9.29.2020

The Essential Guide To Energy Efficient Homes'

 If you are eager to tighten the purse strings, you might be keen to see your home save you cash rather than become a money pit. It’s all too easy to keep the heating on all winter and leave the windows for another year before you invest in some more double glazing. As your home costs you more and more money, your home becomes less and less efficient. Sustainable, green, and environmentally friendly are the buzz phrases of the moment. Our homes can help us to save money and save the planet at the same time.


If you are eager to make your home more energy efficient, you need to understand the methods that you can invest in to help keep more heat in your home during winter and to maintain a cool atmosphere in the balmy summer months. Take a look at this guide to energy efficient homes.


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Heating


The heating of your home will cost you a small fortune every winter. This is for a number of reasons. Firstly, you need to ensure that you have enough insulation in your loft. This foamy material acts as a cushion to stop the hot air rising from leaving your home. The rooftop of your pad also needs to be inspected. A roofing contractor will soon tell you if you have a missing or slipped tile that could let cold air in and hot air out of your humble abode. Fixing this tiny issue will allow your home to become more heat efficient, saving you money.


Ensure that you move away from the traditional thermostat and opt for a smart alternative instead. The Internet of Things is a marvellous concept that has allowed your home to become semi-automated. As long as you have a 4G or WiFi connection and a smartphone, you can control the heating of your home from your device anywhere in the world. If you are heading home from work one winter evening and it is warmer than usual, you can turn your thermostat down rather than having to pay for unnecessary heating bills.


Look to your windows and check them for drafts. You can be paying for as much heating as you possibly can and yet a cold draft will negate all of your boiler’s power. Get some new glazing installed and enjoy a more constant temperature within your home.


Off-Grid


If you are keen to investigate more radical energy efficient ways of saving money in your home, think about installing solar panels on your roof. While they are expensive to fit initially, they can pay for themselves within a decade. The solar panels will use energy from the sun and convert this into electricity for your home. This means you will no longer have to pay a utility company and you can generate your own power. Going off-grid is empowering and can help you become more mindful of the electricity that you are using within the home. If you generate extra electricity, you can actually sell this back to the grid, making you a little profit.


If solar panels aren’t your thing, consider installing a mini wind turbine in your garden or on your roof. These harness wind power to generate energy for your home in the same way as the sun powers up solar panels.


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Maintenance


Any energy efficient home needs to be well maintained. The holes in your brickwork will need repointing, the slipped tile under your bay window will need replacing, and your home needs to be watertight. Ensure that you have the professionals in to service your appliances as necessary. A yearly service of your boiler is crucial to ensure that it works in an energy efficient way. Often, gas combi boilers can lose pressure and sometimes pipework can become blocked or freeze over. This can result in a massive outlay to get these problems fixed. An annual service will ensure that this doesn’t occur. Preventative measures are always cheaper and less hassle than waiting to fix more costly issues.


Becoming energy efficient is difficult if you don’t know where to start. The costly nature of energy efficient appliances, tools, and gadgets can appear prohibitive to many. However, with government grants and energy efficient schemes, you don’t always have to fork out the full amount to make your home more sustainable.


If you are eager to generate your own electricity, you want to go off-grid, you want to lower the running costs of your pad, and you are eager to do your bit to save the planet, follow this guide and make your home energy efficient.

Big Household Chores You Only Need To Do Once A Year

 


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We all know that living in homes brings with it the responsibility of chores. And try as we might, there's no getting away from them. Every day we have to put in at least some effort to keep things looking respectable. Otherwise, our homes will turn into bombsites, deteriorate, and make us feel stressed. 


But when it comes to household work, could you be doing too much? Might there be some chores you're doing every month that you could get away with doing once per year or maybe less? 


Let's take a look. 


Filing Your Cabinets


Filing is one of those things that all of us need to do at some point. Whether it's tax returns, business portfolios, or letters from your solicitor, having some way to keep all your possessions organized is essential. 


