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April 18, 2017

5 Hardscaping Projects That Can Improve Your Home’s Value

If you’re thinking about improvements to your home, some home improvements raise potential resale value more than others. The key consideration, of course, is that you and your family will get use out of and enjoy the improvement, but it never hurts to think strategically. A home project you enjoy every day that will hike your home’s resale value is a terrific two-fer. But what projects improve resale value the most? Projects that add curb appeal can raise a home’s value by as much as 20 percent.

“Curb appeal” refers to what potential buyers see when they drive up and park. Landscaping, hardscaping and home exteriors all count. Hardscaping, by the [...]

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April 6, 2017

April Showers: Tips for Restoring and Preventing Basement Flooding

While April showers may lead to May flowers, unfortunately, they can also lead to one more sign of spring: Flooding. If you have a lot of rain during the time when the winter snow is melting, it can simply be too much for the existing systems to handle. In fact, a lot of rain can cause basement flooding all by itself.

Floods can happen for a variety of reasons, including rising groundwater, backed-up sewers and septic tanks, clogged gutters and sump pumps. Sump pumps can be heroic in times of heavy rain, keeping water out of a basement like an army repelling the enemy. Unfortunately, a heavy flood can also cause the power to go out. And if the power goes out, so does an [...]

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March 13, 2017

Tips for Preventing Circuit Overload in a Home

Spring is almost here! The days are staying lighter longer. The birds are chirping in the morning. Have you seen your first robin yet? Depending on where you live, these are signs of spring. Naturally, we begin to think about spring cleaning and projects we have been putting off.

What you probably aren’t thinking about is your electrical wiring and the demands you and your appliances put on it. Overloading your electrical circuits can damage your appliances, cause power outages or even a fire. Here are a few things to consider to prevent overloading your circuits.

What Is an Overload?

An overload is when you have too many things running on one circuit. More [...]

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March 3, 2017

Tax Breaks You Can Get for Home Improvements

Tax time is approaching fast! Homeowners should be aware they can get tax breaks for certain home improvements. If you have made these improvements this year, you can claim them on the taxes you file on or before April 18, 2017. That’s this year’s tax deadline since April 15 falls on a Saturday, and Monday, April 17 is a Washington, D.C. holiday.

If you are planning on home improvements for calendar year 2017, make note of these potential tax deductions for next year. It’s always a good idea to check with a tax professional as tax laws change frequently.

Here’s a brief description of types of tax breaks. After that, we’ll provide three tax [...]

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February 15, 2017

8 Eco-Friendly Home Upgrades to Make This Year

Green is in! Environmentally conscious buildings reduce their carbon footprint and lower the greenhouse gas emissions that have been tied to global warming. Not only that, but these homes also result in reduced energy use, which lowers your energy costs. Green building is also very popular — especially with millennials — and that demand can potentially raise the resale value of your house when the time comes to sell it. If you aren’t currently in a green home, you can still make your home as green as possible. Most homeowners upgrade every now and then. Just make a plan so your annual upgrades are eco-friendly. Here are eight ideas.

1. Use Reclaimed Wood for Remodeling and [...]
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February 10, 2017

5 Ways to Reuse Broken Glass

When a beautiful piece of pottery breaks, it is not destroyed. It’s made all more beautiful with kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold instead of glue. When a beloved glass object or frame shatters, all you see are the sharp shards of the object’s prior beauty and what’s left to clean up without injuring yourself. However, all is not lost. Glass glue, grout and a little ingenuity can mean new life and reuse for broken glass.

Needless to say, broken glass cuts skin easily. You must handle the sharp edges gently. When cleaning up glass, always remember to block the area off from children and pets until the task is done. Rubber-coated gloves are [...]

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January 19, 2017

5 Upcycling Ideas for Winter

Upcycling is a great way to create something new from something you’d normally just throw away. When people think of upcycling, they generally think of spring and summer projects, but there are plenty of things you can do in the winter too to create new items to decorate your home with in the colder months.

Put That Old Toboggan to Good Use

Supplies needed:

An old toboggan Wood cleaner Danish oil Console table or other materials to use as legs Screws Drill with a screwdriver attachment

If you live in a place that gets snow, you might have an old toboggan in your garage just collecting dust. Instead of getting rid of it, turn it into a bench. This DIY toboggan bench [...]

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January 6, 2017

What New Homeowners Should Know About Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is on the rise, and 2017 is the year to get in on the action. Solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and hydropower can all be used to generate power at home and will save you money on your utility payments. They will also have a much smaller impact on the environment than nonrenewable energy sources.


Photovoltaic (PV) systems, commonly known as solar panels, use sunlight to generate power. Multiple solar cells make up a panel, which can produce anywhere from 10 to 300 watts of electricity.

They’re usually installed on rooftops or on a rack on the ground. They can withstand the elements and require little upkeep. Solar systems usually cost about $10 [...]

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