4 Plumbing Improvements That Save You Money

1. Replace Your Water Heater

Yes, this article is about saving you money by improving your plumbing system. And, it may seem strange to start off a money saving article by suggesting a fairly big purchase. But, if you are struggling with getting enough hot water into your home… if it is impossible to fill your bath tub with hot water, or if you can’t even get through a normal shower or washing the dishes, then you are wasting money. Every day. Every shower… every time you do the dishes.

As water heaters get older, problems develop. One of the first, and biggest warning signs is lack of warm water. Or, water that isn’t hot enough.

The more the heater needs to work to give you the amount you need, the more electric (or gas) it will consume. So, it costs you more money every time you turn the faucet to hot.

There could be problems with the heater that require it to be replaced. At worst, you have to put out some cash for one, but will save in the long run.

Have a plumber inspect the water heater. You may find a lesser problem that only requires a small fix. For example, a leak – even a tiny leak, can cause your home to receive much less hot water than you need. A simple, quick fix will save you money, and keep you from having to replace the entire unit.

2. Install a Tankless Water Heater

This ties into number one. Tankless water heater units are becoming more and more popular, especially in larger or older homes. These are placed in the room where that you need the water. So, if you have a large tub and need extra hot water, you place a tankless unit in that room (can go one the wall, under the cabinet, etc. – they’re typically flat and don’t take up much room), and this heats the water right in that unit. It does it quickly and can cycle much, much faster than your large heater.

3. Have Your Pipes Inspected

This is an often overlooked service that plumbers perform. Leaks happen in your pipes all the time. Winter weather causes partial freezes. Sediment builds up. Pressure in the pipes causes small breaks. This all leads to small leaks. Much like with your hot water heater, these small leaks can drain the money right out of your wallet.

And, it only takes a little water to cause big damage in your walls, floors, basement, etc.

4. Replace Your Faucets

This is a quick, cheap fix. Over time, faucets build up sediment, leading to clogs. This means your water system has to work harder to pump out enough water for you.

Replacing your faucets clears the way, and saves you money.



Source by Steve Morris

Home Remodeling & Refurbishing With Electric Radiant Infrared Heat Units

A perfect solution to adding heat to a home during a construction or addition project is using radiant ceramic flat panel electric infrared heaters. They are cost effective, efficient, eco-friendly, and a primary heat source of comfortable absorbing heat. They even warm the floor! This solution is applicable whether building an addition on a home, adding a three season glass enclosure or patio enclosure, remodeling a home, or refurbishing an older home. These units are the perfect solution for homes that have that one room that never stays warm enough.

So the question is how does this apply to the construction and refurbishing industry of older homes, home with additions being built, or green home construction? Using electric radiant infrared flat ceramic panels offers a dual benefit. The first is to bring heat to additions being built without running new tin and without the worry of the current furnace being powerful enough to handle the additional square footage. The second is to add a more effective and efficient primary heat source to the home or addition. Particularly a heat source that utilizes green technology that operates at a savings of up to 50% over the cost to heat the same space with natural gas.

Heating electrically has historically been less expensive than heating with natural gas or oil. That is because using 1000 watts of electricity costs about 10-12 cents per hour to run. But more than that heating with electric infrared technology reduces the recovery time of heating a room. This means the heating unit does not have to operate as frequently to keep the room warm or to re-heat the room after a door or window was opened.

A quick explanation and review of the efficiency and cost savings of infrared radiant heating follows in the next two paragraphs, then I will explain the benefit of ceramic flat panel infrared radiant heaters in the construction and refurbishing industry of older homes, home with additions being built, adding heat to patio enclosures or green home construction.

The reason why electric radiant infrared flat panel heaters are efficient and cost effective to operate can be explained this way; forced heated air systems only blow warm air into the room. The room must be filled with enough warm air to make a person feel warm. But at that point the only thing that is warm is the air, but hot air rises. There is usually a difference in temperature between the air at the ceiling and the air at the floor. The space at floor level and a few inches above the floor is never comfortably warm and is usually drafty. To fill a room with heated air takes time and, the air is warmed before the person is warmed. The room cools rapidly due to cold air infiltration, and takes longer to recover. But the biggest disadvantage is that the forced air system must run longer and work hard to heat the air in the room and then reheat the room which costs the consumer more energy dollars.

