Showing posts with label home remodel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label home remodel. Show all posts

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Create an Outdoor Oasis with These 5 Simple Patio Upgrades

Simple Patio Upgrades
Simple Patio Upgrades

It’s time to turn your ordinary patio into an outdoor oasis! Having a comfortable and stylish patio is a must for anyone who loves spending time outdoors. And you don't need to spend a fortune to make it happen. 

With these 5 simple upgrades, you can transform your patio into a beautiful retreat that you'll love spending time in.

Repave Your Patio with Fresh Concrete

One of the best ways to elevate your patio's look is by repaving it with fresh concrete. Not only does it look sleek and modern, but it also adds value to your home. 

Fresh concrete has a smooth, clean surface that's perfect for entertaining guests and relaxing in the sun. Plus, it's easy to maintain and lasts for years to come. Reach out to professionals like S&S Concrete, Inc. to make this simple yet effective change.

Add an Outdoor Rug

Add an outdoor rug to make your patio feel like an extension of your indoor living space. Outdoor rugs come in a variety of styles and colors, making it easy to find one that matches your decor. 

A rug adds texture and warmth to your patio that bare concrete can't provide.

Install Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting is essential for creating a cozy atmosphere on your patio. Whether you prefer string lights, lanterns, or spotlights, adding lighting to your patio will transform it into a true oasis. 

Not only does it provide illumination for nighttime gatherings, but it also adds an element of safety and security.

Invest in Comfortable Seating

Your patio won't be complete without comfortable seating. Whether you prefer a cozy lounge chair or a plush sofa, invest in high-quality outdoor furniture that's built to last. 

Outdoor furniture is designed to withstand the elements, so you don't have to worry about it rusting or fading over time.

Add Some Greenery

No outdoor space is complete without a touch of greenery. Adding plants to your patio not only adds visual interest but it also improves air quality and reduces noise pollution. 

Choose plants that thrive in outdoor conditions, such as succulents, herbs, and flowers. If you don't have a green thumb, consider investing in low-maintenance artificial plants.

Final Thoughts

With these 5 simple patio upgrades, you can create an outdoor oasis that's perfect for relaxing, entertaining, and enjoying the summer sun. 

Whether you choose to repave your patio with fresh concrete or add some greenery with plants, the key is to create a functional, stylish, and comfortable space. So, get started today and transform your patio into a beautiful retreat that you'll love spending time in!

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Tips for Sourcing Money for Large Home Projects

Do you plan to renovate your house? You may want to customize it to meet your style, or some components might require refurbishment to increase their longevity.

Whatever the reason, you need to consider several factors before starting the project. One of them is how you will fund your home improvement. There are different strategies you can use to raise the cash you need. Here are some of them.

Set Aside Some Cash at the End of the Month

Saving is one of the best ways to raise money for your home renovation. However, it may not be the best way to fund an emergency project because it might take time before you have enough money in your improvement fund. 

However, if you plan to renovate your house in the next few months or years, setting aside some cash will enable you to have a successful project. Start by deciding the amount of money you will save every month, depending on what you earn and when you plan to undertake the project. 

You may also consider using different strategies to cut costs on bills and none essentials to enable you to save more cash within a short time.

Consider Looking for a Part-Time Job

A part-time job will enable you to earn more money, which you can use on your renovation project. There are many options you might consider, including offering dog walking services, selling different products online, or offering babysitting services. 

Furthermore, you can decide to offer cab services during your free time or rent out your vehicle. You can also rent out one of your bedrooms, garage, or storage units. Then use that money to finance your project.

Consider Getting Credit

You can also consider getting credit, which might only take a few days or weeks to have the cash you need. However, it is advisable to take some time to compare different creditors to determine the one that offers the best terms. 

Bank officials can help you choose the best loan option, depending on your requirements. One of them might be taking out a home equity loan. It may be the best alternative if you've not finished paying your mortgage. The bank officer will guide you to ensure that your loan modification is successful.

If you're planning to renovate your home soon, go through the financial strategies above to enable you to find out the most favorable option. You should ensure that the strategy you choose enables you to have enough money in your account when you plan to start the project.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Services You Can Hire During Your Next Renovation Project

Deciding on your next home renovation takes you a step closer to improving your home’s general appearance and functionality. It’s a chance to give your home a new look with a different design perspective.

