Posted In:Home Improvement Archives - Pligg
Gas or electric?
This question is becoming more common, and with water heaters, it’s no different.
If your water heater needs replacing, you’ve probably asked (or have been asked) the same question.
But what’s the difference? Besides the obvious (powered by gas vs. electricity), there are some details about each to consider before buying.
How water heaters work
Before taking the plunge into the world of water heaters, it’s helpful to understand the differences between your options.
But first, let’s begin with the basics. Water flows into your home via a network of pipes.
This water is typically quite cold at first, and heating the water requires, you guessed it, a water heater.
You know, that large and unsightly tank sitting in the basement.
On the outside, it looks rather unremarkable, other than its size. But the inside contains an array of devices which make your morning showers so pleasant.
Water heaters work by heating the incoming cold water and retaining the heated water within the tank (unless it’s a tankless water heater, then the water is heated on-demand).
Heat rises, and in a water heater, it’s no different.
Cool water flows into the bottom of the tank. As the water is heated, it rises to the top where it awaits to flow to the showerhead or faucet.
Below you’ll discover the basics of how both a gas and electric water heater operate, as well as some pros and cons of each type:
Gas water heaters
Gas water heaters use a burner at the bottom of the tank.
A venting shaft runs through the middle to dispense of carbon dioxide and water vapors outdoors.
- Gas is less expensive than electricity
- Heating is more efficient
- Higher hot water flow rates
- Requires connection to gas lines
- Requires additional venting systems
- Greater initial costs
If your home is already connected to a gas line, consider going this route.
Gas burns clean and heats water more efficiently than an electric unit.
Electric water heaters
Electric water heaters utilize large coils submerged in the water.
Electricity is passed through these coils until the water is heated.
- Easy and inexpensive to install
- Electricity rates are relatively stable
- Little maintenance required
- Not as efficient as gas
- Lower hot water flow rates
- Not ideal for large families
If your demands for hot water are minimal, an electric unit might be your best option.
Electric water heaters aren’t as efficient as their gas-powered counterparts.
However, their ease and low cost of installation make them attractive options for those working with a tight budget.
What to consider before buying
While there is no specific formula for selecting the right water heater for your home, there are a few key items to consider:
How much are you willing to spend?
Depending on your needs, you can get away with spending a little or a lot.
You can easily spend thousands of dollars on the best and the latest, just ask yourself if it’s really necessary.
Availability of space
Is space within your home limited?
Some heaters are smaller than others, so it’s important to compare your water heating needs with the amount of space available.
Efficiency and flow requirements
Do you have a large family?
You might want to purchase a larger unit if multiple people will require hot water.
Nobody wants to listen to their loved ones complain about the water temperature, so make your decision accordingly.
Relaxing outside on your home’s patio or deck…
Whether it’s taking in a sunset or entertaining your family and friends, there’s no better way to spend a summer day or evening.
That is until the sun beats you down or the rain drives you back inside.
You’re then left to gaze longingly out the window, pining for the touch of a soothing summer breeze on your skin.
If only there was a way to extend the inside of your home outside.
Installing a retractable awning to your home’s exterior may be the solution you’ve been waiting for.
Benefits of a retractable awning
Adding a retractable awning to your home affords many benefits, including:
- Ease of installation and use
- Provides protection from harmful UV rays
- Increases home equity
- Creates comfortable space for enjoying the outdoors
- Entertain guests rain or shine
- Protects home interior and exterior
Whether you want to spend more time outside (comfortably) or add value to your home, installing a retractable awning is the best way to enhance your time spent on your deck or patio.
What will work best?
Before you run out to a box store like Home Depot, evaluate the outside of your home to determine what retractable awning system will suit your needs the best.
You’re making an addition to your home and it should be treated as an investment, not a new toy.
Examine the exterior for anything that may interfere with awning installation. Are there any structures like pipes or chimneys that will get in the way?
Also, remember that awnings are only able to extend out from your home’s exterior without installing additional supports.
Features to consider
Your awning doesn’t have to be fancy to enjoy the full benefits.
But if you want increased ease of use or increased protection from the elements, there are a variety of options available. Consider installing features such as:
- Screens to provide shade from a rising or setting sun
- Stabilizing bars to create more headroom and a sturdier structure
- Fabric enclosures to protect awning fabric while retracted
- Motorized and remote controlled systems for increased ease of use
- Fabric options to customize and accent the color of your home
- Sun sensors to adjust light and temperature requirements set by user
- Wind sensors to protect the awning from damaging high winds
Additional features will not only impress your guests. Increased ease of use will ensure worry-free operation, as well.
