3 DIY Home Improvements That Help The Whole Neighborhood

3 DIY Home Improvements That Help The Whole Neighborhood

When you live in an apartment, where you literally share walls, ceilings, and floors with your neighbors, it’s easier to remember that your personal lifestyle choices have a direct effect on your neighbors. This becomes a little more difficult to remember when you move into a home and your neighbors are a bit farther away. While living in a detached home provides more personal freedom, your home is still a part of the neighborhood and your exterior choices still affect everyone. Here are 3 DIY improvements you can do to be a great neighbor.

Refurbish the Exterior

Accumulated dirt build up can make your home appear dingy, faded and out of date. Remember that an attractive neighborhood is created by attractive homes. Keeping the exterior of your home neat, tidy and sparkling clean will make your home a valued addition to the neighborhood. And who knows, maybe you will even influence other neighbors to do the same, which will add value to your home as well as theirs.

Install a Maintenance-Free Yard

With water prices skyrocketing across the US, many homeowners are opting to install yards that don’t require as much water. If you’re not going to spend the time and money to turn your front yard into an outdoor oasis, you might want to turn it into a pleasant landscape instead. If rock gardens aren’t your thing, you can install synthetic grass. Eco-friendly synthetic grass doesn’t need watering or mowing and stays lush and green for up to 10 years so you don’t have to worry about a brown and yellow lawn in the summer. Again, the look and curb appeal of your home can raise home values in the entire neighborhood.

Outdoor Living Spaces

When you have a backyard suitable for entertaining, you have a tendency to entertain more – and this is great for the entire neighborhood. Whether it’s a backyard BBQ or 4th of July picnic, having a great outdoor entertainment space will help you connect with your neighbors and create a deeper sense of community. Best of all, cleanup after an outdoor party is significantly less than cleaning up after an indoor party and there are no muddy footprints or high heel marks to clean up from your floors. If someone spills an entire cup of red wine during the party – no problem, you can simply wipe up the mess without leaving a stain.

Being a good neighbor involves keeping your own home and living spaces in order so as to add value to the entire neighborhood. You can save yourself and your family a significant amount of hassle with the neighbors by keeping your property neat, tidy and orderly. You can be an ever better neighbor by inviting your neighbors over to entertain in your beautifully maintained outdoor spaces. If you’re ever wondering what other projects can help your home, and neighborhood, value, talk to a realtor like those at Cooke Realty.

4 Ideas For the Perfect Man Cave

4 Ideas For the Perfect Man Cave

The perfect man cave is the place where any man should feel right at home. Stocked with all the creature comforts, a man cave will need to contain the items that will keep its occupant indulged for countless hours. The following are four ideas that will breathe life into any man cave.

The Entertainment Center

It would be hard to relax inside the man cave without a respectable entertainment center. With the advent of UHD 4k televisions, even the most uninspiring man cave can be transformed into a place where a person will feel like they are part of the action ringside or in the stands during Sunday football. Complete with the latest in digital surround sound and the ability to stream music right from a smartphone, many modern devices can help to augment a man cave with an entertainment center that meets all a man’s audio and visual needs.

Food Storage And Preparation Concerns

No man cave is complete without easy, direct access to a stash of tasty snacks and thirst quenching beverages. Drinks must be cold and food items should be fresh. When choosing a refrigerator and other food storage options to meet this demand, it is important to first assess the size of the man cave and its available space. Should there be a mini-fridge within arm’s reach of the recliner, or does the functionality of the man cave require a larger capacity refrigerator. A microwave might be a nice addition when it comes to heating up frozen snacks.

Decorations

Decorating a man cave requires something of a personal touch. Consider getting car parts from places like U Pull & Pay, or various sport’s equipment to decorate the space. This can be expressed through lighting, comfortable furniture, pictures, wall mountings, awards and other basic items for display.

Other Gadgets And Electronic Devices

What is a man cave without a few electronics? First a man must consider how he is going to recharge all his electronic devices. A fully dedicated recharge station complete with universal plugs and USB-based charging lines, fully integrated into an emergency power backup system, can make keeping batteries charged a snap. This means his smartphone, digital camera and personal lap top are covered even in an emergency when the power cuts out.

Conclusion

With a little thought and some careful design plans in mind, it is possible to make any man cave a place to satisfy the needs of its main occupant. Whether that means enjoying a great movie with a cold drink in hand or pounding away on the computer, the important thing is for a man to know that his man cave is both entertaining and functional. How a man makes that possible depends on the type of entertainment and functionality he desires to get out of his favorite room in the house.

