How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

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As the cost of living continues to rise, so does the energy price. For most homeowners, energy costs are now a constant overhead. It’s easy to forget that the small things we do in our daily lives can make a big difference. Fortunately, there are many simple ways to make your home more energy-efficient. It won’t cost you a fortune, and you’ll immediately see results. A few changes can make a lot of difference.

Turn your thermostat down
If you turn your thermostat down, you’ll help conserve energy without sacrificing comfort. Lowering the temperature by even five degrees can save you over $100 a year. You’ll also see other benefits, like fewer allergies and a healthier home. The recommended temperature for your thermostat to keep your home heated and save you money is 68 degrees, as suggested by Energy.gov.

Install a programmable thermostat
Programmable thermostats are a great way to make sure your home is comfortable, whether you’re away or not. You can set them for specific temperatures for your home. This will ensure no room is left cooling or heating unnecessarily. They’re also easy to program. After a few easy steps, you can control your system from your smartphone.

Install LED light bulbs
LED light bulbs have no filament and last up to 10 years. This makes them more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. They’re also more affordable and cheaper than many CFLs. The key with LED light bulbs is to use them correctly. If you leave them on 24/7, they’ll use a lot of energy. When you’re away, they should be off.

Invest in energy-efficient windows and doors
A lot of energy is lost through the glass in your windows and doors. If they are damaged, you will be losing a lot of heat through your windows. Typically a house can lose up to 10% of its heat via the windows; this is more if your windows are damaged.

It can be worth fixing any damage to your windows to see if this improves their energy efficiency or have them replaced altogether. Newer windows are more energy-efficient, including hurricane protection windows which provide you with an extra layer of security if you live in an area that experiences frequent extreme weather conditions.

Seal any drafts
Having a drafty home can be disheartening, but it also consumes a lot of energy. If your house is drafty, it could be because the roof lets the warm air escape. One easy way to solve this problem is to seal any holes in your roof. And don’t just use roof membranes; you’ll need to get the holes in the roof sealed.

You should also seal any drafty spaces with caulk or weather stripping so that air doesn’t flow into your walls. This will help make your home more energy-efficient by reducing wasted heat. Another option is to install siding to your home and insulation for added support to help you improve your home’s energy efficiency.

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4 Projects that will Drive Your Home’s Curb Appeal Through the Roof

When it comes to your home, you want it to look its best. The exterior is just as important as the interior, and it’s the first thing that people see when they visit. If you’re looking to improve your home’s curb appeal, then read on! This blog post will discuss four projects that will drive your home’s curb appeal through the roof!

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1) Pressure wash your home’s exterior

This will remove any dirt, grime, or mildew that has built up over time. Pressure washing your home’s exterior is a great way to improve its curb appeal instantly. Not only will it remove any dirt, grime, or mildew that has built up over time, but it will also make your home look brighter and more inviting. Plus, it’s a relatively inexpensive project that you can do yourself in just a few hours.

If you don’t have a pressure washer, you can rent one from most hardware stores. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to avoid damaging your home’s siding or trim. Or, you could also consider utilising a pressure washing service to help you out. Once you’ve pressure washed your home’s exterior, it’s time to move on to the next project.

2) Paint your front door

Your front door is one of the first things that people see when they visit your home, so make sure it’s looking its best. A fresh coat of paint is a great way to improve your front door’s curb appeal. When choosing a colour, go for something that will complement your home’s siding and trim. If you’re not sure what colour to choose, ask for help at your local hardware store.

Once you’ve chosen a colour, simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions to apply the paint. This project should only take a few hours and will make a big difference in your home’s curb appeal. Then, once you’ve chosen and applied the paint, stand back and admire your handiwork!

3) Plant some flowers

Flowers are a great way to add colour and life to your home’s exterior. When choosing plants, be sure to pick ones that will thrive in your area. Once you’ve chosen the perfect plants, simply follow the instructions on the back of the packaging to plant them. This project will take a few hours, but it’s well worth it! With a little time and effort, you can easily transform your home’s curb appeal with this simple project.

