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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Is Your Kitchen Back-to-School Ready?

Your kitchen can be a great place for kids to study.

Across the country kids are heading back to school and reviving their daily homework routines.  The Guardian released a study earlier this year that showed that children who study at least two hours per day at home typically excel in school.  By making studying as comfortable as possible for them, you increase the likelihood they’ll spend this amount of time on it.  Your kitchen can be a great place for kids to study.  After all, it’s where you likely spend most of your time as a family.  You can do more than just place your child’s report cards on the fridge to make it an education friendly room.

A Nook for Study
You can easily create a study nook in your kitchen by installing a desk in a corner area, or by removing one bottom kitchen cabinet and replacing it with a wooden shelf for use as a desktop and thereby creating leg room below.  The cabinets above can be kept for storage or removed to accommodate shelves.   Nooks are popular now, so do a Google image search on the phrase “desk nooks for the kitchen” for ideas. Then, consult with a handyman or carpenter on the viability of the design and associated costs.

No Wires Are Better than One
Everyone today uses laptops, but kids use them the most.  They’re the “cool” choice and many schools even require that students have one.  To make the kitchen (and every room) homework-friendly, contact your internet service provider and find out how to set up Continue reading

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Part Two: Winterize Your Home – Septic and Plumbing

National news outlets are reporting that this is the hottest summer on record, so it’s hard to think about getting your home ready for cooler weather. We’ve got you covered! In Part I, we reviewed your home’s “hot” systems: heating, hot water heater and fireplace maintenance.  Now, we’re tackling what you need to do to winterize your home’s two major “cold” systems: septic and plumbing.

Your Septic System Needs Proper Care
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 26 million homes — that’s one-fourth of all homes in America — are served by a “decentralized wastewater treatment system,” otherwise known as a septic system. The good news is that most modern septic systems Continue reading

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An Eco-Friendly Bedroom Saves Money

Green is in and greening your home is a smart move because it saves money and the environment, and that just makes you a good – and smart – global citizen. One of the easiest rooms to start with in terms of switching to eco-friendly appliances and materials is the bedroom.  Now, more than at any other time, eco-friendly options equal more traditional ones.  So take a moment to learn about these environmentally friendly alternatives.

Start with your paint

A fresh coat of paint can really liven up your bedroom, but make sure the paint you use is non-toxic or low-VOC paint. Traditional paints contain thousands of chemicals, the most harmful of which are called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These airborne chemicals pollute your home both inside and out – even years after application. Today, many paint manufacturers offer low-VOC or VOC-free paint. Look for paints that have the Green Seal, which signals they meet high environmental standards.

Install energy efficient windows and fans

The types of windows and ceiling fans you have make a big difference in your energy bills, so it’s wise to look for, and convert to, those with an ENERGY STAR rating. Depending on the type of windows you are replacing (single pane windows are the least energy efficient), Continue reading

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