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5 Tips to a Greener Home

Every homeowner wants the best for their family. From cozy living rooms to serene bathrooms, we all want to improve the way we live by considering home improvement projects that help us achieve a more appealing home.

But when it comes to making a home that’s safe and healthy, we will have to look for green solutions. After all, this is the first step to achieving a healthier home.

Let’s check out a few important tips to a greener home.

  1. Ditch commercial materials

Whether you’re mopping up the living room floor or repainting the exterior walls of your home, the materials you use may contain chemicals that not only pollute the air but also cause a wide range of health conditions on your family. You may need to update your shopping list and get rid of brands that are known to contain high traces of cancer-causing chemicals such as glycol and benzene.

If you’re making a change for the better, you might as well look online for shops selling organic materials for your next home improvement project.

  1. Think of a redesign

Often the best way to build a green home is to start from scratch. Fortunately, if you’re planning to settle in a home that’s both functional and eco-friendly, there are local builders who can help you along those lines.

If you live in Baltimore, you’ll find Maryland home builders who can provide custom designs that help reduce your carbon footprint. But if you already have a home, you can always opt for a redesign by using proper insulation, as well as materials and concepts that allow for better cooling and heating.

  1. Upgrade your lighting

If there’s anything that passes as an eco-friendly solution, changing your light bulbs will do the trick. Especially if it has been a while since you last upgraded your lighting, swapping your bulbs with LEDs will really keep your energy consumption low along with your power bills.

  1. Prepare a compost pit

Managing a garden is tough work, but choosing a safe alternative to commercial fertilizers has to be tougher. Sure enough, familiar fertilizer brands could be more acidic and, in effect, harmful to your plants.

Commercial fertilizer might give your garden the lushness it needs, but when it comes to keeping the soil healthy, preparing your own compost using kitchen scraps has to be the better option. It’s organic and it won’t pollute the ground much as synthetic fertilizers do.

  1. Improve your insulation

Whether there’s a blizzard or a heatwave, the thermostat has to be your best bet in keeping your home’s temperature well-regulated. Then again, you will have to pay a price for keeping your home well heated or cooled during extreme weather. By keeping your home well-insulated, you won’t have to set the thermostat high or low.

 

A greener home is possible, so long as you use the right approach. That way, you won’t have to worry about putting your family’s health and safety at risk.

 

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Mortgage Insurance: What You Are Paying For

 

As contract attorneys who provide a range of realty and mortgage associated legal services, including genuine estate closings and dealing with estate conflicts, we at Mcgrath Spielberger, PLLC know that most customers actually don’t comprehend private mortgage insurance. Referred to as PMI, private mortgage insurance is to benefit the lending institution, not the debtor.

PMI is generally required if the circumstances consist of a private mortgage loan in which less than 20% of the list prices/ appraised worth is put down in advance. From the lender viewpoint, PMI is an extremely good thing as the debtor needs to pay for an insurance coverage which names the lending institution as the recipient, with the lending institution (or whomever winds up owning the loan) possibly having the ability to make a claim on the policy if the debtor defaults on the loan as default leads to the loan provider not being paid back completely.

In many situations, according to the professional advise of https://mcgrathspielberger.com,  the premium payments the borrower needs to produce personal mortgage insurance are rolled into the debtor’s regular monthly “mortgage payment”. The details regarding the original PMI arrangement, including the payment amount, are understood in advance of the realty closing. Borrowers/purchasers ought to be asking concerns about PMI prior to closing as compared to after (although much better to ask later on and know than to not ask at all).

It’s likewise very crucial to understand when you may be able to cancel your PMI– and the associated payments, thus reducing your month-to-month payment. Make sure to get into the details of your contract with a local real estate contract attorney in charlotte nc areas to learn more about your specific situation.

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9 Common Furnace Problems (And How to Fix Them)

 

The cold weather can send you in frenzy, especially if your furnace system is acting up or has some hiccups. However, keep in mind that there are some common problems that you can fix solo, as opposed to calling the professionals to repair it.

Here are some common furnace problems you are bound to experience occasionally and how to fix them.

1.     No heat troubleshooting

If your furnace is not producing any heat then you could try some DIY things before calling in the experts. Some of them are:

  • Verifying that your thermostat setting is on heat
  • Checking your pilot light and gas valve, you can turn the gas valve to an ON position and relight your pilot light to see if they are both working
  • Reset the furnace motor, as chances are that it may be overloaded. Just press the reset button once if nothing happens then try again after 30 minutes
  • Also ensure that your furnace has power, by flipping its switch ON
  • You can also check if your fuse or breaker that powers the thermostat is ON and working and not blown. You can turn it ON if it is not and if it is blown just replace it

2.     Thermostat malfunctions

If your furnace thermostat is not working properly, you can try some home DIY tasks to get it running again. For instance, you could turn the power OFF and remove the cover before cleaning it with a soft brush or vacuum.

Also, check if there are corrosion signs before removing it with an electronic contact cleaner. You can then change its battery if this is the problem.

3.     Faulty pilot lights

If your furnace pilot lights keep going out, then there could be a couple of problems like a loose or faulty thermocouple. You can just tighten it if it is the issue. Another thing is that you pilot orifice may be clogged. You can try to clear this clog with a wire piece.

It could also mean that your settings are too low for the pilot flame. You can make the flame adjustment by turning its screw for a proper size, probably between 1.5-2 inches of flame with no yellow. You can consult your furnace manual for better adjustments.

In addition, remember to shut off the gas, switch or circuit breaker before starting this kind of inspection and fixing.

4.     Broken fans

You can check if your fan is actually broken by turning your heat OFF on your thermostat, then turn to Fan Only or Auto position. If your fan does not turn ON, then it is broken.

You can then check if your circuit breaker has tripped if not, then you will need to replace your broken furnace fan.

5.     Bad electrical connections

If your furnace does not have any power, check your breaker box for a blown fuse or a tripped breaker. For the blown fuse you can replace it but for the tripped breaker just turn it OFF and ON again. If both do not work then your connections might be faulty and you may need the services of a furnace technician like Advanpro Calgary, to fix it.

6.     Air flow problems

This problem often means that something is preventing the air from flowing within your furnace. So just check your furnace filter, it can be dirty or not installed properly. Put it in the correct position.

You can also check the vents ensure they are open, as closed vents can lead to unnecessary heat buildup within your furnace.

If the problem persists, try pressing the rest button. You can try resetting it again after 30 minutes if it does not get any better.

7.     Dirty or clogged air filter

In case you have a dirty or clogged air filter, just replace it. You can buy the same one in your furnace. Take a picture and ask the store owner to help you locate it.

Take note that most filters will have arrows showing the direction of airflow. These arrows should face your furnace duct work.

8.     Blower runs all the time

If your furnace gives you this problem, check your thermostat switch, if it is set to ON, then your blower will always be running. Change the setting to Auto, this way it turns itself ON and OFF as required when it reaches the set temperature.

If problem persists, call the furnace experts.

9.     Furnace age

Furnaces are built to last for long, but none can run forever. So maybe it might be time to replace it, especially if it has reached or passed its manufacturer warranty. So be informed and up-to-date with your system.

 

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Eclectic and Awe-Inspiring Design Ideas to Spice Up Your Home

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Your home design is all about you, your partner and your family. Every element present at home reflects a certain aspect of life. The colors painted all over the walls remind you of peace and serenity. The decor beautifying the walls project decision-making and artistic skills. The materials used inside and outside the house, from flooring to roofing, display style and preferences. Spacing and arrangement either defies customs or depicts centuries-old traditions and beliefs.

When buying a new home, building one or making a facelift, you want to be immersed in the process, from planning the details to the finishing touches. After all, the house is your safe haven for years or even for a lifetime. It is a pleasure to flip through the color palette, the portfolio of home decor and the gallery of design ideas you want your eyes to scour. It is also no wonder if you have been making sketches or notes with design ideas for the kitchen, living room, master bedroom or even the garage.

To help you out, we have compiled a list of unique bits of design that may seem bizarre but are actually awe-inspiring ideas that will make your house stand out from the rest.

Pendant Lighting

More and more restaurants, especially intimate ones, are now adorned with pendant lighting that hangs just slightly over the heads of guests. From a style perspective, pendant lighting offers a great addition to your home. But it provides more than just a decorative accent. It also plays a major role in terms of highlighting a room, adding a different glow while incorporating a decorative style.

Now, how do you plan on adding pendant lights at home? You can try hanging them to illuminate your entryway, a kitchen counter or dining table. Although the lights are usually close, you may also opt for a design that spreads all throughout the space you want to brighten up, like a dining table with a large seating capacity.

Natural Lighting and Ventilation

Sustainability solutions start at home. Measures to lower consumption of energy and water do not just lead to lesser utility bills but also contribute less to greenhouse gas emissions. Apart from using less electricity and water, you can incorporate sustainability measures in your building design.

This means you will need less light during the day and nature’s fresh breeze will surround your home, instead of turning on air conditioning for cooling the house. Ask your home renovations and remodeling service provider or a local Excel Builders to craft a design that allows natural lighting and ventilation to come inside the house.

Big Plants

Desert plants are the usual staple for decor inside the house. But it is 2019, and trends change over time. Small plants, flowering or non-flowering, are also attractive. Nowadays, big plants are eye-catching accessories that can attract attention. Before you purchase bold plants, you need to know the relevant information such as water and sunlight requirements to keep plants healthy and green.

