To-Dos: Your October Home Checklist

by Team Member 5. October 2015 12:01
by  of Houzz.com | October 2, 2015More Info 

With leaves falling, farmers markets proudly displaying heaps of gourds and the sun dipping lower in the sky each day, there’s no doubt we are in the heart of autumn now. Pick and choose from among these seasonal tasks to make the most of this harvest month and prep for the winter ahead.

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Home Maintenance

To-Dos: Your September Home Checklist

by Team Member 9. September 2015 10:49

As life transitions back indoors, bring elements of nature in with you and make your spaces cozy and warm.

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Home Maintenance

9 Easy Mistakes Homeowners Make on Their Taxes

by Team Member 30. March 2015 11:03

Published: January 05, 2015 | By:  | HouseLogic.com

As you calculate your tax returns, be careful not to commit any of these nine home-related tax mistakes, which tax pros say are especially common and can cost you money or draw the IRS to your doorstep.

Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/taxes-incentives/common-tax-mistakes/#ixzz3VsixGkG3 


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General | Home Maintenance

6 DIY Projects for Sunny Evenings

by masspa 16. March 2015 12:28

Most people prefer fall's extra hour of sleep to spring's extra-dark, extra-early mornings. But daylight saving time doesn't give most Americans a choice (enjoy your exception, Hawaii and Arizona!).

Click here to read more.

 

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General | Home Maintenance | Remodeling

6 Ways to Beat the Winter Blahs

by Team Member 15. December 2014 12:41

Snow and dark days dampening your spirits? These ideas will have you looking on the bright side.

Read more: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/22599544/list/6-ways-to-beat-the-winter-blahs

 

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General | Home Maintenance

Your December Home Maintenance Checklist!

by Team Member 8. December 2014 09:20

From prepping for winter storms to gift-wrapping (or cookie-baking) marathons, December is a busy, holiday-focused month. Make the most of it by planning ahead, setting intentions and focusing on meaningful events rather than trying to do it all. The weather outside may be getting frightful, but that just means it’s the perfect time to get cozy indoors with a mug of hot cocoa. Check off these tasks for an easier, safer and cozier month.

Click here for the full list.

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General | Home Maintenance

9 Ways to Avoid Gobbling Up Energy on Thanksgiving

by Team Member 12. November 2014 11:58

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General | Home Maintenance

Your November Home Checklist!

by Team Member 4. November 2014 13:27

It's time again for your November Home Checklist! The weather may be turning chillier and the leaves disappearing, but with Thanksgiving and the winter holidays approaching, you’re likely to have a bustle of activity indoors. Get ahead of things this November by checking these 12 items off your to-do list, and rest easy in a cleaner, cozier home. 

Click here for more: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/31352381/w/sid=1/list/to-dos-your-november-home-checklist 

 

 

 

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General | Home Maintenance

How to Replace Weather Stripping

by Team Member 14. October 2014 13:21

By: Douglas Trattner | www.houselogic.com

When weather stripping on doors and windows gets worn out, cold air comes sneaking in. Here’s how to replace weather stripping and stop air leaks.

Weather stripping on windows and doors protects the home from air leaks while increasing comfort and saving energy. But as weather stripping ages, it loses its effectiveness. Stay ahead of the game by checking for worn-out weather stripping and replacing it.

Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/windows-doors/how-to-replace-weather-stripping/#ixzz3G8mKE3SA 

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General | Home Maintenance

To-Dos: Your June Home Checklist

by Team Member 3. June 2014 08:55
June is here, and it’s time to get in the swing of summer. Whether you are watching your kids say goodbye to another year of school, scheduling a major home improvement project (like painting the house), or just looking forward to some much-deserved time hanging out on the porch, these to-dos will help get your home and yard in shape so you can fully savor the months ahead.

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Home Maintenance

10 Home Maintenance Tips for Spring

by Team Member 2. May 2014 13:55

HCRBL102_main-yard-3-house-exterior-after_s4x3_al.jpg (25.91 kb)

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General | Home Maintenance

Save Money On Cleaning Supplies

by Team Member 17. April 2014 18:43

Cleaning is an important part of taking care of your home, but it can get expensive! In fact, a typical American family spends almost $50 a month on cleaning products. Drop that expense down a few notches with these easy tips and use the money for a nice treat, instead.

  1. Use less product. If you would rather stick with store-bought cleaners, you can usually get away with using less product than the directions recommend (sometimes a lot less). As an experiment, try adding half the amount of laundry or dish detergent you would normally use. If your clothes and plates still come out clean, try to go even lower! Think of it as a cleaning game of limbo.

  2. Use a microfiber cloth. If your household burns through paper towels faster than Usain Bolt runs the 100m dash, switch to a microfiber cloth, instead. This $35 item lasts (almost) forever and can clean everything from the kitchen sink to carpets to computer monitors. Buh-bye, paper towels!

  3. Protect your brooms. If you’re a diligent sweeper, then your broom sees a lot of action. If it’s looking a little haggard, don’t replace it just yet! Instead, wrap a rubber band around the broom a few inches from the bottom. If your broom is in really bad shape, use multiple bands. Let it sit for at least one day, and then remove the bands. It’s like the Fountain of Youth, but for your broom.

  4. SOURCE: https://brightnest.com/todos/save-money-on-cleaning-supplies

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Home Maintenance

Cleaning House: Secrets of a Truly Deep Clean

by Team Member 10. April 2014 14:14

Deep clean your house and you'll brighten rooms and help maintain your home's value.

Deep cleaning your house is that top-to-bottom, take-no-dust-bunny-prisoners, mother-in-law-quality cleaning that truly maintains the value of your home. Here are frequently overlooked areas that a little spit and polish wouldn’t hurt.


De-Bug the Light Fixtures

See that bug burial ground within your overhead fixtures? Turn off the lights and carefully remove fixture covers, dump out flies and wash with hot soapy water. While you’re up there, dust bulbs. Dry everything thoroughly before replacing the cover.

 

Vacuum Heat Vents and Registers

Dirt and dust build up in heat vents and along register blades. Vents also are great receptacles for coins and missing buttons. Unscrew vent covers from walls or pluck them from floors, remove foreign objects, and vacuum inside the vent. Clean grates with a damp cloth and screw back tightly.

 

Polish Hardware

To deep clean brass door hinges, handles, and cabinet knobs, thoroughly wipe with a damp microfiber cloth, then polish with Wright’s or Weiman brass cleaner ($4). Dish soap shines up glass or stainless steel knobs. Use a Q-tip to detail the ornamental filigree on knobs and handles.

 

Replace Grungy Switch Plates

Any amateur can wipe a few fingerprints off cover plates that hide light switches, electric outlets, phone jacks, and cable outlets. But only deep cleaners happily remove plates to vacuum and swipe the gunk behind. (OK, we’re a little OCD when it comes to dirt!) Make sure cover plates are straight when you replace them. And pitch plates that are beyond the help of even deep cleaning. New ones cost less than $2 each.

 

Neaten Weather Stripping

Peeling, drooping weather stripping on doors and windows makes rooms look old. If the strip still has some life, nail or glue it back. If it’s hopeless, cut out and replace sections, or just pull the whole thing off and start new. A 10-ft. roll of foam weather stripping costs $8; 16-ft. vinyl costs about $15.

 

Replace Stove Drip Pans

Some drip pans are beyond the scrub brush. Replacing them costs about $3 each and instantly freshens your stove.

 

SOURCE: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/maintenance-repair/home-cleaning-secrets/#ixzz2yPkJOiLj

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Home Maintenance

It's time to checkout the April Checklist for a Smooth-Running Home!

by Team Member 9. April 2014 14:10

by Laura Gaskill

With gardens springing to life, the days lengthening and the outdoors beckoning (even if it is still chilly), April is a month of renewal. It’s time to dust off the outdoor furniture, tidy up and refresh decor. And with Earth Day on the calendar, it’s also a great time to adopt a few green habits. Here are 11 to-dos to get your home and yard in the spring spirit. 

READ MORE: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/24256534/w/sid=1/list/Your-April-Checklist-for-a-Smooth-Running-Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Home Maintenance

March Home Maintenance Checklist

by Team Member 13. March 2014 10:32

March is here and it is time for a fresh start. These nine home tasks will start you on your way to a great spring cleaning!

March is a fickle month when it comes to weather; depending on where you live, it could be snowing or utterly balmy. But even if you still have snow on the ground, by March we are all craving a fresh start around the house. From cleaning counters and curtains to doing an exterior check, here are nine home tasks to consider this month.

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General | Home Maintenance

February Checklist for a Smooth-Running Home

by Team Member 13. February 2014 11:23
 
February means the thick of snow and cold across most of the country — but that doesn’t mean we can’t dream of spring. Spruce up your home this month by giving your bedroom a feng shui makeover in honor of Valentine’s Day, plus take stock of cleaning supplies, keep road salt out of the house and refresh walls with paint (and maybe some new art, too). These 10 to-dos can help you keep your home in top shape, even if the weather outside is still frightful.

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Home Maintenance

Energy Efficiency at Home Part 2: Utility and Appliance Tips

by Team Member 7. February 2014 13:11

by 

In this second installation of our three-part series on energy efficiency tips, we take a look at ways to use and choose your appliances to reduce water and electricity use. As mentioned in our previous article on heating and cooling tips, you will save the most money on utility bills if you take the “whole house approach.” While each tip will save you money individually, the more you implement the more you will save. A house is a system, with each part connected and often dependent on the others. The most efficient water heater, for instance, can’t save as much energy if you waste the hot water that comes from it. Combine that same water heater with other water-saving features and measures, and you will notice the difference in your utility bills.

READ MORE: http://www.realestate.com/advice/energy-efficiency-at-home-part-2-utility-and-appliance-tips-96103/

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Home Maintenance

Energy Efficiency at Home: Heating & Cooling Tips to Save Money

by Team Member 5. February 2014 13:07

by 

Considering that the typical American household spends more than $1,500 on electricity alone (with other utilities such as gas and water bringing the total yearly utility cost to over $2,000 a year) any increase in your home’s energy efficiency will save you money. Not only that, but it also makes the world a better place in which to live. Less fuel consumption leads to less pollution, greater protection of resources, and even more comfortable living.

Best of all, many energy saving measures take but a few minutes and cost little or nothing to perform. 

The Whole House Approach

When it comes to saving energy, every little change you make in your house has an impact. However, you’ll see the greatest difference if you take the “whole house approach.” Think of your home as a small ecosystem. No matter how efficient your heating or cooling system, or how low you set your thermostat in the winter, or how good your insulation, if your ducts leak or you have drafty windows and other air leaks, you’re fighting a losing battle to heat or cool your home efficiently.

That’s just one example. The point is, while every little bit of improvement in your energy efficiency helps, approaching your house as an ecosystem where each part is dependent on the others will bring you best results. According to the Department of Energy, it’s possible to reduce your utility bills by 25 percent with diligent changes to your practices along with other changes.

This article is the first in a three-part series aimed at guiding you through energy-saving, bill-lowering tips that, for the most part, you can DIY. You may be able to implement some of these tips immediately while others can be worked on as your budget or time permits.

Efficient Heating and Cooling

  • Change or clean HVAC filters regularly. Fresh filters ensure your HVAC system breathes properly, boosting energy efficiency, and ensure better indoor air quality.
  • Block or allow direct sunlight on your windows according to the season. In the winter the sun helps warm your home, but in the summer it makes your home hotter, causing your air conditioner to work harder. Consider trees for shading during the summer or even window film that blocks the solar rays on the hottest sides of your home.
  • Use fans in the summer to keep your house comfortable. Moving air feels cooler, allowing you to set your thermostat higher.
  • Consider your window curtains, shades or blinds carefully. Insulated drapes help block heat and cold, for instance, while sheers allow air to flow right through. Dark colors absorb heat while light colors don’t. Choose your window coverings with your needs in mind.
  • Run humidifiers or dehumidifiers. Raising the humidity in the air during winter makes it seem warmer, and likewise, dehumidifiers help a space feel cooler in the summer. Plus, removing humidity relieves strain on your air conditioner. Note: Check your humidity level before running a humidifier to ensure you aren’t simply creating a steam bath environment that encourages mold, mildew and rot. Also avoid making the environment too dry.
  • Open your windows and use the night air to cool your home in the fall or spring. A box fan set in the window will draw in air and help limit your use of the air conditioner.
  • Watch your thermostat temperature settings. In the summer, aim for between 74 and 80 degrees for greater energy savings. Under 70 degrees is ideal in winter. Keep the thermostat far from drafts, heat sources or other conditions that alter the proper temperature reading.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. The ability to set your air conditioner to a warmer temperature or your heater to a cooler setting when you plan to be away from the home for long periods saves energy and money. Keep in mind that extreme temperature fluctuations may be self-defeating; In other words, it can take more energy to heat the home back to a livable temperature if it gets too cold while you are away. Setting your thermostat just a few degrees lower during your workday will reflect in your energy bill.
  • Seal your ductwork. If the ducts leak, you’re spilling air to the outside of your home. Take the time and a few dollars to seal your ducts.
  •  Use your appliances with weather conditions in mind for better energy savings. Running the washer, dryer, dishwasher and oven during cooler times of day will help keep your house from overheating. In the winter, on the other hand, the stove can help to heat your home.
  •  Get HVAC “tune-ups.” Just as your car motor needs regular maintenance, having a qualified HVAC professional service your system annually before each heating and cooling season will ensure optimal performance and help prevent costly repair or replacement bills.
  • Close the fireplace damper when not in use. Consider replacing it with a more efficient heat source and blocking it off if desired.
  • If your air conditioner or furnace has seen better days, replace it with an ENERGY STAR® model. The higher the SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating for an air conditioner, the more energy efficient it is. With furnaces, an AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating of at least 90 percent is best. Not only will these tips help save on your bill each month, but in some situations, you may even be able to claim a tax credit for your new appliance. Do your homework before buying any new system. Consumers have many newer, efficient options to choose from, such as heat pumps and biofuel stoves.
  • Ensure your HVAC system is properly sized. Undersized units run more in an effort to keep up, leading to higher bills, increased energy use, and strain that leads to more repair and quicker replacement. On the other hand, oversized units short cycle. Especially with air conditioners, short cycling can mean humidity isn’t removed, the house stays uncomfortable, and more energy is used. Again, it will also require more repairs and quicker replacement. Have a professional size your system using the Manual J, or at least calculate the proper size using a calculator that takes various factors into consideration.
  • Close doors and avoid heating or cooling unused rooms. If you use central heating and air, never close off more than a couple of vents, however, to prevent a buildup of pressure that could damage the ducts or appliance. Ensure return air vents can draw air freely to prevent smothering the appliance and lowering the HVAC efficiency.
  • Use space heaters to spot-heat areas when the outdoor temperatures don’t merit turning on the furnace. An efficient space heater can also boost the warmth in a given area, such as a child’s room, while keeping the temperature lower in the rest of the home. Choose space heaters carefully, looking for efficiency and a safe operating design.
  • Keep air conditioners – both central and window units – in the shade. Trim down grass and remove debris that may smother it. Both tips will help the air conditioners operate more efficiently.
  • Buy a snake, monkey, or similar animal. Not a real one – a draft-stopping one to set in front of your entry door. It will prevent warm or cool air from leaking to the outside.

 

Find more methods to save on your heating and cooling costs from your local utility company or government agencies at the local, state or federal level. Feel free to share your energy saving tips below!

SOURCE: http://www.realestate.com/advice/energy-efficiency-at-home-heating-cooling-tips-to-save-money-30838/

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