Ways To Save Energy At Home!

Generally, a typical U.S. family spends more than $1600 a year on home utility bills! And unfortunately, a large portion of the energy used in home is wasted. Also, did you know that the electricity generated by fossil fuels for a single home puts more carbon dioxide (CO2) into the air than two average cars?
Here is the good news! There is in fact a lot you can do to save energy and money at home! Start by making small changes today, you can reduce your energy use up to 25%!

View your home as an energy system with interdependent parts and take a whole-house approach to saving energy ensures that dollars you invest to save energy are spent wisely. Energy-efficient improvements not only make your home more comfortable, they can yield long-term financial rewards. Reduced utility bills more than make up for the higher price of energy-efficient appliances and improvements over their lifetimes. In addition, your home could bring in a higher price when you sell.
Here are what you should look at:
• Do Home Energy Audit
• Check Home Insulation
• Sealing Air Leaks
• Examine Home Heating and Cooling System
• Efficient Water Heating
• Windows
• Lighting
• Home Appliances
• Home Office
• Home Electronics
• Use Reusable Energy

Easy Ways To Keep Your Home Clean And Organized

In today’s high-speed, no time for any inconvenience, society, people generally despise cleaning. Most families lack the income to afford a nanny or cleaning lady, so they are forced into providing time for the mundane task of cleaning. Unfortunately, many people believe that a large amount time is needed to keep a home tidy.

Managing a spotless home is really not as difficult as it seems. Preventative measures can be taken to eliminate a large portion of time from a normal cleaning session. Tiding-up a home efficiently and effectively requires organization and understanding from all household members. Here are a few tips for keep a home organized and clean:

Organized Cleaning Supplies – Keeping the cleaning supplies in a centralized location eliminates searching time. There is nothing more frustrating and time-absorbing as scattered cleaning products. Storing the products and tools in a small shower tote or hand basket is an excellent way to ensure all of the necessaries are at one’s finger tips.

It’s a Household Chore – Remember cleaning is a team effort. Everyone living in a home should have to clean. With everyone pitching in, the cleaning time will be eliminated drastically. It’s not too much to ask for each person to do his or her share of the cleaning load. Functioning as a group makes the task of cleaning less daunting and creates at an atmosphere of a family job.

Scheduling Time – Create a schedule for each person and stick to it. Maintaining a good cleaning regiment helps eliminate housemates from straying away from their responsibilities. A rotation of responsibilities is a way to keep cleaners on their toes and eliminate any thoughts of favoritism in chore delegation. There is a reason for the cliché- Together Everyone Accomplishes More!

No Room for Slobs – Make housemates aware that sloppiness is not acceptable. Picking up after someone is a waste of time and highly unnecessary, during a cleaning session. Housemates should clean up their own messes to eliminate wasted time during scheduled cleanings. Scheduled sessions should generally include tidying up and not removing a lazy housemate’s clothing left in the den, or the condiments from a sloppy sandwich on the kitchen counter. Scheduled cleanings are for dusting and general straightening up not an overhaul for uncivilized roommates.

Flexible Stability – The most important factor for cutting down on cleaning time is making sure upkeep is managed. Although it is necessary for everyone to follow the schedule, mutual understanding is essential in running an effective cleaning system. Important obligations are bound to interfere with scheduled cleaning times, but with flexibility and time management it will work. Assuring that each housemate knows what is expected of them is important. Allow a day or two of flexibility in the chores and there shouldn’t be any conflicts. Being flexible is a must; however keeping people on task is needed. When a person falls behind on their cleaning responsibilities, the whole schedule will suffer. Follow the cleaning schedule if possible.

Advice For Keeping A Clean And Dust Free Home

When it comes to cleaning your home, is there a more boring job that dusting? Not only is it boring but it’s hard too. Dusting means a lot of work for someone doesn’t know how to do it properly. Then it requires all that sleuthing looking up at the ceiling, in the corners and overhead light fixtures, for those annoying little hidden pieces of dust. All this doesn’t mean it isn’t important, however.

