Friday, December 9, 2022

How to Make Your Home Safe for Senior Living

As there are a growing number of aged adults living independently, it’s ever important to be aware of the risks of daily living accidents such as falls and fire hazards and how to eliminate these to keep ourselves and loved ones safe. Whether a quick fix or a small renovation, the following are commonly recommended adjustments to help avoid potential risks.

Minimize trips and falls

Remove a loose rug or secure it with double-sided tape or a rug pad. For carpet tears, mend with carpet glue or staples. If you have a flight of stairs, use textured no-slip strips and ascertain that handrails are secure. Another consideration is a chair lift. For the bathroom, a rubber mat in the tub prevents slippage. Also, you can browse your local medical supply store for grab bars to install near the shower, bathtub, and toilet. You may also look for a toilet seat riser to ease getting up. Place electrical cords away from high traffic areas.

Remove obstacles

Clear the pathway of any chairs, appliances, bags, or boxes that can impede the walkway and cause someone to lose their footing. Add low-level shelving to store extra items that are lying around.

Secure, adjust, or replace faulty furniture

Fix or trade chairs with wobbly limbs for those with sturdy legs and arms. Ensure chairs and bedding are at a comfortable height to sit and rise from. Adjust the headboard or replace the mattress if it’s too high or low.

Improve lighting

Darkness in the home during the night is an accident waiting to happen while making one’s way to the bathroom. Nightlights, motion sensor lighting, or the clapper are helpful aids to increase visibility rather than risking a stumble. LED bulbs versus high bulb wattage are safer and save on energy.

Keep activities and large items on one level

Reduce the need to visit the basement or consider purchasing a ranch where you can access laundry, storage, and other items on the main floor. Create easy access to heavy objects, such as hanging pots and pans on the wall, to avoid heavy lifting.

Practice fire and burn prevention

Control temperatures by monitoring thermostats or installing lock-in switches to control furnace fires. Check that electrical cords are not frayed, and outlets aren’t overfilled to avoid shorts and overheating. Be careful of burns and scalding when near water or in the kitchen. The water-heater thermostat should be no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit and avoid wearing loose clothing while cooking on the stove. When using space heaters, ensure they are placed at least three feet away from furnishings.

Follow general safety and health measures

Everyone, including seniors, is vulnerable to smoke and toxic fumes. Change the smoke detector and carbon monoxide batteries twice per year and add a fire extinguisher to the kitchen and on each floor of the home. Keep a list of emergency numbers visible and handy. Hire a regular cleaning service and have the pharmacy attach large print labels to medication bottles. You don’t want to risk the possibility that seniors with mobility, hearing, and visual limitations, accidentally overmedicate or mix the wrong cleaning chemicals.

In addition, obtain a medical alert system for those prone to falls. If they don’t want to wear a device, they should always have a cordless phone handy. Finally, invest in a smart home security system to protect against home invasion if you can afford it.

As we and our loved ones age, we become increasingly vulnerable to accidents, crime, and health emergencies. Tragedies can cost us dearly if we don’t take the time to ensure our homes are safe. It’s just a matter of taking a few extra precautions and, if needed, investing in the necessary changes to provide the priceless protection and peace of mind that we all deserve.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

12 Tips to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

Now that the winter months are upon us, do you once again dread another season of sky-high heating and electric bills? Although you may blame this on inflation and other factors that are out of your control, as a homeowner, you have control over how efficiently your home uses energy. To use power more efficiently to save yourself a bundle on your bills, you must be aware of your level of energy consumption. You have to examine your habits and the function of your appliances to figure out where and why the loss is happening. Whether you do it yourself, seek professional help, or a little of both, the following tips can significantly reduce your energy costs while making your home more comfortable and environmentally friendly.

Hire a professional to audit your energy consumption. This will enable you to understand your appliance usage and determine where the loss occurs.

Conserve Lighting. Turn off lights in rooms that are not in use. Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs, and use a dimmer switch or motion sensors.

