General

Four Fall Maintenance Jobs You’ll Be Glad You Had Done

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Summer is a whirlwind of barbecues and backyard parties during which time you’re busy enjoying your home with your family, friends and loved ones.  Home maintenance may not have been at the top of your list as you got on with enjoy those precious times in the sunshine. With the season drawing to a close, however, it’s time to think about tackling some of the essential maintenance jobs that have been sitting on your list for a while. Taking steps now to get your home prepped for the winter months means you’re ahead of the game. It also helps to prevent small matters piling up and turning into bigger, costlier issues. For some things it’s easy to do it yourself, whereas at other times or for larger jobs you may want to call in a professional. So what should you be looking at in the home during fall?

Service Your Heating System

You may not be thinking of using your heating system just yet, but it’s the ideal time for a service and any necessary repair work before the winter rush. After all, you don’t want to find out there’s a problem after the mercury has dropped where you’ll be suffering the cold or long waiting times to get an engineer out. Have any furnaces tested, your central heating system serviced and any open chimneys cleaned so that you know you’ll be cosy and warm when winter bites.

Inspect Your Roof And Guttering

It’s essential to make sure that your home is watertight for the coming bad weather. With roofing, small issues are very easy and inexpensive to repair, but if left unattended they can quickly escalate and develop into serious problems that can cause a lot of damage. Have a professional check for any signs of wear – depending on the type of roof you have you may need cracked and damaged tiles replaced or new vinyl siding – and have someone clear out the gutters so there aren’t any blockages which causing overflows and leaking.

Fill In Cracks And Gaps

A tube of sealant could be the only thing standing between you and lower energy bills this winter. Tackle any little cracks in the walls or gaps between the window and door frames while it’s still fall. Using silicone caulking or weather stripping is easy to do, even as a DIY fix – there are plenty of YouTube tutorials on sealing window frame gaps. The less warm air that is allowed to escape, the more comfortable your living environment and the less money you have to spend on heating.

Test Out Your Sump Pump

If you don’t know how to test out your sump pump it’s definitely something that you should learn how to do, as a little basic maintenance can really help you to save money in the long term. Preventing a backup is crucial, especially if you have experienced a dry summer. Basic maintenance can be done and instructions are usually found in the owner’s manual, but you will need to seek professional assistance for any major repairs.

General

Six Sustainable Home Improvement Ideas For Green Living

Over the past few years, society has become more aware of the impact we have on the planet. Deforestation, global warming, and other environmental concerns have become hot topics of conversation, with everyone asking how they can do better. When the time comes to freshen up your home, it makes sense to do so in a green way. Not only will this reduce your impact, but it’s healthy and cuts costs too. With that in mind, here are six sustainable home improvement ideas. 

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Paint The Right Way

Anyone wishing to make big changes to their decor usually start with the walls. However, before cracking out the paints, you must check that they won’t harm the interior environment. Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are chemicals that are found in many paints. Using low or no VOC paints will lower the harmful emissions in your house, improving the overall air quality. 

Buy Pre-Loved Furniture

Shopping for furniture can be a lot of fun. But, you’ll find it much more enjoyable if you know your spending habits aren’t harming the planet.  When you purchase pre-loved furniture, you reduce the impact you have on the environment. This is because fewer resources are being used, and less waste is being dumped in landfills. There are many places to find second-hand bargains. 

Replace Those Old Appliances

While buying second-hand is usually better for the environment, that doesn’t always apply to appliances. Fridges, stoves, and dishwashers all become less efficient as they get older. Plus, older appliances weren’t built with efficiency in mind. Rather than waste energy needlessly, you should look into replacing your older kitchen essentials with newer, more efficient versions. 

Search For Reclaimed Materials

Whether you purchase new or pre-loved, you should search for furniture made from sustainable materials. Most rustic furniture is built with reclaimed wood, which is an environmentally sound choice but also looks handsome in a home. If you’re planning to replace your countertops, then you will save time, money, and energy by using sustainable materials for that too. 

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Let The Sunlight In

Using lamps during the day is expensive and inefficient. With the sun shining outside, there should be no reason to touch your light switches. If you don’t have enough natural light in your home, then look for ways to change that. Simply washing the windows and removing the blinds can make a huge difference. Adding skylights to your home can also be a great green project. 

Switch To Solar Panels

Even when the sun isn’t shining, you can still light up your home. Going solar allows you to harness the power of the sun and use it to power the house. Solar panels have come a long way and are much cheaper these days than when they were first invented. Nonetheless, they are still a significant investment, so make sure you have enough in the budget to cover the costs. 