4) Clean your gutters and downspouts

Your gutters and downspouts play an important role in protecting your home from water damage. However, they can also be a major eyesore if they’re not cleaned on a regular basis. Luckily, cleaning your gutters and downspouts is a relatively easy project that you can do yourself. Simply remove any debris from your gutters and downspouts, and then rinse them with a hose to remove any remaining dirt or grime.

In conclusion, these four projects are a great way to improve your home’s curb appeal. Pressure washing your home’s exterior, painting your front door, planting some flowers, and cleaning your gutters and downspouts are all relatively easy projects that you can do yourself. Plus, they’ll make a big difference in the way your home looks.

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Completing a Long-Distance Move: How to Get Organized

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A long-distance move is typically more stressful to handle compared to any other time you need to move home. Not only do you have to pack and move all your stuff, but you’re also going hundreds or maybe even thousands of miles away. Trying to get everything organized when your final destination is so far away is often extremely difficult. It’s harder to get everything sorted out on the other end because you can’t just make a quick trip there. But you can start to organize yourself so that your move goes more smoothly. Here’s what you need to do to get yourself in order.

Put a Binder Together

A binder of all of the information that you need for your move can be really helpful if you’re trying to get organized. You can have various papers, contracts, and receipts to keep track of, and sometimes you need to find them quickly. And if your long-distance move is an international one, you’ll need to make sure you have any visa or customs paperwork available too. Put everything you need in one place, including things like moving checklists, important phone numbers, and things you might need after your move, such as medical records.

Plan Your Trip

You will need to plan your journey to get to your new home, including how you’ll be getting there and whether you will be traveling with your possessions. You might decide to hire a moving truck and drive all of your things to your new home. Perhaps you’ll hire movers to move your stuff while you drive or fly to your destination. Choosing a date and organizing exactly how your move is going to take place will ensure you’ve created a solid plan. Don’t leave it too late to start making concrete plans for your move.

Arrange Your Movers

Booking your movers is definitely something that you don’t want to leave too late. You need to make sure you can find the right company at the right price, and that they’re available for your desired date. You will probably want to look for movers that specialize in cross country moving so that they will offer the services and experience that you require. When you’re looking for the right company, check that they are fully insured and will protect your possessions. Some companies might also offer useful storage options, which can be helpful when you need to go ahead of or behind your things.

Separate Your Stuff

Moving long-distance can give you a good chance to clean out your home. Rather than move everything you have, including all the junk you should have got rid of a long time ago, you can be more selective about what comes to your new home. Decide what you want to throw out, what to recycle, what to donate, and what to sell. You might also want to put some things in storage if you don’t need them right away or don’t know what to do with them yet.

Moving long-distance might be stressful but if you start to get organized early, you can make it easier.

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Are Your Family’s Finances Safe for the Long-Run?

While catch phrases like “YOLO” and “seize the day” may be appropriate in certain situations, it’s always better to evoke a sense of caution when it comes to your money. Making preparations in advance may be really advantageous, particularly if you have a spouse or children. Here are some methods you may use to ensure your financial security in the future.

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Take charge of your finances now.
You may not find budgeting exciting, yet it can have a huge impact on your financial circumstances. In the event that you’ve found yourself counting down the days till your next paycheck, now is the time to take charge of your finances. Many of us overspend because we don’t regularly review our bank accounts or look at our spending patterns. Making and adhering to a budget might help you avoid unpleasant shocks and start saving for the future. As soon as you’ve jotted down the amount of money that comes into your account, make a list of every regular outbound payment, such as your rent or mortgage payment, home expenses, and groceries. Then add one-time expenses for the month ahead, like a weekend away. You can figure out how much money you have to spend by comparing your expenses to your income. If you have any extra money, you may put it in a savings account and use it as a rainy day fund, an investment, or a special treat like a vacation. Sometimes spending means taking out loans to help with larger expenditures. Take the time to compare credit before committing to something because you could end up in serious debt.