Conversely, infrared radiant heating heats people and objects first by utilizing the technology of long wave electromagnetic energy. After the people and objects are warmed they release the warmth into the air which then heats the ambient air. Even if a door is opened that lets a rush of cold air into the room, radiant heating has a faster recovery time due to all the objects in the room being warmed and releasing that warmth back into the room. Even though the unit operates continuously until the thermostat turns it off, it operates at an inexpensive rate. And that cost is only incurred when the unit is running whereas a gas system is always burning a pilot light and trying to overcome drafty cold air infiltration.

The electric radiant infrared flat ceramic panels are manufactured by Radiant Electric Heat (REH) in Wisconsin. These units are made in the USA. That is important to a lot of consumers and I am happy to point that out. The REH brand is called CeramiCircuit ™.

The CeramiCircuit ™ brand is constructed of ceramic coated 18 gauge steel plates with an energizing circuit on the internal face of the heating element. The heater body is a 20 gauge galvanized steel construct with ventilation slots at perimeter. The unit is made with a junction box of approximately 135 cubic inches running the width of the heater on the back side of the heater body. Three 7/8″ standard knockouts located left, right, and center, are built onto the rear surface of the junction box to allow entry of power feed. Actual power connections to the element and heater grounding connection are located at the left end of the heater. The heater elements have a wattage density of approximately 2.5 – 3.0 watts/square inch of emissive surface area. The popular residential ceiling cove units are rated at 825 watts (Model 645) or 1000 watts (Model 945) in appropriate voltages of 120 volts, 208 volts, 240 volts, or 277 volts. REH also makes CeramiCircuit ™ brand units in the following configurations: wall mounts, baseboards, large portable units (on casters or wall mount), and small under desk space heaters. More information can be found at http://www.radiantheatusaonline.com/shop/category.aspx?catid=3. The products at this page each have a link to the product brochure for more information. Some of the above detail of the unit construction came from those brochures.

During new and/or green construction, the building of an addition, any type of patio enclosure or three season room, or just a drafty, chilly room, the CeramiCircuit ™ brand of flat ceramic electric radiant infrared heating units offer perfect, efficient primary heat. They mount on two brackets that install like hanging a picture frame, they come with lead wire for behind the wall wiring offering a clean finished look, and the units can be zoned or operate on individual thermostats.

Instead of replacing or using a weak furnace or running extra duct work consider flat panel heating technology; the warmth of the sun in a box. No emission, no forced air, no combustion, hypoallergenic, no maintenance, solid and durable, American made, and less expensive operating costs than other heating systems, the CeramiCircuit ™ line is tailor made for residential use.



Source by Kevin L Owens

Basic Types of Enclosures

Screen enclosures are the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors without annoying bugs, cold winds, or bright sun. Adding an enclosure to your backyard or home will not only increase your outdoor enjoyment, but also add value and beauty to your home.

There are many different types of screen enclosures, however, that work with different parts or your home and backyard. Each type of screen enclosure has different attributes and design intentions that make it perfect for its job.

Before you begin thinking about what type of enclosure you need, you should learn the basic types. The basic types of screen enclosures are:

Screen Rooms

A screen room is a structure that has a solid roof and open, screened walls. Screen rooms are typically added on top of a patio or deck, or added onto a home. Screen rooms can have gabled or sloped roofs depending on your preference. Screen rooms are designed for outdoor sitting that is semi-protected from the elements.

Pool Enclosures

A pool enclosure is a type of screen enclosure designed to protect an outdoor swimming pool. They can be installed over above ground or in ground pools, and are perfect for keeping bugs and animals out as well as children. Pool enclosures are available in many different styles and materials, but all are see-through for visibility.

Sunrooms

Sunrooms are glass enclosures that are designed for outdoor viewing while still having complete protection from the elements. As sunrooms are completely enclosed, you can control the environment much more than with a screen room. They do not have insulation, and can be built as an addition to your home or on top of decks or patios as long as the structures have substantial support.

Patio Covers

A patio cover is an enclosure that is not fully enclosed, but rather simply covers the top of an area. Patio covers are designed to protect an area from the sun and rain. Patio covers can be converted in screen rooms with the simple addition of screen walls. You can add a ceiling fan to a patio cover, and gutters come standard. Support posts for a patio cover can be installed directly into the ground or on top of a foundation for better support.

Pergolas

A pergola is similar to a patio cover, but it is more artistic and free standing. Pergolas protect you from the sun, but usually not the rain. They come in almost every size, shape, color, and style, so you can create a pergola that fits your design concept perfectly. Typically, a pergola covers a patio, deck, garden area, or pool area.

