DIY Home Improvement Tips: Good Habits In Your Habitat!

Everyone you know is doing their best to be friendlier to the environment, which is great. It’s about time that we started initiatives to make this planet a lot better. The great thing about promoting ways to improve our planet is that it starts from us, at home. Not only does that place the onus back on us to make the environment better instead of relying on councils, but it also helps to make our bills cheaper, which is an excellent by-product of looking after your home. In fact, there are some really simple things you can do to benefit the environment that doesn’t involve going to the recycling plant every few days, let alone get out of your bed! Okay, that’s not necessarily true, but you don’t need to leave the house!

Electricity is a big one that we all need to cut back on. The amount of energy that we waste in leaving appliances on is a big cause of our collective carbon footprint, not to mention wasted money. We use lights every day, so instead of the normal light bulbs, use a Compact Fluorescent one. It can save you up to 66% on your energy bills. Another few hints to cut back on your electricity bill includes not looking in the fridge! It sounds crazy, but by looking around the fridge to decide on your meal for the evening can cost you between $12 and $24 a year, and if you use colder water in your washing machine or set it to a lower temperature, this will save 40% less energy on your output. Also, it’s very simple, just unplug your appliances at night, and although you need to charge your phone, put it on airplane mode.

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Going around the home itself, there are many home comforts that we can either cut corners on or just make little tweaks to improve our environment overall. For example, by adding more houseplants, we are increasing the amount of oxygen around the home, and by getting into the habit of planting in your garden, this is a good way to increase oxygen everywhere. Another one to get on board with is adding solar panels to your roof. There are many homes that have gone for this in a bid to cut back on unnecessary expenditure, and by going solar, you are placing less reliance on fossil fuels for energy and utilizing one of the greatest sources of energy in the universe, the sun! In fact, you can save 10% on your heating bill just by opening the blinds to let the sunlight in!

Chemicals are another source of problems for our environment, and they turn up everywhere, from our cleaning products to our hand creams! Instead of buying expensive cleaning sprays that can give you allergies, buy some bicarbonate of soda and vinegar or apple cider vinegar to apply to mold and dirt walls and surfaces. The acidity of the vinegar will clean it right up and the soda will give you a shiny finish on taps and silverware!  

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Don’t Try This At Home! Top 3 Jobs to Leave to the Professionals

For as much as our generation loves to spend and impulse buy, we are also living in a very thrifty and frugal time. It’s the biggest juxtaposition of them all; even those who have the money to be able to get by easily in life are wanting to take the time to do things for themselves in order to save it.

This has led to an increase in DIY jobs and the learning of new trades in order for people to be able to get the job done quickly, efficiently and with little cost. But while some are taking the necessary steps towards getting qualified and knowledgeable, others are relying on online tutorials or information on forums to get the job done properly.

Here are the top three things that need to be left to the professionals to save incurring any further financial expenditure…

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White Goods

If one of your white goods is on the blink, do not attempt to fix it yourself. Whether your fridge, freezer, washing machine, dishwasher or tumble dryer is having a bad day, you do not need to make it any worse – either for the gadget or for yourself. Most of these appliances are hooked up to both electricity and water; a literally lethal combination if you don’t know what you’re doing. Search online for a reliable tradesman to come out, such as on City Appliance Repair, and make sure that you leave it all to them. Even if it looks like you haven’t done anything wrong, you could have accidentally voided the warranty by removing or touching something that you shouldn’t have. It’s a minefield.

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Painting

Everybody loves to try and give redecorating a go at least once in their lives, but if you’re not the steadiest with a brush and are known for being a tad clumsy then step away from the paint! There are people out there who do this day in, day out, and will get the job done for you neatly and quickly. The last thing you want to be doing is paying out more for materials as you have to wipe up spilt paint, or spend longer on a project than you realistically have time for. Plus, if anything goes wrong, it’s not your fault – but if you hire a professional, the chances of this happening are very slim.