Invest in insurance to safeguard your valuables.
The protection of your family and your possessions is essential for anybody who has a family, owns a company, or is a homeowner. Having a will and purchasing insurance are two ways to do this. With no will in place, you should seek the guidance of an expert attorney in wills, trusts, and probate. The beneficiaries of your estate will be protected if you die. A death benefit from life insurance might be reassuring if you have a property or dependent children to consider. Making these types of arrangements is never pleasant, but it is useful to be prepared for any eventuality. You can save both time & expense by using online insurance comparison services when you’re looking for a policy.

Invest in yourself
If you’re wanting to increase your savings balances or build a retirement fund, it’s a good idea to look into prospective options to grow your money. Investing in real estate or stocks and shares, for example, is an option. Be sure to obtain advice from experts and assess the dangers before making a big investment. If you’re considering purchasing a rental property, do your homework on the area, select your ideal buyer or renter, and establish a budget that won’t put you in a tight spot financially.

There’s no way to predict what the future may bring, which is why it’s beneficial to plan ahead and handle your money properly.

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Get a good and honest contractor.

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About two weeks ago, we had some minor repairs done in our home. Leaky faucets, broken lights, busted pipes, and some minor fixes that took too long to be taken care of. These days, it is very hard to find an honest and professional custom house contractor. You can find one, yes, but it really is a risk because there are good ones and there are really bad ones.

This reminds me of my friend’s experience when they had their old house taken down to make way for a new condominium-type of house consisting of five floors. My friend, her parents, and her siblings planned the house construction for several months. They made sure to get a good architect (and they did), account every possible cost they would spend (they barely managed), and to get a rental just in front of their house to make sure that they could monitor the construction properly (they were able to). They made a list of contractors and chose the one who was a friend of her sister. They thought that getting someone they know would be an advantage, someone who would not cheat them or do a mediocre work. Well, they thought wrong.

The contractor did build their five-storey house. Each floor looked like a tiny condominium unit. The ground floor included a laundry area and a dirty kitchen. The fifth floor became their roof deck. The fa├žade of the house was really aesthetically pleasing enough to get the attention of their neighbors who asked them about their contractor. A few days after they moved into their new house, the problems started surfacing one after another. Most of those problems were minor fixes. What made their heads ache was the plumbing. The thing that they didn’t think of was the one problem that cost them over their budget.

The pipes used were substandard. There were odd sounds coming from the pipes, the drains were sluggish, and the water pressure was low. They asked the contractor about it and he said that he made do with what was left of the budget. That was his reason. He did not consult with the family to tell them the shortage in budget. The minor problems like paint, alignment of windows, and some other stuff were okay with the family. It was fixed easily by my friend’s husband and brothers-in-law. But the plumbing…

In the end, they got a new professional to re-do their plumbing. They shelled out quite a sum just to ensure that they would not encounter any problem in the future. True to the professional’s word, the plumbing was fixed and there were no issues even years later.

Get a good, honest, professional contractor. Make sure that there is a signed agreement so when there are issues in the future, you have something to show and use to enforce compliance.

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Cleaning Up Your Backyard in Time for Summer

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Over the winter, your backyard can become somewhat neglected. You probably aren’t using it as much, so you don’t pay as much attention. On top of that, the colder weather is likely to leave your landscaping looking a little raggedy and it can take a while to recover. When spring starts to arrive and you begin to think about using your backyard more, it’s a good time to think about getting it ready in time for summer. You won’t necessarily be able to make it look beautiful right away, but you can definitely start to clean up and prepare the space for the summer months.

Do the following things to get your backyard ready in time for summer and you’ll be able to enjoy everything that it has to offer.

Start By Tidying Up

Your backyard might look a bit of a mess after the winter months. It can end up covered in various debris or maybe you even have various furniture, tools, and other things that have been left lying around. If you’ve experienced storms over the winter, it might have caused a mess in your backyard, too. So the first thing that you can do is tidy up and start putting things in their rightful place. There might be some things that you choose to get rid of if you no longer want or need them in your backyard.

