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home improvement

We’ve all heard the mantra about how it takes money to make money. It may sound cliché, but according to Usaj Realty, it’s true. The thing is, it’s not just a case of launching buckets of cash at your house. You have to be smarter about it. 

Kitchens

Kitchens are key. Even folks who seldom cook at home want a certain kind of look to their kitchen areas. It’s just one of those things in real estate. Depending on what your plan is, you can go big on things or make smaller changes. On the small side, there are still effective changes you can make. Putting in new backsplashes and touching up some cabinetry won’t cost the world and can make all the difference to the feel of the space. New lights and taps are other easy fixes. If you’re budgeting bigger, you can think in terms of increasing storage space. Installing new cabinets throughout is sure to add value to your home. Another feature that seems big and flashy is a center island. It has a high visual impact on your buck. 

Bathrooms

On a tighter budget, a retile might be your best choice for the visual pop. It won’t cost much and can totally change up a smaller space like a bathroom. If you’re feeling a little more generous, maybe throw in a new set of taps to top it off. For the adventurous at heart, there’s the full refurb option. Get everything out of the room, and give it a total makeover. New toilets, tub, basin, the works. It will be on the hefty side, but you’ll see the rewards if you do it right, especially if the old stuff isn’t great. 

Living Areas

People like space. Living areas ought to be spacious and airy, with as much natural sunlight as possible. On the thrifty end, this could involve as little as lighter coloring and maybe some clever lighting installation. If you’re up for the whole hog, you can literally open up the space. Find out which walls can go, and make things open-plan. Similarly, you can widen windows and doorways where possible, bringing in that sought-after sunshine. 

Bedrooms

What a lot of people look for is clever storage that saves space in a bedroom. Having tall closets can be really helpful, especially ones that are built into the walls. It gives the sense of there being more room when the closets are recessed. Stylistically, creating a smooth and uniform effect is a decent plan. Using lighter colors and having that sense of spaciousness enhanced by closet space going into the walls achieves that effect beautifully.

When in Doubt, Clear Out and Paint! 

This one is true inside the home and out. Clear away as much needless clutter as possible, and paint all surfaces. It’s probably the biggest and cheapest effect out there, and it genuinely makes a huge difference. A fresh lick of paint can enliven any area, especially when you opt for lighter tones. A medley of creams, whites, and off-whites seems to make spaces wider and more appealing. If you can’t do every surface, you should at least touch up the worst ones. 

 

When selling a home, it’s best to get a certain balance right. You don’t want your renovations to seem bland, but you don’t want to be too niche either. Your remodeling should have broad appeal while still being interesting. If you are going to splash some cash, then the alternatives are endless. But, there’s no reason why even fairly substantial changes should break the bank. Ultimately, altering the right bits in the right way can add real dollars to your home’s value. 

All homeowners want to reduce their monthly electricity bills by implementing energy-efficient methods. While upgrading your property, you should ask yourself which type of modifications will add value to your home and save energy costs. You have to dig deep down and do complete research to understand the impact of any change or appliance on your home’s electricity. If you buy any electrical device, you should ask the manufacturer about its specifications to better understand how much electricity it can consume.

The primary causes to conserve energy is to secure the environment and save electricity costs. There are different methods to make your home energy-efficient. But it depends on your budget, needs, and how you want to optimize your home’s energy to save up on cost. Here are some ideas of home improvement that will help you control the energy consumption that will also positively impact your costs.

Install Solar Panels

Solar panels were not common a few years back as an energy-conserving method. With technological advancements, people started installing solar panels on their roofs top, and today it is the most valuable thing that any homeowner can have. Solar panels help you save energy big time. If your home is situated where your roof gets a lot of sunlight, solar panels could be the right fit for your home.

To have a clear idea of solar panel cost, you should do market research. It will make things easier for you according to your budget. Having solar panels in your home could be a wise investment to start reducing your monthly electricity bills. According to experts, solar panels contribute positively to environmental sustainability. Having solar panels in your home is a one-time investment that will save you from paying heavy electricity bills in the future. You will get real value in your life and house, so you must opt for this option to improve your home’s energy efficiency.

Change Your Light Bulbs

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Those days are long gone when incandescent light bulbs were used in homes as they consumed more electricity. Due to the latest technological developments, light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs) and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) have become one of the most acceptable energy-saving alternatives.

According to a study, LEDs consume around 25 to 80% less electricity than traditional bulbs. Although you may find prices of energy-efficient bulbs are higher, but in the long run, they will help you save a significant amount of cost and energy.

