Should I Purchase a Snowblower

Should I Purchase a Snowblower It is that time of year again when winter is just around the corner. Many consumers are wondering should I purchase a snowblower? Perhaps their existing snowblower is no longer working or needs a major tuneup. They might have been resigned to shoveling snow. They see their neighbors hiring snow removal contractors and enjoying not being out in the cold weather shoveling heavy snow. There are a number of issues to consider before you decide to purchase a snowblower or hire a snow removal contractor. There are some cost-saving issues to consider as well as ease-of-use and health issues. In this post we will discuss some of the issues associated with a decision to purchase a snowblower.

Should I Purchase a Snowblower

Cost – this is simple. What is the annual cost of snow clearing vs. the cost of a reasonable sized snow blower? In most cases the snow blower will pay for itself in two or three years.

Features – make sure it is easy to handle. Lights are nice but in most cases not that useful . One handed steering and control are!

Storage – you should really have a place to store it inside. It not only protects it, but no one wants to dig out a snowblower so they can use it.

Repairs – can be pricey, however your machine should last much longer than the payback period vs. hiring a contractor

Operation – make sure it is easy to use. This includes starting, handling and maintenance. You should not need to manhandle your machine while clearing snow.

Repairs – replace belts, change engine oil, grease the auger, and change the spark plug once and a while. Be ready to do these things yourself to save money

Ease-of-use – we mention one handed use and control several times. If you can do this with the machine you are buying you will enjoy using it.

Health issues – if your health is not good just hire a snow removal contractor. It is not worth risking further injuries!

Electric Car Home Charging Stations

Every consumer who is considering purchasing an electric car must consider at least two major issues. Where will they charge their vehicle while on the road and how will they charge their vehicle at home. This post is going to focus on electric car home charging stations for electric only vehicles. Hybrid vehicles use the cars gasoline engine, brakes etc to recharge the batteries are are not considered part of the subject of this post.

What do you Need for electric car home charging stations?

There are some practical aspects to consider when installing electric car home charging stations. For example you will need an electrician to install the plug in or near your garage, wherever you park your car. It should be at least 30 amps capacity and have a chord that will reach to wherever your car is parked.

Go large. In other words it may cost less to install a 15 amp charger, but a 30 amp charger will charge your batteries more quickly. This is a consideration for this vehicle and your planned use as well as future vehicles. It can be frustrating to wait around for your cars batteries to charge.

The cost will vary by location, but somewhere between $500 to $1000 seems to be the norm. Regardless follow the specifications provided by the dealer. Build as much flexibility and capacity into the installation as you can depending on the additional cost. Some charging cables can also be portable. If so take advantage of this feature if you plan to move in the near future.

Consumer Solar Electric Generation Trends

Consumer Solar Electric Generation TrendsAs the cost of solar panels decline and the cost of power from traditional sources increase, consumer solar electric generation trends are going to favor homeowners installing their own solar panels on the roofs of their houses. As we write this post, home owners in the south western United States are beginning to find that they can make a positive business case for a solar power installation. Rates per KW are high for electricity, solar power is getting cheaper and they have more days fo full sunshine than most other areas in the US.

Consumer Solar Electric Generation Trends

Based on our research, the cost of generating power via solar panels has dropped 10% per year over the past 5 years and is now near the national average of $.12 per kilowatt. In many places the cost of power is much higher than this figure supporting the business case to install solar power generating panels on the roof of a home.

Over the next 25 years there will be a significant increase in solar power generation. While it may never replace or even jeopardize the existence of large traditional power generation plants, they will have an impact on the industry.

Consumers will demand better more efficient prices and they will get them either by installing solar panels or by the traditional players developing more efficient power generation of their own. Solar power generation will grow significantly from an estimated .2% of the total to a much larger portion of the power industry.

Selling Your Home

Selling Your HomeWhen preparing a home for sale, most homeowners focus on pleasing the eyes. In other words, they make their property “look” as attractive as possible. That is, of course, a very important thing to do! However, there is more to selling your home. Your home will be even more appealing to buyers if you also engage their other senses.

