Blogs in categories Informational Articles

Re-caulking Your Shower

Posted by Admin | Sunday, August 28th

If you ask any local handyman or contractor how often you should re-caulk your shower and tub, most will say about every three to five years however, some people choose to make this a yearly task. It’s important to remove old caulk because moisture can get inside your wall which in turn can cause mildew and even damage sheetrock.

If you decide to take on this project yourself, here are the steps to take when replacing the caulk:

Clean the area: Use a bathroom cleanser/soap scum remover to pre-clean the area. Cut or scrape away old caulk with a knife or razor blade. It should peel off easily. To soften stubborn and/or dried caulk use commercial caulk remover or a hairdryer to warm the caulk. This will allow you to scrape it away more easily. You can also use a heat gun however, be careful not to overheat any particular area of the bathtub or shower stall. Work your way around the edge of the tub or shower, softening and then removing the caulk with your razor, screwdriver or knife.... READ MORE >

Making Your Kitchen More Energy Efficient

Posted by Admin | Friday, July 29th

If you’re looking for ways to improve the energy efficiency of your kitchen and save on energy bills, there are ways to make the changes without breaking the bank. The kitchen uses more energy than any other room in the house. Here are a few tips to reduce your energy usage and costs:

Lighting
The light fixtures in your kitchen are a big contributor to your energy cost, especially during the night. Install ENERGY STAR qualified light fixtures or replace standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). According to ENERGY STAR, their qualified lighting provides bright, warm light while using 75% less energy, generating 70% less heat and lasting up to 10 times longer than standard lighting. Remember to always turn off your lights when leaving the room.
If you’re planning to remodel your kitchen, think of ways to bring in natural lighting. Make windows wider, knock down walls, add skylights or put in French doors to connect to another room. This will allow the sun to...
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IRS Home Improvement Tax Credits!

Posted by Admin | Monday, November 9th

It's not often the Internal Revenue Service tries to help you save money. So, if you're looking to make a few home improvements, you may want to get to work while the government is in a giving mood.


"There's actually a way for homeowners to invest in some energy efficient improvements and actually save some money twice," said the IRS's Michelle Eldridge.


It's part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Make your home more energy efficient and get back part of what you've spent at tax time.


"Replacing windows and doors or perhaps replacing your heating and air-conditioning system or maybe adding insulation. All of these products, even roofs in some cases, can qualify you for this energy credit," said Eldridge.


Here's how it works. You get to claim 30 percent of the cost of improvements up to a maximum tax credit of $1,500. Installation costs, though, do not apply.


But Eldridge says do your homework and make sure the product qualifies before you buy.

"What you're looking for is a tax... READ MORE >

Top Kitchen & Bath Values

Posted by Admin | Thursday, August 6th

Cut costs without sacrificing style

This article is the archived version of a report that appeared in August 2009 Consumer Reports magazine.

Gone are the giddy days of a red-hot real estate market and free-flowing credit that made six-figure renovations sound almost sensible. We say good riddance. Instead of chasing bright shiny objects—the 42-inch professional range or an $800 faucet with an oil-rubbed bronze finish—homeowners are rediscovering their own definitions of beauty and value.

While remodeling activity is down, it's not out—especially in the kitchen and bathroom. When we asked 724 American homeowners which room they'd renovate first, the kitchen and bathroom easily led. And in a separate survey of 4,171 readers who remodeled their bathroom in the last five years, 42 percent of those projects were completed in 2008 or 2009.

Whether you're managing pros or doing some or all of the work yourself, our kitchen and bath guide will tell you which products live...

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