Observe your Daily Behaviors

You do not necessarily have to invest in costly options to optimize your home energy. By adjusting your daily behaviors, you can also save up on your home energy and cost. You can do it by adopting simple habits like turning off appliances or lights while not using them. Also, doing household tasks manually will prevent you from using energy-intensive appliances. For example, you can use the hang-drying method instead of using the dryer to dry your clothes.

Keeping an eye on your daily behaviors is the key to your cost savings. You should also avoid unnecessary use of air conditioners and use thermostats smartly in winters. Heating and cooling systems cost around half of the utility bills of a home. So, by reducing the frequency and intensity of these systems, you can save a significant number of costs. You can also leverage different tools and applications to figure out which appliances consume the most electricity daily.

Place Energy-efficient Windows

Windows are one of the significant sources of energy waste. They have a substantial share in your total heating bills. If you want to control the heat loss through your windows, you should install single-pane windows. If you live in colder regions, then gas-filled windows having Low-E coatings can help you ample time to reduce the heating expenses. Additionally, the interior and exterior storm windows also help prevent unnecessary heat loss by 12 to 20%. If your region experiences extreme weather conditions, then you must consider having storm windows.

In warm weather conditions, heat gain through windows can be an issue. Besides reducing heat loss, Low-E coatings on windows also help minimize heat by reflecting more light and reducing the thermal energy that enters through windows. You should also consider having shutters, screens, awnings, and shades to have the extra insulation layer between the outside temperature and your home. It will help you to conserve more energy efficiently.

Control your Water Heating Expenses

Water heating is one of the major contributors to increasing your electricity bills. You should follow simple methods to save energy and electricity costs. You should turn off the thermostat on the water heater or use less heated water. Also, you can think about having efficient water heating devices that consume less electricity.

High electricity bills are the biggest headache for all homeowners. You have to follow the latest energy-efficient methods and upgrade your home accordingly. Also, keep an eye on your daily activities that increase your house’s energy consumption. It will help you optimize your home energy and to reduce your cost.

A home is a place where you can feel at ease. The way you can be comfortable and feel secure in your home, you cannot do that anywhere else in the world. However, we cannot overlook the fact that a house is, after all, an object which needs continuous retouching and repairing. Without it, no house would be able to survive the test of time. Are you just looking for ways to make your home more attractive for your comfort, or want to keep yourself and your house updated with modern trends? Follow these tips given below to transform your house into a modern house.

Keep it Clean and Organize

The easiest and simple way to make your house look attractive is to tidy things up a little. No one wants to have their house dirty. However, often people don’t have enough time to clean it thoroughly. Therefore, they overlook the impact an in-depth cleaning can have on the visual appeal to the house.

Organizing and decluttering are pretty basic things but can go a long way, whether the furniture in your living room, the crockery in your kitchen cupboards, or the shoes in your entryway. All of this, when kept in an organized manner, can help you feel calm and productive. It will also help you save time and feel less stressed out.

Focus on the First Impression

When you come home from a tough day, you want to feel happy at the sight of your house. That first look can make you feel content that you live here. It is known as curb appeal, which even adds value to your property. It can be done by taking small steps like planting trees and colorful plants or getting your house remodeled. One budget-friendly way to update your house is to install rock veneers for your exteriors, such as walls or facades. You can find professionals around your area for this job. For instance, if you live in Dunn, North Carolina, you can go for the companies like RockSolid Veneers, LLC that offers a wide range of stone veneers.

Pay Attention to the Details

Often while cleaning, organizing, or even renovating, we overlook the nooks and crannies of our houses. However, it does not mean that those areas do not have a part to play in making your house fresh and pleasant. Often these nooks and crannies are high-traffic areas and thus get overlooked. Nevertheless, these small details can go a long way in improving the overall look of your house. Therefore, it is advised to clean and organize them fortnightly or at least once a month.

Make it Green

Having indoor plants can give your house a lively look and make it appear eco-friendly. There are so many added benefits of having plants in your house that making your home greener is an easy bargain. You can expect your green friends:

  • To help clean the air, you breathe in
  • Make you more productive by increasing your creativity and overall boosting your moods.

It will, in turn, lower stress resulting in a happier and healthier you. The indoor plants will give a visual appeal to your house and add a therapeutic factor. It will not only help you feel calm but, whenever someone visits your house, they will also feel the same bliss.

Make Good Use of Your Space

Sometimes overcrowding your rooms can even make the big ones look smaller and congested. This jammed and overfilled look of your house can make you overthink the size of your rooms or even the house itself.

