Category: Home improvement


How An Air Conditioning Service Can Save You Money

August 1, 2017

Home improvement

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When times are tight, many homeowners try to find ways to cut a few corners and save a little cash. However, before you contemplate cancelling your regular service for your air conditioner, you should be aware that it could save you lots of money.

Essential Air Conditioning Maintenance:
Many homeowners don’t understand the extent to which an air conditioning service is actually essential maintenance for your equipment. Regular servicing does beyond the basic changing of filters that you can do yourself; the technician will evaluate the system to determine if any adjustments are needed to optimise performance and efficiency.

Minimise Repair Costs:
Most of us have experienced that sinking feeling when a repair bill comes in much higher than we expected. While this may seem unpredictable, regular servicing can preempt some of these unpleasant repair surprises. The reason for this is that the technician can check for worn components which can be replaced before they cause a breakdown. This is usually far more cost effective and will minimise the repair costs. You can also minimise the risk of a cascade failure allowing repair costs to spiral out of control.

Avoid Call Out Fees:
The first thing you are likely to notice on an emergency air conditioning repair bill is the hefty call out fee. Chances are a breakdown will occur at the worst possible moment, so you may find that you are calling out a technician during the evening or at the weekend. This means that you will need to pay a call out fee before the technician even opens their toolkit. However, if your system has been checked regularly, you will minimise the risk of a sudden breakdown.

Save on Your Energy Bills:
In addition to keeping your equipment functioning, regular air conditioning services will also ensure that you are operating at optimum efficiency. Over time, even the most energy efficient equipment can lose efficiency as it suffers wear and tear. Fortunately, this can be mitigated with a regular service. During the service, the technician will check all of the components and settings to provide you with as high efficiency as possible. Since heating and cooling represents the largest percentage of domestic energy bills, this could mean you would see significant savings.

Prolonged Equipment Lifespan:
The final and most often overlooked benefit of regular servicing is that it can prolong the lifespan of your equipment. Most manufacturers estimate that air conditioning systems will last between ten to fifteen years on average. However, these figures can only be accomplished if the system benefits from proper care. Although you may want to save a little money, by investing in a regular service, you could enjoy an extended equipment lifespan, saving you money in the long term.

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of an air conditioning service, Perth homeowners should contact us. The Air Cair team has experience and expertise in all aspects of air conditioning maintenance, repair, and servicing. We would also be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Maintain Fire Fighting Equipment To Ensure Prolonged Safety

August 1, 2017

Home improvement

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Fire fighting is a difficult job, and involves taking a lot of real time risks that every fire fighter will attest to. The reality, though, is that not everyone can be a fire fighter, however, if preliminary fire fighting equipment is installed in a home or office, this can be a lifesaver in times of accidental fire outbreaks. These products protect people and property during fire mishaps; and when duly installed, people feel safer in their homes and workplaces. Therefore, fire fighting equipment is immensely important, and is absolutely necessary for the safekeeping of home and office dwellers by ensuring optimal fire protection. However, only installation of fire equipment is not enough to ensure fire safety. Their regular inspection and maintenance also plays a crucial role in ensuring prolonged fire safety and prevention of any accidents that can cause extensive damage to life or property.

Various Fire Equipment To Maintain:
Any fire equipment installed in a home needs to be fully functional and must be capable of providing safety for a long duration of time with relatively good maintenance. Maintenance is the only way to ensure optimal functionality of these commodities; and for that purpose, frequent inspections including monthly and quarterly fire safety inspections are absolutely necessary. Ask fire suppliers and servicing houses for the contacts of experts and professionals who can visit your home or office at regular time intervals to inspect and keep an eye on the equipment. The fire equipment that is usually checked by professionals include:
• Fire alarms
• Fire signs
• Sprinkler machines
• Fire extinguishers
• Emergency lighting
• Dry, aerosol or foam extinguishers
• Fire hydrants
• Smoke control system
• Fire doors

Various above-mentioned items can be purchased from various fire fighting equipment suppliers. The most important step is to choose a reliable supplier, and to purchase best quality goods, rather than just hunting for cheap options. Fire safety is a serious issue and hence no compromise on quality of objects should be made. Extend your budget, if needed, however, this can be avoided if you do ample market research, since there are many good fire equipment suppliers who offer exciting deals on high standard products that are known to be the best in the market.

Subscribing to fire fighting equipment inspection plan:
Any standard maintenance routine involves 24/7 support for fire equipment servicing. Any maintenance plan provided by a fire servicing professional must include inspection of fire safety objects, timely detection of worn out parts and their immediate replacements, and disposal of faulty parts. A comprehensive plan covers all charges including experts’ attendance, replacement of parts, and so on. Minor and major replacements must be covered under a comprehensive maintenance plan. There are a number of service providers who offer professional fire equipment maintenance services. Subscribing to a useful monthly or quarterly plan is a good way to ensure fire safety of your building.

