How to Prep for Hurricane Season
Hurricane season can be a nerve-wracking time for homeowners, especially if you live near the coast. Luckily, thanks to advanced warning from forecasters, you can take steps to prepare your home and minimize damage.
Here’s how you can keep your home — and family! — as safe as possible this hurricane season:
- Pay attention. Make sure you’re following the forecast and listening to recommendations, so you’ll have as much notice as possible if a hurricane is predicted to hit.
- Get your outdoor property ready. You may have furniture or plants that need to be brought into the garage or otherwise stabilized.
- Stock your storm kit. Gather a good supply of first-aid supplies, batteries, canned foods, bottled water, flashlights and anything else you might need if you lose power for a considerable amount of time.
- Check your foundation for cracks. This can help you avoid a potential flooding disaster.
- Secure your windows. Depending on where you live and your risk factors, this may mean boarding up your windows temporarily, or you may just need to take additional security measures.
- Check your doors. Your doors will need a tight seal to stay strong against high winds, so consider replacing for a better fit if your current doors have warped over time.
- Clean your gutters. Having leaves and other debris already built up in your gutters increases the chances of water backflowing into your house, so start with a clean slate.
- Buy surge protectors. They can help protect your electronics in the event of a power surge.
However you choose to prepare for hurricane season, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to assess the stability of your house and make your plans for in the event of an emergency. Develop a preparedness strategy and evacuation plan with your family early so you’ll be prepared no matter what happens.
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How to Do Home Reno on a Budget
Having a vision for your home is one thing…and having the budget for it is another. However, just because you can’t afford that complete kitchen redo right now doesn’t mean you can’t still make meaningful upgrades to satisfy your renovation urges while you save up.
Here are eight home renovation ideas you can do on a budget:
- Paint your kitchen cabinets. It might not be the full upgrade you were hoping for, but painting your kitchen cabinets is a great way to breathe new life into your kitchen without the big price tag.
- Change out a light fixture. Old light fixtures instantly date a room, but are easy and affordable to upgrade to a more modern look.
- Swap out hardware. From door handles to cabinet pulls, trade your old, worn knobs and hardware for something trendier.
- Wallpaper an accent wall. Once regarded as dated, wallpaper has made a huge come back in home décor trends — and, as a bonus, stick on wallpaper is super simple to apply.
- Upgrade your doors. Do you have scratched, dented or warped doors? Upgrading to new doors is an easy way to change the look of an entrance without breaking the bank.
- Change out your window treatments. While your window treatments are a small portion of your décor, changing them up can make a big difference to the look and feel of a room.
- Add board and batten or crown molding to a room. Both of these projects instantly add dimension to your walls and can be easily DIYed at an affordable price.
- Add built-in storage. Adding shelving or replacing a pedestal sink with a vanity is a great way to add beauty and function to a room in your home.
As a final reminder, renovations don’t have to be expensive or complicated to make a big difference in the visual appeal and livability of your home. Try one of the above budget updates and see how good it feels to renovate and save.
How Often Should You Change Your Air Filters?
For many homeowners, changing your air filters falls into the “out of sight, out of mind” category. However, making it a point to regularly change out your filters is important for both the air quality of your home and the efficiency of your HVAC system.
So, how often do you need to change your air filters? Unfortunately, there isn’t one fixed answer to this question thanks to several variables in play. Let’s break it down.
If you’re using fiberglass filters
This low-cost option is cheap for a reason — they just don’t last as long. While you’ll save money on the individual filters, you’ll need more of them to maintain air quality and avoid stressing your HVAC system. For most homes, this equates to changing your fiberglass filter every 30 days.
If you’re using pleated air filters
Pleated air filters tend to be made of higher quality materials and will last longer. Depending on the manufacturer and material, you might only have to change your air filters every six months of so — just make sure you check the product for guidelines.