Dusting your home is necessary task. A dusty room not only looks dirty and unkept, but also will lead to health problems, even more so if you have allergies. Dust from pet dander, pollen and other substances can increase the chances that you or someone in your family will have allergies. Dead skin from our bodies creates dust, and so do the dust mites which feed on that dead skin. Then we need to worry about the droppings from those microscopic bugs which can make you sneeze, as well.

Now for some good news, it’s not that difficult to dust. There are also fast and noticeable results from it too. Here are a few common surefire ways to fight dust from taking over your home:

Change your air filters – Air conditioners, vacuum cleanser and air purifiers all use air filters. You’ll want to check and maintain all of the air filters in your home to check that they are functioning correctly. They normally last around one to three months on average, but you probably should change them since they get clogged with dirt and debris.

Slipcovers work well – A good but often overlooked idea is trying out slipcovers for upholstery. When you’re doing some cleaning, it lets you shake out all the dust and dirt as opposed to trying to vacuum up dust from an entire sofa or couch.

Trying use fabric softener sheets – Have you ever decided that today is the day that you are going to dust only to discover you are out of polish or dust rags? Well, here is the answer to that problem: use fabric softener sheets. These make a great and inexpensive substitute for the more pricey electrostatic cloths.

Wood scratches need to be repaired – If you have any wooden furniture with some scratches in them then now is the time to fix and repair those minor imperfections. Next time you go shopping, buy a furniture marker or crayon and then go over scratches the next time you dust.

The right movement – Bet you didn’t know there was a proper way to dust your furniture. The correct way is to dust from top to bottom. This prevents you from going over any surfaces more than once. There are times you may need to wet dust right after you dry dust, but always try to dry dust first. Try not to allow even the smallest amount of water to get on the wood surfaces.

Keep the windows closed – By closing all the windows in your home, you essentially are preventing any outside dust and debris from blowing in. Go through the house and check to see that your window and door weather-stripping is still intact and functioning correctly.

Choose the right tools – Take a walk down the cleaning supplies section of a grocery store and take note of the amount of dusting products there are available. However, each one has its own set of good and bad uses. Figure out what they and use the right tool for the job.

Brush your pet’s hair – Make sure Fido and Fluffy are well groomed. Brushing your pet’s hair reduces their shedding and in turn reduces loose hair and pet dander. Pet owners will testify to the fact the majority of dust and debris come from pets. Brushing helps you spend some quality time with your pet, and minimize the amount of dander and shedding that you end up dusting away.

Home Repair And Improvement

If you are planning for home repair and improvement, then you can use some of the unique tips that are so readily available on the internet these days. Home repair and improvement is never an easy task and so tips and ideas from trustworthy resources can also prove helpful. These days, shows on home repairs and remodeling of exteriors and interiors have become quite a common place on television and radio. So, you can use some great ideas from these programs too. And of course, hiring a professional contractor and paying heed to some expert advice by home improvement enthusiasts would always prove fruitful.

A house has different parts and each part has its own importance. Therefore, there are different kinds of repair works for each of these parts and spaces. Interior improvements can include repairing of the A/C, appliances, electrical and lighting, doors, stairs and floors, walls and ceilings. The interiors comprise rooms, bathrooms and kitchen. Plus, there are plumbing and fixtures, painting, home technology, storage, décor, and so on. All of these come under interior improvements. The home exteriors usually include the garage, lawn and guard, pool, spa and sauna. Then of course, the roof, chimney and gutter form an important part of the exteriors. The windows and skylights, siding, columns and landscaping, all comprise the exteriors of a home.

Therefore, all these areas need special attention as and where required. The first step towards a well finished home repair and improvement project is a well laid out plan. Then of course comes the budgeting. When planning a repair and remodeling of the house, do also take into account the council regulations. Setting a commencing date and planning a completion date is very important. Now, for selecting products make personal trips to good stores or browse through the online and print catalogues. Decide upon a style – heritage, modern or casual and make it a tool in narrowing down your choices.

