Home warranties are supposed to save you thousands of dollars. You’ve probably heard about the potential benefits in commercials, but it is important to remember that these are advertisements.
The validity of their claims can’t be trusted, but thankfully, the internet connects you with clients who have experience with these home warranty companies.
Some of these clients leave unbiased reviews that can help you figure out who to trust and who may be untrustworthy. The answer won’t be clear since figuring out if these warranties are worth it baffles even financial experts. Some think it’s better to take care of small repairs on your own while others think it’s better to trust warranty companies.
Can Home Warranties Save You Some Cash?
It is true that a big repair, like a plumbing or HVAC issue, could end up costing you a few thousand dollars to fix. You know how important these things are to your home.
Things can get pretty messy without a running toilet, and if you don’t have that kind of money, then you have a problem. It is here where a home warranty company can really shine. The emergency can be dealt with, even if you don’t have the money saved on your own.
The thing to consider is that major issues don’t really happen all the time. Most major appliances don’t fail too often. With proper maintenance, they could last 15 years or more depending on the appliance. You’ll end up paying for the warranty without using it for years, which is why some financial advisers don’t like these policies.
In essence, you want to calculate how much you spend per policy between repairs, and make sure you aren’t paying more for the policy than the repairs.
Furthermore, some warranty providers create policies that would allow them to weasel out of paying anything or paying much should you ever need their help.
What You Need to Look For
One way some companies make extra money is by offering you upgrades that sound nice and cover certain aspects of your home.
Most likely, the part that is covered probably won’t fail. It is an upgrade that may sound good but is not really needed. Think about each upgrade carefully, making sure it is something that could actually fail.
It is important that you make sure you investigate a number of policies rather than just one. Read the policies, and make sure the rules set in the policy aren’t too strict. Some companies have rules to reduce the amount they offer you if they offer anything at all.
Be Specific About What You Need
You can’t possibly investigate every home warranty provider. You are going to have to narrow down your choices so that you can dedicate your time to the right companies. There are a number of ways to do this, like by focusing on one type of plan. Cheap home warranty plans are a good example and can help you focus your search.
Now, keep in mind that these types of policies sometimes come with a depreciation cost clause, which is one way these companies keep their costs low. This is something you don’t want to see because it means the company can reduce the amount of money offered to you should an appliance fail. The money might not be enough to cover your costs. Not all budget warranties come with this clause, so make sure you read each policy.
You can definitely get a good policy if you make sure the policy matches your needs, and read all details to make sure this company is offering true value.
Are There Any Alternatives?
Yes, there are a few alternatives, and the one that financial advisers recommend the most is a self-insurance policy. This is a fancy way of saying you should create an emergency fund account that you can use if major repairs are needed. It may take a second to build a good safety net, but at least this is your money.
Credit cards can also help you from to time, but remember that credit cards come with some hefty costs. Make sure you try other options, like borrowing from a family member or a friend, before you resort to a credit card.
Hopefully, these points help you find a warranty that actually provides real value.
House remodeling projects are never easy to finish on time, whether it’s your fault or the blame belongs to the contractor in charge of the renovations. Roofing, in particular, often tends to take more time than initially estimated because damage below the roof’s exterior surface isn’t always visible or detectable on the very first inspection. So, if you have plans to get your roof in order any time soon, the following few practical tips might just help you keep the schedule after all.
Hire Experienced Roofers
These Belfast Roofing Services have been in business for more than 22 years, repairing and installing roofs in the Greater Belfast area. If you happen to live in the region, just give them a call and they will make sure that the job gets done within the estimated deadline. Not only does the experience help with making perfect inspections, but they also have a reputation to live up to.
Even if you live outside Belfast, the same advice towards preferring experienced and reputed roofers over cheap ones applies everywhere, provided the deadline and the quality of the work really have meaning to you. As a homeowner, you don’t want the roof to be unsafe or imbalanced after a renovation since that could be very dangerous for everyone inside.
Get Your Budget in Place
It is important to understand that when a homeowner cannot pay a contractor after the project is only half-finished, it raises the overall expenses for the homeowner. Roofing is not meant to be left half-finished, as a simple afternoon shower can ruin most of the work done in no time. This doesn’t affect the contractor in any significant way, but it hurts the customer.
Most roofers won’t work out of their pockets, given that it would make zero business sense! Which means that after everything about the roof renovation has been decided, make sure that you have the funds necessary to complete the project. If you do not give them the money in time, the project will get delayed; it’s as simple as that. Only begin after you have the money to see it through.
Mind the Weather
Keep an eye on the weather forecasts and the general time of the year before finalizing the roofing project’s timeline. If it starts to rain and the winds pick up, there is practically nothing that anybody can do to stop the project from getting indefinitely delayed. In fact, if you are not careful about the weather in advance, it could essentially ruin most of the work completed, even before it starts to rain.
