8 Ways NOT to Save Money on Home Improvements

Home improvements can be expensive, so many people look for ways to save money on the project. And while it’s okay to try to save money, there are some areas where cutting corners can be a disaster waiting to happen.

Electrical

Always have electrical work done by a qualified professional electrician. They will need to be licensed and insured. If you do feel you are qualified to do electrical work yourself, spend a little extra to have the work inspected by a pro. Improper electrical work can cause a fire that can totally destroy your home.

Furnace or Fireplace Repairs

Again, it is important to use a qualified professional to avoid fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Plumbing

Water leaks are a common source of structural damage and unhealthy mold, as well as high water bills. A licensed plumber will be insured, so if they make a mistake, it will be fixed.

Permits

In many areas, failing to get the proper permits may result in substantial fines and penalties. Authorities may even demand that you undo the improvement.

Doing Part of the Job Yourself

You may be able to realize some savings by doing some work yourself, but make sure you know EXACTLY what you need to do. For example, if you are removing a wall to build on an addition, make sure it isn’t a load bearing wall. The idea is to make the job easier for your contractor: if you make their job harder, you will end up paying more.

Debris Disposal

Dumpsters are expensive. But in most locations, you can’t put construction debris out with your regular trash. You may not even be able to haul it to the dump. A dumpster is worth the cost.

Ultra Low Bids

If you put the job up for bid, most of the bids will be in the same price range. An ultra-low bid may be due to using inferior materials, “under-the-table” labor, or failing to meet common requirements, such as bonded employees, errors & omissions insurance, or worker’s compensation. These situations can damage your home or subject you to theft, legal penalties or even lawsuits.

Door-to-Door Scam Artists

Many home improvement frauds are perpetrated by itinerant contractors using inferior materials, high pressure tactics, and low bids to entice unsuspecting homeowners. Always get a second opinion if a contractor approaches you to do immediate “emergency” repairs.

By properly preparing for your home improvement project, you and your contractor can help keep costs in line while still getting a quality job done in a reasonable time frame.

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Home Improvement Ideas for an Energy Efficient Home

Many people think about whirlpool tubs and designer kitchens when they consider a home improvement plan, but there’s increasing interest in energy efficiency as an attractive feature in a home. With gas and electricity prices on the rise and green issues now high on many people’s agenda, energy efficiency can increase the selling price of a home.

Improving a home’s energy efficiency doesn’t necessarily mean investing in an expensive solar power system. A few simple changes and improvements can result in more effective use of gas and electricity, and lower monthly bills. Unlike some home improvement projects, making better use of energy is something you can develop over time. The following home improvements can bring substantial savings over a year.

Plug leaks and improve insulation.

Most homes are poor at retaining heat, and this can get worse as a home shows signs of age. Small leaks and gaps around windows and doors are often the cause of valuable heat loss. Cracks in external walls and loose roof tiles are another common source of warm air escaping.

A range of products is available from any DIY store to tackle the problem of losing heat from leaks and cracks around your home. Expandable sealant and weather stripping are cheap to buy and easy to apply. This is a home improvement project you can complete in a weekend. If window frames are beyond basic repair, consider replacing them. Fitting new windows to your home isn’t cheap, but it’s a home improvement project which will deliver returns on the investment.

Look at energy efficient lighting.

Incandescent light bulbs are being phased out in some countries as they use so much energy. Modern compact fluorescent bulbs and light emitting diode bulbs are just as bright, and use around seventy percent less energy. Switching to energy efficient bulbs throughout your home can be expensive, but the savings on electricity bills will soon cover the initial costs.

Lighting is one of the main uses of energy in most homes, and it’s worth looking at how you light each room and what the room is actually used for. It’s possible to make better use of natural daylight in some rooms, and there may be very little need for light bulbs. Painting rooms in pale colours and clever use of mirrors can make a room appear might lighter.

Introduce some alternative energy.

Solar panels have fallen in price in recent years, and installing a basic solar energy system is cheaper than many people believe. There’s a misconception that a home has to be a in a warm climate to make use of solar energy, but daylight rather than bright sunshine is all that’s needed. If you have a south facing roof and live in an area with good daylight hours, you have the potential to generate some electricity from the sun. You can start with just a few solar panels and build up a system over time.

Green and renewable energy technology is developing at a rapid pace, and geothermal energy is becoming a practical option for home heating. A geothermal heat pump can be used to heat or cool your home and supply hot water. A small wind turbine is another option for creating some green energy for your home. Anything you can do to reduce your home’s reliance on traditional energy sources will save you money and make your home more attractive to most potential buyers.

Make use of technology.

Intelligent thermostats and smart meters are now commonly available, and they can deliver significant savings on your home energy bills. Most families waste around twenty to thirty percent of the energy used at home, and modern technology can help you to understand this and make better use of the gas and electricity you are paying for.

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A Foolproof DIY Home Improvement

Among the biggest winners of the 2012 stock market was Home Depot – up just a tad over 47%. This reflects renewed confidence in the housing recovery and the willingness of home owners to once again sink some money back into their properties in the form of home improvements.

Many of these projects are of the DIY variety such as decks, patios, or bath and kitchen upgrades.

Although most of these do it yourself projects have happy endings, many languish in a half finished state for months or are never completed. Worse yet, some end up looking like, well, I don’t want to be unkind, but we’ve all seen examples of what I’m referring to.