The great thing about this task, though, is that you only usually need to do it once per year. As you go through the months, papers start building up. You can place them in your current year's folder, ready for sorting in the new year when you make your new file. 


You can also investigate the possibility of uploading all your documents to the cloud. The more stuff you can store immaterially, the less you'll have to worry about physical filing cabinets and putting things away. 


Tidying The Attic


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Tidying the attic can seem like a big chore hanging over you at the weekend. But remember, the actual state of your loft only changes very slowly through time. Yes, there will be periods when you wind up using it more often than you usually would, but there are few and far between. Most of the time, your possessions just sit up there, out of sight and out of mind. 


There are only three real citations when you need to tackle mess up there: 


  1. When you're thinking about moving

  2. When you want to install an extension

  3. When you're unable to find the things you need and have to organize the space better


Aside from these, there are no real justifications for worrying about it. For that reason, you can pretty much leave it alone for most of the year, only spending an afternoon now and then sorting things out and remembering what's up there. 


Cleaning Your Mattress


Mattress technology has come a long way in recent years. We're now at the point where the average mattress now only needs a deep clean once every year or so, thanks to the inclusion of natural, antibacterial agents. Modern manufacturers impregnate their products with substances that prevent odor-producing microbes from thriving, stopping your bedding from smelling if you accidentally hit the sack without showering. 


Upholstery Cleaning


Cleaning your upholstery is something you'll want to do about once a year to keep it looking its best and prevent fading. Please note, though, that carpets and sofas are not the same. While you might be able to get away with cleaning the arms on your couch once per year, carpet cleaning is something you'll need to do more often. 


The reason for this comes down to the way that dirt interacts with the fibers in the carpet. Over time, it becomes ingrained, and when it does, regular vacuuming can't remove it. As people step on the carpet with their feet, they create friction between the rug and the dirt, causing individual fibers to fray. 


Carpet cleaning gets around this by removing the majority of dirt particles, leaving floors looking spotless. 


Outdoor Furniture Cleaning


Most outdoor furniture today is exceptionally robust and made of highly weather-resistant materials. Eventually, though, grime will accumulate, and you'll need to get your sponge out to deal with the issue. Don't worry, though; it's usually a quick fix. Just rub the material down with a bit of soap and water and then leave to dry in the heat. Try adding a bit of liquid dishwashing or detergent to your mix if you're struggling to remove grime and blemishes. 


Cleaning Out The Chimney


People can become a bit obsessed with their chimneys and flues because of the risk of fire. They regularly hire chimney sweeps to come over and ensure that their fireplaces can burn efficiently. 


However, the truth is that it takes a very long time for combustible substances for creosote to build up and create a genuine risk for you and your family. Thus, sweeping the chimney is usually something you need to do every twelve months or so. More often than that is a bit of a waste, unless you happen to burn wood or coal every day. 





The Home Health Hazards That Are A Risk In Older Properties'

 Every home comes with a potential of some fire hazards, whether it be a heating system that needs maintenance to a roof that has a potential of springing a leak. However, older homes in particular have a much greater degree of risk that any buyers and homeowners must be aware of. Here are some of the major risks you need to think about looking for and what you can do to fix them.


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The unwanted guests

Not necessarily a risk factor in older homes especially as much as they are a risk in any homes that haven’t been lived in for a long time. From a termite infestation to a family of rats, pets of all manners bring their own health risks. This can include their dander and droppings that can spread disease or worsen air quality to the point that it can exacerbate or even cause respiratory issues. Take a look for the tell-tale signs of pests and hire a control expert if you need them.


Is asbestos as dangerous as you think?

One of the most commonly warned against home health hazards is the now-famous asbestos that was used as insulation and in building homes up until fairly recently, in the 1970s. This substance is best known for causing lung cancer and other respiratory issues in contractors and workers who would work with high quantities of it. However, even though your exposure might be relatively limited in a home that has asbestos in it, long-term damage is still very much a possibility, and you should rely on licensed asbestos removal services to get rid of it.