Take smells, for example. Ideally, you don’t want any smells at all in your home during a viewing. So be careful about odors that can linger after cooking. Use the fan. Do not use scented air fresheners or strong perfumes in washrooms prior to viewings. If you or another family member smokes, avoid having the smell come into the home.

As for sounds, soft, pleasing music is fine. Just be sure to choose a style that would be acceptable to all. Think elevator music! If a neighbor is creating a loud noise next door – jack hammering a patio foundation, for example — ask him or her to keep it down during showings. Most good neighbors will be happy to do so.

In general, anything you can do, even something minor, that will make your home more appealing to all the buyer’s senses is worth the effort.

Selling Your Home – New Homes

When you shop for a new home, you’ll probably start by thinking about what you need in your next property. Your list might include a spacious kitchen; three bedrooms; and, a mature tree in the backyard.

Those are property features and, of course, they’re important. But finding your next dream home involves more than just property features. It also involves getting what you want from the surrounding area. After all, a home isn’t going to be enjoyable if commuting to work from your neighborhood is long and agonizing. So when you shop for a new home, also think about:

Work. How will you get to work? Is public transit nearby?

School. Where will your kids go to school? Is transit or bus service available? Will your kids be able to walk to school?

Kids. Where will your kids play and hang out? Are there nearby playgrounds and parks?

Neighbors. Do the local homeowners seem like the kind of people you’d like as neighbors?

Shopping. Where will you do your weekly shopping?

Hobbies. How far will you be from golf, theater, or other hobbies.

Installing Public Electric Charging Stations

Installing Public Electric Charging StationsThere are really three major obstacles for electric vehicles from this writers perspective. All of them are difficult to overcome and it will take time. The three obstacles are Resistance to change, Installing Public Electric Charging Stations, and time to recharge batteries. We will explore each of these in more detail. However many people would argue that the lack of electric charging stations is a big impediment. With only 10,000 electric vehicles in Quebec and 5000 in Ontario, there is not much incentive to install charging stations.

Resistance to Change

Consumers are pretty happy with their gasoline and diesel powered cars. They like the features, the flexibility and the ideal they can fill up anywhere and pretty much at any time. It only takes a few minutes as well to fill up the gas tank. The only negative is the cost of rising gasoline prices. At the time of writing this post is pretty flat and not hurting people in the wallet.

Installing Public Electric Charging Stations

There are simply not enough charging stations around. Although more are being installed every week, the numbers do not begin to approach the availability of gasoline stations. There also at the present time little financial incentive for dealers to install charging stations. Time will solve this problem, but right now it is a huge impediment.

Time to Recharge Batteries

Another big negative is the time to recharge the batteries. A consumer will need at least a few hours or even overnight, depending on the charging station capacity. Compared to five minutes this really just does not work. Tesla has tried to deal with this issue by providing a battery swapping service which cuts down the time significantly. It will be many years before this service is wide spread.


Mulch Beside the Foundation

Mulch Beside the Foundation When placing mulch beside the foundation there are several issues to consider. Consumers want to avoid future problems. Although it may look nice, if leaks, deterioration of the foundation, mold etc develop you will regret the day you placed the mulch. The main consideration is always about the presence of water, drainage of water and moisture remaining in place. Whenever there is water present in liquid form or dampness, there is a chance that your foundation will pay a price. This means it will cost you money at some point in the future. We will explain further.

Mulch Beside the Foundation

As landscaping of any kind is considered, the following rules should be considered to avoid future problems:

  • Ensure that there is always a gentle slope away from a foundation to channel water away from the wall
  • Always keep the ground level at least 9 inches below the top of the foundation.
  • Always avoid earth or mulch touching a wood wall or siding. Water will penetrate and begin rotting your joists.
  • Using stones instead of mulch against the wall would be a better solution than mulch
  • The ground will often settle next to the wall over time due to water washing down the wall and into the weeping tile that surrounds your foundation. This is a natural process and should be topped up so that water will channel away from the wall
  • Lack of eaves troughing allows water to fall next to the wall and the foundation. Install eaves troughing and channel the water away from the wall.