Therefore, it is essential to make effective use of space. For example, using space-saving compact furniture can give a minimalist look to your house. Similarly, installing shelves will save floor space and make the room look more spacious. Another way of making smaller rooms look bigger is by adding mirrors.

Lighting

Dark and dull places are never soothing for anyone. It is always better to have proper lighting in all of your rooms. It will make the environment of your house constructive. Anyone who walks into your well-lit house will feel active and energetic instead of feeling as if they had walked straight into a dungeon with dark alleyways.

Paint

Another way to make your house more welcoming and inviting is to choose proper paint for your walls. Choosing the right paint can make all the difference in the world. You can even use paint to make a small room look bigger by choosing light paint color for your walls. Additionally, the color of your walls can induce different emotions.

Conclusion

An attractive house is, in fact, a happy and livable home. There are numerous ways you can make your house look attractive even if you are on a budget. From simple things like cleaning, organizing, and decluttering to painting the walls and upgrading to stone veneers. Everything can make your house look more inviting and attractive if done rightly. You can add plants or mirrors if you do not want to spend a lot. The critical thing to remember is that your house should still feel endurable when you are done with your renovation projects.

Lastly, remember that a good house is a good home. Instead of blindly following every home renovation video or blog, you must do what makes you feel comfortable. The key is to make your house livable.

What’s the importance of the construction industry in the Australian economy? A report by the National Industry Insights shows that this industry produces more than $360 billion in revenue that generates 9% of the country’s GDP. It’s estimated that, by 2024, the home improvement and construction industry will employ 1.28 million Australians as well. But occupational hazards have made construction and home remodeling/renovation one of the most dangerous industries in the country. According to Safe Work Australia, 17 construction workers died in 2020, and this industry was considered the second-worst for employees in the same year. So, how can employers ensure the safety of their workers? We’ve compiled some suggestions here to help constructors enhance workers’ protection:

Organize health & safety training

It’s the employer’s responsibility to prepare employees for occupational hazards associated with the construction industry. Therefore, health & safety training ensures that workers are familiar with the dangers that can befall them and strategies to prevent such accidents from occurring. Even OSHA recommends similar training sessions for construction employees. These sessions teach them about escaping dangerous situations, e.g., working at height, in confined spaces, or with heavy machinery.

Establish a safety culture

Worksite managers and home improvement contractors need to establish a culture of safety in the working environment. Prioritize workers’ health, safety, and overall well-being. Safety culture includes not just implementing the suggestions we’ll talk about now. But it also means that you must remove hazards even before they harm your workers.

There have been several instances where construction workers were diagnosed with mesothelioma – cancer caused by asbestos exposure. So, eliminate all traces of dust, mold, and asbestos. If you’re working in Southeast Queensland, look up “asbestos removal Brisbane” on the internet to get specialized help for clearing toxic substances from the premises. Similarly, run a quick local search to identify companies in your neighborhood that provide niche services to keep your worksite safe and enhance your safety culture.

Keep the first-aid kit at hand

Accidents are often unprecedented and require instant action to reduce their consequences. Thus, ensure that finding the first-aid kit isn’t difficult. Employees must know how to locate it. Ascertain that it’s visible and accessible to encounter accidents when you least expect them. Remember that “time is of the essence” when a worker gets wounded. A quick remedy can potentially save a person’s life. Hence, delegate to one employee the task of keeping the first-aid kit well-stocked for disasters.

Avoid crowded areas

Ensure that the workplace isn’t crowded to avoid unfortunate accidents. People often assemble to watch heavy machinery at work on-site for enjoyment. Caution dictates that spectators should keep their distance from these machines and must never approach them beyond the limit of safety. Moreover, healthcare guidelines during this pandemic discourage crowded workplaces to eliminate the risk of infection among workers. So, ensure people remain distant from the operating location.

Wear head protection

Ensure that construction workers have access to proper PPE (personal protection equipment) to avoid injuries/fatalities. Falling objects contribute heavily to workplace accidents. Protective devices – therefore – eliminate dangers associated with threats such as exposed wiring and low-hanging items. In areas where workers are vulnerable to falling objects, wearing “hard hats” ascertains the safety of your employees. This piece of equipment protects workers against hidden/sudden dangers on-site.

Ensure forklift safety

According to OSHA, forklifts account for 100 deaths and 95,000 injuries annually in all industries. But further injuries/fatalities can be prevented by implementing forklift safety measures. Forklifts are dangerous machines only experienced professionals must operate. These machines are also operated nearby other workers so injuries can be diminished by strict regulations. These regulations dictate how forklifts must now be modified with prior approval only.

