What are Mini Blinds?

Almost everyone has heard the term “mini blinds,” but what does it mean—especially in comparison to other window treatments? Simply put, mini blinds are window blinds that use slats that are less than half the width of standard blinds. At Blindster, our selection of mini blinds includes a variety of window treatments featuring slats that around 1” in width.

Mini blinds are a popular term because they’re a popular fixture in households, businesses, and any buildings that require window treatments. Because of their affordability, light weight, and ease of cleaning, mini blinds are easy on the wallet, highly convenient, and are versatile enough to be installed in rooms with a wide variety of décor and color schemes.

Some major advantages of mini blinds include:

  • Highly effective at controlling light – While mini blinds aren’t as effective at blocking out light as blackout shades, they provide ample light control for most homeowners. They’re also easily operated, as wands can be used to open their slats and lift cords can be used to pull them up or down as needed.
  • Moderate cost – Mini blinds are popular choices for homeowners with a variety of budgets. They’re an especially attractive option for people who need to outfit an entire home, as the costs of higher end window treatments can add up when they must be purchased for a dozen or more windows.
  • Easy to clean – Because most mini blinds are made from highly durable and often synthetic materials, they’re easy to clean with household items, including many mild cleaners. With other blinds and shades, homeowners may need to watch out for staining or fading, but mini blinds hold up even after being exposed to small amounts of water or cleaner. They’re also easily dusted and wiped clean, making routine maintenance and upkeep a breeze.

Another advantage of mini blinds is familiarity. Because they’re so popular, many people prefer them over other types of window treatments due to knowing how to quickly and easily install and operate them.

What Are the Different Types of Mini Blinds?

At Blindster, we offer a few different types of mini blinds. Each of these varieties has its own colors, options, and possible sizes. They include:

  • 1” Aluminum Mini Blinds – If you’re looking for a classic mini blind, you can’t go wrong with our 1” aluminum mini blinds. These tried and true window coverings are like the ones you’ve seen in many other homes and businesses, but they’re made from high-quality materials and cut to extremely high levels of accuracy to ensure the perfect fit.
  • Cordless Aluminum Mini Blinds – Many homeowners are concerned about the dangers associated with mini blind cords. And while we include free cord cleats with all corded window treatment purchases, we know that many people prefer the peace of mind and convenience that comes with cordless options. Forget the lift cord—use the bottom rail to raise and lower these highly durable window treatments.
  • Privacy Aluminum Mini Blinds – If you’re concerned about your privacy—and let’s face it, who isn’t—you’ll love our privacy aluminum mini blinds. Built with no route holes, they provide seamless coverage of your windows. When closed, they cut glare, darken rooms, and keep prying eyes outside of your home.

For more information, spend some time on the product pages of our selection of mini blinds. You’ll find things like available colors, specifications, customization choices, maximum sizes offered, and even videos showing how the blinds are made.

How to Install Mini Blinds

As mentioned above, one of the biggest selling points for mini blinds is their ease of installation, their light weight construction, and people’s overall familiarity with them. However, we know that not everyone has installed mini blinds in the past, and it can be a new process for many people—especially new homeowners or people buying new window treatments for the first time.

If you need help installing your new mini blinds, be sure to check out our Blinds 101 Installation Page for a rundown on installing a huge variety of window treatments.

And for a quick refresher on installing mini blinds, follow these steps:

  1. Measure your windows – This is one of the most vital steps, as incorrect measurements can lead to blinds that don’t fit or that don’t provide the light coverage and privacy you need. Visit our comprehensive Measuring Instructions Guide for all the details on the best way to measure your windows before you place your order.
  2. Install the brackets – First, make sure you’re following the bracket mounting instructions for the type of installation you’re performing—inside vs outside. Next, be sure to follow the instructions on our installation page or provided by the manufacturer carefully. Make clear markings for the areas where you’ll drill into your wall or window frame for your brackets, and be sure they’re level to provide the best coverage.
  3. Install the valance – The valance is a covering for the head rail, and it’s secured to the head rail via valance clips. Locate these clips and keep them handy for when you reach this step. First, place the head rail on the brackets that you installed in your window frame on your wall in the step above. Then, place the valance onto the head rail and clip it into place using the valance clips. Finally, secure the blind wand if your window treatments came with one.