Home renovations not only improve the general appearance of a house but also unearth any underlying issues that you might not have known were there. 

Some renovation projects may be simple DIY tasks while others need major help to prevent an expensive disaster. For more technical or intricate projects, you can hire expert services for successful renovation and quality work.

Consider the areas that need attention in your home what professionals would be valuable in providing assistance. With that, here are some services that may prove fruitful in your renovation project.

General Contractor Services

Some renovation projects may also require you to break down a few walls. You will certainly need help with a project like that to avoid bringing your entire house down, making it advisable to hire a general contractor. The contractor works based on your budget and the project scope.

A general contractor will make layout changes, move your plumbing lines, and adjust the general structure setting of your home. 

Your project may also require certain approvals, and working with a reliable contractor ensures you acquire the certifications or licenses necessary to move forward. 

The general contractor will look at your overall plan and determine the best approach to implement new home changes. They also work cohesively with other professionals who may come in handy.

Remodeling Services

Your project may also entail installing new kitchen fixtures or replacing bathtubs and sinks with new contemporary designs. 

Bathroom or kitchen remodeling contractors can showcase unique designs, materials, and fixture options for an improved layout appeal and increased functionality. You can get better bathroom tiles or install that dream kitchen counter.

Roofing Services

The roof is also a significant aspect of major home renovation projects that require more than a few internet searches and a trip to the hardware store. 

As you improve your interior aesthetic, don’t forget about the exterior appeal or the roof that protects and completes your entire home’s structure. Consult a professional roofer to install a new roofing system with a unique design and material.

Interior Design Services

Interior design helps to add the final touch to your living space. You may think about a different painting pattern or the best furniture for your home. 

Interior design services provide insights into modern homes and may also work towards a rustic approach. You can also learn how best to maximize space and acquire better cabinets or shelves.

By relying on professionals, you can ensure a successful home renovation that gets done correctly the first time. This means you actually end up saving money, as you don’t have to hire people to come out and fix whatever might have gone wrong. 

You can also learn improved ways to renovate at low costs with new designs to actualize your home renovation vision.

Friday, August 20, 2021

How to Save More When Upgrading Your Pipes

If you’re experiencing high water bills or low water pressure, it may be time for you to upgrade your plumbing. Many people are concerned about the costs of upgrading their plumbing system, with good reason as it can get expensive. 

The good news is that there are several ways that you can save money when upgrading your pipes.

Select the Right Plumbing Layout

The design of the home is one of the factors that will determine how much you will have to pay to upgrade your pipes. The area of your home that the pipes are being installed will also affect how you have to pay to upgrade your pipes. 

There are certain areas of your home where pipes can be shared. This can help you save money.

Choose Plastic Pipes

The material that the pipe is made out of is another factor that will determine how much you have to pay for the pipes. Copper has been the standard pipe material for many years. However, it is a good idea for you to use plastic pipes because they are cheaper. 

You can choose either PVC or PEX pipes. PEX pipes are the better option because they are less likely to freeze up and burst when it gets cold. They are also lightweight and flexible.

Choose the Right Plumber

Plumbing companies charge different amounts for the same job. That is why it is a good idea for you to get multiple quotes from different plumbers. 

However, you shouldn't necessarily choose the company that offers the lowest price. The price can often be reflective of the type of work that you will get. Thus, it’s recommended that some research on the companies you’re looking at be done as well.

Make Sure That The Job Is Done Right

The proper pipe installation will help you save a lot of money. If the job is not done right, then you will waste time and material. You may have to get another plumber to correct the problem, which would cost even more money. 

That is why it is a good idea for you to vet a plumber before you hire them to do the job. Reading reviews from past customers can be helpful in determining if you want to move forward with a company.

Furthermore, you need to make sure that you have all of the permits that you need before any work is done, otherwise, you could end up spending more money on fines or getting licensed plumbers to sign off on any work done.

You don't have to pay a fortune to upgrade your pipes. Money can be saved with just a little bit of research and forethought. Finding the right plumber and pipes for the job can be done with a few quick Google searches and a little bit of reading. 