Fire extinguisher maintenance services:
Probably the most important equipment in your fire fighting arsenal is the fire extinguisher which comes in many types, such as CO2 extinguisher, foam based fire extinguisher, and gaseous and liquid extinguishers. Since it is a key fire fighting equipment it should be checked and maintained regularly to ensure optimal operation of such equipment. Use the services of a professional to check its pressure limits, any signs of corrosion or damages, and need for refill or replacement to ensure that these devices are in working condition and will be able to deliver the best performance when the need arises and not fail at the last moment.

Maintenance professionals often keep a track record of their services, and such records must be examined before you decide to sign up with anyone, no matter how reputed they may appear at first glance.

There should be no compromise to fire safety and fire fighting equipment even if it is expensive. Do your research well in advance, and buy good quality equipment from the most reliable suppliers of fire fighting equipment. Subscribe to a fire fighting equipment inspection plan to make sure that your fire extinguishers are checked by professionals regularly and are ready to use in case of a fire.

5 Great Garage Conversion Ideas

August 1, 2017

Home improvement

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Does your garage currently serve as a storage room for your things, and less for your car? Consider taking your unused space and converting it to a new space for your family to enjoy. Turning your under utilized space into a functional room for your family can save you money as opposed to adding on an entire addition. According to SF Gate,

“CNN suggests converting unfinished spaces like basements, garages and attics into bedrooms. This can save you 50 to 60 percent over the cost of adding on to your home because you eliminate the need for new foundations, roofing and exterior walls. You may also be able to make minor renovations to combine unused or underutilized spaces to make them more functional.”

Garage conversions have almost unlimited possibilities. We have put together our top 5 favorite room options for converting your space:

1: Expanded kitchen. If your kitchen is currently next to your garage, consider expanding your kitchen and dining area size. Large kitchens are the perfect place to entertain your friends and family. An expanded kitchen is perfect if you currently have a single car garage and would like a little more space for entertaining. We love this example of a kitchen and breakfast area addition on Houzz. Click here to see the before and after pictures.

An estimated 60.6 million Americans now live in multi-generational homes, defined as “a household with two or more adult generations,” and it shows no signs of slowing down. There are many reasons for a household to turn into a multi-generational home.

With a large number of baby boomers that are financially able to include their parents or adult children in their homes, it allows for families to strengthen relationships with one another while living under the same roof. For many, it gives a “peace of mind” knowing that they can see their parents or children at home.

3: Home office. With the increase in the number of telecommuter jobs, it is now more vital for families to have a designated home office area.

A garage to home office conversion may be beneficial if you are often distracted by things around the house. It adds a much needed privacy to get work done. By having a home office separate from the rest of the home, it will allow for workers to be able to concentrate more on their work and have to experience less distractions. Plus, Bank Rate claims that 44% of buyers would pay an extra $1,920 to pay for a home that already includes a home office.

4: Game room or playroom. A converted garage space can mean more room for your family to get together and “hang out.” The extra square footage could be perfect for a family with smaller children, or serve as a hang out or homework area for older kids. This type of conversion is perfect for adding built-ins for extra storage and for hiding the kids’ games and toys.

5: First floor master suite. If you plan on staying in your home for as long as possible, it may be a good idea to introduce the possibility of a first floor master suite. Having a first floor master becomes more and more convenient as you age. In addition to convenience, first floor master suites are often separated from kids’ rooms-which adds an element of privacy. Even if you want to stay close to your kids upstairs for a while, the downstairs suite can be used as a guest bedroom. This garage conversion would be convenient for years to come.

A garage conversion is a great way to add more living space to your home without having to build a pricy addition. There are many ways to convert your garage to a space that suits your family’s needs. The price of a garage conversion can vary greatly-depending on factors such as plumbing, electrical, insulation, etc. Each garage conversion would be different based on the family’s needs and ideal finishes. Balducci understands that. We would be more than happy to work with you on creating a plan to living area to your home.

4 Major Components of a Kitchen Remodel

August 1, 2017

Home improvement

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Have you been dreaming of remodeling your kitchen? Whether it be to create more space, update the look, or increase your home value, kitchen remodels are a great investment for your home. Here are 4 major components of a kitchen remodel:

1. Layout

The layout of your kitchen is one of the most, if not the most, important components of your kitchen remodel. Since kitchens often undergo so much usage, it is important that the work flow is efficient and works for your needs. Some experts say that a no-fail solution to efficient kitchens is the “work triangle.” The work triangle was developed in the 1940’s to examine the efficiency between the three major kitchen appliances: the refrigerator, sink, and stove. The “work triangle” is a great tool to use when planning your kitchen layout.