As already mentioned, roofing can be more expensive and time-consuming than initially estimated, and although experienced roofers can minimize the chances of that happening, you should always be prepared for the possibility of severe thunderstorms and continuous rain.
In spite of everything, do keep a few days of extra time in hand for unforeseeable circumstances, right from the time you plan the project.
Heat recovery systems are a popular, energy
saving technology being installed in buildings all across the country. But
while it is fast growing in popularity, there are still many who know nothing
about it, even if it could result in significant energy savings and better,
cleaner air. So, what is heat recovery
exactly, and why should you consider it for your home? Let’s take a deeper look
at the technology behind it, what it does, and a few rare cases when this
technology might not be the best suited for your home.
What is Heat Recovery?
Heat recovery systems are designed to capture
the heat from air that is being expelled from your home to heat the fresh air
coming into it. The reverse is true in the summer. The air coming into your
home is cooled by the air exiting your home. This reduces the amount of energy
required to heat or cool your home during both seasons.
How Do Heat Recovery Systems
A heat recovery system doesn’t involve
fancy equipment, and it doesn’t require you to replace your existing heating
system. Instead, it can work within your ventilation system. In each room of
your house, there are ventilation ducts that bring fresh air in and take stuffy
air out. These ducts connect to the heat exchanger that exchanges heat between
the incoming and outgoing air before the outgoing air is vented into the
atmosphere. The heat exchanger simply exchanges heat so that the incoming air
is almost at the same temperature as the outgoing air.
The outgoing and incoming air will not mix
with each other. This means that you don’t have to choose between energy
efficiency and feeling stuffy. Instead, stale air is pushed outside while up to
90 percent of the heat in it is transferred to the incoming air.
Why Should I Consider Heat
Recovery for My Home?
One of the biggest benefits of MVHR, or
mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, is that it provides a steady stream
of filtered fresh air to your home without wasting the energy used to heat or
cool it. Home heat recovery systems can exchange the air in your home every two
hours or so. Trickle vents may exchange less than one percent of your home’s
air per hour. The end result is that you get fresher air and less allergens
floating into the house.
An MVHR system can be great for clearing dander, chemical residues, and dust out of the air in your home. And you won’t end up bringing in pollen and pollutants like you would if you just opened a window. The constant stream of air also keeps the air vents in your home clean. Cobwebs and mold can’t grow inside your air vents. Any bad odors or chemical sprays are quickly eliminated as well.
This is especially important when considering the recent “sick house syndrome” epidemic we’re seeing all over the country. Sick house or building syndrome is when inhabitants start experiencing health issues because of some underlying condition with the house, such as mold for instance. Not only does MVHR technology prevent mold from forming, but it clear spores from the air as well.
Another point in favor of heat recovery systems is that it is a green technology. You aren’t wasting warm stale air by venting it outside when you bring in fresh air. That heat is recovered as you bring in fresh air. You won’t work the boiler or heater as hard keeping your home warm in the winter, though an MVHR system won’t eliminate the need for them altogether. And you can save even more energy with these systems, because you can control the air exchange rate. Lower the air exchange rate, and you may not have to run the radiators very long at night.
In larger buildings, an MVHR system will
help you keep the temperature in the entire building at the same comfortable
temperature. It pulls heat from hot rooms like kitchens or wet rooms and
distributes it evenly across the building, and it eliminates the cold spots
that arise in inefficient systems where those downstream receive little heat.
This reduces the temptation for employees to open the window to let in fresh
air or turn on small heaters to get warm.
Another benefit of heat recovery systems is
that they move the large volume of air and exchange the heat without the noisy
mechanical fans that are otherwise required. This may make your home or
workplace much quieter.
Condensation prevention is reason enough for homeowners to consider buying one. The average family exhales fifteen liters of moisture into the air as they breathe, cook, shower and do laundry. In the typical home, most of that moisture remains trapped inside the home. This can foster mold growth, and lead to peeling wallpaper and condensation pooling where it can cause structural damage. A heat recovery system’s steady stream of fresh air eliminates this excess moisture. You can use the heat exchanger as a dehumidifier in the winter too.
When Isn’t a Heat Recovery
System a Good Idea?
A heat recovery system is ideal when the building is fully insulated and all the little places where warm air can escape are sealed. If you’re in an older leaky home, you probably shouldn’t get a heat recovery system until the home is better sealed. If the doors and windows of your building are always open, an MVHR system may not be a good idea. A heat recovery system is a logical choice for newer, eco-friendly buildings.
In large industrial buildings, a heat recovery system may already be fitted into the condensing boiler. Older boilers probably have a flue economizer but may benefit from being fitted with a heat recovery system.