With these sustainable home improvement ideas, you can adopt a green lifestyle while turning your home into a more comfortable and stylish place to live.

General

How To Lower Your Home’s Energy Bills

We have realized, some decades later than we should have, that there are costs to using up as much energy as we’d like. The dangers of climate change are already being felt, and if the experts are to be believed — and why wouldn’t they be? — then it’s possible that things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. And there’s another, more personal cost too: the more energy you use, the higher your energy bills, the more money you spend each month. Not ideal. But if you’re beginning to feel the financial strain of all that electricity and gas, then fear not, because there are ways you can reduce your consumption, almost immediately. We take a look at a few of the most effective methods below.

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Is it All Necessary? 

To begin, you’ll want to look at your current usage, and figure out how much if it is actually necessary. We’re living in a society that has encouraged liberal use for a long time, and part of reducing usage involves undoing that education. Take a look at all of your energy using devices in your home, and determine if there are any that can be reduced or abandoned altogether. Sometimes there are more economical alternatives available, or they’re just no longer needed. You could make big savings just by hitting the off switch.

Update the Infrastructure

Of course, there will be some things that you need or want to have in order to run a modern, comfortable home. But sometimes the energy we’re pumping around the house just isn’t used efficiently. Let’s take everything to do with your heating and cooling infrastructure, for instance. They’re two of the biggest energy-sappers, yet much of what they produce goes out of the windows, especially if they’re old. To keep more of the cold and hot air inside of your home, check out texashomeimprovement.com. There you’ll find more energy-efficient windows available. Once they’re installed, you’ll require less hot and cool air to keep your home at an agreeable temperature, which will mean reduced bills.

Your Appliances

As well as your general infrastructure, you’ll also want to review your appliances. You might think give too much thought to your fridge, washing machine, dishwasher, and so on, but it’s worth keeping in mind that the costs of running these machines can vary wildly. If they’re old, then they’ll be much less energy efficient than newer appliances. There are special sticks that you’ll find on more modern options that waste less energy.

Family-Wide Policies

Underlining every change you make will be your family. It’s all good and well putting the right pieces in place, but it’ll be your family and anyone else in your household that has the biggest influence. Lights off — indeed everything off — when they’re not in use and using energy responsibly will make a big difference. Make sure everyone knows what they should be doing, and why they should be doing it, too. Everyone will benefit from their efforts!

General

Best Ways To Get More Privacy In Your Home

Living in privacy in the modern age appears to be getting more tough by the day. With an increase in CCTV cameras on every street and nosy smartphones users ready to record and post online everything they see, keeping your family home and it’s contents out of sight may appear impossible. Luckily, there are actually some great, creative ways in which you can make your homestead more private, and ensure that both your family and belongings are secure and out of reach of prying eyes. If you’re interested and want to know more, then read on to discover some of best steps you can implement to protect your property today!

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Fencing & Greenery

If your garden is open and stands without any kind of defensive border around the edges, the likelihood of people being able to see into your property is of course very high. In contrast, when you make an effort to install some kind of feature that surrounds your outdoor space, everything inside seems more out of reach. Whether you opt for something that seems more natural such as trees or tall plants that can create a green barrier; or something that’s a little more imposing and obvious to create a definition between your families sanctuary and the outside world, like a wooden fence or brick wall. This all depends on the kind of vibe that you are trying to give off, as you may already have a specific design that you need to stick to. 

Curtains & Blinds 

When you travel further inside, you have a few different options to choose from. Blinds can filter the incoming light whilst still blocking anyone from seeing inside, meaning you can still have a bright home despite installing extra privacy measures. They come in so many different designs and styles that any decor can accommodate a perfect set of blinds, but if you’re looking for something a bit more relaxed and rustic then perhaps curtains may be a better option. Curtains can be as thick as per your own personal choice, as there are even specific types of net curtains that allow you to see outside clearly, yet those outside cannot see in. Additionally, some are thick and covered with lush patterns to create a softer more homely kind of privacy, and they can also help to keep in some warmth when it gets a little colder. 

Security Features 

If you want to install some extra privacy features for security reasons, then luckily there are several different steps you can take. First of all, installing a camera of your own can actually protect your privacy though it may seem a strange concept, as it can act as a kind of preventative measure against any suspicious activity on or around your property. As well as this, you can measure your windows and invest in some kind of shutters. These can be made of several different materials, metal being the toughest, that close to secure your family and belongings safe inside.