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10 Home Maintenance Tips for Spring

by The Butch Cazin Team

http://www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/clean-and-organize/10-home-maintenance-tips-for-spring-pictures

5 Winter Home Improvement Projects for Less Than $1,000

by howmuch.net

5 Winter Home Improvement Projects for Less Than $1,000

howmuchContributed by Howmuch.net

It’s important to prepare a home for the cold weather ahead. And, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do this. Following are winter home improvement projects that home owners can do for less than $1,000:

#1 HEATING

It’s that time of the year again. Your home has to be properly heated in preparation for the low temperatures this season. Proper heating not only makes your home more comfortable to stay in during winter, it can also help you save on energy bills. For this article however, we will focus on your water heater.

Simple Water Heater Installation

A water heater is a simple device. It is not difficult to maintain and they usually last from seven to 15 years. However, even with proper maintenance, sooner or later, you will replace your water heater. If your water heater starts to leak or if it isn’t heating, you have to replace it fast.

Average Cost:

Typical cost is about: $826 – gas water heater with 50 gallon tank, typically used in a 5 person home, including vent and pipe
.

Prices range from:

  • 
$639 – electric water heater with 40 gallon tank, typically used in a four-person home
  • $1,077 – gas tankless water heater, 6.4 GPM for 2 baths, including vent and pipe

Tips:

A domestic water heater may be tank­type or a tankless type, and can use either gas or electricity as its heat source. Typical domestic tank­type water heaters range from 30 to 50 gallons and they require floor space to be installed. Tankless units are rated in gallons per minute (GPM) and range from 2 to 10 GPM. They can be wall mounted and located in reduced spaces.

DIY Consideration:

  • In the very best of cases this installation may be suitable for the able DIY person, but home insurance or local codes may require a licensed or certified installer.
  • In cases where issues can arise, it is best left to professionals to resolve on the spot.
  • A fairly complete plumbing tool set will be required, perhaps including a torch.

 

#2 FLOORING

During winter, people come in and out of your home tracking in all types of debris — which can do a lot of damage to your hardwood floors. Snow and water in particular, can be absorbed by wood.

Refinishing Hardwood Floors in Preparation for Winter

Hardwood floors not only make your house look beautiful, it also adds warmth to your home interior. Wood floors become extremely cold during winter. However, when heating a home interior with hardwood floors, the increase in temperature should be balanced with a gradual decrease in humidity levels. Otherwise, you risk warping the wood. That being said, you need to refinish your hardwood floors before winter sets in as this will provide extra protection to your wood floors.

Average Cost:

Typical cost is about: $2.8 per square foot – sanding of the existing floor and the application of sealers

Prices range from:

  • $2.50 per square foot – sanding of the existing floor and the application of sealers
  • $3.50 per square foot – sanding of the existing floor and the application of sealers

Tips:

Hardwood floors should be refinished regularly to extend its lifetime. The cost of refinishing hardwood floors varies greatly from region to region.

DIY Consideration:

This may be suitable for the able DIY person.

 

#3 WINDOW INSTALLATIONS

Keeping your home warmer during winter entails high energy consumption. However, if you have energy­efficient windows you can reduce your energy consumption.

Energy­ saving Vinyl Casement Window Installations

When choosing the best windows for your home, there is no one­size­fits­all standard. But according to House­Energy, when it comes to choosing the best windows for cold climates, the most energy­efficient are double­glazed and triple­glazed windows. These windows have a very low U­factor and relatively high solar­gain (SHGC) coefficient. This type of window in vinyl frame would work best. Vinyl is inexpensive and does not need to be painted or stained. Casement windows also provide the best ventilation when opened.

Average Cost:

Typical cost is about: $943 – vinyl casement window replacement

Prices range from:

  • $691 – vinyl casement window replacement – DIY
  • $1,290 – vinyl casement window replacement – upgraded

Tips:

Casement windows extend to the exterior of the house and may obstruct walkways.
The actual cost of installation will depend on material and finish grade, size, structural preparation, special needs and the current labor rate – when using an installer.
These prices are for service in the immediate area of the provider. Taxes and permit fees are not included.
During contractor inspection, the homeowner should be informed about the cost of any repairs needed as well as the cost of adapting the new window with the current opening.
A project involving more than two windows may earn the homeowner a unit price discount
Local or national subsidy may be provided for energy efficiency improvements.