The colorless killer

Every home comes with a certain amount of carcinogenic risk, whether it’s due to smoking in the home or using things like household bleach. However, radon is a gas that significantly increases the chances of being diagnosed with lung cancer and is a colorless, odorless gas, making it hard to detect. However, with home radon testing, whether with an at-home kit or a professional team, you can get down to the truth of the matter. Professionals can better help you pinpoint and solve the cause of any radon leaks, however.


Don’t meddle with the metal

Lead poisoning is amongst the most widespread causes of ‘sick house syndrome,’ as it is commonly called. Before the 80s, many homes used lead pipes, lead paint, and other instances of this toxic metal. Lead exposure can lead to all manner of health problems, from headaches to chronic fatigue, to memory loss and even permanent brain damage. Lead remains one of the most dangerous toxic substances that we come in contact with most regularly, so it’s essential to have a lead removal specialist come to the home.


Finding any of the issues above in your older home does not mean that it’s going to be unviable to live in. It does, however, mean that you need to take the time to find and address those issues to be able to live there safely.

9.25.2020

Learning To Keep Your Finances Under Control

 Have you had a hard time keeping your finances under control lately? You’re not alone here. A lot of people struggle with finances at some point because they’re not an easy thing to understand. We’re not judging you; we just want to help you get to a place where you are comfortable and not worried about money all the time. That’s exactly what we’ve written this article for, so keep reading if you want to know some of our advice on the topic.


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If You’ve Got Debt


If you have any outstanding debt, figure out a way to pay them off. You can’t run from debt, because it will always catch up with you, making things worse when they do. Of course, the best thing would be not to get into debt in the first place, but that’s not an option right now, so just remember this for the future. Instead of worrying about this, though, it’s time to figure out how you can pay them off. One option that you have is to look into some of the schemes available. If you type something into Google along the lines of what is debt to success system, you should be able to find information on this particular one. But, there are plenty, so don’t limit yourself.


Another option is that you call the people you owe money to directly and be honest with them. Tell them that your circumstances have changed, and you can now only afford to pay them a certain amount on a weekly or monthly basis. If you go to them with a solution in hand, they are more likely to cooperate than if they have to track you down.


Save Where You Can


Saving is always important when it comes to managing your money. You never know when you are going to need some extra cash, which is why it is always handy to have some. We know that this is tough, especially if you are on a limited budget, but we don’t want you to be struggling when an unexpected finance comes up, and then get yourself into debt or more debt. Even if it’s just a little bit here and there, something in the bank for a rainy day is always going to be better than nothing.


Don’t Overspend


Have you noticed that you’ve got a little bit of a problem when it comes to overspending? If so, this is something you’ve got to nip in the bud sooner rather than later. It can be catastrophic to your finances if you’ve budgeted, you know what you’ve got and what you don’t, and yet you continue to spend more than you can afford. You will push yourself into debt, and you’ll have to go through the process all over again to get yourself out. Instead of this, either get some help for your spending, or learn to control it yourself.


We hope that you have found this article helpful and see some of the ways that you can keep your finances under control. It’s not always simple, we know that there are variables in life that make this tough, but we’re sure you’ll get there. We wish you the best of luck.




The Most Effective Ways To Add Value To Your Home'

 

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Certain renovations won’t just improve the appearance of your home – they could also improve it’s value. When it comes to selling your home, this could help you to make more of a return. Here are some of the improvements that are likely to add the most dollars to your home’s price tag.

Add another bedroom

Adding another bedroom to your home could boost its value by 10%. There are numerous ways in which you could do this: you could build an extension, convert an attic, convert a basement or even convert a garage.

If you choose to build an extension, it’s best to hire a professional company such as Brown Building Contractors. You’ll likely need planning permission if you live in an urban area.

A conversion could be cheaper and you might not need planning permission. You’ll likely still need to hire professionals for jobs such as adding electrics, insulation and flooring.