Helpful Questions On Intelligent Solutions For Home Improvement

Most people will find that when making home repairs & overall improvements, the process never exactly meets the planning. You may think something will only take a day plus a little effort, although you are likely to find that points get a bit more convoluted. Work to streamline the improvement process by reading these ideas.

Opt to do your laundry every time your hamper fills up, rather than waiting for your dirty laundry to pile for a week. Throwing your laundry in the washing machine every two days cuts down the quantity of time you need to spend folding, waiting for the washing machine plus the dryer & puts less strain on your machine.

You should generally wear safety glasses or goggles when cutting with a saw or other powered equipment. Should you don’t wear protective equipment for your eyes pieces of the material you’re cutting or dust can turn into lodged within your eye or trigger irritation. In severe circumstances permanent damage may be done to your eye.

Building a swing set may be a fantastic home improvement project that will supply one’s youngsters with entertainment. It can also be a bonding experience if 1 chooses to build it with their youngsters so they can watch it take shape before they get to play on it & get pleasure from it that a good deal more.

While countless properties come with smoke detectors, fire safety specialists frequently recommend installing heat and carbon monoxide detectors as well. By taking every probable precaution, you may be saving your family’s life or even your own by taking steps to detect any doable sign of trouble as soon as possible.

Home improvement must normally start with the plumbing and the bathrooms. Bathrooms are a key room in a household & will make a home feel like brand new. It is also 1 of the most lucrative improvements to do to a residence if a individual ever decides to sell it.

Decide upon 2 easy-to-keep in mind days of the year to check & replace, if needed, the batteries within your carbon monoxide & smoke detectors. New Year’s Day plus the Fourth of July are perfect occasions to perform this task. You must also be certain that your fire extinguishers work and discuss your family’s exit method in the event of a fire.

In the event you have an loft you do not use, look into adding more rooms to your residence or transforming it into a loft if the ceiling is rather low. This will positively grow the value of your house besides giving you more space. Be certain you use correct isolation to stay clear of your new rooms from getting too cold or moist.

A superb approach to add a brand new look to any room of the home is to tile or re-tile the floors. Tile flooring comes in thousands of colors and designs & is relatively cost-effective once you do it yourself. For as tiny as $1 a square foot, new tile floors may be an outstanding home improvement project.

Home improvement is a vast subject. From putting a brand new set of curtains up to basically replacing your windows, anything can qualify as an “improvement.” Even for the smallest process you’re attempting, you’ll have to be effectively educated on the best way to pull it off. Use the hints in this piece to guide you via quite a few frequent improvements.

Americas most trusted home improvement magazine

In the latest issue of This Old House, check out how a neglected 1928 bungalow makes for a cozy cottage redo. Buying a first house is a personal landmark that often signals the beginning of adulthood. But at 26, Brenna Byerlotzer didn’t have homeownership on her mind when she came upon the small stone house that she would claim as her own. In fact, she decided in a split second to take the major domestic step. Despite that sudden start, nothing else in her home-owning saga would move fast. Grab this issue to read this exciting story, which shows how a first-time homeowner revives a neglected house with patience, perseverance, and a little help from her skilled friends.

Also, don’t miss ‘This Old House 2016 #DIYDARE Challenge’ article, which teaches you how to make a concrete umbrella stand, how to make a hardworking kitchen cart, how to turn a plain sink into a cedar vanity, how to build a PVC planter with a cast-iron look and how to stencil faux inlay on a plain dresser.