Reduce temperature setting. Lowering your thermostat even by one degree can make a difference. Experts recommend 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Control your heat use in each of your rooms with a programmable thermostat. If still drafty, hang drapes and blinds to retain heat. Use cold water for laundering whenever possible.

Disconnect appliances not in use. Power, although at a lower level, still surges; thus, energy is still in use. Use a power strip that is easier to turn off when not in use. Unplug items not constantly in use, such as toasters, blenders, and blow dryers.

Avoid overcharging your electronic devices. When your phone is 100% charged yet still connected to the charger, the electricity is still running.

Keep appliances clean for better usage. Getting rid of dirt, dust, and grime can help them operate more effectively. Periodically update your refrigerator, microwave, and other equipment as needed.

Weather-proof your windows and doors. Check weather strips and sealing to prevent heat escape. Install storm doors for your front and back. Glass prevents thermal loss.

Use good insulation. It is especially important to use quality materials for your roof and heating ducts. Also, proper insulation of an attached garage will help keep heat from escaping. Air seal any cracks, gaps, and leaks. Provide extra insulation in older homes.

Pay attention to above and below you. Ceiling fans can ensure better air circulation in summer and winter, so that heat and cool air are evenly distributed. Providing suitable floorings, such as vinyl or carpeting, can help reduce heat loss.

Use energy-saving and low-usage technology and equipment. Use energy-saving modes when running your washing machine, dishwasher, and dryer. Turn off the heated dry setting on your dishwasher. Install low-water usage taps and showerheads. The less water you consume, the less energy you heat it. It’s also good practice to only run full loads, so you are not wasteful.

Look for alternatives to heat water. Solar or geothermal water heaters are the most economical.

Service your heating system. All systems accrue wear and tear with daily usage. Periodic servicing can keep them running efficiently. Clean and replace all filters.

Cut your energy costs and live more comfortably by taking some time to incorporate these adjustments. By carefully maintaining your household appliances, cutting waste, and consistently practicing conservative habits, you will see your energy usage and dollars well spent. You may have to incur some expenses to get there, but you will make your home more energy efficient in the long run.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Top Tips to Save Money When Moving

Moving can be an expensive ordeal. Costs can add up fast and cause stress when money gets tight. Start preparing early. Before you begin, make a moving checklist that you can follow and adjust as needed while planning your move. Learn to move more affordably with some of these budget-conscious guidelines, even if you are going a distance.

Declutter

Make it a family project, or get friends to help you sort through small and big items. Decide what to discard, donate, or sell. Garage sales, online apps, and social media are some avenues to merchandise your unwanted wares. Otherwise, you can arrange for pick up or take items to your township’s disposal system. You may also contact a charitable organization that can use your items.

Use Household Items as Packing Materials

Why buy expensive bubble wrap when you can use everyday items around the house? Old newspapers, kitchen towels, socks, blankets, or suitcases can protect your fragile items without any cost. Save boxes by breaking them down and then retaping them when ready to pack for the move.

Measure Furniture

Make sure you know the dimensions of large items before you move so that you know what you can carry with you and what you can’t take. That may save you money with a mover and any hassles of not being able to get a couch or other item through the front door of your new home.

Don’t Overspend

There is a tendency to want to spend money to decorate your new abode before settling in. Buy only the articles you need, so you have less to move. Once you get there, shop for cable and satellite provider deals.

Check on Tax Deductible Expenses and Reimbursement

Your moving expenses may be deductible if you’re in the military. If moving out of state for a job, ask your company if they will pay for moving costs or if they offer compensation for relocation.

Moving Service vs. DIY

If you are going a distance, have much to move, or your belongings are heavy and valuable, you’ll probably want to pay a professional mover. However, if you can save money by having capable friends help with the transport, that would be a better choice.

Avoid Moving During a Peak Season

Movers generally cost more and can get quickly booked up in the warmer months. It’s easier to schedule a mover during the off-season and the week.