But who can blame a guy or gal for trying? If these do it yourself projects were so easy there wouldn’t be a need for trade schools or apprenticeships.

There is, however, one DIY home improvement that guarantees a 100% success rate no matter how skillful you are (or not) as a home handyman/woman. The foolproof home improvement I’m alluding to here is the electric fireplace.

Now I know some of you reading this probably wouldn’t put an electric fireplace in the same category of home improvement as a bathroom vanity or kitchen cabinets, but before you pass judgement, consider these criteria for what qualifies as a home improvement.

A home improvement should:

1. Provide a tangible benefit: An electric fireplace provides supplemental zone heating to any room in your house for as little as 15ยข an hour. Many models are also capable of operating with the fan only for year round use and include a washable air filter.

2. Beautify your home: An electric fireplace is sure to become the focal point of any room where it is installed.

3. Retain as much value as possible: According to a recent article in Bloomberg.com titled “The Real cost of Home Improvement” the most popular upgrades recoup between 51% and 72% of their cost when the house is subsequently resold.

Since an electric fireplace is not a permanent fixture, it can be moved from home to home without incurring any additional costs and loses not of its value.

Now for the “Foolproof DIY Home Improvement” claim. Electric fireplaces do require assembly which is the DIY part. But if you can follow simple directions, and have mastered the art of the screwdriver, you’ll not only do it right the first time, your finished mantlepiece will look like you spent years studying the fine art of cabinet making.

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The Shocking Truth About Electrical Home Improvement

When facing a home repair job that needs electrical home improvement, you should consult a professional, or hopefully take a class at your local building supply store for the best results. This article will expose some of the primary concerns when tackling the wiring in your home. Learn what to avoid and how to make the project one that is executed correctly.

Safety First

When working with electrical current and wires, it is advisable to wear rubber soled shoes to avoid being shocked. There are still other dangers involved, but this is one that is often overlooked. Also, make sure that the surrounding environment you are working in is clear from any water. Water and electricity do not mix. If you are using tools for your electrical home improvement, make sure that all of the cords are safe and clear of any damage. Caution – Make sure to check them when they are unplugged, and if you find any open wiring on any of the cords be sure to tape them with some good quality electrical tape or discard them and use a cord that you know is safe.

Start With A Smaller Project

Before you take on an electrical home improvement project, it is better to start with something you have more confidence or experience with. Changing a light switch might be a good place to start You could make some decorative changes to the light switches while you are learning about wiring in your home.

Installing A Circuit Box

One of the bigger electrical home improvement jobs that you may face is, changing out an old circuit breaker box and installing a new one. If you live in a home that was built several years ago there is a good chance that an electrical home improvement project is in order for this area of the home. Before beginning this type of project you should consult with your local electrical supply store. If you are the least bit unsure of yourself you should definitely consider having a licensed professional electrician do this job for you. It could mean the difference between life and death.

Try Installing a Ceiling Fan

One electrical home improvement project you might want to try is to install a ceiling fan in the bedroom or family room. This is a rather simple project if you are careful. If you purchased a new ceiling fan it should come with some detailed instructions for installation. If you are installing a ceiling fan that did not come with directions, you can usually find help at your local building supply store. Another tip for this type of project is to make sure you have some electrical tape and twist nuts for the wires. When tackling your next electrical home improvement project, make sure that you’re well prepared and stay safe.

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Electrical Home Improvement Project

If you are thinking of the next project for Electrical Home Improvement try one of the new home electrical systems. These “home improvement electrical” systems are very cheap to build and install, will also save you a lot of money in electricity bills from your provider. These systems can be an add-on one step at a time until your home becomes 100% self powering.

In the last 100 years our civilization has invented the airplane, gone to the moon and living in space. We have invented the electric tube and the printing press which have both developed and merged into computers and instant mass media access, and some of these had their beginning in small electrical home improvement projects developed in the back yard or basements.

Energy, the biggest Industry in the World has been left behind in the Stone Age by remaining total dependent on carbon fossil fuels. The majority of our Home Energy needs produced today come from Hydro Electric (dams), Steam (carbon fossil fuels) or Nuclear; these are very unfriendly to the environment contributing to the green house effect and global warming. There has been a few people working on home improvement systems to finding ways of alternate energy sources and have scaled these into a single affordable home electrical improvement package.

It has only been in the last 20 years that improvement to electrical home supply has been seriously looked at with the development of Wind, Solar and Magnetic Generators, and this is only because the general population started to become concerned about environmental issues. Our whole civilization is 100% dependent on electricity to make our life comfortable and achieve the all our advancements. Why then has the method of burning fossil fuels to produce electricity not changed in the last century?

There are alternative home electric systems available to you that are home size that come in the form of electrical home improvement plans or kits. They are easy to build or install, safe to operate, affordable and will supply enough electricity to operate your entire home.

The two main benefits you receive by taking on one of these electrical home improvement projects:

1. Save your money by not paying for electricity.

2. These systems operate pollution free and you will be helping to reduce global warming.

Let us be honest here, the electricity supply companies are not going to sell you a stand-alone free electrical home improvement system, in fact can start manufacturing a system without encountering massive opposition. This is why these electricity producing electrical home improvement projects are sold on the internet. You can build them at home with materials from your local hardware store or buy a assembled kits and have the system install any local handyman can do this.

The different types of Electrical Improvement projects for alternative home electricity systems and be found at the links located within this article. There is a lot more detailed information at this review site to a comprehensive comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of each electrical home improvement project type.

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