Category Archives: Home

Improving Your Home’s Value for Resale

home for sale sign

We are all aware that home sales for the last few years have been abysmal. The good news is that sales are picking up dramatically and homes are selling. The bad news is that the best homes are the ones that are going to sell first. Is that really bad news?

Take a Close Look

If you’re considering selling your home, take a good hard look at the house. Think about what you can do to make the house the appealing. Look at it from the eyes of your prospective buyer. What do you see? Is the carpet clean and pristine? Is the paint chipping? Are the gutters sagging? Does it look like somewhere that you’d like to live? You can fix that and it may not cost as much as you might think.

New Carpet and Paint?

One of the best ways to improve the value of your home is with new carpet and a fresh coat of paint. All of the staging crews in the world will tell you that quality carpet and a very clean interior are going to sell the house. New carpet and paint tells the buyer the home is well kept and  is going to provide solid value.

If want to make a great first impression and your carpets aren’t all that they should be, consider whether you should be having them professionally cleaned or whether it might be most cost effective to simply replace the ones that are most worn.

Replacing just one carpet in your home, specifically the living room carpet, can give the impression of a very well kept home. Most of us have entry way stains that may not be easily removed. Professionally cleaning the rug can have a good effect in some cases, but in others, replacing the carpet is going to be the best option.

The average living room carpet can cost between 400 and 800 dollars to replace. That same small expenditure can bring in an additional 4 or 5 thousand dollars when it comes to pricing your home.

The cost of most updates to your home, particularly carpet, will be well covered in the sale price. If you’re considering a home sale, making your home look its absolute best is the surest way to raise the market value of the home and to give it the kind of appeal that is going to sell the home rapidly.

5 Points to Consider When Cleaning Your Gutters

Gutters on home

Cleaning gutters is a big job and it’s no wondering many people neglect it year after year. Most of us dread this annual or semi-annual chore. It’s dirty, disgusting, hard work, not to mention dangerous. One wrong move and you could be spending the day in the emergency room – or worse. If you’re a homeowner it pays to know how to do this job as safely as possible. We developed a five point guide to cleaning your gutters safely and efficiently, the same way the professionals do.


The first point isn’t about the tools of the trade for cleaning gutters; it’s about what happens if you don’t clean them. In many cases they will rust out. Standing water leaves, and dirt in many types of gutters will cause rust holes. These will have to be repaired and eventually the whole gutter system will have to be replaced. Prevention goes a long way. Cleaning or, better yet, using aluminum or plastic gutters will prevent rust. A thin coat of zinc will also prevent rusting.


It should go without saying that your ladder should be sturdy. You’ll want to use a four legged ladder (three legged orchard ladders are definitely not a good choice), preferably aluminum or fiberglass. Wooden ladders tend to be less stable than these other options, although if the ground around your home is exceptionally flat, a wooden ladder might be OK.

For a single story home, a taller stepladder is an excellent choice. A strong, wide shelf is also a good thing to have, since you can use this for a bucket to hold the debris you’re cleaning out of your gutters.

Before you get up on any ladder, make sure that it’s stable, any fasteners are secure and the hinges are locked firmly in place. If necessary, place a piece of plywood underneath the ladder for added stability. Better still, have someone else there to hold the ladder and keep it stable. Keep three limbs on the ladder at all times so that you don’t lose your balance – forgetting this is what leads to the majority of gutter cleaning injuries.

close up of clean gutter

The Right Tools for the Job

Heavy duty work gloves help keep your hands clean while you’re dealing with all of the decaying leaves and other muck that ends up in your gutters. Gloves will also protect your hands from sharp edges, bee and wasp stings and anything else you might come across while cleaning out your gutters.

A scoop is also a good tool to have. You can find plastic gutter scoops at nearly any hardware store and they can save you a lot of time and trouble. They’re usually only a few dollars and would be a bargain at twice the price.  A garden trawl will also work in pinch.

gutter downspout

Check the Downspouts

Before you finish, use a hose to spray out the gutters and check to see if the water is draining properly through your downspouts. If not, you’ll need to clear whatever is clogging it. These clogs can usually be cleared by tapping on the side of the downspout and giving it another flushing out with the hose – repeat as necessary.

Avoiding Cleaning Your Gutters In The First Place

Cleaning out the gutters is a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, if you install a high quality gutter guard, you won’t need to clean them as much! A micromesh guard like Gutter Glove can protect your gutters by keeping out leaves, dirt and other debris, which means you may never have to face this dirty and dangerous job again.

Energy Saving Tips

The heating and cooling of your home takes more energy than any of the other systems. On the average, heating and cooling makes up just over 40 percent of your utility costs and uses the most home energy. In addition to the costs, in the United States alone, heating and cooling systems emit around 150 million tons of CO2 (carbon dioxide) into our atmosphere every year. They also generate sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides which are both chief components of acid rain. Making your home more energy efficient will not only save money spent on utility bills, it will reduce the amount of these emissions, which will help the environment.

One of the best ways to save money on heating and cooling is to make sure that your home is well insulated. Weather proofing windows and door will help to a certain extent, but if the heat is being lost through uninsulated walls it won’t make much of a difference in the overall picture. Older homes are most at risk unless you’ve added insulation yourself. Most of the homes built before 1980 are not properly insulated and should be inspected. Adding or replacing insulation will make your home easier to heat and cool so that your furnace or air conditioner doesn’t constantly run and you aren’t faced with sticker shock when it’s time to pay the utility bills. There are various types of insulation available today, from the traditional rolled insulation to that which is blown in through the walls. Having your home inspected to see which is best for your situation can save you a great deal of money in the long run.