If you run into trouble with your mini blinds or any other type of window covering, be sure to check out our individualized installation guides for a wide variety of blinds:

What’s the Best Way to Clean Mini Blinds?

Window treatments often seem like magnets for dirt and dust. It’s important to keep them clean, especially if you suffer from allergies or have pets and small children. Many people dislike cleaning blinds because of the tedious nature, but many types of aluminum blinds are much easier to clean than other types of window treatments.

To quickly and effectively clean your mini blinds, you’ll only need three items:

  • A feather duster
  • A vacuum with hose attachment
  • A damp cloth

Use the feather duster to collect surface dirt and dust and the vacuum to quickly remove pet hair and dust bunnies. A damp cloth can be used to wipe away stubborn dirt and dust. You can also use gentle cleaning solutions to get out tougher messes and light stains. However, be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions or warnings before using any liquid other than water on your blinds.

A good cleaning routine involves only a few steps, which include:

  • Shutting blinds and dusting from top to bottom, then vacuuming up any dust or dirt that falls onto the floor
  • Opening blinds and dusting from top to bottom, again vacuuming up any remnants.
  • Using a dry or damp cloth to remove remaining bits of dirt and dust and vacuuming the floor to remove anything that fell from the slats, headrail, or bottom rail.

Looking for New Mini Blinds? Look No Further than Blindster

If you’re looking to outfit your home or business with mini blinds, you’re in the right place. We’re proud to offer several different varieties of mini blinds, each with its own colors and options. Be sure to check out our product page for mini blinds, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with our sales representatives if you have additional questions before you place an order.

Window Treatments for Close-Together Windows

Mini Aluminum Blinds

Choosing the right window treatments for your home or business can be tricky. With so many options, styles, patterns, and colors to choose from, it can be difficult to make the right decisions—especially if you’re buying window treatments for multiple rooms. However, the wealth of information available from retailers like Blindster can make it easier to find the perfect solutions, as you can quickly and easily compare products while finding the blinds or shades that have the features and options you need.

The process can be a little more complicated when you’re in the market for window treatments for unusual or unique windows and window arrangements, particularly rooms with multiple small windows that are very close together. And while this type of design may seem like it limits your options, there’s still plenty of ways to control outside lighting and protect privacy while also creating an attractive look in that room of your home or business.

Don’t sweat finding the right blinds or shades if you need to cover multiple windows in a small space. Check out Blindster’s guide and get the right look for your tastes, your décor, and your home.

Inside Mounts

Mounting blinds or shades inside window frames is a great solution for close-together windows that have their own separate frames. It helps maintain a sleek, uniform appearance without the potential for overlapping that can occur with outside mounts. Be sure to take precise measurements before placing your order, and take your time during the installation process to get the most consistent look across all windows once the blinds or shades are installed.

Top Picks for This Look

If you’re thinking about mounting your window treatments inside the frames of your close-together windows, you can’t go wrong with these product types:

One Large Shade

For windows that share a single frame, an extra large or over sized window treatment can create the illusion that the room has one giant and luxurious picture window. Having a single shade also makes it easy to quickly control light and privacy in the room, as you only must raise or lower a single lift mechanism rather than multiple window treatments.

Top Picks for This Look

Homeowners looking for simplicity and use of ease will appreciate the convenience of covering multiple close-together windows with a single large shade. We recommend the following styles due to their customization and ability to be cut to extra-large widths:

Top Down Bottom Up Shades

Top down bottom up shades are among the most versatile window treatments on the market. They raise from the bottom like traditional shades, but they can also be pulled down from the top. That means you can enjoy ample sunlight while still protecting your family’s privacy and eliminating harsh glare.

Cellular Shades

Top Picks for This Look 

Stylistically, one of the biggest advantages of top down bottom up shades is their unique look—especially when they’re installed close together. That makes them a perfect fit for multiple close-together windows, as they can be raised and lowered to different heights, creating an interesting visual display.