Overall, it’s important to make sure your paperwork is in order and that the job gets done correctly the first time.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

How to Get the Highest Return on Investment on Your Home Remodel

Remodeling your home is a smart move if you want to ensure a higher resale price. So many of the benefits of owning a home come when it's time to leave it; the financial gain and equity that you can build in a home can add a ton of value to your financial portfolio. 

If you have recognized that your house is going to need a bit of work before it heads to the market, it's time to start remodeling. If you're like many people, you might be questioning how you can make sure that you don't waste your money when it comes to the remodeling process. 

Don't worry -- here's a handful of our best tips for getting a great return on investment in your home remodel.

Take care of the big issues first

Structural and functional issues with your home will make it instantly unattractive to potential buyers. Bite the bullet and get the large and expensive projects out of the way. If your roof is damaged or leaky, hire a roofer. You don't want to risk trying to tackle projects that you are unfamiliar with on your own and risk damaging your house further.

Focus on aesthetics

Beyond the functional issues that need to be taken care of, the next area of focus should be how your home looks. Some projects are of course more time consuming and expensive than others. 
One of the least expensive and most beneficial projects that you can tackle is landscaping. 

Trimming overgrown shrubs and maintaining a neat and orderly lawn can add major curb appeal to your home. Your home's exterior is its first impression, so make sure that you spend some time improving it.

Replace the siding

Replacing siding is relatively cheap and easy and adds a ton of quick value to your home. Don't want to replace it altogether? Spend an afternoon power washing. This will make it look brand new without the need to reach for your tool belt.

Add outdoor elements

Adding a deck can make your home instantly more appealing to potential buyers. While it's certainly more expensive than other projects on the list, it's fairly reasonable when you consider the massive value that it can add to your home. Most buyers are eager to have an outdoor space to entertain.

Minor Kitchen Upgrades

Even just replacing cabinet doors and fixtures can drastically change the look and feel of your kitchen. You don’t have to spend a lot to get kitchen cabinets that will increase your home’s value and the quality of your kitchen.

Make the most of your remodel projects, and follow the above tips for getting the highest return on your investments.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

5 Ways to Save Money on Home Repairs

If you own a home, you know that repairs are going to be required periodically. While it is a good idea to build savings for these costs, sometimes we get caught by surprise. Whether prepared or not, everyone wants to save money on home repairs, and here are a few tips for doing that.

Do It Yourself

If you have the skill and experience, you may be able to handle basic home repairs on your own. With the help of a few youtube videos, you can probably paint the living room or replace the aging toilet with a new one. Be sure you know how to do the job before getting started, or you could end up with a bigger job for someone else to do.

Shop for Discounted Materials

If you are able to handle the job and save the cost of hiring a professional, buy discounted products, equipment, and materials whenever possible. Compare prices online and check with local building supply or home repair product stores. You can often find discounts and rebates that will keep your overall repair costs low.

Call an Expert

Several kinds of home repairs require professional assistance. Roofing, electric, plumbing, and heating problems should be handled by licensed contractors because they have the training and certifications to do the job right. 

If problems develop, you can have the company come back out to address them. The work is usually done promptly and correctly and is worth the cost you will have to pay. 

For example, a roof repair involves climbing up on the roof, maintaining balance, knowing how to fix the problem, and ensuring there are no leaks or weaknesses in the underlying structure. An expert can handle the job efficiently and safely, which can save time and money. Ask about special rates or sale prices that may apply.

Trade Services

If you know someone who is able to do the needed repair, especially if he or she is licensed and certified, you may be able to exchange services instead of monetary payment. For example, an electrician friend may be able to install a ground wire in your home in exchange for your landscaping skill in laying mulch in his yard.

Ask for Recommendations

Friends and coworkers may be able to suggest someone who can do the job more cheaply because of the referral. Ask around to see if someone knows an expert who will charge less than market value for the repair work.

Take a proactive approach to getting repairs done correctly and efficiently. The time and stress you save will be worth as much as the reduced cost.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at or Twitter @BrookeChaplan

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

4 Benefits of Installing Central Air Conditioning in an Older Home

You’ve purchased an old home, and it’s heading into summer. That means heat outside. If your home has no central air, it can also mean hot and stuffy air inside. Air conditioning was not a priority before the past few decades, and the heat may have you considering central air if you lack it. Here are four benefits of installing a central air unit in your older home.