Floral Patterns

While people live in a modern world, everybody loves a design redux for styles that were trendy in the past. In 2019, floral patterns have risen to the occasion. You might think the floral pattern thrived during your grandma’s adolescent period. Well, yes indeed. But filling your home with floral design may be a better replacement for bland or flashy colors that dominated the previous years.

Fortunately, floral print today is redesigned with contemporary lines and is much bolder than in years past. There is a list of fresh design for your floral patterns, from orchids to cherry blossoms, to give your room an updated look. 

Multi-Functional Space

Whether you’re limiting furniture to save space or just practicing less is more through minimalism, a multi-functional space can work wonders at home. You can remodel existing furniture pieces or purchase new ones that offer more than just one function, such as a bed with pull-out drawers or ottomans with added storage.

You can also design two or more rooms in one space, such as an office space in a living room or transforming kitchen counters into a workstation. Success in multi-functional space depends on layout. The design should manifest proper balance between two or more functions, and clearly indicate the division between spaces.

Bar Area

You, your partner, friends and family members can enjoy the spirits and entertainment at your home by putting up a bar. You can display your prized wines, tequila and other liquor you want to enjoy. Hang those wine glasses, put in the rotating stools and roll out those barrels to start partying without going outside.

With a bar area, it’s easy for guests to get cold drinks while the party is hot on the dance floor. The bar does not have to be limited to drinking alcoholic beverages alone. You can also have your morning coffee, brew a late-night tea or whip up a smoothie at the bar.

Biophilia

It is now that we are seeing more and more people that are interacting with nature. By installing sustainable solutions at home or in the office, everyone is more involved today than on previous years when it comes to getting closer with nature. At home, people create gardens to commune with the environment. Now though, design has brought nature closer to you through biophilia. A biophilic setting expands beyond houseplants or floral patterns. It has design and decor that bring the sight, sound and smell of nature indoors.

So, how do you create this biophilia? For one, work with water. The sound of flowing water not only relaxes our senses, it also blocks noises caused by street sounds. Another element is to breathe in the fragrant scent of nature with aromatic candles or essential oils. Aim to create a space devoid of gadgets, equipment and screens. A biophilic setting wants us to awaken our senses and technology works against it. Just have a corner where distractions are absent.

There is a Santa Claus list of eclectic home design ideas you can experiment in your new dwelling or for an upcoming renovation. As long as it speaks to your style, character and beliefs, you can never be wrong with your choices.

 

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3 Tips to Keep in Mind While Putting Up a Fence On Your Own

 

Installing a new fence can be a demanding DIY project if the area to be surrounded is large enough, but it isn’t the most difficult project that you can undertake either. That being said, mistakes are quite common and, therefore, in case you have any plans to set up a few fences on your own anytime soon, it’s worth it to glance over these three tips that even experienced DIY enthusiasts can find useful at times.

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Asking the All-Important Questions

Before you even start planning your fence installation project, it is of the utmost importance to ask yourself and your family a few questions first, and they should be along the lines of the following.

  • What is the primary objective behind the installation of the fence?
  • Is privacy more important to you or does security take precedence?
  • How much are you really willing to or can afford to spend on your fencing project?
  • What are the choices in material that you have?
  • How much maintenance will your new fencing require and how much will that cost you?

To illustrate why all these questions are so important, let’s get to the next tip.

Understand What Your New Fencing Will Bring With It

Steel fences last for decades. In fact, the steel fencing from Northland Fence comes with a warranty of two decades! It will remain unhindered by the weather conditions as neither the sun nor the frost will be able to even scratch your steel fencing for years. While the durability of steel also makes it an excellent material of choice when security is your priority, it will not provide you with any privacy at all. When privacy is more important, then go for vinyl fencing instead of steel. Northland Fence has consciously switched over from cedar wood to vinyl because the material lasts longer than wood and provides better security than wood as well. As far as the looks are concerned, vinyl fencing can be made to look exactly like cedar, so you won’t have to sacrifice on décor. Besides, to make wooden fences last, it does require a lot of maintenance.

Checking with the Local Zoning Laws

There are limitations, rules, and regulations, alongside must-have safety precautions that every household in a US state must adhere to while putting up any kind of fencing. For example, in order to put up any fences in Minnesota that are more than 30-inches in height, you will require a building permit that will only be granted on producing a satisfactory site plan. These laws change with the state in question, so do make sure you are thorough with your understanding of what you can and can’t do in your area.

Given the time, effort, and knowledge of fine details it requires, it is recommended that you leave any big fencing project to the professionals, as they deal with them regularly and are well aware of them. Nevertheless, if you want to do it all on your own, at least now you are a bit wiser than before!

 

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How to Fix Your Garden Shed Roof

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Just like the shingles on your home, those on a typical 10×20 garden shed roof have are prong to get damaged over time. The constant exposure to the sun, rain, snow, and wind eventually wear down your roof shingles. Even though shingles are being designed to last longer these days, the best ones will cost you more money.  While a 50-year shingle might be a good investment on your house, you most likely will use a much shorter life shingle on your garden shed and therefore you will need to fix or replace them more often. The good news is that most shed roofs are as easy fix and you can do it all by yourself. The following tips will help you fix your garden shed roof when the time comes.

Ladders

Most sheds are not built as high as your home’s roof, so a standard 10’ ladder should do the trick for a garden shed roof.

Get your ladder situated in the proper position and on ground that is flat and level, and make sure that it’s at the right angle. Experts recommend a 1:4 ratio; So if you have 8 feet of height your ladder should be two feet away from the shed. Simple math.

Take Out the Bad Shingles

To start, remove the bad shingles and the nails. If you are fixing the whole roof, begin on the uppermost area and remove the top row, before moving down to the next row, until you get to the last row. If you find a metal drip edge, you can leave that where it is. So now that everything else is gone, you should be looking at a blank sheet of plywood. If the plywood is rotted, this is the time to replace that too. There is no sense putting a new roof on bad wood sheeting.

Roof Felt

Start placing your roofing felt on the bottom corner and move sideways, making sure to keep the felt flush. Sink in a nail every few feet. Working your way up, continue to secure the felt with nails. You don’t have to go crazy hammering in nails, as it will also be kept down by the shingle nails; you just want to ensure that it lies flat and stays in place as you work your way to the top edge.

The next roll of felt will be done the same way. Overlap the second roll of felt onto the first length of felt by a couple of inches. Again, work your way from the bottom to the top. Continue working left to right until you are done.

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Starter Shingles

Starter shingles are the first row of shingles that you lay. Then you lay a second layer over the starters. To install starter shingles, remove any tabs from your sheet of shingles and place them so that it overhangs on the edge by about ¼ an inch.

Shingling the Rest of Your Roof

Now that the starter shingles are in place, you can lay your 3-tab shingle on the left bottom corner of the roof. Ensure that it is covering your starters and nail it so that it is in place. You will probably need about four nails for every shingle. Work left to right, one layer at a time. The second layer should start with about a six-inch overlap on the shingle underneath it and approximately five inches off the edge. Remember you are creating a staggered, layered, and neat shingle roof. Make sure that it is all neat so that water won’t get to the wood sheeting. Continue layering, staggering, and nailing until you get to the top. Once you are done, cut off the excess overhang on each side.

A small garden shed roof can easily be completed in a day. Take your time and make sure everything is lined up correctly. The end results will be a new roof on your garden shed that you can take pride in; you did it yourself!

Do you have an even bigger shed job? Like a shed that is so in disrepair that it’s better to build a new shed? No worries there either. Building an entire shed is just as easy as fixing the roof these days. All you need is a 3D shed building guide: “How to build a shed in a week or less?”  From 3DSHEDPLANS.COM. You will be amazed at how easy it is to start your project.

 

 

4 Great Ideas for Home Improvement

 

There are various reasons why you may decide that you want to make some home improvements. It could be because you have lived there a while and want to mix up your living environment. But it could also be because you are thinking of selling your home in the next few years and want to make it as profitable as possible. Either way, there are different ways you can improve your home no matter what your budget is.

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Some home improvements may require saving up, whereas some are a lot more affordable but can make massive differences to your home. Here are five ideas for home improvement that you may want to consider.

Organize as Much as You Can

Often homeowners don’t consider organization as a form of home improvement, but being more organized can make your home life a lot less stressful while also making your home appeal more to friends and viewers (and potential buyers).

This is a more affordable idea for home improvement and will require more time than money. You should focus on organizing the rooms that you spend the most time in first and then move on to the other rooms. Find permanent homes for things as this will help you to locate things quicker.

Improve Your Outdoor Space

Improving the outside space of your home can seem like a tiring process, but it can be enjoyable as well as costing little money. By giving improving your home’s curb appeal, it will be more appealing to both yourself and potential buyers. Small changes you can make include changing your mailbox or adding some flower boxes. It is also a good idea to install a vinyl picket fence to make your garden look more stylish as well as making your outdoor space more secure.

Update Your Bedroom

Your bedroom should be a peaceful and relaxing room as getting rest is essential to your health and well-being. Updating your bedroom can involve small changes such as redecorating, or bigger changes like adding built-in wardrobes or under floor heating. No matter what the size of your bedroom, there are ways you can improve it.