Pack a Necessities Box

Pack a box of commonly used items you need quickly or in an emergency to avoid buying them again in case you don’t have easy access to a packed away box.

Reviews and Compare Costs of Movers

Ask for a fixed rate, so you are not charged per hour in case the duration of the move is lengthy. Understand how a mover charges and avoid extra fees if possible. Don’t hire overly cheap services lest you get what you pay for.

Buying a home and all the transactional costs that go along with it is a huge financial investment. If you can curtail your moving expenses, that will allow your wallet some relief. It may also allow you some wiggle room in your budget to invest in new furnishings and d├ęcor for your new residence. In preparing for a move, always take the time to plan by lightening your load, being practical, and thinking economically without sacrificing the quality of your moving services. These tips should help you do just that.

 

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Economical Upgrades to Increase Your Home’s Value

Whether you are looking to move now or may consider it in the future, there are many affordable options for making significant changes to your home without having to do a major renovation. With low-cost purchases of supplies, DIY instructions or professional guidance, and time set aside, you can make improvements that will increase your home’s resale value, save you money on energy costs, and improve your quality of living. When considering improvements, consider what needs attention first, such as protection from the elements, mold removal, mobility safety, and energy efficiency. Once those are addressed, you should pay attention to enhancing the appearance to attract future buyers. Such consideration should include space, lighting, curb appeal, and interior decorum. The following upgrades can transform your home into a more comfortable and stylish environment without stretching your wallet.

Start simple with cleaning, painting, and other resurfacing

Always begin with sparkling up the floors, walls, fixtures, and cabinetry which you can easily do with minimal expense. Sanding and repainting, wallpaper, and retiling can give a new look to what has grown old and drabby. Also, replace old appliances and countertops when you can find items on sale. Another way to eliminate eyesores is to hide them with a photo or painting. You can also cheaply replace old handles, knobs, locks, and outlet plates with a newer style to create a unique look. If preferred, you can paint over these fixtures and tile and tubs. It’s important, though, to match the colors and style of your room, furniture, and appliances. Consult a professional to recoat ceramic, porcelain, or fiberglass.

Give the illusion of space, and don’t waste what you have

Do you have an unused room? Why not turn it into a functioning space, such as a comfortable den or extra bedroom? You can add new furniture, rugs, pillows, a TV, or a free-standing wardrobe closet. Add mirrors to a small area to make it appear more spacious. Install visible storage, such as floating shelves, to allow others to see the capacity. Rid your home of bulky furnishings to free up space.

Refurbishment instead of replacement

Re-stain or refinish old wood on decks, doors, and furniture. Update your windows by adding molding or painting the frames inside to make them appear bigger and more modern. If you need to replace, buy energy-efficient windows; vinyl ones are recommended. You can also add interior shutters for style and privacy.

Upgrade the lighting

You can improve the ambiance of a room with a different light fixture, such as a new dining room chandelier or a vintage lantern, to give a rustic charm to your entryway. Consider investing between $1000-$3000 to install a sliding glass door to bring in more natural lighting. In addition, choose neutral paint colors for a softer environment pleasing to the average eye.

Improve curb appeal

Although they shouldn’t, people will judge a book by its cover. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, and that includes your home. You may only need to paint your front door and add a few plants or plant shrubs and perennials to populate a barren area. You’re not only beautifying your property but benefiting the environment. In addition, pay attention to the exterior material of your house. Worn siding and peeling shingles will immediately turn potential buyers off. You can remove dirt and stains by power washing, but if you need to replace siding, fiber-cement is recommended for its affordability and resistance to fire, rotting, and termites.

Compared to more extensive remodeling, these small home improvements are a more affordable and less laborious approach to giving your home the facelift it needs to be saleable. In addition, these upgrades allow you to enjoy the time you have in your home with the added comforts and conveniences they provide.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Home Renovation on a Budget — You Got This!

