Energy Star Certified Appliances and Money Savings for the Homeowner

Designing a new home is the perfect time to take advantage of the savings Energy Star appliances will offer you. By choosing Energy Star rated appliances you will see a substantial savings in your energy bills. The federal government also offers rebates for homeowners that choose Energy Star appliances, and this adds to the savings you will reap. Not only will you save money, but your new home will use less energy and that is good for the environment. Here are some ways Energy Start appliances can save you money.

Savings in the Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of many new homes and it is one of the rooms in the house which consumes a lot of energy. A new Energy Star certified refrigerator uses 20 percent less energy than models which are not certified. According to the Energy Star website this can save you over $125 over the life of your refrigerator. Another appliance that uses a lot of energy is a dishwasher. An Energy Star certified dishwasher will save you approximately $40 per year on your electric bill, and will save 1,300 gallons of water over its lifetime. If you plan on having a standalone freezer, a certified freezer can save you 10 percent on your energy bills compared to a non-certified model.

Laundry Room Savings

Washers and dryers are in almost constant use in most homes. On average the typical American home does 300 loads of laundry each year. By choosing certified appliances you can save money and use less water and energy while doing laundry. Certified washers use 20 percent less energy, and 35 percent less water. Energy Star certified dryers also use 20 percent less energy, and are more efficient at drying your clothes in a shorter amount of time.

HVAC Savings

According the Energy Star website more than 50 percent of your home’s energy consumption is used for heating and cooling. By choosing a certified HVAC system you can save almost $200 a year on your energy bills. There are many HVAC options and configurations available for a new home build. The choice you make will depend upon the type of fuel available and the area of the country in which you live. For example in warmer states you may not need a furnace, but a heat pump which uses less energy. Combined with adequate insulation and energy efficient building practices you can save money and have a more comfortable home.

Federal Energy Rebates

The government offers Federal Tax credits for homeowners who choose Energy Star certified appliances. While some rebates are not available for new builds, there are rebates you may qualify for as a new homeowner. For example you could receive 30 percent of the purchase price for certified heat pumps and solar energy systems.

When you are planning your new home, include Energy Star certified appliances. You will not only save money over the life of your appliance, but you’ll use less energy and that is a great plus for the environment. With the saving and tax rebates certified appliances just make good sense for today’s new homeowner.

Seven Reasons Why You Should Use Granite Laminated Flooring

Granite is an igneous rock that is relatively hard thus making it resistant to scratches. Granites are usually used as flooring because of its characteristics. This is widely preferred by interior designers and home builders everywhere.

Now laminate flooring gives a different dimension to hard-surface flooring. It is a technology currently employed to give floors a shiny, protective finish against sunlight, burns, and stains.

The granite is placed at the image layer of a laminated flooring, to make it a granite laminated flooring. This is where you integrate the hard-stone look of granite. And the effect of a granite floor is achieved.

Granite laminate flooring is simply a good alternative to the real thing. Authentic granite flooring can be costly. It has an average cost of $80 per square foot. Laminated flooring is also durable.

With the need to cut costs on the current market’s soaring prices, granite laminate flooring equally gives the same ambiance real granite gives. And it has features and benefits of its own to boost. Let’s take a look at those.

1. It won’t budge. Granite laminate flooring is made up of high density fiberboard or simply, HDF. The board makes it tough and resistant to outward or inward moistures and indentations.

2. It has laminated backs. The bottom of granite laminate flooring is thermo-fused so as to provide additional protection against bare floor. Bare floor could build-up moisture pushing to the outside. But because of the laminated back, the flooring is protected. The moisture cannot cause the tile to shift or bend.

3. It is economical. Granite laminate flooring gives you a very realistic look of the natural stone at a fraction of the cost. With your current budget, you can cover twice as much if you settle for the granite laminate flooring against granite stone tiles.

4. It is easy to clean. Because of its smooth laminated surface, cleaning is reduced occasional to sweeping and mopping. It is very easy to maintain compared to a stone tile which you need to polish regularly.

5. It is durable. Granite laminate flooring defies dents, scratches, dings, and moisture. It is not easily worn out. You can maximize its lifespan through proper care and maintenance. Simply follow tips and advices on how to clean stuck dirt and stains and you’re all set with it.

6. It is versatile. Granite laminate flooring works everywhere. You can use it for your kitchen, for your living room, or even at the patio. It goes well wherever your creativity lets you.

