Home and Garden

Energy Savers: Reducing the Costs of Your Cooling

Home and Garden

Save Cooling EnergyStatistics indicate that an average homeowner spends about $375 on air conditioning. These bills can drive anyone insane, especially during summer when cooling is of utmost importance. The good news is that you can save electricity and avoid having to part with huge repair bills.

Here are a few ways you can save on energy with your cooling unit:

Research before buying an air conditioner

Having a big AC for small room will only translate to more energy. Consult an HVAC technician to ensure that you get a properly sized system that will give you the much desire comfort. Look for an ENERGY STAR label when buying an AC for your home.

Replace old AC with a new, energy efficient one

An old air conditioning unit may not run efficiently and may end up requiring constant repairs. As the technicians of LaSalle Heating and Air Conditioning explain, replacing your AC with a new one will ensure that your home is cool and that your energy bills remain low over time.

Replace air filters

Replace air filters every month to maintain cooling performance and efficiency. Air filters tend to get clogged, which, in turn, disrupts the flow of air and causes the AC to overwork. This leads to high utility bills in the end. Be sure to check your vents, as they can also collect dirt and dust.

Set your thermostat

Investing in a programmable thermostat will save you from high energy bills. A programmable thermostat helps you control the temperature during the day when you are out. Experts estimate that you can save up to $150 a year when you use a programmable thermostat.

Maintain your unit regularly

If you want to keep your AC in great condition, basic maintenance is a must. Call an air conditioning expert to check your ducts and close off the vents that may be causing the unit to run on more energy.

Everyone longs to come home to a cool environment, especially during hot, humid days. Do not wait for your AC to break down. Contact an HVAC technician to examine and detect the problems that your air conditioner may have. This will not only save you money, but also from a great deal of inconvenience.

Drivers’ Dilemma: 3 Smart Ways to Get Rid of Your Old Car

Home and Garden

There will come a point in time where you have to give up your beloved car after years of owning it. It may be because you’re planning to get a new one or it’s no longer working as well as it used to be. This is when you have to decide how to get rid of it based on your current needs and priorities. Here are three of the best ways to do so, which comes with their own specific benefits.

Finding a Buyer

This is probably the most conventional way to sell your used car. Although you may get the most money out of this, it can also turn out as a long, tiring process. The part that will challenge you the most is finding a buyer. But, once you do so, you can start negotiating about the price. Keeping your car in good condition and undergoing a few minor repairs or upgrades can help you increase its selling price.

Consulting a Wrecker

Finding a car wrecker you can trust so you could sell old parts and scrap metals is probably the best option if your car isn’t at its best condition anymore. The main benefit of this is you don’t have to find a buyer anymore and seal a deal with all the paperwork. For every usable part of your car, an auto wrecker will make an offer that depends on its current market value.

Donating to Charity

More and more people are now choosing to donate cars because of its main benefit: tax exemption. There’s also a sense of fulfilment because you will feel the joy of giving. Find a charity that supports and advocacy you believe in so that your donation would mean more to you. Once done, just make sure you have all the necessary paperwork to validate your tax exemption claim.

Your choice should depend on how you want to handle this and how much money you need out of your old car. Think it over many times to avoid making the wrong decision.

What to Consider When Scouting for a Reliable Gas Conversion Service Provider

Home and Garden

A quality fireplace will come in handy during the cold season. Advancement in technology has led to development of modern fireplaces that are more economical on power and planet-friendly. If you have a traditional fireplace, it is a good ideal to hire a gas conversion expert to reconstruct it for you. Ensure that a professional who has the skills and expertise required to get the job done installs it.

One of the benefits of having a gas fireplace is that it is economical and more efficient when compared with wooden and electric fireplaces. More importantly, gas is more affordable than electricity, and this makes it an ideal choice for homeowners that want to save money and promote environmental wellness.

Here are some factors that you should put into consideration when hiring a gas conversion expert in Utah.

