Do Gutter Guards Really Work

We wondered, do gutter guards really work and what are the cash savings if any from installing these guards?  The principal is that water running down your roof carrying debris will be separated by the gutter guard with the water going into the eaves trough to be carried into the downspout and the debris washed over the edge and down onto the ground. without a guard, annual cleaning is needed to avoid situations like the one shown in the picture, especially if you have trees nearby. If you do not clean the gutters, dampness remains in the gutter causing mold and can cause the roof to become spongy and rotten under the shingles. Gutter cleaning could cost from $100 to $200 or even more depending on how many  feet of gutter you have. With lots of trees you may have to have them cleaned twice a year. Over 10 years, that’s $2000 assuming that you hire someone to do the work for you.

Do Gutter Guards Really Work

There are several different types of gutter guards. in situations with heavy rain, most will cause the water coming off the roof to just wash over the gutter and onto the ground. If you do not have heavy rains very often, this may not be an issue for you. Depending on the gutter guard you choose, there still may be a need to clean debris off of the guards and on one case to remove seeds that can embed themselves and sprout. Here are the different types of guards and specific issues you should consider for each in addition to those mentioned above.

  • Reverse Curve Guards – These are typically made from metal or vinyl and sit over the gutter opening. They essentially form a cover that allows water to slip around the guard but prevents large debris from coming to rest in the gutter. High volumes of water will simply overshoot the gutter and fall to the ground below.

  • Slit Gutter Covers – These are a variant of the reverse-curve and usually include one or two recessed slots that increase the amount of rainwater that can flow into the gutter. These systems also struggle to manage heavy downpours like the simple recurve system.

  • Sponge Guards – This approach places a sponge that is shaped to conform to the inside of your gutter. Water flows through and since the mass of the sponge fills the gutter space, large debris cannot accumulate. The real downside is that small debris particularly seeds can can get caught in the sponge and sprout.

  • Metal Screens – These curved screens come in short sections and fasten onto the outer lip of the gutter.  They are inexpensive and easy to install but are susceptible to clogging because the opening size in the mesh catches small debris.

  • Micro Mesh Gutter Guards – Micro mesh guards consist of a support frame and a filtering mesh material which ranges from fine to micro mesh. The advantage of micro mesh technology is that they provide the best flow through characteristics and do not clog with small debris. While their performance is superior the only real drawback is that the systems are more complicated to install.

They all come at a price, some more expensive than others and some are easier or difficult to install. Based on the concerns expressed for each it is obvious that some level of maintenance will still be required for each one.

Before you invest in gutter guards, compare the cost of installation including materials as well as annual maintenance from time to time with the cost of just having your gutters cleaned out once or twice a year. If you are ok with climbing ladders, factor the do it yourself cost as part of the comparison.


Should You Install Gutter Guards

Should you install gutter guardsAs a homeowner I’ve always wondered  should you install gutter guards in my eaves trough? I have always cleaned out the eaves trough at least once a year and sometimes twice a year. They’re always seem to be an accumulation of leaves, keys from the maple tree in front of our house and other debris that lands on your roof and is washed into the eaves trough. When I was younger , it was no problem to get up on the ladder and clean out the stuff. Now that I’m getting older and inclined to climb less I’m wondering if I should invest in a gutter guard for the eaves trough or pay someone to clean it out?

Should You Install Gutter Guards

It will probably cost between $50 and $100 each time I have someone come over and clean out our eaves trough. If I do it twice a year that will be $200 a year. Over 10 years that’s $2000 that I will spend paying someone to clean out my eaves trough not taking into account any inflation.

I have about 50 feet of eaves trough that would need gutter guard installed. At $20 per foot, that’s about $1000 in total for the cost of the materials. I probably could install it myself at this point, but many people are unable or just do not want to get up on a ladder to install something like a gutter guard in the eaves trough. Installation of the eaves trough would probably take a couple hours so conservatively it would cost roughly $200 to install for a total cost of $1200 compared to paying $2000 over 10 years.

The gutter guard seems to be a clear winner, however there are other points to consider. Not all gutter guards are made the same way and if they’re not installed properly debris will still build up on top of the gutter guards. The gutter guard must be aligned with the slope of the roof so that rain water washes any debris off of the gutter guard.

There will be some overflow onto your garden, driveway or whatever’s underneath your roof, since some water will not drain through the gutter guard and will simply flow over the gutter guard. This will happen in severe and heavy rain storms.

Since we just had our tree removed, I have decided not to install the gutter guard. I probably will get them cleaned once a year which will cut my costs in half and make it much cheaper than having gutter guards installed and risking that I will still have to have debris removed from them. Each consumer should evaluate their own situation, understand the costs involved in your location and make your own decision using these kinds of guidelines and thought process that I went through for myself.