This issue also teaches you how to install a critter-proof garden fence. If you’re Elmer Fudd, you thwart carrot thieves by sending an Acme Pest Control robot after Bugs Bunny. If you’re a seasoned gardener, you know that fencing in your tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and other edibles is the way to go. Our version fends off two varieties of varmints, with wide, welded-wire mesh panels to keep out rabbits and dogs, and tighter, PVC-coated galvanized wire buried below to stymie subterranean-bound woodchucks and moles. A gate at each end allows you to wheelbarrow in garden amendments like mulch and compost. This Old House senior technical editor Mark Powers shows you how to use common building materials—and not mechanical mercenaries—to preserve and protect your hard-grown produce.

This Old House digital magazine is available on leading newsstands like Magzter, Apple, Google, etc. Users can buy and read not only the current issue, but also any of the archived issues digitally on their favorite devices across various platforms, anytime and anywhere. Users can either buy a single issue of This Old House’s digital version or avail discount on annual subscription of the magazine. Readers can play a vital role in making our Earth more sustainable by choosing digital magazines over physical copies. Subscribe now to This Old House and confidently take up home improvement projects of all sizes and succeed.

How To Get Rid Of Green Home Improvement Politics

Undoubtedly, green home improvement contributes to the maintenance of healthy living and environment. Of course, you won’t be able to obtain and keep an eco-friendly place to live in without putting a little sacrifice. The conveniences of the usage of energy-based appliances and the easiest way of doing things sans an eco-friendly environment are obviously stuff you need to forego to lead a greener lifestyle.

Letting go of the basic conveniences obviously presents some hassles along the way. No longer would you be able to use your energy-based appliances at home anytime you want to, at your own convenience. These sacrifices made in the name of going green, though, proves to be worth it in the long run as more property and lives are saved from the severe massive destruction mother earth may experience in the long run.
Unreliable Rainfall

In order to save energy when generating water, many people have chosen to collect water from rainfall. The challenge is often times not being able to predict when it will rain. If you have not collected enough water when it previously rained, then suddenly rain ceases to come, then you’d be in for a big trouble.

Make it a habit to store extra water when you first collect rainfall, that would have been reserved only for emergency future use. Doing this prevents you from struggling when you suddenly run out of water, and you still wish to maintain your eco-friendly lifestyle at the same time.

Home Improvement for the Beginning Homeowner

One of the upsides of buying a new home is that you can decorate and landscape however you want. Of course, it is still a task. The biggest item affecting how you decorate inside and outside is funds available. What does my budget allow me to do? Once you have your budget, then you have to prioritize what gets done first.

My thoughts on the inside of the home tend to focus on electronics areas only. As long as everyone has a bed to sleep on, we are good for that piece of the house. In the earlier days, budget included the potential use of a credit card. This is not the case anymore. If we can’t pay for it, it doesn’t get done.

Our first project inside was getting an entertainment center built right into the wall. It would be set up where the television fits right into the wall. The outside speakers and stereo system would be routed through the wall and play XM radio outside. My wife picked out a wood color that would be a nice match for the house. The person we hired to do the work was highly recommended. We reviewed all of his different photos. We were impressed.

He took the necessary measurements and started working. After he left the first time, we did not hear from him in about three weeks. He did excellent work but did not communicate well. At the three week mark, he had created some of the framework. It looked great. It took about six more weeks to hear from him again. He got it all done. He did not commit to any time frame and we should have asked for one.

The work was excellent when complete. We were happy. The television looked like it was in a frame and the system synched with everything outside also. That was our first priority project. After this was completed, we started to get grief about having the only backyard that was still dirt. It was very easy to set up tables on dirt for a birthday party we had. It was time to upgrade. The easy part was getting a sprinkler system and some sod put in. We negotiated and contracted the father-in-law to put in sprinkler system. That did the job for the main backyard.
We had slopes around the yard that would need some type of vegetation. We put in a waterfall on one part of the slope. This left about 75% of slope that needed something. A few landscapers stopped by and we came up with some palm trees surrounded by some smaller plants. They looked good as they grew up.