Experience

To be on the safe side, it’s prudent to hire a professional in this niche who not only has the academic qualifications but also experience in installing fireplaces. A background check can help you to know the experience that any particular expert on your list has before making your final decision.

Legal Accreditation

There are organizations whose main mandate is to ensure that all fireplace providers have the skills and expertise required to deliver quality services. Only those who meet the stipulated guidelines get legal accreditation papers such as licenses. Hence, ensure that the expert you hire is legally accredited.

Affordability

Go an extra mile; compare and contrast the service packages offered by different experts to find one that best fits in your budget.

Installing a modern fireplace in your home is one of the guaranteed ways of adding value, comfort, and elegance to your home. Consider the above factors to make the right decision and get value for your money.

From Ideas to Blueprints: Drafting Your Home Improvement

Home and Garden

Whether upgrading for your own personal comfort or for resale value, it is important that every home improvement that you have in mind is planned. Even if there are thousands of promotions out there that promise cheap renovations and expansion and a short period to make it happen – remember that such additions will stay for a long time.

This requires a great degree of thought and consultation with experts in home additions in Perth to make it work.

Real Experts, Real Skills

There are more than a thousand blueprints available for download on the Internet. This may seem really convenient, but do not fall into this trap, because these ready-made blueprints have been made for a specific home and a specific space in mind.

To maximise the space, customise a plan for your own home. You will be surprised at how much better the construction will turn out. Consult with your chosen expert of home additions in Perth and relay to them your vision. It is important that they see the space firsthand as well so that they can assess the capacity as well as the renovations needed.

Playing Up the Materials

One notable home improvement that people miss out on is playing up on the materials. There is so much opportunity to dramatically change your home with the help of an additional section or room in the house. You can use a variety of materials to change the way it looks as well as to try a different material that can potentially strengthen it.

Be sure to sift through materials that may serve as a good model for your home. Save images for inspiration and communicate well with your builder. After all, you don’t want to redo any of it. Do it once, and do it well.

Home Repairs You Are Likely to Put Off, But Shouldn’t

Home and Garden

Admit it. There are home repairs that follow you around the house like a cat asking for a belly rub. You hide and you put if off. Whether it is a broken garage door, a running toilet, or something else, these issues you are holding up are more likely to lead to bigger and majorly expensive problems down the road.

Broken Garage Door

A broken-in garage door or an unhinged end causes inconvenience to the entire household during busy mornings and long days. Save yourself an entire replacement project by calling your nearest garage door repair services. Salt Lake City is home to many experienced repair crews and builders anyway.

Dirty Vent Filters

It’s too easy to forget to change the vent filters each month, but you may want to rethink this bad habit as it will cost you a lot of extra bucks in the future. This tedious chore is worth doing if you don’t want to replace it with new ones and if you want to keep your utility bills down.

Leaking Pipes

Letting the water soak into various parts of your house will take you into deeper waters—and quite literally, too. The issue will certainly lead to a multitude of costly damage in the future, so deal with the leaky pipe as soon as you can to avoid a dent in your savings.

Running Toilet

You might think it just takes a few seconds longer to flush the toilet, but there is trouble underneath this. If it goes on untended, the water will continue to run for even longer, leading to a major water bill at the end of the month. Consult local plumbers for a cheap toilet tune-up to avoid big spending.

Cracks

Small cracks might look harmless and are easy to dismiss. Once a crack gets wide enough for a pencil to fit into it, then expect it to become trouble. Correct this problem immediately before it expands into an even costlier repair.

These home problems can be dealt with in just a single day. Better face the hassle of the repair today than buckle underneath the bill that comes if you wait for another month. Laziness can actually cost you an arm and a leg.

More Affordable Options for Building Your Own Home

Home and Garden

The inflation in real estate and housing materials makes owning a house a great challenge. Many people settle for rental apartments or resold houses. Other people who want to build their own have to wait patiently for loan application grants or spend years saving, just to make their dream home a reality.
Fortunately, there are different building options that are more budget-friendly. Here are just a few ways you can save up on construction expenses:

Pre-Fabricate your House

Considering modular type of homes for sale is one of the most cost-efficient home-building techniques in the market. The process involves creating the house parts in a controlled facility before assembling it and attaching it to the foundation at the desired location. This reduces the on-site preparations that may involve more fees and charges.