Efflorescence Garage Floor

efflorescence garage floor

During the winter in northern states and in Canada, your car will be covered in snow and ice. There will be a buildup in the wheel wells of slush that is a mixture of snow, sand and salt which among other things eats away at your car, but also melts in your garage and lands on the floor. As the water evaporates, what is left is a mix of sand and salt deposits in a white powder like form. This white stuff is efflorescence. Efflorescence garage floor deposits on your garage floor do not look great and can cause damage to any tools etc. that may be in your garage. This is salt after all and salt corrodes any exposed metal.

How to Get Rid of Efflorescence Garage Floor Deposits?

Washing the floor will help remove some of the material, however there is still a great deal that will be in the concrete and will also be in the cracks in your floor. Once your floor dries, the salts will reappear. The best approach is to use a brush with stiff fibers and sweep up all of the loose material and discard it in the garbage.

You may need to do this several times to remove all of the material on the floor. If you have a leaf blower, this tool can get rid of almost all of the grit and salt left on the floor. Move your car and any other items that might obstruct the removal of the dust. I would move your car onto the street since there will be lots of dust in the air and you do not want it landing on your car.

Start at the furthest point away from the garage door and blow all of the dust out the door onto the driveway and then onto the street or your lawn. This method does not cost anything and will get rid of any fine particles of sand and salt that is left after first sweeping the garage floor with a broom.

There are lots of products on the market that advertised to deal with efflorescence garage floor removal, however this is the easiest and the least expensive method.


What is this White Powder on my Concrete Garage Floor

white powder on concrete garage floorIn northern climates, cities and counties spread lots of salt on roads to melt the snow and reduce accidents. The salt gets on our cars and makes a mess of our cars causing them to rust and deteriorate. When we place our car in the garage, the snow and salt mixture melts, dripping onto the concrete floor seeping into cracks in the concrete. When the salt water evaporates it leaves a white powder called efflorescence. This is a very common occurrence, especially in northern climates where a great deal of salt and sand mixtures are used to keep the roads from becoming too icy. Many people wonder what this white powder on my concrete garage floor is.

When the snow and salt mixture melts, it coats the floor with a salty brine. The concrete will absorb this brew like a paper towel,  readily soaking up all of the moisture including the salt. When the water evaporates at the salt is left behind, sitting on the surface of your garage floor as well as in the cracks in the concrete. It is just find crystals of salt.

How to clean Efflorescence White Powder on my Concrete Garage Floor

If you try to wash the white powder with water, this will cause the salt to be absorbed by the water and driven into the concrete. When the floor dries again the efflorescence will come back.

Even if you try to wash the floor several times the efflorescence or salt crystals will come back each time after the water dries. The best way to get rid of this fine powder is to use a fine broom and brush up the powder into small piles. Sweep the powder into a pile, scoop it up and place it in the garbage. You may need to sweep several times before it all is gone.

Some consumers will use an electric blower to blow all of the dust and all of the salt, this salt mix together out of the garage and into the street. This just adds to the dust floating around in the air which eventually falls to the ground, on your shrubs, grass and even your car. My preference is to sweep it up with a broom as mentioned before and scoop it into the plastic  garbage bag.


How to Install French Doors in Existing Opening

how to install french doors in existing openingMany consumers hire carpenters or handy men to install french doors for them when they could actually do the work themselves. It is actually quite easy if you take your time, follow the steps outlined below and perhaps watch a few YouTube videos showing some of the visual details on how to install french doors into an existing doorway. This post assumes that you already have doors installed that you are replacing. The existing doors are used as a template and once your finished with them can be sold to recover some of your cost. New doors come in a variety of sizes, with primer paint already applied. Once they are installed  you can apply a final coat of paint on them to finish them off.

How to Install French Doors

You will need the following tools and materials.

  • Shims
  • Electric drill
  • Philips drill attachement
  • Drill bit to drill holes for door handles
  • Chisel
  • Rubber Mallet
  • Pencil
  • Square
  • Table to place doors on to make your job easier

The detailed step by step process is as follows:

  • Place shims under one existing door so that it is held in place
  • Remove door handle
  • Place new door on a table or some support structure
  • Unscrew hinges on the existing door
  • Remove the door and place it on top of the new door
  • Make sure that you match the bottoms of both doors
  • Line up the door to make sure that the old door is perfectly aligned with the new door.
  • Use the square to mark the hinge cut outs that you need to make
  • Trace the hole you need to cut for the door handle
  • Remove the old door and begin drilling out the door handle with appropriate sized drill bit
  • Stand the door on its side and chisel out the hinge locations using the rubber mallet and chisel
  • Take your time to be careful not splitting the door
  • Install the new door using the shims to support it at the correct height
  • Attach the hinges and test to make sure that the door operates properly and closes properly
  • Adjustment might be needed to ensure that it properly fits with the other door
  • Install the new door hardware to ensure that it fits with the other door

Repeat the process to install the other door. Once your satisfied with the installation, remove the door handles and paint as needed. Use masking tape to cover the door hinges to avoid getting paint on them. Most doors come with one coat of door primer applied.