Furthermore, add-ons such as sun and wind sensors can be integrated into your home’s existing automation systems.
Controls and accessories
For extended home protection and usability, consider installing the following controls and accessories:
- Infrared heaters
- Outdoor heater bars allows for more time enjoying your awning
- Control switches
- Extend or retract your motorized awning from inside or outside
- Wireless switches
- Allows for remote operation from a distance
- Battery backup
- Provides further protection from severe weather and power outages
- UV ray and rain protection
- Long-lasting awning fabrics designed to withstand harsh weather
Now that you’ve explored the different options available, it’s time to evaluate the retractable awning that is best suited for your home and your needs.
Share your project ideas with a local product specialist to help determine which retractable awning system is the best fit your home.
Did you know Americans spend over $100 billion every year on home renovation projects?
In 2015, the amount hit $326.1 billion!
This can only mean one thing: homeowners across the country are investing thousands of dollars into their homes.
Whether you are planning a renovation project because you want to sell your home, or you just want to turn it into a dream home, it’s important to consider the return on investment.
You see, home renovation projects are not created equal.
Some will fetch you more bang for your hard-earned bucks, and others will have little impact on your home’s value or curb appeal.
In this post, we’re sharing the top 5 home renovations that will unlock more value from your home.
Let’s dig in.
The number of people who want to live in green homes is increasing by the day.
As a result, greener homes are fetching higher prices in the real estate market.
If your home wasn’t built with ‘green’ in mind from the start, there are renovations you can do – such as fiberglass attic insulation – to enhance its energy efficiency levels.
With increased energy efficiency, your home’s value will shoot up!
Driveway Repair or Replacement
When it comes to selling a home, first impressions matter.
What potential buyers see the moment they enter your gate influences their purchase decisions.
Since driveways typically occupy large chunks of real estate, they greatly improve the value of a property when in excellent condition.
If there aren’t many damages on it, call in a professional to perform repairs. But if it has large holes and cracks, or patches from old repairs are visible, replace the entire thing.
Flooring is one of the top features people look out for when shopping around for a new home.
Even if your home is in a good neighborhood, you may have trouble selling it if the floor isn’t in a perfect state, or isn’t made of the right material.
The vast majority of buyers prefer hardwood flooring, so you should consider installing it. The major drawback is the high cost of acquisition and installation, but it’s an instant customer magnet and adds great value to your home.
Other flooring materials you can consider include laminate, vinyl, and tile.
The kitchen is where the heart of the home is. And where the heart is, great value is bestowed!
When renovating a kitchen, pay attention to modern standards. More and more people are developing a large appetite for large and open kitchens, modern cabinets and storage units and built-in kitchen appliances.
You are probably thinking this reno project will cost you an arm and a leg. Sure, it can cost upwards of $50,000, but your home’s value will increase by double this figure.
Doors and Windows (and Other Minor Renos)
A tidy home is a valuable home.
There are minor renovations that you can implement to make your home look neat and inviting. Fixing or replacing broken doors and windows is a good place to start.
You should also inspect your home thoroughly to find spots or features that need basic repairs or maintenance.
Such minor renos will go easy on your pocket and increase your home’s overall appeal to buyers.
Renovations are part and parcel of owning a home.
Reno projects will not only add to your piece of mind and make your living environment safer, but also pump thousands of dollars into your home’s value.
With these tips, we hope you now know the kind of projects that will bring in an awesome ROI. Good luck!
Home security is not a priority to take lightly. The feeling after someone violates your home is something you won’t soon forget.
Most people have the same “Yeah, but it won’t happen to me” attitude. Well, with on average almost 4 million home invasions per year, you’re chances are worse than you’d think.
Though even beyond the odds, losing personal possessions to a break-in is always devastating, and something that’s easily avoidable.
Imagine if a burglar stole irreplaceable family heirlooms or anything at all you had earmarked to stay in the family lineage.
We’re willing to guess that you wouldn’t take kindly to having your personal belongings messed with. Not to mention the sense of creeping doubt that you’re not safe in your own home.
It’s why burglar prevention solutions are so popular. Home security systems, a mean dog; you know the drill.
What surprises people is that many of these systems pale in comparison and value to simply leaving a few lights on when you leave the house.
Choosing the correct lighting to leave on is paramount to making this strategy work. When we leave the house, and even when we’re home, we turn to 12V LED lights.
Wondering why? Keep reading to find out.
12V LED Lights For Home Security
If you’re not familiar with LED lights, they acronym stands for light-emitting diode. They’re lights designed with efficiency in mind.