Heat recovery systems correct the poor indoor air quality that has resulted from the tightly insulated and poorly ventilated homes we’ve built. They’re also a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, energy consumption, and cut on costs. If you feel like a heat recovery system could be a good option, we suggest you speak with a professional so that you know which options are open to you.
Storage sheds are a vital
part of many private homes. Because most people do not have sufficient space to
store lawn and garden equipment in their garage, a storage shed is an important
way to offer a secure storage building for lawn and garden equipment. They can
also properly store a variety of other items as well.
The Many Uses for Outbuildings and Sheds
While the exact size and
dimensions of sheds and outbuildings can vary based on need, outdoor sheds are
the perfect place to store lawn equipment, tools, outside furnishings and so
much more. While the typical homeowner builds a shed or small outbuilding for
the storage of tools and lawn equipment, many outside sheds are increasingly
being used as accessory buildings for a variety of other uses. Be sure to check
storage shed plans by Howtobuildashed.org. In fact, one of the more
common uses for a tool shed is the use of them as outbuildings. This includes
using yard sheds as outbuildings for:
• Home Studios Workshops
• Children’s Playhouses
• Barns for Animals
• Pool Cabanas
• Patio Cabanas
• Outdoor Furniture Storage
While these are the
traditional uses for these yard buildings. There are other great uses for
larger outbuildings. These can be used as:
• Park and Private Community
Front Gate Buildings
• Private Estate Guest
• Tiny Homes
• Camp and Retreat Cottages
• Municipal Pool Changing
• Campground or Park
• Park Vending and Refreshment
Primary Residential Uses for Outbuildings
Since many of the yard sheds
of today offer great alternatives to filling the garage with clutter, these
buildings have become commonplace for many homes across the country. However,
they have also taken on new meaning for many homeowners.
One of the biggest new trends
for homeowners is the creation of outdoor living space. By contrast to just
having a place with a grill, outdoor living space is created by having an area
with running water, lights and patio overhang separate from the home to extend
the enjoyment of a yard. People who are looking to have an outbuilding to
expand their living space for outdoor enjoyment, also often choose to use a
concrete shed platform with a foundation to create a yard cabana. These
finished off structures add beautiful outdoor living and accessory space when
they are built as cabanas with patios for warm weather outdoor dining and
Shed and Outbuilding Flooring Options
For homeowners who are
looking to buy an outbuilding or build one from purchased blueprints, one of
the most important long-term decisions is what to use for flooring. There is no
generic answer to this since the usage of the outbuilding is the number one factor
in determining the best type of flooring.
It is better to ensure the
long-term use of these outbuildings, there should be a concrete foundation
built for the structure. Pouring a concrete foundation will significantly
increase the lifespan of the outbuilding by making it a more permanent
structure. If a concrete slab foundation is created for the building, it is
recommended the building be attached to the slab in a similar way as a home
would be. This will also increase the value of the building as this creates a
permanent structure status.
Other flooring bases should
be considered carefully. Some of the other floorings that are used for
outbuildings include wood and metal base flooring. However, in both these
cases, the chance of rot, rodent and insect infestation is substantial. This
can reduce the life of the outbuilding significantly.
Once the base flooring is
decided, interior flooring is the next most important decision. For buildings
that will house a workshop, tools, pool equipment or lawn care items, leaving
the base floor concrete is recommended. Concrete is easy to maintain and clean
from wood shavings, grass clippings, mud or debris.
It should be noted that
keeping the floor concrete for a workshop has benefits for cleanup. However, a
concrete finish will leave the floor cold during the winter months. Because of
this, some property owners opt to have raised flooring installed over the
concrete. Once this is done, the floor can be finished off with linoleum for
easy care and maintenance.
For outbuildings being used
as a pool cabana, one of the more popular floorings is linoleum or carpet that
is meant for indoor-outdoor use. As long the carpet is an indoor-outdoor carpet
that is water resistant, it will be appropriate for flooring use.
Flooring for studios and
cottages can include any type of flooring if the building has some type of
electricity and heat. A subfloor should be built above the concrete to help
keep the floor warm in colder weather months. Once this is done it can be readily
Flooring and Special Considerations for Barns
Meant for Farm Animals
For people who are looking to use an outbuilding as an animal barn, dirt floors are often chosen for the animals. However, concrete can be used as well for easy cleaning with hay, or a combination of hay and dirt used for a softer flooring for the animals. If a dirt floor is chosen, the building should be built on a concrete base around the frame of the building to keep the integrity of the building intact and provide it longevity. Pressure treated wood with anti-fungal and safe natural insecticide repellent treated wood is best to use for the base of the frame.
