a familiar family story you always love when they tell; or even a few short ones bound in a keepsake book. But if you’re not an artist, writer sculptor or painter, this idea may be a bit tricky. Sometimes this might even mean being creative with existing items; like an old photograph you keep, framed and gifted in a brand new way.

Better yet, dig up an old family video and digitize it so your parent can watch these memories easily. These types of gifts are always appreciated, especially when there’s a special meaning or story behind them.

Give them the latest tech

Sometimes, it is exciting to get the latest blender for an avid baker, or the newest iPhone for a techy dad. While not seen as sentimental, it can still be a good option; especially for parents who like technology and gadgets.

Pick them up a high-performing camera that’s easy to use to shoot photos, or an AI-powered home assistant that would make their friends in their independent living retirement communities might be a little green with envy! Or, in the more simple sentiments of gift-giving, watch as their face light up knowing their ‘in’ on the latest and greatest.

Ending with a gift that speaks to a bigger level of mass consumption is, well, intentional. The point is that gifts can come in any range or form; and as in the eye of the beholder, needs to feel tailored to the person you are giving it to, especially when it’s your parents. Think about what your parents’ interests are and what they are most passionate about. Whether it is spending time with family, enjoying a book, or unwrapping a new smartphone; the point is you are showing you care for them with a symbol. From there, you should be able to present a gift that brings them pure joy, and provides an opportunity to share a moment together—the most important part of the season.

6 Bathroom Gadgets That Are Great Stocking Stuffers

Gift-giving season is on its way. If you’re trying to come up with gift ideas for your loved ones’ stockings, you’re in luck.

This gift guide is full of nifty gadgets, gizmos, and thing-a-ma-bobs that will make anybody’s bathroom instantly more fun, and daily routines easier to do.

6 Awesome Gadget Gifts

Purchase links are included for each bathroom gadget. Happy holiday shopping!

1. BAKBlade

Know a guy with a hairy back? Or, maybe you have an athlete in the family. Either way, the first gadget on our list is sure to please. The Bakblade is a back and body groomer designed with an ergonomic handle (read: you’ll be able to shave that hard-to-reach spot without pulling a muscle). Plus, you can use it wet or dry – both will result in a smooth shave.

Finally, it comes with extra-wide blades, so you’ll get done shaving faster.

This grooming tool is highly-rated on Amazon for a reason. Any guy in your life will love it.

2. Aqueduck Faucet Extender

For the little ones, the Aqueduck Faucet Extender is a great solution for reaching bathroom sinks.

The simple design effortlessly attaches to your bathroom faucet and extends the stream of water, so any person can reach it. Plus, it’s super affordable. Win-win!

3. Mirror Clearer

Foggy bathroom mirrors, no more. This next bathroom gadget is a lifesaver when you just want to be able to see your reflection after you shower. The Mirror Clearer works much like a windshield wiper. It attaches to your mirror with a suction cup. When the mirror is foggy, just rotate the wiper over the glass. You won’t have to use your hand (or smudge up your mirror) ever again.

4. Thermometer Spout Cover

Getting bath water just the right temperature is important for bathing babies, the elderly, and the ill. With the Thermometer Spout Cover, you’ll know exactly what temperature your water is – no more too-hot or too-cold baths ever again.

Best of all, this bathroom gadget easily snaps over your tub spout, is made with foam, and gives an accurate temperature readout.

5. Toothpaste Tube Roller

Trying to get every last bit of product out of a toothpaste tube is annoying. With the Toothpaste Tube Roller, you don’t have to deal with that.

Simply insert the bottom of your toothpaste tube into the gadget (or any other bathroom product that comes in tube form – think lotions, makeup, and more). Secure with the provided key, then turn the key to dispense your product.

Best of all, the Roller props your toothpaste upright to save counter space.

6. Bath Air Pillow Smartphone Holder

Taking a long, luxurious bath is great – until you drop your phone in the water. Protect your phone and get more comfortable in the tub with the Bath Air Pillow Smartphone Holder.

This gizmo features an inflatable pillow with an attached, extendable arm that hooks over your shoulder. The arm holds a plastic waterproof sleeve for your phone. You can even access your screen while it’s inside the protective covering.

Give the Gift of Gadgets This Year

These gadgets make perfect gifts because they’re useful for absolutely anyone. Surprise your friends and family and pop these handy tools into their stockings this year.

3 Ways to Protect Your Home From Water Damage

When it comes to the health of your home, water damage is the silent killer. While most people think of water damage in terms of flooded basements and bursting pipes, there are many other ways water can harm your household, from mold buildup to overloaded gutters.

Luckily, protecting a home from water damage isn’t as difficult as it might sound. Here are three ways to keep your home in tip-top condition and prevent water damage from occurring.

Waterproof your basement

There’s a reason basement leaks are most commonly associated with water damage: they’re one of the most common types. Typically, basement leaks occur in houses with cracked foundations or unfinished bottom levels. When it rains, precipitation buildup seeps into the ground and finds its way in through those cracks or through the dirt itself, depending on how your basement is structured. Fortunately, it may not be necessary for you to revamp your foundation to address a leak.

When it comes to basement waterproofing, there are many simple do-it-yourself fixes to try before you call in the cavalry. If you haven’t found the source of the leak yet, that’s your first step. Once you’ve determined the water’s entry point, you can begin to patch it up. Many home stores sell the necessary tools, from concrete waterproof coatings to more accessible options like plastic sheets and panels. There are even waterproof acrylic paints and sealers which are a great fix for minor cracks. However, if your leak is more severe, it’s probably best to call a professional before you sink hundreds of dollars into DIY projects that might not solve the problem.

Don’t abuse your drains

If you need to call your local plumber service rather frequently, then it might be time for you to take a look at how you’re treating your drains. From common clogs which overflow your sinks to deteriorating materials which could cause a pipe to burst, it’s easier to damage your drains than you might think. If it’s a recurring problem in your household, then it’s probably a man-made issue.

One common culprit is cooking grease. In fact, it’s the leading cause of clogs and backups. Hot grease also eats away at your plumbing, so unless you’re willing to risk unsightly and unsafe water stains throughout your home, dispose of your grease and oil properly when you’re done cooking. While it’s truly tempting to rinse a pan and toss the remnants, allow the oil to coil and then toss it into the garbage. If you’re worried about it leaking from the bag, soak it up with paper towels first before disposal.

Clean out your gutters

At least twice a year, it’s important to empty out your gutters to prevent any blockage or ice dams. Otherwise you risk an overflow, which creates puddles around your home that can damage your foundation. Cleaning your gutters means cleaning the downspouts too, to ensure that the water is being released in a safe area far enough away from the foundation. If you’re not confident with handling the cleaning yourself, make sure you have some money tucked

away — a professional gutter cleaning will quickly climb in costs based on the size of your home.

If you’re proactive when it comes to preventing water damage, your wallet and your home will certainly thank you. It’ll keep your home in prime condition for years to come and help you avoid costly repairs. While there are many more ways to prevent water damage, these three primary fixes are a great start towards a safe, water-free home.