By Bernard Freeman
Benefits of Home Automation
Technology has changed the way homeowners care for and protect their homes. If you’re looking for an upgrade that enhances safety while boosting convenience, total home automation is an investment to consider. Since the systems are so intricate, it’s beneficial to work with an expert in the field, so you don’t miss out on life-changing features.
Since many home automation innovations require a solid internet connection to work flawlessly, it may be necessary to upgrade your current setup. Call area providers for the best value while investing in quality download speeds and connectivity reliability.
You should also make sure you have a capable smartphone or tablet as these devices may act as a remote control for operation.
If you’re unfamiliar with home automation systems, check out some of the cutting-edge technology your home is missing.
Automated Door Locks
With a high-tech lock, you will never worry about leaving your front door unsecure. Typically, these advanced devices connect to a smartphone and are operated with the touch of a button. The software also allows you to analyze if a door has been unlocked without your authorization, giving you a chance to contact emergency services if necessary.
Another benefit to automated door locks is opening the door for a house sitter or friend if you are uncomfortable leaving a spare key while you’re away.
Do you notice a climbing heating or air conditioning bill during the changing seasons? Consider investing in a thermostat that allows you to alter the temperature while you’re away. Some units will adjust to your work schedule without interaction to alter the comfort levels before you arrive home. Many models also can be operated remotely, allowing you to crank up your HVAC equipment to create a comfortable environment on the way home from work.
Control your Lights
According to the group Clearly Energy, an incandescent light bulb will cost you about 75 cents for every hour it is left on. If you have a bad habit of forgetting to kill the lights before leaving for the day, the costs can add up on your utility bill.
Learn how to save money by purchasing smart lights that are operated by smartphone or another device.
Easy Exterior Upgrades
Since the exterior of your home is typically the first impression people get of the property, ensuring it’s well-kept is essential.
Fortunately, upgrades to refresh the space don’t always have to cost a fortune. There are numerous ways you can give your home a modern touch-up on a budget and many projects can be handled by the homeowner with a little knowledge of repairs.
Before investing in upgrades to your property, analyze the lawn for unattractive features like cracked sidewalks or overgrown weeds. A little TLC to your yard can make a significant difference when improving the looks of the exterior. A good way to find problem spots is to drive by the home and look for problems that are visible from the road. Make a plan to resolve landscaping issues to instantly add curb appeal over a weekend.
Add Light Fixtures
Adding or upgrading exterior lighting is an easy project that can enhance the visual ambiance of a home and provide more security. When searching for new fixtures, look for options that include motion sensors, capabilities to utilize brighter bulbs and housings that blend well with a home’s design scheme.
Homeowners should consider upgrading to LED lighting to provide long-lasting illumination that can lead to savings on utility bills. According to the United States Department of Energy, approved bulbs use at least 75% less energy while lasting 25 times longer than incandescent lighting
The simple addition of shutters to existing windows will make the outside of your home stand out and provide an updated look. Before buying new accents, make sure to measure your window and purchase the appropriate size.
In some cases, the correct dimensions may have to be special ordered and custom built. Simply bring your required dimensions to the local home improvement store and ask an expert for their recommendations on style and installation tips. They may be able to recommend a local pro to do the install.
Consider hiring a professional to pressure wash the exterior of your property prior to updating the shutters, so they are installed on a clean backdrop.
Stain Your Deck
As a wooden deck becomes weathered and dated, the visual appeal quickly degrades. Save your deck by applying a layer of stain and weatherproof clear coat.
Before beginning the project, make sure to thoroughly clean the patio, protect exterior walls with painter’s tape and acquire the right tools for the job.
When to Call an Expert
Many home upgrades can be completed on your own. When the improvements seem too difficult for your level of experience, however, don’t hesitate to hire a local expert.
Attempting a repair with which you are unfamiliar can lead to more severe damage and the resolution can be costly.
Before tackling a project, do your research to discover if it’s something you can complete yourself. A few ideas include watching DIY videos of others doing the same repair or reading home improvement books focusing on the renovation.
There is no shame in hiring a professional when you want the job done right the first time. Consider calling an expert before attempting these difficult home repairs if you lack the experience.
Installing new windows is not a task for every DIY homeowner. A faulty job can lead to leaks, energy inefficiency or lackluster results. When looking for an expert to complete the project, Consumer Reports recommends looking for the following specific traits.