Easy Cleaning

It’s a fact of life: like everything else in your home, your blinds and shades are going to collect dirt and dust. Window treatments are especially likely to become dirty if you frequently open your doors and windows, or if you have pets and small children. At Blindster, we know that many homeowners appreciate window treatments that are easily cleaned more than many other options, as not having to worry about staining or fading makes the cleaning process much faster and simpler.

Top Picks for Easy Cleaning

The best shades for easy cleaning either have minimal grooves and folds or are manufactured using synthetic materials that won’t be easily damaged by water and gentle cleaning products. Window treatments that are easily cleaned using standard household items is especially important when they’re covering rows of close-together windows, as they may occupy a large space in your home and may be hard to reach.

Wrapping It All Up

When searching for the perfect window treatments for your close-together windows, be sure to pay attention to the features and options you want. For many homeowners, this part of the process can make or break otherwise ideal solutions.

In addition, you should always verify that your measurements are precise and that you’ve tested your chosen color or pattern by ordering free samples through our website. Samples are a quick and easy way to confirm that your need blinds or shades will match your home’s décor and the color you saw on your screen when you viewed them.

Finally, don’t hesitate to contact our sales representatives if you have questions about a specific product or need help finding a solution for your window covering needs. We know that no windows are alike, and each home has unique configurations and accessibility. It’s our goal to help you make the right decision and find window treatments that will enhance your home and your life.

Re-purposing Old Window Treatments

If you recently purchased new blinds or shades from Blindster, you probably have a few sets of old window treatments on your hands. Instead of throwing them out, consider re-purposing them. There are several great uses for old blinds and shades that can liven up your home and help you bring out your artistic and creative sides. In some cases, old window treatments can be completely transformed into home décor or accent pieces that look nothing like their original shape or form, breathing new life into them and giving you the opportunity to place them throughout your home in a variety of uses or applications.

Decorating with Old Shutters

At Blindster, we’re proud to offer high-quality indoor faux wood plantation shutters. These window treatments are ideal for a wide variety of home décor styles and color schemes. But we also know that many homeowners are left wondering what they should do with their old shutters after they’ve replaced them. A few excellent ideas for re-purposing old shutters include:

  • Wall art – Distressed shutters add a beautiful and rustic look to any room in your home. Simply mount them to the walls of any room in your home to achieve the look. For greater visual variety, arrange shutters of different size and color together in interesting patterns or shapes. You can top the arrangement off with a wreath in the center or ivy along the length of the shutters.
  • Organizers – The slats on old shutters are perfect storage spaces for things like mail, invitations, greeting cards, bills, loose pieces of paper, and other documents that should be kept in a convenient, easy to reach place. This re-purposing idea requires no additional work—simply mount the shutter near your front door or another location where you open your mail and use it to store important items.
  • Vertical planters – Did you know that plants can thrive inside shutters? Potted plants can be attached to the slats on your old shutters to create a vertical garden anywhere inside or outside of your home. You can also place a backing on your shutters and fill them with fertile soil and allow plants to grow through the slats for an even more striking look.
  • Plate rack – An old shutter flipped horizontal with its slats facing up is an ideal dish rack. The notches between the slats make perfect spaces for dishes to be held in place. You can even attach hooks to the bottom of the shutter to hang bowls, cups, and other assorted dishware.

Decorating with Old Window Frames

Old shutters, blinds, and shades aren’t the only parts of windows that can be repurposed. Entire window frames themselves can also be put to good use. The only limit to repurposing old window frames is your imagination. At Blindster, we recommend the following projects and applications:

  • Picture frames – Converting window frames to picture frames is simple, as they’re already extremely similar. Simply adding backings and glass to the fronts of your window frames is a quick and easy way to transform them into beautiful, head-turning, and truly unique picture frames.
  • Mirrors – Window frames also have the perfect shape and size to be used as mirrors. Place individual mirrors cut to size in each section of your window frames for a striking look that will fit in any room in your home.
  • Mantel decoration – Decorating a fireplace mantel can be difficult, especially if you want to avoid cliché décor and accent pieces. Repurposed window frames provide a great opportunity to create a visual centerpiece on your mantel.
  • Front porch – The rustic look of an old window frame is ideal for front porches. Whether you hang yours without any accessories or complete the look with a vintage and distressed star, wreath, ivy, or plant, you’ll have a beautiful addition to your outside décor.

