Owning a rental property can provide a healthy stream of extra income. Yet, as a private landlord, you are responsible for all maintenance. For first-time or accidental landlords, maintaining a rental property can be a daunting task.

After all, a high tenant turnover translates into high maintenance needs, but a property needs to be appealing to attract a long-term tenant. On top of that, you certainly don’t want to spend more than you need to on your property maintenance.

Here at Contractors Today, we understand rental property owner’s maintenance struggles. To help you keep your rental property maintained while continuing to make a healthy return on investment, follow these five tips and tricks.

Rental property management tips

1. Ask yourself: Do you really need a Letting Agent?

Rent control is one of the top issues in the US at the moment affecting private landlords.

Oregon was the first state to introduce rent reform, capping rent increases by 7% plus inflation during any 12 month period, with California and New York following suit and recently implementing new rent control rules. Other states, such as Illinois, are even considering state-wide rent control legislation.

Each state’s rent control laws relate to the specific housing market, economy and the available rental stock. But in general, rent control is centered on limited rent increases and protecting renters from being unfairly evicted. Landlords in these areas are consequently unable to raise rents subject to regulation, threatening to put many in financial crisis.

Similarly in the UK,  landlords’ profits are being squeezed due to changing tax rules around mortgage interest relief and tighter legislation. Since the tougher tax rules were introduced, more than 100,000 rental homes were sold, and one in four landlords are looking to sell in the next year.

Rising rents and house price forecasts still mean buy-to-let is attractive, but landlords in both the US and UK need to tighten their purse strings to achieve a higher return on investment. And one way landlords are doing so is through ditching the agent  and the high property manager fees and using online letting agents.

In the US 73% of property owners do not use a property manager. Property managers in the US are responsible for finding tenants, hiring contractors, creating contracts – well, pretty much everything related to finding and securing a tenant and maintaining the property. It’s no surprise therefore that they are expensive.

In the UK, the number of rental property owners using an agent is slightly lower than it is in the US. 67% are now considering using an online letting agent to find tenants, and then taking on the property maintenance themselves or hiring a reliable local contractor when necessary.

2. Pick your tenants wisely

As the property owner, you have the final say on who gets to live in your property. Don’t be afraid to be picky about your tenants. Some renters can be a maintenance nightmare, so it pays to ask lots of questions upfront as well as doing all the necessary checks.

Buttonwood, the Property Management experts, advise, “A great way to vet prospective tenants is to ask for references. Contact your tenant’s prior landlords (try to ask more than just the prior landlord as they may be wanting the tenant out so willing to bend the truth). Ask whether the tenant took good care of the rental property, and whether the apartment was left clean and in good order.”

Edmonton Real Estate underlines that It’s crucial to work out whether you want to accept tenants with pets. Animals can scratch hardwood floors and chew up carpets. That’s why it’s imperative to minimize risks before signing up a tenant.

Choosing good tenants can reduce your turnover rate – and every landlord wants to avoid voids!

3. Do certain repairs yourself…

If you are trying to lower your maintenance costs, then becoming a jack of all trades can help. While we’re not saying to take on plumbing or electrical issues or a full-scale home renovation, small DIY jobs like installing soundproof materials, changing light bulbs, clearing the drains, or small cosmetic repairs are all doable.

This will save you the cost of hiring outside help. It’s also smart to research and implement new ways to reduce project costs when performing DIY repairs.

However, the one problem with DIY work is that it may take a while for you to become proficient in the many skills you need for property maintenance. Consult books or online material to help you learn, and do projects in your own house first before you take them on in your rental property. The  Professional Handyman Services company advises to always consult an experienced repairman before you proceed with tweaks yourself no matter how good the hardware tools & accessories you buy.

4. …But also remember your time is valuable

Maintaining a rental property can be hard work. It takes dedication, time, and money. Whether or not being a landlord is your full-time job, it behooves you to make everything as simple as possible. The simplicity should extend to you and your tenants.

If you are feeling stressed over your rental property management, there are a few things that you can do.

  1. First, delegate. While it is cost-saving to perform the maintenance yourself, sometimes that is just not feasible. In those cases, get in the experts and contractors.
  2. Second, try to keep everything in balance and not spend too much of your time on your rental property. Rental properties come with a lot of responsibilities, but you need a life as well.

Another way you can make your life easier is with an online portal that both your and your tenant/s can access. It should give your tenants easy instructions about their payments, the rules of your property, and their rights.

Calgary Homes comments that when using a property management company, then they will likely provide this. However, those who don’t use a property manager can set up their own tenant portal or at least an online document that you can both have eyes on and get notified if someone makes a comment.

5. Know your legal responsibilities under landlord-tenant law

Finally, knowing the laws relating to rental property management and maintenance are essential. Every state in the United States has slightly different laws. These govern the types of renovations you can perform and the rules you must follow as a landlord.

