Category: Home Improvement
Energy Efficient Landscape to Cool Your Home
When most people think of putting in landscaping, they probably think more in terms of how it can make a home cooler over the summer, which is what I discussed in an earlier post. But people probably don’t think quite as much about how to strategically design landscaping to stay warmer during the winter to reduce energy costs and lower your electricity bills.
As residents of cold regions know all too well, wind chill can not only drop the temperature outside your home, but can also blow in through the cracks outside your home and drive up heating costs substantially.
So the name of the game with winter weather landscaping is to use it as a windbreak. If properly designed and implemented during the summer months, landscaping can help reduce and redirect wind and modify the micro-climate in the sheltered area.
Proper landscaping windbreak design needs to take several factors into consideration:
Windbreak height. This is probably the most important factor for determining the size of your sheltered area. Depending on the density of your windbreak (more on that shortly), wind speed can be reduced on the windward side by a distance of two to five times the height of the windbreak. But it’s the leeward (downwind) side that you really care about, and that’s where the most dramatic impact can be seen: wind speed can be reduced by a distance of up to 30 times the height. For the sake of comparison, a 10-foot windbreak can reduce winds on the leeward side by 250 feet or more.
Windbreak density. This plays a major factor in determining the amount of wind speed reduction. Obviously a low-density windbreak doesn’t do as much to reduce wind speed, but a high-density windbreak isn’t necessarily helpful either: the low pressure that results on the leeward side pulls air coming over the windbreak downward, which raises turbulence and reduces downwind protection.
Location and construction. Depending on the location of your home and surrounding structures or topography, you will need to put together the right combination of trees and shrubs in the right places to achieve an optimal windbreak. One or more rows of trees and shrubs with low crowns (leaves and branches) to block wind close to the ground
Plant low shrubs on the windward side of a windbreak to block snow from blowing next to the home.
Those are the tips for utilizing landscaping as a windbreak for cold weather. However, sharp-eyed readers will recognize a conundrum: What if you need landscaping to lower your temperatures over the summer and help keep back the cold during the winter? Obviously there’s no easy answer here, since every home is a bit different. However, consider the following:
Plant deciduous trees, which shed their leaves during the winter. Depending on the type of tree, you should have a good thick canopy for summertime shade, and when it loses its leaves during the winter, enough sunlight should come through to help heat things up over the winter.
Combine trees with fences where possible. Trees combined with a fence or wall can help deflect wind over the tops of homes during the winter. Depending on its location, it can still help provide some shade during the summer.
Plant bushes and shrubs close to your house. This offers the best of both: as detailed in the previous post, it will help keep the ground cooler during the summer, and can help block wind and snow during the winter. (The same goes for crawling vines over a latticework or trellis outside a wall.
Again, there is no straightforward answer, since every situation is different. And of course, there are plenty of other variables to consider, such as cost, aesthetics and effort involved in planting, among others. Besides, if you’re looking to reduce your electricity costs, there are other projects you can consider, such as installing sunshades. But if you’re already looking to do some landscaping on your house, proper design and application can both make your home prettier and more comfortable in all seasons.
Finance Website For Pre-Approved Home Loans
Somebody once said, “There is always a way of knowing your limitations and going beyond it.” It is fundamentally true with respect of credit score. There can be nothing more rewarding during loan borrowing than knowing your credit score. There are many people who are practically unaware of what their credit score is; in fact they don’t even know what it means. This credit scoring system has been used since many years to decide whether a borrower is a credit risk or not. Your credit score is immensely decisive in the acceptance and rejection of your loan application.
What is a credit score?
Credit score is a statistical method to assess the credit worthiness of a prospective borrower. Credit score has all the in depth information about your credit experiences. All information about bill paying history, the accounts you have, and the age of these accounts, late payments, outstanding debts. A statistical method is used to compare credit profiles with borrowers with similar profile. Points are awarded for every factor that promises debt repayment. The total number of points tell how likely it is that you will pay the debt when the payments are due. These points are your credit score which is a three digit number.
Understanding a credit score leads you to the question of how do you get a credit score. Every time you have borrowed credit or used it, you get a score which exhibits how you have managed that credit in the past. The loan lenders rely on a credit scoring system which gives grades. Grades A to D are provided to scores which range from 500 to 620 or above in figures. If your credit grading is either C or D or your credit score ranges from 500 to 535, you are heading in for bad credit loans.