Implement fall protection

Poor scaffolding contributes to several wounds/deaths in the home improvement industry. OSHA reports that around 2.3 million construction employees use this technique annually. It’s even dangerous when appropriately erected, and only alert workers can escape falling. So, it’s essential to inspect scaffolding for stability. Transport material carefully upwards and consider weight limits when ascending them. Also, keep framing 10 feet away from power lines to make them safer for your workers.

Display clear signs

Accidents don’t engulf construction employees only, but even bystanders are also vulnerable to such dangers on-site. It’s crucial to display clear signs of danger for both workers and onlookers. This practice will highlight the risks associated with the workplace and strongly advise people to take precautions. For instance, these signs can indicate hazards, including falling objects, chemicals in the vicinity, or heavy machinery nearby. It constitutes a cost-effective method of saving people’s lives.

Employee wellness programs

Many employers organize employee wellness programs targeted towards improving the mental and physical health of construction workers. These programs will cover workers’ dietary habits, obesity management, hypertension screening, and alcohol abuse to prevent burnout in your organization.

Moreover, employers must ensure that workers aren’t consuming junk food on-site. Focus on healthy eating/drinking with fruits and vegetables. Keep food trucks off the location and promote nutritional meals among employees.

There’s an app for everything

We’re living in a modern world where there’s a smartphone application available for anything you need! Similarly, we have digital applications for the construction industry you can install to monitor the workplace effectively. We have wearable devices that alert everyone when an accident occurs. These devices have become popular among construction employees because they minimize danger to workers. So, use these “smart” solutions to enhance the safety of home improvement workers.

Conclusion

What job is the most hazardous for an Australian worker? Experts have listed all occupations based on hazards associated with them, and construction – after agriculture and transport – ranks third! Some calculations show that 123 construction workers died during 2008-09 to 2012-13. These deaths were caused by falling from heights, being struck by falling objects, or getting electrocuted. This industry also accounts for 16% of workplace deaths and 11% of workplace injury claims. Investing in workers’ safety isn’t just mandatory for employers, but it is also cost-effective since every dollar spent on safety training saves you 4-6 dollars! So, do implement the safety tips we’ve mentioned in this article.

Water damage is a common phenomenon and a problem that costs billions in repair every year. It is also a problem that is easy to avoid, but due to negligence and inferior building materials, water damage to property is a growing concern for residents. It not only causes monetary loss and contamination but also forces the displacement of residents.

But what causes water damage? When the water reaches where it is not supposed to be, it leads to leaky underground pipes, seepage in the walls, and structural deformity. The issue is so crucial that knowing why it happens in our daily lives and avoiding it becomes imperative.

With that said, the following are some of the most common causes of water damage and ways of avoiding them.

The common causes of water damage and ways to avoid it

The most common places in our house consistently at the brink of being affected by water damage are the kitchen, bathrooms, hot water tanks, faucets. The list is long, meaning water damage can practically happen anywhere there’s water.

Various professional services provide support for water damage and advice on how to avoid it. If your property is a victim of water damage, click here to learn more about the reasons and remedies to prevent more damage in the future. Below we have curated some of the common causes of water damage and how to avoid them.

Extreme weather

Extreme weather like floods and hurricanes are common causes of water damage. These natural disasters are merciless when wreaking havoc on property. If water finds its way through cracks and openings, you’re in trouble.

Torrential downpours are another reason for causing property damage, especially if there’s no proper water flow system. The clogged water becomes detrimental to the structure of the building because when there’s no outlet for moisture to escape, it causes mold and weakens wooden frames.

If you reside in a flood-prone locality, you must be mindful of taking proper measures to protect your property against water damage. In severe cases, you can use the flood protection alarm system to help prepare for the worst with time to spare if you have to evacuate.

Acting promptly to alarm systems helps avoid long-term damages to property and, you’re always ready to cover up the damage with flood insurance well before time.

Leakage in the kitchen sink and faucet

The kitchen is among the most utilized places in the house and prone to get damaged the most due to clogged water. The kitchen sink and faucet are the most susceptible to leakage due to worn-out gaskets and washers.

Additionally, due to mold and corrosion build-up, the rusty moving parts of the faucets start leaking with constant water dripping on the floor, which can ruin the flooring and damage food items.

To remedy this problem, make it a habit to inspect your house every once in a while. This way, you can isolate and fix the issue before it goes out of hand. You may find a crack in the pipe, or the gaskets in the kitchen might be getting loose, and being proactive can save you a lot of trouble.

