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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Air Conditioner (AC) Upgrade or Replacement

Isn’t it ironic how all winter long you crave the warmth of summer, then when it gets here you run for the air conditioner? And isn’t it sad when the AC doesn’t blast you with that winter-cool air you want?

ACs are complicated gadgets, so having an AC professional check it out to make sure it’s in optimum condition is always a good idea, whether it’s for late-season heatwaves or next summer.

Here are a few potential problems you may want a professional to check:

Refrigerant leaks: Your AC needs a refrigerant to carry heat from your house to the outside. If a leak occurs and this chemical is low or gone, you’ll be sweating faster than you can say summer heatwave.

Inadequate insulation: The more your house heats up, the harder your AC works to cool it back down. So insulating your home is a way to help Mr. Cool do his job.

Faulty component: Your AC has many different and specialized components, like fans, coils, filters and motors. It’s a good idea to have these checked by a professional to make sure they’re in good working order – or a late heatwave might discover these issues for you, and you probably won’t enjoy that.

Electrical problems: ACs use a lot of electricity and have a lot of wiring. And this wiring doesn’t particularly get along well with heat. So, making sure all connections are clean and wiring is intact is a very cool thing to do.

 

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Painting

Is it time for a whole new look and feel to your home’s interior or exterior? Aside from buying all new furniture, there are probably not many projects that will totally reinvent your living space like a fresh coat of paint.

And now is a great time for this project, whether you do it yourself or hire a professional.

A good first reason to tackle this in late summer, is temperature. Paint typically likes to dry in temperatures above 40 to 50 degrees. And without proper insulation, the exterior walls could be a lot colder than the interior walls. This means those exterior walls could have problems drying. This could lead to some walls being a different shade, or even faint stripes.

Another great thing about summer painting is you can ventilate your house by opening windows. This way, you may avoid some nasty—and potentially dangerous—fumes.

Finally, summer’s extra natural light and longer days will give you a better idea of the true color you’re putting on your walls. This could help you avoid waking up to a shade much different than you anticipated.

5 Simple Secrets to Updating Your Bathroom

Streamline the vanity. Double sinks have long been popular, but having just one gives you more counter space, saves the expense of an extra sink and faucet and because there is less plumbing involved, gives you more storage space in the cabinet.

Choose soothing colors. Updating the accessories, such as towels and the shower curtain, and repainting the walls is an inexpensive way to bring color into the bath. Although stay away from dark green, it can give your skin a sickly hue.

Take a shower instead
. The trend for huge whirlpool baths has cooled, mostly because homeowners realized they rarely used them. Large showers are becoming more popular, especially because they provide easy access and universal use for aging baby boomers.

Conceal the toilet. Setting the toilet apart from the rest of the bathroom with a partial wall or door of its own provides privacy and also makes for a more attractive bathroom.
Layer the light. Overhead fixtures can cast shadows on your face when you’re trying to shave or apply makeup. Instead, create layers of light, including wall-mounted sconces or other vertical fixtures on either side of the vanity.

 

Houston County Teacher Finalist for Grant

A Houston County teacher is in the running for $15,000 in grant money from publishing company McGraw-Hill.

Huntington Middle School teacher Jason Heath is the only one from Georgia who’s made it to the final round of the online contest.   McGraw-Hill is looking for teachers who have the most effective approach to teaching science and math.

If Heath wins, the cash will go to the school to improve teaching in those subjects.   You can help by going to stemie.mcgraw-hill.com. You’ll need to sign up because only one vote is allowed per person. Voting ends September 19.

 

Should You Switch Home Insurance Companies?

With any luck you’ll purchase homeowners insurance and never actually need it. But if you never think about or reassess your coverage, you may be throwing money away. Not only should you take the time to examine the coverage you have, but consider finding a new company if your current insurer no longer meets your needs. Why should you think about switching your insurance?

Your rates keep going up. If your insurance rate is going up, but you aren’t making any significant improvements to your home or your policy, it might be time to shop around. At least call your insurance company to determine the reason behind the rate hike.

Even if your rates aren’t going up, you may hear about lower rates with other agencies. Do your research and find out if another company might be a better fit for you.

You’ve had a life change. According to the Insurance Information Institute, when you’ve had a life change (birth, death, divorce) in your family, you should alter your will, life insurance, and yes, even your homeowners insurance. Call for estimates from other companies before negotiating with your own in order to guarantee that you’re still getting the best available rate.

Comparable residences are insuring for less. Insurance rates aren’t usually the topic of discussion at neighborhood barbecues. If it does come up, though, you may find that comparable residences on your street are being insured for substantially less than your own. It may be because of upgrades or items within their home, but you won’t know if you don’t ask.

Customer service is falling short. There’s more to quality insurance than the lowest available rate. If you are receiving sub-par customer service, can’t ever get an agent on the phone, or have to haggle over claims, you might need to consider switching your home insurance. Don’t forget that your insurance company needs you just as much as you need them — don’t settle for lackluster service.

You’re remodeling. If you’re making changes to your residence, you’ll need to contact your home insurance agent. Even adding a home security system can lower your rate. Don’t like the new numbers they throw at you? Shop around for a better rate!

You can get a deal for combining your coverage. You may be using three different companies for your auto, home, and life insurance coverage. However some companies will offer a discounted rate for combining your policies. If you find a reputable company that will insure all your items in one place, you may want to consider switching agencies.

 

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