If you are planning to sell your home, then you will want to wow and impress potential buyers when they see the master bedroom. This could seal the deal!

Loft Aspirations

This is a more expensive way to improve your home, but loft conversions are a great way to make unused space in your home functional. This is an ideal way to add both storage space as well as potentially adding an extra bedroom or bathroom to your home, increasing the house’s value. A loft conversion can completely revamp your home and make you fall back in love with where you live. While they are not a cheap way to improve your home, they make for a great investment that will benefit you in the long term.

Home improvements can seem like time-consuming and expensive challenges to undertake, but they are great ways to transform your living environment. If you are unsure of how to improve your home, these ideas are a good place to start and offer you options that vary in financial cost.

 

The Benefits of Getting uPVC Double Glazing in Your Home

 

The market for uPVC-based double-glazing is a growing one. Frames can be colored to suit the color scheme of the home, which is a good option when you wish to avoid the use of aluminum or timber. It can handle the harsh British winters and doesn’t fade during the occasional long, hot summers either.

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Here are some of the benefit of getting uPVC windows fitted in your home.

Durability over the Years

uPVC windows are highly durable. They are not susceptible to mold, pollution impact, moisture or mildew build up which would otherwise hurt their ability to hold a seal. They don’t blister in the sun or flake away, and they don’t rust or rot either. This makes them superior to other window framing materials like aluminum and wood.

Soundproofing

When uPVC is matched with reliable double-glazing, it provides a soundproofing ability that often reduces discernible noise to 40 decibels. Up to 75-80 percent of outdoor noise factors are reduced to make the indoor sound far more pleasant, even when the home sits on a noisy main road.

Limited Maintenance Required

Cleaning uPVC frames is as easy as getting a bucket of water, adding some soap to create suds, and then washing the windows with a sponge. They do not peel or flake, so there’s never a need to repaint them, touch them up, sand them down or add varnish either. While it should be done carefully, stains that appear on the frame can be delicately scrubbed away too.

Optional Ventilation

Ventilation with uPVC window designs is a useful added feature. Depending on the design, some window frames can open at a fan-like angle to let breezes inside. Also, some windows can open out and around to effectively reverse their direction to permit even more air inside. Windows can often open in either direction, making them more flexible with a greater degree of control on the direction of the air flow too.

For cleaning, the ability to gain access to the other side of the window panes and window frames, from within the property stops window washing needing to be completed in two stages.

Good Security Options

uPVC windows are designed to incorporate a number of window locks to make them more secure. Either laminated or otherwise toughened glass can be installed along with uPVC to make the window even more secure.

Fire Resistant

uPVC windows are designed to be fire resistant as well as able to handle excessive winds and heavy storms without difficulty. Good news for your homeowner’s insurance policy too.

Environmentally Friendly

uPVC is a fully recyclable product. It’s also not resource-hungry during its production phase either; it requires less metal to complete a similarly sized window frame. uPVC can last over four decades, so other frames are likely to need replacing before it does. As a recycled material, it’s used in piping, tiles, and other areas of building work.

As you can tell, uPVC is an excellent material for use with window frames. It makes homes warmer, safer, and much more livable too.

 

How to Improve Your Neighborhood (and Raise Your Property Value)

 

1No matter what kind of money you pump into your home — whether you dig a swimming pool, design a state-of-the-art kitchen or even build an addition that doubles your square footage — your property will only ever be worth so much. That’s because real estate agents and buyers use home values in your neighborhood to determine the best price for your home; the improvements you make to your lot have a relatively minor effect on your home’s value.

It follows, then, that to boost your property value, you need to be sure your neighborhood is increasing in quality alongside your own home. Here are a few tips to help you (and your neighbors) improve your neighborhood, so everyone can enjoy higher property values.

Develop Community Pride

If you aren’t happy to live where you live — indeed, proud of your surroundings and the people around you — your efforts to improve your neighborhood won’t have much of an impact. However, it is important that you not only enhance your own feelings toward your community but strive to grow pride all other community members, as well. In areas with high levels of community pride, residents are more likely to voluntarily keep their properties nice and comply with governing documents like HOA regulations. You can foster community pride through frequent, positive communication with your neighbors.

Keep Everything Clean

Trash blows out of garbage cans and is littered by inconsiderate passers-by, even in the most expensive neighborhoods. However, if you and your neighbors don’t commit to picking it up, no one else will. That means fast food wrappers, plastic grocery bags and other unsightly bits of debris could float around your neighborhood, catching the eye of visitors and potential buyers. Whenever you see a bit of trash, you should grab it and dispose of it properly to create a clean neighborhood for everyone.

Focus on Landscaping

Visitors to your neighborhood can’t see inside your home, so they won’t know about your expensive and impeccable interior design. Instead, they will judge neighborhood value based on exterior style, which means you need to focus much of your home improvement efforts on your landscaping. Most importantly, you should avoid allowing your flora to fall into disrepair. If you lack the tools and knowledge to keep your trees and grass in perfect health, you can hire a yard and lawn care service to maintain your outside spaces and increase the value of your home.

2Push for Infrastructure

If your neighborhood is riddled with potholes and cracked sidewalks, you need to ensure those get fixed. You might also want to add features like bike paths or a dog park. If you can get a number of neighbors together to lobby the city council for street repair in your area, you can get the funding for infrastructure maintenance you need to boost your neighborhood’s value. You might need to practice persistence as nothing in the government moves fast.

Get Involved in Schools

For one reason or another, neighborhoods with good schools are also those with high-priced houses. That means you need to invest in your area’s schools if you want to attract buyers with deep pockets. Even if you don’t yet have school-aged children, you can take an interest in the upkeep, progress and politics of nearby schools. For instance, you can attend school board meetings, donate your money and volunteer at events and generally help the school earn more funding for better programs. Then, whether or not you have kids who use those schools, buyers will be attracted to the district’s reputation.

Contact Real Estate Agents

To improve your neighborhood value, you need the right kind of neighbors. Generally, renters are bad for home prices; because they have little concern for property values, they’ll do the minimum with regards to upkeep and improvements. That’s why you want real estate agents in your area to focus on pushing properties onto owners instead of investors. If you and your neighbors are on the same page, those who sell their homes might be willing to tell their agents that they’ll only entertain offers from potential owners. While many agents usually try to sell properties to the highest bidder, regardless of who that entity might be, agents will honor a direct request from a client.

Work Together

No matter how spirited you are about improving your neighborhood’s value, you can’t do it alone. You need the help of your neighbors to make real change in your area, and that means you need to be willing to not just meet your neighbors but foster relationships with them.

Fortunately, you will likely find most of your neighbors amenable to positive change. When you work together, you will see property prices rise en masse, and you’ll all reap the rewards of a more valuable neighborhood as a group.

 

How to Provide Your Tenants With a More Secure Property

 

1There are many features that entice the best, most reliable tenants to rent a property, such as modern features, a fair price, ability to bring pets, good location and more. However one thing that you should consider to help attract and keep quality renters is the security of the property you own. Read on for some ways you can go about providing your tenants with a more secure property this year.

Install Outdoor Lighting

It’s important to have outdoor lighting installed on rental premises as this works to help prevent crime. Thieves and other people with not-so-good intentions are less likely to try anything nefarious if an area is well lit.

If your property is a unit in a complex of apartments, there should be lighting in stairwells, hallways and entranceways. For houses, outdoor lighting needs to be installed at both the front and back of the property. It pays to make these motion-activated; plus you can opt for solar-powered lighting where possible.

Have Secure Doors

As you’d imagine it’s necessary to have secure doors on all entry and exit points. Start by choosing quality doors constructed of solid, heavy-duty materials. Good options include steel and wood; however choose solid wood rather than hollow doors as these are easy to break.

Steer clear of doors made of glass or with glass panels, particularly near the locking mechanism, as these panes can be broken. Doors with peepholes built into them are helpful too, as they enable tenants to look out and see who is outside without having to open the door. Security screens or chain locks provide another layer of security, allowing tenants to open their door yet still have some protection.

For optimum security, add deadbolt locks onto doors on top of having standard locks. These are much more difficult for criminals to break into. Double-cylinder deadbolts are the most secure option. These are particularly helpful when a door is located near a window, as they work to stop thieves from reaching through windows to open doors.

Secure the Windows

Similarly, it’s important to secure the windows on properties. Criminals often enter homes this way, even when windows can seem too small to provide access. Windows should have working locks, even if they’re on higher floors, as sometimes people enter through fire escapes or other access points.

For units near the ground, or for houses, particularly those in areas where crime is more of a problem, it pays to add security bars or screens to windows. While this can affect the aesthetic look of a property, it definitely increases safety and deters criminals. If security is a big issue, you can even, or instead, install window sensors. These are designed to sound an alarm if anyone tries to tamper with the locking mechanisms.

2Provide Security Cameras and Alarms

Another way to increase security at properties is to provide security cameras and alarms. These are traditionally utilized more in high-end homes that receive big rents or for multi-family homes where the additional costs are justified by combined deposits.

Cameras should be installed at the front and back entrances of houses or in hallways, stairwells or other spaces you might deem necessary if you own an entire building of apartments. Security alarm systems can be wired in and either paid for by you as the landlord or charged at an additional fee for tenants who want access to the monitoring option.

There are many different types of cameras and alarms available these days, so search for providers in your area to get quotes. For example, check out these Phoenix home security services if your property is located in the Phoenix area.