Leaking pipes

Leaking pipes are another cause of water damage. Older buildings with outdated plumbing systems are especially prone to water damage and can worsen if the house has underground or behind the wall pipes. With clogged water, the damage spreads across the wall, and control gets more costly because the entire area needs to be repainted after repairing the pipes behind.

You can spot a water problem in the form of bulges, stains, and signs of moisture. You may also find the paint flaking off the wall wherever there’s moisture inside the wall.

This can quickly get out of hand; therefore, it is always appropriate to systematically call a plumber to deal with the issue. Additionally, when buying or constructing a house, always have a detailed blueprint of the house to know about the plumbing system.

This way, you can spot the nearest water pipe or a junction in case of leakage and have it fixed before the damage worsens.

Clogged gutters

Having gutters is a common and yet excellent way to keep the water running and prevent stagnation on the roof. However, when leaves or debris block the gutters, it prevents the regular flow of water. Hence, the rainwater does not find its way for proper flow.

Stagnant water or leaky pipes can cause fungus on the roof, or worse, the water will inundate and fall through the sides of the wall. The unsightly streaks of dirty water on the walls, not to mention the water damage caused to the walls and floor, are unbearable.

Therefore, make an effort to clear the gutter opening, especially during the rainy season, to allow continuous water flow.

Conclusion

Water damage is a leading cause of concern in areas prone to storms and floods. According to an estimate, water damage is a rising concern in the U.S, with repair bills getting higher due to storm season getting more and more severe every year.

A proactive approach and timely action can avoid water damage in most instances. It is always prudent to look out for any signs of water damage in the form of mold, find an expert who can guide you, and manage issues like soggy and stained walls to avoid costly repairs.

As adults, we now have to be quite innovative, artistic, and imaginative to bust the boredom kids have from staying at home all the time. There is nothing like good craft projects to help them learn new skills and stop being bored all the time. Besides, there’s so much satisfaction and looking at something and saying I made that with my own hands. 

If you do it right, they will be talking about that project they did back in 2021 and how they remember spending time with you. You’ll hear the pride in their voice as they talk about the home project they completed with their mom or dad. You may even get the attention of your neighbors or local home buyers that are browsing properties. Here are some of our favorite and easy home DIY projects that you can create for your kids to enjoy.

Outdoor Furniture

When feeling stuck inside, having outside furniture to relax on can make you feel great. You can create something from scratch, or find some old furniture to refinish and spruce up. Paint a table or a bench. Make a decorative stool from an old wood stump. Finish with a few layers of clear coat varnish to make the paintings last, or you can even mix a clear epoxy coat and pour it over the artistic efforts. Imagine what a fresh coat of colorful paint can do to an old wooden chair or what would happen if you gave your children creative license to paint the furniture with cool colors and beautiful pictures.

After it is all finished, you can add embellishments, such as ornamental hardware, or paint the details to the outside surfaces of the furniture. There are all kinds of crafty things you can do to outdoor furniture. You have to think of it to find fun projects that you can all enjoy.

projects Photo by Gary Barnes from Pexels

Make a Sandbox

A sandbox can be a fantastic addition to your existing play space for your kids. You can add borders in a rectangular or round area of your yard. Consider adding soft river sounds to make a fun place for the kids to play outdoors. Ask the kids to help hammer the boards of a wood frame together and then embed it in the yard. From there, you simply add sand and your kids are ready to enjoy their own personal miniature beach at home.

Create a Tree Swing

Find a big tree and an excellent sturdy branch with plenty of clearance underneath to start this project. You have several options when deciding on what type of swing you want to add. For example, you can add a big tire with rope, or make a rectangular seat that hangs from the branch. 

Hardware stores have hanging supplies that you can purchase for these types of tree swings. You can involve your kids in the entire process, from purchasing the needed items to handing you the ropes. Knowing that they were a part of the creation of such a fun project will make it even more sentimental to them.

Photo by Anthony Duran on Unsplash 

Wildlife Feeders

Research what local birds and other small animals inhabit your area. Some places commonly have deer, fox, and other smaller mammals that roam around. You can create a feeder or birdhouse and hang it from a patio or a tree. This can be an educational experience because it gives the kids an opportunity to observe the local wildlife right from the inside of your home.

 

There are a ton of home DIY projects that you can do with the kids. Consider which would be the best fit for your children and your home. At the end of the day, you will have an exciting home accessory and a conversational piece for the family for years to come.

There are always ways to save money; especially in a society like America or Australia. We just become so used to creature comforts we forget we don’t need a majority of the things we spend money on.