Not being affected by weather delays makes the process faster than traditional construction. The sooner you get your home built, the fewer the expenses on the construction crew. In the long run, pre-fabricated homes help you save on energy costs due to their environmental efficiency.

House by the Hill

Problematic lots like the hillside or narrow properties tend to have lower market value. Many homeowners refuse to consider such areas due to the possible limitations on the house design. With the proper research and the right contractor, you can maximise the location’s potential. The land condition may even give you additional perks like scenic views or a private hill garden.

DIY

Save up on housing materials and construction expense by building your own home. Container van houses, earth bag shelters, and other unusual house materials are currently the trend in some countries. There are even people building their own houses out of natural materials. You can do the same by looking around demolished areas and old warehouses for materials you can still use. Do some research, ask around and collaborate with more knowledgeable people to achieve your ideal design.

You have many options to build your dream house minus the high construction costs. Avoid additional expenses by shortening the building time, choosing a less-marketed lot, or being open to the use of unconventional materials.

Outdoor Shutters: A Good Idea for an Energy-Efficient House

Home and Garden

Many homeowners these days would rather use their air conditioning and heating systems less often because these appliances increase energy consumption. One cost-effective solution to regulating indoor temperature is the installation of outdoor shutters. These products can help keep heat from getting out and minimise the amount of cold air that goes inside the house.

Apart from providing a low-cost, natural means of climate control, outdoor shutters also offer several other benefits. These include the following:

Additional privacy

Outdoor shutters give your home some added privacy if you haven’t installed curtains or internal blinds. They help keep your home safe from prying eyes. Outdoor shutters also shield your valuables from potential burglars, effectively deterring them from carrying out their dastardly deeds.

Energy savings

Outdoor shutters can help with your energy budget. In summertime, they deflect the heat and minimize the need for air conditioning. During colder months, the shutters keep warm air from going through the glass so you won’t have to turn on artificial heating systems. These benefits allow you to save on energy bills even long after you’ve installed the shutters.

Minimal maintenance

Most outdoor shutters available in Perth are easy to clean. Apart from requiring less maintenance, they also reduce the amount of work needed to clean the window glass. They keep dust from accumulating on the window itself as well as on surrounding fittings.

Windows are an important part of every home. They are the source of natural light that improves the appearance and mood of the interior space. This doesn’t mean, however, that you don’t have any need for outdoor shutters.
Installing outdoor shutters offers your home both practical and aesthetic benefits. They protect the windows from dirt and the elements while providing additional privacy. It also doesn’t hurt that they improve the look of your home from the outside.

The Importance of Maintaining Your Home’s Plumbing

Home and Garden

For many, good plumbing simply means that your toilet flushes and there is water in the sink. Because of how complicated the prospect of tackling a system of pipes and drainages is, many do not give it a second thought. It is important, however, to be aware of the risks of faulty plumbing. Here are just a few of them:

Dreaded leaks

Companies such as PerryPlumbing.com agree that “the most basic and common problem you might experience with your plumbing system is leakage.” Most of the time, you will only find out that you pipes are leaking when you see your next bill or when you suddenly run out of water. The biggest danger, however, is that a leak makes your entire plumbing system susceptible to contamination.

Water leaks can also physically damage your home, regardless if it is made of wood or concrete. The risks range from ‘simple’ bathroom leaks to entire renovations that can be costly depending on the damage.

A higher risk of infection

As most bacteria thrive in water, having faulty plumbing in your home increases the risk of infections. Legionella, for example, can spread through plumbing systems and is responsible for most waterborne diseases in the United States. If your plumbing is faulty, chances are the chlorination system has been compromised, which means that bacteria and other harmful organisms will thrive.