By following these steps you should be able to avoid leaks in your basement, damp  basements and deterioration of supporting wood structures sitting on top of the foundation.

Real Estate Selling Terminology 

Real Estate Selling Terminology As in any industry, there are terms and buzzwords that are unique to residential real estate. I you do not understand or know what these terms are, it can be pretty confusing. When you put your home on the market, you should know what those terms mean. It will save time and cause less confusion during what is a very stressful time for many people. Here are definitions for the most common Real Estate Selling Terminology :

Real Estate Selling Terminology

Fair market value: This is an estimate of how much a specific home will sell for in today’s market, taking into account what similar properties in the area have sold for recently. Another term used in conjunction is, comparables. These are homes similar to yours.

Seller’s Agent: That would be me, the REALTOR® who is helping you sell your property. I would also assist you in finding and buying your next home.

Buyer’s Agent: This is the REALTOR® who is representing the buyer of the property you want to sell.

Pre-approved Mortgage: This is a statement (often in the form of a certificate) from your bank or other lender that states that you qualify for a mortgage for a particular amount of money. A pre-approved mortgage adds credibility to any offer you make on a new home.

Staging: This is a strategy where a home is purposely prepared so that it appeals to potential buyers. Staging may involve cleaning, de-cluttering, rearranging furniture, redecorating, and more.

Survey: This is a document that defines the boundaries and measurements of your property and any structures on it.

Offer: This is an offer of purchase, in writing, for a particular property.

Conditional Offer: This is an offer to purchase, but with conditions – such as “conditional on a satisfactory home inspection” or “conditional on arranging suitable financing”.

Smart Home Trends WiFi Thermostats

smart home trends WiFi ThermostatsIntelligent WiFi thermostats are just one small part of the emerging smart home trends WiFi Thermostats subject that we want to discuss. Smart homes involve many different aspects. Security, environment control, comfort,  and control of everything in your home from your smart phone or desktop. We recently installed a new furnace and AC system with a WiFi enabled thermostat. This is an initial step towards a smart home.

Smart home trends WiFi Thermostats

We can now control the homes environment from our smart phones from pretty much anywhere. As long as the in home WiFi is working and we have internet access to our smart phones we are good to go.

Using the app on our phones we are able to turn on or off the system. We can adjust the temperature in the home. We can also turn the fan on auto or always on. This capability gives us lots of flexibility to control our homes environment.

Sometime in the future we will integrate the thermostat with other smart home capabilities. We will do this when it makes sense from an economic perspective. The WiFi thermostat was added simply because we were upgrading our AC and furnace, so we decided to upgrade the thermostat at the same time.

A good deal for us and a practical smart home technology.

Home Remodeling for Aging in Place

Home Remodeling for Aging in PlaceIf you plan to stay in your home after retirement home remodeling for aging in place should be strongly considered. If you plan to move at some point then this issue may not be that important. For anyone who wants to stay in their home as long as possible, any changes they make should be well thought out. The picture shows wheel chair access to the oven and the sink. This is just one tiny example. There are many aspects to consider and there are resources available to provide you with ideas.

Home Remodeling for Aging in Place

Important considerations anytime you plan on remodeling and plan to age in place include the following:

  • No step entry into your home at the front entrance or garage entry
  • Being able to live on one floor of your home
  • Light switches and outlets should be reachable at any height
  • Hallways and doors should be wide enough to accommodate wheel chairs.
  • All faucet handles should be lever style rather than twist type.

These are general items to consider.  Any time you remodel or renovate your home there may be many other considerations to think about. Imagine yourself in a wheel chair or getting around using crutches or a cane. Evaluate all of your day to day activities and assess whether you could complete them with out remodeling your home.