These are just the basic types of outdoor enclosures. Usually, if you have a specific need or request, a contractor can build whatever type of screen enclosure you want. Be sure to research the material you want your screen enclosure to be made of, as the material has a big impact on the design concept, longevity, and maintenance of your screen enclosure.



Source by Steven W

Difference Between General Contractor and Remodeling Contractor

If you are thinking of improving your home with the help of home improvement service providers, you have to keep in mind that one professional may offer a different line of services than another. There are those companies that specialize in interior designing for commercial buildings and there are those that have full-service offers in handyman services.

While there is a wide array of services that you can consider for your humble abode, two kinds of professionals are highly demanded in the market these days because of the growing need of homeowners when it comes to home improvement needs. Right before you hire a service provider who is professional enough in updating and reviving the glow of your home, you have to take into good consideration the difference between a professional service provider and a remodeling contractor.

A general contractor is one kind of professional that you can hire if there is a need for several specialists to take care of your home improvement needs. He is the person responsible in supervising the project and assuring that the tasks involved to complete the project are appropriate for the scheduled time.

Furthermore, he makes it a point that the entire project is suitable for the budget you have agreed upon. There are times when this kind of service provider will not be the one to do the work in improving your home. He takes care of the hiring of specialists or subcontractors who will be the point of contact in the necessary duties of the project.

Remodeling Contractor

This type of service provider is a team of professionals who specializes in renovating and remodeling different parts of a house. They are the ones who hire electricians, interior designers, handymen, architects, and any other pertinent specialists who can take good care of your home improvement needs.

There is a different between an entity that focuses on remodeling and one that is commonly referred to as a professional service provider. A remodeling contractor has the tendency to offer various services that a professional service provider does not usually offer to homeowners.

One good advantage of hiring this kind of contractor is the inclusive warranties that they offer to their client. If you are about to decide on which kind of contractor you want to work with in improving your house, it is always best to determine your needs so that you will be able to hire the most effective professionals for your project.



Source by Fidelio Orosco

Why Vinyl Is Better Than Timber For External Wall Cladding

Home improvement is a task that will never end since there are a lot of new materials and items homeowners can opt for to make their houses more comfortable and more appealing. The only way homeowners can reduce home improvement tasks is to look for materials or items that can match their needs and last for a long time. When it comes to outdoor aesthetics and improvement such as external wall cladding, most homeowners prefer vinyl than its traditional counterpart timber due to the following features below.

Durability

Timber cladding is made from wood. Of course, everyone knows that wood can last for a long time. However, there are numerous issues that can affect the credibility of wood such as water and pests, which can be a huge expenditure. Luckily, vinyl cladding can withstand water problems. In addition, vinyl cladding does not attract pests. As a result, this type of cladding can be used for a longer period of time.

Maintenance

When it comes to maintenance, vinyl also has little to no maintenance. In addition, cleaning vinyl is also a breeze since you only need to make use of a mild solution and a brush or cloth. Unfortunately, when using timber, homeowners need to do a pile of maintenance tasks from repainting, re-oiling, and even filling cracks to ensure that timber cladding will last for a long time.

Appearance

As for appearance, many homeowners still opt for timber cladding since it features a unique and natural appeal for the house. Its gradation of colours, the rings, and grain increases the wonderful aesthetics of the cladding. But, if you are looking for a more contemporary look to match your modern house, vinyl cladding can provide you with such feature.

Installation

In terms of installation, vinyl cladding is easier and more convenient to install since it is light-weight and flexible. Therefore, you can easily install it even on unusual wall shapes. On the other hand, timber installation can be a huge task since it is heavy. Apart from that, there are cases when you need to hire experts to properly accomplish the job.

Costs

Lastly, the costs of vinyl and timber claddings are virtually the same. Costs may differ depending on the type of timber or the type of vinyl texture you are looking for. Size can also alter cladding costs. So, it is important that you measure your house properly to avoid over spending when you purchase.

By knowing all these, homeowners can easily choose the right wall cladding that can match their needs and preferences.



Source by Johnny Carlino

What Landlords Should Know About Home Improvement Grants

All American rental property owners, particularly those who are in need of essential repairs but lack sufficient funding to do so, should be made aware of the existence of home improvement grants that are sponsored by United States government. Whether your repair issues are that of a cosmetic nature or a project related to tenant safety, whether you need supplemental funding in order to do it, or you just would rather spend Uncle Sam’s money than your own, there may be generous amounts of free government money for you to apply towards your expenses.