Keep Properties Visible and Open

To help make tenants feel safe and to deter thieves, it’s also a good idea to make properties clearly open to view from the road. That is, don’t give criminals places to lurk or hide around your properties, where they won’t be seen from the street. To make spaces safe, remove obstructions from entrances to the property (both front and back) such as large shrubs or high, unruly hedges.

Put Managers or Guards on Site

If you own a large complex of properties, such as unit blocks of 25-plus apartments, retirement villages or the like, you may want to consider putting managers on site or arranging for security guards to patrol each day. You need to have enough properties to make this kind of expense worthwhile, and/or have your properties located in exclusive, high-value areas where your rental fees are high. These options do certainly help to make tenants feel much safer though and deter criminal activities because it’s obvious someone is always monitoring the premises.

 

How To Shop For And Maintain The Best Tools For Your Home Improvement Projects

How To Shop For And Maintain The Best Tools For Your Home Improvement Projects

Your home is basically an investment, and a valuable one at that. It provides you and your family shelter from the elements and it also keeps you safe from any risks. Come to think of it, having a home is no doubt important to pursuing a lifestyle that’s free from any threats.

Still, like any other investment, your home has to be kept in the best possible condition so as to ensure the utmost security and protection. In this sense, home improvement projects are crucial to maintaining your property and increasing its longevity.

For sure, you will need to invest a ton of time, resources, and effort, which can be tedious at times. But one thing’s for sure, with proper preparation, you will be able to ace your home improvement projects with ease. This should also involve having the right tools that will make the work faster and easier on your end.

Here are a few things you should consider when choosing the right equipment and tools for your home improvement projects. 

Know What Projects To Accomplish

Before anything else, you will need to determine the types of projects you should be doing. From doing a bit of landscaping to improving the insulation for your attic and basement before the winter season arrives, you should be able to know the specific activities you will have to handle so you can shop for the tools you actually need.

The best way you can go about this is to anticipate. For sure, anything can happen to your home under your possession, so you will have to foresee any possible issues that are worth addressing. Here are a few of them.

Winterizing

If you happen to live in an area with subarctic conditions, expect the winters to be very unforgiving to your home. That being said, you should be able to focus more on materials you need based on local conditions. You will have to choose a good quality sealant and, of course, weatherstripping materials that will protect your home from the chilly drafts.

Upgrading your kitchen

The kitchen has to be one of the most important areas of your home. And if you’re looking to build additions to your kitchen as part of your plan for better home renovations, you will have choose the right carpentry tools for the job. That being said, make sure that you have everything you need to build new counters and cabinets.

Plumbing

A great home is best complemented by an effective plumbing system. Your home has to have an efficient way of distributing water and getting rid of waste via the community sewage system. For this reason, you will have to focus on purchasing good quality wrenches, sealants, and tapes that you will be using to fix broken pipes and faucets.

Landscaping

Another home improvement project you should be doing is landscaping, which technically involves more than just rakes and hoses. In fact, when it comes to planting new shrubs and bushes or reorganizing your patio, having the right tools at hand can help you a lot.

Dealing with smaller repairs

Simpler things such as broken hinges and chipped paint are easily neglected. Still, it’s important that you fix these issues before they get more complicated or difficult to repair. For this reason, you still need to have the right hand tools to help you with minor repairs you can do yourself, such as screwdrivers and pliers.

Consider Your Budget

One thing’s for sure, you will need to plan out your budget before you proceed with shopping for the tools you are looking for. For this, you will have to include new purchases in your home maintenance budget. Along these lines, you will have to make sure you have enough money to buy the things you need around the house. Otherwise, you may want to adjust your buying preferences so you can work within your budget. 

Build Your Toolbox

Once you already know how much you have in terms of cash, you will need to plan out your inventory of home improvement tools. For this, simply take a look at your toolbox and see if you have any of the basic essentials, and take stock of what’s missing. Now, you may as well be tempted to buy the latest tools, but you will have to make sure that the tools you’re buying serve a practical purpose. Maybe that expensive power drill you found on sale isn’t something you need at the moment and you might want pass on buying it until you truly need it. However, while building your toolbox, you may want to assess the integrity of the tools you currently have. If anything is damaged, rusty, or dilapidated, then you may as well opt to replace them with new tools. 

Observe Proper Handling And Care

Often, you are forced to buy new tools simply because the current ones have not been cared for properly. In this case, you will have to be more serious when handling your tools. Storing them in the proper places away from hazards such as an open flame or direct sunlight is the most basic thing you can do. You also need to prevent rusting by giving each tool a well-deserved wipe with a cloth.

Shop At Trusted Brands

It may seem practical to opt for cheaper and generic brands when it comes to shopping for new tools. The problem with this, however, is the fact that these tools can get damaged or rendered unusable shortly after you buy them. As a good rule of thumb, it’s important to invest in tools from quality brands. It may cost you more in the beginning, but at least you won’t have to replace your tools very often. You can only imagine how much money you’ll be saving when you opt for tools with better longevity. 

Ask For Hand-Me-Downs

If you know someone who has tools to give away, then consider yourself lucky. Most people won’t even think of throwing away old tools to make room for new ones. Most of them would instead prefer donating to a neighbor or the community in general. That being said, you may as well ask friends and family members if they have used tools you can adopt for your home improvement projects. 

Search Online

Using the internet, it’s fairly easy to find power tools and other equipment with marked down prices. You only have to look in online marketplaces such as eBay or Amazon, where you can find a great deal of tools for the best deals. One problem with this is that you’ll risk receiving a bad shipment. Still, with a little insider knowledge and experience in online buying, you can find tools without having to worry about a thing.

 Consider The Time Of Year

When you’re out looking for the best tools you can use at home, it’s crucial to be in the right place at the right time. For this reason, it’s important that you buy in-season, especially during the holidays when hardware stores offer marked down prices. That being said, you should be able to shop throughout this period, starting from autumn. One thing’s for sure, starting early can help you make the most out of your home maintenance budget.

By using these tips, you should be able to find a good set of tools that will definitely make your home maintenance much less of a hassle.

 

What To Know When Building A Home In Historic Districts

Finding the perfect location to build your new home can result in a difficult decision-making process, especially when considering building in a historic district. A historic district can be considered a historic site or location that has been deemed official due to its location, cultural heritage, regional significance or national implementation.

What is a historic district?

A historic district can be any group of homes, landscape, sites or structures that is of local, regional, or national significance. They can be recognized as a group of buildings, or properties. Government and state officials place regulations on design concepts and renovations in these areas, in order to maintain historical integrity and original construction to the property.
With these traditional concepts in place there are rules and home restrictions that regulate the amount of renovation or remodeling that can be done to a home in such a given area. The goal of a historic district renovation rules is to preserve a home’s true nature. Listed below is the most common restrictions or things you may need to know about before building a home in a historic district.

  • Exterior: House exteriors such as windows and roofs portray the original architecture and design style of the historical home, and they have to be preserved. The preservation construction materials may be costly and require additional resources that will add on to your budget.
  • Tax Incentives: Investing in a home in a historic district has its perks, the government may offer inducements that may offer tax benefits. Which means money in your pocket for keeping your home original.
  • Utility Costs: Another key factor when deciding if a historic home is right for you, is to consider the seasons in your area, there is some potential for higher utility costs due to the build of the living structure.

Guidelines are expertly written and meticulous, especially if the district contains preserved and uniform architecture. Hiring a builder familiar with the rules and regulations will be essential. SEDA New Homes is an example of an experienced builder who has a track record of successful home builds in St. Augustine, Fl. The oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in America.

Consider every detail when planning this home building process as there may be fees associated with building or designing outside of the specific guidelines. Keep in mind that design regulations are less demanding when it pertains to interior design, therefore you will be free to design as you please inside your new home.

Once you’ve developed plans for your new home, a meeting with the historical commissions and the planning or zoning board, in your area, will provide you with the best instructions so that your project won’t be rejected indefinitely or end up costing far more than you anticipated.

However, adding newer properties with historic charm is likely to increase the economic essence and appeal of the particular area. Owning a home in a historic district has very significant benefits and establishes prestige,so be sure to do your research before deciding if you would like to own a piece of history.

 

 

The Hottest Trend Of 2019: Nordic Minimalism Explained

 

The world seems to become more stressful. However, there is one trend that is creating a sanctuary in homes all around the world. That trend, Nordic Minimalism, is highlighted by the use of stress-less furniture featuring Scandinavian Design.

alexander-pemberton-95212-unsplashWhat is Scandinavian design?

Scandinavian design emerged in the middle of the 20th century by the Scandinavian countries. This type of furniture was known for its minimalist, functional and simple design. This type of design was featured mostly with residential furniture including chairs, recliners, sofas and tables. While this trend has existed for the last 70 years, it is only recently that Scandinavian design has taken the world by storm.

Stress-less Furniture at the centerpiece of Nordic Minimalism

People seem to be overwhelmed with the number of products and purchases that they have in their life. Nordic Minimalism is an answer to the hoarding of the material. With Nordic Minimalism, people are taught to only own the things that they use every day. And that includes simple stress-less furniture that is designed to make people feel good while taking up a minimal amount of space.