Add another bathroom

Adding an extra bathroom could add 4 to 5% onto the value of your home. You could do this by converting an outbuilding, a garage or even a cupboard under the stairs.

Adding a bathroom can be expensive, but there are some tricks that you can use to save money. You’ll need to hire a professional plumbing company to install your new bathroom fixtures.

Extend a small kitchen

If you have a small kitchen, extending it could have the potential to boost your home’s value by 5%. Side extensions are some of the most common kitchen extensions, but you could also do a front or back extension depending on the location of your kitchen and available space around your home. You could even extend inwards by removing part of another room.

When doing kitchen renovation work, you definitely want to call in the professionals as there could be piping and electrics to install and relocate. Focus on adding more floor space to ensure added value. This guide at Ideal Home offers more tips on extending a kitchen. 

Make your downstairs open plan

Many older homes have closed off rooms. It’s much more desirable nowadays to have an open-plan downstairs layout and could add 3 to 5% value to your home.

Creating an open plan layout isn’t always as simple as knocking down a few walls. There could be electrics and plumbing to relocate and certain walls are likely to be load-bearing – consequently it’s another job that you may want to hire professionals for.

Transform your backyard

Transforming your backyard could boost your home’s value by as much as 10%, depending on its current state.

Improvements to consider could include adding decking, adding a patio, replacing your shed and possibly upgrading fencing. A general tidy-up and a few well-maintained plants could also improve value. You may be able to make these improvements yourself if you’re DIY savvy, or you could hire a landscaping company.

Be wary that not all backyard improvements may add value. In some cases, adding a pool or adding a lot of high maintenance plants may even reduce your home’s value (in areas with hot climates, pools are likely to add value, but in cooler areas they may have the reverse effect due to the maintenance outweighing the likely usage).  

 

 


9.24.2020

Deep Cleaning Your House Ready for the Next Season'

 

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We’re fast approaching the next season of the year. This is always a great opportunity to have a clear out and make your home ready and comfortable for the seasonal change! Sure, we all tend to clean on a regular basis. But these tasks tend to be routine, surface tasks. We’ll vacuum the floors. We’ll wipe sides and surfaces down. We’ll sweep and vacuum floors. We’ll clean the bath and sink. But a deep clean is much more appropriate every once in a while - getting into the areas that might get neglected throughout the rest of the year. Here are a few different steps you might want to take to clean your home properly and thoroughly, leaving everything feeling truly fresh and clean!


Cleaning Carpets


Your carpets go through a fair amount of wear and tear on a daily basis. Whether that’s family members, friends, or other guests walking through with shoes on. Whether that’s pets running through after spending time outside. Whether that’s spills from drinks and food. Now, there are ways to reduce dirt build up in your carpets. You can ask everyone to remove their shoes before entering. You can wash your pet's feet when it’s particularly muddy out. But regardless, dirt of some sort will build up over time. Now, you can tackle surface dirt with your vacuum cleaner. This will pick up debris from the surface of your carpet, such as non-ground in dirt, hair that has shed, pet fur and more. But this doesn’t tackle the problem of ground in dirt, which can provide a hub for bacteria to thrive. Now, you could clean the whole floor with a sponge and cleaning solution. But this isn’t exactly time efficient and may not give an even finish. Instead, why not try hiring a professional carpet cleaner. These devices can be hired and run around your house and will clean your carpet with a proper cleaning solution. They give an even finish and some are even designed to dry quickly, letting you get back to walking on your carpet sooner rather than later. You’ll be astounded by the amount of dirt they pull out and how clean your carpets look after! Alternatively, to save time, you can use professional carpet cleaners as a service and someone will take all of the hard work off your hands!


Cleaning Windows


Cleaning windows is a necessary task, but people don’t often carry it out properly. A dirty window can marr the appearance of a whole room. So take a little time over this task. Start with the insides of your windows. You will need:


  •  window cleaning solution (where possible, try to find an eco-friendly option)

  • a window cleaning cloth or rag

  • a window cleaning squeegee


Once you have the tools and cleaning solutions, the actual process of cleaning your window should be simple. Just spray the window, then wipe it down thoroughly. It’s as simple as that! Keep going until the window is smear free!