Cooler Indoor Temperatures

Overall, it’s possible to keep a house cooler with a central air unit than it is with a few window units. Central air conditioning comes with ducts that fairly evenly distribute the refreshing cool air throughout the house. 

By keeping older window units, only the rooms that house the units will remain cool. The rest of the house could be quite warm when temperatures hit the 90 or 100 degree mark.

More Efficiency

While you may have to refer to a professional for AC system repair periodically, you will not likely have to use as much energy to keep a home cool. The reason for this is the higher efficiency that’s tied to newer models when compared with those built even 10 or 20 years ago. Better efficiency ratings mean lower costs because less energy overall will be used in the process of cooling your home.

Tax Benefits

Even though the federal rebates for energy efficiency ended recently, some states provide tax credits for the purchase of a new HVAC system that’s energy efficient. This means that the overall cost of putting in a system could be much less than the sticker price any prospective installers might quote. 

These tax credits and rebates can go a long way toward making the purchase of a new AC system affordable. Of course, it would be a good idea to check into any sate or local incentives before making the purchase.

Increased Value

Most people want air conditioning. In many parts of the country, it’s a necessity. Those who are looking for a home might not pay enough to take care of the entire cost of a new system, but people are less likely to buy a home that lacks one. Prospective buyers will pay a slight premium for AC, and this premium will probably be higher in areas in which most homes lack it.

There are many benefits that come with installing central air in an older home. Newer units are more efficient so the overall cost will be lower. You’ll also be able to enjoy more comfort when relaxing at home.

Friday, May 10, 2019

How to Make Your Home Smarter

Technology is changing the way we do everything, including basic day to day processes at home. The innovation of the smart home is making life more convenient and opening up more and cooler possibilities. Best of all? 

You don’t really need to break the bank anymore to enjoy the latest and greatest home tech. Many homebuilders are making great strides in making affordable smart homes for everyone! Here are some cool inventions that will make life easier, more efficient, and more enjoyable...

Touchscreen Deadbolt

The touchscreen deadbolt series from Schlage makes it possible to lock and unlock your home doors from a remote location. The system can also be programmed with access codes that can expire after a set length of time. For example, you can give the neighbor an access code to take a package inside and then turn off that access code. 

This lock means that you will never need a key to get inside again and the built-in security system will alert you if someone tries to force the door open or tampers with the lock. Modern smartphone integrations also make it an incredible security tool for when you’re gone on holiday or work trips.

Smart Toilet

Smart toilets have been available in Japan for a while, but they will be more readily available soon. Here are just a few of the features that come with a smart toilet:

  • Heated seat
  • Warm water spraying and air drying (no more toilet paper!)
  • Automated seat and lid lower on their own
  • Self-cleaning features (no more scrubbing)
  • Remote control capabilities
  • Music system
  • Weight, BMI, blood pressure, and blood sugar monitoring capabilities
  • Potty training assistance features
  • Sample catcher (no more visits to the doctor’s office to leave a sample!)

What could be better than a hands-free toilet that cleans itself, plays your favorite music, helps monitor your health, and keeps you feeling clean and fresh? We all spend more time in the bathroom each day than we’d like, so upgrading to a smart toilet is one way to make the necessities of life much more enjoyable.

Smart Oven & Range

LG has designed a line of appliances with their new THINQ technology. The THINQ electric oven and range boasts several features that are quite desirable for anyone who spends time in the kitchen. Here are just a few of the key features:

  • 6.3 cubic feet of space inside with three racks (LG’s largest oven ever)
  • Fastest boiling element on the range
  • Infrared cooking technology (same as used on premium outdoor grills)

This smart appliance also comes equipped with several smart features to enhance the cooking experience:

  • Use your smartphone to monitor cooking progress while away from the kitchen.
  • Verify that all of the cooking functions are off when away from home. No need to race home to make sure you turned the oven off after baking those cookies.
  • Use the LG app to browse recipes on your smartphone and then send your chosen recipe directly to the cooking unit. The unit will then automatically set the precise temperature and cooking time needed for your recipe.
  • Monitor the self-cleaning functioning while you’re away from home. This means you can clean and run errands at the same time.

Expect to pay about $600 more than the cost of the standard LG oven and range to get these added features. If you love to cook, but also have a busy and demanding schedule, this might be the solution for you.