Laws governing rental properties vary by state. There will also likely be various laws at a county or city level to keep in mind as well. Knowing the laws will help you maintain your rental property in a legal way. This can save you money in the long run by keeping down the risk of a lawsuit or other legal trouble.

Final thoughts

A rental property can be a fantastic investment. It provides extra income and can even help you foster some amazing relationships. However, a few tips and tricks will make your rental property maintenance much easier and more cost-effective.

If you just bought a new home, chances are you are highly excited about moving in. Maybe it’s a cute, beachfront condo in Santa Cruz or perhaps a spacious house in the suburbs of Boston. Whatever it may be, there is a plethora of tasks to check off the list before actually settling in. However, many homeowners tend to skip home improvements despite intending to change many things around the house and add their personal touch.

While it might be comfortable to ignore renovations for now, chances are you will end up paying much more in the long term. Moreover, certain changes will be harder having all your stuff occupying the home. With careful planning and a little bit of patience, you can organize this process and enjoy a smooth transition. Here are five home improvements to tackle before moving into your new home.

1. Apply Fresh Painting

Painting your new property will help you personalize the home according to your own preferences. In addition, a new coat of paint refreshes the ambiance, offering a cleaner and newer feel. Nevertheless, painting is a hassle when you have to clear up the space and cover all the objects. Not to mention the smell you have to endure until it dries completely. Painting before moving in will save you a lot of time and energy, vastly improving the look of the home.

2. Improve Flooring

When moving to a new home, flooring is one of the things you will most likely have to change since it is worn out daily. Being a costly renovation, most homeowners decide to postpone it. However, the cost of working on all the rooms at once will be cheaper than dividing it into several steps. You can also handle other changes right away if there’s anything wrong with the sub-flooring areas.

3. Remodel the Kitchen and Bathroom

Many homeowners think about remodeling their kitchens and bathrooms. It is no surprise considering the utility of the rooms and the time spent there. Whether you are dreaming about a bigger bathroom to fit the trends or some casual fixtures around the kitchen, you probably won’t be able to use the rooms until they are finished. Besides, an improved kitchen and bathroom will make the experience of moving in more pleasant and exciting.

4. Change Locks

There’s no way of knowing who else has keys to your new house. Changing the exterior locks is an easy and cheap home improvement but you will sleep much better at night knowing you home and all your assets are safe. If you have an alarm system, you should change alarm codes as well.

5. Take Care of Electricity and Plumbing

Before moving in, it is better to check for any electricity and plumbing issues. These systems should perform smoothly for your safety and cost-effectiveness. Leaks can make a lot of damage over time and you will end up paying more for all the consequences such as mold, rotting surfaces, mildew. Furthermore, you might have to tear down walls or undergo a major renovation to fix overheating, leaks and short circuits.

Moving in a new home can be a stressful process but it is also full of possibility and novelty. Taking care of major home renovations before moving in can be a huge time, money and energy saver. This way, you will be able to relax and truly enjoy your home.

Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year, but not when it’s packed with chores. Unfortunately, your gutters seem to have it in for you. They won’t stop clogging, and you’re feeling fed up with being unable to enjoy a festive fall.

Could installing a gutter guard system on your home work? Will you finally get the chance to revel in the autumn colors instead of dreading the chores that come with them? Here’s how guards might help.

Gutter Basics: What Problems Need to Be Solved?

Gutters give rainwater a secure, safe path away from roof edges. In the process, they stop splashing liquid from eroding the earth around your home. Since the downspout usually directs water away from the house, the system also works to keep your foundations from getting flooded.

Backup Trouble

Gutters only function if they’re kept clean. When they fill up with debris, plant materials, or scum, they do a worse job of letting water through. Letting such situations get out of hand could lead to a range of problems:

  • If your gutter is full of water on a cold night, it could freeze. From there, an ice dam may form and tear through your roof layers as it grows.
  • When rainwater backs up enough, it starts spilling over. In addition to wearing away the ground below, it might leak into the edge of your roofing.
  • Gutters are only designed to support so much weight. If an overloaded trough takes too much stress, it might sag or even detach and tear off parts of the building.

Are Gutter Guards the Answer?

There are many unique gutter guards on the market. Most share a common purpose: They stop your gutters from filling up with debris so that you don’t have to spend as much time cleaning them. They come in a few common forms:

  • Screen-style guards are usually made of metal. Although they’re relatively affordable and straightforward, they can get clogged.
  • Reverse-curve products are rounded pieces of metal or vinyl that partially cover the gutter. They leave a narrow gap for precipitation to pass through. Unfortunately, they can let water miss the channel entirely if the rain comes down too hard.
  • Slit-cover guards are like reverse-curve guards with a few other gaps. Their efficacy may depend on where you live and how much precipitation you receive.
  • Sponge-style gutter guards use porous sponge materials to block the passage of debris while letting water flow freely. They still need to be cleaned because seeds can take root and sprout in the sponges.
  • Micro-mesh guards use filtering mesh materials suspended in frame structures to avoid two problems: clogging and insufficient water flow rates. Installing these guards may take more work than the other options do.