7. It is easy to install. Unlike stones where you would need to hire professional builders and installers, granite laminate flooring is so easy to install you can do it yourself. Just glue it in and it is done. You don’t even have to wait for the glue to dry!

If you want to remodel you house or build the house of your dreams, you can choose to install granite laminate flooring. By doing this, the flooring will become your least concern. You can focus more on some other areas and specifics other than the floor, because laminate flooring will already take care of that.

Granite has been a current favorite when it comes to floors. Because the trend today is old is new. Granite gives the room an old but trendy look against modern furniture. Granite used to be for the rich and wealthy alone. Well, not anymore. Not with granite laminate flooring around.

Roofing in Richmond Hill

The town of Richmond Hill is located just north of the city of Toronto within easy driving distance to the vast downtown core. However it is just north enough to be both part of the GTA and a world away all at the same time. The town’s motto “A little north, a little nicer” says it all as sprawling neighbourhoods, over 160 parks and the largest outdoor wave pool in the country welcome locals and visitors alike. In the 1990’s the town saw quite a surge in population, a lot of which was thanks to immigration of minority groups that has made it one of the most multicultural places to live in the area. Couple this with the lovely topography of the town which enjoys a higher elevation than major centers in the GTA and you have a community that is a great one to raise a family.

As anyone with a house knows, the roof is one of the most important, if not the most important part of your structure. Not only does it look good and lend a hand in the general curb appeal of a property, but it also works to keep the weather out of your home. So, if you own a home in beautiful Richmond Hill you will want to keep your roof in tip top shape to keep your home protected and looking great for years to come. There are simple ways to achieve this because nipping little problems in the bud will save you time, money and headaches in the long run.

The first way to maintain your roof is to do inspections on a yearly basis. That is, in the fall before the winter weather hits and again in the spring to determine if your roof made it through the winter in fine fashion. No one wants to discover ice damage or a slow drip come spring that could have been located and repaired months before.

Another way to help preserve your roof is to check out your attic space once or twice a year. You will easily see any problems, both by visually locating water or sunlight or by smell if your attic’s insulation has a mouldy odor to it. Discoloured struts and pooling water are also obvious indicators of trouble above.

You don’t have to take to a ladder to check your roof, best leave that to the professionals, but you can walk around your home and take note of the shingles, downspouts and eavestroughs and call in those professionals should you notice anything amiss. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, even when it comes to roofing.

Why You Should Install Gutter Guards to Your Rain Gutters

Water that accumulates on your house roof due to rain or melted snow and ice can result in severe water damages to different parts of the house. Hence, you need to install rain gutters in order to efficiently channelize water from the roof to the ground. However, while gutters can be immensely helpful in preventing water from accumulating on your house roof, it can also pose certain difficulties for you. In order for these gutters to keep up their functionality, it is extremely necessary to clean them on a regular basis. During seasonal changes, the gutters can be filled with leaves, tiny pine needles and various other wastes that can cause them to get clogged. Clogged gutters can lead to water overflow and seepage, resulting in serious damage to the roof, walls and foundation of your house. Hence it is always advisable to protect your gutters with appropriate gutter guards or gutter shutters in order to avoid the hassles of cleaning, and also to provide adequate protection to your house.

Gutter guards are strong and durable protective shields that are installed on the gutters in order to restrict the entry of leaves and other kinds of wastes in the gutters. Materials like aluminum, steel mesh, vinyl, etc. are used for making these gutter guards in order to make them strong, sturdy and durable. They are designed in a way to withstand the effects of outer elements and last for years. You can benefit in a number of ways by installing gutter protectors. Let us discuss some of the ways you can benefit:

  • Cleaning the gutters can be a strenuous task, especially if you do not have adequate knowledge and skill required to clean them. Moreover, getting on the roof of your house can also pose huge risks of physical injury. And if you choose to hire professionals for performing the cleaning tasks, it can be an expensive process. Installation of gutter guards prevents the entry of dirt and debris, and keep the gutters clean, thereby saving you the cost and hassle of cleaning them on a regular basis.
  • Water accumulated in the gutters due to clogging can freeze during the winters, resulting in water seepage that can cause severe water damages to your house. By preventing water clogging, gutter guards save your house against potential water damages.
  • Houses that are located in areas that are prone to bushfire, it can be extremely beneficial to install gutter guards that can protect your house against fire by preventing the accumulation of wastes in the gutters that can catch fire in case they come in contact with suspended embers.
  • During monsoon, wet debris can accumulate inside the gutters causing gutter troughs to rust and corrode, thereby deteriorating their functionality. Gutter protectors can be immensely helpful in protecting the gutter troughs against rusting by preventing the accumulation of wet debris in the gutters.
  • In most cases, gutter shutters are made in a way to look stylish and elegant. Hence, they not only help in protecting your house against possible damages, but also add to the beauty of your house.