Phone-Controlled Garage Door Openers

Garage door openers are an often overlooked amenity of your home, but they make a great difference in your quality of life. A secure, quiet, and efficient garage door opener makes your life more convenient, peaceful, and secure. 

Just like any other technology, garage door openers have been impacted by the smart home revolution, as smartphone integrated technology allows you to control your garage from your pocket, with added features of security and customization.

Crockpot WeMo

Do you love using a slow cooker? Having a slow cooker means that dinner can be cooking while you are away all day. However, what do you do when you are away longer than you expected? The new Crockpot slow cooker with WeMo makes it possible to use an app on your smartphone to control your crockpot at home. 

You can also program your crockpot with multiple functions before you leave home. For example, you can set the slow cooker to cook on low for eight hours and then switch to the warm setting until you are home. You can even use your smartphone to turn the slow cooker off. With a capacity of six quarts and a dishwasher-safe stoneware and lid, you can cook for the whole family and clean up easily too.

Sleep Number Dual Temp Layer Mattress Cover

So you are always freezing and your spouse is hotter than a firecracker. Thanks to Sleep Number, your nighttime temperature battles could be over forever. No need to find a happy medium any longer. 

Sleep Number has created a layer that fits on top of your existing mattress and makes it possible to have each side of the bed set at a different temperature. You can use a remote to program your ideal temperature and even set the timer to match your alarm clock.

While this invention may sound like a dream come true, the dream does come with a hefty price tag attached. Then again, when you think about the fact that you spend about 3,000 hours each year on average sleeping in bed, maybe this solution won’t seem quite so expensive after all.

Friday, March 16, 2018

How to Finance a DIY Home Project

If you have purchased a home that doesn’t quite have all the features you need, or if your present home needs updating, you may have a number of DIY home projects in mind. If you know your way around tools and materials, you can modernize a bathroom, create a dream kitchen or add a room to your house for less money than if you hired a contractor to do the work. 

Financing your DIY project can be done in a number of ways, if you are willing to contribute to the labor yourself.

Planning Your DIY Project

You can look at plans on the Internet to understand the various components of the project. In addition, you may wish to customize the project for your own family’s needs, which can take additional time and labor. 

Financing your project can be done by purchasing materials in cash from savings, from a home equity loan or by putting it on your credit card balance. However, keep in mind that most credit cards have a higher interest rate than a bank loan, and make sure you can pay it off quickly to avoid getting into a serious debt.

Buying Materials for Your Project

Comparative shopping for the materials required for your project can save you a significant amount on your costs. Smaller lumberyards may be willing to offer a better deal than the large home improvement store in your area. 

When choosing flooring, bathroom tiles and other items, keep your needs in line with your budget. You can quickly go over your expected cost by falling in love with high-end materials. Take advantage of pre-assembled sections that can save you time and money, such as prefabricated roof trusses from a company like Prefab Technology Pty Ltd that will help you quickly frame your home addition.

Determine Your Labor Needs

Determining the time your DIY project will take can be difficult. There are always unexpected situations that occur that can hold up your schedule. Based on the type of work that must be done, figure out the amount of time that each leg of the project will take. Add another ⅓ of time to this figure for sorting out problems or getting special help that may be needed. 

If you are doing your project on a part-time basis, this calculation may extend your completion significantly. But if other parts of the project go smoothly, you will be able to make up some time.

Contracting for Specialized Help

Some tasks for your DIY project may be more technical than you can readily do yourself, such as electrical work or plumbing. Scout a few local contractors that would be willing to assist you with the work, possibly in their slower season. This measure will ensure your project receives the expert assistance you need for safety and proper code compliance.

When your DIY project is completed, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Even the problems you encounter along the way will provide a deeper understanding of home improvement. With your careful planning, hard work and attention to detail, you can create greater function and increased value for your home.

Monday, February 9, 2015

How to Save Money on Your Next Home Remodel

When your home is no longer purely functional for your needs or when it has taken on an outdated look, a major renovation project may be in order. A renovation can transform your existing space to one that is more suitable for your needs and more accommodating to your personal sense of style. However, such an extensive project can cost a small fortune, and you may be wondering what steps you can take to save money on your upcoming remodeling project. There are a few ideas that you can consider as you prepare to remodel your home.