Why do homeowners continue to rely on these products? Gutter covers and guards work if you choose the right options for your circumstances. For instance, homes in drier climates might be okay with low-flow guards. If your roof has a steep pitch, on the other hand, then it might experience more substantial flows.

Maintenance and Upkeep

One of the biggest myths about gutter clog-prevention products is that they do all the work for you. No matter what kinds of gutter guards you install on your home, you’ll still have to do some occasional cleaning.

Key Steps

Climb up a stable ladder to remove any debris that you see on, in or around your gutters. This is also the time to inspect the gutters for signs of damage, such as

  • Bent or sagging trenches,
  • Loose brackets, bolts and other fasteners,
  • Irregular gaps between the channels and the roof overhangs they’re secured to,
  • Discoloration or wear near the seams of the gutters and mounting brackets,
  • Obstructions that have worked their way into the downspouts, and
  • Missing or damaged shingles felt or other roofing materials around the channels.

Keeping your gutters in working order is easier when you stick to a seasonal maintenance schedule. Although installing gutter guards is a great way to shorten your to-do list, you still must be a responsible homeowner.

Tips on Saving Money on Bathroom Remodel Supplies

The home improvement industry is constantly changing; influencers and experts in the field are constantly striving to improve designs, bringing their clients the next and greatest innovations. This in turn means that homeowners who are considering an update to their homes need to stay aware of what the coming trends are.

A trend is considered to be any popular movement within the industry that is predicted to remain relevant for at least 10 to 15 years. So, following the freshest trends means that your new home improvement will have the longest staying power.

Some trends for each year are simply a continuation of the most popular trends from the previous year, while others are completely new, emerging for the first time and exciting the industry. The following 5 trends are considered to be the most popular for 2020 and beyond.

Affordable, Wellness Focused Homes

For the last decade, there has been a big push toward bespoke cabinetry, islands, and layouts. This custom approach was designed to set people’s homes apart from one another, but it often priced homes out of the affordable range for many.

For 2020, therefore, things are beginning to swing the other way. The focus now isn’t so much on creating a custom, bespoke home, but one that emphasises affordable functionality and wellness. This demand is being met by the manufacturers who are beginning to include things in their materials and their products such as soft close doors and drawers, soy-based glues rather than formaldehyde, and higher quality sources. 

Multi-Purpose Spaces

For years, the open floor plan has dominated home layouts, and it will continue to do so into 2020. The difference is how people are beginning to think about these spaces. Rather than designating specific areas for a single use, people are beginning to think of using the open space in a variety of ways, making open floor plans much more fluid. Spaces are now becoming a home office, a family room, an entertainment area, or a quiet place to relax as the needs of the user change. This has led to more multi-functional furniture that can be used in different ways as well, such as coffee tables with built in storage, and sectional couches that can be arranged as needed. 

Increased Bathroom Sizes

The average bathroom size just 20 years ago was around 40 square feet. Today it’s as large as 125 square feet, and that trend will continue into 2020. This is partly because there is a larger focus on the bathroom than ever before. It’s being seen as a refuge or a place to relax and unwind, as well as a place to get ready for the day. Homeowners are putting large, freestanding tubs into their bathrooms as a focal point, so bathrooms have to get bigger to accommodate this and other large fixtures. 

More Color

There are several trends for home remodeling that are poised to be very big in 2020 that are about color and how it’s being used. This includes colorful kitchen cabinets, specifically accent cabinets in a very bright, bold color that contrasts the rest of the room. It also includes a new trend in removable wallpaper being used throughout the home; now it’s possible to get some color and pattern without the need to commit.

We’re also going to see tile in the kitchen and bathroom outside of the ordinary areas. For example, backsplashes will start climbing the walls around the cabinets, while wall tile in the bathroom will extend to the ceiling outside of the shower as well. This will mean more and better protection for walls, as well as the chance to introduce more color into the design. 

Smart Appliances

People are beginning to expect more out of the appliances and fixtures they’re putting into their homes, and for 2020 manufacturers are beginning to respond. Look for refrigerators that can adjust to keep produce fresher longer, and washers and dryers you can program to turn on at any time of the day. With hubs that control your home, it’s easy to connect appliances up to them, making homes smarter than ever.

Follow the Trends for the Freshest and Longest Lasting Looks.

Home improvements are an investment into the future of your home. So, it makes sense to ensure that they last the longest amount of time. Taking a look at the top trends of the coming year can help you ensure that any changes you make to your home will stay fresh and relevant for the next 10 to 15 years. Check out these and other trends in 2020 to have the most up to date home design going forward. 

Cost savings are welcome in any construction project, as long as they don’t compromise quality and safety. However, many costs are due to unplanned changes during construction. These changes can often be prevented with effective design and better project management.

There are two main ways to reduce project costs during the design stage:

  • To optimize the layout of building systems;
  • To prevent location conflicts between components.