Install gutter guards in your house to protect your house against potential damages.

Landscape Problems – Things To Look Out For

Everyone dreams of having an almost-perfect landscape. With perfect greenery, impressive patios and fascinating gazebos, such landscapes are to create ambiance. But landscaping is not as easy as it sounds. Creating one attracts these common landscape problems.

What are the problems? And how does a landscape designer and planner avoid them?

1. Making the house look displaced in the landscape

The landscape designer should remember that the front yard or back yard and the house must coordinate. It is inappropriate to landscape without considering the house first. Style and the colors of the landscape must go hand in hand with the design of the house.

2. Underestimating the landscaping costs

People must face it – landscaping is a pretty expensive project. From choosing the materials to hiring laborers, it is going to be more costly than one could ever imagine. One must be realistic enough to know how much he can afford.

3. Forgetting all about landscaping lights

A landscape designer should take lighting into consideration. The landscape must be thoroughly enjoyed even after sundown. Lights must be set up for the patio and along walkways for maximum enjoyment.

4. Ignoring family’s needs

One of the reasons a landscape is put up is to accommodate family members’ requests like a playground, an ideal place for crocheting, etc. The landscape designer must try to fulfill such needs.

5. Putting everything in the backyard.

A backyard is perfect for landscaping but how about the front yard or the side yard? The designer must allot a space in front yards and/or side yards for benches, flower beds and other garden decorations.

6. Imitating neighbors’ landscapes.

Originality is the key. If one likes the neighbor’s backyard, that’s fine, but he must not be carried away and copy everything. He should have an original design.

7. Overdoing the straight lines

The designer must add curves and not get too fixated on straight lines. Curves are always interesting and they emulate a forest-like feel.

8. Forgetting the boundary

The landscape designer must use some things to define the boundary of the garden — whether it is a fence, a hedge, or a border. Skipping this important element might make the garden seem cluttered and unorganized.

Landscaping must be made fun. To come up with an outstanding garden, knowledge of these common landscape problems is imperative to keep everything moving smoothly. A well-attended, carefully-planned garden makes for a better living.

How To Handle a Termite Infestation

A termite is a tiny insect known for living in a large colony deep within the earth. Although they may resemble ants, these “silent destroyers” generally differ in that their antennae are straight, and their wings may be roughly equal in length. Many are known for feeding off of wood, particularly causing significant damage to the wood bearing structures. This includes homes like yours.

According to the National Pest Management Association, these household pests are responsible for an estimated $5 billion in property damage each year, which is not covered by standard homeowners insurance. Termite season, which typically starts in early spring, can be identified by the presence of swarms flying around a potential infestation site.

Non-Chemical Versus Chemical Treatments

Once you have determined that you a have an infestation, the next step is to seek out a professional technician to properly treat the infestation. Now, you may have seen information on the Internet about how you can personally address the issue, but be advised that the risks are too great to attempt alone in most cases. A licensed pest management professional would be able to confirm your diagnosis of your household pests as well as safely eradicate the insects without causing further damage to your home.

Depending on the situation, your pest control technician may suggest one of two methods: non-chemical treatments or chemical treatments. Non-chemical treatments, which usually don’t incorporate the use of insecticides, generally include physical barriers of some sorts. Examples of such physical barriers include steel mesh and sand, as well as biological control agents like nematodes and fungi. On the other hand, chemical treatments do incorporate the use of pesticides and, therefore, carry certain risks to human health and the environment. These termiticides, as they are referred to, are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and typically include four options: liquid soil-applied termiticides, termite baits, building materials impregnated with termiticides, and wood treatments. Your technician will be able to advise you on the best course of action for your particular situation.

Prevention

As with any household pest concern, preventative measures can be taken to ensure that you don’t have a repeat occurrence of an infestation after you have successfully rid them from your home. For starters, if your home is undergoing construction, be sure to use a concrete foundation and ventilation between the soil and wood to prevent any openings where the “silent destroyers” can get in. Thereafter, be sure to maintain proper grading and drainage, reduce openings, fix leaks, eliminate piles of wood in close proximity to the house, unblock any vents, and call a professional technician for periodic inspections.