Need Ideas? Check Out These Links.

The internet is full of amazingly creative people who have a professional’s touch when it comes to re-purposing old furniture, décor, and home components. If you’re looking for ideas for your old window treatments, shutters, or window frames, look no further than some ideas presented in related Blindster blog resources:

Vertical vs. Horizontal Blinds

What’s the Difference?

There are two main types of blinds used in homes and offices: vertical blinds and horizontal blinds. Horizontal blinds are much more commonly used out of the two types, as they represent the traditional 1”-2” slat blinds that are most often seen on small to medium-sized windows. Vertical blinds use much larger slats that hang from a head rail that’s often mounted to a track, allowing them to be opened and closed with a wand or pulley system. Many homeowners and business owners use vertical blinds to cover large windows or sliding glass doors.Horizontal Blinds

It’s important to remember that there are distinct differences between vertical and horizontal blinds, and both have advantages and drawbacks. Knowing those differences before you make a purchase can help you ensure that you get the right window treatments for your windows and your home.

 

How Are Vertical Blinds and Horizontal Blinds Similar?

There are two primary ways that vertical blinds and horizontal blinds are similar:

  • Light protection – Blinds are designed to block out light, and whether they’re oriented vertically or horizontally, they’re highly effective at accomplishing that task. In fact, both vertical and horizontal blinds can provide near-blackout levels of light protection, making them ideal for rooms like bedrooms, home offices, nurseries, home theaters, and more.
  • Similar materials – Both vertical and horizontal blinds are made with similar materials. Blindster’s vertical blinds include PVC and faux wood, giving them a lightweight construction that makes installation easy—even for the largest orders.

What Are the Benefits of Vertical Blinds and Horizontal Blinds?

No matter what type of blinds you choose, you’ll get all the benefits of high-quality window coverings. However, both types of blinds are better at different things, so choosing the right type for your needs is an essential step:

Vertical blinds
Vertical Blinds

 

  • They’re ideal for sliding doors and wide windows. While traditional horizontal blinds can be custom made to fit sliding doors and wide windows, they simply aren’t practical in many instances. Vertical blinds are much better fits, as they’re easily opened and closed and can cover even the widest windows and doors.
  • They’re easy to clean. In addition to not collecting as much dust as horizontal blinds, vertical blinds are easier to clean because they’re made from two materials that are highly resistant to moisture: PVC and faux wood. That means more cleaning products can be used without worrying about colors fading or staining.
  • They block more light. Vertical blinds have much larger slats and are much wider than horizontal blinds, which means that a single vertical blind can block more sunlight than even the largest custom horizontal blinds.

 

Horizontal blinds

  • They provide more privacy. One drawback to vertical blinds is their tendency to sway from side to side or become off-kilter, resulting in gaps in coverage. Horizontal blinds are much less likely to expose the interior of your home or business.
  • They’re ideal for tall and narrow windows. Just as vertical blinds are perfect for wide windows and sliding glass doors, horizontal blinds are more practical for tall and narrow windows due to their design and construction.
  • They don’t touch the floor. If you’re worried about dirt or dust collecting at the bottom of your window coverings, horizontal blinds may be the best option, as they typically rest on window sills instead of the floor.
  • They make less noise. The operation of vertical blinds can be noisy, especially if their tracks aren’t regularly greased or maintained. Horizontal blinds typically make much less noise.
  • They can last many years without replacement. Because vertical blinds rely on a track with many moving parts, they can be more likely to wear out and need maintenance or replacing.

Ready to Find the Perfect Vertical or Horizontal Blinds for Your Home?

If you’re in the market for new blinds, make sure you know the right type for the windows in your home. After you’ve made your decision, be sure to check out Blindster’s selection of blinds. We offer many varieties of high-quality vertical blinds and horizontal blinds, and products in both categories can be customized and outfitted with additional options to create the perfect fit for every room in your home.

What Are Motorized Shades?

Motorized shades are the window covering industry’s answer to the demand to make everything in homes smarter, easier, and more convenient. As their name implies, motorized shades raise and lower via a motor, which means you don’t have to fuss with lift cords, chains, or even cordless solutions. Instead, all you must do is press a single button to raise or lower one, two, three, or even rows of shades in seconds. After all, if you can turn on and off appliances, televisions, computers, and light switches all from one place in your home, why not be able to operate your shades the same way?