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Examples of Stress-less Furniture

There are currently a number of companies that make and sale stress-less furniture. European Leather Gallery being one of the largest in the United Sates. The prices of these stress-less furniture pieces cost about $2,600 for leather recliners, $3,000 for sofas and about $800 for chairs. Stress-less furniture can be made from fabric or leather with wood gain accents. Stress-less furniture is designed and styled in Scandinavian countries and available for sale all around the world.

Stress-less Furniture is Growing

While many people have not heard of stress-less furniture, there has been enough of a growth in this trend to have large investors take notice. Recently, a top Chinese investment company put a $630 million dollar bid for Scandinavian furniture maker Ekornes. That is on top of the fact that the biggest seller of Scandinavian furniture, IKEA, has been selling stress-less furniture for decades.

How to Get Started with Nordic Minimalism

The best way to get started with Nordic Minimalism is to begin to de-clutter unnecessary things in your life. Once you have gotten rid of the things you do not use every day, you can begin to introduce stress-less furniture into your life. One thing to consider is how you will use the furniture every day. For instance, if you like to have guest over, consider a Scandinavian sofa. If your life to read or watch TV, then consider a recliner. As the world become more crowded and complicated, Nordic Minimalism will seek to bring clarity and simplicity to those who seek it.

 

 

A Home Buyers Checklist: What You Need To Know

 

Buying a house can feel very overwhelming. If you break down the basic steps, though, you can get through the process without losing track of your goals. Below are the basic things you need to keep in mind when buying a house. If you can check them all off of your list, you will know that you’ve covered all your bases.

Get A Good Realtor

Having a solid real estate agent is the first thing you’ll need when buying a house. While your realtor is going to get paid for helping you buy a house, it’s always in his or her best interest to make sure that you are protected during the process. A good realtor will show you the right houses for your needs and help to walk you through the buying process.

Know Your Limits

It’s important to know what you can afford. When you go to a mortgage lender, they’re going to tell you much you can borrow – but that might be more than you want to spend on a house. Instead, do some research to figure out what kind of payments you can comfortably make while living the lifestyle that’s most important to you and to your family.

Get a Pre-Approved and Ready for a Mortgage

The last thing you want is to lose out on a great house because you couldn’t pull funding together at the last minute. Go ahead and start talking to lenders before you’ve bought a home to get pre-approved for a mortgage. While there will still be paperwork to do after you sign a contract, you’ll be able to avoid some worst-case scenarios with pre-approval. Don’t forget to get your down payment together during this step, as this significant amount of cash will be vital to the process of securing your loan.

Research Moving Companies

It’s a good idea to know what it’s going to cost you to move ahead of time. This is an easy cost to forget, so go ahead and take care of it ahead of time. You should also figure out whether or not you can actually reach your new home by truck, or if you’ll have to take a more exotic route to get your things to your home. Plus, some companies will give you a discount if you reserve a truck early enough, or if you bundle multiple services together (Suddath movers and a few others will do this).

Check Out the Neighborhood

Don’t forget to check out the neighborhood at different times of the day and night. You’ll get an idea of what life is like in the area, what your neighbors are like, and even what kind of traffic you should expect on your way home from work. These are the little things that have a huge impact on your quality of life in your new home.

Get an Inspection

Never move into a home without an inspection. Even if you’re buying a house as-is, you need to know what kind of flaws you’re going to be working with even if you know you have to do some renovations. Always make sure to work with an independent inspector even if the buyer offers to have an inspection done for you. This goes for pest control too. Make sure you’re not about to move into an infestation before you sign anything. Just make sure you go with pros, like our friends at Turner Pest, it’s easy to miss the early signs of an infestation. And missing the early signs could cost you thousands down the road.

 

All-in-all, it’s not rocket science. Be prepared, do your homework, and don’t cut corners. The more time you spend up front, the more at ease you’ll be throughout the entire process. So, get out there out start house hunting!

 

 

A Definitive Guide to Troubleshooting Your Garage Door Problems

 

If one day you wake up and you realize that the mechanism that opens the garage door is no longer working, then you will need to troubleshoot it. The good news here is that the issues are normally easy to find, and even easier to fix.

In this article, we look at some of the most common issues; additionally, we will also be looking at the possible methods of repairing the said issues. However, if these remedies do not work, then we would recommend you to hire the professionals, or better yet, get in touch with the manufacturer.

 

Remote Control And Wall Switch Won’t Do Anything

 

If you are opening your garage door with a remote control, or the switch on the wall, but it is not opening, chances are that the power source is not working in order.

This issue is actually easier to figure out, and in majority of cases, it is the motor unit that is not plugged in. You would need to check the outlet where you have plugged in the door opening, and just check whether the wire is plugged in or not.

Additionally, in rarer situations, there can be a chance that the fuse, the circuit breaker that is responsible for delivering power to the door opener is not working. To identify this cause, just check whether other electrical components in the garage are working or not.

If they are not working, then you will need to reset the circuit breaker, or install a new fuse if the older one is no longer working. However, if the circuit breaker is tripping constantly, then you might be facing a short-circuit.

Lastly, if you have tried out everything and the issue still persists, I would suggest hiring professionals to take a look at the garage door itself to see if the problem is within the system.

 

The Garage Door is Not Responding to Remote Control or The Keypad

 

If the garage door is not responding to either the remote control, or the keypad, then there can be several reasons behind that problem. We have listed some of the most common issues below.

  • Try using the remote control by moving closer to the garage door. This is true because modern day garage remote controls have small antennas that operate at various ranges. Therefore, you might be out of range.
  • If moving closer does not work, then check if the antenna on the motor unit is not damaged, and it is hanging down.
  • If the door is opening through the wall switch, but not through the door, it means that the battery on the keypad or the door opener needs replacement.
  • If all else fails, you might need to get the remote control or the keypad reprogrammed. This is a tricky thing to do, and you will need to hire professionals to get that done. Speaking of professionals, I would suggest Tip Top Garage Doors – Charlotte NC.

 

Garage Door is Not Closing All The Way

 

This is an issue that I faced a few times; there are times when the garage door opens fine, but it does not close all the way.

This problem has various reasons, therefore for your convenience; I am listing them down below.

  • Modern day garage doors come equipped with limit switches that tell the motors when to stop; this works when the door is opening, as well as when the door is closing. If the limit on the close switch is not set properly, you will run into an issue of the door not closing all the way. Different garage doors have different methods of adjusting this limit switch. Most commonly, it is a screw found on a motor unit that is used to determine just how far the door closes.
  • If the aforementioned method does not work, you might need to check whether the safety sensors are aligned properly or not. These sensors can stop working if they are being obstructed by something, or they are out of place.
  • Last but not the least; the rarest issue could be rollers being the victim of rust or malfunction. However, I would advise you to take this with a grain of salt, as this issue is often rarer than you might think. If it is rust, then I would suggest using silicone lubricant, but if it is another malfunction, then you might want to go for professional help.

There is a Minor Retraction Before Closing Completely

 

There are some complaints that the garage doors retract a bit before they full close. It is actually a common issue that can easily be fixed.

Below are two common reasons regarding why this happens.

  • The adjustment screws on the garage door openers control how the door is closed properly. If the garage door is showing retraction before closing completely, you might need to make adjustment to those screws.
  • If the screws are properly adjusted, and the issue still persists, then it is probably because the rollers are either damaged or rusted. You can lubricate the rollers to see if that works, but if that does not solve your issue, you will need to get that replaced.

 

Garage Door Retract as Soon as It Hits The Floor

 

If you are facing an issue in which the garage door retracts as soon as it hits the floor, then the issue is related to the close-limit switch.

You will need to adjust the close-limit screw that can be found in the door opener motor. Adjust it in small increments, and keep going until the door does not retract.

 

Garage Doors Not Opening Entirely

 

Another common issue with garaged doors can be experienced with the doors not opening entirely. They do open perfectly, but stop in the middle, or close to the end.

There could be two common problems behind that issue.

  • The up-limit switch might need to be adjusted. Normally, this switch can be found in the form of a touch lever, and is located at the end of the track, close to the motor unit. If it is on the farther side, the motor will stop before the door fully opens.
  • Another reason why you might be facing the said issue is because of damaged rollers. Again, a very common issue that a lot of people face.

 

Garage Door Does Not Open in Winters

 

There are times in winters when garage doors that lower fine, do not open properly. If you are facing this issue, simply look for a screw on the motor, and adjust the sensitivity of opener. This is very common in winters because the rollers become stiff because of the cold.

Alternatively, you can even try lubricating the rollers to see if it helps. As far as locating the sensitivity screw is concerned, you might have to look for the reference on the manual.

 

Garage Door Opens Fine But The Motor Keeps Running

 

The last issue that is also common is that the garage door does open but the motor keeps running. This problem, albeit unusual, occurs musty cause the up-limit switch is too close to the motor unit.

The problem itself never really occurs out of nowhere. In most cases, it happens when the door is being installed.

 

Smart Ways to Plan for a Major Renovation

 

There are many reasons why a renovation is exactly what you need. The right improvement and changes made around the house can greatly affect the property’s comfort level, ambiance, and even value. In many cases, a major renovation is also needed because of structural damage or problems that need to be solved.

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Unlike smaller remodeling projects, a major renovation is trickier to deal with. There are more factors to consider and things to prepare in order to have a smooth and efficient renovation project. To help you get started, we are going to focus on how you can plan better for a major renovation in this article.