One thing that we always realized was that any work in or around new home was based on budget. After the backyard was squared away, we had to save up again for whatever was next. Our tip for all would be to take care of high visibility needs first. We waited a long time before squaring away the backyard. It should have been completed before anything on the inside is done.

What Home Improvements are Tax Deductible?

In this Buzzle article, some key and common channels with the help of which you can claim deductions for home improvement have been explained.

Tagged Under: Tax Deductions
First off even before we begin, let us recommend you to keep aside a file of all the receipts and invoices of payments made by you in relation with home improvements. They do come in real handy when you are filing your taxes. The following is a brief explanation about the home improvement expenses that are considered to be valid tax deductions by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

These deductions should not be confused with credits. Also, home improvement should also not be confused with tax credit and other tax breaks. A very honest answer to the query is medical expenditure. It is the only deductible expenditure (explanation follows). However you can take advantage of it to claim lawful deductions, in a bit indirect manner.

Tax Deductions and Home Improvements

So what is the exact premise of home improvements in tax deductions. Simple, the IRS, has permitted the income tax filers and tax payers to deduct certain expenditures as a part of their itemized deductions. Tax breaks such as credits and exemptions, or initial discounts have been covered in the home improvement section. However, in the following list the direct deduction has been included.

Direct deduction is the phenomenon where your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), before the amount of tax is levied, drastically decreases. It must be noted that tax slabs of the year are imposed in percentages on the AGI and deductions which are basically all your expenses can be claimed through certain channels, thereby bringing down the AGI and your liability. Now from the total expenditures, only some are viable deductions. A home improvement is an addition to the value of your house. The repairs on the other hand are rectifications of the already existing property. On the whole, when you fill out your Form 1040 for itemized deductions, you will have to make a keen and fine search to see which expenditure is a home improvement and which is a repair.

Tax Deduction List

It must be noted that home improvement tax deductions are directly not valid tax deductions, hence you will need to take differential and indirect deductions. Here are 5 solid paths which you can take.

» Topic 502 Medical and Dental Expenses

The above subheading sounds a bit odd does, isn’t it? Home improvement and medical deductions, are two completely different kinds of expenditures, yet if you have taken up home improvement in your house for medical reasons such as specialized medical, facilities, then the entire cost of improvement that escalates the value of your house is taken into consideration as a deduction. The condition is that the improvement should be permanent in nature, and should be taken up for entire the tax filer, his/her spouse or any other dependent who is resident at said place.

Lastly, as per the IRS, if the value of the improvement does not increase the value of the house, then the entire expenditure incurred is taken up as a deduction. Modification of stairways, doors, railing installations, and other such modifications are connoted to be deductions as per medical and dental expenditure list. It must be noted that these expenditures can be claimed as deductions under the Capital Expenses head of the Medical and Dental Expenses.

» Topic 505 Interest Expenditure

The interest rate of a lot of different loans, credits and money lending facilities that tend to have advantageous deductions if you have undertaken home improvements. Loans such as Home Equity Loans and Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC) or student loans, tied down to the appraised equity of your home, have a fully deductible interest rate.

This might not be significant in volume or even at the time being. However, at a later stage, the small annual interest rate would prove to be instrumental in bringing down the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) on your income tax return. The key to claim such a deduction is that the equity of the house increases substantially after home improvement. It is abstract but is also relevant, at least indirectly.

» Topic 509 Business Use of Home

Based upon the fact that if home improvement increases your homes equity value, the value of certain related deductions is probable to go up by a couple of dollars. If you are using your house for business purposes then expenditures that are involved in the business use of house are deducted from the AGI. The advantage is that it increases your house’s value, and thus this expenditure of business use of house also increases, substantially.

» Depreciation

The last deduction that you can claim with the help of home improvement is the depreciation deduction. Like the aforementioned home deductions, the depreciation deduction takes advantage of the increased value of the house. Depreciation is imposed by a percentage value. Value addition in the home’s value, tends to boost up the total amount of depreciation.