Smart homes that are partially or fully automated are becoming a reality for more and more homeowners. Previously limited to the only the super-rich or science-fiction stories, homes that mostly or even entirely controlled by computers, machines, and remotes is within reach for many families. Everything from refrigerators and dishwashers to thermostats and sprinkler systems is programmable or capable of being operated from afar.

Blindster is proud to offer several varieties of motorized shades, and we believe they’re the perfect options for homeowners who value any of these perks in their window coverings:

Convenience of motorized shades on large windows

Convenience

Homes with several large windows in multiple rooms need large window coverings. And those large blinds or shades may need to be adjusted multiple times per day to get just the right lighting. With motorized shades, you don’t have to manually raise or lower shade after shade. That means no more climbing ladders or stepping over and around furniture. Just push a button and you’re done.

Security of Programming your shades

Security

Motorized shades can be programmed to raise and lower at certain times of day. That means you’ll never have to worry about leaving your shades when you’re raised or when your children are at home. Programming your shades can also give you peace of mind, as you’ll know that your home appears “lived in” even when you’re away for days or weeks on trips or vacations.

Practicality of motorized shades for both homes and business

Practicality

Motorized shades are perfect for homes, but they also make sense for business owners—especially those with large offices or warehouses with many windows. Manually changing the positions of a dozen or more shades every day is a waste of your time and energy. Our motorized shades come with remotes that can be programmed to control up to 15 separate shades, making it easy to raise an entire office-full of window coverings in the morning or lower them in the evening.

Premium-Motorized-Light-Filtering-Double-Cellular-Shades-Uniqueness

Uniqueness

Want a great conversation starter in your home? You can’t go wrong with motorized shades. In addition to being the latest and greatest in home technology, our motorized shades are also made with high-quality materials. Choose from shades with Phifer Sheerweave® 5000, 2390, or 4000 fabric, or get blackout cellular shades for your living room, bed room, home office, or movie room. Finally, choose from dozens of colors, including 41 unique styles offered with our Premium Motorized Light Filtering Double Cellular Shades.

Summer Vacation Home Safety and Sanity Checklist

A summer vacation to the beach, the mountains, or a faraway destination can be a welcome break from the stress and routine of daily life, but being away from home for a prolonged time can put your property at risk. Modern homes are highly complex structures with plenty of potential disasters lurking in plain sight. It’s bad enough when those disasters happen while you’re at home, but they can be catastrophic when you’re away for days or even weeks.

To keep your home safe, secure, and free from both minor and major headaches while you’re soaking up the sun with your family and friends, check out Blindster’s summer vacation home safety and sanity checklist:

 

  • Don’t let your home “go dark” while you’re away.

    Don’t let your home go dark while you’re away.

    A home that has been unoccupied for days is enticing to would-be thieves and burglars. In addition to a home security system, other ways you can protect your property and your belongings is by making it look like nothing is out of the ordinary in your family’s daily routine. That means taking steps like stopping the newspaper and mail, parking vehicles in the driveway or garage, putting lights on timers, and making sure your lawn gets mowed regularly.

  • Use the “coin in a cup” trick to check for food-spoiling power outages.

    Use the coin in a cup trick to check for food-spoiling power outages.

    Whether it’s due to lightning storms or power surges, losing electricity in the summer for minutes or hours can be common in some neighborhoods. Unfortunately, you won’t know exactly how long your power was out if you come home to clocks blinking 12:00. One easy trick to find out is to freeze a cup full of water and place a coin or other small object on top of the ice. If you return home and notice the power went out, check where the coin is located inside the cup. If it’s frozen towards the bottom of the cup, it means your power may have been out long enough for food inside your refrigerator to spoil.

  • Avoid water and central air disasters before you leave.

    Avoid water and central air disasters before you leave.

    Make sure your thermostat is set to a reasonable temperature before you leave. Obviously, there’s no benefit to making sure your furniture enjoys a cool 70-degree temperature, but you also shouldn’t turn your central air off or leave the temperature set too high. To avoid the risk of major leaks, turn off the water supply to your dishwasher, washing machines, and sinks—especially ones that are prone to leaks and drips. You can also set your water heater to vacation mode to save energy and reduce the risk of unit failure while you’re away.

