Renovating your home can completely transform it, making it a comfortable and beautiful space to live in. In this month’s blog, however, we are going to talk about renovating a property in order to sell it. Firstly, you should ask yourself if a renovation is worth the money and effort. Very often, the money you spend renovating the property does not increase its value that much so this is something you should think about before doing the work.
If you decide to go ahead with the work there are some things you should keep in mind. For example, when choosing new appliances, fittings, and fixtures, etc. do not just base your decisions on your personal taste. While you may like big, bold statements, this does not necessarily appeal to a large market so try to go with a more neutral palette.
Think about the neighborhood you live in when deciding what improvements to make to the home. Your homes value is largely dependent on its location, so it doesn’t always make financial sense to spend a lot of money on an expensive renovation.
Some homeowners may feel that adding a swimming pool on their property will increase its value and appeal. Be aware, though, that just as many people are put off by a backyard pool as they are attracted to one. This is because swimming pools require a lot of extra maintenance and families with small children may worry about the hazards associated with them.
So, if you want to increase the value of your home with a renovation, make wise decisions based on your location and what currently appeals to a potential buyer.
Traditional toilets use up a lot of water which may make a homeowner look for an option that is a little more friendly to the environment. One alternative that is becoming more popular these days is a pressure-assist toilet. How is it different from a standard type of toilet?
From the outside, you may not notice much difference between a pressure-assist toilet and a traditional kind. When you look inside the ceramic tank, however, they are very different. The pressure assist toilet has an air-filled pressure container that forces compressed air to push water into the toilet bowl when it is flushed at a very powerful rate. This results in far fewer clogs in the system, due to the power of the flush. It also uses a lot less water than a standard gravity toilet does, making it less harsh environmentally.
Can pressure-assist toilets be installed in older homes? Although they are often used in new construction, pressure-assist toilets can also be installed in older homes and there are some benefits to doing so. For example, due to the age of the pipework waste often becomes trapped in the system and a gravity toilet alone cannot unclog it. The force of the flush in a pressure-assist toilet helps push the waste through a lot easier, preventing clogs. The tank's design also means that condensation does not build up.
Are there any disadvantages with a pressure-assist toilet? Although these types of toilets require less maintenance than a standard type, they do cost more. Many people are also put off by how loud the flush is. Another problem is that to work well, pressure-assist toilets need at least 20 to 30 PSI of pressure which may be an issue in homes that have low water pressure.
Mold is a big problem in many homes and apartments so it’s good to be aware of ways to quickly deal with it and prevent it from spreading. One area that mold can become a real health concern is if it is found in carpeting.
As we have often discussed, mold will flourish in warm, humid conditions. A carpet has the ability to provide the perfect environment for mold to grow and spread, especially if it is installed in rooms of the home which often see a higher level of humidity such as bathrooms and basements. In rooms like this, it may be better to avoid carpet altogether and select a different flooring type.
Another preventative step is to select quality carpeting and under carpet padding. If available, choose padding that contains antimicrobial elements to it.
We know that liquid spills are very common in every household. However, if some type of liquid or water is spilled on a carpet it's important to clear it up immediately, otherwise, this may provide the ideal conditions needed for mold to grow. If it is a big spill, you will also want to make sure that the under-carpet padding and the floor underneath is cleaned well and completely dried out. If you have your carpets cleaned periodically you should also ensure that all layers of flooring are completely dried. If you can, try a dry-cleaning method instead.
Carpeting can make a house feel warm and cozy but take care to maintain it well to prevent mold from becoming a problem in your home.
A burglar will look for a home that they can break into easily and without being seen so if you want to deter a would-be intruder you need to make it as difficult as possible for them. How can you do this?
One way is by designing your properties landscaping in such a way that an intruder would not enter your home unnoticed. For example, you would want to keep the windows and entrance of the home clear of trees or shrubs as they could provide a good cover for someone attempting to break in without being seen. Putting fencing around the property can be a way to discourage a burglar but it's important that it won't also act as a shield to hide behind.
Another easy entry point for a burglar is sliding glass doors. Secure them by fitting locks to both the top and bottom of the doors. You can also place a piece of wood such as a cut off broom handle in the tracks of the door which will stop the ability to open them.
The home's outer doors should be solid and fitted with a quality deadbolt. Windows also must have strong glass and sturdy construction. Both doors and windows should be in good condition and not showing signs of deterioration. If you are looking for additional window security you may want to install window bars or heavy-duty wire screens. Make sure, however, that the occupants of the home could easily exit the windows in an emergency.
Motion censored lighting is another effective deterrent for burglars. Place them on every side of the house. If you plan to be away for a time leave a few lights on in the house to give the impression that you are home.
None of us love the idea that there are thousands of tiny creatures living with us in our homes, but the fact is that dust mites are found in practically every house. Were you aware that dust mites can be so abundant that as many as 100,000 dust mites could be found in just one square yard of carpet? While this fact might make us cringe a little, the truth is that dust mites are not usually considered to be a big issue. For some people, however, dust mites do trigger allergies so, what can these allergy sufferers do to lessen their numbers?
Before trying any of the numerous detergents out there that claim to protect you from dust mites, you might want to try some non-chemical methods first. Many of the chemical detergents available today are not always as effective as they claim to be but, the following methods have been found to reduce dust mite numbers in the home.
Dust mites love to live in a warm and humid environment so if you want to lower their numbers, try to look for ways to reduce humidity levels. Air conditioners and electric blankets are known to be effective.
Bedding is one area where dust mites thrive. To get rid of them its best to wash your linens in hot water at a minimum of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Alternatively, you can place your bedding in a dryer for 10 minutes on a high temperature which will also kill them.
