The Real Importance of Keeping Your Carpet Clean

If you have a lot of carpeting in your home, you already know the difference a fresh, clean carpet can make on the appearance of your home; a clean carpet makes a room more inviting, and makes everything else in the room look better. On the other hand, a dirty carpet is one of the first things you’ll notice when you enter a home or a room. But maintaining a neat appearance isn’t the only reason for you to keep your carpets clean.

People (and their pets) don’t just walk on carpets: they live on them. As a result, carpets collect a wide variety of substances over time; little bits of food are just one example. While you might be able to spot dirt, stains, or grime on your carpet, this is not always the case. If you were to take a really close look, you might be surprised at what the carpet has trapped; for a better idea, try turning a heavily-trafficked area rug or a carpet runner upside down.

What you can’t see in your carpet can be just as unsettling. Substances trapped in your carpet can bring about a bad odor. And because you would live with this odor day in and day out, you would lose sensitivity to it. As a result, you might be completely unaware of even a strongly unpleasant odor coming from your carpeting. This odor might be unpleasant to guests, who haven’t yet become insensitive to the smell.

One reason that carpeting is so popular is its inviting texture. Clean carpets tend to be soft and smooth to the touch. But when liquids like sauce, juice, or oil are allowed to set on your carpet; they can roughen and harden its texture. Your once-soft carpet will no longer be a comfort to the soles of your feet. And again, your guests may notice the difference long before you do.

Brooke's - Kansas City Carpet Cleaners

What you can’t see in your carpet can also cause excessive wear and shorten its lifespan. Tiny pieces of sand or grit rub and scratch and wear down your carpet’s fibers. This can dull and fade your carpet as well as cause matting or flattened out spots. This kind of wear and tear has ended the lives of many carpets before their time, requiring and early (and expensive) purchase of new carpeting.

So what can you do? Regular vacuuming is a great start. In addition to making any home more inviting, this practice helps to keep dirt and grit from working deep into carpet fiber where they can do the most damage; it also reduces the potential for unpleasant odors.

While vacuuming is a key part of keeping your carpet clean, it’s not the only one. Vacuuming is effective at removing material trapped on the surface of the carpet; it isn’t as effective at cleaning deep under the surface or removing staining materials. For an occasional deep cleaning, you’ll want to rely on a professional carpet cleaner like my local favorite, Brooke’s Chem-Dry.

Occasional carpet cleanings can capture the dirt and grit that escaped your vacuuming; a cleaning can also release tough stains that vacuuming can’t. Like almost anything that has to do with carpet cleaning, the earlier you confront a problem, the better. Regular carpet cleanings can reduce wear-and-tear and keep stains from becoming permanent additions to your carpet’s appearance.

Next time you consider postponing a carpet cleaning or vacuuming, remember this: Regularly cleaned carpets are fresher, softer, and can look new for years longer.

Is it Time to Repair or Replace your Fence?


Fences can be a great addition to any property, and anyone who has had a fence erected around their backyard can tell you the benefits that come with it. There’s the obvious benefit of creating a solid barrier between your property and your neighbors on either side, and if you’re a pet owner, a good fence can provide your animals a safe place to run around. The added privacy of a fence is one of the most common reasons people have one installed on their property. It’s nice to be able to enjoy dinner with your family in the backyard without having to feel like everyone in the neighborhood can see you. But maybe you already have a fence, and maybe you’ve had your fence for some time now, or it came with the house that you purchased. Have you taken a good look at your fence to determine whether or not it’s accomplishing the things it’s supposed to?

Fences, like all outdoor features of your home, require regular maintenance to make sure they stay in good shape and provide you with the benefits they are supposed to. Often people overlook fence maintenance until it’s too late. It can be easy to ignore your fence as long as it is creating a sight barrier between you and your neighbors, but that’s not a fence’s only function and it’s important to make sure the construction stays solid year after year.