Spalling Concrete Repair

Spalling Concrete RepairSpalling concrete appears to becoming a huge problem, for home owners as well as cities and building owners. Many consumers find that their concrete sidewalks leading to their homes look like the one in this picture. Others like myself are finding that their cement garage floors are spalling and look terrible. The good news is that they can be fixed and you just have to find the right solution to make the repair. The following steps are a brief summary of what to do to repair your side-walk or your garage floor. Note that local conditions may dictate when you do this repair work. For example outside work should be completed in dry conditions, less wind and on a cloudy day to achieve best results. Temperatures should be well above freezing.

Spalling Concrete Repair

  • Thoroughly Clean the concrete floor with a blower to remove all loose dust and any other material that may be present.
  • Use a pressure washer to dislodge loose particles that are about to lift up from the floor as well as remove other stains that could prevent the new concrete from binding
  • If there are oil stains, these need to be removed by removing the concrete or by using an acid to provide clean unsoiled concrete.
  • Use a blower again to clear off all loose particles that might remain
  • Mix one part Portland cement and two parts sand to a thick consistency like thick applesauce. Course sand can be used to provide a rougher surface if needed.
  • Apply cement paint to surface to act as a glue to help the cement – sand mixture to adhere to the existing concrete
  • Apply cement to surface immediately before cement paint dires from 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick to fully hide all spalling areas. If you are doing a sidewalk, you will want to install a form on either side to help ensure the proper thickness is applied.
  • Allow it to thoroughly dry before using

Are WiFi Thermostats part of Smart Home Trends

Are WiFi Thermostats part of Smart Home TrendsWe recently installed a thermostat with the WiFi feature. Are WiFi thermostats part of smart home trends? The answer in the writers opinion is definitely yes. Although this one is a stand alone model i.e it is not integrated with anything else, it is a beginning. The screen on our thermostat looks exactly like this one. I have been able to test the WiFi capability from inside our home as well as remotely. It works well 99% of the time. Occasionally I cannot connect with the server that runs the whole thing. I do have some concerns about this model.

Are WiFi Thermostats part of Smart Home Trends

Part of the setup involved providing the password for by local WiFi to the unit. I also needed to provide this same information to the a server operated by the manufacturer. I could have enabled my installer to also have access.

There are a number of potential security weaknesses to this particular set up. Passwords can be compromised in any number of ways. Hacking is one thing that comes to mind. What are the chances that my system will be hacked? probably pretty low!

Other than the security concern I am pretty happy with the unit. I can check on the temperature inside the home. I can also adjust the cooling or heating mode as well as set the temperature inside the house. Finally the fan can be cycled on all of the time, auto or turned off completely by turning the system off.

All of this can be accomplished remotely from another room in our house as well as from miles away!

Why Solar Power will change Traditional Power Systems

Why Solar Power will change Traditional Power SystemsWhy solar power will change traditional power systems and when is the big question facing electrical generation companies, transmission companies and investors. Utilities in the power generation and transmission have been cash cows for investors for years and many investors are beginning to wonder if their cash dividends are at risk. The quick answer is that it depends on how the existing companies respond to this new source of power and how they manage the environmental impact message for the new and old systems. There is no question that there is less air pollution from solar and wind farm generation compared to coal, oil and natural gas fired generation plants. There is a lot of pressure to have a higher percentage of generation come from these sources as time goes on.

Why Solar Power will change Traditional Power Systems

Traditional power system companies must realize that they need to invest in this new technology to protect their investments in transmission systems and retain existing customers while being seen as being progressive from an environment perspective. Progressive companies will make this transition and therefore protect their dividend stream for investors while producing low cost electrical power.

The real threat comes from roof top solar power which removes bottom line revenue from the system and drives the per unit cost up for everyone else who does not deploy a roof top solar installation. Remote areas and high cost per kilowatt areas will be the first to convert to roof top solar simply because of the economics.

An aggressive approach to generating power by traditional power generation companies will help to keep costs to the consumer down and decrease the motivation to install roof top solar generation. The jury is still out on how this issue will evolve, however investors in utilities would be wise to pay attention to these issues.