There are options for saving money you may never even have considered. Here we’ll cover five ways to cut down your electric bill in a practical way that doesn’t involve anything too extreme, but a few things you may not have considered.

Carefully Monitor Electricity Use To Find Eliminate Waste

Where is the highest draw for your electricity? Is it in heating, in A/C, among the electrical devices you use? Look at the things in your home that use electricity, monitor how long they regularly operate, and calculate out what percentage of your monthly bill they represent. Toasters, washers, dryers, dishwashers, HVAC—these tend to be the high costs.

That said, lights can be expensive, too. It’s much like a leaky faucet. Sure, it’s only a drip every two seconds; but you’re losing a gallon a day. Well, leave the lights on all day and night, and that costs you money. When you leave a room, turn off the lights.

Invest In “Low” Or “No” Energy Appliances

There are actually low-energy lighting fixtures that use motion sensors to illuminate a space when someone walks through, only turning on when people are in the room. Additionally, you can buy low-energy appliances built to use a minimum of electricity. Beyond that, certain products exist that use no electricity at all.

For example, there are gravity lamps that work sort of like a cuckoo clock, where weight in conjunction with a fulcrum provides energy. When the weight hits the ground, you just reset it, and off you go.

Lights like these being used as alternatives to primary lighting can pay for themselves over time. Beyond gravity lights, consider LEDs as a replacement for incandescent bulbs. These provide high levels of light for low levels of electricity, and may even be more energy-efficient than things like gravity lamps owing to initial purchase expense and overall lifetime.

Explore Local Energy Rates—That Alone Might Halve It

The larger your community, the higher the likelihood you’ll have more than one choice for electricity. The way that electricity is produced, and the way the company producing the electricity runs itself, will do much to impact the price. Sometimes people buy a property with utility bills that they never question, they just keep paying.

Well, if you go to the following website, you may find that cutting the electrical bill in half every month is as simple as switching providers. Some energy operations use wind and solar, and the result is it costs them more to produce electricity. Traditional methods are often a lot more cost-effective.

Change Your Expectation On Levels Of Comfort

Electricity overuse often has to do with creature comforts. Maybe you’ve got a room in your house with a little fountain that plugs into a wall. It’s beautiful, and provides a fine ambiance—but it’s on 24/7; meaning it’s a constant drain costing you a predictable amount of money every year. Perhaps find another way of getting that ambiance, or eliminate it.

Off-Grid Alternative Energy And Associated Tax Relief

A solar array will cost about $100 per 100-Watt solar panel. A full family house will want about 50 panels; so you’re looking at $5k for those alone. You’ll probably spend another $5k on mounting equipment, cables, surge controllers, power inverters, and battery arrays—if you go the DIY route, which most folks can figure out.

For another $5k, you can install a wind-turbine as a backup. For $15k, you can be grid-independent. Add a diesel generator in the garage in the event the sun goes away or the wind stops, and you’ve always got energy when you need it in a way that’s totally independent of grid-based electricity.

Americans use about 10,909 kWh (kilo-Watt hours) of electricity a year, at about 13.31 cents per kWh. That’s a little under $1,452 a year. Spend $15k on grid-independent power, and in less than 10 years, you’ll be making money on your investment—you’ll have totally eliminated the bill; that’s a bit more than halving it! Also, some states offer tax incentives for green energy, which can offset installation costs.

Energy Reduction Options To Consider

Explore alternative solutions and tax breaks, change comfort expectations, seek cheaper electrical options in your area, invest in low-energy devices like LEDs or gravity lamps, and monitor how you use electricity to trim the fat. Moves like these cut your electrical bill in half, and may almost eliminate it.

rental

Most landlords wish for a stable, preferably long-term, relationship with their tenants. However, you cannot expect to have a harmonious and lucrative relation if you don’t offer anything in return. When they come to take a look at the rental, they don’t want to find a place in dire need of repair but a cosy nest they can live in. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to make your rental more appealing to the prospective tenants.