Knowing this, let us now concentrate on a rather important subject for landlords…the consequences of neglecting to maintain your rental properties. Though this may seem an unpleasant topic to discuss, we know that this is pertinent information for a landlord to possess, and requires recognition. When adhering to a rental agreement made between a landlord and tenant, it is a given that the unit made available to the renter, as well as all common areas of the building such as laundry rooms, hallways, courtyards, and basements, will be properly maintained and inspected in order to insure tenant safety. Many respectable landlords utilize government home improvement grants make this possible

When the required maintenance is left untended to, or poorly performed, this puts the tenants at risk of potential danger. The repercussions of the neglect of the building, and compromise of its occupants, can result in a number of unfavorable circumstances for the property owner. Aside from the obvious downfall being that any unattended to repair issue usually will in time become worse and more costly to repair, there are many worse scenarios that frequently occur for landlords who’s maintenance attention skills leave something to be desired.

Regardless of whether or not they have a signed a lease, any legal occupants of your building have a right to safe conditions and repairs to be made in a timely manner. If you as the property owner do not attend to these matters, it is completely legal for your tenants to withhold their rent payments until you do. You do not have to have any type of written agreement with the tenant for them to take this action. It is their right, and it is the law.

In addition to this financial setback, you may then be fined by state or city inspectors and court ordered to make the repairs, or in some extreme cases, evacuate the premises. On a regular basis, many particularly undesirable landlords have been sued by tenants, had their buildings condemned, and some repeat offenders have actually been jailed for such neglectful actions that put the building occupants in physical jeopardy. All the while acquiring free government money in home improvement grants to finance the repairs could have prevented this.

If you are a landlords, good or bad, with wonderfully kept property, or homes that require extensive rehabilitation, do yourself and your tenants a favor and familiarize yourself with the free government grant programs that offer home improvement grants. After all, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.



Source by Sarah Beckham

The Must-Do Home Improvements To Increase The Value Of Your Home

When it comes to home improvement, you can spend a lot on a project and increase the value of your home by very little. Here you will find the ways to do the opposite, increasing the value of your home a great deal while putting out very little money.

If you have a big enough yard to avoid a crowded look, adding a wood deck to your property is relatively cheap and easy to do yourself. Be sure to sand, prime and either stain or paint the deck. It increases the value of your home because it gives a potential buyer the appeal of a nice space for recreation and entertaining. This is a value for most people.

Turning your attic into living space is a very cheap way to increase the square footage of your home. All that is necessary is to install drywall, create a floor with vents, and add some minor electrical wiring for switches and lights. Each additional square foot of home, depending on your area, can increase the value of your home by one thousand dollars.

A very cheap improvement that increases your home’s value is painting. You can use cheap paint to give your home a clean appearance and make the home look newer than it is. Painting is also another project that you can do on your own. Saving money not hiring a professional is a large part of your return.

Putting in new doors is the best first step. A new front door is essential to making a good first impression. Make sure to put in the effort to make the door seal well, increasing your home’s energy efficiency. As far as interior doors, purchase 6 panel doors that are all the same. Uniformity goes a long way for value, and 6 panel doors are in high demand and create a sense of elegance for a potential buyer.

Replacing old windows is very important to increasing the value of your home. It increases its value by making your home more energy efficient and eliminating undesirable drafts. New windows also make your home look newer, increasing its appeal to potential buyers.

Cleaning your home from top to bottom will also add value. Use a power sprayer to clean the outside, including porches and walkways. Remove as much unwanted items as possible from your basement if you have one, and do the same with the attic. Clean out closets and cupboards, which will also rid the home of clutter, but also allows potential buyers to see what they are getting without having to move items for them. Minimize knickknacks around the home, store most electrical appliances away from counters and remove stains from all surfaces. Cleaning the floors is optimal. If you do not have a quality carpet cleaning machine rent one or hire a cleaning company. A clean home looks newer and will be essential in attracting buyers.

Most people are capable of doing the home improvement projects found above on their own. Doing-it-yourself is one of the most important factors in keeping the projects affordable, increasing your return. Use the tips above and your home will be worth at least 3 times more than you will need to invest.



Source by Peter Sicoli

Home Improvement Grants Most African American Homeowners Overlook

Home improvement continues as one of the biggest expenses for African- American homeowners. Black homeowners pay the most for home improvements, repairs, upgrades and interest rates according to Federal Government statistics.

Because of a lack of information sources to get the word out to African American homeowners, most African American homeowners fail to take advantage of the many programs available to them.