Driveway Sealing in Cold Climates

Driveway Sealing in Cold ClimatesEnvironment plays a huge role in terms of what maintenance is required around your home. Driveway maintenance and repair is no exception. Driveway sealing in cold climates is much different than in warmer climates simply due to the freezing / thaw cycle. Anytime you have a crack in your driveway, there is an opportunity for water to penetrate. If that water freezes, it forces the cracks wider and the asphalt to further deteriorate.  Warm climates do not have these same issues and you can get away with not sealing your driveway.

Driveway Sealing in Cold Climates

We strongly recommend that all cracks should be filled with the appropriate products for crack sealing to prevent further damage.  At the very least you will prevent further damage.

Some people prefer to also place a sealant over the entire asphalt driveway. There are several advantages. First you fill all of the miniature cracks and holes which prevents them from becoming larger. This is a long term maintenance advantage.

Secondly, your driveway just looks better. Esthetics are important and a great looking driveway improves your curb appeal and home value.  Our own driveway is 28 years old. We have sealed it and filled cracks several times over the years. It looks great to the point that our neighbors are amazed.

They have spent thousands of dollars to replace their own black top driveways instead of doing some basic maintenance every couple of years.

Are Electric Cars Really Green?

Are Electric Cars Really Green?Electric cars may not be as green as you might think. The YouTube video to debunk this myth and let consumers know that there is lots of room to do more work before they really make a large contribution to the environment. Check out the video after you finish reading this post and make up your own mind regarding whether it is the right thing to do. Are Electric Cars Really Green?

Are Electric Cars Really Green?

Based on the analysis that is portrayed in the video referred to above, all electric cars are not as great at reducing emissions as everyone thinks. Yes when you operate the car there are no emissions. But, the cost in terms of environmental impact of producing the batteries and also producing the electrical power to charge them is almost the same as a traditional gas powered car. Burning coal, oil and natural gas to produce electricity causes a great deal of pollution. Wind energy and solar panels are better but not as much as you might think based on the analysis.

The writer notes that the analysis did not take into account such issues as the impact of nuclear power, battery efficiency improvement, car breaking regeneration, improvements in electric cars over the next 10 years and other alternate power sources for electricity. Also who funded the research and are there any biases built into this analysis?

The bottom line is that the electric car business is still in it’s infancy and will have many new developments over the next 10 years and will get even better than it is today. So yes, it does not save us in terms of pollution today, but will it with improvements over the next 10 years. Time will tell.

Spalling Concrete Causes

Spalling Concrete RepairMost consumers have seen spalling concrete and wonder what are the spalling concrete causes? We find our sidewalks in front of our homes, or perhaps our garage floors looking like the one in the picture. One section of sidewalk might be fine, while the very next section is badly spalled. The fundamental cause is usually contractors who do not finish the concrete properly. They add water to the surface to keep it moist until they have a chance to finish it or they start finishing the surface before the bleed water has a chance to be absorbed. Both of these actions weaken the surface of the concrete making it susceptible to environmental conditions.

Spalling Concrete Causes

Consumers who live in areas that are exposed to constant freeze – thaw conditions may experience more severe spalling conditions in their concrete sidewalks and garage floors or driveways. Once the surface is weakened, water can get between the cracks and when it freezes will cause the surface of the concrete to lift up and particles will be dislodged.

In most cases it is only the surface that lifts up. The underlying concrete will not be impacted and will remain strong. The surface does not look great and can even devalue your home when it comes time to sell it.

In our next post “Spalling Concrete Repair”, we will quickly explain how consumers can do their own repairs and make their garage floor, sidewalk or driveway look like new again.

Are Solar Panels Really Green?

Are Solar Panels Really GreenThe standard assumption by most consumers is that solar panels along with wind technology is that they are green and make a positive contribution to the reduction of pollution around the world. But, are solar panels really green? While the technology has been around for years, it is only recently that solar panels have been produced in large numbers and also touted as a green technology that will change the way that electricity is generated. Reductions in coal based generated electricity will put many people out of work and will also reduce the amount of pollution. This is the argument of most environmentalists. What are the facts and will this trend really help us in the long run?