2. Materials and Finishes

The materials and finishes you choose will largely depend on your budget and personal preferences. Some major decisions that need to be made for a kitchen remodel include: countertop material, cabinetry, and flooring. Material options can dramatically range in prices, so it is important to do your research on each option. Some popular countertop materials include granite, quartz, laminate, concrete, and marble. Flooring options range from ceramic tile, hardwood, linoleum, vinyl, among many others. Cabinets are also available in a wide range of materials including: solid wood, plywood panel, aluminum, wood veneer, and polyethylene.

3. Lighting

Kitchens require lots of light for safety when cooking. Along with adding safety to your kitchen, lights can set the tone of the whole space. Like cabinets, flooring, and countertops, there are many lighting options for your kitchen. A good option for kitchens are several can lights, pendant lights over a bar/breakfast bar area, and under-cabinet lighting. Lighting is also a good way to make some energy-efficient choices through choosing LED or fluorescent bulbs.

4. Finishing Touches

Finishing touches can make or break a space. Some finishing touches to keep in mind are: paint color, seating options, backsplash, as well as other decorative items. A good rule of thumb is to contrast your cabinet color with your paint color to add some dimension to your space. For example, a dark paint color paired with dark cabinetry could leave the room feeling too dark. Create the illusion of more light by choosing a lighter color. The same concept applies to your backsplash. Your backsplash should contrast with your cabinet and countertop, as well as add visual interest to the space. Don’t be afraid to steer from subway tiles and choose a more decorative option. The finishing touches of the space are a great way to let your personality shine through.

There are many factors that have to be considered in a kitchen remodel, including: layout, materials, lighting, and the finishing touches. A kitchen remodel can be an overwhelming and stressful project if it is not planned out, which is why it is important to get a professional’s opinion and guidance. If you are considering a kitchen remodel for your home, feel free to call Balducci Additions and Remodeling to schedule a no-obligation appointment.

Small Curb Appeal Updates with a Big Impact

August 1, 2017

Home improvement

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Does your home’s exterior look less than inviting? Before undergoing a huge home improvement project, consider these small curb appeal updates that yield a huge impact on your home’s curb appeal:

Dress Up the Front Door

We did a previous post on replacing entry doors that covers just how much a new entry door can make a difference to your home. Check out the blog post here. Entry doors make a huge impact on guests as they enter your home. A dirty, old entry door can steer guests away and suggest a negative view of the interior of your home. By replacing or updating your entry door, you can create an inviting first impression to guests.

Replace Old Hardware

Old hardware can date the exterior of a home. By updating house numbers, door knockers, door bells, and locks, you can significantly update your home’s curb appeal with little time and effort. When replacing hardware, make sure that all of the finishes complement one another to create a cohesive look!

Consider Lighting

Your home’s curb appeal can make a huge difference. Lighting can create a welcome ambiance for your home, as well as add security and safety. One option would be to replace or install wall light fixtures next to your entry door. Another option would be to include some low-voltage, or solar powered, landscape lighting to light up the walkway leading to your home’s entryway.

Add Plants

Adding plants is a great way to add life to your home’s exterior and to create some serious curb appeal. New plants can be incorporated in your landscaping, by adding flower boxes, or incorporated around your entryway. Don’t have a huge front yard, or no yard at all? Purchase ready made containers from your local garden center.

Update Mailbox

When updating your home’s exterior, don’t forget about the mailbox! Your mailbox should complement your home’s architectural style and exterior colors. A good tip is to match your mailbox to your home’s exterior trim color and complement it with a post color that matches your siding color. Before choosing a new mailbox, it is also important to check with your neighborhood HOA to find out if a particular mailbox is required.

These tips are a great way to create a more inviting look for your home’s exterior. If these tips aren’t enough to transform your home, it may be wise to consider contacting an expert, such as Balducci Exteriors to help you transform your curb appeal into one that will have all of the neighbors jealous.

6 Tips to Prevent Mold Growth

August 1, 2017

Home improvement

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Mold spores are a regular part of indoor air and live on walls furniture and clothes in the humid climate of Palm Coast, Florida. Usually mold comes from outside sources, although regular household cleaning will keep levels low. regular heavy duty cleaning of shows and baths where spores accumulate is essential for a healthy home.