Despite a record number of home improvement grants available from the federal government. Thousands of black homeowners still pay for high-priced home improvements, without first looking at what’s available from the federal government.

This could often save black homeowners thousands of dollars. It’s a shame the programs most black homeowners finance through there taxes go unused. Yes, by the people who could use them the most.

This week we’ll talk about some of the grant programs currently available from the U.S government. These grant programs can help you improve the value, comfort and energy savings of your home.

If you can get just one of these grants, it would more than pay for the time and effort it takes to get it.

According to HUD (Federal Housing and Urban Development) The Department has published the Early Registration Notice for potential applicants applying for funding under HUD’s competitive grant programs, available on the Grant.gov website. This Notice provides information to help applicants better understand the electronic submission process.

To help with the registration process, HUD has developed a brochure on how to register. HUD also has a brochure that will help you find and apply for grant opportunities. HUD has also prepared a Special file to assist you in completion of a grant. In addition to HUD, many low and no cost loans and grants exist for home improvements from most state and local government agencies.

These loans can go toward bringing homes up to code, used for energy efficient improvements or for cosmetic improvements to your property. All these actions can also help to raise and preserve the value of your home for little or no cost to you.

To take advantage of this program contact your local city or county rehabilitation department for more information. The key is to getting informed and starting the process by taking action.

For the website that list all federal government grants currently available Click Here! This site offers many tools for getting grants, such as tips for finding the right government grant for your specific needs. This site also offers a government grant search tool, government grant email alerts and much more.

By searching and keeping up-to-date on what home improvement programs are available, you can save thousands of dollars. HUD is working feverishly to improve and streamline the application and approval process of home improvement grants.

Meanwhile find out what qualifications you need to apply, get the necessary paperwork, fill it out and send or email it in. You never know, this may turn into a chance for you to save money and improve your home at the same time. What a deal.



Source by Roy Primm

Benefits of Adding Picture Windows With Your Home Improvement

Any window in your home provides an opportunity to get a glimpse of the outside world but it’s the picture window that offers you a way to bring the best view into your home. A well-designed picture window can offer an unobstructed view of your surroundings – no matter the weather – from the comfort of your home. Majestic view aside there’s also the benefit of boosting the value of your home with new a new picture window – and added market value in this economy is always a plus.

Choosing the Right Picture Window

Most think of the traditional window when this topic comes up in home improvement discussions surrounding window replacement and the addition of more natural light. While a large piece of plate glass is functional, it’s becoming less popular among home owners because of the bland design and the poor insulation. They’re also more fragile than reinforced panes.

Segregated panes that make up a larger picture window are making a comeback as homeowners try to embrace classic architectural designs in newer homes. While offering enhanced aesthetical appeal these windows are also far more sturdy and – should a pane crack, chop or break – easy to replace.

Window manufacturers are also working to enhance the energy efficiency of large picture windows by creating double pane grid designs. This provides the same utility benefit as a common double or triple pane window but on a larger scale. Each individual section has its own packet of air or gas to help reduce heat gain and loss.

Window Replacement

For those that have an existing picture window, it’s best to order a newer design or style to ditch the old plate glass or sectional window that features smaller – though still large – pieces of glass. The energy savings alone will cover the cost of the upgrade over the years. If you live in a cold climate the install will likely payment for itself much faster.

Getting Creative with Window Design

Don’t just base your purchase of a window upgrade on price alone, shooting for the low-budget models to save money. There’s a lot of creative play when it comes to enhancing your windows. If it’s in your budget, consider having custom windows designed to better match the architecture of your home. Likewise you can splurge a little and have the windows built out to create a bay window. While not technically a picture window the bay window can add some functional space to your home while improving the view outside the home.

While it’s not recommended for the DIY lover due to the scale of the job and the size of the windows, you can have a replacement picture window or bay window put in quickly with the right general contractor. Contact a local contractor or specialist window installer to get an estimate on upgrading your home with a new model window.



Source by Daniel Cargille

Converting Your Carport Into a Garage – A Profitable Home Improvement

There are many homeowners who opt to building carports because this task is relatively inexpensive than having a garage. However, homes with garages are more desirable. Thus, in case you decide to sell the property in the future, it will be a lot easier. Converting your carport into a garage may be quite costly but the benefits are manifold too.