Wooden privacy fences tend to start pulling apart after time, and as a responsible homeowner you should take the time to walk around the perimeter of your fence and check to make sure each board is firmly in place. Loose boards can provide convenient places for your dog to squeeze its way through the fence, and sometimes those boards can snap back into place trapping your dog on the wrong side of the fence. Same goes for children if they manage to find the loose board before you do, though children are more likely to just go around the house to the front door. A loose board can also be an access point for a burglar though, which is a real concern for many people with privacy fences.

In addition to loose boards, wooden fences can warp over time, causing long stretches of fence posts to bend out of shape or pull out of the supporting rails. This can be a more drastic fence problem, as it can cause many boards to become loose (or even fall off completely) if not dealt with in a reasonable amount of time.

warped fence

If you notice these problems with your fence, it might be time to call the experts for fencing repair, and in serious cases it might just be time to replace your fence. This can be an expensive endeavor, but choosing a good fence contractor can help ease the financial burden. Many people find that once they have a fence on their property, they don’t want to go back to living without, so often it’s worth it to go ahead and invest in a new fence. While a fence can add tremendously to your property value, a beat-up warped fence is probably going to take away from the worth and aesthetic of your home, not to mention open you up to security risks.

Take some time to check out your fence today and make sure everything is in order. Hopefully your fence was solidly constructed and will last for many years, but in the event that it does start to warp and lose its luster, make sure you act quickly to take control of the situation before it becomes a larger problem.

Helpful Pet Stain Removal Tips

pet on carpet

No matter how well trained a pet is, accidents are inevitable. In fact, most owners will agree that messes are part of keeping an animal in one’s home for companionship. Luckily, there are some effective pet stain removal techniques one could use to handle any accident.

Act Promptly

As tempting as it could be, one should never ignore the mess by letting themselves get used to the odor. The longer it’s left unattended to, the harder it will be to clean. With the right handling technique, though, it will be gone in a matter of minutes.

Where Did It Happen?

Though locating the spot seems like a no-brainer, it could have dried off to become less evident thus harder to locate. To point out the soiled area, one could first use their sense of smell. The suspect area needs close examination to catch concealed soiling. A black light could help in finding even old urine stains. To use one, the room first has to be darkened by turning off all lights and drawing the curtains to keep sunlight out. Upon identifying the soiled area(s), it would help to lightly outline the spot using chalk.

Having identified the soiled spot, one needs to clean thoroughly and neutralize the odor. Otherwise, the animal will very likely return to the same spot if they catch their distinct scent. This is especially so if the pet isn’t properly housebroken or is left too long between outdoor bathroom trips.

Even if the scent seems to have disappeared, the animal will still catch it if the proper removal wasn’t done. Most animals have a powerful sense of smell that far exceeds that of humans. All traces of the odor must, therefore, be neutralized completely.

Cleaning Carpets, Rugs, and Upholstery

For most animals, the urine consists of uric acid, ammonia, nitrogen, hormones, and bacteria. Uric acid is the component responsible for the lingering smell, which can be potent in humid air. To clean urine stains and odor from rugs and carpets, a few steps will be necessary.

One first needs to blot up most of the liquid using an absorbent material. Here, paper towels or a piece of cloth will work. This needs to be repeated after pouring some plain water over the area until there aren’t any yellow spots on the towels/cloth.

One can then use a natural cleaner to get rid of the enzymes. This can be made by combining 2 cups of water with 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide. Baking soda also works well in digesting odors. One can pour either of these and then blot up the moisture after letting it sit for about ten minutes.

Dealing with Other Pet Messes

If the animal poops on the floor, with any luck they’ll leave a dry solid mass that can easily be picked using a piece of tissue. But if there’s a conspicuous stain, a damp towel or cloth could be used to wipe the area gently. For more extensive messes like diarrhea or vomit, the solid material should first be scooped up before doing this. Caution should be taken to avoid spreading or mashing the mess any further. The neutralizing procedure described earlier can then be performed.

No matter how bad the stain appears or smells, it should always be scrubbed gently. Hard scrubbing could ruin the material’s texture and isn’t even necessary. If the stain has already set, one can rent a wet vac or extractor from a local hardware outlet or carpet cleaning service.  This machine works by forcing clean water into an object and then sucking out the muck. With the device, no chemicals are necessary; plain water works much better. Additionally, one needs to follow the provided instructions carefully.

If the wood on furniture is discolored, it means the paint or varnish has reacted with uric acid. Enzymatic cleaners can be used on washable enamel paints. These have to be used while following the provided instructions, having been tested on a separate surface.

Otherwise, the finish needs removal and replacement. One could seek help from a Carlsbad local hardware store; they’ll help in identifying the problem and suggest the appropriate removers and replacements as well.

Preventing Accidents in Future

House training a pet properly could go a long way in keeping the house mess-free. While doing this, one can use training pads which act as nappies to trap the odor and reduce messes. Litter boxes should always be sufficiently sized and kept clean so that the animal is comfortable using them instead of the floor or couch.

Five Questions For Your Water Damage Specialist

Whether it is a result of a major weather event, a gradual leak, or another cause, water damage can be heartbreaking for any homeowner. If it is not taken care of properly, it could significantly decrease your home’s value, and more importantly, compromise its stability or even threaten your family’s health by encouraging the growth of dangerous mold. Thus, leaving water damage repair to the experts is generally the best course of action. Of course, not all contractors are created equal, so here are five questions you can ask potential damage specialists; their answers should help you find someone who has the expertise to handle the problem you are dealing with in an efficient and effective manner.

1. Why did this damage occur?

You may think you know the answer to this question-for instance, if a giant rainstorm swept through and caused basement flooding or your dishwasher broke and spewed water everywhere, those may seem like the obvious culprits. However, the answer may not be quite as simple as it seems at first glance. Perhaps the dishwasher malfunction was the result of improperly installed or maintained pipes; maybe the flooding could have been avoided if a structurally compromised basement wall had been repaired before the storm. A water damage specialist should be able to tell you if it was simply an unfortunate, unavoidable accident that caused the damage, or if it was something that could have been avoided with proper maintenance.

2. How can I avoid this in the future?

This question builds directly off the previous one; whether it was an accident or an avoidable occurrence, the water damage specialist should ideally be able to offer some advice on steps you can take to avoid similar situations in the future.

3. How extensive is the damage?

I’ve worked with the local Rainbow International on a few occasions, and their technicians can generally quickly assess the damage enough to know if it is penetrating and significant, or superficial and minor. Asking this question to several contractors, and using your own best judgment, you should be able to get an accurate sense of how much damage has indeed occurred. Understanding the extent of damage will better prepare you for price negotiations so that you can make sure you are not overcharged.

4. How much will the project cost?

By asking for a quote up front, you will know right away how much money you need to set aside for the project. Many insurance policies do not cover water damage, so there is a good chance you will have to pay for the repair out of pocket. If possible, get a written quote so that you have something to fall back on if the job ends up costing far above what the contractor suggested. Ask him to notify you if he discovers anything that will drastically increase the quoted price to save yourself from nasty surprises.

5. How long will the project take?

Between the smell, noise, and potential for dangerous mold, you may need to stay elsewhere while water damage is repaired. Knowing how long you need to be out of the house will help you plan your stay with a friend or family member.

Why Would You Need An Emergency Electrician?

sparking outletAn electrician is someone that you might not think of first during an emergency situation. You might not think that you will need to contact an electrical contractor in a hurry. Perhaps you don’t equate electrical function with emergency situations. There are many instances where a local San Jose emergency electrician might be called to action. Whether it’s short-circuited wiring, a sparking outlet, a fallen tree, or a water damage. It’s best to call in an electrical contractor that knows what he’s doing to prevent the risk of electrical shock.

Home or Building Flooding

If your home or commercial building is flooded you might find that getting an emergency electrician is essential. There are many dangers associated with a flood and your electrical system. Not only could a flood permanently damage your building and its electrical wiring, but it could also be very dangerous. This could cause a fire or potentially electrocute someone. Getting an electric in to help is soon as possible will make all the difference in the end. Having someone you can contact right away is going to save valuable time.

High Winds

Even if your building has been standing with electrical connections for many years, it is possible that an intense wind from a storm could take down a line on your home or cause a major power outage within your home or building. Getting the help you need in this instance would require the help of an electrical contractor. They can provide you with the fast service that you need to get up and running again and prevent a potentially hazardous situation. This might also be the case if high winds push a tree down on the property and onto electrical lines on the house. If the electrical lines are not part of the incoming power lines you might be responsible for dealing with the matter yourself.

Fire Damage

If you have been through a recent fire in one of the rooms in your building you might be in need of an emergency electrician. They can put the wiring back together and help keep further fire hazards from existing. If the fire was originally caused due to wiring issues, the electrician can assess the situation and ensure that there will be no further difficulties of the same nature.

Middle of the Night Outage

When the lights go out and you can’t find a simple reason why it might be necessary to contact an electrical contractor that offers 24-hour service. This is especially important if you have this blackout in the colder months when you rely on the electricity to help keep you warm such as starting up the furnace. While many power shortages can be simply rectified, there are some that are not so easy to determine. Make sure that you have a good emergency electrician available to help with these occasions.

Signs of Trouble

If you are experiencing a consistent flickering in all of your lights you may want to get help right away. This could be a warning sign of things to come and you may be in danger of an electrical fire if the problem is not dealt with right away. You don’t want to wait until the sparks start to be in touch with an emergency electrician to look at the problems. Finding answers right away could save your building and your life. Ignoring the signs of trouble could only make things worse and put you in great danger.

Urgent Installations

Another reason that you might find yourself in search of an electrical contractor in an emergency is if you are having a furnace or some other necessary appliance installed and need proper wiring run to the unit. If this is being done in an emergency situation because the old one has died and it is necessary to get the job done immediately, you might be in need of an emergency electrician. Most of the contractors that install these units are not equipped or licensed to complete any additional electrical work that might be related.

While you can’t predict when you might have electrical trouble that is going to need immediate attention, you can certainly be prepared by having the name and telephone number of a local emergency electrical contractor in San Jose, CA on hand. Taking the time to determine the right professional for the job before the need arises is a good way to save a great deal of time in the face of an urgent situation. You don’t want to find yourself rushing around trying to find a reputable contractor while the situation is getting worse. Be ready to make the call if you should have to by having the information close by. Not all contractors are the same and you should do your due diligence well ahead of time.

Renovating Your Home for “Aging in Place”

50 year old womanModifying homes and making simple renovations often make private residences safer and more accessible to those who make up the elderly community. A big trend with senior care in Phoenix is “aging in place”, or remaining at home, as opposed to entering an assisted living or nursing home care facility. This is often more comfortable for seniors, who prefer to stay in surroundings that are familiar to them.

According to a recent study, a whopping 75 percent of remodeling companies reported an increase in requests for aging-in-place renovation work. This trend is likely to grow as the baby boomer generation begins to retire and the senior population gradually swells.

One popular renovation is installing lever-style door handles for people who suffer from arthritis. The ability to open a door by turning a door knob is an act many healthy people take for granted. Arthritis makes it painful to perform the same task. A simple solution to this is installing a lever style doorknob. The good news is there are many arthritis-friendly door latches on the market today. A professional elder care assistant can suggest models that tend to work the best.

Another popular home modification is addressing the problem of slippery floors. Seniors who suffer from osteoarthritis, especially in their knees, are much more likely to slip and fall, even when performing basic household tasks. These falls can lead to serious injuries, so it is of utmost importance to alleviate any risk factors. It is helpful to have wood or tile floors replaced with carpet, which is significantly more slip resistant. For those who use walkers, a low pile carpet is advised, as a high pile flooring can often trap the feet of the walker.  If replacement is not an option, tile or wood flooring should be covered with slip-resistant materials, including non-skid rugs. All the sands and dust being tracked in from those Arizona winds even add to the hazard of slipping and falling on a hardwood floor so highly consider carpets or rugs for your home in Sun City or Phoenix.

For elderly arthritis patients, climbing stairs or even a slight elevation change can be painful, difficult, and potentially dangerous. While it is ideal for seniors to stay on the lowest floor of their home, that is not always a possibility. When this is the case, a few simple modifications can make stair climbing much safer. First, make sure to remove any rugs or furniture from the base of the stairs, as these can be tripping hazards. Ensure that the stairwell is well-lit since this alleviates the danger of a spill due to poor visibility. It also helps to hire a general contracting company to install handrails on both sides of the staircase. While handrails provide a sturdy surface to grip onto, some seniors may still feel uncomfortable climbing stairs. These concerns must be taken very seriously. For seniors who have an especially difficult time with elevations, consider installing a chair lift. Many renovation companies can help to suggest the best model based on the home’s layout.

Safety when bathing is also a big concern for the elderly.  Many homes are equipped with bathtubs, which are great for relaxation purposes, but can pose problems as it can be difficult to get in and out of them. Step-in showers with a low entry point help to alleviate this issue. Metal grab bars installed in the shower and adjacent to the toilet can also help to prevent falls.

Redesigning a kitchen can also be a great help for the aging population.  For those with arthritis, renovation companies may lower cabinets so that senior clients do not have to reach high or bend down to access food and preparation items. Dishwashers and sinks can also be raised or lowered for people with back pain.

Renovating for the elderly does not have to be over the top or expensive. Often, it only requires simple changes, not major overhauls, to make aging at home both safer and easier. With a little creativity, many spaces in the home can be retrofitted and redesigned with the greatest of ease. The ideas outlined above will ensure that the aging community isn’t living with pain, and subjecting themselves to potentially dangerous situations when performing their day to day tasks.

Maintaining Your Home’s HVAC Units

gas furnace tech

When you own a home, regular maintenance is an important part of keeping it in good condition. The same is true when it comes to your heating and cooling equipment. Regardless of what type of equipment you have, it’s important that you conduct routine HVAC maintenance to keep it functioning at its best. There are some maintenance procedures that you can easily do yourself; however, there are also some equipment maintenance procedures that are best left for a trained HVAC technician. A leading HVAC company will be able to provide expert maintenance to help protect your HVAC equipment as well as keep it functioning at its peak of energy efficiency.

Air Conditioner Maintenance

If you have central air conditioning, your cooling system is most likely comprised of an inside unit which houses the evaporator coil that is used to cool the air in your home as well as an outside condenser unit. Your air conditioner is going to need good airflow in order to allow it to cool properly. Prior to the cooling season, it’s a good idea to check the outside unit. Make sure that there are no overgrown shrubs or trees that could be impeding good air flow. Additionally, check to insure that leaves, twigs, and other debris are not blocking the outside unit.

On the inside, you can use a stiff brush to clean the evaporator coils. Of course, you should also be changing the air filter on a regular basis. Typically, the filter will need to be changed every month or two. If it looks dirty, it’s time to change it. You’ll also want to contact a reputable HVAC company to provide professional maintenance. For example, an experienced HVAC technician will be able to check coolant levels, make sure your system is tuned-up properly and will check electrical connections as well as lubricate moving parts.

Gas Furnace Maintenance

Every fall, it’s a good idea to perform maintenance on your gas furnace. This will help ensure that your heating equipment is in good condition and ready to keep your home warm throughout the coming winter. Many homeowners perform maintenance on their gas furnace, but if you don’t feel confident with these maintenance procedures, be sure to contact a reputable HVAC company.

The first thing you should do is take a look at your gas furnace. If you notice soot, it’s time to call in a professional furnace contractor to determine what the problem is and to make any necessary adjustments or repairs. If all seems okay, then turn off your furnace and shut off the gas. It’s important that the gas is off before you begin any maintenance. Remove the furnace panel and using a vacuum with a long nozzle, vacuum around the base of your furnace. You can use a damp cloth to wipe off fan blades. If there is a fan belt, visually inspect it for signs of fraying or cracking. Also, gently press down on the belt to see how much give it has. If it goes down by more than a half inch, it’s time to call in a trained service technician.