For more remodeling ideas that can save you money, click here

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What does My Home Insurance Cover

What does My Home Insurance CoverThis web site is all about helping home owners save money. We tend to focus on do it yourself items around the home that can be accomplished by the home owner. We have also covered saving money heating your home, cooling your home and even about reducing gasoline consumption. One area we have to tackled is home insurance. Can you answer the question, what does my home insurance cover? Most people make assumptions and then receive a rude shock when they find out they are not covered or only partially covered for a damage claim.

Check your home insurance coverage right now and confirm what coverage you actually have. Many insurance plans offer reduced fees, but they also may cover less than you think they did or should. For example, are you covered for the following types of claims?

  • Damage caused by animals e.g. raccoons in the attic
  • Wind damage
  • Damage from hail
  • Sewer backup
  • Water seepage through the roof
  • Cracked foundations

A significant item that affected the writer personally was damage from water leakage through the roof. My insurance company paid for the damage the water caused, however they did not cover the damage to the roof or removal of the ice dam. We were on our own for that and we had to have the ice dam removed to prevent future leaks as well.

What does My Home Insurance Cover?

If you have any doubt call your home insurance company today. Review all of the potential major claim areas and make an informed decision regarding which add on coverage you need to purchase or continue taking the risk of not being covered.

Damage from animals entering your attic may also not be covered. Roof repairs, animal prevention, damage to insulation or worse are among the claims you might make, however you may not be covered for any of it. My own insurance does not cover this particular area and they do not offer an add on for this particular claim.

While it might cost you a few more dollars each month to have added coverage, the savings could be in the thousands of dollars. For many people on a tight budget it can be a difficult decision. Evaluate the risk of the event occurring, the cost of the insurance coverage and the potential damage that may be caused. Then make an informed decision.

Many people will decide to continue to assume the risk. For example, in many areas earthquake insurance is just too expensive. They decide to absorb the risk themselves and know they will have to pay for rebuilding themselves if this particular threat were to materialize.

For other posts about home insurance ideas and claims, click here.


Installing New French Doors DIY Made Easy

If your handy at all, anyone can install new French doors into an existing opening with no problems and save money at the same time. Installing new French doors into an existing opening that already has doors installed is one of the easiest do it yourself jobs to do. The tools you will need are an electric drill with a Philips screw driver bit, a table to lay the door on to make your work easier, a drill bit to make the holes for the door handle, a pencil, a measuring tape, a square, cedar shims, a chisel and a rubber mallet. The money you save from doing the work yourself will more than pay for these tools if you need to purchase some of them.

Step by Step Process for Installing French Doors

What follows is a step by step explanation of what you need to do. I found it easier to only remove one door at a time as well. If you have someone to help you from time to time to hold the door while you are removing the old door and installing the new one it also makes the job much easier as well.

  • Place shims under one door so that it is held in place
  • Remove door handle
  • Place new door on a table or some support structure
  • Unscrew hinges on the door side
  • Remove the door and place it on top of the new door
  • Make sure that you match the bottom of both doors
  • Line up the door to make sure that the old door is perfectly aligned with the new door.
  • Using the square to mark the hinge cut outs that you need to make
  • Trace the hole you need to cut for the door handle
  • Remove the old door and begin drilling out the door handle with appropriate sized drill bit
  • Stand the door on its side and chisel out the hinge locations using the rubber mallet and chisel
  • Install the new door using the shims to support it at the correct height
  • Attach the hinges and test to make sure that the door operates properly and closes properly
  • Adjustment might be needed to ensure that it properly fits with the other door
  • Install the new door hardware to ensure that it fits with the other door

Repeat the process to install the other door. Once your satisfied with the installation, remove the door handles and paint as needed. Most doors come with one coat of door primer applied.

For more remodeling ideas that can save you money, click here.

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How to Thaw Out Frozen Water Pipes

Thaw Out Frozen Water PipesThe recent cold weather vortex that has descended on Canada and the United States has caused many home owners to deal with frozen pipes. Once a pipe freezes, there is no water for even basic necessities, especially if it is the pipe near the entry point to your home. If you are lucky the pipe will thaw at some point and the water will flow once again without any leaks. At the very worst you have a serious water leak and if the water is not shut off immediately, major flooding and damage in your home. Home owners can take precautions to avoid frozen water pipes. Once you have a frozen water pipe, the question remains about how to thaw out frozen water pipes.