If you have suffered from any previous delayed payments or charge offs – the chances are that your credit report would have its account well embedded in it. Many loan lending companies and banks are wary of people with bad credit score. However, more and more loan lenders have overcome their inhibitions and are offering loans for bad credit score.
Don’t worry, if one day you find that your credit score is bad. Today one-third of the people applying for loans have some kind of credit imperfection in their credit report. Bad credit score is so easy to catch that people get blemished credit score for a reason like not having a permanent residence. Credit score has received new threats like unpaid parking ticket, an ignored traffic fine or even a forgotten library book. This definitely effects the credit reliability of an otherwise good borrower, but it also effects creditor for he might be rejecting a trustworthy borrower.
Credit report is integral to credit score. Submit accurate credit report with your loan application. You can get copies of your credit score through any of the three major credit reporting agencies.
There will general information like your current and previous addresses, your date of birth, telephone numbers, driver’s license numbers, your employer and your spouse’s name. Credit history will have information about your personal accounts. The public records account is better off blank, for a public record implies you have had a problem. It records financial data like bankruptcy, county court judgments, charge offs, defaults. The last section called inquiries includes a list of everyone who has asked for your credit report.
Now, if you have a bad credit score there are way to overcome this situation. The first basic way to start is paying your bills on time. You can ask your lender to move your payment date if you can’t pay on time. Closing accounts won’t help your credit score. However, closing unused accounts would be beneficial because they are seen by creditors as credit risks. Don’t stretch beyond your credit limit; rather try to keep the balance at 50% of the credit limit.
Credit score requires continuous hard work. With bad credit score it is never too late to start. And with a good credit score you have to give in a lot of hard work. Being educated about your credit score is like a boon. Having a good credit score strengthens your position and you can ask for better rates which is your right. Any information is good information. Therefore, knowing your credit score, would lead to where you should go – towards the right loan.
Pre-approved home loans are the way to go now days. Pre-approved home loans mean that no longer do home buyers have to spend hundreds of hours searching for the perfect home only to be turned down by the lending institution. With a pre-approved home loan or pre-qualification letter, a buyer is in an immediately better bargaining position in regards to the seller.
Consumer Finance Service, LLC – offers unsecured personal loans, debt consolidation loans, secured and unsecured business loans.
Sellers are much more interested in showing their homes and negotiating with someone/s who already have a pre-approved home loan. This is because heartbreak works both ways. No longer do seller have to spend hours cleaning and straightening and making arrangements with their real estate agent for showing their home, only to find that the buyer does not have a pre-approved home loan and has been denied a loan by their lenders. In fact, now many sellers will only show their homes to those with pre-approved home loans under their belts. Sellers regard this group as serious buyers rather than weekend lookers.
Both buyers and sellers need to know the difference between pre-qualification and pre-approval. Pre-qualification is an informal agreement between you and your lender. The bank gives their opinion on how much they think they will be able to lend to you based on information that you have provided to them. Your lender will not do any background checks at this point. It relies solely on you portraying an accurate picture of your financial circumstances. Because this is more like a friendly handshake, the lender can decide not to give you the loan if they find out later that you have been less than candid with them.
Pre-approval is for the serious-minded. With a pre-approved home loan, the lender will actually check credit history, employment information, assets and liabilities. The only thing the lender won’t check is the property that you plan to buy. This is because you’re still looking for it. For those who are concerned that they might not qualify for a mortgage, it is highly recommended that they go for pre-approval. A pre-approved home loan takes much of the worry out of looking and keeps one focused on searching for homes within their price range. This still doesn’t mean your loan will be approved since the lending institution will still need to take a look at the home you intend to buy, but the odds are more in your favor than with a simple pre-qualification.
Even one-step more secure than a pre-approved home loan is a loan commitment. Banks and other lenders will not issue a loan without checking out both you and your new home. The bank may run additional financial checks on the buyer plus the home must appraise at or higher than the sales price. The home’s title must also be clear and free of problems. The loan commitment happens only once you’ve found a home. While you’re looking, though, getting a pre-approved home loan will make the process go smoother and save a lot of heartache in the end.
Achieving Balance in Home Design and Decoration to Smoothing Renovation Process
If one word sums up the design and décor zeitgeist, it’s balance. That’s because homeowners are increasingly tempering an appetite for possessions with practicality, weighing beauty against a budget and considering how over-consumption affects the planet.
Does that mean our homes will become colourless caves, mere machines for living? On the contrary, a simpler approach can actually open up options for individuality and creativity.