Firstly, most people do not distinguish a carport apart from the garage since they both mainly serve the same purpose of housing your car. As was said, a carport is cheaper because it is usually made from few materials to make a simple shed. All this space needs are a few pieces of lumber or steel poles and sheets of galvanized tin or gable roofs. Such materials are susceptible to damage. Then your vehicles may not get the protection it really needs. A garage is more of the permanent structure attached or detached to the house. This is usually enclosed as some homeowners opt to make this area an office or workshop as well.

Assessing your need for the conversion is your primary task. You have to think thoroughly as to what purposes the new space will serve. If you only need it to secure your vehicles, then a simple garage would do. If you are thinking of having a special space for keeping your tools, organizing workshop materials and for other functions, then complex detached garages are perfect.

Envision the size of the new space. The minimum size for a single garage is 12 ft. wide x 22 ft. long, and 18 ft. wide x 22 ft. long for double garages. Along with the planning of the size, consider the widths and heights of the flooring and ceiling. Allot a higher ceiling height if you are installing door openers with thick header. Usually a standard door needs at least an 8-ft. span for the opening.

Hiring professionals may also be needed especially when you want new wiring, plumbing, roofing and insulation. A home inspector or structural engineer must firstly examine the current conditions of these aspects so you can have an overview of the extent and expenses of needed replacements. Note that wall insulation is vital particularly if you are living in a location with extreme hot temperature.

The minute you have finalized the conversion construction details, it is important that you check your local area about building codes and regulations. In most states, a homeowner needs to secure a permit if these tasks are involved in renovating, remodeling or building a new structure:

– demolishing load-bearing walls,

– changing roofline

– altering footprint of the house

– installing new windows, door and sink

– new electrical wiring and plumb work

As you go along each preparation step, your finances should be readied as well. List down the materials you think are needed for this home project and across each item, place the projected amounts. A simple carport-to-garage makeover requires wall studs, bottom plate, door with track and opener, plywood, chip board for sheathing, pegboard for wall insulation and finishing materials like PVC siding or brick veneer. Get quotations from local stores or online home improvement shop websites. Moreover, do not forget to include labor costs. It would be easier to calculate such operating expense if you specify the duration of this project. Elaborate installations would naturally translate to longer hours of work, thus, you need to allocate more budget for paying each handyman you hire. Each laborer can be paid $25-35 per hour. If you want to be saved from worrying altogether about the conversion, hiring a contractor would be very helpful. But this can set you back $3,000 to $8,000 for the whole project depending on the complexity of the construction work and your location.

Once the conversion is over and done with, you will see that a garage is an invaluable investment. The expenses may demand much from your finances but the added protection and better and higher property value are worth such expenditure and effort.



Source by Marikor Hidalgo

Government Grants For Home Improvement – There is Free Money Available

Some people are living in homes that are in dire need of upgrading and unfortunately these people may not even be aware that there are free government grants for home improvement that may be available to them.

Every week while on my way to work I pass by homes that look like they are falling apart. I do not know how anyone can live in them, as they look so bad. So, why don’t these homeowners just fix up these dilapidated houses or tear them down and start over? Usually it is because they cannot afford it. Home remodeling costs money and those who are of low income are too worried about how they are going to buy food or pay for water before they think about fixing up their house.

But for these people there are government grants for home improvement that they can receive. If you are living in a home that is unhealthy or unsafe and you qualify, based on income, you can get help from the government. And this is money that does not have to be paid back. This is money that will fix termite damage, leaky roofs, poor plumbing and more.

If your house is unsafe for you and your family you need to get information about this type of assistance from the government. Every year the government sets back billions of dollars for different grant opportunities, and many of them are geared towards the low income citizens, who just cannot afford to fix their house, buy food, or even pay rent. This includes programs like the government grants for home improvement, TANF, and LIHEAP.



Source by Zak Crawford

Auto Insurance Is A Commodity You Can’t Live Without

Auto insurance is vital for anyone that owns a vehicle. The following ideas should help you narrow down your options so you can use to figure out the best insurance coverage for your unique situation.

Every company has their own way of calculating your risk level and premium rates. You can save a good deal of money by checking into policies from several competitors.

TIP! Lowering your yearly mileage can help you lower your monthly auto insurance payments. The majority of car insurance companies offer a discount for drivers who log less miles.

You must understand the various coverage plans when buying car insurance. There are many different situations that come into play when determining the cost of getting insurance coverage for your vehicle. Bodily injury insurance can cover costs associated with death, death and injury claims if you were to hit someone.

Insurance Companies

When upgrading your car by purchasing extras or replacing parts, check with your insurance company on how much they will cover if ever your car gets damaged or stolen. Most insurance companies do not provide coverage for these parts, insurance companies do not cover these items.