When mechanical and electrical systems have an inefficient layout, they require more materials and labor. At ContractorsToday.com we know that conflicting specifications also waste resources in cases where finished work must be modified.

What Types Of Costs Are There?

  • Fixed costs
    These keep still as the projects run start to finish. It could be various machinery such as vehicles or building tools, as well as accounting software or electricity.
  • Direct costs
    These could be salaries for either employees or contractors. Direct costs are taken from budget funds directly.
  • Sunk costs

These are often considered as “lost”. It could be funds wasted due to errors or wrong supplies.

What are the Elements of Managing Cost?

  • Plan cost variance
  • Choose the right approach for management
  • Estimate costs prior
  • Set baseline
  • Report and control
  • Process for changes
  • Setting the budget

Check our Contractors list to choose a reliable company.

Building Information Modeling (BIM)

Building Information Modeling (BIM) has gained popularity in the construction industry, is a powerful design tool that is also useful for project management.

BIM takes the design process from 2D drawings to 3D models, where the impact of design decisions can be visualized better.

Optimizing the Layout of Building Installations

The visible components of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems only represent a portion of their total costs. There are also elements like conduit, wiring, piping, and ducts, which are normally concealed in walls and ceilings.

The total cost of these elements can be high, especially if their layout was not optimized during the design process.

How 2D and 3D play along?

When three-dimensional installations are represented in 2D drawings, there is a limit to how much information the drawing can show. Providing clear specifications is especially difficult when many components are found together, like in the case of mechanical rooms.

By allowing 3D design and highly detailed specifications, BIM brings several benefits:

  • Design engineers can visualize the layout better, making changes and optimizations that are not evident in two-dimensional space.
  • When there is a location or specification conflict between components, the BIM software can detect it automatically and notify the design team.
  • Contractors and subcontractors can understand the required work better.
  • Since the building design is highly detailed, BIM software can automate cost calculations while improving their accuracy.

To summarize, BIM allows an optimized building design with an accurate budget. The project management staff can use this information as a reference, to compare the completed work and keep track of project costs.

The Importance of Effective Project Management

You can have an optimal building design, but its benefits are only obtained if the finished construction matches the design documents. To ensure this happens, effective project management plays a fundamental role.


Design firms often provide supervision services as well, and hiring the same firm for both aspects brings a key advantage: they will be supervising their own design. When design and supervision are handled by different companies, the supervision firm must take time to study the design documents carefully.

Beyond the technical aspects, planning and communication are also fundamental in the project management process.

The contractor must ensure that all materials and equipment arrive at the project site on time while ensuring the availability of skilled labor to operate and implement. Some materials and equipment have a long delivery time, and the purchase must be planned well in advance.


Communication can be improved with BIM since a detailed building model describes the project better than 2D drawings with annotations. A 3D model is especially useful when different types of equipment are installed in closed spaces, which is common in electrical and mechanical rooms.

Commercial interior designers at A Detailed Pallete say that having a project communication plan is strongly recommended, so all parties are aware of the documentation, what follows what, and who is in charge of signing tasks in and out.

Risk management is also fundamental since all projects are exposed to external threats. Some examples of project risks are unfavorable weather, unexpected material shortages and workplace accidents.

Project managers must identify risks and establish measures to prevent them, as well as mitigation measures in case they occur.

Post project planning and managing waste

As building works go through, a great volume of leftover debris, packaging, and various leftovers accumulate accumulates. That’s why implementing a resourceful approach to use and reuse resources, otherwise thrown to junk can be cost-efficient and partially restore initial investments.

The environmental-mindful Escape Waste Guide shares that the plan to reduce resources thrown to waste happen before a project starts. It’s up to architects and process managers to estimate what, where, and how could work towards reducing costs at the end of a project.

According to junk & rubbish experts Bournemouth Rubbish Clearance, recycling of post-construction leftovers could build up to 5% of your average domestic project, meaning there’s always potential in reducing overall cost.


To handle funds and timespan of any building project in the context and efficiency and results is what efficiency and management chase. A well-done job is measured not only in building regulations and standards. Professional construction works are all about time and budget. That’s why successful management weights on keeping up with spending and schedules.

How to Get Started as a Contractor? Tips & Advice.

Are you searching for a new career opportunity?
Do you want to create your own business?

Then becoming a general contractor might be the right path for you, especially if you have experience in the construction industry. This business can be quite lucrative but before checking your bank account you’ll have to prepare yourself for the job. Here’s how to get started. 

1. Get Licensed & Certified

The first step in becoming a successful contractor is getting licensed. You will have to dedicate time to prepare for the license exam and study hard. A construction project is no game – a lot of things can go wrong if you have no idea what you are doing. So it’s essential to know how to tackle different types of problems and manage to run a successful project.

Luckily, there are numerous e-learning websites which provide courses for becoming a general contractor. You will be able to gain expertise in the comfort of your own home. To name just one example but a professional can clean a carpet 85% faster than DIY.