If you need to declutter, Kijiji is also a quick and convenient way to get rid of items you no longer want. Use it, as well, to educate yourself about collectibles, as I did after recently scoring two highly unusual glass Rembrandt lamps. If you’re selling collectibles, it’s also provides a reliable pricing guide for similar items.
Recycled décor can be a short-cut to one-of-kind style, but there are times when new is preferable. Newer-generation appliances are more energy and water-efficient, while it’s also often easier to get replacement parts for fixtures, a fact that will help extend product life.
The best of the new renovation and building products strike a balance between style and sustainability. Rona’s Uberhaus line of bath and kitchen faucets, for example, is both green and gorgeous. These good looking faucets, which come in a variety of finishes, definitely qualify as eco-elegant. It’s worth noting that Rona has several eco-categories now, including Eco-Responsible, a program under which items are subjected to a program devised by the International Chair in Life Cycle Assessment at the École Polytechnique de Montréal, which looks at the impact a product has throughout its life, from manufacturing to disposal.
One of the simplest and most affordable to get a great new look is with paint. It’s also a wonderful way to express individual taste and style, and I was reminded of this when I recently spoke to colour expert Janice Lindsay who has a collection with Pittsburgh Paints. I told Janice that I was considering backing off the wonderfully rich colours I’d picked for a project from that company’s sunny Hacienda Collection. She offered sage advice.
“If the colour really seems too much, don’t make the mistake of moving a few shades lighter on the colour chart. It’s not the same colour. Instead, introduce the colour you love it in small amounts — as a headboard or even a broad swath on a wall, “says Lindsay. How right she was. I stuck with my original colour choices; but used them as accents and focal points on a backdrop of PP’s Jute, which is my fave new “neutral”. And how does it look? Simple, stylish and sustainable, if I do so say so myself!
* Protect your valuables. Clear the work area so it’s free of furniture, drapes and art. Make sure you cover anything left behind so it doesn’t get covered in dust.
* Product Selections should be made early. To ensure the smooth progress of work, having specific items, like cabinets, flooring and lighting, already chosen will make the process quicker.
* Be available to your renovator on short notice. You will have to make a number of smaller decisions throughout the process so contact with your renovator will make sure the schedule stays on track.
* Keep changes to a minimum. Although most renovators are willing to accommodate changes to the original plan, it may result in a cost increase and time delay.
* Discuss your concerns as they arise. It’s never a good idea to wait for the “right moment”.
* Provide payment as agreed upon. Make sure payment terms are agreed upon in advance.
* Accept the unpredictable with grace. Foul weather, unavailable products and unforeseen complications are part of the renovation experience and will be dealt with by your renovator in a professional manner.
A green renovation will improve indoor air quality, which in turn will improve your quality of living and your health. Just by incorporating natural materials and high quality, energy efficient lighting will inevitably give your space a natural beauty and comfort. On top of this, you will gain the ecological benefits by lowering your carbon footprint. Some tips that will lead you to a greener way of living could include following:
* Non-toxic sealants, paints, flooring, cabinetry and countertops
* Hard surface flooring for easy cleaning and easy care
* Abundant natural daylight
* Locally extracted granite countertops
* Light-colored interior finishes allowing light to bounce around the home (ex, white, low VOC paint)
* Energy efficient lighting
* Water efficient fixtures
* Energy Star appliances
The Right Security Product To Protect Your Family
Your Home is the single most important asset purchase and therefore it is a place where additional security needs to be placed. Home security products can be costly and no one is interested in buying every option on the market. There are so many different products available today that can make your home secure, but to find the things that are necessary while still being affordable home security creates a bit of a puzzle to put together. Think about what makes you want to keep your home safe. Are you more interested in physically keeping your loved ones away from harm? Do you have valuables or money tucked away somewhere in your home that needs extra security? Do you want your home to be akin to Fort Knox? Once you have determined what your wishes are; you can find the right home security products.
No one wants or needs a plethora of home security products cluttering up their homes. However, everyone has concerns when it comes to keeping a secure home, and thankfully there are many options on the market today. Affordable home security products don’t have to be hard to come by if you know what it is that you want. If you can think of what protection means to you at an individual capacity level, you will find it easier to choose the best products for yourself, your family, or your personal belongings.
There was once a more simplistic time where home security products were not loaded onto the shelves in the dozens; but that time has come and gone. Products will range from affordable home security to excessively expensive home security. In order to get the right protective measures, you have to consider what your individual requirements actually are. You may live in a sheltered environment and you may only need a minuscule amount of comfort in order to feel like you have a secure home. If you can sit down and put your protective expectations under a microscope, you will be able to filter through the overabundance of home security products available to the consuming public.