 

List the Necessary Changes

 

You should always do a thorough inspection – well, have professionals do the inspection – before planning a major renovation project. The inspection will reveal issues around the house, giving you the opportunity to add fixing those issues to the plan.

The inspection should cover everything from top to bottom. You need to know if there are leaks and moisture affecting the walls, whether you have roofing problems to deal with, and even if there is wirings or fixtures that need to be replaced around the house.

After the inspection, compile a list of all the things you need to do. The list is your guideline when you are trying to plan for the project. Divide them based on areas and start working on a renovation plan. Prioritize tasks and organize them accordingly.

 

Prepare for the Worst

 

Even when you have a complete list of things to do, there are still additional things to prepare before you can have a truly smooth and uninterrupted project. At this point, you want to start interviewing contractors and finding a good one to work with for the renovation project.

Depending on the size of the contractor and the tasks in hand, you may need to schedule the renovation to be done in stages, tackling one room or area of the house at a time. This will allow you to keep the house usable for the duration of the project.

You also need to tackle details such as preparing additional restrooms for the workers or replacement restrooms for when your main bathroom is being renovated. You can now have Satellite handle everything from setting up portable restrooms all the way to keeping them clean using Satelite Industries deodorizers for maximum convenience.

 

Plan Your Deliveries

 

One last challenge to tackle is the delivery of materials. Essential materials must be available on the site for the renovation project to continue smoothly. This is often easier said than done, especially when you have multiple suppliers to work with.

Worry not because careful planning is how you overcome this challenge. Work with your contractor and create estimates on when each set of materials is needed. Schedule the delivery of the materials early by one or two days. You can keep the project running smoothly without filling your house with piles of materials this way.

Careful planning is how you have a smooth renovation project. Don’t hesitate to go into detail and to anticipate everything as you plan for your own major renovation. The better you plan, the easier it will be to manage the project.

 

4 Instant Hacks To Make Your Home Sell Faster

 

They say that the average amount of time to sell a home is ten weeks, but for many of us this goes on for a lot longer. Unfortunately, statistics seldom help us when it comes to the property market and what happens for one seller, certainly isn’t guaranteed to occur for another. There are simply too many variables.

Following on from the above, we cannot claim to have all of the answers when it comes to selling your new home. What we do have are some tried-and-tested methods to help you along your way and through the course of today’s post, we will take a look at some of these methods in further detail.

Inflate the size (artificially, of course)

Don’t worry, this first tip isn’t about paying for a brand-new extension. This guide is all about quick hacks after all, and this first one involves making your room at least appear larger than it really is to the naked eye.

There are various ways to trick the eye, and one of these involves manipulating light. For example, mirrors can make a room immediately appear significantly bigger than it is, and the effect is multiplied in a smaller room.

Lights have the same effect. If you have any dark corners of a room, try some Pagazzi lighting to brighten things up. In a flash, the area will appear more spacious.

The small fixes all add up

A broken door handle here, a bit of peeling plaster there. In isolation, they really don’t mean much. However, as soon as a prospective buyer wanders around your property, they start to set eyes on them and the dollar signs start to add up. They will look for more problems, regardless of their severity, and they’ll quickly realize that your home isn’t quite as spruced up as it might have appeared in the real estate brochure.

The solution? Make all of these little fixes. They won’t cost you a small fortune, but they will save potential buyers a lot of time and make them more inclined to make an offer.

Work on the curb appeal

Curb appeal is perhaps the biggest buzz phrase in real estate now, but it’s for good reason. As we have been taught for a number of years, first impressions are made within the first few seconds. As such, if the front of your home doesn’t look inviting, you’ve just ruined someone’s first impression and made them less likely to pursue the property.

As such, work on the front door, garden and anything else you can spot from the outside. It will make a monumental difference to opinions.

Let the estate agent do their job

One common mistake that eager sellers make is trying to jump in and run proceedings as soon as someone comes to visit their property. Instead, take a step back, and let the estate agent do their job. Chances are, some tricky questions might come their way, and they know exactly how to handle them. Just remember, if you say the wrong thing, you can turn a “maybe” into a “no” quite quickly in the property game.

 

Here’s What You Need to Know About Mold and Mildew in Your Home

 

Bathroom Mold & MildewWhile one tends to be more serious than the other, both mold and mildew can cause problems in your home. Besides being unsightly and generating a musty odor, mold and mildew can cause serious health problems for you and your family, not to mention doing serious structural damage to your home. That’s why it’s so important to be on guard against letting mold and mildew grow in your home.

In order to protect your family and your home against mold and mildew, you need to understand what they are, because each type of fungal growth requires a different approach. Know where mold and mildew are most likely to grow, so you can monitor your home for their appearance. Know how to deal with mold and mildew yourself, and when it’s time to call in the professionals.

 

Mold vs. Mildew: What’s the Difference?

 

When it comes to identifying mildew vs. mold, you need to understand the characteristics of each type of fungal growth. Mildew is typically considered an early stage mold, and is therefore less serious and easier to treat. Both mold and mildew require moisture, high levels of oxygen, warmth, and darkness in order to flourish. Mildew likes to grow on flat, damp surfaces, and can most often be found in bathrooms and on window sills. It can also be found on paper, fabrics, and organic materials in your home.

Mildew may appear either powdery or fluffy, and is usually yellow, gray, or white in color. It can turn brown or black with time. Its growth appears flat, and it can cause a musty smell.

Mold, on the other hand, looks fuzzy, and may be white, black, blue, gray, green, brown, or even red. It can appear as irregular spots on any surfaces in your home where a damp, warm, dark environment is present. It, too, can create a musty odor. Though thousands of mold fungi appear in nature, mold inside the home is typically caused by one of five fungi:

  • Alternaria, which is gray, black, or brown, and has a downy or wooly texture;
  • Cladosporium, which is black or olive-green and can grow in cool conditions;
  • Aspergillus, which is white, yellow, green, grey, black, or brown;
  • Penicillium, which is green or blue, spreads easily, and causes a strong musty smell; and
  • Stachybotrys chartarum, a toxic form of black mold that can cause serious illness.

Unsure whether you have mildew or mold? An easy way to tell the difference is to spray some bleach on the affected area. If it lightens, you have mildew. If it stays dark, you’ve got mold.

 

How Mold and Mildew Affect Your Home and Your Health

 

While mildew usually only causes cosmetic damage, if any at all, mold can cause serious structural damage to your home. That’s because mold and mildew fungal growths actually eat the surfaces they’re growing on. In nature, this allows fungi to break down and decompose dead plants and animals, but in your home, it’s bad news. A serious mold infestation can drastically compromise your home’s structural integrity, and even minor infestations can require completely replacing the affected materials.

Mold and mildew can also cause health problems. About ten percent of people are allergic to mold and mildew spores, and can experience allergy symptoms including:

  • Itchy, dry skin
  • Sneezing or coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Irritation of the eyes, throat, and nose
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing

Symptoms can be mild to severe, depending on factors such as age and whether or not you have asthma. Stachybotrys chartarum, or toxic black mold, can cause severe symptoms even in people who are not allergic, which can range from respiratory problems, to fatigue, chronic sinus infections or asthma attacks, and depression.

 

Dealing with Mold and Mildew

 

Dealing With Bathroom Mold & MildewIf you have mildew, you can get rid of it with bleach cleansing spray and some elbow grease. Clean surrounding areas well to ensure that you’ve removed all of the fungal growth. Wear a face mask and gloves while cleaning, especially if you are allergic. Prevent the recurrence of mildew by eliminating sources of moisture, or, if that’s not possible, clean the mildew regularly.

If you have mold, you should call a professional remediation company. Not only will your home probably require extensive repair to eliminate the mold and prevent its return, but dealing with a mold infestation yourself can cause severe health problems if you don’t use proper safety equipment. It’s best to let the professionals deal with a mold problem.

Mold and mildew can be smelly, unsightly, and even dangerous. Don’t let fungal growth get out of hand in your home. Take steps as soon as you suspect a mold or mildew infestation, to keep your home and family safe and healthy for years to come.

 

3 DIY Solutions to Upgrading Your Home On A Budget

3 DIY Solutions to Upgrading Your Home On A Budget

 

For thousands of Americans, the amount spent on home improvement projects ranges anywhere between $5,000 – $18,000. However, if you plan to Do-It-Yourself, you can transform your home into a mini paradise with just a fraction of the cost to hire an interior designer. Whether you have just moved into a new home or are looking to spice up the aged design, check out these 3 DIY solutions to upgrading your home on a budget.

Create the illusion of a bigger room

Paint is one of the most important aspects of interior design. The color scheme of your walls could be the difference between boring and exciting. In addition, paint is rather cheap and currently, there are hundreds of colors to choose from. For smaller rooms, it is advised that one should use softer and lighter colors. You can also experiment with different colors on different walls in a room.

According to this interior design firm in Orange County, CA the mirror should not reflect anything unpleasant or another mirror as this could make them totally spoil the design of your home. Decorative mirrors are also great for smaller rooms. Their reflection makes the room look much more spacious. This has been proven to create the illusion of a bigger room.

Optimize space

One of the greatest mistakes that most people make is having too many things in one room or in a small space. Clutter is the main reason that most houses seem poorly designed. That does not mean that you have to go minimalist and ditch half of your belongings. You can use well-designed shelves to store away things that are not complementary to the general design of the house.