- Speak with several contractors for the best price and their experience in construction.
- Determine how long the project will take during the quote process.
- Research the construction company via online reviews and word-of-mouth referrals.
- Make sure the install is properly insured and licensed in your state.
When choosing windows, consider pricing glass that is ENERGY STAR certified as they are efficient in keeping the outside air from leaking in.
While most homeowners can handle the repairs of simple leaky faucets and pipes under the sink, a major renovation should be accomplished by an expert. Especially, if you are performing projects like moving the washing machine or hot water heater, setting up an area for plumbing can be overwhelming.
A plumber can efficiently tap into the existing system and reroute pipes to ensure they are free of leaks and insulate exposed pipes. According to the Insurance Information Institute, water damage and freezing ranked fourth in claims severity between 2014 and 2018; the average claim expense was $10,849.
Whether you’re installing new outlets throughout the home or making major electrical changes, hiring an electrician is a valuable resource. Working with a licensed professional ensures that the project is performed correctly and safely to protect your home and livelihood.
It is also possible that your homeowner’s insurance will not cover damage caused by DIY electrical repairs. Make sure to check with your provider before you consider tackling a project on your own.
Join the Pallet Craze
If you follow arts and crafts or custom furniture communities on social media, you have likely been exposed to pallet projects’ growing popularity.
DIYers are finding unique ways to repurpose the high-quality wood in pallets, typically found in warehouses to store and organize inventory. These unique structures are easily obtainable and can be used in a plethora of ways to update both the interior and exterior of your home.
When committing to trying your hand at creating a one-of-a-kind display for a home improvement project, finding pallets isn’t always difficult. Simply ask business owners in your area if they have any extra units to spare or ask others where they found theirs.
Don’t be hesitant to acquire more than your venture requires, as not all of the boards may be usable. Getting rid of the extra wood is simple and can lead to a fun bonfire with family and friends.
Here are some ideas to get you started on the journey of pallet repurposing.
Create a Pallet Wall
You can give your home an attractive accent wall by covering it with durable pallet wood and a little craftsmanship. Before you get started, measure the area to determine how much material will be needed. You should also gather tools like construction adhesive, a nail gun, a measuring tape and a table saw.
The first step is to apply a coat of dark-colored paint to the wall that will be covered. Since pallet wood is rarely uniform, this will help cover gaps or small holes featured on the wood.
Next, sand the boards down before applying the caulk to the back and holding them in place with brad nails. Starting at the top, stagger the boards’ lengths so they don’t line up with the pieces above or underneath to give your new wall a unique twist.
If you’re looking for a way to de-clutter certain areas in your home, pallet shelves can be a great way to save space. Consider building a wine rack to empty space in your cabinets or cooler. A shoe shelf is a beneficial storage creation to keep the entire family’s items in an organized area.
Backyard Upgrades on a Budget
Is your backyard due for an update? Sometimes simple landscaping or a new entertainment area will completely change your yard’s appearance.
When you feel uncomfortable making the upgrades, simply search your local area for competitive prices from numerous landscaping businesses. With their help and some creativity, you can create an outdoor paradise just outside your door.
When searching for a company to expertly renovate your outdoor living space, be sure to research their professional profile. Ask them about their experience based on a particular project and inquire about before and after photos they might have in a portfolio. Ensuring you find the right expert for the job is crucial to receiving the desired results.
Entertainment Area on a Budget
If outdoor entertaining is your passion, you probably have numerous pieces of equipment like a barbecue grill, pellet smoker and patio set.
Consider keeping them in one area by building a perimeter of pavers for your gear and fill in the middle with mulch or a weed-killing area rug. If you have space and electrical capabilities, enhance the space by installing a television in the gathering area.
Use weatherproof covers to encapsulate the screen and seal other essential components from rain.
Perennials are flowers that return each year with attractive blossoms and pleasant scents. Save money by investing in these unique plants and creating beds around your property.
Each year, as your perennials begin to sprout, your investment will continue to pay off.
For the best results, pay close attention to the planting instructions during the initial process and find out how to protect them during the winter. Many should be cut back and covered with mulch.
You likely incorporate your interior design with accent items to tie the room together. Your backyard should be no different as it benefits from minor aesthetics that provide significant results.
Consider laying stepping stones throughout flower beds or solar lights to highlight a desolate part of the yard.