People automatically think of alarm home security systems when they think of having a secure home. They assume that the only way to protect themselves and their things is to find a home security service that will charge them a fee every month, even though they may never use it. There are many other options on the market, and many of them are more affordable merchandise in regards to home security products. For instance, if you have some jewelry that you feel more comfortable protecting, and a safe isn’t enough, try some photoelectric detectors. The detectors will create a beam that is not visible to an intruder, but it will prevent someone from passing into a restricted designated area. If you don’t want to fool with the beams, try a biometric fingerprint door lock. The fingerprint door lock is a perfect accessory to home security because it ensures that only you are capable of opening the door; you or your finger.
Home security products are not widely known in the sense of variety. Most people would say that alarm home security systems are the way to go in the sense of protection. The assumption is that you must pay a monthly fee in order to keep a secure home, but that is simply not the case. Depending on where you live, you may be comfortable with only having a home safe, or you may take it a step further and purchase a photoelectric detector. A photoelectric detector has the ability to create a beam that is invisible to the naked eye but will sound an alarm if an unwanted intruder crosses it. If the beams seem like too much trouble, you can buy a biometric fingerprint door lock for your minimal protection demands. The fingerprint door lock is a more affordable means to home security because it is simply a one-time fee and an easy installation.
If you were to survey people asking what the best means of protection was, they would probably say that an alarm home security system was the superior way to keep your home secure. However, if you live in a safe or rural area, an alarm system may be unnecessary. If all you want is some extra protection for a particular area of your home, you could try a photoelectric detector. These detectors project an invisible beam that sets off an alarm if someone crosses it. If you have a safe, or a closet that needs a little something extra, you may want to consider a fingerprint door lock. The fingerprint door lock will recognize a certain print allowing only a select few to open the door. Therefore, you can have protection without having to pay a pesky fee.
Yet other home security products are the detectors. Many people think that there are only smoke detectors, but the truth is that protection has come a long way in building a secure home. There are now carbon monoxide detectors, your standard fire alarm protectors, and glass break detectors. There are different glass break and audio detector products on the market, but there are the industry standards as well. Visonic, a leader in the home security industry, makes a glass break detector with advanced acoustics which will allow for more sensitive abilities. Another company is DSC and their glass detector product is recognized in the home security system industry for being the only detector with two patents. Mace has a window alert system that will fit on any window without using home security alarm systems.
If you have a larger home, you may want to consider getting home security system products that reach beyond the normal parameters. For instance, a driveway alarm, door chime, or an announcer may be a wise choice so that you know who is approaching your home and when. You may also look into a siren, strobe, or speaker depending on how much attention you want to draw to a perpetrator. Although you may want to keep in mind that products are not human; they can and will malfunction from time to time. Ademco is a leader in the home security product market, and they are one of the best when it comes to keypads, sensors, chimes, sirens, strobes and speakers. Ademco also sells other home security products such as door contacts and recognition hand key systems.
You may also want to look into the option of making your home secure by placing what appears to be an alarm system outside of your door. When keyless entry hit the automotive community everyone was ecstatic. Why wouldn’t you want the same security for your home as you have for your car? Visonic makes two different products that allow you to leave and enter your home without a key and only a password. There is a stand alone system, and an outdoor access control system that has more than one controller.
Home security products are important, even if they are in the disguise of a few stickers strategically placed around your home. However, there are so many new things on the market that it would be to your benefit to look into a few of them. Ignoring products that can help to make a home secure is like turning off your air conditioning in the middle of the summer and then paying for it anyway. You can always keep in mind that looking doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to be buying.
Everyone wants to feel like they have a secure home, and it is not a difficult task to install the right home security products to ensure that it becomes just that. It can be difficult to determine what is necessary, what is affordable, and what is silly. However, not taking the time to find out what products are out there and what the do will end up being a regret later if something happens that could have been easily prevented. You don’t have to buy everything that you see in order to stay on top of the home security market.
There are so many home security products on the market today and they are always coming up with newer, bigger, and better options. The choices can be overwhelming to figure out what is superfluous and what is essential. When you take the time to investigate and research your options, you will be more prepared to determine what products are right for you. By choosing to be uninformed about home security and what you need to make your home as secure as you can, you open the door to potential harm and a world of potentially bad scenarios.