The Many Benefits Of Vaporooter Treatment For Your House

If you are the proud owner of an older house, this may well be a problem that you are familiar with: invasive roots that cozy up in your drainage pipes looking to reap from the beneficial nutrients in the waste. This can eventually cause one nuisance after another for your drainage system.

In the best case scenario, the roots will only decrease the volume of sewage that can flow down the pipe causing some mild backups, while in the worst case scenario the roots will completely block the pipes and necessitate their replacement.

How Does Vaporooter Work?

Vaporooter is the usage of a laboratory-designed chemical foam treatment to kill any unwanted roots that may find their way into your sewage drainage systems. The chemical is poured down a drainage opening such as the toilet and flows down and into the sewage system where it has a corrosive effect on any roots it comes into contact with.

Because of its corrosive properties, vaporooter must be handled by a professional authorized by the relevant producing company in addition to the Environmental Protection Authority guidelines. If you must apply the vaporooter personally, the utmost care must be taken to ensure that it does not come into contact with your skin or eyes.

With that said, here are a few of the reasons why frequent Vaporooter treatment will benefit your home:

1. A Stitch in Time Saves Time and Money

Instead of waiting for the nuisance to turn into a major problem, constantly comforting yourself with the hopeful idea that the roots will grow elsewhere after some time, solve the problem now. If left unresolved, the problem of invasive roots will do much more than lead to a minor sewage backup!

It will compromise the integrity of your pipe network and may even completely shatter it leading to sewage pooling in the soil around the damaged area. In addition to a rather pungent smell, the soil will also be severely waterlogged.

2. Vaporooter Cares for the Environment

Unlike most other corrosive chemicals in the market, vaporooter chemical kills the portions of roots that invade the sewage system while leaving the rest of the tree or plant intact and unharmed.

Vaporooter chemicals also have no effect, short term or otherwise, on the health of your land adjacent to the sewage pipes. Vaporooter is in strict compliance with the Australian National Waste Policy of 2009.

3. No Adverse Effect On Your Pipes

The Vaporooter chemical may be tough and unforgiving on any roots unfortunate enough to find their way into your pipes, but it has absolutely no effect on the inside of your pipes regardless of whatever material they are made of. The chemical may kill off beneficial bacteria in the pipes but these will grow back and thrive eventually, while the roots will not.

4. Slows Down Future Root Growth

The vaporooter chemical has a lingering effect in your sewage system. It will make tree roots “think twice” before attempting to once again invade the sewer system.

Any Known Disadvantages?

Vaporooter chemicals may kill off beneficial bacteria found in the sewer system that helps breakdown waste matter. Furthermore, if applied against instructions it may have a harmful effect on the environment.

Bathroom Vanities and Bedroom Vanity Sets – Elegant and Functional Furniture To Transform Your Home

Installing a new bathroom vanity cabinet, or adding a vanity table to your bedroom, is a great way to enhance the appearance and function of your home. Bedroom and bathroom vanities add elegance and charm, and provide a special place for pampering. Bathroom sink vanity units with built in cabinets or drawers are ideal for storing all kinds of toiletries and accessories, and are often very attractive pieces of furniture to look at. Whether you’re after an antique style vanity or one to suit a contemporary bathroom, there are a variety of styles and finishes available to match all sorts of décor.

Bathroom vanities are made from a choice of woods or veneers, which are specially selected for their durability. Vanity tops need to be water resistant and hardwearing, and are made from a range of attractive materials including marble and tempered glass. Sinks can be vessel style or under mounted, made from porcelain, stone, stainless steel or other stylish materials. The style and finish of the faucets and fixtures is important, as these details play a big part in the overall ambiance of a bathroom and help to define its character.

Bedroom vanities are designed with comfort and convenience in mind, as well as aesthetics. A bedroom vanity set, comprising of a dressing table, mirror and cushioned stool, makes a great gift idea for a loved one, and provides a brilliant place at which to sit to apply makeup and perform your daily beauty routine. Vanity furniture comes in a huge range of styles and finishes, from the rich tones of cherry or mahogany, to ornately crafted wrought iron. As well as adding a touch of luxury and class to your home, your vanity table is a useful place to store jewelry, watches and other trinkets.

If you’re looking to spruce up your bathroom or bedroom, a new vanity cabinet or dressing table can make an amazing difference to the look and feel of a room. As well as providing a great place to primp and preen, a vanity can be a stunning centerpiece of your décor, bringing a sense of grace and calm to your home.