Are Solar Panels Really Green?

The jury is actually still out on this question, Are Solar Panels Really Green, believe it or not. This is still a relatively new industry and many improvements need to be made before we can definitely say that there will be reductions in pollution based on solar panels. Here are a few examples.

Coal Fired Electrical Generation Plants – Switching to solar panels will reduce the amount of electricity needed from these plants, therefore reducing the amount of coal burned and the amount of local pollution which is a good thing from an environmental perspective. Switching to natural gas will also reduce pollution.

Solar Panel Farms – They take up a large area and nothing else can be done with the land they occupy. Much more space is required for solar panels than traditional power plants. These panels need to be washed at least once per year which wastes a lot of water. And water is becoming a short supply issue for many areas.

Manufacturing Solar Panels – They are predominantly manufactured in China which has very lax standards in terms of control of toxic chemicals used in the process. It takes a great deal of energy to make a solar panel and the toxic waste is not disposed of properly. While there is less pollution in the predominantly western nations where solar panels are being installed, China and other countries are having to deal with significant levels of pollution in their countries.

Recycling – Not enough solar panels are being recycled as of yet so there is no business that has yet developed to deal with the toxic chemicals in solar panels. They are ending up in land fill sites.

A lot more work in this industry is needed before we can truly say that solar panels are a green technology.

Purchase or Lease Furnace and AC Unit

Purchase or Lease Furnace and AC UnitWe contacted our Real Estate Agent about whether we should purchase or lease furnace and AC unit. His answer follows and is quite enlightening. Basically you are going to pay for it one way or the other and it is up to you just how you want to do it. Some alternatives are more economic than others. After reading his answer decide for yourself based on your own situation.

Purchase or Lease Furnace and AC Unit

In terms of the real estate sales side of things, it is presumed that the furnace and A/C are bought and paid for by the seller.  If they are rented then the buy out is the key # required. At time of transfer of the deed it is expected that the seller will pay for it.  I think that you need to examine that and look at different scenarios. What if I had to sell the house in 3 years, 5 years 7 years or 10 years, what is the cost to ‘pay off’ the contract.
You are suggesting that you will remain in the house for the next 10 – 15 years. Life changes on a dime and maybe you will be facing family or personal instances where you must sell.  So somehow you have to factor that into your decision making.

Purchase or Lease Furnace and AC Unit – Buyers Agent

As a buyer’s agent when showing homes, we take into account the furnace and A/C are 10 years or more. I emphasize to the buyers that they are going to have to budget for a new furnace and A/C  in the short term.  So if your contract is 10 years AND you actually expect to be living there for that time then maybe a rental plan would work to your favor.  (is the equipment free and clear and paid for after the rental contract?)
Bottom line is that everything boils down to price.  Your home would be priced accordingly – to market conditions. Also conditions of the home along  with the features and chattels etc. so, you are going to end up ‘paying’ either now or later.
Many of the homeowners on our street used the same guy someone had found.  He is a one man band so to speak, and he sells, installs and services the Goodman brand.  When we bought, it had a 10 year guarantee which has paid off for us. We had the burner unit replaced in the furnace at about year 9.  It works for us and him because he gives us all a great price on annual cleaning etc. and does everybody the same day for cash.  So that’s another bonus for him.
It’s a tough question to deal with – as the homeowner you are looking at a good chunk of change to make it happen. Just be sure that on the rental lease scenario, you are well aware of the buy out costs.  Also transfer costs / obligations conditions etc.
Hope this helps and hasn’t muddied the waters!

Rent or Buy Your Furnace and Air Conditioner

Rent or Buy Your Furnace and Air ConditionerOur furnace just quit working and our air conditioning unit is 27 years old! Amazing life cycle and it still works. The furnace is only 14 years old and we are trying to figure out if we should rent or buy your furnace and air conditioner or just repair it. Most people would just say replace it.