Twelve volt LED lights are rather bright. If you think about it, even a 12V “normal light” is going to cast a large swath of illumination.
When we’re protecting against home invasion, it’s this light swath we’re interested in.
LED Lights Are Bright
LED lights are brighter than your average bulb. Get your hands on a 12V LED light, and you’re lighting up the yard.
This why they make such excellent burglar deterrents. The bulbs are bright enough that no one can approach your house unseen.
If you were a burglar, would you rob the house shrouded in darkness, or the house illuminate in light? Obviously, you’re robbing the dark house.
Set up these 12 V LED lights around your home’s perimeter. It should only take two or three to achieve maximum coverage.
While you can also achieve the same effective with fluorescent lights, LED lights aren’t nearly as intense. There’s no piercing light to shine through your own, or your neighbors, curtains.
Not only will you family thank you for the low-intensity light, but your neighbors won’t angrily knock on your door at bedtime.
LED bulbs are energy efficient and last for long periods of time before blowing out. This is perfect for your home security needs.
Low-cost security? Check. Reliable? Check. Efficient? Check again.
Reliable? Check. Efficient? Check again.
Efficient? Check again.
For people living in your average neighborhood, LED lights are the best security bang for your buck.
You certainly aren’t going to install a home security system for the same cost as a few high-quality 12V LED lights.
Don’t believe us? Shop around and see for yourself. We’re betting you settle on a few high-quality 12V LED lights instead.
There are a million DIY TV shows and websites. You can paint it, you can stain it, you can cover it with fabric.
For the advanced DIY’er, you can learn how to build a deck chair. Or, even the entire deck.
But, when it comes to electricity, it’s much better to be safe than sorry.
Here’s how to know when to call an electrician.
Your home’s electricity
For most of us, there are two times we think about electricity:
- When it’s time to pay the bill
- When we flip a switch and something doesn’t work
The majority of the time, electricity is our silent friend. It keeps our food cold and lights our way.
But it can also be a dangerous friend if you’re not careful. Yes, it is more likely that lightning will kill you instead of your outlets at home.
But why take that chance?
It doesn’t matter whether you need something fixed or something brand-new installed.
Certified electricians can help you with any of your home’s electrical needs.
When you should call an electrician
There are so many things that need to be plugged in, in a typical household. From cellphones to hair dryers, lots of things need electricity.
The problem comes from plugging too many things into too many outlets.
Do you have multiple outlets that look like an octopus is trying to escape the wall? If so, your home’s electrical system may be overloaded.
An electrician can help sort out what you need and get it taken care of safely.
Those annoying, flickering lights
Have you noticed that when you turn on a major appliance that your lights flicker?
When the motor in that appliance starts up, it can draw a major amount of current.
It may be good to have that appliance on its own dedicated circuit instead.
Your breakers, that is.
Your octopus outlets and flickering lights may leave you in the dark when a breaker trips. Yes, they’re a safety measure meant to keep the system in check.
But they shouldn’t trip every time when you start the microwave.
Having an electrician assess your home’s electricity needs and use will help.
Warm isn’t good when it comes to electricity
Unless it’s an actual space heater, then it’s probably OK. But if you notice a switch or other power point that’s warm to the touch, something’s not right.
Older homes may have older wiring, too. Homes over 25 years old should be regularly inspected.
If you have anything that’s warm to the touch that shouldn’t be, you should call an electrician.
You’re grounded but your appliances aren’t
Especially in an older home, not all of your outlets may be of the 3 hole variety.
The bottom hole provides a ground for whatever you’ve got plugged in. This is even more important for larger appliances, like refrigerators and microwaves.
Don’t break that ground off the plug!
Call an electrician who can install new outlets that are safer for you and your family.
Are you bored with your home?
When you buy a house, you often sign the lease papers with the intention of staying for years, sometimes for life. These days, though, you can’t help but notice how your home feels drab and uninspired. You know that home is where the heart is, but your heart’s not in it anymore.
When was the last time you rearranged? This doesn’t mean you have to call an interior decorator and redo your whole house.
By moving decor and furniture (and using furniture pads to keep your floors damage-free), you can make a huge difference in the way you see home sweet home.
How? Allow us to explain.
Make Some Space
When you first bought your house, did you marvel at the size of the rooms? Do you often wonder what happened to all that space?
It’s easy (a little too easy) to clutter up rooms with stuff. Small piles become bigger piles you’ll get to later. Those bigger piles become unmanageable, so you ignore them.
With furniture on top of that, the room can start to feel a little stifling.
It’s time to declutter. Grab two boxes and label one “keep” and the other “toss.” Go through the room and put things in the appropriate box.