7 Tips on Correct Etiquette When Visiting Open House Inspections

Some real estate agents have seen everything at Open House inspection days. Everything from people turning up with pets, people eating ice-creams and fast food, people with unmentionables stuck on the bottom of their shoes – the list goes on.

Truth is; most home owners are not very comfortable with strangers wandering through their homes, but most accept it as a “necessary evil” if they are to get their home sold. Well all consider our home our own personal space, so having strangers traipsing through our living areas, bedrooms and bathrooms, opening cupboards and closets is somewhat an invasion of our privacy.

That’s why it is really important to follow the proper etiquette when visiting Open Houses. It is important to respect other peoples privacy and property – after all, they still own the home. It is also important to show some respect and courtesy to the agent, as he or she is only doing their job as a salesperson and security guard. I say security guard, because thieves are known to attend Open Houses to steal items and/or inspect security arrangements in preparation for a later burglary.

With all that in mind, here are 7 tips for visiting Open House inspection days:

1. Arrive on time. Most agents hold several Open Houses on the same day. They not only need to find a car park, unlock the home, sometimes have a quick chat with the parting vendor, put up signs/flags, open any doors/windows, put out their marketing materials, be ready to talk with visitors and genuine potential buyers, collect names and details, then lock up the home, and arrive at the next open for inspection on time. It can be a race against the clock, they need to be attentive, yet often put up with rude visitors who consider it a game to annoy agents. It is important to remember the agent is just doing his or her job, and is often working long hours to earn a living. So, the first bit of etiquette is to show some respect for the agent and arrive on time.

2. Remove footwear. It is common courtesy to remove shoes when entering someone else’s home. Even if the home is not that flash, removing shoes is still a sign of respect. The home owner will usually have spent considerable time cleaning and preparing their home for presentation.

3. Supervise children. A busy agent often has genuine buyers to talk to and can’t be expected to babysit children and protect the home owners property from damage.

4. Don’t pry into personal belongings. As children many of us were taught to keep our hands behind our backs when visiting shops. Visiting Open Houses is a bit like that. Touching ornaments, discussing family photos, going through cupboards or clothing is considered unacceptable. However, genuine buyers would be expected to test the water pressure of a shower nozzle and pace out room sizes etc. If unsure, ask the agent.

5. Speak quietly and be careful what you say. The home owner or their friends/family/neighbors might be present, or a genuine buyer might be standing alongside. They won’t want to hear a stranger’s critique – good or bad.

6. Leave your contact details. It is normal courtesy to leave a name and contact details at an Open House inspection. If you decide you are not interested you could quietly tell the agent the property is not what you are looking for.

7. Keep the driveway clear. Home owners will want the entrance to their home to appear spacious and uncluttered. Genuine buyers will want to inspect the driveway for cracks and weeds, so keep the driveway clear and park your car up the street.

In summary; the agent is just doing his or her job (so be polite and respect their time pressures), and show respect for anything that doesn’t belong to you. It might sound a little old-fashioned, but taking personal responsibility and showing respect for others (and their property) is really not a lot to ask.

Things to Look Out for When Buying a New Home

When people are looking for a new home, they are typically looking for a place that has a certain number of bedrooms and bathrooms, is within a certain price range, and located in a specific area. However, there are a number of other factors that prospective homeowners should look out for when viewing homes. If certain products in the home are more than 20 to 30 years old, they may need to be replaced in the future. Home repairs and renovations can cost anywhere from $1,000 to replace an old water heater and its connections, while replacing all of the old windows in your home can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Here are some things that you should be sure to look out for when you are searching for a new home.

Windows

It is fairly easy to tell if the windows in a home have been replaced recently. Old windows often look weathered around the frames and on the glass. You may also be able to feel hot and cold drafts of air if you stand by the windows. You can also try asking the Realtor or homeowner how long it has been since the windows have been replaced in the property.

Roof

If the roofing shingles or the frame around them is rotted, molding, or otherwise damaged, you may have to replace the entire roof of the home if you decide to purchase it. A damaged roof can lead to water leaks inside of the home and can result in additional repairs. On average, the cost of having a new roof installed will run in the $5,000 to $30,000 range, depending on the materials used and the size of the house.

Plumbing

Although it is difficult to see what is going on with a home’s plumbing when walking through it, you will get a report on the plumbing when the inspection is completed. If the inspection report shows that the plumbing in the house is outdated and in need of significant repair, you can expect to pay thousands of dollars to update it.

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