These are just some of the dangers you expose yourself when you have faulty plumbing in your home. When you do face a potentially disastrous plumbing problem, it is better off that you leave the work to the professionals, as they are more experienced in handling these situations. Your plumbing system may not be your biggest priority, but you should pay attention to it. After all, no household is safe from the damage that leaks can cause.

Top Tips to Prepping Your Home for Sale

Home and Garden

For homeowners planning to sell their home, the steps taken before putting a property up for sale are crucial. It takes more than tidying and decluttering. Real property buying is competitive, and sometimes, all it takes to stand out and get the price you want is a fresh coat of paint.

Adding an Extension

Major alterations in terms of living space can not only attract more buyers who want a more spacious accommodation, but also take your property to a different price level in the field of property and house valuation. Perth buyers prioritise space and comfort.

Go for alterations that produce more living space, such as extending the kitchen to an al fresco dining area at the back or adding another bedroom over the garage. Even smaller projects can boost your property a few ladders up. Build a tiny balcony by the window or a sitting area mid-staircase.

Kitchen or Bathroom Redo

Push your property to its maximum value by revamping your bathroom and kitchen. The Australian property buyer population is a group that is more likely to buy a house with a luxury kitchen and bathroom, instead of a big cottage with a charming garden and three well-appointed bedrooms.

Do not forget the little things, too. Fix the towel rail, redo the tiles if it looks chipped and old, clean windows or install new ones, if necessary. You only get to impress your buyers once, so tidy up everything. Even the smallest fixes will make a difference.

Improve Hallway and Ceiling

According to studies, most buyers take only around 20 seconds to decide whether they like the home or not. Make your entrance, hallway and foyers more imposing to keep potential clients glued and interested to look around more.

Do not break the effort and sustain the improvement to your ceilings. Make sure that when they look up, they will be unable to make any bad critiques. Dirty ceilings are among the biggest buyer turn-offs. You do not have to skin it all off. Skim it over with plaster and a fresh coat of paint.

Improving your property’s curb appeal can also help you achieve maximum property value. Before visits, do another run around the house to make sure the blinds are straight and all the cabinets open. The last thing you want during valuation is disappointing property agents.

A Tropical Staycation: 3 Tropical Interior Design Ideas

Home and Garden

Even if you do not have the time to visit the exciting and relaxing tropical resorts and beaches, you can still do so—not with a plane ride, but simply with a touch of design magic. With a little bit of timbre materials, palm leaves, and lattice prints, you can indulge in a view of your favourite exotic and tropical land.

It does not need to be a full renovation; it doesn’t need to cost you an arm and a leg. You simply need to add a few pieces time after time until you get the right amount of tropical feel.

Here are some tropical interior design ideas for your beautiful home:

Tropical Colour Palette

The first thing you need is coming up with your colour palette. Go for shades of green for vegetation, browns and beiges for the sand, and blue for the ocean. It’s seems simple, but choosing the right hues is the most difficult part, especially if you are looking for specific shades to represent your own version of a tropical paradise.

If you want a more modern look, use white as an accent colour. For a more traditional look, go for bold tropical colours, such as red, orange, and yellow.

Furniture and Fixtures Made from Natural Materials

The furniture and fixtures you choose is an important part of setting a tropical paradise in your home. Find stores that sell furniture and fixtures made from natural materials, such as a matching set of bamboo furniture or timbre blinds in Perth, WA, for example.

It’s okay not to match, too. For example, you can mix and match elements, like bamboo and timber with a teak and stone coffee table. Nature is not a perfect match, anyway, so why should your home be?

Palm Plants

Potted palm and other lush, green houseplants can introduce a tropical vacation vibe into your home. You can also toss beautiful ceiling fan covers that look like palm leaves, or paint patterns of palm leaves on your wall to bring the island outdoors into your room.

See? You don’t need to fly or drive away to get to the tropics. These interior design ideas can create a room where you can relax and enjoy your tropical staycation.