If the space still feels too cramped, move your furniture around. Instead of the couch being next to the loveseat, try pushing the loveseat to the opposite wall. You’ll be surprised how much more floor space you have.
Find a New Focus
What’s the focus in your living room?
It might be the TV. It might be an eye-catching piece of artwork. It may be something else entirely.
That item should be the center of attention, literally. The rest of the furniture and decor in your living room should flank the main item.
Let’s say your focus item is the TV. If this is up against a wall, your couch should be several feet back but centered with the TV. Loveseats, recliners, and other chairs should be arranged around the couch.
This informs you where everything else should go. For example, you might put a coffee table between the TV and the couch. You could position lamps on either side of the recliner and loveseat.
With a main item to focus on, your room is more cohesive.
Move Away from the Light
Speaking of lamps, the positioning of the furniture plays a key role in how bright or dark a room is. If you have a standing lamp in the corner and you put a recliner in front of that, the chair blocks most of the light.
If your rooms feel a little dark, you don’t always need brighter bulbs. Just rethink your furniture. Your couch, for instance, can be a huge light hog.
Of course, thus far we’ve only mentioned artificial light sources. Your furniture can also block natural sunlight.
Rearranging your furniture can transform any room. This frees up space and lets more light in.
However, moving furniture can be risky on hardwood or marble flooring. You don’t want to accidentally damage your floors while lugging around a heavy couch.
Furniture Buffers pads keep furniture and floors safe during your remodeling project. To learn more or shop for furniture pads, contact Furniture Buffers today.
You’ve likely seen roadside signs promoting the buying of houses for cash.
It sounds pretty good, right?
If you’re wondering if this is an opportunity you should jump on but are unsure of what exactly it entails and how it works, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
Here’s everything you need to know—from the good to the bad—about selling your home for cash.
Pros & Cons Of Selling Your Home To A Real Estate Investors
Since investors offer various payment methods, your payment options are flexible.
Investors can accept payment via methods such as certified funds, cash, or pre-scheduled cash payments. In some cases, they may even take over the existing mortgage completely.
Multiple payment options allow sellers to find the solution that fits their needs.
Selling houses for cash is a legitimate option, as investors are often willing to pay in cash for a home with the recent tightening of financial restrictions. This is usually coupled with the growing number of complaints about low appraisals.
Selling “As Is”
Many times, investors offer to purchase a property sight unseen.
What does this mean for sellers? That as the seller, you can avoid any costly repairs that would normally be considered financial responsibility.
Believe it or not, there are investors who can close a deal within 7 days.
Are you wondering how that’s possible? Good question.
Investors are able to close quickly because the sale of the property is not reliant on approved financing, appraised values, home inspections, etc. By bypassing all of these sometimes-lengthy steps, the closing processes is expedited considerably.
Most Investors Don’t Have A License To Buy
Since investors don’t need a license to buy a house, this means you know nothing about the person or people offering to buy your home.
Some investors are corporations, while others are individuals. Individual sellers usually are also real estate agents.
Because of this, many sellers are concerned about the motive behind the purchase.
There Are Scam Artists Posing As Investors (And Plenty Of Them!)
When selling your home for cash, you run the risk of fraud.
While this risk can exist in any financial transaction, it’s especially critical to avoid scams when dealing with large assets, such as your home.
When selling your house, you’ll want to take all necessary precautions to avoid any issues.
Start by getting the name of the investor and research him/her online to see whom he/she is. Ask for references, and question your listing agent to do some research on your behalf as well.
Homeowners Often Sell Below Market Value
Since investors will have their own cost challenges, you can be assured that those charges will be factored into their offer price.
Don’t be fooled. Investors are well aware of the power behind their cash offer. They also are conscious of the fact that they are taking a risk by purchasing a home “as is.”
Because they may be relying on your motivation to get out quickly, or for whatever their reason may be, it’s unlikely that an investor will pay market value for a home at its peak.
Got pests? No problem. These DIY pest control tricks are your ticket to getting those bugs off your back. Before you call the calvary, give these a shot.
It’s Friday night. You’ve got a hot date coming over. You’ve cleaned the house. Shoved your dirty laundry under the bed (hope he doesn’t look under there). And you’ve lit a few romantic candles while you fixed him dinner.
It’s going to be a fantastically romantic evening. And then you see them. Your biggest nightmares. A cockroach, a horde of ants, and a mouse trooping across your kitchen like satan’s army.
It’s too late to call the pest control services. What do you do? Your hunk of a date is going to be here anytime.