Cleaning the outside of your windows is a bit more of a complex task. So why not bring in the professionals who can carry the task out safely and complete the work to a high standard? They’ll be able to reach all the nooks and crannies and will leave a smear free finish!


Miscellaneous Tasks


Of course, there are all sorts of miscellaneous tasks that you might want to carry out if you’re planning on deep cleaning your house. These tend to be the tasks that get neglected and forgotten about during a routine clean. The areas that don’t seem dirty, but where dirt can build up over time. Here are a few examples to try.


Cleaning Skirting Boards


Your skirting boards tend to go pretty unnoticed. But their ledge can see a build up dust over time. So, every once in a while, get a damp cloth and wipe them down. You can use a cleaning solution to thoroughly clean them. It’s a small task but can actually make the whole room feel a lot cleaner.


Clean the Toilet Thoroughly


Of course, we clean the toilet regularly. But how often do you give it a good scrub? This can make all the difference and leave it truly sparkling!



These are just a few deep cleaning tasks that could prove appropriate for your home. For further steps, simply look around and see what needs to be tackled! Tasks vary from one home to another, so only you will know what’s absolutely best!

Planning Your Next Getaway? Choose RV Travel!

 In recent years it has become more popular for people to ditch costly hotels, flights, and trains, and to travel by good old fashion RV. 


The great thing about an RV is if you can hire them for a reasonable price or just get your own. You can purchase an older one and renovate the inside and turn it into something unique.


If you are an avid traveler, you probably wonder why RV is the best way to travel and if it would suit you.


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A quick look at the RV, and Van live hashtags on Instagram will show you how popular it has become, as well as how creative you can get with the inside of your RV. 


And how freeing it can be to travel by four wheels!

Money

When you go to a hotel, you’ll end up with a nightly cost; you’ll then need to cover the cost of all of the restaurants, meals out, all the additional hotel tab for food. When using an RV that cuts all those costs, you’re going to need gas money and groceries though. But it works out much cheaper because most RVs have food storage like a refrigerator. 


You can also find many RV parks online, and many of these are free. 


There are several wild camping phone applications; they will help you find places to park in safely overnight, and often these are free. 


Harvest Hosts have a membership option and are very much worth it if you choose to travel by RV. You can stay as long as any host allows, and some of them even offer free hookups. 


It’s a nice idea to bring gifts for your plot owner anyway, things like eggs, jams, spreads, and other items you have picked up on your travels.

It’s Like Traveling With Your Home

One of the best things about having an RV is if you have a dog, cat, or even a gerbil, you can take it with you. Not only that, but you can take your comfortable pillows, duvet covers, blankets, and all the other creature comforts that keep you comfortable at home.


One of the things you might want to consider upgrading will be the mattress, a Venus memory foam mattress is ideal for inside an RV. They’re long-lasting, so you’ll get the benefits each time you travel.

Flexibility

If you like to do things spontaneously or there are several things that you want to see you but they are some miles apart, then RV travel is perfect for that. When you book a hotel and plane tickets, you’re quite tied to a very specific itinerary. 


With an RV, you can plan where you want to go and when you want to go there, even if it’s first thing in the morning or last thing at night. It’s very flexible, and your RV is always ready to go when you are.


RV travel is affordable and gives you a great sense of freedom. This is why if you’re planning your next getaway, you should choose and RV!



9.23.2020

Improving Your Posture: What You Need To Know'

 

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Do you struggle with poor posture? Are people always telling you not to slouch? Then you might benefit from reading this article and putting some of the advice to good use. Lots of people bend over slightly when they walk, and that can cause lots of pain and complaints in the long-term. 


Considering that, you might like to take a moment to check out some of the suggestions below and use them on a daily basis. It is more than possible to correct your posture and ensure you never suffer foot or back pain again. You just need to use some common sense. 