Platio and Deck Maintenance For Your Home Outdoor Space
The inside of your home may well be spotless, but what about outside? Is your patio covered in old dead leaves or is your deck desperately in need of some TLC? Too often, we pay so much attention to what’s going on internally at the expense of the external. If this is ringing true for you, don’t fret; patio and deck maintenance doesn’t have to be the time-consuming nightmare that many of us perceive it as. By following the tips outlined below, your ‘great outdoors’ will always be in tip-top condition.
The first step towards truly enjoying your small piece of the outdoors is actually accessing your deck or patio. Maintaining the doors and doorways that bridge the internal and external areas of your property is essential. But we’re not all capable of fixing tricky things like broken sliding doors. Luckily, reputable companies that specialize in sliding door repairs, such as AJ Doors, exist to help us keep our gateway into the outside world sturdy and attractive.
One of the best investments you can make when it comes to deck or patio maintenance is the humble broom. It’s amazing the difference that five minutes sweeping can make to the appearance of your outside area; a quick sweep will see the removal of leaves, twigs, and other miscellaneous debris that prevents your patio or deck from looking its best. Then you can sit back and enjoy being outside without your enjoyment being spoilt by the eyesore of errant garden detritus.
If your patio consists of pavers, then you’ll be aware of the gradual build-up of moss and general grime – it is situated outside, after all. A hard bristled broom and a bucket of water will do the job most effectively, though you could also pressure wash the moss away or use a solution of equal parts water and chlorine bleach. This will slow down the regrowth of those pesky lichens. The stiff broom is also invaluable when it comes to removing bird poo and barbeque grease fat from your wooden deck too.
This one’s solely for wooden deck owners (you certainly do not want to be oiling your patio pavers). By implementing a twice-yearly deck oiling schedule, your deck should have a long life. A good oiling in spring and just before winter will ensure that your deck is able to cope with rains, frosts, and all manner of weather conditions. Give your deck adequate time to absorb that protective oil – don’t oil your deck three hours before your next barbeque, as your guests will be slipping and sliding all over the place.
Are you guilty of neglecting the care of your outdoor areas in favour of the indoors? Or is your exterior entertaining area the pride of your household? If so, what do you do to keep your deck or patio looking great? Share your outside area maintenance tips and hints below for the rest of us who need some help and motivation in this pursuit.
One of the most relaxing ways to spend your Sunday afternoon is enjoying your backyard. After a busy week, there is nothing better than winding down in your own little slice of the outdoors. If your backyard feels more like a jumble than an oasis, here are some simple ways to turn it into your sanctuary.
Some of these suggestions are simple and can be done with the resources you’ll already have around the house. Other ideas might take some work and even a trip to your local outdoor furniture specialist like Super Amart. However far you go, the results are sure to be worth it.
It’s not essential to have a theme that you carry through your backyard but it is a nice way to make all the pieces of your yard come together. If you have selected key pieces in your preferred style for your home, it is simple to carry this theme into your yard. Otherwise, look around the space you have available and see if any ideas jump out at you. Do you have a feature tree or shrub in your yard? Work around that with a country or rustic theme. Does your yard have some gorgeous terracotta-coloured tiles? A Mediterranean-inspired oasis will complement them perfectly.
Select Some Key Pieces of Outdoor Furniture
Once you have selected your theme, it’s time to find the perfect furnishings. Choosing the right furniture material can have a huge impact on the overall look for your new ‘oasis’, so browse through the glass, timber, wicker and metal styles to see which type suits your design ideas. And don’t feel you have to stick to the same material throughout, or even the conventional table and chairs. Adding bench seats is a great way to make the area feel more casual.
The choices are endless when it comes to lighting options. Candelabras, lanterns, solar lights and fairy lights can be used in a variety of ways to brighten up your outdoor area. There are so many different kinds to choose, or you can have a mix of several different types. Candelabras are a great addition to the table. You could also outline the perimeter of your backyard with citronella lanterns to keep any bugs at bay. The beauty is that the majority of lighting is inexpensive, so you can buy a few different styles and change them up.
How much colour you add will depend on your theme. A beach theme might add some colour with blue cushions or bright sun umbrellas. Some twine or cast iron trays with candles add subtle colour to a rustic backyard area. A couple of statement pots can also give your yard an injection of colour. Look for unconventional ways to incorporate your theme and impress the neighbours with your design skills. Your backyard can provide endless hours of enjoyment. Whether you like to spend your time gardening, preparing a meal over the barbecue or laying on a sunbed with a good book – your backyard is there to be enjoyed. It will feel more like an oasis if you spend the time doing what you love.