How to Thaw Out Frozen Water Pipes

Whatever you do, do not use a blow torch. There is tremendous danger in starting a fire which can quickly get out of control and actually burn your house down. Every year there are stories in the news of someone doing just that. You home owner’s insurance may not cover this kind of catastrophe which would be huge.

Avoiding a frozen pipe in the first place is obviously the way to go, however we will cover that later in this post.

First if your pipes are frozen, i.e. there is no water flowing you need to take action immediately. If you can quickly identify the area where the pipes are frozen, turn up the heat in the area immediately to thaw out frozen water pipes. Install a portable heater in the area as well. It may take a few hours, but the pipes will eventually thaw. If there is a specific area and you can get to it, sometimes a hair blower will help to thaw the pipe.

Check for any obvious areas like the one in the picture. A leak like this one can quickly cause a great deal of water damage. In addition to warming up the room, shut the main water pipes off and then cut out the area and repair it. You may need to call a plumber to make these repairs.

It is much more difficult to thaw out frozen water pipes inside walls are much more difficult. Any pipe that is on an outside wall is a candidate for being frozen in very cold weather. With insufficient insulation and a cold interior room these pipes can quickly freeze and crack the pipe. Look for signs of water damage and then open up the wall where the pipes are. You will have to repair drywall etc. however finding the leak is of paramount importance. Keep the rooms that have water pipes in outside walls warm to help thaw the pipes. Again a plumber may be needed to make repairs.

Check with your home insurance company to find out what coverage you may be eligible for.

Avoiding Frozen Water Pipes

If a cold snap is imminent and your concerned about pipes freezing, turn up the heat in those rooms with water pipes on outside walls. You will spend more energy heating the rooms, but this is minimal compared to dealing with the damage from leaking water pipes etc.

Anytime a wall is opened up either move the water pipe to an inside wall or make sure that it is adequately insulated for the most extreme temperatures you will experience in your area. Keep your furnace running to keep these rooms warm.

Many frozen water pipe situations occur when furnaces fail or the electricity is out for an extended period. If your going to be away from your home for more than a few days, shut the main water valve off to avoid any water leaks while you are not there. Have someone check your home every few days to make sure the furnace is running and your home is heated. They should also know what action you would want the to take if there is no heat in your home. i.e. call a furnace repairman, plumber etc.

 

For other seasonal related topics, click here.


Reasons Why a House is Cool in Winter With the Furnace Running all of the Time

Reasons Why a House is Cool in Winter With the Furnace Running all of the TimeThere can be a number of reasons why a house is cool in winter with the furnace running all of the time. The fundamental reason it is running more often is that it cannot meet the needs of your home to heat it properly. It can be due to a furnace not sized properly. In other words, it was sized too small for the home. Furnace suppliers typically will assess your home based on square footage and whether it is a two story home or a single story home.  They assume that it has standard insulation and will install a furnace that meets these requirements. The furnace provider can actually make a mistake and size it to small for the home in an effort to save money for the consumer, however they know this will be a problem later on and seldom take this approach.

Other Reasons Why a House is Cool in Winter With the Furnace Running all of the Time

A poorly insulated home will leak heat like a sieve. Poor insulation in the ceiling and the walls means that you are losing a lot of heat that the furnace must replace. The colder it is outside, the more heat that is lost and the furnace must run more often.

The same applies to your windows. Fifty years ago single pane windows were popular. Later on companies added double pane windows to improve the insulating value of these windows. They then added argon between the windows which is an inert gas that conducts heat much less than even normal air. Well insulated homes have these types of windows and sometimes even triple pane windows. Also insulation around the windows is much better and more thoroughly installed.

Doors also allow the heat to escape. If your door does not meet proper standards in terms of heat loss then you could be losing a great deal of heat this way as well. Make sure there is also adequate weather stripping around the doors to prevent heat loss.

These are the main areas to look at to prevent heat loss, reduce your furnaces running time and save you money which is what this web site is all about.

Consumers can also insulate outlets that are on walls that face the eternal part of your home. Typically, there is no insulation behind these outlets. Keep your windows closed. Your furnace has a fresh air intake. Have your home tested for tightness? This involves pressurizing your home and examining where air can escape. Plugging these areas will also help to reduce the heat loss. Some governments will help pay for these services to promote energy reduction.

For more information about Reasons Why a House is Cool in Winter With the Furnace Running all of the Time and ways to save money click here.


Removing Dark Stains from Your Roof

Consumers living in areas with lots of moisture and little sun will sometimes find black algae growing on the shingles of their roof. It can turn a beautiful roof into an ugly stained roof that just does not look great even in the hot sun. Once it starts it just continues to spread leaving an unsightly mess on your roof. Fortunately, there is a way for Removing Dark Stains from Your Roof.