Heat Pump Maintenance

Heat pump maintenance is very much like maintaining your air conditioner before the summer heat. Replace the air filter and make sure the outside unit is free from debris. Clean air vents throughout your home to ensure good air flow. An HVAC company will be able to provide more thorough maintenance, such as checking ducts for leakage, making sure your system has sufficient airflow and lubricating moving parts as well as checking electrical connections.

Water Heater Maintenance

When you maintain your water heater, you’ll not only get more efficient performance, but you’ll also help to extend its life expectancy. Simple maintenance tips include making sure you keep a 2-foot clearance around your water heater unless your specific model has a different clearance requirement. A few times each year you should drain about one-fourth of the water out of your tank. Simply turn off the cold water that leads to your water heater, then attach a garden hose to the tank’s drain valve. Let the water run into a bucket until it is clear. This will help remove sediment from the bottom of your water heater, but it will also keep your heater running quietly.

Maintenance for Better Indoor Air Quality

An air cleaner should have the filter cleaned or replaced on a regular basis. A dirty filter will not be able to remove as many airborne contaminants as a clean filter. Additionally, many HVAC companies offer air duct cleaning as an effective way to improve indoor air quality.

How to Remove Common Household Stains


Your furniture and carpet are an important investment to your home. You want it to stay as neat and clean as possible. But you also live in your house and you can’t prevent every accident. Whether you have a pet, kids, or simply have an accident yourself, things are going to happen to your carpet and upholstery. Use this guide to help you remove a variety of stains from these carpet

Remove Pet Stains

Cats and dogs have accidents and get sick and they don’t always do so in a convenient location. If you are lucky, the stain will be located on the arm cover of the upholstery so you can take it off and wash it in your machine. You won’t be lucky every time, however. If an accident happens on the couch or carpet, soak up as much of the liquid as possible. Use newspapers or paper towels. The more fresh liquid you soak up before it dries the better. Then, rinse the area with fresh, cool water. Remove the water with blotting or with a carpet cleaning device.

Those tactics only work well if the pet stain is fresh. If you don’t catch the stain until it sets, you will have to use a different method. Keep a pet odor neutralizer and pet stain removal product on hand and use the cleaner to remove the stain. You will have to remove the stain in order to completely neutralize the odor. Once the stain is out, you might want to use an upholstery cleaner or carpet cleaning device on the area to ensure sanitation of that region.

Remove Marker Stains

Kids enjoy doing naughty things when you are not looking and that often includes coloring on things they shouldn’t. If you turn away for one minute and find that your couch or carpet has some new accents due to marker stains, you know you have a job on your hands. First, make sure you equip your child with washable markers. These stains are much easier to get out. If the kids get a hold of permanent markers, it is much harder, but you can still remove the stains with a little work.

Rubbing alcohol or hairspray both make great marker removing agents when you are working with carpet. Put a little of one or the other on a cleaning cloth and dab the carpet stain. Don’t rub the stain or it will get worse. Once the stain is out, rinse the area with clean water and blot it dry.

Remove Glue Stains

It’s not every day you have glue stains on your couch, but when you do, you want it off as soon as possible before more dirt gets stuck to the area. There are many different types of glue and the instructions can vary based on what variety is in the stain. If there is any glue left, scrape the excess off with a flat knife. Then soak the area with water to loosen the glue. Next, mix dish washing liquid with cold water and blot the stain. It will take time and patience, but it should come out. Repeat the steps until the glue is gone and then rinse the area with clean water and blot it dry.

carpet cleaning by hand

Remove Wine Stains

Furniture and carpeting are never good combinations with wine, but accidents do happen. When the wine hits the materials outside the glass, you need to act fast. If you catch the stain right away, dab it with paper towels to get out as much of the liquid as possible. Then, apply the liquid solution as quickly as possible to get the stain out. There are a lot of solutions that can work. Some experts recommend spreading salt over the stain and letting it dry. Then, rinse it with baking soda later. Others say club soda can help the stain soak up.