  • Take out all trash and empty your refrigerator of perishable food.

    Take out all trash and empty your refrigerator of perishable food.

    There’s nothing worse than coming home from a relaxing vacation and being greeted with the smell of spoiled food as soon as you step foot inside your front door. Be sure to empty all trash cans and to throw away any perishable food from your cupboard, pantry, and refrigerator before you leave home. You should also clean pet water and food dishes, litter boxes, and other items they need.

  • Call your family, neighbors, and credit card company.

    Call your family neighbors and credit card company.

    Before you leave, make sure some of your family or friends know about your trip—especially if you need someone to stop by and feed your pets, water your plants, or just keep an eye on your home. You also may want to tell a trusted neighbor that you’ll be gone, as they’ll be in a great position to let you know if anything looks amiss at the homestead. Finally, make sure your credit and debit card companies know that you’ll be traveling. Many card companies have fraud protection that will lock access to cards and accounts when suspicious activity is detected—including usage in cities far from home.

 

Fall Lawn Care Tips

Football is back on TV, supermarkets are selling Halloween costumes and decorations, and coffee shops are touting the return of pumpkin spice. Yes, there’s no denying that summer is winding down and fall is nearly here. While the return of cooler weather can be a boon for outdoor activities and reducing your energy bills, it also gives you a chance to prepare your lawn for the spring.

If you were unsatisfied with the appearance of your lawn this summer, you can probably trace it back to the things you did (or didn’t do) last fall. Don’t make the same mistake twice. With a few weeks to go before fall officially arrives, you have plenty of time to take all the steps necessary to have a healthy lawn this fall, winter, and into next spring and summer.

To get your lawn as well prepared as possible for the next 9 months, check out Blindster’s tips below:

Aerate the soil

Aerate the soil

Most grasses are highly responsive to oxygen, water, and fertilizer during the fall, but it won’t do much good if those nutrients can’t reach the roots. A self-propelled aerator can be rented from many hardware stores and rental outlets, and it offers a quick way to aerate even the largest lawns. However, for huge jobs and lawns that are several acres in size, you may be better off hiring a landscaping service unless you want to dedicate several weekends to this project.

Fertilize your lawn

Fertilize your lawn

Just as aerating should be done in the fall, so too should fertilizing. In fact, many lawn care experts say that once-a-year fertilizing done in the fall is sufficient for most lawns and will lead to optimal growth. But don’t be too eager to begin fertilizing as soon as the calendar hits late September. Wait until the season is in full swing and temperatures have started to drop before you break out the fertilizer. Using a walk-behind drop spreader, make sure you hit every inch of your lawn to avoid patchy growth or brown spots in the spring.

Address bare spots

Address bare spots

If the high temperatures and dry weather that’s common during summer did a number on your lawn, fall is the perfect time to repair the damage. Check your grass for any bare or brown spots and use a lawn repair mixture—which will contain grass seed, mulch, and fertilizer—and prepare the soil by loosening it with a rake or aerator. Then, spread the mixture over any areas of your lawn that need extra attention and water it right away. Continue to water those areas at least three to four times per week for the next month for the best results.

Start raking right away

Start raking right away

For optimal lawn growth and health, your grass and roots need constant exposure to oxygen and sunlight. Being buried under a big pile of leaves certainly isn’t conducive to a healthy lawn, so be sure to stay on top of raking once the leaves begin to fall. Waiting too long not only deprives your grass of the nutrients it needs, but it can also expose it to disease. Morning dew and rainfall can accumulate on dead leaves, causing an even heavier weight on your grass and increasing its risk of developing funguses that can harm its growth.

Get serious about weeds

Get serious about weeds

Weeds can be a year-long problem for homeowners, but they’re at their most vulnerable during the fall. Like all plants, weeds go into survival mode during the fall when temperatures drop and days become shorter. That means they can hog even more of the nutrients that your grass needs. Manually pull weeds or use a safe and environmentally friendly herbicide to get rid of them before spring and you’ll have less of a headache to deal with when your lawn is in full bloom.

