Fall Maintenance for your Home

Just like your car needs maintenance to keep it running, your HVAC system also needs it. Regular HVAC maintenance will reduce energy usage, improve equipment performance, prevent breakdowns and extend equipment life.

I cannot tell you how important it is to get your furnace inspected every year. Here are check points to look for when selecting a company:
• Are they listed with the Better Business Bureau
• Do they replace your filter (Most companies will include this, but there could be an extra charge if you have a large filter. Make sure you let them know the size of your filter.)
• Do they clean your heat exchanger
• Do they check the thermostat reading against what is blowing out of your vents
• Will they make repairs or improvements without your authority
• Is there an extra charge if you have a humidifier
• How important is it that I have a Carbon Monoxide Detector

These are just some of the questions you can ask. When you call a reputable company, they will have no problem explaining what they do, and they will and should stand behind their service.

Just as important is your chimney. Rule of thumb is to always have your chimney checked and cleaned after burning a cord of wood. How do I know what a cord of wood is? A cord measures 4x4x8 feet.

When do I drain my sprinklers? You should always try and get those drained before the first hard frost hits. You can also check to make sure you know which sprinklers need maintenance so those can be repaired before the next season.

What about all my garden hoses? Make sure you drain all of them and coil them up and most importantly, unscrew them from the faucets they are attached too.

While you are in the garage, look at your mower and see if it needs any maintenance done. This would be the time to take it in and have those blades sharpened or oil changed. No rush to get it back, but hopefully you will have it by the time for the first spring mow.

And before the snow blows, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to make sure you have all of your snow shovels ready, along with ice melt and ice scrapers in all the vehicles. What about that snow blower, make sure that is running smoothly before that first snow hits.

Sometimes you think, I don’t have time for all of this, but in the long run, the little bit of time you spend preparing saves you stress when you actually are in the moment of all of it.

Kinning Design Build

Your Kitchen: The Ultimate Dance Floor

As the weather is getting warmer and activities have moved outdoors you may think your kitchen is going to get a rest from constant company. However, we all know that your kitchen is where everyone ultimately ends up.

Your kitchen floor sees it all. Dirty shoes, dirty feet, dirty paws…a lot of dirt and hopefully a little dancing.

When choosing your kitchen floor many factors need to be taken into consideration. Three of those factors are:

-Style/Color

-Material

-Price

Your floors need to match your overall style. Light flooring can draw your eye upward to those beautiful kitchen cabinets you had custom made but light flooring gets dirty a lot quicker than a dark floor. When thinking about choosing a lighter flooring look into a natural stone or tile which is easy to clean. A dark wood floor will draw a lot of attention downward which may be intentional. Your cherry oak floors deserve attention but they may draw your eyes away from your lovely granite countertops. Whatever you choose, match your style but durability and clean-ability are just as important.

The material you choose will be influenced greatly by your style but also keep in mind that your kitchen floor will experience a lot of wear and tear. For those of you who don’t want concrete kitchen floors here are some other durable alternatives:

  • Natural Stone (such as travertine)
  • Tile
  • Hardwood or Engineered Hardwood

The third, and for some of you, most important factor when making these decisions is price. The most important thing is to do your research. Sometimes you get what you pay for so paying extra, especially when it comes to flooring may mean you are getting more value. Try finding your ideal flooring, if it’s out of your price range talk to the flooring company about a similar, less expensive alternative.

Overall, your kitchen is a gathering place whether you want it to be or not so you might as well create a kitchen space that can sustain a little more wear and tear than you plan for.

 

 

 

What to Know About the Air Filter in Your Home

When it comes to air filters, homeowners have many choices. But, regardless of the type or quality of air filter you install, there are a few things you should know about your air filter.

Indoor pollution, both chemical and environmental, is a large concern for homeowners. Not only for those who deal with various allergies and respiratory problems but for those who don’t as well. The air filter uses synthetic materials to catch dust, small particles, and debris. Changing your air filter more frequently could lead to a healthier life and possibly a more inexpensive one as well.

Having a clean air filter will lead to the proper performance of your HVAC and in turn reduce costs. According to the serviceexperts.com, choosing how often you change your air filters depends on many different factors. These factors include:

  • Type of filter your HVAC requires
  • The overall air quality of your city or hometown
  • If you have pets
  • Number of occupants in your house

Obviously the worse the air quality is around you, the more pets you own, and the more people you have living under one roof, the more often you should change your air filter. Some say, change your air filter when it’s dirty but for those who do not find themselves checking the air filter every now and then a good rule of thumb is to check it and most likely change it every other month.

The problem with the $0.99 air filter is that originally is was created to simply protect your HVAC, not create a better air quality in your home. In the case of air filters, the more expensive the air filter, the higher quality you will receive. You get what you pay for so saving a few extra dollars in this category might not be to your benefit or those who dwell in your home.

In conclusion, you should be changing your air filter more than you think especially if you have pets or deal with allergies. Hopefully changing your air filter is a common occurrence for most of you but if it’s not, check your air filter and make sure you are doing your part to  create a healthy environment in your home.

 

 

Solid Surface vs. Granite

When building a new home or remodeling your existing construction you might run into the question of weather to install granite countertops or solid surface (often called Corian).  Corian or Swanstone, aka solid surface, is a man-made stone composed of 33% binding resins and 66% minerals. Granite on the other is extracted directly from the earth which is honed and polished. Both options have their pros and cons but a few different factors play a major role in coming to your decision.

Some factors to consider are:

1.Cost

2. Maintenance

3.Return on Investment

4. Looks

First is the cost factor. Solid surface averages around $75-$120 per square foot. Although prices vary, granite countertops will average around $100-$250 per square foot. It may be more effective cost wise to install solid surface but don’t stop reading here.

Secondly we need to look at maintenance. Solid surface requires zero maintenance and is quite durable. On a solid surface counter and dents or scratches can be buffed out and no continuous sealing is necessary. Granite on the other hand requires some degree of maintenance. Your granite countertop may be factory sealed but every so often it may need additional sealing. It is also true that granite is susceptible to cracking in comparison to solid surface but this is rare. So far solid surface has taken the prize in cost and ease of maintenance but when it comes to return on investment and looks opinions often vary.

When we talk about return on investment what we’re really saying asking is, “do granite countertops really increase the value of your home?” The answer is yes to some degree. By being more expensive than solid surface you are increasing the actual cost of your home but some would argue that granite countertops also increase the psychological value of your home. More home buyers have a strong opinion about having granite countertops therefore having them makes your home more “sellable”. In my opinion, as more and more homes utilize different materials for countertops, backsplash, and flooring the grandiose stigma about granite will slowly fade. Currently, when we look at the factor of return on investment granite is the best option.

Lastly, let’s look at the beauty of each. Design preferences are up to the homebuilder but it is hard to deny the beauty of a granite countertop. Natural stone provides such an organic look and intricate details that solid surface cannot give you. But solid surface doesn’t deserve such a bad rap. Solid surface can create a modern and sleek look with its uniformity.

In my opinion, if you are not completely swayed one way or the other a mixture of both granite and solid surface is a great way to go. Think about the possibility of using an ornate piece of granite for your kitchen island and backsplash and then pulling a darker, neutral color from the granite to use as your solid surface color for the rest of the kitchen and bathrooms. Mixing different mediums is modern, affordable, and visually appealing.