Saturday, March 30, 2013

Guide to Giving Your Interior Doors a Makeover

Interior door makeover

Picture courtesy of

Gone are the days where doors were just gateways to a different room; now they can be beautiful, elegant, quirky or unique pieces of art that can brighten an otherwise dull room. Need some ideas of current trends and styles to help you create your own designer door? These creative ideas should help you get started.

• First, you’ll need to properly prep your door before you start painting, especially if you plan on using darker paints. If you are unsure what to use to prep, ask a professional who may be able to recommend types depending on your design.

When you start painting your door always brush in the direction of the grain, starting from the top of the door painting your way down as you do.

• Looking for a fun quirky designs but change your mind all the time? Try using blackboard paint to make a blackboard door! You can design a new door everyday if you feel like it! Not only is it fun and different, but it can be really useful! Do you tend to forget your keys, wallet or umbrella? Writing a reminder at eye level means you’ll never forget them as you walk out the door. Blackboard doors are great for homes with children; it doesn’t matter as much if they draw on this door.

• Using dark, deep colours on your door? Lift them out with a lighter colour as a trim. This works really well if the walls of your room match with the shades of colour on the door, creating a dramatic

but not distracting design. This can work really well reversed as well, with the dark colour as the trim and the lighter shade on the

door. Dark colours like brown or black also help to make a room look contemporary and chic as well as giving a room a warm, cozy atmosphere. How about if the colour scheme in your room is made up of neutral tones? In rooms like those, the colour black really makes

the door stand out.

• Caught in a dilemma? One side of your door is a dark, bold colour and the other side is a light,

bright shade; so which colour do you paint the edge? Most experts say paint the edge the same colour as the side of the door that opens inwards into a room. As long as you avoid painting it both colours, this just looks messy and unprofessional.

• Light colours like soft greys, beiges or creams worked with a distressed effect really give a room a vintage and feminine vibe especially if your door has moulding on it. These colours also work really well with a slight gloss coat; giving a room a more modern feel and also helping a room feel light and airy.

Interior door makeover

Picture courtesy of

• Is your door in an awkward spot or is the room particularly small? Create the illusion of space and make your door ‘disappear’ by painting it the same colour as the rest of your walls.

Making over your doors is a great, low cost way of giving your home a face lift. It can give a plain room a focal point or a touch of elegance depending on what you choose to do with it. And don’t think that you have to just paint your doors one neutral colour. Try a design or colour that pushes you a little outside your comfort zone and you may be surprised with the results.

This article was written by Amy Elliott on behalf of UK Oak Doors, suppliers of authentic cottage doors.

This article was written by Amy Elliott on behalf of UK Oak Doors, suppliers of authentic cottage doors.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Green Home Improvements Add Value To Your Home

Green home improvements that can make a real difference in home value:

green home improvement projectsWhat your home is worth to you is one thing; what it’s worth to someone else may be totally different. If you want to boost the value of your home for yourself and in the eyes of others, one of the best ways to do that in today’s real estate market is to make green home improvements.

Going green can mean a lot of things, and it’s easy to start with small changes like switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs and unplugging appliances when they’re not in use. Not only will you be doing good for the environment, you might end up saving on utility bills and, ultimately, increasing your home’s value when the time comes to sell.-

Green projects aren’t all necessarily in the do-it-yourself category, and making an investment to have the bigger jobs done right will pay off in the long run.

Getting started now – even if that just means planning – is a good idea, particularly if you’re thinking about selling in a few months’ time. Talk to a real estate agent about what improvements are popular among potential homebuyers, and consider these ideas:

* Insulation: Regulating the hot air your home lets in during the summer and lets out in the winter can have a short-term impact on your heating and cooling bills. To find out whether you need additional insulation in your attic or walls, order an energy audit. Perhaps you could benefit from adding blown-in insulation to your walls. If your attic is unfinished, it’s particularly important to make sure that it’s appropriately insulated to avoid wasting energy.

* Windows: Caulking and putting up energy-saving window film is a great start, but a more dramatic change might Home improvement window replacementmake a world of difference if you want to make a sale. Replacing your existing windows with high-efficiency versions can be an expensive proposition, but the return on your investment can be dramatic, particularly if you’re hoping to attract buyers.

* Landscaping: While planting isn’t always possible in the coldest months of the year, putting together a plan for energy-conscious plantings is a great idea. Consider adding trees that will bring shade to the sunniest spots, like the west side of your home, to cut summertime electric bills. Trees that lose their leaves in the fall will let light in during the winter, as opposed to evergreens which will block it throughout the year.

* Water: Take the first step by turning down the temperature setting on your water heater. For more savings, consider replacing older heaters with energy-efficient models or even solar water heaters. Adding insulation to your pipes can also make a difference in how much energy is used to heat water.

Most homeowners put a lot of effort into making their homes attractive, welcoming spaces. With green updates, you can make your home not only more comfortable and more energy-efficient, but also more appealing to buyers. Add the potential energy savings and the possible boost in home value and you have even more reasons to bring your home into the green age.

Ready to bring your home into the green age?  Give us a call at 914-576-2572 to discuss the many options available to you when it comes to window replacement and other home greening projects.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tips To Refresh Your Home For Spring

Three stress-free tricks to refresh your home from floor to ceiling

painted ceilingSpring is the time of year for renewal. So, it’s no surprise that springtime finds most people planning to rejuvenate their spaces. Four out of five Americans have a room in their home in need of redecorating, according to a 2013 study by Homegoods. Unfortunately, all too often the decorating process is a source of stress and anxiety for homeowners. How will you ever afford new furniture in your living room? How can you be on-trend without dating your home?

Follow these three tips to give your home a stress-free, springtime makeover:

Reclaiming your home’s foundation

Chances are your floors took a beating during the winter. Spring is the ideal time to install new flooring and revamp one of your home’s most important components. As the foundation of your home, your flooring needs to complement your personal taste, while living up to your lifestyle in terms of traffic, household members and pets, exposure to moisture and maintenance required. With the countless color and design options, the wide range of flooring materials and your own budgetary considerations, you may find selecting flooring to be particularly stressful.

Tapping into the customer-focused trends of high-end and online retailers, Tarkett empowers customers as they shop for flooring. Tarkett’s iSelect system delivers exactly what the name promises. It lessens the unknowns, simplifies the choices and introduces an interactive, multi-faceted shopping experience. The system begins with sorting multiple flooring options into six inspirational color families: Champagne Celebrations, Cool Conversations, Earthy Connections, Evening Receptions, Fireside Chats and Warm Gatherings – each offering its own feel and color space to help you find the perfect floor to coordinate with your existing furnishings and adjoining floors. Visit to walk through the iSelect process and find the perfect, customized floor for your taste, lifestyle, budget and even health.  Once you’ve used the iSelect flooring system to decide what flooring works best for you, feel free to head on over to your local home improvement store where you might find similar flooring at cheaper prices!

