Is It Time for Your Home to Go Solar?

It’s Cheaper Now

When the idea of solar energy first became practical and usable technology in the 1990’s, even up to the early 2000’s, it was expensive to use solar rechargeable batteries. Today, the cost of installing and using a solar power system is down from 50 to 70 percent, depending on where the system is manufactured. Since a typical home solar system runs from 3kW to 7kW, the average household can recoup its upfront energy in 7 years. In some areas where there is more sunshine and more solar energy used, after 7 years the electric grid is often replaced by the solar battery.

Technology has made solar energy system more compact

Unlike in the past, all you need now is around 100 square feet for all your mounted panels, the inverter, the converter battery, and the monitoring system. This is then tied in to the electric grid.

The government will now lend a helping hand

At the start of President Obama’s presidency, the federal government is now offering a tax credit write off up to 30 percent when you install a solar energy system. Some state financing is offering home-equity loans or low-cost solar loans. Federal incentives are further offered such as energy rebates, sales or property tax exemptions from the state or local electric utility.

You can now rent

Some solar companies now offer solar energy system rentals. With the solar lease, you only pay a fixed monthly rental, and with the fast recoup of upfront electric energy, in some instances the electric grid you only consume on a minimal basis may actually pay for your solar lease. Part of the contract for solar lease insures that the system is maintained and repaired by the installer.

Naturally, you never leave the grid

Your system is still tied to the grid, so during long periods of cloudy or rainy weather, or during the winter when sunshine is weak, you can still use the grid. If your solar energy produces more electricity than you use, the excess is stored and the grid remains unused. One advantage of solar energy is in case of a power outage, and so long as there’s enough energy stored in the battery, you never run out of electricity.

Installers are all over the place and no longer expensive

With more affordable systems come more affordable installers. This is because installation of the new technology is no longer complicated compared to around 10 years ago. You can find affordable solar companies all over North America for your convenience.

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Practical DIY Home Improvement Weekend Projects That Cost Little

These 20 DIY home improvement weekend projects may not cost a lot, but they’ll make a big difference in how your home functions. Complete one or more of these projects during the weekends.

Replace a Window Treatment

Has the window shade above your kitchen sink been marred by repeated exposure to splashes and cooking liquids? Replace a stained window covering with an inexpensive fabric treatment and see your kitchen in a whole new light.

Tackle Trim Work

You might not be able to install new trim work in your home for $20, but you can make improvements to what you already have. Replace mismatched, missing, or damaged moldings, end caps, quarter rounds, or baseboard. Curved areas might require a special piece or trim made of an alternate material.

Organize the Entry

Keep dirt and mud contained with a boot tray near your home’s entryway. Buy one that’s easy to clean, or create your own from a jelly-roll pan. If storage space is limited, tuck the tray beneath a slim console table.

Elevate or Organize a Closet

Coax function from a messy closet with thoughtful accessories designed to elevate organization. Categorize hanging garments by type, day of the week, or family member with colorful tags. Slim, slip-free hangers look uniform and maximize space.

Replace Switchplates with Non-Plastic Alternatives

Replace a plastic switchplate with a wood, metal, or ceramic cover to make a visual statement. Some switchplates are even textured to blend in with marble, tile, or stone surfaces. Do this for light switches, electrical outlets, and phone and cable jacks.

Mend Your Walkway

Cracks and gaps in sidewalks and walkways can quickly expand throughout the year. Not only will a patch job make your pathway look nice, it’ll also make it safer for visitors and passersby. Fix your sidewalk with a patching compound alternative specifically made for cement.

Update with Paint

Breathe new life into an old piece of furniture with a fresh coat of paint. For wood pieces, remove dirt or wax buildup with a household cleaner and rinse. Sand rough areas and wipe away dust. Apply two coats of stain-blocking primer and allow it to dry between coats. Roll or brush on two coats of latex paint in the direction of the wood grain, and use a brush to finish the surface with smooth strokes.

Update Door Hardware

All it takes is a screwdriver and few minutes to give your front door a facelift. Change clashing or poorly operating door hardware, make house numbers more readable, or add a door knocker.

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3 Clever Bathroom Ideas for Storage

When it comes to the subject of bathrooms no house is without one. However it does make it easier if you can find a way to avoid all the clutter. Unlike a desk, a cluttered bathroom is not the sign of a genius mind at work. So how do you clean up the bathroom and take control of this clutter once and for all? Here are three top tips that are keeping bathrooms everywhere uncluttered and fully functional. Regardless if you need these tips now or in the future you will be amazed at the amount of space you can add to any bathroom.

When you select your vanity, find one with as much storage space as you can.

Keep in mind that it has to fit in your bathroom. So, you will have to customize the vanity to the shape and size of your overall bathroom layout. By selecting the correct vanity you are able to store things under and around the sink. Things like toilet paper, hand soap, powder, toothpaste, razors, and cream can all be stocked away here. They will be out of sight to your visitors but close by when your family needs them. If you are fortunate to find a vanity that is like an armoire you can make it look and feel very homey.

Use the surrounding wall as storage space

A crate shelf is a great way for this. These units are easy to manage and they are not very deep. A bathroom shower sponge, shower gels, back brushes and more can be stored in these crates with ease. Because of their design they help to take away the clutter of the bathroom. By getting a medicine chest or something for over the sink you are making the most of that space. Both of these suggestions are easy to find and very cost effective.

A linen closet

Let’s face facts that storing things like wash clothes and bath towels in all shapes, sizes and colors is not an easy chore. A linen closet takes the stress out of storing these items with ease. The use of a closet helps to keep the linens clean and dry. No need to worry about linens slipping off the rack or falling to the wet floor as you are stepping out of the bath or shower. Having a linen closet close by provides peace of mind. You can always see how many clean towels and bath items you have on hand.  If you have not added a linen closet, now is the time to do so. Use these 3 simple tips to improve the storage in your bathroom.

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