2. Learn the Industry Regulations

You might be familiar with the construction site regulations but you also need to have immense knowledge about the industry regulations. To stay updated with the latest industry requirements make sure to regularly check the government websites where all new information is posted. 

Being aware of any changes will help you protect your business and possibly save you time and money. Consider building a health & safety culture to cut out risk and unnecessary accidents.

3. Always Keep a Sharp Eye on Finances 

Finances are an important aspect of the construction business because often there are overhead expenses. You need to track them carefully and adjust your plans accordingly to avoid bankruptcy. 

When preparing an offer for a client, make sure to take into consideration all potential costs such as labor and materials. You can also create a budget to track any incoming and outgoing money flow. Whenever you expect bigger expenses, you can exclude unnecessary ones or increase your rates.

4. Office Freshness & Hygiene

Your office can say a lot about your business. Ensure it’s presentable especially if you welcome clients in it. Develop your own office cleaning routine or hire a professional cleaning company to handle this task on a weekly basis. 

Personal hygiene of your employees is also important. Make sure to set certain standards about cleanliness and dress code. 

Other aspects concern the quality and freshness of the air. Consider the use of a fresh air purifier to filter the air from dust, dirt, allergens, and humidity.

5. Cutting edge software

Service companies can benefit a lot from professional business software solutions. Buying one could be the best investment you’ll ever make. There are numerous helpful functions that will help you keep track of your projects and clients. Such business software can also help new clients find you and book a service with you online. To get a good example, take the Vonigo software tour and see for yourself how it works.

Most software companies offer excellent customer support so even if you’re not tech-savvy, there will always be someone to assist you.

Other solutions include state of the art customer satisfaction tracking that allows truly data-based decisions and management. 

6. Green thinking

It’s a good idea to think about the environment when you develop your contractor business. There are plenty of things you could do around the office to reduce single-use plastic and your office waste as a whole. 

  • You can install recycling bins and add notes about what items can be put in each one.
  • Employees can bring their own cups, dishes, and cutlery for the office kitchen. 
  • You can install energy-saving light bulbs.
  • You can store your documents digitally instead of printing them out on paper.
  • Instead of purchasing bottled water for the office, you might invest in a filtering system for the tap water which will save you money in the long run.

7. Company Etiquette and Culture

Now that you are the boss, you will have to set an example and create an appropriate company etiquette. This means respecting the privacy and work of your employees, keep noise and distractions to a minimum, be tolerant, maintain your office and desk tidy.

You should make your employees feel at ease and as a part of a team. You can achieve that by creating a special onboarding process for new people arriving in the company, organizing team-building events, celebrating employees’ birthdays and work anniversaries with personalized gifts. 

8. Assess your internal organization

Once you set up your contractor business you should assess it regularly to identify potential threats and opportunities. The following questions will help you with this process:

  • Do you operate within your budget?
  • Do you have repeat sales?
  • Do your current clients refer you as a reputable business?
  • Do you have any customer reviews or ratings?
  • Do you keep track of the employee turnover rate?

You could easily answer these questions by listening to what your clients and employees are saying about your contractor business, checking your financial reports and documents. This assessment will help you detect the weak links in your company and fix them.

9. Be Prepared

At all times you should be prepared for different scenarios and outcomes. In the business world, even the tiniest thing has the potential to cause huge damage. That’s why you should always be alert.

Imagine that you have almost completed a home renovation but suddenly realize that you don’t have a $10 part to be fully ready with the job. This tiny part can now be the reason you lose hundreds of dollars. In the best scenario, you will have to go to the closest store to buy it but this will cost you valuable time.

10. Choose the Best Clients

At the start of your business, you will want to take every possible client to gain some profit. But you will have to learn to carefully select your customers and even turn some of them down. What the professionals at House Ace share, is that It’s better to land a big project with a client who will pay you upfront instead of a client with a small renovation job who will only cause you headaches. 

You should be interested in clients who will bring you a high return on investment. To select the best customers you could perform a little research beforehand. You can ask other contractors if they have worked with that particular client, you should also pay attention to the way the person communicates and treats you and your employees.

There can be a certain sense of pride when it comes to reducing your energy bill. Maybe you’ve considered choosing a home solar system to help conserve energy and enjoy the benefits of net metering.

But, since solar panel systems can be pretty pricey, you may want to start with some simpler ways to save energy. To help kickstart your savings, here are 7 ways you can reduce energy usage in your home.

1.  Switch To LED Light Bulbs

Light bulbs can be a significant source of energy loss. Incandescent bulbs shed energy in the form of heat and are the least efficient type of light bulb a homeowner can use. Instead of opting for a marginally better bulb, take the plunge and swap your light bulbs out for LED bulbs.

An LED light bulb uses far less energy than any other type of light bulb, so you don’t have to worry that a light has been left on. Also, as these bulbs use so little electricity, they last far longer than other bulbs, as they don’t get burnt out with the flow of electricity.

2.  Opt For A Smart Thermostat

There’s nothing like leaving the house, and already be stuck in traffic on the way to work only to realize you left the AC or heat going. Since you don’t want to be late for work, you just have to eat the costs of having your thermostat making your home habitable for no one. But, by choosing to have a smart thermostat, you aren’t stuck.

A smart thermostat can be preprogrammed to accommodate your schedule. That way, you don’t even need to think about it when you head out the door. Also, you can access your smart thermostat from your compatible smartphone, allowing you to remotely adjust the temperature and turn the system on or off.

There is a good array of smart thermostats available, so you have plenty to choose from that will be compatible with your existing technology.

3.  Have An Electrical Inspection

If there are any issues with the electrical systems in your home, you could be losing energy for no reason. Depending on the severity of the electrical flaw, you may also be in danger of an electrical fire.

Rather than run these risks, you can have a licensed electrician do an electrical inspection. This residential electrical service has an electrician review all the electrical systems, looking for potential issues and areas where things can be improved.

By the end of the inspection, you will receive a detailed list of problems, concerns, and upgrade recommendations. Some of these you may be able to take care of on your own, but you may need professional help with issues such as overloaded circuits that are taxing your electrical system.

4.  Ensure Your Home Is Weatherized

A weatherized home is one where the various cracks and leaks in your home where air freely travels between the outdoors and indoors are all sealed up.

Now, you may be thinking that you don’t have cracks in your home. But think about your exterior doors. Can you ever feel air moving around them or hear the wind whistling? Maybe you heard it around your windows where the caulking has peeled up?

These areas—along with your attic and basement—can be areas where you are losing your desired heating or cooling and wasting energy as a result. Rather than just living with those losses, you can apply caulk to the stationary areas, i.e., windows, door frames. As for areas where you need to open and close things—like the exterior doors—you can apply foam strips to help prevent air leaks.

5.  Invest In Energy-Efficient Windows

While windows generally don’t have cracks where you lose heat and cooling, your windows may represent a significant loss of energy. Single-panel windows and non-energy efficient windows are often responsible for the temperature fluctuations in your home, as they aren’t properly insulated.

Energy-efficient windows are clearly marked so that you can find them easily. They are considered energy-efficient since they are highly insulated. That way, no matter the ideal temperature you are trying to maintain, your energy-efficient windows will work for you, not against you.

Once you have decided to invest in upgrading your windows, be sure you find the right window contractor to take care of the installation.

6.  Choose Green Appliances

Speaking of energy efficiency, major home appliances such as clothes washers, refrigerators, and your dishwasher can be significant energy hogs. Non-efficient machines often require larger amounts of electricity to operate and can make your power bill steadily climb.

By choosing green—aka energy-efficient—appliances for your home, you can cut down on the energy wasted when you use your appliances.

7.  Hang-Dry Laundry

Now, you don’t have to rely on appliances to take care of simple tasks, like drying your laundry. If you are committed to cutting down on your energy usage, it may be time to start hang-drying your laundry.

On average, in the U.S., it costs $0.45 to dry a load of laundry. Since that’s literal pennies, it can be easy to shrug off those savings. However, how many times have you only done a single load of laundry?

Say that you do 5 loads of laundry a week. That’s $2.25 saved by hang-drying your laundry. Over the course of a month, that savings equal $9 a month. And, if you hang-dry for a year, you can save $108 over the course of the year.

Obviously, these numbers will vary depending on how much electricity costs in your area and how many loads of laundry you do. It won’t always be the same amount. Also, as any parent of young children will tell you, thinking that you will only do 5 loads of laundry is ludicrously optimistic.

Now, you don’t have to do all these things at once to help save energy. As you implement the energy-saving tips that make sense for your household and budget, you can reap the benefits even by making a few alterations. Just remember, every little bit adds up and helps!

At some point in our lives, we all want to renovate our kitchen. Kitchens are one of the most renovated rooms after purchasing a new house. Renovating a kitchen also adds a lot value onto the house. Many kitchens tend to be outdated and that’s only because the style of houses change so much.


A kitchen can either be a quick fix or a complete overhaul. If you’re looking to renovate your kitchen, you need to make sure you know what you should or shouldn’t do. I’ll start off with what you should do in a kitchen renovation – because to be honest, there is only one don’t.

Do’s For A Kitchen Renovation

Some advice for people that just want a little change and want to save a fat buck or two. Here are some ideas to completely change the look and feel of your kitchen without renovating is to:

Paint your Cabinets

If you’re trying to save money but you really want to change the look of your kitchen, this is one quick fix that could change up the whole room. From switching a lighter wood to a darker wood ro vice versa will completely change the aura of your kitchen for the better.

Update your Appliances

Updating your appliances do not count as a renovation and you technically don’t save a lot of money but it does up the value of the home and the quality of your food. Some ovens cook better than others, and some refrigerators refrigerate better than others.


Try investing in some energy-efficient appliances. Even though they might hurt the wallet now, imagine what you’ll be saving in the long run with all the use you’ll be getting out of it and all the energy it won’t be using.

Redo Cabinet Storage

Change the way you store your cutlery and dinnerware by purchasing a few knick knacks from any home organizing site. This won’t change the complete look from the outside but using the kitchen will definitely feel different.

Replace Cabinet Faces

This is a minor renovation – however not a complete overhaul of your kitchen. Tear out all your faceout cabinets but keep your shelving. This will give a fresh new look to your kitchen but you can keep the sweet layout that you’re used to.

Upgrade your Countertop

A fresh way to rejuvenate the look of your kitchen is to upgrade your countertop. An upgrade like this can change the way you use your kitchen. If you enjoy cooking in a rush and using your countertop as a holder of pots and pans, get a countertop that can withstand the heat of a sizzling plate.

Invest in an Island

Long gone are the days of galley kitchens. Everybody aspires their house to be an open plan space but with a clear separation of two spaces. What better way to separate the two spaces and add seating with an island countertop. It opens the room by giving a clear straight view of the area but separates it with its placement.

Keep your Renovation Simple

This is a full overhaul and this is when you’ll probably need to hire a contractor or if you’re doing it yourself, rent a dumpster. When you design your brand new spanking kitchen, make sure it’s simple and timeless. Maybe a nice stark white kitchen for a wow effect anytime you add a splash of colour or even a colourful fruit bowl.

Don’ts For A Kitchen Renovation

As mentioned earlier, there is only one don’t for a kitchen renovation and it’s finally going to be revealed. For some, it might come as a surprise, but hear me out.

Don’t Invest In A Deluxe Kitchen

I know, I know. This whole post is talking about renovating your kitchen and now I’m telling you not to do it. It’s a little confusing. What I mean is, don’t spend $60,000 dollars on a kitchen because if you plan on trying to sell it in the near future it’s going to be excruciating to sell.


Not a lot of people will spend money a deluxe kitchen. Although a modern and contemporary kitchen is highly sought for, it won’t be the prioritized selling point. It could be your vision and not the potential buyer and that’s why you should keep it simple and open for interpretation. Keep the potential buyer in mind before you start a fancy remodel.


Normally if you invest that much, the style of the newly renovated kitchen will most likely not suit the rest of the house. In terms of quality, size and style – it won’t suit the house nor will it fit the neighborhood.


There are a lot of alternatives that you can do before you settle on renovating a kitchen. The remodeling ideas listed in this article are good alternatives to spruce up and rejuvenate the look and feel of your kitchen.


Happy renovating and remodeling!

We often go into homes that have spent tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions of dollars on remodeling work surrounding old chimneys, only to discover issues upon inspection that have become difficult to repair. If deficiencies exist we have to inform the homeowner that their old chimney has issues that may pose a risk to their new remodel, roof, or addition. Repairing these deficiencies can be an invasive and sometimes messy process and great care must be taken to keep the house clean. Make your life, and the lives of your clients easier, by always having a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep perform a complete and thorough Level II inspection on any chimney system BEFORE reroofing, or ANY major remodel or repair.


Benefits of Preliminary Inspection / Repair

There are many benefits to having a professional chimney inspection completed prior to performing any major work. For example, a chimney inspection and noted repairs should be considered carefully in the overall budget and planning. If inspected preliminarily, it can be worked into the budget or design changes to the home, while after the fact it may simply add to the stress of the whole experience. If noted, large deficiencies may make it easier to remove an old chimney during renovation and replace it entirely with something more efficient that the customer really loves. Additionally, while some may not consider the chimney as important as the rest of the house, leaving it unchecked could lead to chimney fires which can compromise all of your recent work!

Real Cost Consideration

It’s important to consider what is being spent on remodeling or roofing projects and ask if it is worth risking a chimney issue that could destroy the whole house in minutes. Having the chimney inspected should give both contractors and homeowners peace of mind, and the additional safety consideration makes the contractors stand out above the rest. An inspection would also show that the contractors care about making sure the work is around for years to come, uncompromised by fires or worn out during additional repairs. This gives homeowners peace of mind, knowing their safety and complete satisfaction were considered in the remodeling process and at the top of your list. A homeowners peace of mind is priceless.

What are the problems surrounding chimneys?

Consulting with CSIA certified chimney sweeps and NFI certified specialists will ensure that a remodel surrounding a chimney structure does not end up risking the structure down the road due to some of the most common issues that are easily identified during an inspection. In most structure fires caused by chimneys and heating equipment the following factors are at the heart of the fire: 1) improper construction, 2) improper installation, 3) deterioration of the system over time, or 4) failure to maintain clearances to combustibles.


Improper clearance between heating equipment and combustibles can result in Pyrolysis, an often unmentioned cause of structure fires. Pyrolysis is a chemical process by which combustible materials which are too close to heating appliances, pipe systems, or masonry chimney structures are slowly baked at low temperatures until their ignition point has decreased enough that they can ignite. Once the ignition point has been sufficiently reduced, the combustibles can then ignite without spark from radiant heat only, as low as 200-degrees!