TIP! When you’re in the market for car insurance, you will want to understand what protection the various coverage types will provide. Your insurance may only be for a single vehicle, but the cost will still be affected by many different variables.

When you are shopping around for auto insurance, get quotes from multiple carriers. Rates vary drastically in the car insurance world. Get new batch of quotes each year to ensure the lowest premiums and out-pocket-costs. Make sure this year’s quote is for the quotes you compare are based on similar amounts of coverage.

Do not pay the monthly payments. Your insurance provider could have added anywhere from three to five extra dollars to your monthly bill. These fees can add up very fast to something more substantial. Adding another bill to your monthly pile can create a nuisance. The fewer payments you have to worry about, the more money you save.

Property damage liability coverage is an important thing to include in your car insurance policy that you must get. This will take care of any damages your car causes in an auto accident. There are only three states left in America that do not have this coverage.

Do not jump on the cheapest car insurance quotes. Cheap may say it all or it may be a great deal.

Insurance rates vary due to the chances of theft or accident, and in general rural areas and suburbs have lower rates than cities.

Insurance against drivers who don’t have insurance is also important, as well as non-accident damage to your car like fire or flood, like in a fire.

Conversely, whenever these things are removed from your record, the lower your insurance costs. When they go away, you may want to get some updated quotes from insurance companies.

Many insurance companies give discounts to people who do not drive less. This makes cutting back on your driving down a wonderful way to save money on car insurance.

Never drive without car insurance! Auto insurance protects you, your family, and your assets in an accident. Also, in most places, it’s the law! These tips are designed to guide you to the right insurance plan for your automobile needs.

How To Self Generate Qualified Home Improvement Leads

Home improvement business ventures have a very high rate of failure! Why? Contractors lack marketing knowledge to attract qualified leads, and sales systems to gain the business. No leads… no sales… no business… doors close.

In this article you will learn what is working today, and also lead generation methods via digital marketing strategies. Many leading edge companies are seeing their percentage of leads from web marketing strategies and tactics becoming the major source of their home improvement leads and revenues. There are even lead generation companies farming leads solely from internet marketing and selling them to home improvement companies and general contractors! The good news is you can learn what it takes to generate leads using internet marketing strategies for yourself!

Listed are the most productive lead sources/options for generating quality home improvement leads. Companies who acquire the best “lead mix” for their business, balance these sources and focus on budgeting for best return on investment. Keep in mind that all lead sources should lead to a call center and customer relationship management (CRM) software. If you do not have CRM software, a free source is RenexPro.

Top Home Improvement Lead Sources

Canvassing: Canvassing for leads has seen a tremendous resurgence in the last two years (since 2009). Years ago this was the predominate method going door to door and offering a free estimate, inspection or gift for an appointment. Canvassing can be done with sales personnel or special teams trained to just get the lead.

The canvassing team is usually comprised of a Team Leader, Canvassers and a Van to take them to the territory.

  • Team Leader: Full time employee. Recruits,trains, and supervises his/her canvassers (trains by example, maintains goals, base salary plus incentives.
  • The Canvasser: 19 or older high school graduate – college students are great, clean cut dress code, part time (1,000 hour rule), hourly plus incentives.
  • The Training: Must have a scripted, short presentation. Training and practicing the script is imperative. Canvassers are not selling anything but the appointment. The “hook” for an appointment is a free service and/or gift.

Canvassing for home improvement leads is a great way to get quality leads when the program is done right. Some companies today are exclusively using this method.

Direct Mail: Direct mail is what most home improvement companies use today for the main percentage of their lead generation. Although still a great way too generate leads, it is getting more costly per lead. As long as your service has the margins, direct mail with letters, brochures and post cards should be considered. Caution: Use expert services that have a proven track record for your industry. Don’t skimp and try using a company with no track record. One failed mailing could be devastating to your budget. If you bring it in house, make sure you have experts on the job that test and measure before sending out a mass mailing.

TV & Radio: If you have the budget, these leads are expensive but high quality if the campaigns are branded with a great call to action. TV is hard to measure; however, what branding recognition you gain! The best tip here is to humanize your commercials. Let the viewer know who you are and what the benefits are when doing business with your company.

Radio is the same way. Humanize your ads. The last company where I had an inside view of lead source statistics showed an ever growing benefit to radio ads when the CEO began conducting the ads and bringing his charm to each campaign. Today, I hear him every time I go for drive so I know they are still getting tremendous results.