On top of insulating your home and weather proofing problem areas, you should make sure that your heating and cooling system is running at maximum efficiency. This means replacing filters monthly (or as needed) and having them inspected and serviced yearly. Also make sure that floor vents are cleaned regularly and kept free of obstructions in order to allow your system the proper amount of airflow to operate at peak performance. If your system is older, you may want to consider replacing it with a newer, more energy efficient model. Many improvements that reduce home energy use, such as insulating, replacing doors and windows, and replacing heating and cooling systems with newer models, not only save energy and money, but are tax deductible as well.

These are simply ideas for saving energy, there are many more ways to save on home energy costs and some or as simple as keeping your thermostat as low as your are comfortable with in winter and just high enough to be comfortable in summer. While you shouldn’t have to walk around the house in a parka during winter or swelter during the hotter months, wearing a sweater or running a fan in the house is a small inconvenience when you thing of the energy that you’ll save.

HVAC Maintenance

air conditioner

air conditioner

HVAC systems can operate 24/7 and that means they need routine maintenance. It is critical to ensure that you are doing regular HVAC maintenance, since every part of the air conditioner and heater needs to be maintained in order to be efficient and to save you money.

Air Filters & Indoor Coil
The system needs to remain clean, in order to maintain proper air flow and to reduce the risk of mold building in the AC unit. When dirt becomes packed in the area, it could become clogged and that means it will need to work harder to cool off the house, increasing the cost of cooling each day that it runs.

Condenser Coils
Usually found on the outside of a building, this is where the transfer of heat will take place. Here, the pressure of the refrigerant is kept low and the compressor is then protected in this area. That ensures that the air conditioner unit runs more effectively and with greater efficiency. As the coil does become exposed, you do need to do routine cleaning.

Unit Lubrication
All the moving parts in the air conditioner should be properly lubricated. A trained HVAC system technician will know which of the parts need to be lubricated and how to handle this, even between regular maintenance schedules.

Electrical Connections
As they age, electrical connections can loosen and this can cause heat to build up. Often, this will lead to the failure of a unit. If this is going to happen, ti will occur during the hottest part of the summer, or the coldest point of winter. It is important to ensure that the electrical connections in the system are looked over and tightened as part of your routine maintenance.

Your heating and cooling pump system require refrigerant to operate properly. It is critical to ensure that you maintain the right levels of coolant within the system. Having too little can cause damage to the compressor. Having too much can actually cause just as much damage.

Every part of your heating and cooling system needs a quick once over each year. Our company can help you to ensure that your system continues to operate at peak performance. Take a moment to call use today before the winter is upon us again.

Termite Control – The Organic Way

Guest post from Sam Tidwell.

The infestation of termites, in American homes, is a real and serious matter. According to the US Forest Service, the heaviest regions for termite burrowing occurs in the lower southeastern part of the country, and in the state of California. This does not mean that the remaining regions are free from termite damage, only more moderate, in vulnerability. It is estimated that each year, over $5 billion is spent in the damage and prevention of these eusocial insects.

Understanding What Termites Need for Survival

The termite has recently been reclassified as part of the cockroach family. This fact alone, could help scientists further their studies in the way that these insects survive and breed. Termites need moisture in order to sustain life. Thought of to be a natural born insect of Africa and Australia, termites have adapted well in the United States by locating sources of cellulose. Today’s cellulose is a popular by-product of wood building materials, paper and glue. When they smell the organic aroma of cellulose in the frame of a house, it is attracts them like bees to honey.

Natural Products that Halt the Spread of Termites

Because termites are attracted to the properties of wood, it can seem an impossible task to prevent the infestation of these insects. However, there are proven methods to use, without applying poisonous chemicals.

Place a border around the perimeter of a foundation, using sheet metal. This idea is simple and can safeguard your foundation against any type of insect that uses burrowing as a method of entry. However, if there is the smallest gap or crack, termites will find it.

Cardboard can be used as bait around the exterior of your home. Since cellulose is used in the production of cardboard, the termites will stop and set up house on the cardboard, instead of continuing on to the home’s wood supply. The trick behind this method, though, is to keep the cardboard from drying out. Once the cardboard becomes dry, these insects will move on to another source of food.

Boric Acid has been found to be a good deterrent for protecting wood. The application of Boric acid on wood, helps to destroy dry and wet rot. It further has a poisonous effect on termites, roaches and ants, when ingested. This method is best used before building a home to insure that all wood fiber has been successfully treated.

The most popular, and beneficial, organic method of stopping termites, is with orange oil. Orange oil is a byproduct of orange peel and contains an active ingredient called D-Limonene. When wood is injected with orange oil, termites can no longer feed on the wood’s moisture supply. By ingesting the orange oil, termites die from the drying up of cell membranes. Without water and a source of nutrition, the colony is soon eliminated. The residue left by orange oil acts as a warning to any new termites searching for a home.

The study of orange oil is ongoing as an effective natural treatment against termites. Together, with the research of further understanding the life habits of termites, orange oil is emerging as the number one deterrent in organic termite treatment. It has been discovered that a colony of termites can be burrowed in new wood, and remain undetected, for up to 5 years. Using a method that guarantees the extermination of termites in wood, from the inside out, has given new hope to the extensive termite problem. Many termite and pest management companies now carry orange oil as an alternative method for treating homes. Ask your pest specialist about organic products available. Chances are, orange oil will be among the options.

This site does not endorse orange oil treatment as we don’t have enough information. There have been both many positive and negative reviews on the product. Most negative reviews are about the need for multiple applications.