Keep your shoulders and back relaxed


If you have issues with your posture at the moment, any decent Chiropractor will recommend you work on keeping your shoulders and back relaxed. That could mean you have to stop walking and take a moment to breathe deeply. Your muscles become tight when you feel tense, and you need to turn that situation around as soon as possible. 


Take the time to visit a reputable Chiropractor in your local area and ask for their advice. In most instances, the professional will suggest that you reduce your walking speed and pay close attention to the tension in your neck, shoulders, and back. Whenever you feel the muscles tighten up, it’s time to take a break and let them relax. 


Wear the correct footwear


The shoes you wear every day can play a significant role in your posture. You can even purchase specialist shoes that are custom-made for your feet if you have the money to invest. The basic rule of thumb is that you need to select footwear designed to provide as much support as possible. 


High-heels and other shoes are not suitable if you have posture issues. You need trainers or boots with a thick, padded sole for the best outcomes. You also need support at the back of the ankle, and so high-tops are often a popular choice. 


Balance your weight evenly


Many people have posture issues because they fail to balance their weight evenly on their legs. That can also result in you feeling a lot of pain. Take a look in the mirror when you walk and see if you appear to lean to one side. If that happens, there is a chance you need to work on weight distribution.


Attempt to learn your body towards the opposite side when you walk for the best results. It will feel a little strange at the beginning, but you’ll get used to it. If you consciously do that every time you leave the house, it is possible you will train your body to walk with the correct posture in only a few months. 


You should now have some excellent ideas for strategies that could improve your posture and give you more confidence. Walking in the correct way will also mean you limit the number of back injuries you sustain during your life, and you should remove some of those aches and pains too. Don’t forget that you can always book an appointment to see your doctor if you have any further concerns. 

Is Your Pain All In Your Head?

 


Are you suffering from issues with chronic pain? If so, then it might be worth exploring whether the issue is psychological. It’s worth noting that your brain causes trigger feelings of pain and makes you feel as though you are suffering from a form of physical trauma. While this is quite rare, it can impact anyone from the old to the very young. So, let’s explore this issue in more detail. 


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What Psychological Issues Cause Pain?


There are numerous issues that can cause psychological pain. For instance, you might be suffering from PTSD. People who suffer from PTSD have been known to suffer from symptoms of physical pain. This could include backache or even severe headaches. The most commonly known psychological pain is phantom pain. This is triggered when someone loses a limb. The nerves keep firing which causes a person to feel pain similar to that of a tightly clenched fist. 



What Does Psychological Pain Feel Like?


Psychological pain can feel very real and may often be mistaken for true physical trauma. It can be intense or even excruciating. The important fact to remember about psychological pain is that it is real to the person who is experiencing it. So, for all intents and purposes, it is just like a true form of pain, even if there is actually no physical cause. This is something that many people fail to understand. 


Try Physical Treatments


Before you conclude that your pain is psychological, you should always consult with a doctor. They will check the area where you are experiencing pain to determine whether there are physical signs of trauma. If there are any signs like this they will probably offer treatment through medicine or even physical therapy. Both can be effective at dealing with long term physical pain. It is also possible for surgery to be an option. However, there are significant risks with any form of surgery. Particularly surgery on the back. Instead, you should consider speaking to a local chiropractor. They can help you if you are struggling with something like lower back pain that isn’t actually psychological. Back pain can be due to injuries that were sustained years ago. 


Consider Cognitive Therapy 


Finally, if there are no signs of physical trauma then you might want to consider cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy can be used to address the root cause of pain like this. So, it might be related to a memory or an event that happened deep in your past. With an expertly cognitive therapist, you can dig deep and find the relief that you might desperately need. 


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We hope this helps you understand some of the reasons why you might be experiencing psychological pain and the possibilities that you can explore here. Dealing with your psychological pain is always going to greatly improve your quality of life because this can be a massive burden. Once you find a way to handle your pain the right way it can feel as though a massive weight has lifted in your life. 


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