One smart idea that is gaining traction is the using of old items for unique creations. You can hang old cutlery from the ceiling to create a beautiful art scheme. What about repainting and remodeling your old furniture? The most important thing to remember is that you should not overdo the design. Small changes can make huge differences.

Go Eco-Friendly

With everything going green, why not do the same to your home? Besides the already well known environmental and possibly health benefits plants have, they can also transform your home’s interior design. What is more is that plants come in different colors. You can get some green plants or yellow and orange flowers. The options are unlimited.

Plants are known to add color and texture to the design of the room. In addition, plants give you the option of playing around with vases of different colors, shapes and sizes giving your home that edgy look.

With the tips mentioned, you can cost-effectively transform your house into a masterpiece. Find a design you like and use it to meet your taste. The rule of the thumb is to never overdo a design but also never limit your creativity.

 

Funding Solutions When Remodeling Your Home

Funding Solutions When Remodeling Your Home

 

The average expense for multiple room renovations in the US ranges from $17,000 – $63,000, and homeowners are spending more and more each year. It’s the harsh reality that, before you’ve even begun your home improvements, you may find out that you’ve not quite got the funds; and on top of that there are hidden expenses of remodeling that haven’t even been budgeted for in the initial planning. Whether your project involves a complete redecoration to bring your house back to the 21st century, or just installing a new bathroom, funding always seems to come up as a barrier to realizing your ideal remodeling project. But, no matter the scale, there are funding solutions that can keep your plans on track and on budget without having to sacrifice your vision for the perfect home remodeling.

Secure your finances early with mortgages or loans

Most homeowners need to consider whether to go with mortgage or loan solutions when renovating their property. A home equity loan is one of the more common solutions to funding your home improvements as it offers a lower interest rate and larger available funds than a personal loan; however, it does involve a fixed payment plan. Some consider refinancing their mortgage instead if they know they will be able to pay it back over time and might get a lower interest rate in the process. However, a reverse-mortgage should also be considered if you are over the age of 62. These are based on just a percentage of the equity of your property and aren’t required to be repaid until the property is sold of you have moved out; making reverse-mortgages the most secure finance solution for remodeling your home.

Use cash assets and do-it-yourself for smaller aspects of the project

As cash doesn’t involve interest rates, it is best to pay with cash for the much smaller aspects of your home improvements such as buying the odd piece of material from the DIY store. And of course, where possible, do-it-yourself! DIY is all part of the fun and will save you on labor when it comes to smaller tasks such as painting walls, nailing in the skirting boards, and putting up shelves or small units. Save where possible, get stuck in when you can, and the positive effects on your budget will really show.

When it comes to remodeling your home, you don’t have to let your finances get on top of you. Early planning and secure budgeting solutions such as taking out a reverse-mortgage and knowing which aspects of the renovations can have cash assets spent on them will make all the difference. Then, you will be well on your way to realizing your dream home remodeling project, no matter the scale or budget.

 

Best Remodeling Ideas for Your New Home

 

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Our house is our castle, but after a few years even the most amazing castle becomes redundant in appearance. Looking at the same painted walls, carpet or furniture may feel tired…and boring. Every home needs a facelift eventually, but sprucing up your sanctuary doesn’t have to be budget ending.

Remodeling means different things to every homeowner. While a remodel may be as drastic as adding on a new wing to a home, the renovation process may be as subtle as a new coat of paint. No matter how extreme or conservative your plan, the choice to remodel is one that every homeowner considers during their residency. Taking the big leap doesn’t have to be scary, though, because you can take baby steps toward that final vision of home perfection.

Ready to give your castle a facelift? Check out these home remodeling ideas that can take a boring blah space into a modern masterpiece!

A Sweep of Color

If a room’s walls have been the same color for years—or maybe decades—it’s time to consider a new look or hue. You don’t have to go crazy with color palettes, but adventure is good…in the realm of color. The beauty of paint is that it can be changed if the color doesn’t flatter the room or your end design. Of course, you should swatch a color first and see if that hue is the one that screams décor perfection. However, if a room is small, don’t pick a dark shade…otherwise you will make the room look even smaller. You also can add interest to walls by using different textures of paint.

 

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New Fixes for Old Fixtures

If overhead lighting, lamps or other household fixtures in a room look dated and old, switch them out. Choose a bold new chandelier to hang in the middle of a great room or head to an antique shop to discover amazing vintage lamps and other treasures. New fixtures also can transform old bathrooms in an instant. Select fun and funky faucets for a modern update or replace a tired old vanity with a pedestal sink and an antique mirror.

 

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Decorate with Greenery

Plants and flowers infuse oxygen and beauty into a room. Houseplants also provide an instant touch of style and interest without the work of intense remodeling. Before you start adding bouquets of fresh flowers or investing in plants for any room, be sure to figure out how much work each variety requires. Houseplants require upkeep…and some are more finicky than others. Succulents are often fairly low-key and can be used to create modern and inexpensive dish gardens on tabletops. Head to a local nursery for advice about what varieties will work best for your home and lifestyle.

Light it Up

Lighting can transform the room; softer bulbs provide a warm ambience. Don’t forget to use natural lighting to transform a room as well. A large picture window or a wall lined with multiple windows opens up a room. Use roller shades to easily cover and uncover large window spaces to take advantage of the sun’s natural glow. Flameless candles also may be set within an unused fireplace for a décor touch that combines form and function. When decorating with candles, mix up the sizes for a bouquet of candlelight. You also can gather a group of flameless (or real) candles alongside a bathtub for romantic ambience.

Most homeowners will consider remodeling to update their home’s appearance. But remodeling doesn’t necessarily mean major construction and never-ending mess. Giving your home a face lift can be as simple as a new color of paint, fun fixtures or updated lighting. Small changes can make a huge impact on the beauty of your home.

 

Authored by NYC Writer Maggie Baker

 

How To Minimize Plumbing Emergencies In The Summer

While plumbing emergencies can strike at any time of the year, there are certain types of problems that are especially common during the summer. Many of these issues are due to children being home during the day, which can lead to overuse of certain fixtures. Also, appliances such as washing machines tend to get more of a workout. Here are some examples of typical summertime plumbing problems and what you can do to minimize the chances you’ll have to deal with them.

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1. Toilets

When the kids are home, naturally, the toilet gets used much more often. In order to reduce the risk of potentially troublesome and expensive clogs, make sure you tell everyone to be careful about the amount of toilet paper they should use. Also, remind your children never to flush anything that should not be flushed, such as small toys or other items. Taking some time now to talk about these things could help prevent serious issues from occurring.

2. Outdoor Faucet Leaks

You may not have used your outdoor faucet for several months, so check your faucet thoroughly when turning it on for the first time. Look closely for any signs of leaks around your home before you use that faucet for washing your car or filling your pool. If you don’t perform this check and you leave that faucet on for several minutes at a time, there is a chance you could do some serious damage.

3. Sewer Lines

If you are in an area that tends to get a lot of summertime thunderstorms, that could result in a backup of your sewer lines. In addition, tree roots can invade those lines and cause a major obstruction. Have a plumber give this part of your plumbing system a thorough once-over to see if there are any signs of problems.

4. The Garbage Disposal

With your children eating at home more during the summer, the garbage disposal will very likely get additional use. Do not let anyone in the home try to put items such as fibrous vegetables, starchy foods, hard fruits, etc. in the disposal. These items can cause clogs or potentially even burn out the motor.

5. Look for Yard Leaks

If you see standing water in your yard, you may simply assume it is from the last time you used your sprinkler system. However, if that pool of water does not go away, that is a sign you could have a leaking sewer line or pipeline. Call a professional at the first sign of trouble so that you can minimize any potential damage to your plumbing system as well as the structural integrity of your home.

Speaking of your sprinkler system, make sure you clear the sprinkler heads of any debris — not only the first time you turn it on but also periodically afterward. This will help reduce the chances that a clog could harm the system. Also, double-check to make sure all of the heads are down before you mow the lawn so you don’t accidentally clip one with the blade.

6. The Washing Machine

Active kids during the summer means additional use of the washing machine due to dirt and grass stains. Before you start putting those extra demands on the appliance, take some time to make sure it is in proper working order. Look for any ruptures or bulges in the hoses so you don’t run the risk of a flooded laundry room.

These are just a few of the ways that you can reduce the risk of having to deal with the stress and expense of plumbing emergencies in the summer. Contact your local plumber to learn more about how to keep your system working hassle-free.

 

Author Bio

Tom Mascari is the President of Mendel Plumbing & Heating. For 30 years, Mendel has developed a reputation for expert customer service and technical performance. They are a St. Charles, IL based company that provides plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical services to commercial and residential buildings in the Fox Valley area. Mendel also specializes in residential air duct sealing, remodeling and maintenance services.

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DIY: Plumbing Repair Tips For Homeowners

While many people dread DIY plumbing projects, a lot of the projects are actually easy and do not take a great deal of time. Here are some home plumbing repairs that you can do on your own with just a few basic tools.

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Garbage Disposal Repair

One of the most common plumbing repair jobs is fixing a garbage disposal. If yours is making a humming noise but not working properly, follow these steps. This is a fairly simple fix, but make sure that the unit is turned off before you start.

Step 1: Use a flashlight to see if there is any debris clogging the unit.