Issues like this can lead to potential legal trouble for all involved. If a contractor claims that the chimney doesn’t matter, a homeowner should question if other corners will be cut as well.

Make a commitment to your safety today!

While a certified and thorough CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep may not be able to guarantee you a clean bill of health, they should be able to promise that they will give you the facts about the system and ways to address any noted issues found during inspection. Make a commitment to your contractors and the homeowners safety today and experience the difference that hiring a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep can make!

A fire in the living room is no joke! Chimneys should be treated with care and be considered carefully prior to remodeling or spending large amounts of money or equity in home repairs. Call a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep in your area, like The Chimney Doctor, for peace of mind, and to get your project off on the right foot!


What should I do if I am injured on the job in Alabama?

If you’ve been hurt, it is important to immediately call an experienced Alabama workers compensation lawyer.

The Alabama Legislature passed the first Workers’ Compensation Law in 1919, effective January 1, 1920. There have been many legislative changes and court decisions since then, but basically, the philosophy of the original Act has been retained.

The Alabama Department of Labor has created a basic claim handling manual that does a great job of putting people in the right direction.  The purpose of the Workers’ Compensation Law is to provide prompt and necessary medical treatment, and wage replacement for workers who are injured or killed from an accident arising out of and in the course of their employment.

Workers’ Compensation was designed as a substitute for common-law tort actions for personal injuries between master and servant. The Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act is found at §25-5-1, et. Seq. Code of Alabama, as amended, 1975.

Will I get paid if I file for worker’s compensation in Alabama?

Alabama worker’s comp law gives injured worker’s two main benefits if they have an accident on the job: Payment of work-related medical bills and payment of 2/3’s of your average weekly wage during the time you are unable to work.

You can also receive a lump sum settlement in Alabama if you are unable to return to work or if you can return to work but have a permanent physical limitation.

How much would my lump settlement be?

Alabama law provides for a lump sum settlement based upon either (1) your medical impairment rating, or (2) your vocational limitations.

While you cannot sue your employer except through worker’s compensation, you may sue a third party (not your employer) and recover if they were negligent.


Medical Treatment

Under Alabama Workers’ Compensation Law, an employee who get hurt at work and it is a compensable injury, they are entitled to lifetime medical benefits for the work-related injury.

There are some caveats though. Medical treatment must be medically necessary and appropriate for the treatment of the injury or illness and must be provided by an authorized physician. Medical services provided by an unauthorized physician are not covered and will not be reimbursed. This means that you can’t just go see your regular doctor and expect the medical bills to be repaid.

Who pays for my medical bills?

By law, your employer or their worker’s comp insurance carrier is required to pay for all accident related medical treatment.  There’s a catch though. Because the employer must pick up the tab, Alabama law allows them to choose the facility or physician. The result of all of this is that the employer routinely picks the most conservative doctors who shy away from expensive diagnostic studies or surgery. The goal of the workers compensation carrier is to get the employee back to work and off their tab. For the employer, less down time for the employee and minimal medical treatment helps to keep their job injury insurance premiums down.

You may not like or trust the workers comp doctor that you have been provided.  Fortunately, the Alabama code allows an employee to choose from a panel of four alternate physicans picked by the workers comp insurance carrier. If you don’t like that doctor though, then you are out of luck.

How much money will I make while I am on workers comp in Alabama?

During the time the employee is unable to work, the employer must pay him 2/3’s of his average weekly wage(aww). This is calculated by adding up the employee’s gross income over the past year and divding by 52. The Alabama legislature has reasoned that if the employer were to pay the injured worker his full wage, this would be a disincentive to return to work.


Third-Party Claims

Most of the time someone is injured on the job, they have a worker’s compenation claim against their employer but not a third party claim. The Supreme Court of Alabama has expressly ruled that the  only claim that can be made against an employer after a workplace is accident is for workers compensation benefits.But, you can make a claim against someone else other than the employer, so long as that other person’s negligence caused your injury.

For instance, if you are told to use a forklift and another contractor’s employee runs you over in their bobcat, you can bring both a workmen’s comp claim and a Gadsden, Alabama personal injury lawyer claim against the logging truck comany and driver. The third-party claim personal injury claim includes damages that you can’t get in a workers comp case.  This gives another purse to help compensate you. You could be eligible for mental anguish, pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity and even punitive damages, things that cannot be claimed in the workers comp suit. You can also ask for a jury trial, which is not allowed in the Alabama code for worker’s comp cases.


Can my boss fire me in Alabama for filing for workers comp?

No.  Not legally at least. Unfortunately, it happens. Employers break the law.  The good news is that Alabama law expressly forbids employer from terminating or firing employees solely for filing a workers comp claim. Employees need to be extra careful during this time to not give the employer any other reason to fire them.

Usually, you can expect to resume your employment after finishing the medical treatment. Companies know about the rule against retaliating against injured workers and realize they can be sued for lost wages and punitive damages should they do so.