You might need to change more often than recommended if…
Of course, there are other variables at play here to consider. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to change your air filter more frequently than recommended. For instance:
- If you have pets who shed
- If you have allergies or other respiratory conditions
- If your house is on the larger side and has more air circulating
- If you live in an area with high air pollution
While it might seem like a tedious chore, maintaining your air filters is the best way to maintain the air quality in your home and ensure your systems are running properly. In fact, regularly changing your air filters can even reduce your energy consumption, contributing to lower utility bills. Do yourself a favor: stock up on a year’s worth of air filters at a time and set a calendar reminder. You’ll be glad you did.
Looking for ways to improve the air quality of your home further?
How to Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
Conserving energy is important both for the health of the planet and the cost of your utility bill — but chances are, your home isn’t operating as efficiently as it could be. Even small changes can add up in big ways, so consider taking one (or all!) of these steps to increase the efficiency of your home.
Adjust the temperature when you aren’t home
If a “smart” thermostat isn’t in the budget, you can still get in the habit of raising or lowering the temperature (depending on the season) when you leave for the workday. That way, you won’t be running the air conditioner or the heat in an empty home unnecessarily.
Seal your windows in the winter
Either apply shrink film or add weather stripping around the frame to keep drafts from coming in through your windows.
Turn off the faucet while you brush your teeth, fill the sink to do dishes instead of constantly running the tap or consider installing lower flow shower heads.
Upgrade your exterior doors
Over time, your door may have warped. If it no longer fits the doorframe properly, it’s time to upgrade to a new door that will better insulate your home.
Replace your lightbulbs
Switch all of your incandescent lightbulbs to energy efficient bulbs like Halogen or LEDs, which will last longer and conserve energy.
These five changes might seem insignificant, but combined, they can make a big difference. Take steps toward a more efficient home today.
Is It Time to Replace Your Doors?
You use the doors in your home every single day — and between all the opening and closing, they go through a lot. It’s understandable that, over time, doors wear out and need to be replaced. But how do you know when it’s time?
Here are a few indicators that a replacement door is in the best interest of your home:
You feel a draft
Replacing the seal on your exterior doors is a temporary fix — eventually you’ll need a fresh start to protect the insulation of your home. Whether it’s cold air or hot air coming in, your door should be providing a stronger barrier between the inside of your home and the outdoors.
Opening and closing becomes difficult
If the shape of your door has warped in such a way that opening and closing it is now difficult, it’s time to make a change. The last thing you want is to be struggling to open or close a door in the middle of an emergency exit situation.
You lose the ability to lock
If the quality of your door becomes a safety issue, replacing is something you should do sooner rather than later. Particularly with exterior doors, locking securely and easily is essential.
You just don’t like it anymore
Sometimes you don’t need another reason to replace your doors than simply: I want to. Go with your gut and get the door you really want.
Find the door that suits your needs. Shop exterior doors today.
Pocket Doors: What You Need to Know
You know that room you’ve always wished you could close off with a door, but opening and closing one wouldn’t work with the available floor space? Well, that’s where pocket doors come in.
Aptly named, pocket doors are designed to slide into the doorframe or adjacent wall when fully open. Using rollers on an overhead track, these doors can slide out when needed and tuck away when not. This makes them the ultimate compromise: you can have an open concept flow when you want it or close off the room when you don’t — without losing any floor space.
If your home doesn’t currently have an option for a pocket door, that doesn’t mean you can’t add one in. While it does require some minor demolition, installing a pocket door is a relatively straightforward and inexpensive design upgrade. In order to decide if your doorway is a good candidate, ask these preliminary questions first:
- Is there enough room in the wall? A good wall for a pocket door will be twice the width of the door you want to install.
- Is the wall load bearing? While this doesn’t necessarily rule it out if so, it does further complicate the process.
- Does the wall contain wiring or plumbing? While wiring isn’t a deal breaker (but will require some rewiring), the presence of pipes makes your wall a poor candidate for a pocket door.
Now, with just a door, a pocket door hardware kit and either some DIY home repair experience or the help of a professional, you can have the space saver door option you’ve always wanted.