Choose an Experienced Contractor

Unless you know how to do most of your home renovation projects yourself, you will want to hire a professional contractor to come out and do them for you. This way you don’t make any mistakes and have to pay out more money to the general contractor to fix them. Some homeowners believe that using a contractor adds unnecessary expenses to their renovation project, but in reality, the right contractor can help you to save money while also giving you the finished results you are dreaming about. A contractor may have great working relationships with quality vendors, and these may be vendors who are known for hard work and excellent results. This can save you a small fortune on labor throughout the project. Keep in mind that it is important that you hire the right contractor. The last thing you want to do is hire another contractor to come out and fix the problems the first one may have caused.

One Project at a Tine

One of the other things that you can do is take on one project at a time. This way you are only spending money for that particular project which should allow you to save up more money for the other renovations that you would like to make. It also allows you to better maintain a budget for your home remodel.

Consider Alternative Materials

While labor costs can be expensive with a remodeling project, the same holds true for the cost of materials. There are numerous alternative materials that may be used to create a similar effect from a stylistic standpoint without the cost. For example, concrete flooring can be stained and scored to look like other materials, but it may be a fraction of the cost. Other materials like granite and marble will easily be more expensive. You can find other materials that look just as good that cost less. With that said, you may consider alternative materials to save money.

Look for Creative Design Alternatives

According to Alair Homes who specialize in major renovations in Courtenay, the design or scope of your project may also be inflating your costs unnecessarily. In some cases, it may be necessary to tear down walls, remove or add windows, move electrical fixtures or plumbing fixtures or make other significant changes to the home. However, these can all inflate the cost of a project, and it may not be necessary to do so. With creative design alternatives, you may be able to achieve similar or even better results without adding to your expenses.

A renovation project can help you to improve your home to your satisfaction, but a big project can also empty your bank account. When you are focused on saving money with your renovation project, consider how some of these ideas may be implemented effectively with your plans. Then, incorporate the ideas into your initial efforts to ensure that you move forward on a path that saves you money and that helps you to achieve the end result that you want.

Friday, August 9, 2013

5 Home Improvement Ideas To Help You Retire In Style

You have waited for 40 long working years for this day. Now it is here. The golden retirement years are upon you. You have finished your last day of work. Your co-workers have thrown a party for you, complete with cake with black icing so you all can go home looking like your teeth are falling out. Now what do you do?

The first job to tackle is home improvement. You are not getting any younger. That is apparent. Therefore, time is of the essence. Your home needs some improvements in order for you to actually have a relaxing retirement. Here are a few changes you can make to keep your home stylish while you age comfortably in your retirement years.

1. Remodel the Bathroom

As you age, you may be plagued with arthritis. It would be a good idea to redo that tiny bathroom to make it more conducive to your body. Expand the room, if possible. There may be a wheelchair in your future, so be ready for it. Add grab bars to the shower, bath tub and by the toilet.

2. Add an Exercise Room

If you have an extra bedroom that you do not need, an exercise room would be a great addition. As we age, our bones become weaker. With weight bearing exercises, you can gain back some of that bone mass with daily exercise. A home gym would do the trick.

3. Landscaping

With retirement comes travel. Less time for yard work. A good landscaper can show you how to redo your lawn to eliminate some of that work. Replacing mulch with rock will eliminate yearly re-mulching. Add bushes and trees that tend to themselves and do not require constant trimming.

4. Add a Spa

You may be feeling your age already. Imagine how nice a spa would be? Customize a spa or hot tub for your back yard and feel those aches and pains diminish as the hot water swirls around you. Imagine relaxing in your spa with a good book to while away your time.

5. Patio

A beautiful refurbished patio surrounding your new customized spa will add to the ambiance of your hot tub experience. Your guests will love it as well.

Retirement is a time for fun, relaxing and enjoying your home. With these improvements, you will be well on your way to your golden years of relaxation.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Home Improvement Tips to Save Money This Summer

Summer means great outdoor weather, fishing trips, lying on the beach, camping with the family, BBQ with the neighbors, and many more fun activities. On the other hand, it also means having to deal with soaring electricity bills because of the oppressive heat. Homeowners can push back by initiating fairly simple renovations geared towards reducing power consumption. They can finance these projects with a small fund and recoup the cost through long-term savings. Some excellent examples are listed below: 

Seal the Gaps

Air can leak through tiny cracks on the walls as well as through gaps around doors and windows. These force the cooling system to work extra hard to maintain the desired temperature. A practical way to deal with this is to use caulk to seal the cracks. Weather stripping can also be employed when necessary. These are low cost, high impact solutions to the energy problem. The first thing to do is to locate each of the air leaks. Utility companies may offer this service for free or charge a nominal fee. List them down and sealed them off starting with the biggest gaps for maximum effect.