Freaky Fungus: How To Protect Your Home From Damage

Freaky Fungus: How To Protect Your Home From Damage

Mold and mildew are funguses that thrive in moist, warm conditions. These organisms reproduce by releasing spores that cling to organic materials in the home such as drywall, upholstery, cardboard, paper and carpeting. The spores are carried into the home by water and air, and they will continue to spread until the home is cleaned and dried out thoroughly. Fungus growth can cause significant damage to home materials and can also create health problems in sensitive individuals if they inhale or come into contact with the spores.

Fix Plumbing Problems Quickly

Any source of water can cause fungus growth in your home, so if one of the plumbing lines in the house develops a leak, it can lead to the development of smelly, unhealthy mold growth. Check the pipes under the sinks or connected to appliances to ensure the connections are secure. Some leaks can occur deep within the walls of your home. A professional plumbing contractor can use special equipment to locate the leak with the least amount of damage to walls and floors. If you notice moisture or if the rooms develop a moist, humid feel, call in a plumber to repair the leak before it leads to damage to your home’s construction materials and cause the growth of fungus. Professional companies, such E & R Exterminating Company, Inc. can apply wood borate compounds to eliminate fungus growth on wood components under your home.

Prevent Flooding Incidents In Your Home

Some areas of the country are subject to heavy seasonal rains that cause basement flooding or flooding of lower floors of homes. To prevent water damage and fungus growth from basement flooding, install a sump pump system that will automatically remove rainwater from the basement when water table levels rise. If you are in a low area, be ready to pile sandbags around the foundation when heavy rains occur that might flood your home.

Waterproof Your Basement

Even if you don’t experience flooding in your home, ordinary seepage into the basement from heavy rains or snowmelt can cause a constant state of dampness that can promote fungus growth on drywall, storage boxes, paper and other materials. Applying a waterproof seal to your foundation walls can help to minimize seepage and will help to avoid fungus growth in the basement interior. Contact a basement-waterproofing contractor in your area for more information on protecting your home from water damage.

Fungus growth can deteriorate the construction materials in your home. It can also result in health problems for sensitive or allergic members of your family. Use these tips prevent fungus growth in your home, and call in a professional contractor to minimize the damage when it occurs.

5 Ways To Improve the Security Of Your Front Door

exterior-door

The front door is the most likely point of entry for any home break-in. That means this needs to be the strongest part of your home security. There are many ways to increase the security of your front door, some of which are almost imperceptible. Other protections are costly and may affect the look and feel of the home. With such a wide range of options, there is no excuse to leave your home exposed, and there is no reason to spend a fortune making improvements. If you are renting, make sure to speak with your landlord before making any changes, no matter how small you think they are.

  1. Longer Screws

One of the simplest and most noninvasive ways to improve the security of your front door is to use longer screws to fasten your door hinges and strike plates. Most standard locks are installed with screws that are an inch, or maybe even an inch and a half, in length. This bites into the wood enough for alignment and functionality purposes, but it does not offer much security.

With just a three-inch screw, you are securing the strike and hinges to the wall stud. A screw that is biting into a stud will stand up to a significant amount of force beyond a simple set screw. This helps to prevent against kicking attacks on both the hinge and doorjamb sides of the door.

  1. Use the Right Lock

A front door should always use at least one deadbolt in addition to a keyed knob or handle. The deadbolt is immune to the widely known credit card method of surreptitious entry. When the bolt is thrown, it is not retractable without a key or a thumbturn on the interior of the door. This is different from the spring latch in a keyed doorknob, which can be depressed even while in the locked position.

If there is any glass on or around the door, it is very important to use a double-sided deadbolt. These deadbolts do not have a thumbturn, and require the use of a key when locking and unlocking from both inside and outside the home. Even if a criminal were to smash the glass near a double-sided deadbolt, they could not gain entry any easier. High-security locks are also necessary to prevent against more advanced forms of illegal entry, such as lock picking and bump keys. Make sure that lock installation is done correctly or the security of the lock will be diminished. In lieu of installing new locks, homeowners can also rekey locks (if they already have a deadbolt in place) to maximize their home security.

door

  1. Add Metal

In order to install a door lock, several holes must be cut into the wood of the door. These holes are not completely filled by metal, and therefore leave vulnerable areas, which a susceptible to violent entry attacks. This means the area of your door that holds the lock hardware is actually a weak point in the door. By placing metal sleeves around that area, these points cannot be as easily compromised.

The same is true for the doorjamb, which will almost always have a simple small metal strike plate to hold the latch and/or bolt of your locks. By having this strike plate be longer, and secured throughout the length of the jamb, the door is secured against forced entry. Some of these products are hidden by the closed door, so these measures do not need to change the look of your home.