DIY Consideration:

● This project is not highly suitable for DIY with precise carpentry and a critical closure deadline.

● Partial DIY of removal and disposal tasks are possible for the prepared DIY.

 

#4 ELECTRIC

As winter approaches, your electric bill rises. This is due to several factors:

● Lights stay on longer because of shorter days and longer nights;

● Extra hot water is used for warm baths and showers;

● Because people stay indoors longer during winter, electric equipment such as computers, TVs, DVD 
players and gaming consoles are used more often;

● The clothes dryer is used more often.

Electric Circuit Install

Due to the reasons mentioned above, you need a more efficient electrical system during winter.

Average Cost:

1. For Electric Range Circuit

Typical cost is about: $202 – 30 foot circuit, exposed cable

Prices range from:

  • $ 76 – 30 foot circuit, exposed cable – DIY
  • $393 – 30 foot circuit, outdoor conduit upgrade

2. For Electric Outlet Circuit

Typical cost is about: $153 – 30 foot circuit, exposed cable

Prices range from:

  • $27 – 30 foot circuit, exposed cable – DIY
  • $292 – 30 foot circuit, outdoor with conduit upgrade

3. For Electric Dryer Circuit

Typical cost is about: $179 – 30 foot circuit, exposed cable

Prices range from:

  • $53 – 30 foot circuit, exposed cable – DIY
  • $333 – 30 foot circuit, outdoor with conduit upgrade

Tips:

Electric range circuits bring power to electrical equipment inside your home. These are subject to compliance codes and professional practices designed to reduce fire risk.
The cost to install an average electric range circuit, electric outlet circuit or electric dryer circuit depends upon the power rating, circuit lengths, preparation and special requirements, and the current labor rate.

DIY Consideration

● IMPORTANT: Whenever you are going to work with electricity, you need to turn off the circuit breaker first. Double check, using a non­contact voltage tester to make certain that there is no current before you start working.

● This project is somewhat suitable for DIY with good electrical skills and tools.

● Electrical circuits and installations must comply with codes to reduce fire risk.

#5 DOORS

Most home owners choose wood doors for its aesthetics. It provides a good blend of elegance and strength and they can be very affordable depending on the type and quality of wood. However, wood needs to be treated regularly with paint or varnish so that it will be protected from wind, rain and snow. Neglecting to do so would cause rotting. For most people, the most practical choice for the winter season would be a fiberglass or steel door.

Installation of Fiberglass/Steel Door

Fiberglass and Steel are energy­efficient and common low­maintenance choices for exterior door material.

Average Cost:

The average exterior door costs range from:

1. For Fiberglass Doors:
Typical cost is about: $679 – exterior fiberglass door replacement

Prices range from:

  • $463 – exterior fiberglass door replacement – DIY
  • $1,537 – exterior fiberglass door replacement – upgraded

2. For Steel Doors:

Typical cost is about: $ 613 – exterior steel door replacement

  • $397 – exterior steel door replacement – DIY
  • $871 – exterior steel door replacement – upgraded

Tips:

The cost of installing average exterior fiberglass and steel doors depends on the type of material and finish grade, size, structural preparation and special needs, and the current labor rate.
These prices are for service in the immediate area of the provider. Taxes and permit fees are not included.
During contractor inspection, the home owner should be informed about the cost of any repairs needed as well as the cost of adapting the new window with the current opening.

A project involving more than two windows may earn the homeowner a unit price discount Local or national subsidy may be provided for energy efficiency improvements.

DIY Consideration

● This project may suitable for DIY with carpentry skills, unless of a critical deadline.

● Partial DIY of removal and disposal tasks are possible for the prepared DIY.

Home improvement projects may be costly if you are not well­informed. If you want to make sure your money is spent wisely on your home improvement projects, without having to sacrifice quality, visit howmuch.net for more information.

Stocking the Garage for Spring

by The Butch Cazin Team

Stocking the Garage for Spring

For owners planning on putting their homes up for sale in the spring, their lawnmower might be the last thing they're thinking about as winter approaches. But what they do now can influence whether their yard equipment works when it comes time to sell.