Insulate the Shell

Heat can quickly build up inside the house if the walls and ceilings are not properly insulated. Remedy the situation and slash up to 30% off of the problematic air-conditioning bills. The type of insulation that should be used depends on the existing house materials and the particular application. There's fiberglass, vermiculite, urethane foam, rigid foam, cellulose, and mineral-fiber, among others. Hire a reputable contractor for this project to ensure a thorough sweep. Good insulation keeps homes cool in the summer and warm in the winter so this project will be beneficial all year long.

Mind the Windows

During daytime, draw the curtains to let the sunlight in. Having the rooms bathed in natural light means that the artificial ones can be kept off until night falls. The windows could even be flung open to allow the breeze to flow inside the house. Opening two opposite windows creates cross-ventilation, a technique to cool the house naturally by promoting air circulation. Of course, if the air-conditioning unit needs to be used then the windows have to be closed shut. Consider replacing them with modern argon-filled double glazed windows, which have better insulating properties.

Color It Light

Physics has taught us that dark colors absorb light, which explains why dark things heat up faster than light ones. This is also why we wear light-colored clothing during summer. It only makes sense to do the same for our homes. Dark roofs contribute to the heat inside the house. If the roof is painted with a more reflective coating, then the interiors could remain relatively cool despite the harsh summer sun. The air-conditioner will not have to draw as much power as before to do its job, reducing the energy bills to a more manageable level.

Maintain Efficiency

Cooling systems must undergo periodic maintenance to make sure that they continue to operate at peak efficiency. Oftentimes, problems with the air-conditioner can be traced to clogged filters. Clean these regularly for better cooling. Check the ducts for any leaks and seal them off right away. Insulate parts that run through unconditioned spaces so that they don't affect the air temperature.

These simple home improvement tips are easy to finance and are certain to result in substantial savings. Consider implementing some or all of them to bring down the cost of your energy bills so that summer can go back to being the fun season that it was always meant to be.

Author Bio
William Stevens is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to technology. In this article, he describes a few home improvement techniques to save money and aims to encourage further study with an Ohio University Online Master in Electrical Engineering

Friday, May 24, 2013

4 Ways to Have a Home from the Future Right Now

Everybody wants to be ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest household furnishings and home goods. But, when trading contemporary style for trends of the not-so-distant future, there are certain elements every homeowner should keep in mind. Here are just a few ways homeowners can integrate the future into their furnishings without waiting for the next millennium. 

1. Furniture Ahead of the Times

In terms of futuristic furniture, items don't necessarily have to be light years ahead to function like they're from the future. Modular designs can make a tired living room look like the next interior design movement. Mod furniture, like two-in-one table fridges are space conscious and stylishly advanced.

And truly futuristic furniture that's both aesthetically pleasing and technically advanced is available for the modern times. Tech-savvy "smart beds" not only automatically adjust firmness by sensing pressure points in the body, they can also adjust room temperature depending on a person's resting body temperature. 

2. Artificial Intelligence for the Home

Homeowners looking for futuristic elements throughout the home should look no further than smart home systems. A smart home allows the homeowner to control everything from room temperature to the adjusting of drapery and window blinds to the drawing of a hot bath all from a handheld tablet or smart phone.

As an added benefit, smart home systems can even integrate security into a home's intelligence. Intuitive security features such as remote security system arming, lights that turn on automatically from room to room, and advanced security cameras that can tell the difference between trespassers and guests are all on the market now. 

3. Advanced Appliances

A home is only as futuristic as the appliances within it. So it's no surprise there are more and more appliances coming out every day that seem to outsmart their users. Take, for instance, ovens that automatically bake meals to perfection just based on food type. Not only that, but meal presets are available to achieve that same great taste every time.