  1. Better Door Composition

If you secure your hinges, hardware, and the doorjamb, then there is still the concern of the door itself breaking. All doors are not created equal. For exterior doors, and especially front doors, you need a product with a solid core. These doors are heavier, as they use more material and stronger wood in their construction.

For additional security, there are steel core doors, and even iron core doors, which add metal content to the door itself. The addition of a new door would be the most costly and visually dramatic change proposed so far, but it is a must if the wrong type of door has already been installed.

house-exterior

  1. Security Screens

A security screen changes the look of your home from the exterior, but it provides a vast range of protection. Firstly, it will have more locks installed, which is an obstacle for anyone trying to bump or pick the locks. There is also another door, which is made out of metal, so forced entry is going to take at least twice as long as it would with just a standard door.

Residents can also open their door to see who is outside, without exposing themselves to a threat. And opposed to traditional woven screen doors, there is still a layer of security if you would like to leave your front door open for some fresh air.

Tips for Renters:

If you are renting, it is not so simple to make changes to the home. Often you will need to suggest your ideas to the landlord, who will then make the final decision. So it is important that you have been acting in compliance with what your landlord wants. Try not to be difficult or demanding. You are trying to present a solution, not a problem. So find a solution that works for your needs, and that you believe your landlord would be open to. For example, you may know that they do not like changes that alter the look of the home. So you would not suggest overly visible changes such as a security screen or new door.

Come to them with a full proposal. If you force them to come up with their own answers, the process will be much slower. The less work you make for them, the better chances of a quick and positive response. Who you want to pay for the changes will also affect your success. If you are looking to pass the cost onto the landlord, the offer to only charge the cost of materials will be more appealing than including the cost of labor. Try to anticipate their issues, and appeal to them on matters they care about. For example, even attempted burglary would result in many replacement costs as well as insurance issues, and general repairs. Be personable, and try to be positive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Your AC Ready to Handle This Summer’s Heat?

Is Your AC Ready to Handle This Summers Heat

It is tough to imagine when the weather is mild, or even cold, that there are sweltering days of summer on their way. You know, those days when the sun is beating down and the humidity is so high your lungs feel like you are breathing through a wet sponge. This is when you need your central air conditioning to be operating at peak efficiency, but is your AC ready to handle the coming summer heat?

Central AC Cleaning

It is the air blowing over those aluminum fins that cover the coils of the condenser and evaporator that slowly build up grime that can drastically reduce AC efficiency. The part outside with the big fan and large surface area of aluminum fins is the condenser. It is the hot side of the AC system that dissipates the accumulated heat from inside your home to the outside. Oxidation, debris, insect nests and airborne particulates can block airflow. The evaporator is the cold side and is usually housed inside the main air duct of your furnace. These coils get wet with condensation that is drained away, and dust is the main offender that leads to blocked drains and coils that freeze up to block airflow. Your central AC system may be in desperate need of cleaning.

Low Refrigerant

Your central air conditioning system relies on a specific amount of refrigerant to operate at peak efficiency. The compressor has a low refrigerant sensor that will shut it off once the compressed gas drops to a set point. However, the system can operate for years with slightly low refrigerant levels that keep it working but at a considerably reduced level of efficiency. Also, low refrigerant can lead to evaporator coil freezing. If you notice your AC system is not pumping out air as cold as it did a few years ago, it is time to call professional AC technicians to have it tested. Getting your AC system back to operating at peak efficiency saves you money in energy costs.

Home Additions

Many homeowners have had a contractor add an addition onto their home. In some cases the ability of both the furnace and central air system to handle the extra square footage has not been taken into consideration. Each furnace and AC unit is designed to heat and cool a specific area usually determined by its volume in square feet. If you have noticed that your furnace or AC system is not heating or cooling your home like they did before the addition, then contacting an HVAC professional who can look up the specifications of your system and calculate the total square footage of your home can be useful. Also, there just may be a problem in how the air is distributed or a problem with returning air back to the system that just requires adjustments and not equipment replacement.

Tree Cutting and Insulation

Things can change around and in your home that affect the ability of your air conditioning system to be able to cool your home properly. Cutting down a large shade tree on the southern side of your home exposes it to more heat from the sun. This can make rooms on that side of the house hotter than they were before a tree was cut down. This can often be corrected with some fine tuning of the air distribution system. Insulation is usually only considered when it comes to keeping the heat in during the winter months, but good insulation is needed to keep the heat out in the summer as well. This may involve something as simple as installing solar films on windows on the sunny side of your home to block out some more of the sun’s heat in the summer.

If your AC system is not performing up to your standards of comfort on the hottest days of summer, it may just need cleaned and adjusted to get back to keeping your house cool and comfortable on those miserable days. The best time to ready your home for the heat of summer is to get your AC system inspected and serviced before that first hot day when you really need it.