Back-to-School Safety Tips

School is already back in session throughout many parts of the country, and classes will resume in other states over the next few weeks. As summer ends, it’s important to remember that changing schedules and daily routines can also lead to some safety concerns if you and your children aren’t prepared.

Staying safe involves every aspect of you and your children’s day. From the time you wake up and leave the house, to when your kids are at school, to the time you pick them up, following common sense safety guidelines will help every member of your family have a happy, healthy, and safe school year.

To help your family avoid serious accidents or injuries this year, do your best to follow these tips:

Refresh yourself and your children on bus safety

Refresh yourself and your children on bus safety.

School districts throughout the country are focusing heavily on bus safety in recent years. You can protect yourself and other children by making sure you always come to a complete stop near buses when they’re loading and unloading students. It’s also important to make sure your children know how to safely enter and exit their bus, including when it’s safe to cross the street. Finally, teach your children how to behave on a school bus, including being quiet, keeping aisles clear, and learning how to operate emergency exits.

Make sure your family avoids distractions

Make sure your family avoids distractions.

Distracted driving is an epidemic, but it’s becoming clear that distracted walking can also put people in significant danger. Set a good example for your children by never driving while texting. If you have children who are of driving age, be sure to emphasize how dangerous texting and driving can be. Finally, set limits on cell phone usage for your children when they’re walking to or from school, especially if they use headphones. Being distracted while walking near traffic can lead to serious accidents.

Be cautious when driving through school zones

Be cautious when driving through school zones.

School zones are designed to help children get to and from the classroom safely, and that’s why they have significantly reduced speed limits, crossing guards, and flashing lights. When you drive through a school zone, make sure you follow all traffic laws in that area. That includes obeying the speed limit and any commands the crossing guard on duty gives. Remember that the crossing guard decides who gets the right of way—not stop signs or traffic lights. You should also avoid passing other vehicles in school zones, as children may be walking in an area of the road that you can’t see.

Create a safe environment at home for your children

Create a safe environment at home for your children.

If your children are older, you may feel comfortable allowing them to stay by themselves for a few hours before you or your spouse get off work. Make sure they’re well-protected and that they have everything they need in an emergency, including emergency phone numbers, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, and knowledge of your home’s security system or garage entry codes. To further protect your children’s privacy when they’re at home, make sure your windows are covered with thick shades or blinds.

Establish schedules for after school events, such as sports and extracurriculars.

School years can get hectic for families. Between parents having to work long hours and kids having to balance the demands of school, sports, and extracurricular activities, the days, weeks, and months of a given year can seem like a blur. But when kids must stay late for sporting activities, clubs, and other events, they can’t always rely on a bus to get home. That’s why it’s vital to make sure everyone in your family is on the same page when it comes to each child’s schedule and how they’re supposed to get home.

Protect your children with the right clothing

Protect your children with the right clothing.

Giving your kids proper clothing is important, especially as seasons and weather change. If your children walk to school, make sure they have brightly colored clothing and jackets that make them stand out to drivers. They also should have rain boots if they need to walk when it’s raining. Give them flashlights to place in their backpacks in case they need to walk home when the sun begins to set, especially during the winter. In addition to lighting their path, the flashlights will also make it easier for drivers to see them.

6 Tips for Better Home Security and Peace of Mind

As a homeowner, your top priority is making sure your family and your belongings are safe from harm or theft. And while many homeowners simply install automated home security systems and count on these advanced monitoring alarms to keep them and their loved ones safe, it’s important to take extra precautions to get true peace of mind.

To reduce your risk of being a victim, check out Blindster’s top home security tips:

 

Hide, bury, or protect exterior wiring and power lines

1. Hide, bury, or protect exterior wiring and power lines.

Would-be burglars can be savvy, and if they know a home is equipped with a security system, their first order of business may be cutting the power lines to the home or to the alarms. Whether you’re planning on installing a security system or you already have one, make sure the power supply and wiring are either out of sight, buried, or encased in a protective barrier.

Change your locks when you purchase a new home

2. Change your locks when you purchase a new home.

Your first order of business when buying a new home should be changing the locks and getting new keys made for every member of your family. Make sure that all exterior entrances are equipped with new locks. In addition, you also may want to change the locks every few years, especially if you’ve ever needed to give spare keys to housekeepers, handymen, painters, and contractors.