Thus, on the whole, home improvement based tax deductions are to be availed using indirect methods. The basic premise is that it pushes up the value or equity of your home. Thus the monetary value of deductions that you used to claim earlier also increases and your AGI thus, gets reduced. A reduced AGI means a reduced income tax liability.

Home Improvement Plans Qualifying for Tax Deductions

Many people would want to know if the home improvements done for their home are deducted from taxes at the end of the year or not. Well, there are a number of home improvements that qualify for Qualifying for Tax Deductionstax credits and tax deductions. Read this article to clear your doubts right here.

Tagged Under: Home Improvement Loans
It is important not to get confused between home repair and improvement, particularly from the point of view of taxes. Home repairs, like renovating a home or making permanent additions to the home, increase the value of the house while making it more habitable. This does not count towards tax deduction or credit.

However, if you replace energy-efficient windows or doors for your home (falls under home improvement) or apply for home improvement loans, for the purpose of making certain improvements, then it qualifies for tax deductions.

A tax deduction reduces the amount of taxable income. A tax credit, on the other hand, reduces the actual amount of tax that a person has to pay. Hence, a tax credit is better than a tax deduction, as the former reduces the actual tax liability. The following equation will explain it to you in a short and precise way:
Expenses for Home Improvement – Increase in the value of the home because of improvements = Amount that qualifies for a tax deduction

Home Improvement Plans That Qualify for Tax Deductions

Interest and Points on Home Improvement Loans
Interest paid on a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit availed for the purpose of making capital improvements on the home, are fully tax deductible. Capital improvements are those that increase the worth of the home, prolong its depreciable life or adapt it to new uses. Points purchased for obtaining a home improvement loan, at a favorable rate of interest, are also fully tax deductible provided the following conditions are met:
✔ The loan or the line of credit is secured by the main home.
✔ Points purchased are in accordance with the established practice of buying points.
✔ Points purchased were not more than the points usually paid for availing such loans.
✔ The taxpayer uses the tax method of accounting.

Expenses on Home Improvements on Account of Medical Reasons
Medical expenses, that one pays for oneself, one’s spouse and dependents, qualify for tax deductions. Home improvements that have been undertaken for medical reasons, also qualify as medical expenses and are thus, tax deductible. For instance,

✔ People suffering from heart ailments can install an elevator in the house, to avoid climbing the stairs, and can claim a tax deduction citing medical reasons.
✔ Improving the home’s air filtration system by installing central air conditioning or removing a drywall that may be damp and moldy can help abate the symptoms of asthma in people experiencing breathing difficulty. The doctor may have to provide a letter stating the necessity of making these improvements.
✔ All reasonable costs incurred to accommodate a handicapped individual, qualify for deductions.

Expenses on Home Improvements for Energy-efficient Upgrades
There are several home improvements and upgrades to enhance energy efficiency, but it is tough to be aware of the discounts and tax incentives that an individual is entitled for, the reason being there are many federal and state regulations applicable in some cases. Following are some instances, which could affect your income taxes:

✔ Constructing entrance and exit ramps for the home and widening the doorway at the entrance and the exit to the home, in order to help handicapped people to live at home
✔ Installing railings and support bars along the stairway and in the bathroom
✔ Modifying the kitchen to make it easily accessible to people with disabilities
✔ Modifying electric outlets and fixtures
✔ Installing lifts and leveling the ground

Other home improvement expenses that qualify for tax credits till 2016 (this include new and already existing homes) are:

✔ Installing geothermal heat pumps
✔ Setting up solar water heaters and panels
✔ Installing wind energy systems or fuel cells

In addition to tax deductions for home improvements, the government is also giving tax credits for making the home environment friendly. Energy Star was initiated as a voluntary labeling program in 1992, by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, to identify and promote energy-efficient products in order to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission. A number of new homes qualify as Energy Star homes since the appliances used in these homes bear the Energy Star label.