Removing Dark Stains from Your Roof

The first step is to remove any debris that may have collected on your roof. This includes moss that may have built up in areas where there is a great deal of shade. The best way to remove this debris is to use your garden hose and spray water on the area at an angle from about three feet away. Consumers must be careful to not dislodge granules from the shingles. Once all of the moss is removed, apply an oxygen bleach mixture to the areas needing treatment.

The best time to apply the oxygen bleach mixture is on a cloudy day. You need to keep the area wet for at least 45 minutes which can be difficult in full sunlight. Mix the oxygen bleach with water following the instructions provided.

Consumers should start in a small area that is inconspicuous to make sure that this solution will work on the algae on your roof. Once you have confirmed that it does the job f getting rid of the algae and it has not harmed your roof, apply the solution to the rest of the roof where the algae can be seen. You will notice a remarkable improvement in most cases.

Consumers may have to hire a professional roofer to go up on the roof to apply the solution. Avoid ladders of all kinds if you are afraid of heights or unstable on a ladder or being on a roof.


Should You Replace or Paint Your Vinyl Siding

Should You Replace or Paint Your Vinyl SidingVinyl siding is an extremely popular material that is used all over the country to cover the walls of homes. In many cases, brick will be used on the front of the home and vinyl will be used on the other three walls. It is very durable and retains its color for many years. Just the same, the colors do fade after many years and home owners who want their home to look great must make a decision. Should You Replace or Paint Your Vinyl Siding?

Assuming that the vinyl is still in good shape physically, i.e. no holes or broken pieces, consumers can definitely consider painting the vinyl. If you do have to make repairs i.e. add a new strip of vinyl, it will be virtually impossible to match the colors. Your vinyl will have faded and changed color over the years so it is not possible to obtain an exact match. Painting becomes a very desirable solution. Although we always encourage consumers to obtain quotes for both scenarios, to confirm that it is less expensive to paint than replace, we feel that painting is less expensive and it is something you can do yourself.

Should You Replace or Paint Your Vinyl Siding – Steps to Follow

  • Complete Repairs – remove and replace any broken or cracked pieces.
  • Clean the surface of the vinyl from a build up of dirt and chalky substance that may have built up over the years.
  • Remove any mold from the siding especially under the eaves.
  • Ensure you have a dry day with low humidity and light or no wind, especially if you will use a sprayer to paint the vinyl to avoid paint drift onto other surfaces.
  • Use paint as close to the original color as you can. Avoid darker colors. Vinyl absorbs heat especially with dark colors and will expand and contract a great deal causing the vinyl to overheat and possibly warp.
  • Use paint that is specifically made for vinyl siding. This paint is made to stretch and contract with the vinyl as it heats and cools.
  • Spray painting works the best, however brush or roller painting works well especially on corners etc.
  • Allow the paint to completely dry before applying a second coat.
  • Follow the instructions of the manufacturer to ensure that your paint application will last many years.

For more maintenance related posts, click here.


Retire early – Mid course corrections – Save money now

We were actually thinking of writing this post for a retirement blog that we also run,(you can find it here), but then we thought that the idea of saving money fits well with this blog. The idea is to reduce expenses by doing a lot of your own maintenance and renovations around your home. If you can save even more money, you can retire early, take a trip or buy a new car. The main message is that you have far more flexibility about the decisions you can make. Retire early – mid course corrections is all about what changes you can make in your lifestyle to spend less and save for the future, whatever it is.

If you do retire early, life is going to throw curve balls at you which will or should cause you to re-evaluate what you need to do to keep your retirement as pleasant as possible. You may need to have money for unexpected expenses later in life which will cause these mid course corrections.

Retire early – Mid course corrections

This is a lost of mid course corrections that many people can consider. If you have others that make sense to add, let us know by leaving a comment. Pick and choose those that make sense for your family and your personal situation. Here is the list that we have so far along with the percentage of people who indicated they were interested in this area:

  • Make healthier food and exercise choices to save money later: 91%
  • Cut back on daily expenses: 90%
  • Reduce everyday leisure: 82%
  • Limit or cut back on donations to charities: 77%
  • Volunteer more and give monetary donations less: 75%
  • Work part-time in retirement: 75%
  • Downsize to a smaller home: 75%
  • Reduce or eliminate financial support to children: 70%
  • Purchase long-term care insurance: 68%
  • Move to a less expensive area: 67%
  • Postpone taking Social Security: 64% (though 60% said they’d “take Social Security as early as they can” — puzzling)
  • Develop a hobby into an income source: 62%
  • Reduce financial support to parents or in-laws: 59%
  • Take a housemate or become a housemate: 28%
  • Rent a room or part of my home on a short-term basis: 27%
  • Turn my car into a source of income: 24%

Whether it is renting out part of your home through AirBNB, VRBO or using your car to run an Urber business, there are many ways to earn a little extra income. Some people will start hobbies that they can turn into a small business.