After all the AC unit does not owe you anything and it will likely quit sometime soon anyway. We could perhaps just repair the furnace and hope for the best. However we wondered what the economics would be considering repairing the furnace or replacing both the furnace and the AC unit. Also a third scenario has been proposed and that would be to rent both units. The price would include all cleaning and servicing for as long as we paid the monthly payment. My initial reaction was to always purchase however when you do the math, there is a surprising answer.

Rent or Buy Your Furnace and Air Conditioner

We assumed a 15 year study life, a cost of $9500 to purchase the units, a cost of $25 a month to provide service and warranty once the manufacturers warranty was finished. We also assumed a cost of $700 for repairs which would last for one year. The rent scenario assumes $50 a month for the furnace and $45 a month for the AC unit including all servicing and warranties.

Using these numbers it makes sense to rent if you are planning on 12 years or less to rent. It makes sense to purchase if you feel that the units will last longer than 11 years which they should. However I need to find $9500 to pay for the installation and I still need to pay $25 a month for insurance.

I can finance the cost of the furnace etc.  I could use some of my savings to pay for these units and forego any income I might get from the current investments. I am fortunate to collect 3% on my investments at the present time. This is a real cost to me which I would save if I were to rent the furnace and the AC unit.

This income when factored in changes the breakeven period from 11 years to 20 years. This is probably more than the life cycle of these new units and longer than I plan to live in the house.

I still need to confirm all of the estimates with actual quotations. However I am definitely leaning towards renting and not making a purchase at this point.

Tips to Burglar Proof Your Home

tips to burglar proof your homeMany people are traveling at all times of the year, especially in the holiday periods. Burglars know this and they are ready to take advantage of your empty home. We thought that it would be good to cover a number of tips to burglar proof your home. Avoid the frustration and invasion of privacy by following these tips. If you know of others that would benefit our readers, let us know and we will be happy to add them to the post. We have a number of other posts on this site that discuss issues around home security as well.

Tips to Burglar Proof Your Home

Make your home look like it is lived in – If you are going away, your home should still look as if someone is living in it. This can mean lights on timers, pool running in the summer, neighbors parking a car in the driveway etc.

Regular checks by Family or neighbors – may not stop them but it will let anyone know who is casing the home that people are watching.

Clear mail every day – or have someone do it for you. Newspapers and mail building up in the mail box is a sure sign of a vacant home

Maintain landscaping – whether it is uncut grass or an untidy looking yard, this can be another sign that no one is home.

Hi Tech Monitoring – alarms that go off if someone does break in are good to have. So are doorbells that trigger a call to your cell phone when someone tries the doorbell. Another is an alert whenever motion is detected in or around the house with a voice response. You may get some false alarms from local animals that roam the yard at night.

If you have added ideas, let us know, we would be glad to include them.

Upgrade Aging Air Conditioners

Upgrade Aging Air ConditionersWhen is it time to upgrade aging air conditioners? Ours is over 28 years old and is still working. Our furnace which is only 14 years old just quit. We are having the furnace replaced and wonder if we should upgrade aging air conditioner at the same time. Perhaps we will get a discount for doing both at the same time and a rebate from the government.

Upgrade Aging Air Conditioners and Furnace

There are several reasons why we decided to replace everything at this time, rather than take a chance on the old AC unit. The following is our list and you can attach importance levels to them based on your own situation:

  • If the coil on the old AC unit leaks over the new furnace, the warranty is not valid
  • Twenty eight years is a phenomenal life cycle, maybe I would get several more years at most
  • Existing AC is very inefficient compared to the new units
  • Get the job done once and they do not have to come back other than for annual maintenance
  • Replace both and obtain full government rebate
  • Energy costs continue to rise, so efficiency is important to control utility bills
  • The existing system is noisy, newer units are quieter
  • Resale value for our home will increase with new units still under warranty if we sell in next 10 years


Blog Index

Copyright © 1996-2010 Managing Home Maintenance Costs. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress