7 Home Improvement Tips

One of the problems that many home owners quickly realize is that each home has many areas and points where something can go wrong. There are so many systems to consider, from the insulation to the heating and cooling, to plumbing and more, where something may need to be repaired. Also, damage may occur gradually, or in places that aren’t obvious or clearly visible, so problems may go unnoticed for a long time. All of this creates more stress and anxiety for the home owner, unfortunately. However, there are things that can be done so that a home remains in better shape, and so that problems can be either avoided or delayed. Here are 7 home maintenance tips to consider.

1. Regularly Check Your Home Exterior

On a regular basis, make a full circuit outside your home. Start by looking away from your home while going around. Check for any trees, which are located close enough to your property, that any falling branches could hit your roof, windows or walls. Keep in mind that in the event of a storm or strong wind, even trees, which are some distance from your home can have their limbs blown onto your roof. So as far as home improvement is concerned, make sure to cut off any dying or dead limbs from nearby trees, and consider relocating trees away from your home if possible.

2. Regularly Check Your Roof Gutters

Another thing that can happen over time is that leaves and other debris can get onto your roof and into the gutters, causing them to clog up. This causes problems with drainage, which could then lead to damage to the roof or surrounding ground. So an important home improvement tip is to sweep and remove any debris that may be clogging up the gutters before it has a chance to cause any problems.

3. Regularly Check Your Weatherproofing

There are steps which are taken in any home, to prevent interior air from escaping or exterior air from getting inside. These include the use of caulking and weather strips. These are important because they allow your heating and cooling system to function more efficiently. So one home improvement tip is to quickly replace or repair any weatherproofing which is no longer able to do its job.

4. Regularly Check for Stagnant Puddles

Good home design and construction should allow water to run off your property and into the sewage system. You do not want to have long standing puddles of water anywhere close to your property, because this means that drainage is inadequate, and all that water can damage the house’s structure and foundation, and weaken surrounding soil. So if you see something like this, it’s time to call in some professionals to get to the bottom of the problem.

5. Regularly Clean Your Heating and Cleaning Systems

Heating and cleaning systems do a lot of work moving air around your home. They also help to remove impurities from the air thanks to their filters. However, dirt, dust, and other grime do eventually mess up the system, and filters begin to grow less efficient with continued use. So, one important home improvement tip is making it a point to bring some professionals in to replace filters on a regular basis, and to conduct inspections of the HVAC system’s duct work and other components.

6. Regularly Check Your Smoke Detectors and Fire Extinguishers

These components are important because they could save your home and preserve your safety in the event of a fire. So you need to make sure these are maintained properly. Check if the smoke detectors have properly functioning batteries and backup batteries. Also, inspect the expiration dates on any fire extinguishers and replace any which have already gone past their effective dates. These home improvement tips will have you sleeping more peacefully at night.

How to Choose a Home Improvement Contractor

A project for home improvement is often considered as a major investment. Effort, time and money will often go into developing home improvements in order to make your home pretty much more enjoyable, valuable and livable. The level of success for your project will primarily depend on the person who is spearheading the project, that is, your home improvement contractor.

What You Can Expect

A home improvement contractor that you hire needs to be able to perform home renovations, coordinate, schedule, plan and put those plans into action in order to offer you with the output that you want in a very efficient and timely manner. The capabilities of your home improvement contractor will also determine the success of your project.

Centers for home improvement, friends, as well as online sites are all great places for you to start your search for a good home improvement contractor. It is often a good idea to find at least three contractors who can provide you with a quote for your project.

How to Choose

As you select your contractor, make sure that you provide each of the contractors the same specifications and plans that you want them to bid by. At the same time, you also want to ensure that they have all the requirements and information needed to complete the project. When making a decision, make sure that you compare each of them using the same requirement checklist.

The checklist should definitely include certain things such as references, verifying with the Better Business Bureau, making a comparison on the quality of materials, completion timeline, as well as the professionalism, and the price of course. The contractor with the cheapest price may not necessarily provide the best bargain.
In order to make sure that you are only getting the highest quality, and most reliable home renovations, the contractor should use materials that are reliable and has been thoroughly checked. At times, a contractor that offers a lower bid may use optimal materials. Therefore, it is very important to make sure that everything on your checklist has been completed before even making the final decision.

Professional contractors will often have everything in written document, a professional contract before they actually start their work. Make sure that you read the contract completely and carefully, including any fine prints that you may notice, carefully in order to get answers to any questions that you may have even before signing the agreement. Take the time to carefully select your home improvement contractor because by doing so, you can expect to receive a professionally completed home improvement project that you can certainly enjoy not just now, but also in the future.

Starting The Addition

One of the best ways to increase value of your home is to add a well designed addition. This will provide you with both increased living space and additional value in your home. If the local real estate market consists of homes that are larger than yours, this may be a good way to get your home into a higher price range.

If you’ve decided to go ahead with an addition on your home there are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Make sure it fits the existing home design-wise so it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb.
  2. Don’t forget to get all necessary permits before construction
  3. Plan for some level of disruption during construction. You may need to move out or modify your daily routines for the duration of the project.

Here’s a photo showing the first step on a recent renovation project.

addition foo

The footing forms are being built prior to pouring the concrete footings for the basement foundation. Planning proper drainage is important at this point. Foundation drains should divert any groundwater away from the footings into either a sump or other drain line.

New Home Improvement Blog

Hi and welcome to my new home improvement blog. I’ve fixed up a number of homes over the years and will be sharing some of the things I’ve learned along the way.

At the very least maybe some of the stuff I post here may save you from expensive pitfalls in your renovation journey.

I’ll be back again soon with some more posts, photos etc. Thanks.

Energy Saving Ideas

Energy Saving Tips for Your Older Home

If you want to save any money, your energy bills can be an excellent start for that. Without noticing, we can spend way too much on energy. You can save a lot of money if you are a bit more careful and respect a few simple rules. Choose to use that extra earned money for something else, like a great vacation or new furniture for your home. Here is how you can stop energy wastage.

First of all, never leave a light bulb on if you are not in that room. Turn the light on when you enter and make sure you turn it off when you walk out. If you forget this in the other rooms of your house as well, they can become a real headache when the energy bill reaches your door. Did you enjoy a tasty coffee? Great, turn off your coffee machine after you’re done with coffee making. The electric heating resistance inside a coffee machine will keep on sucking energy if you leave it on. So check this appliance before you leave home. Washing machines are also significant consumers if left on without a proper reason. Don’t start the washing cycle and then leave home. The machine will stop, but the display and other lid buttons will eat up energy. So be sure you are there when the machine finishes washing your clothes, to turn it off and get your clothes out.

Is your TV running but you’re working on the computer? Let’s be serious, you can’t pay attention to both, so just choose one. You consume unnecessary energy on something you are not using. So think better of the money you are saving next time you leave both of them running. Use a programmable thermostat for your heating system. You will need just to set the temperature you want, in the particular hours you need. So your heating system will not just run chaotically, especially during the hours when you are not at home, and you don’t need the house to be heated up. Repair or get rid of useless appliances. Such item, if it’s not working correctly, it can be a black hole for energy. Either you optimize them or you just send them out to be recycled.

Keep your vents and air conditioning clean. If the air flow is not passing through them with ease, the machines will suck in more power to be able to force the air run in the system. Also, never cover radiators. It will diminish the efficiency, and the energy consumption will be increased to be able to cover the requirements. But it is only a false impression that the air is cold since the radiator is not allowed to so its job as it should, because of the coverage. Also, if you can, opt to take showers, rather than baths. For showers, the amount of water that needs to be heated is a lot smaller, so you will save energy on this side as well.