3. Don’t leave spare keys in obvious places.

Almost everyone has been in a situation where they need to drop off a key for a family member or friend, and almost everyone goes to the tried and true “hiding spot” of under the mat, inside the mailbox, or in a planter next to the front door. Unfortunately, burglars are equally familiar with those hiding spots, and many homes have been stripped of their valuables by people who simply helped themselves to a spare key and walked right in. Get more creative if you need to leave a spare key, and never leave it out for more than one day if possible.

4. Use a random garage door entry code.

Many garage doors can be opened with just a four-digit passcode. While that’s enough digits to make it difficult for someone to guess the code, it’s short enough to make entry a breeze if the code uses obvious numbers, including a significant birth year, your home’s street address, or part of your phone number. You also shouldn’t use weak passwords like 0000, 1111, or 1234.

5. Keep family trips quiet on social media until you get back.

It can be hard to resist sharing your family’s travels while you’re on a grand adventure, but live streaming your kids jumping into a pool in Mexico is like putting a big spotlight on your empty home for would-be burglars and thieves. Sharing every detail of your trip on Facebook and Instagram is okay after the trip is over, that is.

Equip your windows with blinds and shades

6. Equip your windows with blinds and shades.

Burglars are much less likely to break into homes if they don’t know what (or who) is inside. Installing blinds and shades on your windows doesn’t just keep the sunlight out of your eyes and protect your family’s privacy—it also helps you avoid becoming a victim of a burglary. For the ultimate home protection and privacy, consider installing routeless blinds or blackout shades.

Tips for Keeping Your AC Running in Top Condition This Summer

It’s been a brutal summer throughout many parts of the country, with temperatures soaring and humidity rising. Thankfully, central air units and air conditioners help keep the worst of the summer climate at bay, but these modern marvels tend to break down when we need them the most—i.e., on the hottest days of summer. Central air/AC repairs and replacements can be expensive, but you can avoid them by taking a few preventative measures.

Check out Blindster’s tips below to stay cool all summer long without feeling the heat on your wallet or bank account:

Lighten your central air unit’s load by protecting your windows.

Lighten your central air unit’s load by protecting your windows.

Windows are one of the biggest sources of heat entering homes, especially in the summer. Sunlight passes through the glass and instantly warms the surrounding area. The warm air then circulates throughout the home, causing the AC to work harder to keep the home cool. Protecting your windows and the interior of your home outdoor awnings, trees, thick blinds and shades, and blackout curtains can reduce your monthly electric bill and prolong the lifespan of your air conditioner.

Clean or replace the filter frequently.

Experts say that cleaning or replacing a dirty AC filter can improve the unit’s performance and efficiency by anywhere from five percent to 10 percent. Check your air conditioner’s manual to find out how often you should replace or clean its filter for optimum performance and unit lifespan. Dirty filters cause units to work harder to cool buildings and homes, prematurely aging them and causing components to break down faster.

Move objects that interfere with air flow.

Move objects that interfere with air flow.

A new or clean filter won’t improve your unit’s efficiency if its airflow is blocked or obstructed. Make sure your unit has plenty of space on all sides. Never store anything on or next to your unit, and be sure to trim trees, bushes, and hedges if they begin to encroach on the air near the unit.

Clean the inside of the unit and remove debris.

Clean the inside of the unit and remove debris.

The inside of central air units is protected by grates, mesh, and vent covers, but debris and foreign objects can still end up inside. Keep an eye out for things like sticks, leaves, branches, dirt, and other items that can end up in or around the interior fins. For even greater performance, wipe down the fan blades with a damp cloth and vacuum the fins using a soft-bristle brush attachment.

Replace fuses at the beginning of each season.

Replace fuses at the beginning of each season.

Fuses are in the disconnect boxes of most central air units. They are one of the key components that are prone to failure, especially when units are forced to run constantly during hot weather. However, they are prone to stress during cooler months as well, making them more likely to break down in the late spring or early summer. To avoid the risk of injury or malfunctions, consult a professional when it’s time to replace your unit’s fuses.