Shows, Events, Mall Kiosks: Your presence in the community is vital to your business. Use every opportunity you can to make physical contact for lead generation. Have professional marketing materials and eye catching displays. Some companies get so many leads from these venues that they focus most of their efforts there. They know that just like canvassing for leads, you must follow and personalize a script. Train your people to be up-beat, friendly, informative, and persistent in closing the appointment… not a sale!

Telemarketing: Cold calling for leads is not very productive; however, responding to inquiries from printed material, incoming calls or email is a must in your business. If you do not have the budget for a call center, its not very expensive to outsource this task. Once again, close for the appointment… not a sale. And, do not ball park pricing. This is a disservice to the prospect and your company. There are too many variables with products and installation. Professional eyeballs need to be on site!

Digital Marketing Syndication: Digital marketing syndication for home improvement lead generation is becoming a major source and factor in lead capture. Today, more and more companies are developing digital marketing strategies to boost profits by driving highly interested and qualified traffic to their websites. AND, we are seeing companies that gain almost all their leads from their internet strategies and tactics.

Almost all sources for leads find their way to your web presence. Think about this, when a homeowner wants to remodel any part of their home, how do they get the information to contact a contractor? Today, more an more prospects search the internet… OR… they respond to an ad from all the other sources I have mentioned in is article, and check up on that company by going to their website! Have you experienced prospects wanting more than one estimate? 90% of the time the prospect wants to get other proposals or estimates so they do an internet search for competitors. Who do they find and pick… the best websites that are on the first page!

What if you dominate the internet space in your area? What if you have a website that is so appealing to the viewer, and it has a Call To Action on every page? What if you have campaigns, articles, videos, announcements, informational sites, press releases, Pay Per Click ads, banners, links from manufacturers and other service/product companies pointing to your interactive website? Your overwhelming presence on the internet will get more leads than you can handle! You will grow your business!

Referrals… Another article on this. Get good at this. Training required!

All home improvement lead sources discussed in this article are important for your business. Find what works best for you, and make sure that your business has a dominating web presence that is syndicated for maximum quality lead conversion!



Source by Robert Andres Cuadra

Home Improvements – Window Types And Frames Explained

Frame Materials

Since the frame can account for as much as 25% of the total window area; it should be at least as well insulated as the glass. Several different frame types are available.

Solid Wood and Clad Wood

Solid wood frames are a good choice from an energy standpoint. The colour choices are unlimited but wood does require regular re-painting inside and outside.

Clad wood frames are protected on the exterior with a covered of pre-painted aluminum or vinyl. Clad frames are more expensive than plain wood but eliminate exterior painting. Claddings must be well designed to prevent water from becoming trapped behind them.

Aluminum

Aluminum frames are durable, and good designs are available for residential windows, aluminum conducts heat rapidly. To prevent condensation and frost from forming on the frame, the frame and sash must be equipped with well-designed thermal breaks.

It is difficult to judge whether an aluminum frame is equipped with a good thermal break. One thing you can do is ask people who have lived with the brand you are considering whether they have experienced any condensation problems.

If a metal window frame has a CCMC number, it has passed the CSA A-440 standard test for condensation resistance. Be particularly wary of inexpensive aluminum replacement windows.

Vinyl

Vinyl frames provide good insulation and do not require painting. However, some manufacturers reinforce the vinyl with metal, which can decrease the frames insulation value. Wood reinforcing is preferable.

Fibreglass

Fiberglass window frames are a recent innovation available from a limited number of custom manufacturers. Fibreglass frames will hold their shape permanently and will not warp, shrink, rot, bow, dent or twist.

Air Leakage

If you are going to the expense and trouble of replacing windows, make energy efficiency one of your most important considerations. I talked about draftproofing in an earlier article, so I will focus on air leakage here.

There are some major air leakage areas in the basement. After construction the sill plate can shrink away from the concrete foundation and leave you with a wind chill factor. Leakage in the header area wastes money and can make the floors upstairs chilly.

Let’s not forget the attic. Care should be taken to seal around all the openings in the attic floor, such as ceiling light fixtures, plumbing stacks, exhaust fans and chimney chases. Otherwise warm moist air can escape into the attic, where it can condense and cause moisture damage. Before leaving the attic remember to weather-strip the hatch and latch it snugly.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Extreme air sealing will make power ventilating a necessity. Care should be taken to enable all power exhaust systems to have adequate replacement air inlets.

It’s Just That Easy!



Source by Shell Busey