Lots of us are now choosing to work from home. This could be for practical reasons, such as when we have small children to look after, but also for financial; many people are choosing to start their own home businesses after being made redundant, for example. As you would expect, energy costs are higher when you are at home all day, so we have come up with a list of tips that should help you to reduce the price of your energy bills. All are suitable for home office workers, but many can be implemented in traditional office environments as well.
1. Switch to LED Lighting
Making the switch from incandescent light bulbs to LED could save you as much as 50% on the cost of lighting your office. LEDs require smaller amounts of energy to work, yet they still provide the same brightness as traditional light bulbs. While they are a more expensive investment, they tend to last for much longer – in some cases, as long as ten years – so over time, they more than pay for themselves. They can also significantly improve the aesthetics of a room.
2. Upgrade to a Heat Recovery System
Heat recovery systems are becoming especially popular in commercial environments, but they can also be purchased for home offices (and residential properties in general) as well. They are much more energy efficient than traditional heating systems, and ensure your office remains at a consistent temperature. They also provide a better air environment, which is exactly what you need when stuck at home all day. You can find out more about them via this link: https://www.bpcventilation.com/commercial-heat-recovery.
3. Invest in Energy Saving Devices
When starting a home business, it can be tempting to invest in second hand equipment to save money. But while this is okay, it’s a good idea to check out the energy rating of any items that you buy. Products with a good energy rating may be more expensive upfront, but over time will lead to large savings on your energy bills. You could also hire an energy auditor to come to your home or office and advise you on ways to cut costs. Everything from your work PC to your photocopier should be considered.
4. Consider External Forces
If your desk is situated close to the window, during the summer months you may feel like you need to turn on an air conditioner or fan to keep cool. Both of these can lead to high energy costs, which could be prevented by moving your desk to a cooler area of the room, or by installing blinds to block the heat. During the winter, you’ll want to consider insulation. Gaps around windows and doors can easily let cool air in, leading to your heating system needing to work overtime to keep your work area warm. Adding weather stripping or caulking could help to improve this.
If you work from home, keep the above advice in mind. You’ll soon start to see large savings on your energy bills.
Whether you are someone who is deeply invested in moving forward with a classic home in the suburbs or you want to redecorate and remodel your condo or apartment in Annapolis or Baltimore, its time for you to consider what is going on in the world of home décor. For many people, having a comfortable, trendy place to live in a high priority, so consider of the current trends that are sweeping the state. Chances are good that you are going to find something that you can’t do without!
Dark woods are definitely in. Dark wood is a good choice for the kitchen cabinets, especially if you pair it with a granite or a marble counter top. Dark wood lends warmth and intimacy to your home, and you will discover that it gives even the brightest rooms a grounded look that is sure to please. Consider how a dark trim can make your home really pop.
Energy efficiency is also a big trend in Maryland. With the economy going the way it is and an ever-increasing emphasis on green methods, energy-saving appliances are an important choice for any homeowner. From water-saving shower heads to energy-efficient washers and dryers, you’ll find that there are some terrific options that are just waiting for you. If you want a shortcut for choosing energy-efficient appliances, look for an Energy Star rating. Don’t forget the less visible appliances as well. Water heaters and furnaces both end up degrading over time, and if you have to invest in a new one, choose one that will save you a great deal of money in the long run by consuming less power.
Don’t be afraid to look into an open plan for your home. Open plan layouts have taken over the Maryland area, whether you are looking in the kitchen or the living room. While many people are afraid that an open plan home will look barren, you’ll find that a properly-implemented open plan area is one that can give your home a spacious but cozy look. While this can take some time and some money to implement, renovating your home for an open plan look is something that dramatically increases the value of the property.
Consider adding more textures to your home. More and more people are choosing a very plain or monochrome look and then layering textures on top of it. For example, if you love the idea of a warm eggshell color scheme to your home, you can add things like unbleached sheepskin rugs or coarse mohair wall hangings to grant the space more texture. Adding texture to a room is a good way to warm it up and to make sure that you are going to be able to cope with a single color scheme.
Themed decorating, once considered tacky, is back in a big way. Urbanites and suburbanites alike are both enjoying decorating their homes with a unifying theme in mind. To prevent a theme from becoming overwhelming, keep it subtle. For example, if you want a western theme in your bedroom, do not simply start throwing pictures of cowboys everywhere! Instead, choose warm browns for the bedroom and decorate tastefully with leather and antiqued brass. It is possible to get the point across in a very soft and gentle fashion.
Give up those old curtains and throw open your windows. Nothing makes a Maryland home look old and tired like dusty drapes. To bring in more light, consider simple sheer curtains that will give your room a soft diffuse aura. Colored sheers can be used to match the rest of the house without much worry about whether or not you are losing light, so experiment with the effects that you get.
If you are invested in doing some home renovations in Maryland, make sure that you see what is current and what is hot. It’s never too late to have the trendy home of your dreams.