Pick Up Old Leaves and Branches

One of the reasons your backyard might look pretty messy is that there could be old leaves, branches, and other vegetation lying around. This might be left over from the fall and winter if you haven’t had time to clean it up. Collecting it all and throwing it out can immediately refresh your yard and make it look a lot better. You can often use this stuff to make compost or mulch, which you can then use to help grow a beautiful new lawn or garden. But if not, you can use a natural refuse service to take it away.

Clean Paving and Decking

If you have any paving or decking, it can get very grubby during the winter. Fortunately, it’s not that hard to start cleaning up and make it look like new again. Take a look at this pavers cleaning guide to help you get started with how to clean your paving. Pressure washing is often the fastest and most effective way of getting everything as clean as you want it to be. You just blast off the dirt, moss, weeds, and other things that might be making your paving or decking look untidy. You can reveal the true color underneath and immediately have a better-looking backyard.

Take Care of Your Lawn

If your backyard has a lawn, you should start to assess its health in spring so you can get it ready for summer. There are lots of things you can do to improve the health of your lawn and help it look good as it starts to get warmer. By the time summer arrives, you can have a beautiful green lawn for your kids to play on, for your dog, or just for you to enjoy looking at.

Some of the things you should be doing include aerating the soil, seeding to fill in any bare patches, and fertilizing to help with growth.

Weed and Prune

When you’re dealing with weeds in your backyard, you need to find ways to remove them without harming other plants. You could choose to pull up some weeds by hand or you might use a weed treatment to kill them off. You can also prevent weeds from occurring in different places by, for example, treating your paving or using mulch around your plants. Pruning is a good task for your backyard spring cleaning too. It will allow you to cut back on anything overgrown and can also encourage growth in the plants you want to flourish in the summer.

Fill Out Your Landscaping

Your backyard can look kind of bare after the winter. Hopefully, it starts to regrow when spring arrives, but you might have to give it a helping hand. Spring is the right time to start thinking about planting new things and adding to your landscaping so your backyard will be in full bloom when summer arrives. You might want to replant any plants that didn’t last the winter or anything new that has caught your eye.

Get started on cleaning your backyard and you can be prepared for summer, with a relaxing space that you can use however you want.

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Next-door renovations.

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It has been more than two months since the noise next-door began. Home renovation. When the clock hits eight in the morning, the noise starts. It will last until around eleven in the morning, and will resume around one in the afternoon. It will all come to a halt at five in the afternoon. Eight to five all week long except on Sundays.

In the beginning, we would get annoyed with the noise. We are all nocturnal in the family so we are still up past midnight, most nights. We would get up a bit after nine-ish in the morning. So, you can just imagine how annoying it gets to be awakened by the noise of hammering and drilling almost every single day since then. But the neighbor’s house contractor was considerate and respectable enough to ask for our understanding in a letter before they began the renovations. And it was a big deal for me that they talked to us in person as well to ask for our patience and understanding because the house next-door is being eaten by termites already so they need to salvage it as best they can.

After about two weeks, we started getting used to the noise. It became tolerable. Also, to better understand what’s happening next-door, my brother and I took interest. We began talking to the contractor and the workers during their break time. We thought it best to see what’s being done and when we saw what they did to the laundry area, it gave us an insight as to what we want done to ours, too. The contractor told us that we need to get the house checked, or the particular part of the house for that matter. Then, a plan will be drawn, with the budget alongside it. It is important to use high quality and affordable building supplies for home renovation projects. The contractor said it is better to always have a contingency fund ready because some issues in the house can come up while renovating it.

They are still going at it. But we talked to the contractor already, my brother and I. We are seriously considering getting the laundry area done once they are done next-door. We will come up with a plan and budget. And then we will set a timeline so it won’t take them too long to do it.

Hopefully, the noise will not be as annoying as when the next-door renovations started. And the neighbors will be as understanding as us.

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