If your Florida home has a significant level of mold growth, however, that’s cause for concern. Spores can flourish wherever there is a leak, flood or high levels of humidity. This growth usually leads to high levels of airborne mold, which in turn triggers additional growth as spores travel to other areas inside your Florida home that also have high moisture levels.

An extensive mold infestation damages your Florida home’s interior and its furnishings. including carpets and cabinets. Over time, uncontrolled mold growth can even invade structural elements. Even though there is no practical way to eliminate all mold, keeping your home as clean and dry as possible can prevent extensive damage.

Damage to your Palm Coast, Florida, home and possessions is only one reason to keep it clean. Mold also presents potential health risks to individuals with allergies or respiratory problems.

Adverse effects of molds include allergic reactions, infections, irritations and in some cases can even be toxic. Symptoms of adverse mold reactions include wheezing, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, nasal congestion, sneezing, eye and throat irritations, fatigue and headaches.

To avoid such problems, here are some tips to help keep your Palm Coast, Florida, home from becoming a mold breeding ground.

1. Vent bathrooms, dryers and other moisture producers to the outside
2. Ensure that all air conditioning vents have unrestricted air flow
3. Use dehumidifiers for basements and crawlspaces
4. When cooking, use the kitchen exhaust fan
5. Install sufficient installation on piping, air ducts and basement walls to retard the formation of condensation
6. Use moisture sensor alarms in areas where water back-ups and overflows frequently occur to avoid leaks and similar problems.

By following these simple rules in your Palm Coast, Florida, home you’ll have a healthier residence and avoid the need for extensive mold remediation.

The Importance of a Summer/Fall HVAC Tune-Up

August 1, 2017

Home improvement

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With summer coming to a close and fall right on its heels, it’s hard to imagine that it’s already time for another HVAC system tune-up. However, your community based HVAC contractor recommends these for one simple reason: there is no worse time to be without heat than in the middle of the coldest day of the year.

Having fall maintenance performed on your HVAC system can often guarantee that you will not see or experience a single breakdown during those cold winter nights we all dread so much.

When it gets cold and your system breaks down or fails entirely, people are left wishing they had just signed up for that annual maintenance.

So, what can you expect from your technician during a maintenance visit? This might include, but is not limited to:

– Verifying that the thermostat is accurate, the heat anticipator is set, and advising the homeowner to change the batteries

– Checking for updates and faults

– Cleaning flame sensor or pilot assembly

– Cleaning the condensate trap

– Inspecting the heat exchanger

– Checking the venting

– Checking the rubber drain tubing for obstructions or cracking

– Checking the electrical connections

– Checking the filter(s)

– Checking and adjusting gas pressure to manufacturer’s specifications

– Checking temperature rise

– Turning the furnace off and on at thermostat to verify operation

– Setting the thermostat to the homeowner’s preference

Not only does maintenance keep your house comfortable, it can help with detecting problems early on and potentially save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. An experienced HVAC technician will be able to spot areas that might cause your unit trouble and prevent a small and easy fix from turning into a costly repair down the road.

This short maintenance visit can often extend the life of your HVAC unit and will make sure you get the most out of your system.

8 Tips for Saving Energy this Winter

August 1, 2017

Home improvement

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For many, it’s our favorite time of year: the fall. For others, it’s the time of year where you plan for your energy bill to go through the roof. No matter what you do, it seems like you can’t control your bills quite as much as you did in the summer. Here are some energy saving tips that can help make those cold winter months a bit more bearable.

    1. Open your curtains during the day.

The windows that allow the most sunshine into your home should be left open during daytime. Leaving these windows open for just a few hours every day can help reduce how much you need to heat your home in the winter.

    2. Lower the thermostat inside your home.

By layering up, your home can stand to have the temperature 5 degrees lower. A small decrease in your home’s overall temperature can mean big savings on your next bill. You can try this during the day when everyone is gone and see if your family can stand the difference at night while everyone is sleeping.

    3. Avoid blocking heat vents.

Furniture has a tendency to get moved around during the year without us even realizing that it could be blocking a vent. Do a quick sweep of your home and make sure no vents are being blocked by large pieces of furniture.

    4. Get an energy audit for your home.

This is the easiest way to find ways to save money around your home. A home professional can come to your home and examine how efficient your home is. They can then provide you with a list of ways to become more efficient (even better than this list).

    5. Maintain your HVAC system.

Like your car, your HVAC system needs yearly maintenance. We recommend getting your system professionally looked at every fall before the cold winter temperatures set in. A dirty system can cost you a breakdown or a total system failure if not diagnosed and treated properly.