Step 2: Grab some needle nose pliers to remove as much of the obstruction as possible.

Step 3: Get underneath the sink and use an Allen wrench to turn on the disposal. To do so, all you should have to do is insert the wrench into the bottom of the unit and turn. Once the disposal is on, any remaining debris should be freed to the point that it either goes down the unit or you can pull it out with the pliers.

 

Toilet Repair

Most people have an issue with their toilet at one time or another. The easiest problem to fix is a toilet that does not stop running. You may be able to jiggle the handle a little bit to loosen the chain and keep water from running out of the tank. If that doesn’t work, you’ll probably need to change the flapper valve. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Shut off the water to the toilet. You should see a knob at the base of the unit. Then, flush the toilet so that the tank empties.

Step 2: Take off the tank lid and check the flapper at the bottom of the tank. This is the part that keeps water from entering the bowl. If it is cracked or worn, take it out and bring it with you to the hardware store to make sure you find the right replacement.

Step 3: Replace the old flapper with the new one. Before you do, however, check the valve seat to make sure there aren’t any rough edges. If there are, use an emery cloth to smooth them. This will help create a more watertight seal.

 

Leaking Showerhead

A leaking showerhead is not only annoying; it can also raise your water bill a great deal. Here’s how to fix a showerhead that is leaking at the base:

Step 1: Take a wrench and unscrew the showerhead from the wall.

Step 2: Wrap some plumber’s tape around the threads of the stem.

Step 3: Re-attach the showerhead and turn the water on. If you still notice a leak, take the head off again and add a little more tape. If this still doesn’t work, then you may either need to call a plumber or buy a new showerhead.


Faucet Repair

Today’s faucets are relatively easy to fix as long as you know some basic information. For this particular example we’re going to use a traditional faucet that has two handles — one for hot water and one for cold water.

Step 1: You will want to have a screwdriver handy as well as a small Allen wrench. Look at where the water is coming from and then turn off the water supply. You should see a shut-off valve underneath the sink. If you don’t see one, then you may have to close your home’s main water valve.

Step 2: Once the water is turned off, open the faucet to relieve pressure. Cover your drain hole with a strainer or a rag so that you don’t run the risk of losing any small parts.

Step 3: Unscrew each handle. You may first need to pry off the decorative cap on each side.

Step 4: Take your wrench and remove the nut on the hot and cold side. Remove the stem and set it aside, making a note of which one goes on the hot side and which goes with the cold side.

Step 5: You should then see an O-ring, which sits on top of a seat washer. The washer is probably the culprit causing the leak because it has worn out.

Step 6: Replace each seat washer. It’s the part that is held in place with a brass screw that is upside-down. Take the old ones with you to the hardware store to make sure you get the right replacements.

Step 7: Use plumber’s grease to coat the replacement seat washers and insert them into the sink. Re-assemble the handles and the leak should be fixed.

If you have any problems with any of these projects, call your local plumber.

 

Author Bio

Patricia Bonacorda is the President of Spartan Plumbing a plumbing and HVAC Company. For over 50 years, they have assisted apartment and multi family homes. Spartan Plumbing is a licensed, bonded and insured business that has provided professional plumbing, heating and air conditioning services throughout the DC Region.

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Garage Remodeling: Hiring A Professional Or Doing It Yourself

When it comes to your garage, taking on a renovation project is more than a great way to update your home’s exterior — it’s a great way to add to its value. According to Remodeling Magazine, adding on a garage provides an average 69.3% return on investment for homeowners, and replacing the garage door can yield as much as 83.7% in resale value. That’s why the question is less about whether or not you should update your garage and more about how. So what is the best way to remodel your garage? Should you hire a professional to take on the project or should you go at it alone? Is updating the garage a good do-it-yourself project or is it best left to the professionals? To help answer these questions, here’s a look at the differences between these two options. When you’re trying to decide how to take on a garage project, here’s what you need to know:

1.     Hiring a Professional — More Convenience but More Costs

Hiring a professional to handle your garage renovation means putting the project in the hands of someone who specializes in the job. This gives you more confidence that the end result will meet your expectations and more convenience as you can leave the work to someone else. As Ann Reagan says at Porch.com, “If you don’t know a stud from a socket, hiring a professional is the way to go. Your contractor can handle all aspects of your garage remodeling project, hiring subcontractors as needed for things like plumbing and electrical.”  You won’t have to deal with the stress of learning new skills and potentially messing things up, and you’ll know everything from electrical work to wall demolition are done the way you want. Laura Gaskill of Houzz says, “Because of the precision required, installing a new garage door is best left to the pros. A professional will have the most experience at fitting and installing your garage door.”

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One disadvantage to hiring a professional is that it is usually more expensive. So if you think you are savvy enough to know how to take on this kind of project, you could save a bundle by skipping the costs of professional help. For some homeowners, the initial investment required to replace garage doors or make improvements to the garage space will be prohibitive and keep them from even starting the project to begin with.

2.     Doing It Yourself — More Work but More Savings 

Whether you’re already an experienced handyman or just interested in teaching yourself new skills, taking on a garage remodel yourself can be a highly profitable undertaking. You’ll cut costs, gain or improve your skills and, assuming that everything goes well, still wind up with an improvement you enjoy. Generally speaking, unless you’re a very seasoned DIYer, there are some tasks that you can assume will be too hard to tackle, however, like electrical work (which most building professionals call “the No. 1 no-go for homeowners to handle,” says HGTV), along with plumbing or removing insulation. That said, the less you spend on a renovation, the easier it is to recoup your costs, so doing work yourself can be highly advantageous.

Despite the potential savings, the problem with taking on a garage remodel is the same problem you’ll encounter with any home renovation you do yourself — the work takes a lot of skill, a lot of time and a lot of effort. What’s more, you will probably need to obtain particular permits, especially if you’re doing big projects, such as adding electrical wiring or knocking out walls. While contractors are adept at getting these permits, as well as knowing which ones are needed, amateurs can easily get stumped.

Ultimately, the choice of whether or not to take on a home improvement project — whether it’s the garage, a bathroom or the kitchen — is a personal decision. The best answer will depend on how much you’re willing to do yourself, as well as how much you’re willing to outsource. In either case, upgrading your garage’s doors, floors, shelving or layout can be a wonderful investment, so evaluate how and when you’ll get started soon!

 

Author Bio

Vicki Clary is the Marketing Director for the semi homebuilder, Curtis Homes (http://www.curtishomes.com). For over 50 years, Curtis has been providing premium homes and townhomes for Southern Maryland Communities.

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DIY – Prepare Your Home for Greater Efficiency Before Winter

The only thing that you may be dreading more than the cold weather that is coming soon is having to pay the high heating costs that come with it. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can save money on your bill, and many of them are easy to implement.

Of course, the most straightforward thing that you can do is to simply turn down your thermostat. The general consensus is that your heating costs will go down about 3 percent for every degree that it is turned down. One significant way that you can save money by doing this is to turn it down about 10 degrees when you are at work and when you go to sleep as doing so should decrease your heating bill by about 15 percent.

Another way to save money is to ensure that the warm air that is inside remains there. Walk around your house, and make sure that you do not feel any drafts coming in from the outside. The most likely sources will be around doors and windows. Make sure to check your attic as well as much of the house’s heat is lost through this area of the house.

Some people will hold a lit match or incense stick and see where it flickers. This is especially useful if it is not winter yet as it may be more difficult to determine where these drafts may be located without being able to feel the chilly air streaming in.

There are several ways that you can close up these drafty openings.

One of the simplest and most affordable ways is to use a draft stopper. These are cheap – and oftentimes cute – items that can be simply placed in front of cracks that are at the bottom of places like doors and windows. They come in a variety of types and sizes.

A couple of other options include using weatherstripping or caulk. These are useful for taking care of any drafts not located next to the floor. You should consider replacing these forms of sealant every few years.

As much as you want to ensure that drafty openings are closed, you also want to make sure that you have not accidentally blocked vents that are bringing the heat in. This is often done when carpets or pieces of furniture have accidentally been placed over or in front of these openings.

Many do not realize that their ceiling fans can simply be switched to a reverse direction, which redistributes the warm air that has risen to near the ceiling back into the lower portions of the room where you and your family and friends are.

Some people decide to install double- or triple-pane windows or storm windows in order to provide an extra buffer between the warm inside of your house and the frigid air that is outside. Although these can be expensive to install, they usually pay for themselves within a couple of years and make a lot of financial sense in the long term.

Another more costly item you can install that will quickly pay for itself is a smart thermostat. This can be programmed to turn the heat up or down at certain times of the day and to control the climate in individual rooms. The latter option is great if there are rooms that are rarely used as you do not want to be spending money heating these portions of your home.

Even if you do not have a smart thermostat, make sure that you close off unused rooms by closing the vents that enter those places or otherwise cutting them off from the heat supply.

Another important step in reducing your heating bills is making sure that your heating system has been maintained recently as clogged filters significantly decrease its efficiency and dramatically increase your bill. In general, filters should be cleaned every few months and replaced every few years.

Water heaters are another place where people can save money on their heating costs. This is especially true if it is still set at 140 degrees, which is usually what it was when it was installed. If you decrease this to a still comfortable 120 degrees, you can save up to 10 percent on your water heating costs for the year.

By taking advantage of these recommendations, you will surely have a more efficient home this coming winter.