Not every stain can be that easily resolved. If the immediate resolutions don’t work, try dish washing liquid mixed with hydrogen peroxide and remember to blot the liquid in and don’t rub it. Dab the solution on and wait until the stain settles. You can also try hot water and vinegar.

Different stains set and react in various ways depending on their makeup and the material of your upholstery or carpeting. There is no one fool proof way to clean any stain, but these remedies will help you get started on even the toughest pet or red wine stain. Once the stain is mostly removed, it is a good idea to hit the area with a carpet cleaning device or upholstery cleaner to finish the job.

Home Improvements to Create an Energy Efficient Home

happy home ownerDuring the winter in Richmond VA, most people crank up their thermostats and heat distribution systems. However, doing so will likely increase your power consumption significantly and consequently your electricity bill, too. Luckily, you can take measures to keep your home warm and energy efficient throughout the winter. Below is some more information on this topic.


Some of the steps you can take to keep your home warm during the winter include:


According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), energy consumers can reduce their space heating costs simply by insulating their homes properly. To do so, the DOE recommends using loose-fill fiberglass insulation material that was found to cut heat losses by up to 50% during tests done at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1992. Alternatively, you can use insulation materials that incorporate nanotechnology.


Double pane windows

Replace your windows with double pane windows. The space between the panes in these windows is filled with a gas that makes it harder for heat to escape.


Weather stripping

Weather stripping refers to sealing the gaps and cracks around doors and windows to prevent heat loss. Examples of common weather stripping materials include open-cell foam, felt, copper, vinyl, stainless steel, aluminum, and bronze. To avoid the hassle of weather stripping your home every winter, use metallic materials because they can last for years. By sealing air gaps, you will reduce space-heating costs significantly. In fact, the DOE reckons that American homes lose 25% of their heat through such gaps.


Ceiling setting

Setting your ceiling fans to spin clockwise in order to blow hot air, which tends to rise, downwards is a simple trick you can use to keep your home warm during the winter.


Fireplace plug

If you have an open fireplace connected to a chimney in your home, cover it with a suitable fireplace plug. More specifically, use an inflatable fireplace plug because the air trapped inside such a plug will make it harder for heat to escape outdoors.


Install a programmable thermostat

Purchase and install a programmable thermostat if you have one in your home. A good example is the Nest thermostat that you can access and control via the Internet. You can use it to lower indoor temperature while you are away at work and raise the temperature when you return in the evening. This strategy alone can cut home heating costs by approximately 10%, according to the DOE.


Low emissivity coating

It is advisable to install windowpanes coated with low-emissivity compounds. The DOE in collaboration with the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab invented low-e coatings in the 1980s to trap heat while allowing visible light to pass through glass. Figures from the DOE show that more than 80% of all windows sold in the US have low-e coatings. If you do not fancy or cannot afford to replace existing windowpanes, the DOE recommends covering them with a suitable clear layer of insulation. This will help you lower energy use at home by up to 33% annually.


Heating system

Before the winter season starts, make sure your home heating and air circulation system is in good working condition. In fact, you should hire a qualified HVAC repair and maintenance specialist to check its condition and perform repairs. While inspecting an HVAC system, technicians typically pay special attention to the air filters, heat exchanger, gas pressure, condensate drain and electrical connections. Where necessary, the technician will clean or change the air filters, clean and adjust the air blower components, lubricate all moving parts, check and top up the refrigerant, as well as check and adjust the thermostat settings.


Water heater

Data from the DOE shows that water heating accounts for 14 to 18% of home energy costs. With this in mind, it is wise to replace old water heaters with modern models that are more energy efficient. Currently, more than about 27 million homes in the US have water heaters that are more than 10 years old. Other simple energy saving tricks you can use include setting your water heater thermostat to 120 °F, installing a solar water heater, and installing low-flow showerheads.