Many will work online from home on various blogs like this one to earn extra income. It can be very emotional and difficult, but cutting support to your kids or to your parents, might be a big change or mid course direction to make.

Cutting back on daily expenses covers all sorts of areas. This could mean doing your own repairs and renovations as well as limiting or decreasing your entertainment expenses.

Notice that throughout this post that we do not say stop these areas. Instead we use words like reduce, cutting back and doing things that will help you spend less money and live more carefully.

Make a personal list that can help you achieve your own objectives for saving money and perhaps retire early as well. It will be worth it in the long run.

 


Duct Cleaning Scam or Not

How many calls do you get every month for duct cleaning services? We receive at least one per week and we just hang up on these guys. However there may be situations where you should consider having your ducts cleaned. But should you have one of these companies clean your ducts? Lets first talk about whether you need to have your ducts cleaned in the first place, then how to deal with these callers. Most ducts do not look like the one in the picture. If yours does, then definitely have have your ducts cleaned. We suggest that you check your ducts first and then make a decision.

Do You need Duct Cleaning

If you keep your home spotless, do not have pets and have not had any major renovation work completed around your home, you may not need duct cleaning. Any time you do renovations, dust is generated. If the AC or the heating system is running, this dust will be drawn into the duct system, onto the heating system elements and the cooling coils. Some will be captured by your filter but not all.

Another situation where duct cleaning is needed is when you move into a brand new home. We had ours cleaned and they found dust of course, but also cigarette butts, coke cans and cigarette packs.

Consumers who have pets may also need to have their ducts cleaned from time to time. Hair and dander is drawn into the system and adheres to metal surfaces.

Dealing with Duct Cleaning Calls

While many of these companies may be legitimate, some are not. Many will offer a great deal over the phone, however when they arrive at your home, they will try to up sell you on additional services or based on the size of your heating system.

Ask for references, review web sites, read reviews as part of your decision process. Avoid agreeing to duct cleaning services over the phone without doing some investigation first.

In addition verify what they will actually clean. All ducts both cold air return and heating ducts, vents, grilles, heating and AC components should be on the list. If they are going to open the furnace compartment, they should know what they are doing. Verify credentials before you allow them into your home.

While duct cleaning may be needed, consumers can save themselves a lot of money by keeping their homes spotless and avoiding dust and pollen from entering the home. for more information on keeping your furnace running efficiently, click here.


Sell Recycled Materials from Renovations

sell recycled materials from renovationsMost consumers throw out all of the materials that they remove from their homes during renovations. Any leftover new materials go the same route. In fact all of the renovation shows on TV make a big deal of wreaking everything as they remove the old shelves, cupboards, sinks, faucets and toilets to prepare the space. They take sledge hammers to everything and it all goes out in one of those big trash bins or in a bagster like the one shown here. However if you are careful you can sell recycled materials from renovations. At the very least the material is being reused. You might even make some money from the old items.

Sell Recycled Materials from Renovations

Not everything can be recycled or sold to someone else. Sometimes the only way to remove something is to take a sledge hammer to it. But many items, if carefully removed can be reused or even resold.

Kitchen cupboards make great storage areas in your garage or in the basement. You just need to remove them carefully. Faucets that are being removed and in working order can be sold. Many people look for used materials to reuse them in cottages etc.

One time I sold a used toilet for $10 to a guy who was renting an apartment and somehow had broke his toilet. For $10, he was able to replace the broken toilet with mine. It was in good shape, very clean and in working order. Much better than have it take up space in a landfill spot somewhere.

Many items are just beyond recycling. Carpets for example are usually quite warn down and possibly dirty. Tiles are usually broken as they are being removed. Mirrors can sometimes be removed without damaging them. Light fixtures are another favorite item to be considered for recycling if they are removed carefully.

Window blinds are often custom made to fit a certain size of window. They can be difficult to get rid of. However we offered some blinds for free one time on a free advertising page. They were picked up almost immediately by a family who ran a boys school and needed blinds for the windows. They did not need an exact match.

Summary

Before you take the sledge hammer to your old stuff take a moment to consider whether the item you are about to demolish can be reused or even sold at a bargain price. It can be a win win situation. The buyer saves some money and you the seller makes a little bit to help pay for the renovation work you are doing.

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The do’s and don’ts of Shopping at a Wholesale Price Club

Should you pay the membership at one of the wholesale price club like Costco, Sams club or BJ’s? It really depends on your shopping habits, how much you will purchase and whether you can find better prices elsewhere. Consumers who have time to do some comparison shopping will often find better prices for various items at other stores when they are on sale or on special. Buying those items at other stores will save you money. The return policies at price clubs is extraordinary. Service is top notch and prices on average are very competitive. But should you join wholesale price clubs to save money?