Sweat the small stuff

Instead of worrying about the new armoire you can’t afford, focus your energy on the finishing touches which can revitalize a space quickly and inexpensively. Paying attention to the details is a cost-effective and fun way to express yourself in spaces throughout your home, while also making each space feel complete.

Mirrors have a magical effect on a room by making a space feel larger, reflecting light throughout and adding a touch of panache. You can find a wide variety of hanging mirrors to fit your taste at discount retailers or you can purchase a mirror at an estate sale or secondhand store and “upcycle” it with a textured coat of spray paint.

The sky’s the limit

If you really want to embrace the warm weather and revitalize a room, it may be time to look up. One of the most popular design trends of 2013 is painting your ceiling. This blank and all-too-often-overlooked canvas has tremendous potential to transform a bedroom, living room or dining room. It can be as simple as repainting a white ceiling a very pale blue or gray to create the illusion that there is no ceiling. Or if you’re feeling bolder, you can make your ceiling a major accent element that gives a dull room a bright or daring splash of color. Be sure to contact us or give us a call at 914-576-2572 so that we can schedule a free in home design consultation!

Spring decorating should be an enriching experience, rather than a stressful one. Whether it’s budget, time or simply choosing among the vast number of options available, the usual redecorating stress triggers can be eliminated by focusing on simpler, cost-effective and empowering decor solutions.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Creating the perfect sleep environment this spring

creating the perfect sleep environmentEveryone, including moms and doctors, can agree that a good night of sleep is necessary for good health, high energy, and an individual’s overall well-being. Not getting enough good sleep – or rapid eye movement sleep – can affect the mind and body’s ability to react appropriately to outside factors, the National Sleep Foundation reports.

Creating the perfect sleep environment is the first step toward ensuring a good night of sleep. March, the first month of spring, is also National Sleep Awareness Month, and it aims to remind everyone why a good night of zzz’s is so important. One in four adults in the United States experience occasional sleepiness, difficulty falling asleep, or waking up feeling un-refreshed at least a few times per week, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Fortunately, you can implement these tips this spring, and create a comfortable sleeping environment in your home for both you and your family.

* Eliminate distractions – Electronics. Noises. Lights. Many items, such as laptops, TVs and cellphones, commonly found in bedrooms can cause distractions and prevent a person from entering REM sleep. Remove these items from the room. Also, consider running a fan or white noise machine to create a soft sound barrier, which will help muffle unexpected sounds like a person flushing the toilet or an engine rumbling loudly on the street outside.

* Establish comfort – Creating a sleep-conducive environment is an important factor in making the most out of every minute you sleep. Cuddle up each night with soft linens and create a calming atmosphere in the bedroom.

* Be routine – The human body reacts favorably to familiar and repeated movements. So consider following a routine every night, whether it’s taking a warm bath, reading a chapter in a book or journaling. The National Sleep Foundation advises against watching TV or using electronics as part of this routine because electronics can hinder quality sleep.

* Stay active – Sleep is needed to give the body energy to get through its daily activities. Conversely, daily activities are needed to tire the body out for a good night of sleep. Consider adding physical activities into your daily schedule so you can settle into bed between the covers each night, tired and ready for a good night of sleep.

Nobody enjoys walking around in a mental fog or having no energy during the day, so be sure to create the perfect sleep environment in your home for you and your family this spring. It will help you get the most out of every minute of your zzz’s.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

DIY Projects to Avoid

Should You Tackle A DIY Project Or Hire A Professional?

bricklayingDIY projects can be a lot of fun and, when you do a good job of one, it gives you a huge sense of accomplishment. Many homeowners make their first forays into the world of DIY in an attempt to save money and, while there are a lot of basic jobs that everyone should learn to do, there are some tasks that are best left to the experts.  Here is a quick look at some of the most dangerous DIY projects  and why you should give them a wide berth.

Major Plumbing Jobs

There’s a big difference between fixing a leaking tap and moving some pipes.  As plumbing jobs increase in complexity, they become massively more risky.  Not only does moving or changing pipes often require cutting out parts of your wall, it also requires a good knowledge of how your plumbing works and how to safely install the new pipes so that you don’t end up with a leak a few months down the line. To do the job well, you will need specialist equipment.

When plumbing goes wrong it can get messy and, if you end up with a leak that comes into contact with your electrical wiring, it can also become very dangerous. It will be faster, cheaper and safer to let an expert do the job.

Electrical Work

Electricity may seem like a safe and familiar thing – after all, it powers the devices you use every single day. However, if it’s not handled correctly it can be lethal.

Everyone should learn how to change a fuse and re-wire a plug (and even these tasks carry risks), but major wiring changes are a different matter. Building regulations require most home wiring jobs to be carried out by a qualified, licensed electrician. If you attempt any major works you could well be breaking the law and end up with a property that you cannot sell until the work is checked by a qualified person.  Get the work done right the first time to avoid any potential problems.


It’s one thing to raise a flower bed with a few bricks or even lay your own patio, but tackling a bigger building project, or something that can be clearly seen from the street is another matter.  Building a wall out of bricks might seem like a simple job, but if you don’t know what you’re doing that wall could come tumbling down after a few days of bad weather.

Even if you do manage to build a structurally sound wall, are you sure it will look good?  How long will the project take you?  Why spend an entire week on a project that a professional could do in a day or two?  If you can afford the materials it makes sense to spend a little extra to ensure that they are used to create something attractive that will last for many years.

Knocking Down Walls

When remodeling our homes it can be very tempting to skip steps especially when it comes to knocking down walls. Why pay for a professional when all you need is a sledge hammer? How wrong can you go destroying a wall? The answer is: very wrong. And in the end it might be more than the wall you destroy. It’s important to get a professional in who understands the structure of the building and can remodel your home without making it unsafe. After all, you don’t want to go knocking down any load-bearing walls for the sake of saving a little money.

Cutting Down Trees

This is probably one of the most dangerous tasks that you could do yourself. Chainsaws are powerful tools and, in Cutting down trees can be a very dangerous task!the wrong hands, can be deadly weapons. Not being trained to use one or having the right experience puts you and others in great danger. Additionally, there is the risk of the tree falling on you, someone else, a building or a car.

Most people take on these jobs with the belief that they are going to save money. Unfortunately, mistakes, damage and sometimes injury and even death prove quite the opposite. If every job could be easily done by anyone there would be no need for qualified professionals.

Guest Post By:

Article written by A. Elliott; a writer with an interest in interior design and home improvement, she occasionally writes for Vibrant Doors, suppliers of internal and external doors.

Amy makes a lot of good points in this article.  There are lots of DIY Projects that homeowners can easily complete.  The ones listed above are really best handled by professionals.  We agree that they CAN be dangerous and not worth the risk.  What are your thoughts about these DIY Projects?

Gary B.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Renovation Planning

Be sure to prepare for home renovationsEvery project needs a plan and this is especially important in the case of home renovations. It is not only recommended but mandatory since reconstruction requires you to juggle many details and, without a good plan, you will likely get lost in the process and forget the essentials. Without a detailed plan in mind, chaos may ensue and cause you stress and possible damage to your property.

Although planning may sound like a daunting task, you can easily deal with all the small details with some careful and deliberate preparation.

While you are wondering what to do, you can start with the concept of what you want to see as the final result and how many people you may need for this project. Try to separate your renovation efforts into smaller stages and decide if it is necessary to hire people for each of the tasks. Alternately, depending on the scale of the project, you can do some of the tasks yourself. The best way is to combine the help of your construction workers and anyone assisting you with things you can only do by yourself. It is necessary to deal with small aspects of the reconstruction. Small details of a personal nature are something only you can see better than than the rest of your helpers or workforce.

Once you have the full vision of your renovation, you may start planning the budget for it. You will probably have part of the money already, but for significant reconstructions a bank loan will be likely required to fund it completely. Make sure you use common sense when you plan the magnitude of what you have in mind as you may need to pay off a loan over a period of a few years.

If you are planning to use the help of a project manager and designer, now is the time to interview and hire one. Be project managersure you have signed a contract with the staff you will use for your home renovations. Read every part of it carefully and make sure it doesn’t have any particular conditions that you are not happy with. It is strongly recommended to include insurance in the papers you will be signing for your project.

Once the construction begins and you have hired a man for every job, you should keep in mind your part is not over yet. You may have to visit the spot occasionally so you can check on the progress and quality of the work. It is also good to keep an eye on individual tasks. If something has to be changed, it should be addressed on time before the completion of the project.

When the project is complete, you should do the final inspection yourself. Be there and be very careful as you accept the renovated place or section of your house. Be sure you have received all documents and that all work has been done in compliance with the law.

Guest Post By:

Bio: Ella Andrews is passionate about home renovation and home organizing. She’s been writing about and researching similar topics for the past few years. Ella is always on the lookout for new trends in decoration, renovation and all things domestic.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Home Improvement Projects For Spring

Outdoor DIY Projects For Spring

backyard diy projectsAs temperatures warm, many of us can’t wait to get outside and rediscover the joys of our outdoor spaces. One of the best ways to ensure the enjoyment of your space all season long is with some spring cleaning and upkeep of your yard and outdoor living spaces.

There are a few spring cleaning projects that benefit every homeowner and make spaces much more inviting for the hours you’ll spend enjoying the summer sun.

* Take the time to prune. Before the season heats up and the first leaves start to appear, it’s the perfect time to shape up your trees and shrubs. Doing so before the growing season is less stressful for your plants, easier to clean up and will promote the type of growth you envision to keep your greenery looking great all season. Make sure your tools are sharp, as cleaner cuts are easier on plants.

* Clean up leftover leaves. While you probably spent much of the fall raking and mulching fallen leaves, stragglers collect throughout winter, clogging gutters and drains. In addition to cleaning areas of your yard blanketed with leaves, rake your lawn to rid it of matted leaves that can inhibit healthy growth. Break these chores into separate days so you don’t have to do it all at once. Using a blower also helps you clean up your yard in short order.

* Bring out the power washer. Winter tends to leave its mark, and the exterior of your house, deck, sidewalks and driveway can all show grime once spring rolls around. A pressure washer is a convenient way to clean these surfaces.

* Check in on your deck. Once it’s been pressure washed, it’s time to see if you need to re-seal it. If you drizzle water on your deck boards and it beads up, your seal is still effective. If not, it’s time to apply another coat of sealant. Pleasant spring days are ideal for re-sealing and staining and once you’re done, you can enjoy the whole season without worry.

* Design your dream outdoor room. Once you’ve cleaned up your space, you might realize there’s more that could be New Rochelle: patio and pergola additiondone to enhance it. Perhaps you’d like to add a Gazebo, Patio or screened in outdoor room for entertaining. We’d be happy to provide you with a free home consultation to help you design the backyard of your dreams!  It’s also the perfect time to consider a new patio set, or even a patio extension using decorative pavers. Dress up existing patio furniture by staining wood furniture or buying fresh new covers or cushions. This is also the perfect time to buy that new and improved grill you’ve had your eye on.

Spring is an exciting time to get back outside and take care of some of the improvements you’ve been dreaming of all winter.

Give us a call at 914-576-2572 or send us an email to and let us help you design your dream outdoor living space!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Risks of DIY Electrical Work

Risks of DIY Electrical Work

Image credit: kk+

Electric shock, house fires, and possible death; even this isn’t always enough to deter people from doing DIY electrical work.

Hiring an electrician can be expensive so it’s easy to see why many are tempted to try and undertake their own electrical work around the home. Whatever your motive might be, trying to perform DIY work without the proper training can be a dangerous endeavor.

In the USA alone, there are as many as 26,100 electrical fire related incidents and $1 billion in property losses in a typical year.

Listed below are some common risks and why you should proceed with care when attempting any type of electrical work in your home.

Wrong Type of Electrical Wire

Many people make the error of using the wrong gauge of electrical wire when wiring. This is a common cause of electrical fires as it can cause overheating and shorting of the fuse.

Ill-fitting Plugs and Sockets

This may seem like the simplest electrical task but it’s surprising how many people do not fit them tightly enough. Leaving gaps in the sockets can cause loose wiring and arcing which puts them at risk of overheating and poses a great fire risk.

Wrong Bulb Wattage

Many people are unknowingly using a too high wattage bulb in their light bulbs and may not realize until it is too late. Even using a bulb one wattage higher than what the socket can handle could make the bulb explode or catch alight.

Using the Wrong Fuse

Again, this is a relatively simple task that many people do themselves regularly. But the danger here is that many people do not use the correct fuse for the appliance they are using which can again cause house fires. It is important, if you do insist on changing your own fuse; to make sure it is compatible with the appliance you are using it in.

Repairing Instead of Replacing

Many of us at some point will be tempted to try and repair old or damaged wiring on appliances especially if we use them often. Wiring should always be replaced and not repaired and should be done by someone who is a qualified for repairing that particular appliance. Any old or damaged wiring is a fire hazard, even more so if tampered with by someone without the appropriate training.

Overloading Plug Sockets

Another common cause of fires in the home is overloading plug sockets. Particularly in the case of extension leads, having more than one extension lead plugged into a 2 socket wall outlet is exceeding the amp capacity for the plug socket. This is another fire hazard as it can cause overheating. Never overload a plug socket and avoid leaving multiple things plugged in that you are not using.

Safety Checklist

4 important things to remember;

  • Don’t overload plug sockets

  • Don’t keep things plugged in unnecessarily

  • Check wires for fraying and wear and tear

  • Take good care of appliances

Hiring a Contractor

When hiring an electrical contractor always do your research and make sure that they are up to date with their qualifications and the new safety regulations as these can change regularly. Word of mouth is always a good method of finding a reputable and fully qualified electrician. If unsure, hiring a contractor through a professional federation is the most reliable way of all. They can give you a list of all approved contractors in your local area. When you have found a contractor, try and agree on a price for the job and not an hourly rate. This can save you money and headaches in the long run.

Guest Post By:

Article written by A. Elliott; a writer with an interest in home improvement and interior design, she occasionally writes for Juice Electrical, electrical wholesalers specializing in energy saving products.

Have you had a DIY Project go wrong?  Share your story below and maybe you’ll help someone else from making the same mistake.



Monday, March 18, 2013

Integrating Music Into Your Home

The Music Lover’s Home – Learn How To Integrate Music Into Your Home

If you are a music lover, each time you hear music, it evokes emotions, gives you energy and helps you enjoy yourself after a long day. What better way to enjoy your music than to equip your home with your very own integrated audio system? Have a personal concert hall in your home.

If you have a family, everyone can enjoy their own music independently in different rooms with one system. Mom can listen to jazz in the den, Dad can enjoy talk radio in the study – all while the kids listen to their favorite music in their bed rooms. Everyone’s happy!

Sonos Controller

Technology has come a long way in the past fifteen years, which allows us to make our music more available and more portable than ever. We also have more options for music sources. Thanks to internet radio stations and various online services that are now available, there is bound to be something to suit your personal tastes and provide flexibility you can enjoy. If you have a larger CD collection than will fit on your iPod, a CD player can be used. Many people enjoy the music channels that come with their cable or satellite TV service. AM/FM/XM/Sirius radio tuners are very common in music systems. The most compact way to make entire music collections available is with the use of iPod docks and music servers. This way, all of your music can be made readily available at all times. With most iPod docks and music servers, “metadata feedback” is provided. With metadata feedback, you can see what you’re listening to and control the iPod or server as though it was right in your hand. Select by song, artist, album, genre, playlist and more, right from your controller. Most radio tuners offer the same feedback, so you know what station you are listening to. Enjoy what you want, when you want. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

Crestron idoc

Perhaps the most important part of an audio system is the way you use it. Some systems have in-wall keypads, color touch screens, handheld or remote controls. Others have the ability to be controlled from a computer, iPhone, iPad, laptop or smart phones. Most controllers will have an LCD display (some in color, some not) to allow you to see what you are listening to and get metadata feedback. This also allows you to easily navigate your music library. If a system is easy to use, you will enjoy it so much more and be happy with your purchase.

Since many of us like to entertain guests or have parties, another great feature of many audio systems is “party mode”. This allows you to play background music in the rooms where you and your guests will be, while not disturbing others in different parts of the home. It’s a very convenient way to truly bring a party to life and set the mood.


A well designed audio system should fit into your home without taking away from your d├ęcor. By hiding wires in the walls of new constructions or retrofit into existing homes and neatly storing equipment in unseen places of the home, you can achieve the look you want while obtaining an impressive sound system. One of the main things to take into account is what will be the most visually obvious part of the system – the speakers. There are many types of speakers which can be used to keep your home visually appealing. Speakers range from in-ceiling and in-wall, which are almost flush against the surface, to make speakers less obvious. There are also speakers that look like rocks or functional planters, adding a nice look to your outdoor listening areas.

With all of these options and features that home audio systems have to offer, the music lover is bound to enjoy this great addition to their home.

Guest Post By:

Damon Della Greca, owner of Premier Audio Video Designs, based in Westchester, NY.  Damon has been involved in pro audio since 1991 and in the consumer electronics industry since 1998.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

10 Ways Your Home Can Save You Money

Ways your home can save you money!There are many ways in which your home can save you money with the long term effect of allowing you to realize your property’s potential value.

Some important approaches to take to getting your home to save you money range from changing your household routines to selling old items, to investing in parts of your property to add value and save you money over time. In this context, it’s possible to make your home save you money by trying the following strategies:

 1 – Making Small Energy Saving Changes

This means improving your insulation and checking to see whether you’re losing heat from different parts of your home. Investing in draught excluders and turning down your thermostat by a few degrees can add up to savings over time

 2 – Removing Clutter

If you’re having a problem with clutter, you can save money in the long run by sorting out your stuff and finding out what you can sell for a profit. Even old mobile phones and other electronics can be recycled for a fee.

 3 – Make Long Term Investments

You can gradually build up value in your property by making long term investments and renovations that will make your home more energy efficient; this might include replacing an old drainage or heating system, or getting a new boiler.

 4 – Reduce Drafts

home improvement new windows

Reduce problems with heating by getting new windows and insulation materials for roof, while fitting new air conditioning systems that can better control the flow of air through your home.

 5 – Create a Vegetable Garden

It’s possible to save money on your weekly food shopping bill by creating a vegetable garden – this can be used to grow potatoes and other vegetables and can be combined with basil and other herb plants in your kitchen.

 6 – Get New Appliances

This is a particularly good idea for the kitchen where you can swap your old fridges and freezers for Energy Star rated versions; these tend to use less electricity, make less noise, and add more value to your home.

7 – Use Less Water

Save money on your water consumption by switching to a more accurate water meter rather than paying ground charges; you can also fit devices to taps and faucets to reduce water usage.

 8 – Be Careful with Appliances

Try to change your habits if you tend to leave your television or computer on standby overnight; just switching things off will save you money over time.

 9 – Consider a New Mortgage

Look around to see if you can get a better financing deal on your mortgage; switching your mortgage to a new provider with lower rates can allow you to take advantage of the equity in your home.Rent out garage space to save money

 10 – Selling Space

If you have a parking space or a garage that you’re not making use of, consider leasing it to neighbors or friends to make some extra money. Always check, though, to see whether there are any restrictions on your lease or mortgage about sub-letting.