Are you tired of looking at the drabby paint on your walls, the outdated cabinets, worn furniture, and stained carpets? Your home is overdue to be remodeled, which is on your wish list. However, you are afraid of what the cost might be. Unless you want a major overhaul, you can still spruce up your home and improve its appearance and functionality without going broke. The following are some budget-friendly ideas for renovating different rooms of your home.

Refurbish, Reupholster, and Refinish

You can minimize the cost with these suggestions — whether you want to change cabinets, furniture, flooring, or curtains. For cabinets in fairly good condition, you can opt to repaint, reface with a contemporary style, or add new doors. For furniture and curtains, trade the worn-out, faded material on your couches and chairs with a different texture and color. You can save additional money by using the same curtain rods and rings and finding fabric you can sew yourself. Refinish or recoat hardwood floors without replacing them. There are peel-and-stick flooring options that you can apply over the existing surface. The old carpeting can be removed to reveal useable hardware flooring you can restore cheaply.

Renew Kitchen Surfaces and Appliances

Usually, the messiest and grimiest area is where you cook and eat. Periodically you will need to replace appliances and refresh the overall appearance. There are many materials available to fit your budget. For essentials like refrigerators, stoves, and dishwashers, it’s possible to replace them inexpensively with package offers or discounts on multiple purchases. You can also learn how to install an appliance to save an extra $100 to $500. If your oven is new or still in good condition, all you may need is to add a new backsplash. You may also want to consider new countertops since they are one of the most worked surfaces. Check on deals with your local store and tile companies.

Create More Open Space Without Increasing the Size

Increase efficiency without knocking out a wall to expand your home. You can replace bulky cabinetry and large shelves with vertical cabinets with pull-out drawers wide enough to store racks for pantry items. Need a kitchen island to prep meals? You can use a simple stand-alone table and add wheels for easy moveability.

Declutter, Add Color, Style, and Lighting

Improve the livability of smaller rooms, such as your bathroom, by adding a storage closet, vanity, or medicine cabinet. Peel and stick wallpaper can save time and labor if you’re not ready to paint. Add new hardware to give your room more of a modern flair, such as updating knobs and drawer handles. Save on cost by finding recycled fixtures. Brighten a windowless room with a light tube that funnels in natural light. Add wainscoting trim to dull walls and ceilings to add texture and detail.

A simple, cost-effective renovation can breathe new life into your living space and bring you a renewed sense of accomplishment without financial hardship. From your biggest, most lived-in rooms to your tucked-away areas, there is always an affordable solution to get your home in tip-top shape again.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Make Sure Your Home Is Ready for Winter

If you do not live in a warm, tropical climate, the fall months are the best time to get your home ready for freezing temperatures, snowstorms, and icy conditions that lie ahead in the wintertime. Without the proper care and adherence to a maintenance routine, your living space and appliances are prone to damage that can lead to considerable costs for repair and high energy bills.

Protect your home and property by reserving some autumn weekends to check the interior and exterior space for proper drainage, protection from winds, and insulation from the cold. You also want to ascertain that all your heating appliances are in tip-top shape. Here is a checklist to help you get through your maintenance schedule in time for the onset of old man winter.

INSULATE PIPES. Pipes that run along unheated areas can freeze and burst when temperatures drop to 32F and below. Protect them with foam or blown-in insulation you can purchase at a hardware store.

CLEAN OUT GUTTERS. Avoid clogs that can damage your shingles or roof. Use a strong ladder or get a handyman to help. Use work gloves to scoop out leaves and other debris that can block proper drainage. You can also purchase gutters with leaf guards to keep maintenance minimal.

DRAIN SPRINKLERS, UNHOOK HOSING, AND TURN OFF EXTERIOR FAUCETS. Like pipes, these can expand and crack when frozen. Remove any residual water or get help from a contractor who can blow out the water with compressed air.

INSTALL INSULATION. Block drafts by stripping around windows and door frames. Silicone caulk is best for exterior use because it is impervious to the elements. For baseboards, use paintable caulking.