The do’s and don’ts of shopping at a wholesale price club

Each family will have different needs however the following can be considered general guidelines which may or may not apply when making a decision to purchase items at a wholesale price club:

  • Buying in bulk means you need to have storage areas
  • Can you use all of the bulk items within a reasonable period of time
  • Can you use items before the expiry date
  • Purchases of goods on sale or on special at other stores may save you money
  • Do you return many items, it is easier at wholesale price clubs
  • Large families can generally benefit more
  • Will the rewards pay for the membership fee

If you can answer yes to many of these questions, then belonging to one of the wholesale price club might be the right answer for you.

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Keep your Lawn Healthy over Winter

Keep your Lawn Healthy over WinterMost consumers and homeowners do not realize how important it is to complete proper fall cleanup to maintain their lawns and gardens. After the colder weather in the fall sets in most plants begin to go into their dormancy phase. Trees lose their leaves and annuals die off. Fall cleanup is often the furthest thing from everyone’s mind during this time frame. And yet if you want to keep your lawn healthy over winter, there are a number of things to do that will keep it looking great year after year. Thanksgiving and the holidays are just around the corner.

Keep your Lawn Healthy over Winter

Actually ensuring that your lawn and gardens are properly prepared for the winter and spring will ensure you have a healthy lawn in the coming year. Leaves left to rot on the grass can often kill the grass underneath as well as provide a home for small rodents. Small rodents will build burrows through the longer grass leaving a mess in your lawn. This occurs when a lawn is left too long just before winter sets in.

Lack of proper fertilizer that strengthens the root system can make all of your plants vulnerable to damage from a dry winter or spring.

Fall cleanup prices offered by landscaping companies will depend on the lawn clean up services actually performed. The following is a brief fall clean up checklist that consumers and home owners may consider.

Keep your Lawn Healthy over Winter – Fall Clean Up Checklist

• Trim Lawn to proper length to discourage small rodents
• Apply fertilizer to promote proper root growth
• Remove all leaves and other debris from the lawn and gardens
• Remove all dead annuals
• Remove dead or broken branches from shrubs and trees
• Clean out eaves troughing
• Install protective burlap wraps on shrubs if needed
• Additional services as required

This checklist should not be considered a complete list. Every home owner may have specific tasks that that they may want considered, which can be included in a packaged clean up cost estimate or quoted separately.

Competitive Pricing

Many consumers will consider doing some or all of the work themselves. Other priorities often get in the way of getting this work completed and suddenly they find that it is too late to do most of the fall cleanup themselves. Home owners can request a competitive pricing estimate today for leaf cleanup, lawn and garden fall preparation. Once they have the cost estimate, they can make a decision to have all or part of the work completed.

One phone call can save you a great deal of time. One phone call will ensure that your lawn and gardens will be properly prepared for the winter months. Your lawn and gardens will also look neat and tidy as well through out the winter months. We also offer lawn mowing services, lawn seeding, mulching, edging of gardens and lawns, trimming services for lawns as well as shrubs and trees, bush planting or removal and tree pruning. Give us a call today for a competitive estimate for any of these lawn care services.


Baby Boomer Renovation Boom

Baby Boomer Renovation BoomBaby boomers are retiring in droves. So much so that there is only one person available to take a vacant job for every two available. With so many people retiring, it is creating new opportunities for many people of all ages. Some baby boomers want to pursue other careers. Others want to relax and enjoy life. All baby boomers need to prepare their homes for retirement and aging related issues. These issue can be generalized into three main areas. Steps that make it difficult for people to navigate their homes. Bathrooms that are difficult to use. The third item is the effort needed to continue to use your own home and maintain it in a comfortable manner. We will discuss each of these in a little more detail.

Baby Boomer Renovation Boom

Steps – Whether it is walking up steps to get into your home, or to go upstairs to the second floor to your bedroom. As we age, it is harder and harder to get up those stairs. Solutions include:

  • Install ramps
  • Install automated stair climbers
  • Downsize and move

Each person needs to make their own decision when it is best for them. In all cases it is going to cost some money, however in the long run, your life will get easier.

Bathrooms – can be slippery and tubs can be difficult to get into. Many people install walk in showers or new tubs that have a door to allow you to walk into. Add a chair to sit on while using the sink etc.

Maintenance – of your home is so important to maintain the value in your home and to avoid more serious problems of a home that is not well maintained. Replace windows as needed, paint inside and outside as needed, hire a cleaner to help maintain your home.

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Residential Property Management Services Explained

Consumers require residential property management services for a variety of reasons. Some buy rental properties and need management of the property. Other consumers will be absent from their homes for an extended period. Even if you leave for a three-week vacation, someone should be looking after your home for you. We will review these issues and others in the following post.