Obtain home insurance

Your rental is your source of income, so naturally, you wish for it and your belongings to be safe and from a tenants’ point of view, it shows that you are professional and thorough. Also, they would be at peace knowing that, in case something unexpected happens, they don’t have to worry about being blamed or expected to pay for items that got destroyed. Naturally, you need to do detailed research into different insurance options since you would want it to cover as much as possible – some even cover up to 12 months of rent if the property isn’t habitable after some disaster. Obtaining a comprehensive insurance policy is a practical move both in terms of security and the impression you will leave on your potential tenants.

rental

Invest in practical furniture

One of the elements that tenants appreciate in any home is functional and comfortable furniture. It often happens that they need to sleep on old sofas so if you have room for a proper bed, that will definitely pique their interest. If you don’t have enough space, you can purchase a pull-out sofa but make sure to test it so you are certain that one can get a good night’s sleep on it. As for the rest of the furniture, it depends on the size of the property and your budget. However, avoid overstuffing the rental because it will seem smaller and cramped. Also, you might be surprised by the popularity of sustainable furniture, so for instance by opting for a set of chairs made from bamboo, you will attract millennials who make up a big portion of current tenants and who are well-known environmentalists. 

rental

 

Provide quality appliances 

Perhaps the most decisive elements in the decision-making process of a tenant are quality appliances. Most will not even mind that much if the place is a bit smaller than they searched for initially as long as the appliances they use daily work properly. Provide them with a stove and the fridge for the kitchen so they can prepare and store food and feel more at home and also consider purchasing a washing machine. Since many rentals don’t have it, opting for a quality washing machine will give you an advantage from the tenants’ perspective. In general, if you can afford it, you may invest in energy-efficient appliances which is an excellent solution for decreasing the energy bills in the future.

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Improve the curb appeal 

Although not even a lavish exterior guarantees that the interior is in a good state, it still leaves a strong first impression with tenants. If the lawn is messy, tend to the grass and any bushes and trees and clear out the driveway. Another thing to consider is the front doors – sturdy front doors in combination with windows with functional locks give out the notion of safety and are something which will be highly valued by any tenant. If the current doors are in a state of repair, you need to take care of them immediately since the beauty of the interior will fade if they feel unprotected. Also, if your rental is a house, you can consider adding external motion sensor lights so that any unwanted guests are warded off due to this extra layer of security.

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Liven it up with some colour

Chipped paint is not something that tenants will think of as charming, so fixing such issues is essential for a long-term relationship with tenants. Also, adding a splash of colour can be a good idea to change the atmosphere of the rental. Naturally, you needn’t go too wild because dark purple walls might not be to everybody’s liking. What you can do is paint the rental in some neutral colours to refresh it and make it appear more spacious and brighter and then you can add a few walls in some colour that pops, such as blue or yellow. You can achieve the same effect with furniture, so white walls would go splendidly with a turquoise armchair.

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Conclusion

In the world of real estate, safety comes first. Only once you take care of that, you can tend to functionality and aesthetic appeal to attract reliable long-term tenants.

Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems have become a bare necessity these days. As the global climate is changing, summers grow hotter, and winters turn colder. To fight off the weather extremes, we all rely on the HVAC systems. They keep us cool in summers and cozy in winters. Chances are, you already have one at your home. But if you don’t own one yet or are looking to replace the old one, here are the six ways to pick the right HVAC system for your home.

Decide on the Equipment

The term HVAC systems is an all-inclusive expression. All the climate control appliances from furnaces, heat pumps, and air conditioners come under it. So when you are purchasing a new HVAC system, the first thing you should do is decide on the equipment. If you want a cooling system alone, invest in an air conditioner. And for warmer in-house temperature, explore different options for a furnace. And if you want an all-in-one heating system, consider getting a heat pump. It functions as an air conditioner on cooling mode. But you can reverse the direction to bring the warmth inside your home. So choose wisely and pick up the right HVAC system for your home.

Prioritize Maintenance

An important consideration while buying an HVAC system is its maintenance. While routine professional maintenance is necessary, there are some other maintenance aspects that you have to take care of too. Changing the filter is the most frequent aspect of HVAC maintenance. Different systems require to replace air filters between one and six months. The higher the filter quality, the longer it will last. Air filters like 16x25x4 Glasfloss are some of the best on the market. Don’t hesitate to pair your new HVAC system with one of these.

Know the Right Size

There is a measurement that requires precision. The right sized equipment will adequately regulate the temperature of your home. An undersized system not only causes but also fails to go through healthy on and off cycles. And contrary to what most people believe, a large system will again do no good. It will quickly regulate the temperature of your home and then automatically gets shut off. In both cases, the on and off cycles will increase your energy bills and wear the system as well. You can ask a professional to adequately measure the size of the HVAC system for your home.

Buy From A Reliable Brand

HVAC is a popular industry. That’s why various products have flooded the market—some are better than others in terms of quality, prices, and services. You can shop for an HVAC system online or in-person from a contractor. No matter what you choose, we stress that you should always purchase from a reputable and reliable brand. Such brands monitor the quality of their products closely and back them up with extensive warranties. And after purchasing, even if you end up with a lemon, they will not hesitate to replace it for you.