If you have a furnace that uses heating oil, you can save a lot of money by replacing it with one that uses natural gas. According to the DOE, the average annual cost of operating a furnace that runs on natural gas is $700, whereas the cost of operating a furnace powered by heating oil is $1,700 over the same period. When shopping for a new furnace, check the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) figure.Old furnaces have an AFUE of about 56 to 70%, whereas the AFUE rating for mid-efficiency furnaces ranges from 80% to 83%. High efficiency furnaces have the best AFUE figures of between 90 and 98.5%, according to the Department of Energy.

kohler generator

Tips for Finding the Right Home Generators

Firstly, look for a home generator that fulfills your power consumption needs. You can easily calculate your power usage range using the various wattage estimation tools available online. Secondly, determine the type of generator you need (standby, portable, or inverter). Another factor to consider is the fuel source (diesel or natural gas).



You can improve the energy efficiency of your home and keep it warm during the winter by installing loose-fill fiberglass insulation, setting your ceiling fans to rotate clockwise, installing double pane windows, as well as performing regular maintenance checks and repairs on your HVAC system.

The Many Benefits of Home Replacement Windows

bright living room

Besides roof repair, installing replacement windows is one of the pricier home renovation projects one could undertake. This is because such windows are not only more expensive than their conventional counterparts, but they also attract higher installation charges. In spite of this however, investing in high quality replacement windows could prove worthwhile due to their various benefits.

Reduced Energy Costs

Typically, windows let in more besides light; they’re often the largest contributors to heating and cooling losses. High-quality, well-insulated windows would boost a home’s energy efficiency by separating the indoors from extreme outdoor temperatures. The best models are tightly sealed to prevent air leaks, with some featuring double- and triple-insulated panes for better insulation.

This reduces the need to adjust the heating and cooling system, which would translate into lower energy consumption. According to some experts, replacing conventional windows with more efficient models would pay off by reducing HVAC-related energy expenses. Moreover, one also stands to enjoy a tax credit of up to 10% for the upgrade, as long as Energy Star rated windows are installed.

Better Lighting and UV Protection

Natural light helps enhance comfort. The best modern windows will have smaller frames and larger panes to let in more light into the house. Some even feature special films which filter out harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun. This radiation is known to cause damage to floors, walls and furnishings. As such, swapping old windows for better, modern replacements would save the homeowner the need to repair or replace such components.

Aesthetic Appeal

It’s hard to attach a monetary value when it comes to appearance. In most cases however, windows are usually the keystone of a home’s visual appeal, both from the curb and indoors. With time, most windows start to look old, dirty and out of style.

Modern windows are available in many different shapes, colors and style options. These can add a stunning effect to the home’s appearance. As such, one could upgrade their home’s visual appeal by investing in the right replacements. Besides improving appearance, this could help increase the home’s value.

Noise Reduction

Most suburban homes are no longer on quiet streets like was the case a few decades ago. Often, occupants may find it hard to enjoy quiet peace due to noise from traffic and other outdoor sources. Properly fitted windows of high quality restrict noise penetration both into and out of the house. This enhances both indoor comfort and privacy. According to experts, double- and triple-glazed windows are the best at muffling noise.

Easy Maintenance

Cleaning windows is often a daunting exercise. With modern replacements, the difficulty is significantly reduced thanks to better designs and features. Some companies offer tilting models which make it possible to clean both sides of each window while indoors without having to use a ladder. Vinyl frames also eliminate the need for repainting or staining.

Replacement windows offer the chance to reduce energy bills, boost visual appeal and enhance indoor comfort. If one concludes that investing in them would be the right decision, they now have to choose the best options. When comparing different models, vital factors to take into account include the style, panes, frame material, grid options and ease of installation. The choice would boil down to the occupants’ needs and budgetary considerations. The whole process can be made easier by doing some research and seeking opinions from experts.