Residential Property Insurance Requirements

Many homeowners just close their doors and leave for their vacation. They are very excited about getting away. Many do not give a seconds thought about looking after their home. Many insurance companies have specific requirements about vacant homes. The requirements depends on the company, the time of year, where you live and your heating system. They may want checks on your home every day. Call your residential insurance company to confirm your requirements to maintain insurance on your home. Even condominium owners need to do this.

Temporary Absence Management

Many residential property management services companies will offer services to home owners in this situation. They can check your home for water leaks, power outages, heating system failures and break-ins. Have them check your home and report back to you after every visit. You will need a report especially if you need to make a claim to your insurance company. They want to know that someone is checking your home.

Extended Absence

If you are going to be away for a long period of time, it is important to arrange for residential property management services. They will check for water leaks, heating system malfunction, complete landscape management, snow removal and even water the plants. Consumers can arrange for all of the services they need. They can leave with confidence that their home is looked after.

Rental Residential Property Management Services

Many consumers purchase rental properties as investments. Some consumers will manage their own properties. Others do not want to deal with tenants or some of the problems that arise. This is where residential property management services can put your mind at ease. Some of the services that are included are:

  • Tenant selection and approval
  • Rent check collection
  • Deposit to bank accounts
  • Property management services
  • Property repairs
  • Regular monthly reporting

Property management covers all of the things that most consumers take for granted about maintaining a home. This area of services may include the following depending on the building type:

  • Cutting the lawn
  • Hedges and shrub maintenance
  • Maintain watering system
  • Routine repairs to appliances
  • Painting and cleaning after tenants leave
  • Management of special projects e.g. window replacement etc.

Summary

Regardless of the residential property management services that are required, there is a property management solution. Make a list of the services that will be needed for your situation. Decide the time frame involved. Call your insurance company to confirm their minimum requirements. Make sure that you will receive appropriate documentation from the residential property management company if you will need it to make an insurance claim.


Baby Boomer Building Boom

Baby boomers are retiring in droves. I just read this morning that there are more baby boomers older than 65 than there are people under the age of 14 in this country. In addition there is only one applicant for every two jobs that are being vacated by baby boomers retiring from the work force. This is putting a lot of pressure on business and government, however that issue is a topic for another post. In this article we wanted to focus on the baby boomer building boom and what consumers over the age of 65 should focus on in their homes to allow them to age comfortably in place. After all most people want to do just that. They are not ready to move or downsize and in many cases it is just cheaper to stay where you are.

However there are some things that need to be done to their homes to make it more comfortable to stay in their home as they age. We will cover three major areas that we all need to pay attention to.

Baby Boomer Building Boom

Steps – get rid of those steps or at least find away so that you climb less steps every day. A number of things come to mind that are relatively inexpensive and yet will make life a lot easier:

  • Build ramps at appropriate locations
  • Install stair lifts to the second floor
  • Move bedrooms onto the main level
  • Add an addition to the home with no stairs
  • Hire people to do the house cleaning and other work that involves steps

Bathroom – Slips and falls in the bathroom are a major accident source for many seniors. Wet floors can be slippery, we tend to be less steady on our feet and our eyesight is not as good as it used to be.

  • Install Grab Bars in showers and tubs
  • Convert tub to a walk in
  • Add grab bars everywhere to give you something to hold on to
  • Use a walker or a cane, don’t be too proud

Remove Tripping Points – A rug, a one step stair, a bed too high etc are all places that can cause trips and falls. Combine grab bars with removing all items that could cause a trip or a fall to make it safer around your home:

  • Install grab bars
  • Remove throw rugs
  • De-clutter your home
  • Survey your home for all potential trip points

 

 


Inexpensive Lawn Care

Everyone loves a beautiful yard, with Rich green grass in the weeds.  Many people either do not know how to achieve this result or feel they have to spend a great deal of money to have a really nice lawn. Consumers all over North America know that keeping the lawn well-maintained will ensure that it looks great but it also keeps weeds away.  Weeds will overtake the lawn particularly if the grass is not healthy or not very thick. The reverse is also true, a healthy lawn will prevent weeds from taking hold and will even prevent them from growing to start with.

Inexpensive lawn care

The following are steps that every homeowner can take to have a great-looking lawn without spending very much money. It may take a few more hours of your time but it is definitely worthwhile and will ensure that you don’t spend a lot of money either.

Here are the steps for inexpensive lawn care :

  • Fertilize your lawn four times a year
  • Water your lawn on a regular basis
  • Use weedkiller twice a year
  • Apply spot we killer as needed
  • Apply grass seed to thicken up the lawn to thicken up the lawn
  • Pull all larger weeds by hand once a week
  • Mow the lawn as often as needed but maintain grass height at 1 1/2 inches to provide good cover

Homeowners who follow these simple steps will have a great-looking lawn which will be inexpensive to maintain. You will also be the envy of the neighborhood.

 

 

 


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