Here are five tips from the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, an international trade association representing power equipment, small engine, and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, that will ensure your clients are ready to jump in when spring comes roaring back. 

  1. Always consult your owner’s manual for directions on how to properly winterize and store your equipment.  If you can’t find your manual, check the manufacturer’s website.
  2. Disconnect the spark plug and battery cables before storing; you'll also want to do this before servicing or repairing equipment. Wear safety glasses and gloves to protect against harmful chemicals and debris.
  3. Drain the fuel. Stored equipment should not have fuel in its tank. Many fuels today contain ethanol, which absorbs water and may separate, causing operating problems. If there is fuel in the tank, remove what remains. You can do this by running the engine until it stops.
  4. Store leftover fuel properly. If you're planning on storing gasoline for more than 30 days, treat it with a fuel stabilizer. Use a sealed container that is approved for fuel storage. Always keep fuel out of the reach of children and animals, and away from heat sources or flames.
  5. Check and clean your equipment. Check for loose belts or missing or damaged guards. Tighten all screws and nuts. Remove any grass, leaves, or dirt that have accumulated on your equipment.

School Supply List

by The Butch Cazin Team

Click on the link to view the current school supply list.  

 

http://www.berkeleycountyschools.org/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&DomainID=1&ModuleInstanceID=94&ViewID=047E6BE3-6D87-4130-8424-D8E4E9ED6C2A&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=131&PageID=1

HVAC Maintenance Checklist

by The Butch Cazin Team

HVAC Maintenance Checklist

Here’s an easy, doable preventative maintenance checklist to keep your HVAC in top shape.

 

 

It’s a good idea to hire a HVAC company to inspect and do maintenance on your system every fall and spring. They’ll do things like inspect and clean the wiring and mechanisms of the unit, which is bit more challenging for the average homeowner. 

But you can prolong the life and increase the efficiency of your system if you follow this simple maintenance plan:

HVAC checklist for homeowners

Some things you should do immediately; other tasks only need to be done seasonally or once a year. Here are the steps to a healthy HVAC system:

  • Buy a better filter if you haven’t already. The new high-efficiency pleated filters have an electrostatic charge that works like a magnet to grab the tiniest particles — even those that carry bacteria.
  • Replace the filter at least every 90 days. But check it monthly. If it looks dark and clogged, go ahead and change it. If you have pets, you’ll probably need to change every month.
  • Check to make sure there’s at least two feet of clearance around outdoor air conditioning units and heat pumps.
  • Weekly during spring, summer, and fall remove debris such as leaves, pollen, and twigs from top and sides of outdoor air-conditioning units and heat pumps. Don’t allow the lawn mower to discharge grass clippings onto the unit.
  • Monthly, inspect insulation on refrigerant lines leading into house. Replace if missing or damaged.
  • Annually, ensure that outdoor air-conditioning units and heat pumps are on firm and level ground or pads.
  • Annually, pour a cup of bleach mixed with water down the air-conditioner condensate drain to prevent buildup of mold and algae, which can cause a clog.
  • In summer, shut off the water supply to the furnace humidifier. In fall (or when you anticipate turning on the heat), replace the humidifier wick filter, set the humidistat to between 35% and 40% relative humidity, and turn on the water supply.
  • Never close more than 20% of a home’s registers to avoid placing unnecessary strain on the HVAC system.
  • Annually, replace the battery in your home’s carbon monoxide detector.



Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/heating-cooling/hvac-maintenance/#ixzz3ZEB4tvg1 
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​​

How to Protect Your Home From Severe Cold

by The Butch Cazin Team

http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/seasonal-maintenance/protect-your-home-cold-weather-threats/?cid=eo_em_mkt_newsletter

4 Clever Problem-Solvers for Messy Pantries

by The Butch Cazin Team

Pantries seem like a good idea at first, but before long they can become the kitchen’s equivalent of a disorganized closet. 

If your pantry is headed in that direction, these four projects from some of our favorite bloggers could help you remake your pantry into an organized haven.

Then vote for your favorite at the end of this post, and see which pantry makeover is the most popular with our readers.

A Lazy Susan Pantry

This is a very clever idea — using Lazy Susans to make items in hard-to-reach corners accessible. 

