Decorating tips for a cozy bathroom

Decorating tips for a cozy bathroom

If you have an old house, chances are you share this common frustration – small bathrooms. According to This Old House, bathrooms in new homes have roughly doubled in floor space over the last 30 years. Chances are, expanding your bathroom isn’t a real option, so we’ve put together a couple of decorating tips to help you make a small bathroom feel big.

Horizontal lines

If you’re trying to look slimmer, avoid wearing horizontal lines at all costs! If you want a room to feel a little, well, roomier, then horizontal lines are the way to go. A few horizontal accent stripes can go a long way toward opening up a small bathroom, according to Eto Prosto.

Frameless mirror

Mirrors make rooms feel bigger in general, and the larger the mirror is, the greater the effect. This Old House suggests frameless mirrors to really get the most out of this effect, by making the mirror look like an extension of the room, rather than calling attention to the fact that it is hanging on the wall.

Curb-less shower

It may be a little pricey to install a new, curb-less shower, but if you’re really committed to making your bathroom feel larger, this is the best way to do it. By removing the curb from around the shower, you can eliminate the perceived boundary between the outside of the shower and the inside – giving your bathroom more floor space in the eyes of anyone using it.


The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or service plans. Please review your  contract carefully to understand your coverage.

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Go green in the kitchen this year

Go green in the kitchen this year

Between cooking, cleaning, refrigerating and storing all of your family’s food, waste and dishes, your kitchen is responsible for a large portion of your home’s impact on the environment. Almost as important is the impact that all of that energy has on your wallet when it comes time to pay the bills every month. This year is a great opportunity to make a commitment to going green, and we’re here to support you with some helpful tips to reduce your kitchen’s environmental footprint.

Step 1: Work on your fridge
First, check the seals around your refrigerator and freezer doors. You can do this by closing a small piece of paper in the door before pulling it out. If the paper comes out with little or no resistance, the seals may not be tight enough, meaning that cold air is likely slipping out. To fix this, you’ll have to contact your manufacturer and ask how to replace the gasket.

Next, put a thermometer in a glass of water and into your freezer to check the temperature. If your freezer turns out to be above five degrees Fahrenheit, it may not be keeping your frozen food cold enough to stave off bacteria growth. If your freezer is below zero degrees, on the other hand, your freezer is probably costing you too much. For every 10 degrees below zero, your energy consumption rises by as much as 25 percent.

Step 2: Invest in low-flow appliances
Low-flow faucets are a great way to reduce your water bill without sacrificing water pressure. For about $10, according to Better Homes and Gardens, you can get a low-flow aerator that will save you from 1.4 gallons to 2.7 gallons per day. In many areas, that is enough for the device to pay for itself within a year. These devices work by adding air into the water coming out of your faucet, which maintains your water pressure, but uses less water.

Step 3: Use your dishwasher
Common sense seems to dictate that it would be more efficient to wash dishes by hand than to put them through the dishwasher, but this is actually not the case. According to This Old House, an Energy Star dishwasher uses only 4 gallons of water to do a full load of dishes – by comparison, it takes 24 gallons to wash the same number of dishes by hand. Calculated out, using an energy efficient dishwasher saves you an average of 2,000 gallons of water, $40 and 230 hours every year, assuming that you’re always doing a full load.

Step 4: Recycle your food scraps
About 30 percent of all household waste could be composted instead, according to EarthEasy. While you won’t save much money by composting unless you happen to use a lot of soil, it is a true shame for our environment that so much reusable bio-material gets thrown away every year. Building a compost bin is cheap and easy, and it will go a long way toward reducing your carbon footprint.

Step 5: Use green cleaning products
Many dish detergents and dish soaps contain phosphates and chlorine, which can get into the local water supply and cause all sorts of problems, according to Better Homes and Gardens. Phosphates can lead to algae blooms, while chlorine is extremely reactive, making it harmful to almost all types of life. Eco-friendly cleaning products can cost slightly more, but they may be worth it to you for the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you are preserving the environment for generations to come.


The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or service plans. Please review your contract carefully to understand your coverage.

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An Energy Star clothes washer pays for itself

An Energy Star clothes washer pays for itself

If you’re buying a new clothes washer, your gut instinct may be to go for one of the cheaper models on the market. After all, you’re going to hide it away in the basement anyway, so why pay for all of those bells and whistles?

It turns out that buying an energy-efficient washing machine is one of the smartest choices you can make financially, if you have the extra cash on hand to make the purchase. The U.S. Department of Energy released a report this year detailing the return on investment that various energy-efficient appliances brought to consumers, and guess what scored high on the list?

According to the news source, buying a new Energy Star-rated clothes washer should run you an average of $194 more than a less-efficient model – a number high enough to discourage many potential buyers when taken at face value. The savings that one of these appliances brings in terms of your water and electricity bills, however, is a whopping $66 per year. That means that, in just 2.9 years, the more efficient appliance will have made up the difference – a rate of return of 37 percent.

For a little bit of contrast, that’s a better rate of return than the average for stocks, which is roughly 9.3 percent annually, according to USA Today. That makes investing in efficient appliances one of the best decisions you can make both financially and as an investment in the future of the environment.


The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or service plans. Please review your  contract carefully to understand your coverage.

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Will Your Heater Get You in Hot Water?

Traditional water heaters are sturdy appliances that can hum along for years without a problem, but can suddenly stop working with little warning.  Be honest.  When was the last time you actually thought about your water heater?  It’s likely that if you haven’t had a problem, you’ve probably not thought about it at all.  While innovative “tankless” models have increased in popularity, they may not be worth the added expense.  Though they can be 22 percent more energy efficient Consumer Reports explained because they’re so costly, “it can take up to 22 years to break even — longer than the 20-year life of many models.”

Most households still use a traditional water heater, so that’s what we’ll cover here.  When you think about the repair costs and chilly outcome if it breaks you’d probably agree that it’s important to regularly check on it. Here are some tips on how to begin.

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A Home Warranty Can Fill the Gap in Your Homeowners Insurance

Understanding the difference can help protect your family's savings

Unfortunately, too many people find out how their homeowners insurance policy falls short the hard way — when they experience a loss and file a claim. Many homeowners hold the mistaken belief that homeowners insurance covers everything on their property and in their house, under any circumstance, but this is not the case.  More often than not, the breakdown of a home system, such as heating and cooling, or a major appliance isn’t covered because if falls under the “normal wear and tear” provision.  That’s why it’s very important to understand your policy’s limitations and consider how a home warranty can fill the gap.

The Events and Items Covered by Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance policies vary by state and the type of policy that is selected.  Generally, however, they will cover the following. Continue reading

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