Author Bio: Liam Ohm writes about home improvement, from choosing the best luxury baths to saving money at home. In his spare time he enjoys giving advice to others in need.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Using a Roof as a Space Heater

You can use your existing insulation and roof to supply heated air to your home via direct sunlight. This can easily happen when the roof is being heated by the light of the sun and the air underneath becomes heated. This very same air collects at the highest point of your roof, trapped underneath. You can use that air to heat up your home. If you have a metal roof or some sort of clad roof with a membrane insulating it underneath you can easily work on this project. It’s not expensive and it allows you to use the heat trapped under the roof to warm your home up at nearly no cost long-term. Before you begin, however, you need to follow these steps to deal with things in a methodical fashion:

  • Access your attic and roof and check whether your home has an insulation membrane protecting it under the sheets of the roof. Most roofs will have one but it is still a good idea to check it out.

  • Once that is done you need to locate the top two purlins situated on each side of the roof.

  • Fix any excess insulation by using a hand staple gun. Secure any insulation to the purlins along the ridge at its full length.

  • When you are done, you should check the status of the insulation on each side of the roof from the gutter area to the top purlin. Make sure the space between the purlin is open to the underside of the ridge.

  • You should prepare some strips of the insulation so you can fix them across the lower side of the first two purlins on top. It has to be long enough so it can run the entire length of the ridge.

  • Take that insulation and affix it to the underside of said purlins with the hand tacker while you form a header between them. The heat of the sun will help warm the air between the sheeting and the insulation.

  • Fit a fitting and properly-sized duct outlet at the center of the ridge. The size of the fan should fit the size of the duct perfectly so the insulation will be equally perfect. Fix it to the underside of the purlins and then seal them to the foil by using silicone or a similar means. Make sure the foil that is located under the duct is removed to allow the air to flow freely.Using a Roof as a Space Heater2

  • Fit a duct outlet directly to the ceiling of the room you want to heat up.

  • You should fit a fan somewhere between the duct coming from the ridge of your roof and the one leading to the ceiling of the room being heated. It should be suspended from the structure with a good spring, as this will prevent the vibrations coming from the fan. In time, as dust builds up on its blades, it will become unbalanced and this will affect its stability. Spring suspension will also affect its noise levels, making it much more feasible as a solution.

  • Measure up and prepare two lengths of the foil ducting. One is meant to connect the ridge duct to the fan, while the other one connects the fan to the ceiling duct.

  • Use a thermostat switch near your newly made duct and set the sensor bulb inside the header in proximity to the duct opening.

  • Wire the fan to the switch so the fan can only run when the temperature in the monitored area exceeds the one of the heated room below.

  • Move to the roof itself and make sure any gaps between the ridge and the roof are fixed and sealed. You can use a number of sealants, such as expanding foam or something similar.

  • Your heater will be ready once all of this is completed. The only thing you should keep in mind is that it will only be able to help heat up the house while the sun is up. You will need to back this up with a conventional heating system just in case.
    Using a Roof as a Space Heater3

Guest Post By:

Bio: Ella Andrews is a writer and one of her greatest passion’s are home remodeling, house removals and home decorating projects. She is presently focuses on writing the best possible way and is therefore searching for new sources of inspiration.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Top Tips on Maximizing Office Space

Top Tips on Maximizing Office SpaceThe current economic state means that everyone, including businesses, are trying to cut costs as painlessly as possible. Companies that may have been thinking about a move to a larger premises are instead trying to make the best possible use of the space they already have available. Small businesses that want to expand their staff, but do not want to move premises, are also looking to maximize space. Document storage and staff personal space are just a few of the things that need to be addressed when you are trying to create more space.

Tip One: Home and Office Working

If your staff numbers are growing, but due to the cost implications your available space remains the same, consider different ways of working. Rather than reducing the personal space of your office staff too much, why not have a couple of days a week when staff members can work at home. You could run this “scheme” in such a way that everyone gets a turn thus increasing the amount of space available for staff working in the office.

Tip Two: Use Work Stations

If you have a bit of money to spare for investing in some assets, why not replace normal office desks with work stations. Work stations require less space than a conventional desk and chair. Those staff members who do not need regular access to large sets of files, but can work with just a telephone and computer, could just as easily operate from a work station.

Changing work patterns are becoming the norm rather than the exception and can help cut business costs. Most people are quite happy to work from home a couple of days a week or month depending on your staffing levels and how much space is required.

Tip Three: Documents

Twenty years ago when computers started to appear in offices all over the country the idea of the paperless office began to circulate. In spite of the fact that most work is carried out online, there is still a need for businesses to keep hard copies of many of their documents. An increasing number of businesses now store many of their older documents off site with the help of companies that offer document storage services.

Over time, files and filing cabinets take up an increasing amount of space. Businesses are required to keep certain documents for several years so the ability to store the documents off site is convenient and paying for document storage will make far less of a dent in your budget than moving to new premises.

Tip Four: Better Use of Available Space

No matter what other steps you take, every business has a certain amount of space available to them and needs to assess how they use that space. If, for example, you have an extra room that is used for the occasional meeting, why not make use of it at other times. You could have some office shelving and filling cabinets in the spare room as this will give you more space in the main office areas.

If you have salesmen or other staff members that work off site but need to be in the office occasionally, let them use the meeting room. Take note about what is being done with the space and how you could make better use of it.

Simply moving office furniture around is a good place to start. Most offices will find that the actual layout is probably not the most optimal in terms of space and will then go on to find that there are many other steps that can be taken in order to make the best possible use of every inch available.

So before packing up and moving on to the next place, consider the few changes you could make that could make all the difference.

Guest Post By:

Article written by A. Elliott; a writer with an interest in interior design and home improvement, she occasionally writes for Whitefield’s Document Storage.

We LOVE these tips for making the most out of the space you have!  What do you think?  Do you have any tips that you’d like to add?  We’d love to hear them!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Understanding Home Automation (aka Smart Home)

You may remember a cartoon on TV from the early ‘60s, which was set in a future, where large flat panel TVs came down from the ceiling, people communicated by video conferencing and they used mobile communicators.  It was called The Jetsons. Believe it or not, much of the ama ing technology from the show already exists and many of us use it every day.  Those flat TVs that came down from the ceiling in the show – I get to install those!  My business is about integrating the latest technology to other people’s homes and businesses.  One of the technologies I’d like to talk about in this article is home automation, also known as a “smart home”.

The terms “home automation” and “smart home” have been used so much over the past several years, but many understanding home automationpeople don’t understand what they mean or why they’re useful.  That’s a shame, because there are many benefits home automation has to offer.  To put it simply, home automation is all about controlling things.  I’m not talking about control in the traditional sense, where you walk up to a light switch and turn it on, but other ways of controlling things.  Before I get into how you can control things, I’d like to talk about some of the things you can control.

You may be surprised to know how many things that are currently available and can be controlled by home automation systems.  Some of the more common items include: lights, thermostats, shades, and audio/video systems. Then, there are some things you probably would have never guessed that you can control – like an oven!

The main idea is that “home automation” makes things happen automaticallyOk, so you can control any of those things now, by going up to them and pressing a button or turning a knob.  With home automation, there’s a big difference – you don’t always need to go up to each device to make them work.  The main idea is that “automation” makes things happen automatically. That’s where part of the magic comes in.  This type of control is best described using lighting as an example.  Many lighting automation systems have a controller, which includes something called an “astronomical clock”.  What it does is pretty interesting. You can think of it as a timer, but unlike traditional timers, an astronomical clock knows when the sun comes up and when it goes down, regardless of what season it is.  This type of intelligence eliminates the need to make seasonal adjustments for longer or shorter daylight hours.  This is a huge benefit.  Here’s one popular way lighting automation is used.  Let’s say you like to have outdoor lights turn on at night, so your pathway is lit when you get home from work, they can automatically be set to do so.  When the sun starts to go down, the lights come on.  When the sun starts to come up, the lights can automatically turn off.  Not only is it great for security, but also for the safety of having a well-lit pathway in the dark.  Of course, there are potential energy saving benefits to have lights turn on and off at the appropriate times as well, particularly if dimmers are used instead of regular switches.

Besides timers, there are some other types of controls often used for home automation. Possibly the most common handheld remote controls are often used for home automationare handheld remote controls.  These can range anywhere from a dedicated remote for controlling a single item,  to a universal remote, which can control a whole house worth of thermostats, lights, shades, TVs and more.  There are also in-wall controls, such as keypads and full-color touch screens.  The in-wall controllers are typically placed in various convenient locations, so you can control any part of your automation system from anywhere in the house and not worry about where the handheld remote is.  Last, but not least, are the third-party.

Examples of these interfaces include: iPod, iPad, smartphones and web browsersOne of my favorite things about home automation is that it doesn’t need to be incredibly expensive and is often modular.  What that means is you can do a little at a time if you are on a budget and build it up over time.  Modern wireless technology has made installation much more convenient and hassle-free, compared to older systems.  When replacing thermostats or light dimmers with ones capable of being controlled by a home automation system, no new wiring is necessary with many systems.  This will save a lot of money on installation labor.interfaces.  Some examples of these interfaces include: iPod, iPad, smartphones and web browsers.  These are extremely useful, particularly if you are out of the house, need to check on a second home or just can’t be there in person.  You simply go to a secure web page, which can look like the screen on the controllers you may already be used to, and check on the temperature, turn lights on or off, or even set the alarm while you’re away.  It’s all incredibly convenient and efficient.  Possibly the most important part is that it can be very, very easy to use, even for those who are not tech-savvy.

Here are a couple of situations our customers have had, where home automation helped them.

Situation 1 – Lights Out: One of my customers was driving home from a long day at work.  The sidewalk and Many home automation systems know when the sun comes up and when it goes downdriveway were covered in snow, but he forgot that no one would be home to turn the outside lights on, so he didn’t slip on the ice.

Solution: Automated lighting.  Many home automation systems know when the sun comes up and when it goes down. This is called an “astronomical clock”.  It can be set to turn the lights on at night and off in the day.  Some of them can even turn themselves on, based on how much light there is.  With these types of systems, there is no need to worry about it.  A small remote control, similar to a garage door opener, can even be programmed to turn certain lights on and off from the car.

Situation 2 – Free ing Pipes: A couple packed up their vacation home in the fall and would not be back until the spring.  Unfortunately, they forgot to turn the heat up and some of the pipes fro e, causing a lot of water damage and expense for them.

There are thermostats available, which have been designed to work with home automation systemsSolution: Climate control.  There are thermostats available, which have been designed to work with home automation systems.  They can be set to be at certain temperatures at certain times of the day.  With internet access and a web browser, a homeowner can check the temperature in their house and change it if they’d like. Some systems can be programmed to send an e-mail, if the temperature drops too low or goes too high.  As long as the system is running, there’s no need to make a special trip or worry about a pipe bursting.

For those who prefer a slightly more “hands-on” approach, here are a couple of other common examples. When you Home Automation can simplify your life and help make your home more efficientgo to bed, you can press a button to set everything the way you want it.  Have all the lights turn off, except for a select few that you keep just bright enough to light your path if you happen to get up at night. Motori ed shades close. The thermostats adjust, so you save energy while you sleep.  Finally, your alarm system activates, so you can rest easy.  When you get up, another button press deactivates the alarm, the shades open, lights adjust to your morning routine and thermostats set to the temperature you want when waking up.

Automation can simplify your life and help make your home more efficient.  The possibilities are endless.

There are several companies out there who strictly develop, produce and sell automation and control products.  Crestron, a 40-year-old US-based company, is noted for being the most highly respected brand and a leader in the industry.

Guest Post By:

Damon Della Greca, owner of Premier Audio Video Designs, based in Westchester, NY.  Damon has been involved in pro audio since 1991 and in the consumer electronics industry since 1998.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Choosing a Boiling Water Tap

quooker-basic-boiling-hot-water-tap-pro3-vaq-mediumBoiling water taps are popular in the UK, Australia and the US. They vary according to options, make and model; the simplest supplement would be to use your existing sink arrangement. More complex taps have options for chilled, cold, hot and boiling water—it can be purified or filtered, and the most advanced among boiling taps have touch screen interfaces. Below, you’ll learn some of the benefits of the boiling water tap and the primary differences between brands.

Hot Water When you Need It

As you may already know, a boiling water tap will give you instant hot water for soups, drinks, noodle dishes and flasks. It can reduce boil time for vegetables by up to half when compared to a gas or electric hob. With a boiling water tap, you’ll never need to wait for the kettle again!

Hot Water Taps Offer Filtering

Depending on your home’s plumbing, the water coming out of your new tap can be purified and filtered. You have a variety of options which depend on whether you want to purify all the water that comes into your home or just that which comes out of your tap. Every Quooker tap filters lead and other solids like limestone. There are even reverse-osmosis systems which also remove fluoride, chlorine and other impurities before your water is heated or chilled.