Check the Warranty Terms

Checking the warranty is an essential step for buying an HVAC system. With every new HVAC system, the consumers receive warranty coverage for certain repairs, replacements, and a guarantee for faulty equipment. Different suppliers offer different warranties over their systems. Be sure to check out the terms and conditions of the unit you plan to purchase, as this will give you a clear idea of how your system will perform.

Carefully Consider the Cost

When contemplating the price of an HVAC system for your home, you have to consider two components. The first is the upfront cost of the system. Do your research, think carefully, and compare the prices of the HVAC systems from different suppliers. Once you are sure, purchase the best system that falls within your budget. The second component is the long-term cost, including installation, maintenance, parts, and operation costs. You will notice that high-efficiency products often have higher upfront and installation costs. But their long-term prices are generally lower than appliances with low Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) ratings. So pick the HVAC system that is more cost-effective and in line with your budget.

Conclusion

Picking the right HVAC system for your home is not easy. The decision becomes more challenging when you don’t know what you are looking for in HVAC systems. We have presented six ways to pick the best HVAC system for your home. This helpful guide will help you through the daunting task. And trust us, you won’t regret the decision you make.

Home improvement seems fascinating to many people as people see the outer picture of beautiful decorative homes and do not consider the hard work that goes into it. It can be overwhelming as renovation needs you to indulge in extensive work, but most of the time, results make all the hard work worth it. Renovation is a game of creativity and aesthetics, and it has no right and wrong in it. People can be innovative with their designing approach and bring new things to the market. A lot of factors contribute to making a home improvement project a success. It is unlike any 9 to 5 corporate job, and some projects demand that you put long hours in it.

Appropriate planning is the key to make a home improvement project a success. The following are some of the planning tips which will help you significantly in your next home improvement project:

Construct a plan

The first of any home improvement project is to plan things as per the clients’ guidelines. Planning before beginning the project is crucial, and it will help in carrying out your tasks. Using technological tools to create a soft copy of your end goal will ease planning things. If you are getting into an extensive home improvement project, make sure you have taken all the necessary permissions. Constructing a plan will outline the things that the project would require, which will save you from the hassle of acquiring items at the last minute.

Keep things secure

Keeping things safe should be the topmost priority. For that, experts advise that people either move to some other place or keep their belongings secure somewhere. A lot goes on during renovation, and different people visit the location. In such cases, a better approach is to avail storage facilities and make them the caretaker of your precious belongings. People residing in Texas can take advantage of self storage in Amarillo without having any iota of doubt. They have earned a reputation for themselves in providing exemplary services. Storage units have cameras installed, and they guarantee that they will return your things in their original positions.

Set a budget

Allocating a budget should be a prerequisite to any home improvement project. Costs of different things vary at various locations, and sometimes prices see a hike in a particular season. Before you begin any renovation project, set a budget aside, and have a list compiled of all things. From laborers to building materials, you must determine the cost of everything. Moreover, imposing a 10 % extra money aside is essential. It is likely possible that your project runs into an emergency, and you need some additional funds. Whether you renovate your home or do a client project, a detailed plan with a proper budget should be in place before commencing it.

Devise timeline

Experts suggest that you should give yourself a deadline as it helps in keeping you focused. It would be great to set a realistic timeline and ensure that you get sufficient rest during projects. Some people want to get done with their job and invest in long hours at it. It may result in several health problems, and hastiness often leads to unsatisfactory work. Besides, when you put in extra hours at work, it starts demotivating you as you do not get enough time to rest. A better way is to have a timeline for every activity. For example, set a few beginning days for a clean-up, some days for a carpenter, and so on. Devising a timeline helps keep things organized, and people do not get carried away with the burden of work.

Effective communication

Home improvement is not a one-person job. Multiple people indulge in projects to give a house a desired outlook. While you are at it, ensure that communication flow is seamless and there are no hindrances. Misunderstandings may lead to unnecessary expenditures, and the end picture may not align with your original idea. Home improvement is teamwork, and effective communication is vital for a group of people who work for a common goal.

Conclusion

Home improvement is disruptive and can be more expensive than one can imagine it. Before you begin any project, you must go through every aspect and understand what clients want so that there is no misunderstanding. Renovation is time-consuming, and you must be patient while the project is underway. Home improvement adds value to your home and enhances your lifestyle, but the task can be stressful. Immaculate planning and extensive preparations prevent mishaps and make the project a victory.