Saturday, January 21, 2012

I hear you knocking but you can't come in.

Home security is something a lot of people don't give much thought to until their home is violated. Now I am here to tell you that unless you are one of the lucky ones who can afford a gated community with private security or live next to the police station you can't do a lot to protect your home other than what the "experts" recommend. Well I am not an expert but I play one on this blog and the best thing you can do is whatever it takes to make your house the least attractive alternative on the block. A lot of the steps you should take are dependent upon where you live. If there is a neighborhood history of burglaries then You have to step it up a notch. Good locks and a security system will only take you so far. Believe it or not good security is most important when you are home to watch all your stuff. When you and your family are at home then that is when your most precious treasures are at risk, I'm talking about your family here. When you are gone all you can lose is your stuff and you can get more stuff. Which brings me to the next step, getting expert advice. The expert one doesn't normally think of is the guy that sells you the insurance on the stuff you insure against theft, fire, flood, natural disasters and other acts of god. He is just as concerned as you are about keeping your stuff safe and as such is going to offer you lower rates for taking recommended precautions. Which brings me to home defense when you are home. When a tweaked out meth-head kicks in the door what are you going to do. Firearms are one option but aren't for the majority of people. No matter what your beer-fueled bowling alley bravado told your friends if you aren't trained, proficient, confident, and prepared they really aren't an option. If you have children and guns in the house the guns need to be locked up in a safe period! Don't tell me you'll sleep with it in arms length at night and lock it up in the morning. because there will always be the day that you are running late and forget to put it up or take it with you if you have the required permit.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Son of a gun it's cold outside!

What if I told you you could earn (save) $ just by choosing the right clothes? They don't have to match, they don't need to be in style, they don't even need to be yours. What I am getting at here is it is costing you a fortune to heat your home to the point where you can sit around in your underwear and be snug and toasty. Unless its thermal underwear you are paying dearly for that level of comfort.The single largest consumer of energy in your home is the A/C system. Feet cold? Put on socks. Sweat suits? They aren't just for going out to get the paper anymore. Anything you can do to keep your mitts off of the thermostat is going to provide you with savings. There are people smarter than me that do studies we don't need for money we can't afford that have concluded for every degree lower you set your thermostat in the winter you'll save X-amount of money. Really? Now I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed but that was information I didn't need a study to learn. Here is the basic formula in case the concept is still cloudy to you. {Heat off = $ in pocket} {Heat on = Your $ in someone elses pocket}

Monday, January 9, 2012

Same as it ever was

If you own a home you know the drill already, you spend the fall getting ready for winter and the spring getting ready for summer. Well how about getting a jump start on summer so you can really enjoy spring? Maybe take care of all the window and door screens so you are ready come time to open the windows for the warm spring breezes. All of the leaves should be down from the trees so if it's not too cold clean out the gutters so you can leak check them and have them ready for the april showers. There are a few things that you can do depending on your geographical location. I am writing this from northeast Florida so I am not familiar with the rituals farther north where you have snow and ice to contend with but I do know I don't like to spend a beautiful spring weekend working on the house or yard. With that in mind perhaps it would be a good idea to see to the yard implements. Change the oil in the lawnmower and sharpen the blades. Pruners, loppers, and shears should be sharpened, oiled and rust free. Steel wool works well for removing the rust and a good flat file will sharpen those blades. If you have enough trees to warrant the ownership of a chainsaw then you know about the maintenance there. Personally I remove the chain and store it in a sealed container submerged in motor oil so it stays rust free and limber and make sure the bar and housings have been cleaned well. Stay warm but remember when you just wanted to have a picnic or barbeque or just lounge around on a warm spring day and couldn't cause there were too many chores to do? Knock em out now and enjoy the time between shoveling snow and cutting the grass instead of toiling miserably when the fish are biting. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Don't bug me

From time to time we all have a problem with the creepy crawlys. Ranging from common houseflies and ants to cockroaches so big they need an aircraft carrier to take flight. There are 2 things that will bring these pests into the house and they are food and water. Food and water are different for bugs than they are for humans. A cockroach can survive on the glue from cereal boxes and ants will take just about any scrap available even the ones you can't see(these scraps get bigger and bigger the older your eyes get). There are ways to minimize your pest problem naturally and safely before bringing out the big guns.(1) keep a clean house, regularly go through closets, cabinets and the myriad places roaches can lay up and wait for dark. (2)Do not let debris pile up outside the house. Firewood stacks, trash cans, etc,etc provide cover for bugs. (3) Inspect the pipes both supply and drain, a small leak can provide enough moisture for a bunch of roaches. (4) After you have done your bit if you still have a problem consult a licensed pest control proffesional. They are trained and licensed in the safe application of pesticides. This is to safeguard your and your familys health as well as any pets, wildlife and wetlands in the vicinity

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Years resolutions.

   I hereby resolve to convince you that you really can fix up your home by yourself. It is easier than you think if you have the proper resources (me!) It doesn't have to break the bank and it is rare that you can do any damage you can't fix. Now I will not tell you that it is OK to run your own wiring if you have no experience. Get an electrician. But you can change fixtures and hang fans without too much trouble. I won't tell you that you can repipe your house (maybe you can) But call a plumber. But you can change out faucets, sinks, even commodes. You won't hear me tell you how to change out your central heat/AC but you can change filters, clean components and even replace vents/registers. If you cannot Identify a load bearing wall then its not OK to knock it down.Call a contractor. But you can go ahead and do any trim work you feel comfortable with up to and including changing doors. For all the skilled trade work you need done don't just take your cousins word that his neighbor can hook you up. Check licenses, get references, and check with the BBB for unresolved complaints. This is where your big money goes so ensure that you spend it wisely.