GET YOUR FURNACE CHECKED. Hire an HVAC Contractor to inspect all parts and replace the filter with one that will easily trap particles. Ensure it is operating efficiently and that there is no carbon monoxide leakage.

FIREPLACE CLEANING AND INSPECTION. Gas fireplaces should be inspected every three years. However, wood-burning fireplaces require annual cleaning by a certified Chimney Sweep to prevent the ignition of soot build-up.

TEST YOUR SUMP PUMP. Slowly pour several gallons of water to check that it will turn one, especially during a previous dry season or before rainfall.

INSPECT YOUR ROOF. Check for damaged, loose, or missing shingles that could cause a leak from melting snow and storms. Hire a handyman for small repairs or a roofer for larger sections.

PREPARE FOR SNOW AND POWER OUTAGES. Be ready for an emergency and proper snow clearance. Restock rock salt and check that your snow removal tools are operational and in good condition. Have a generator handy in case you need a backup of power.

MAINTAIN OUTDOOR PLANTS AND TREES. Trim dead branches that could fall and cause major damage. Add mulch to insulate plant roots from low temperatures. Cut back perennials to eliminate harmful insects that may hibernate and resurface to impede spring growth.

Fall is fun for pumpkin carving, farm festivals, and comfortable, cool-weather hikes. Set some time to enjoy activities and appreciate nature. However, don’t put off the tasks needed to prepare and protect your greatest asset, your home. The fall months fly by, and before you know it, you are faced with the unforgiving harshness of mother nature. Be ready and armed with that first snowflake, a gust of wind, and a dangling icicle until you can let your guard down again in the spring.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Signs That You May Need a New Roof

We often take the roof above our heads for granted because we know it will protect us from the outside elements. Ultimately, we face the harsh reality that it will eventually age and need to be replaced. A worn and damaged roof can cause significant interior and exterior damage to your home if left unattended. Some roofs last longer than others, but with time, weather patterns, and unexpected circumstances, eventually, it will be time to replace this major protectant. Knowing the early signs or what to look for is the first step in determining whether it’s time to replace your roof. Accordingly, you will be able to minimize repair costs, injury, or property damage by noting the indicators, then taking action.

The following are some major signs that you may need to fix or replace your roof.

Leaks

Water leaking from the ceiling or light coming through the top of the house or your attic is one of the most obvious signs of roof decay or damage. If you don’t yet detect a leak, it will eventually make itself known through water stains, peeling paint, disintegrated insulation, or mold growth. If unsure, check for weakened seals around vents that could also lead to seepage, or you can test for leakage during dry weather by spraying the roof with water from a garden hose.

Damage to Shingles, Flashing, and Gutter Guards

Shingles in decent shape will lie flat against the roof. If patches are cracked, buckling, curled, sparse, or missing, this could be a sign that your roof is at the end of its durable life. Some other signs could be that you spot grit or fragments in your gutters and downspouts or the roof surface sagging from trapped moisture. Moss can also indicate trapped moisture, which can ruin the roof. You can carefully remove moss with a stiff brush, but addressing any underlying problems is important.

Roof Age

Check records to see how old your roof is and if it’s time to be replaced. A typical asphalt roof lasts between 20 and 25 years, while metal and slate last much longer. If the top is younger than 15 or 20 years and there are only a few damaged shingles, it may only need repair. When in doubt, consult with a licensed roofing contractor. Another good indicator is that your neighbors with similarly aged homes as yours may be having their roofs replaced around the same time. That may tell you it’s time to replace yours.

High Heating Bills

If you’ve seen a steady increase in your bills every winter, this could indicate a poorly insulated roof. Once a roof begins to deteriorate with age, so does the home’s energy efficiency.

If you are good and attentive with inspecting your home for these telltale signs, this saves you time and frustration with guesswork. However, if you are unsure whether your roof needs a simple repair or major replacement, have a roof specialist provide a thorough inspection. If you need a replacement or even a patchwork repair, a professional can guide you by explaining all the options regarding durability, style, and cost.