What about a refrigerator that reminds people when it's time to pick up more eggs or that the milk has reached its expiration date? Well, grocery-list-savvy fridges are available today, and they're ready to keep you in the know about your dairy. 

4. Home Efficiency

Alternative energy is going to play an important role in the future, so why not have an energy-efficient house now? Solar panel shingles and auto-darkening windows that adjust to sunlight intensity are just the beginning of energy-conscious homes.

Also, on the market this very moment are heating and cooling systems that are aware of the seasons. In other words, a home's temperature can adjust according to outdoor temperatures, while the homeowner is at work or out-of-town. So now the homeowner can save the planet while saving money on heating and cooling.

From beds that have the homeowner's comfort in mind to houses that run off tablets, it's possible for your future home to take place in the present.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Most Efficient Ways of Improving Your Home

Our homes are always a project for the man of the house: minor or major improvements are in their eyes a way to increase the value of the house should you decide to sell it in a market where, when prices drop, having the house that is most attractive to buyers because of the improvements you made makes it also the one that sells and maybe also with some thousands of dollars extra to the end price.

And even if you do not want to sell it, due to reasons such as memories of your kids growing up and your family expanding and then moving on to their own families or simply the place where your presents and futures were built brick by brick, a change can bring psychological comfort, at the least.

The tricky part is to get as much (preferably more) money or satisfaction from the improvement than you actually put into it. We have to be more financially savvy, as a retired accountant suggests. I mean, even if you do not sell it, we have to get that house feel like a vacation house every single day, so that your retirement could be enjoyable and something to look forward to.

Moreover, more and more people have become very concerned with environment protection, so you will have to think of Eco-friendly solutions for you, your children, your children’s children and so on. Doing all of this on a budget will require some serious planning.  


I’ve always admired the elegance of natural stone and where better to find it than in the bathroom. Granite bathroom tops are affordable, elegant and all around excellent to achieve exactly this. Adding some new faucets and maybe a mirror, you could easily remodel a bathroom for under $500. The first thing is to order all the necessary materials and only begin when all of them are at your disposal. Freshen up the old vanity if it is still in good shape by painting it. This is a simple modification that will last no more than 2 days.


As the kitchen is considered to be at the heart of your house, investments you make on a remodel can be expected to return 60-%120% of what you put in considering you don’t overdo it. It is important that the remodeling reflects the general feel of the house so do not go overboard with deluxe kitchens if the neighborhood and the house are cozy or historic.

 Eco-Friendly Solutions

It is common knowledge that environmentally friendly home improvements are somewhat expensive, but if you don't have the necessary funds to invest in sustainable materials, and energy sources, this doesn't mean that you can't help out mother Earth. The most convenient solution would be to take care of your garbage in a green way. Instant Waste, for example, 
offers a safe and environmentally responsible solution to unwanted waste. Removing waste goes hand in hand with planting eco plants such as trees and making use of other additional eco solutions such as buying light bulbs or eco household appliances that help lower the energy bill and maintain the health of our surroundings. This may not seem like much, but it is more than most people do.

Energy Efficient Insulation

One of the most important aspects when trying to sell a house is insulation: home inspectors will include old doors that allow air through into their reports and since a house that is not energy efficient costs more to live in and to maintain, it may just be that you will wait longer for your buyer than you expected. There are simple, low budget things that can be easily done, like insulating the attic ($200) which will save you hundreds of dollars on utility bills. Sealing off cracks is another cheap improvement that will also contribute to a more efficient home.


It is not easy at first to try reinventing a room but adding some square footage to your home will surely broaden your perspective, although it can be quite an expensive project simply because more often than not the project cost can easily spin out of control. So instead of this be creative, use the attic and turn it into a bedroom, remodel the basement or add small apartments over your garage (and even inside it). There are some situations where demolishing walls or rafters are unavoidable but there are some concerns you need to address before doing so. More often than not you can use the space as other rooms.

Be sure to always have the basic updates in check: the simple things will be those which will give the most value to your home. I mean fresh paint, roof maintenance, wood replacement, mold prevention. Even though such chores are not always the most pleasant, they keep your home from losing value over time and since most buyers are looking for solid, healthy-looking homes they will be sure to check each corner. And when they see a well-cared for home, buyers will not think twice and will surely put down an offer immediately. 

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