Dust your home before vacuuming it. Use a damp cloth for dusting as this will help to avoid the redistribution of dust onto another surface. If you can, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter which will help to stop dust going back into the air. As well as vacuuming floors and carpeting, be sure to include any other soft furnishings and textiles.
Homes, where allergy sufferers live, may find an air purifier beneficial. When shopping for air purifiers make sure you choose one with a HEPA filter. It should also be noted that while air purifiers help lower dust mite numbers, they will not get rid of them altogether since dust mites are not generally airborne.
A gym is a place that we generally associate with health and fitness, but sadly if a high standard of hygiene is not observed and maintained, it can quickly become one of the unhealthiest environments to be in. Although we now see a heightened observance of hygiene rules and regulations, what are some extra things you can do to stay safe while working out?
Even before the current virus outbreak there was a need for caution at the gym, this is because, in general, gyms generate a warm, high humidity environment, often in a space with little natural lighting. All of this creates an ideal location for bacteria to thrive. Did you know that one study found more bacteria on work out equipment than that usually found on a toilet seat? Of course, this is not the case in every gym, but it does highlight the need to take extra precautions.
We all know the importance of regularly washing our hands. Be sure to wash your hands both before and immediately after using gym equipment and avoid touching any part of your face.
It can also be a good idea to bring your own towels to the gym which should ensure that the only germs found on them are your own. Bring more than one towel with you so that you can wipe equipment down with one and have a different one for yourself.
Always wear some type of footwear, even in areas such as changing rooms, showers, and saunas, etc. Gym floors are places where many communicable health conditions are transmitted so be extra vigilant.
Yes, it's important to take every precaution while at the gym to ensure, not just your own health, but the health of those around you.
Strategically placed lighting can make any space in a home warm and inviting. To do this, perhaps you automatically think of using electrical lighting, but, is it possible to incorporate daylight to brighten up the space? Because this is a method that uses natural light to brighten up a space, it also saves on energy costs. What are some of the methods used for incorporating daylighting in a home?
There are several ways that daylighting can be used to illuminate a dark area. One of the more commonly known methods is with the use of skylights. These can add a great deal of light to a dark space, just remember that if you do decide to install them, choose double-paned windows, and make sure the flashing is done properly.
Another method of incorporating natural light into a home is with light tubes. These tubes are coated with a highly reflective material designed to channel sunlight through them. They also have a lens that amplifies low-level light and reduces the sunlight’s intensity at midday. As daylight enters the home's interior space, it does so through a diffuser that evenly distributes this light.
Clerestory windows are yet another way to use natural light to your advantage. Positioned high on a wall, these short but wide windows allow sunlight to pour into a room during winter months, increasing light and heat but, at the same time, the roof overhang prevents too much sun during the summer.
If you are having a house built or renovating your present property, why not think about incorporating daylighting into the design and increase the home's energy efficiency at the same time?
Assessing fire risk in the home is an important part of keeping your household safe. One area that can become a potential fire risk is the laundry area, more specifically the dryer. Let us look at some of the ways a dryer should be maintained to keep it working safely and efficiently.
A dryer works by forcing hot air into a drum of wet clothing as it is gently tumbling. While this is happening, water vapor evaporates from the clothes. The water vapor then needs to leave the machine which it does through the attached dryer vent. Lint is another byproduct of the drying process and this also needs to exit the machine so that it does not start to accumulate.
The dryer will be at risk of fire if the water vapor is unable to exit the dryer which would cause it to overheat. If lint, which is highly flammable, cannot exit the machine it will also start to build up, creating a very great potential for fire.
What are some simple ways you can avoid a dryer fire? Always check that the dryer vent is attached to the machine and that there are no kinks or bends in it that would cause it to become blocked, and every time the dryer is used make sure the lint trap is empty and clear.
As we are now spending so much time at home, it’s a good idea to have a think about safety in the home.
One area that deserves consideration is tip-over hazards. Many accidents are caused by furniture tipping over so what are some ways to avoid this?
When you are looking for a piece of furniture to buy, it’s good to ask yourself whether it would tip over easily. This would be of particular concern in homes where there are small children. If you can, choose pieces that have a sturdy, wide base that would make them bottom heavy. To further stabilize the item, keep heavier items in lower drawers or bottom shelves.
One item high up on the list of tip-over dangers is the television. If your television sits on a unit, make sure it’s one that is low to the ground and keep the tv far back on it. Any attached electrical cables should be out of sight if possible.
If you purchase self-assembly furniture, make sure you follow all the attached instructions. This would also include using the straps or L brackets intended for fixing the item to a wall to prevent tip-over risks.
Lastly, store items that you don’t want a child to get hold of, not just out of their reach but out of their sight as well. This should prevent them from being tempted to climb up on the furniture to reach it.
Feeling safe and secure in your own home is a requirement for all of us. As homeowners will naturally then do everything we can to ensure this. While you may think about the different ways an intruder could enter the home, what about your exterior doors? Could they be an area you need to improve on security?
You may be surprised to learn that one of the methods an intruder could use to enter your home is with a bump key. This is a type of key that has been cut in a special way that enables it to be used in pin-tumbler locks. In case you’re wondering, a pin-tumbler lock is one of the most common types of lock in the world so you can see the need to be aware of it.
Unfortunately, bump keys can be rather easy to acquire. A person simply needs to know the manufacturer of the lock they wish to use the key for. Using a bump key is also pretty easy and takes little time or skill to master, another factor that appeals to would-be thieves.
Finding and installing a bump proof lock can be difficult and expensive but there are bump-resistant locks available and these are more commonly found so they may be a better option.
One of the best defenses for your home is to install an alternative type of a security system, designed to raise an alarm and alert you to any intruder trying to break in.
PARKER AND WEST ENGINEERING, PLLC.