Don’t scream. It’s going to be ok. There are some easy things you can do to take down the pests in your home.
This could also work as vampire repellent. But it’s really for bugs. Blend some mint leaves and garlic cloves. You were just cooking, right? So you should have these. Add some cayenne pepper and some dish soap. Boil the stuff.
Now, if you need it this instant, you could probably just pour some on the sucker right away. But it will make a mess. But for future use, chill it overnight in the fridge and then strain it into a spray bottle.
The ants go marching one by one, hurrah! Until they encounter coffee grounds. Then they run away. Really. They do.
All you need to do is put on a pot of coffee then sprinkle the used grounds around the house. Find out where the ants are coming from. Your date won’t think it’s cool to step on coffee grounds all night.
Even the mice will run away from this one. But it’s really just for bugs.
Take one gallon of water. Mix it with three tablespoons of hot pepper flakes. Heat it in a pan on simmer for about fifteen minutes. This brings out the hellfire in the spray i.e. pepper oils.
This is another one you will have to let sit for about 24 hours to let the flakes release all of their torment into the spray.
Once you’ve let it sit, strain it. Drop some dish soap in. Put it in a spray bottle. And now you have the cruelest insect repellent on the planet.
Spray it on plants or in cracks where ants and cockroaches might come in.
This is also a great way to keep squirrels from getting into bird seed. You see, birds don’t have salivary glands and thus they can’t feel the heat of the peppers. But squirrels sure do. Spray down that bird seed with a dish soap-less version and watch the squirrels freak.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar Fruit Fly Trap
Really, any kind of alcohol will work for this one.
But fruit flies are the worst infestation. They are gross. Just nasty. And you will always have a hard time getting rid of them.
First, put all fruit in the fridge. Don’t leave any out.
Then, get a salt shaker, fill the bottom with apple cider or rum. Drop in some dish soap to break the water tension. And then set it out. Watch them flock to it. They’ll crawl into their sweet and drunken death.
5. Borax And Sugar.
Certainly not sugar and spice. But ants sure think it is. Until they die!
Take 1/2 cup of sugar. 1 Cup of warm water. Mix the two with 2 tablespoons of borax.
Put it in a shallow lid of some sort and place it where the ants march. They’ll even take some of it to their next and kill more over time.
So, now you can enjoy your Friday night. Just don’t let the bed bugs bite!
Thinking of a home renovation? Awesome. But, read this first. We’ve collected the worst home renovation tips out there, and we’re sharing them with you.
Renovating your home is always a big deal.
Sometimes it’s just time for a change. Other times, it’s time to move and renovating is one step in that direction!
With so many shows out there that show renovations as they happen, whether professionally or with DIYers, it’s hard not to feel like a reno-buff yourself.
But is home renovation really as fun and straight-forward as it’s cracked out to be? And what advice should you be taking and what should you be ignoring?
Though you’ll be working with your own home renovation contractors, you’ll want to make sure that the best options are selected beforehand.
Figuring out what direction you’ll be taking your home renovation in is hard. That’s why you should read this helpful guide of the worst home renovation advice we’ve ever heard.
Why? Because knowing what’s right comes with knowing exactly what you and your home renovation contractor shouldn’t be doing!
The worst home renovation advice you need to stay away from
Add a bathroom
Having too few bathrooms is always a problem.
Maybe it’s just you and your significant other right now, but add in some kids or visiting family and friends. What then? It’s a recipe for an all-out brawl to get to the shower in the morning.
Some people thing that renovating their house to add a bathroom as an addition is a good idea.
But, we’re here to point out that’s not actually such great advice to take!
Creating a dream closet
This one may sound conflicting, especially since we all love big closets.
But spending a lot of money to create a huge, organized closet may not always be the greatest move.
It’ll cost you around 3k, but you’ll only get about half of that back when you sell.
So, for this one, don’t stay away completely, but make sure you’ll get your fair use of it just to make that value loss worth it.
Gutting everything at once
Those renovation shows do a great job at making demolition day look fun. And it is fun!
But make sure you put the hammer down long enough to figure out if you really want to be destroying those cabinets.
Consider repainting them or removing them intact to sell. Saving money is a good thing, so don’t demolish it!
Getting too trendy
Do you remember those insanely busy patterned curtains that hung in everyone’s grandmother’s house?
Do you remember ever looking at those and thinking, “those would look great in my house, in 2016?” The answer is probably no.
Back in the day, though, those were all the rage! So when you’re working with home renovation contractors, be wary of going too trendy.
You’ll want to avoid jumping into the latest trends headfirst. Make sure to keep things modern yet classic to see your home age gracefully.
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