    6. Examine your fireplace closely.

Like your HVAC system, your fireplace needs maintenance as well. Make sure it’s properly fitted with additions to ensure efficiency. If you are looking for the fireplace to warm your entire home, speak to a contractor about an exchange system installation.

    7. Switch to LED lights for an efficiency win.

Your old holiday lights take up so much energy they can do some real damage your bill. Replacing them with LEDs, which take up much less energy and are ultimately more energy efficient. Keeping your lights on a timer will also help keep your costs under control.

    8. Install a programmable thermostat for ultimate efficiency.

If you are stuck manually adjusting your thermostat, there is a good chance you are losing more money than you even realize. A programmable thermostat remedies that problem by letting you set the temperature in your home at all hours of the day. The initial investment is small and can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Choosing the Right Windows for Your Home

August 1, 2017

Home improvement

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Picking out new windows for your home can be overwhelming since there are so many styles, colors, and materials to choose from. There are a few aesthetics to keep in mind, including:

Choose windows based on your home’s design style

It is important to find out your home’s architectural style. Is it a Cape Cod? Is it a Dutch, Georgian, or Federal Colonial? Is it Craftsman Style? For example, Craftsman style homes typically have double-hung or casement style windows. The windows you choose can help add to your home’s architectural style, or it can take away from it.

Consider your home’s exterior colors

Your home’s color palette should add to the curb appeal of your home and create an inviting first-impression. With more options for darker siding available on the market, homeowners aren’t afraid to create contrast between siding, trim, and shingles. The color of your windows should add to your home’s exterior color palette.

 

Some of the first factors that you must consider when choosing windows for a replacement, or entirely new windows, are the types of windows and the material of the windows.

Window Types:

Single or Double-Hung

Anderson Windows 400 Series – Double Hung Window Contractor Richmond VA
Anderson Windows 400 Series – Double Hung Window. Photo: Anderson Windows
Double-hung and single-hung windows have a sash that allows a part of the window to move up or down. However; double-hung windows allow for both the top and bottom sashes to move.

Casement

Anderson 400 Series Casement Window – Contractor Richmond VA
Anderson 400 Series – Casement Window. Photo: Anderson Windows
Casement windows have a hinge on the side to open left or right.

Awning

Anderson 400 Series – Awning Window Contractor Richmond VA
Anderson 400 Series – Awning Window. Photo: Anderson Windows
Awning windows are hinged at the top and swing outward.

Slider

Anderson 400 Series – Gliding Window Contractor Richmond VA
Anderson 400 Series – Gliding Window. Photo: Anderson Windows
Slider, or gliding, windows open horizontally and allow easy opening to fresh air.

Window Frame Materials:

The two most popular material for windows are wood and vinyl. Both have their own benefits and drawbacks. To learn more about these materials, visit Pella’s website to read more about Wood Windows and Vinyl Windows .

The Advantages of Getting a Roof Replacement

August 1, 2017

Home improvement

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Everyday, your roof is exposed to the elements. It undergoes the harsh UV rays of the summer, and the snow and ice in the winter. Due to the constant exposure of harsh weather conditions, the lifetime of a roof is typically around 20-25 years. As a roof shows signs of damage, it often indicates that it has been undergoing damage for an extended amount of time. Other times, signs of damage to a roof can be hard to spot, which is why is it essential to find a roofing contractor who provides inspections, repairs, and full replacement services. If your roof is older, or shows potential signs of damage, it may be time to get a roof replacement.

Here are the advantages of getting a roof replacement:

Yields a high ROI. Overall, home improvement projects made to the exterior of your home yield the highest return on investment. A new roof can have an impressive 62.9 percent return. Although it may not be as exciting as other home improvement projects, a new roof is one of the best investments you can add to your home.

Enhanced Curb Appeal. Your roof can account for a large portion of the overall look of your home’s curb appeal. It is estimated that about 40 percent of your home’s exterior aesthetic is largely due to your roof.

Cost Effective. A new roof, if properly installed, can help to save you money on your energy bills each month. Professionally installed insulation to your roof system will save you $$$ on heating and cooling costs. Some roofing manufactures offer Energy Star Shingles, such as CertainTeed.

Health and Safety. A roof that shows signs of deterioration can be a major health hazard. If not replaced in time, that old dilapidated roof can cause sections of your home to be unstable-and possibly even collapse. A new roof will keep your home and family safe.

A new roof is a great investment to your home, as long as it is installed properly. It is imperative to hire a qualified professional for any work done to your roof; which is why Balducci Exteriors is the perfect place to go to for a roof replacement.Our speciality areas of focus are Roofing repairs and Re-roofs, siding of all sorts, window replacement and outdoor living spaces.