Add on to Your Sink, or Start Fresh

When you decide to add a boiling water tap, you can either install it in your current kitchen sink or you can buy one including a drip tray. If you’re a more advanced user, you can replace your existing hot/cold tap with a four-in-one setup which includes hot and cold, as well as chilled and boiling water. The highest-end taps from Quooker and other makers include features such as sparkling water dispensers and countertop touch panels. With a new hot water tap, you’ll have so much more than just a kitchen sink!

Like many other modern kitchen appliances, boiling water taps are very energy efficient because you’re only heating the exact amount of water you need. They’re vacuum-insulated and the best models consume just pennies in energy when in standby mode. The taps come in stylish designs to complement any kitchen and some are even height-adjustable.

There are a multitude of uses for a hot water tap from Insinkerator, Franke or Quooker, and users are coming up with new ones each day. You can boil water for the perfect cup of English tea, or you can easily blanch vegetables, cook pasta or heat up serving ware. Making coffee and preparing baby formula is a bree e! You can do all this and more in just a moment with a boiling water tap and, with its growing popularity, we can expect to see it become a regular feature of most kitchens in the years to come.

Guest Post By:

Article written by A. Elliott; a writer with an interest in home improvement and interior design, she occasionally writes for Kitchen Appliance Centre, suppliers of Quooker taps and other kitchen appliances in the UK.

Have questions?  Please comment below or contact us for more information.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

No need to buy new - a simple update will do

Re-purpose Old Furniture & Change Your Home Decor:

If you’re like most homeowners, you have several furniture and decor pieces around the house that have seen better repurpose old furnituredays. And while the natural response is to throw away outdated items and buy something new, even lackluster home objects deserve a second chance. You can easily transform your trash into treasure with a little creativity and some elbow grease.

Follow these quick and easy makeover tips and before you know it, those worn out and uninspiring pieces will be looking great again.

Endless possibilities

Because of its resilience, plastic is a popular choice both around the house and the yard. From furniture, to kids’ toys, even coolers, plastic surfaces are everywhere. And although these pieces are inexpensive and durable, they often can look a little worse for wear after a few years of use.

Luckily, it’s easy to make over what you already have with the new Indoor/Outdoor Plastic Primer from Krylon. Plastic Primer is made with Krylon’s innovative Fusion for Plastic paint technology to offer lasting durability and improved adhesion. Simply apply the primer to any outdated or lackluster plastic surface and then paint with any  Indoor/Outdoor paint you like. You’ll be able to truly customi e any plastic surface to fit the theme you’re looking for.

Even if the object is brand new, sometimes improvements still need to be made. Plastic storage drawers and cabinets are the perfect example of something new – and yet still boring. They often come in clear or are limited to a few, select colors that never quite match your decor theme. And unless you want to keep them hidden, re-painting is a must. You can paint the drawers in any color to match the rest of the room. Now, those inexpensive storage units will look like real furniture you can show off.

Make a stylish transformation

Do you have an old furniture piece that just doesn’t fit in with your decor? Chances are you do. But instead of going through the hassle of getting rid of it, breathe new life into it and transform the piece into something completely new.

Take for example, an outdated or unsightly chest of drawers you may have hidden in the attic or in the corner of the room. Instead of hiding it – give it a new outlook on life. Simply sand it down and give it a fresh coat of paint that will coordinate with the rest of your room. Add a few embellishments, such as new knobs or paint accents and voila – you have a new nightstand or end table.

You can also use the same creativity to transform an old vanity into a chic desk or an armoire into a stylish potting bench and garden center on your patio.

Picture this

Picture frames are a great way to display family portraits and your favorite memories while also adding a little style to a blank wall. Re-purpose old frames you already have lying around the house to create a gallery wall with some pi a . With a few coats of spray paint, you can take frames from mismatched to mesmeri ing. Spruce them up a bit more by using patterned papers as mats. Instead of white or cream, use dramatic colors and bold prints. Simply cut an opening the si e of the photo, and you’ll have an unexpected pop of style and color in your new photo gallery.

With a few simple and easy ideas, your outdated and boring pieces can find a new spot in your home, instead of on the curb.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Popular remodeling trends for spring home improvement

Home Improvement Trends for Spring:

kitchen trendsIt’s time to think spring which means fresh home updates. Spring home improvement projects will help you update, add comfort and save more of your hard-earned paycheck. Jump start your spring projects with inspiration from these 2013 remodeling trends.

Energy-saving updates

From low-volatile organic compound (VOC) paints and adhesives to more energy-efficient windows and furnaces, spring projects can help improve air quality and increase your comfort. Look for ENERGY STAR-qualified products that help lower your home’s energy consumption, and in turn, your utility bills.

Better bathrooms

For many homeowners, sought-after remodeling projects for 2013 will include kitchen upgrades, bathroom remodels and master bedroom suite renovations.

Bathroom remodeling options can include heated bathroom flooring, custom tile and stonework, custom vanity and cabinetry, beautiful bathtubs, showers and fixtures, low-profile linear shower drains and big windows to let in more natural sunlight.

Hot kitchens

Yahoo! Homes says 2013 kitchen remodeling trends focus on practical, durable and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects like refacing kitchen cabinets, adding quart composite countertops, hardwood-looking engineered floors, deep bowl kitchen sinks, commercial-style or built-in appliances and mixing colors and tones on cabinets.

If any of these projects are out of your comfort one, please contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss your options with you!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Smart spending tips for spring home improvements

Tips to help you save on Spring home improvement projects:

home improvement tipsSpring home improvement season is on the way, and if you’re like most homeowners you have a list of jobs you want to accomplish. Some will be small, economical do-it-yourself projects. Others may require the services of a professional and a greater monetary investment. However you accomplish your home improvement plans, it’s important to do so as cost-effectively as possible.

To make the most of your home improvement projects this spring, take these five steps:

1. Define what you want to do. Be precise and detailed in exactly what you want to accomplish. Going into a home improvement project without a clear vision of the end result means you’ll be making decisions on the fly – and that’s the type of decision-making that can become costly. Knowing exactly what the scope of your project will be can help you better estimate the costs and stay on track with your budget and objectives.

2. Decide if you can do it yourself or need to hire a pro. Yes, DIY can save you dough, but only if you can do the job right the first time. Fixing mistakes can cost more in the long run than hiring a professional. Be honest with yourself about your DIY capabilities, and if a project is beyond your scope, look for a pro to help.

3. Make sure you’re hiring a reputable contractor. While the majority of home improvement contractors are honorable and just trying to earn an honest living, there are also less reliable ones out there, too. Doing business only with companies or contractors who are licensed and bonded can help you weed out the scam artists. Always seek independent reviews of any contractor you may hire. Don’t just rely on the references he or she provides.