Decorchick installed six carousels to display food that once hid in pantry corners. Although she and her dad made the carousels, you can buy versions at any home improvement store.

A Blackboard Pantry for Only $50

A thrifty military wife, 11 Magnolia Lane’s blogger, turned a cupboard into a practical and whimsical closet-style pantry, complete with polka dot trim and blackboard paint — all for only $50. 

Most of that $50 was spent on glass containers, so you could probably do it for less.

An Adjustable Pantry

Another smart idea, this one from blogger Honey & Fitz: Remove the standard homebuilder’s plastic-coated wire shelves and replace them with easy-to-adjust sturdy wood-and-steel shelves.

By making the shelves adjustable, Honey & Fitz created room for a rolling baking station that stores a mixer and baking supplies.

No Pantry? No Problem.

 

The now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t pantry is a great solution for kitchens with no pantry or limited storage space. It’s an easy, low-cost DIY project from Classy Clutter.



Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/blog/kitchens/pantry-organization-makeovers/#ixzz3OpJss4Tu 
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5 Holiday Hosting Disasters and How to Avoid Them

by The Butch Cazin Team

Take a look at the most common things that can go wrong when you have guests and learn how to prevent them.
 

Imagine you’re preparing to host your annual holiday party, and you’re past the point of no return. The veggies and meats have been bought. Guests are already braving busy airports and crowded highways to get to your home—and then your oven won’t turn on. Your home-cooked meal has quickly turned into a microwave dinner.

That’s just one of many hosting nightmares that can end your holiday party before it even begins. Thankfully, some of the most damaging mishaps easily can be avoided. We collected five of the most prevalent issues and give you preventative tips to keep your holiday party on track.

Problem: The oven doesn’t heat

For any holiday occasion, the oven is the most important appliance in your house. If it fails to work, the centerpiece of your meal could go from roasted beef, ham, duck, or Tofurky to Peking Duck from the local Chinese takeout joint.

How to avoid:

  • There are any number of reasons a stove can break, but one common cause of disaster is easy to prevent. Don’t self-clean your oven until AFTER the holidays. You risk blowing a fuse or a thermostat, and tracking down an oven technician around the holidays can be tough.

Problem: The kitchen sink clogs

The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest of the year for plumbers. The prime cause of this clog-a-thon is the mistreatment of drains when cooking holiday feasts. We hope your Thanksgiving went well, and that you avoid clog-a-thons for the rest of the holidays.

How to avoid:

  • Fats and cooking oils can solidify in your pipes, so never dispose of them in your kitchen sink.
  • If you have a garbage disposal, make sure it’s running before anything goes in it, and never feed it any stringy, fibrous, or starchy foods like poultry skins or potato peels.
  • To fix, don’t rely on chemical drain-clearing products that can harm your pipes. Use a snake instead, available for $15 at your local hardware store. Best to keep one on hand.

Problem: The heat goes out

As the party’s host, you’re supposed to hang guests’ coats—not apologize to them for having to keep them on. A lack of heat can stop a holiday party dead in its tracks. 

How to avoid:

  • The key to avoiding freezing your party to a standstill is regular maintenance of your HVAC. Every 90 days, a new one-inch pleated furnace filter should be installed. If you haven’t done it in a while, now’s a good time to replace it.
  • Also inspect insulation on refrigerant lines that are leading into your house. Replace them if they’re missing or damaged.  

Problem: The toilet stops up

Toilets have a way of clogging up at the worst times, such as during parties and when you have overnight guests. This is especially true if you have a low-flow toilet from the early 1990s. 

How to avoid:

  • Don’t flush anything other than sewage and toilet paper down the toilet. And there’s nothing wrong with putting up a polite note to remind your guests to do the same.

Problem: The fridge doesn’t cool

Without a properly functioning refrigerator, your meat could get contaminated, your dairy-based treats could go sour, and you may not be able to save your yummy leftovers. To avoid discovering a warm fridge after it’s too late, take these simple precautions.

How to avoid:

  • Get a thermometer for your refrigerator to make sure each shelf stays below 40 degrees and you can be aware of any temperature changes.
  • Also make sure the condenser coils located on the back of the unit or beneath it are free to breathe. Coils blocked from circulating air by cereal boxes atop the fridge, or dirtied by dust or pet hair can prevent a fridge from keeping cool.



Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/home-thoughts/holiday-hosting-tips/#ixzz3JjR7Alzk 
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7 Trick or Treating Safety Tips

by The Butch Cazin Team

7 Trick-or-Treating Safety Tips

Follow these guidelines for keeping your children safe on Halloween nigh.



Read more: http://www.rd.com/slideshows/7-trick-or-treating-safety-tips/#ixzz3HjX2t29w

Berkeley County, WV and City of Martinsburg are holding Trick or Treat on Saturday, November 1, 2014.  Please check with your local neighborhoods for times.  


The Warm and Cozy Home

by The Butch Cazin Team

 

Return to The Warm & Cozy Home Guide

The dark days of winter can really do a number on your well-being. Shorter days trigger the blahs; freezing temps spark the sniffles. So we put together a list of ideas that’ll turn your home into a comfy haven.

Cozy and Clever Energy Savers

Here’s how to create a brighter and warmer home without using more energy or cranking up the thermostat.

1. Clean dirty light fixtures and dusty bulbs to make your home appear 30% brighter without turning on more lights.

2. Seal sneaky air leaks. It’s not just window and door leaks killing your cozy vibe. Don’t forget to plug stealthy gaps around recessed lights, electrical boxes, and wall outlets. Use a lit incense stick or scented candle to hunt down drafty spots while leaving behind a cozy scent.

3. Replace your traditional gas or wood fireplace. Why? Both suck out heated indoor air and send it up the chimney. A gel fireplace insert is an eco-friendly option that produces a burning fire without gas, wood, electricity, or even a chimney. It’s also smoke-free and emits fewer allegans than a wood fireplace; some options crackle like the real thing. A basic model costs between $100 to $210; custom models go up exponentially from there. A case of gel fuel comes with 12 cans that burn for three hours each (about $35).

Tip: Use a slow cooker to infuse your home with a warm and cozy aroma. Even better, slow cookers are more energy efficient than electric ovens, typically using less energy than a light bulb. 

Immunity Boosters

You’ll feel coziest in a healthy indoor environment that keeps allergies at bay and reduces your chances of getting sick.

4. Get plants. Some indoor plants, like golden pothos and gerbera daisies, are particularly adept at sucking up nasty VOCs — the vapors emitted from household cleaners, paints, and dry cleaning. And since plants increase humidity levels, they help decrease household dust.

5. Vacuum while your thermostat is set to “fan on.” This helps filter dust that gets kicked-up while cleaning. Just leave the fan on for about 15 minutes after you finish vacuuming and switch it back to “auto” afterward. HVAC blowers aren’t intended to run all the time.

6. Change your HVAC filter every couple months (monthly if you have pets) to prevent excess dust from circulating.

Tip: Combat superbugs with copper. If you’re planning to upgrade your kitchen or bathroom fixtures, consider classic and homey-looking copper or a copper alloy like brass. A three-hospital study in 2011 found that bacteria can only survive on copper for a few minutes, but germs can live on stainless steel for weeks. 

Sun Worshippers

Lack of natural light can trigger a mean case of the winter doldrums — or worse, mood-altering seasonal affective disorder. Maximize daylight and make rooms feel warmer by adding the following to your yearly fall maintenance checklist.

7. Make your windows pane-fully clear. Clean glass not only lets more natural light into your home, it’s a feel-good task, according to a survey by the American Clean Institute. When ACI asked consumers what clean surfaces make them happy, “gleaming windows” made the top five above a “spotless sink.”

8. Ditch your window screens in the fall and winter. They trap dirt and can make your home appear darker inside and out. It’s a good curb appeal booster, too.

9. Add an interior window to a room next to a sun-drenched space to take advantage of natural light.

Tip: Paint chilly rooms, especially north-facing walls that don’t typically get sunlight, in reds, oranges, or yellows  cozy colors that can actually help the room feel warmer, according to a Michigan State University study. 



Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/saving-energy/warm-and-cozy-home/#ixzz3Gyf64tCg 
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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 47

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Contact Information

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The Butch Cazin Team
Long & Foster Real Estate
976 Foxcroft Ave
Martinsburg WV 25401
304-260-0075
Fax: 304-263-7700