4. Create a budget for your project, communicate it to your contractor and make sure he or she understands you’re committed to staying on budget. Good contractors know how to balance quality concerns and cost constraints and will work with you to avoid cost overruns. Your budget should lay out how much you will spend on materials and labor, with some “wiggle room” left over to cover emergencies or necessary changes.

5. Check your credit. It would be great to pay cash for everything your home needs, but it’s not always possible. It’s likely you’ll need to fund larger projects with credit, so it’s important to understand your credit status before you apply for any kind of loan or line of credit. Knowing your credit score and what’s on your credit report can help you better understand the likelihood of you getting the loan you need and what terms you might expect to get on a loan.

Spring is a great time to make improvements that will increase your home’s resale value and your enjoyment of your home. It’s important to make wise decisions about how you’ll manage and fund your home improvement projects, so that when the work is done, you’re left with a better home – and as little debt as possible.

Contact us at 914-576-2572 to schedule your free in home estimate.  We’ll make sure we work within your budget while providing the best quality craftsmanship!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Chef-inspired tips for a cleaner, more efficient kitchen

Tips for a cleaner more efficient kitchen:

Chef-inspired tips for a cleaner, more efficient kitchenIf cleanliness is next to godliness – as the old adage goes – than a clean kitchen is simply a divine place to be. It’s the room in your home that gets the most intense use, so keeping your kitchen clean can be a challenge. You can make kitchen cleanup a bit easier if you take your cleanliness cues from professional chefs.

In a professional kitchen, cleanliness is not only a vital health issue, it directly impacts the efficient operation of the kitchen and everyone who works in it. Here are five tricks professional chefs use to maximi e cleanliness and efficiency in their kitchens:

1. Don’t touch – From the culinary student who chops the onions for the French onion soup, to the chef that cooks the food and puts it on the plate, every team member in a professional kitchen knows that touch spreads germs. Home chefs can reduce the spread of germs in their own kitchens by minimi ing the need to touch key tools, like the faucet.

Touch-free faucets, like Kohler’s Sensate Touchless Kitchen Faucet, allow you to control the flow of water in your kitchen sink without ever having to touch a potentially germy surface. A state-of-the-art sensor allows the faucet to respond in 20 milliseconds, and eliminates the need for bare-skin taps or awkward waving to activate the sensor. To learn more about the latest in kitchen faucet design and technology, visit

2. Always be prepared – In professional kitchens, staff use separate cutting boards – and often utensils – for preparing meats, vegetables and fruits. Storing utensils, pots and pans according to their tasks facilitates quick and easy access when preparing food. Mis-en-place (pronounced mee -ahn-place), a French adage and popular chef’s practice, involves gathering all ingredients and implements needed before cooking begins. With everything in its place, you’ll be able to move smoothly and efficiently through a recipe without halting food prep to dig through the refrigerator or pantry.

3. Countertop savvy - Countertop savvy goes beyond just keeping them clean. Just as you use separate cutting boards for meats and vegetables, consider the value of task-specific countertop surfaces. Avid bakers, for example, can benefit from marble countertops because the material helps keep the dough cool. If such an installation falls outside your budget, consider a marble pastry board instead. Place it on the kitchen table to transform your eating area into an impromptu bake station. Bonus: rolling dough on a surface slightly shorter than standard 36-inch countertops provides a more comfortable, ergonomic experience.

4. Work the triangle – You may be familiar with the concept of the work triangle: arranging the refrigerator (food storage), sink (food prep area) and range (cooking space) in a triangle configuration makes the kitchen more efficient. But improving efficiency in your kitchen encompasses more than just the arrangement of these three key areas. Expand the concept to include other items that fall into each of these categories. For example, positioning the pantry beside the refrigerator ensures food is stored in the same general location – and increases the efficiency of your triangle flow. In short, the fewer steps taken to navigate the triangle, the more efficient it is.

Ready to make YOUR kitchen more efficient?  Give us a call at 914-576-2572 or contact us for your free in home estimate!

How to Drain a Water Heater

Easily one of the most neglected plumbing fixtures in the home, the water heater is an afterthought for most people until it breaks down or stops doing its job – giving us hot water at a moment’s notice. But the truth of matter is this – water heaters need regular maintenance. They are energy hogs already, but without a little TLC, they can become a huge burden on your home, and water heater replacement is no cheap undertaking. One of the ways to keep up with your water heater is to drain it at least once per year. Here’s how to do it: 1) Turn off the power supply Depending on what kind of hot water heater you have, gas or electric, you will have to turn off the water and power differently. For an electric water heater, you’ll need to turn off the power supply at the breaker box. For a gas water heater, turn off the power by switching the thermostat to “pilot” mode. Next you’ll want to connect a typical garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater. You’ll want the other end of the hose to go outside somewhere. You don’t want all that water draining into your basement or attic. DO NOT open the valve yet, though. First, you need to turn off the cold-water supply to the water heater. 2) Drain the hot water Before you actually start draining the water heater, you’ll want to turn on some hot water in your house. Any faucet works, and it’s got to be hot water. By doing this, you can prevent a vacuum from forming in the lines. Now you need to go back and open the drain valve. This will drain the hot water out of the tank. Remember, make sure your house goes somewhere outside. 3) Flush remaining sediment After water stops flowing out the other end of hose, it’s time to get to the good stuff. Turn the water supply back on. This will clear any remaining sediment stuck in the water heater. This is the most important part of the maintenance to your water heater. After the rest of the water has drained from the other end of the hose, close the drain valve. Also be sure to turn off that faucet you turned on earlier. This is IMPORTANT: Depending on what type of hot water heater you have, your heating element could blow if there is no water in the tank while there is running water. You can avoid this by turning off the faucet shortly before your tank completely drains, or you can be sure to read the warnings and instructions on the tank label (recommended). 4) Test pressure-release valve Turn on the power supply for the water heater (it will be at the circuit breaker for an electric water heater and the thermostat on a gas water heater) after the tank has refilled with water. After the water temperature is back to normal, you’ll need to test the pressure-relief valve. The manufacturer’s instructions will let you know what to do. This step is different with each brand of water heater. It’s important that you actually test this, though, because this little mechanism is designed to prevent excess pressure build-up or overheating inside the tank. If it doesn’t appear to be in working order, you’ll need to get it replaced by a licensed plumber. Draining your water heater is crucial to having it run as efficiently as possible. Your home and the environment will thank you later. And, though this is a fairly easy project to complete by yourself, if you are uncomfortable completing any of the above tasks, don’t hesitate to call a licensed plumber for help. Guest Post By: Diane Kuehl is a home improvement professional and owner of DIY Mother. She lives in Springfield, Illinois with her husband and two kids.