Brown Mouse Inside Mouse Trap during Daytime

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Pest Control

This could end up getting majorly out of hand if you don’t know the ins and outs and what you are doing extremely well. Most people leave it up to the experts, but the few who don’t either get it one of two things – right or wrong. There are a list of preventative steps that you can take in order to keep things under control, and if these are adhered to then it’s bad luck should you reach a situation where you need to bring out and pay for pest control. If you have children this is also a reason for leaving it to a professional; poison, guns and traps are all things that should not be near a child.

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Living with Lifespans – What Needs Replacing?

Here’s a bit of a shocking fact for you – over a period of 30 years, a house and its contents could need as much as 50% of it repairing or replacing from the position it was in at the beginning of this period of time. Let’s face it, you have to be one of the unlucky ones if you are going anywhere near 50% and over if it’s not a house that you have bought as a do-up project, but the figures mainly come from what resides inside the house itself rather than the upkeep of the building.

So, what are the things that fall under the replacement category and what is the recommended lifespan of each thing – are you being shortchanged or are you long overdue a replacement?

Child Playing Front Loader Toy

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Flooring

Good, solid wooden flooring can last centuries. Tiled flooring can, too – you can see it houses and churches in the United Kingdom that have lasted through several Kings and Queens and could probably tell a lot of stories … if they could talk. Planned care and restoration of both wooden and tiled floors can help extend the lifespans for future generations to appreciate. Laminate, lino and carpets are another matter entirely – if you are over the 10 year recommended threshold for the longevity of these products, then you should probably start looking at Online Carpet Sale and other such sites to keep your flooring in tip-top condition.

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Household appliances

All appliances have different recommendations as to how long they will last. A vacuum will last you up to 25 years if serviced and cared for, yet you may think of replacing it a lot sooner to keep up with the increasing demands of both efficiency and productivity.  Everything else pretty much has an average of 10-15 years – so your washers, dryers, dishwashers, microwaves etc should keep going for a fair while, but you may find that they will either go on a lot longer or cut short a lot sooner than expected; it’s always one or the other!

 Brush painting the white wall

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Fixtures, fittings and furnishings

Paint will naturally start to lose colour/chip or peel away/look grubby over the years. Sometimes it can last for a good while,but it’s always worth acknowledging that a touch-up every couple of years will help it to stay in a great condition and look fresh. Hands on walls, especially where people are holding on for stability or pushing against things such as light switches, will always leave a mark; you can’t ever guarantee how clean a person’s hands are. The recommended lifespan of paint is just 7 years – yet you’d be hard pressed finding someone who actually makes the effort to redecorate their whole house that often. There are new trends in paint on the market, with wipe-clean options available for those marks that start appearing. Keep it in a good condition and you can probably exceed the lifespan and laugh in the face of the grim reaper when he comes round and starts picking away at your walls!

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Ward Off Unwanted Attention From Your House With These Ideas

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Your home will be your castle, so there is no wonder that you just want to retreat into it at the end of a busy day at work or with the kids. The last thing you will want is any unwanted attention aimed at your house or yourself! So, how do you deal with people trying to get to you when you are supposed to be relaxing in your own home? Well, here are my top tips for warding off all that unwanted attention from your home.

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Burglars And Intruders

One of the main forms of unwanted attention will come from potential burglars and intruders. Under no circumstance will you want these people anywhere near your home! Thankfully, there is plenty that you can do to deter intruders and burglars from your property. One of the best things is equipping your home with either a burglar alarm or a CCTV camera system. Once a burglar spots either of these on the exterior of your home, they will instantly be put off from attempting to enter your house as there is just too much risk. The alarm could go off, which would bring attention to the property, or their faces could be caught on the CCTV. One mistake that many homeowners make is that they leave their spare set of house keys somewhere outside in case they ever accidentally lock themselves out. That spare set of keys is basically an invitation to intruders to let themselves in! One way to make sure your keys don’t fall into the wrong hands is to switch from a traditional lock to a key fob style lock, such as the ones from Keycard Ninja. These types of locks can’t be picked like traditional ones, and rather than leaving the key fob outside in a hiding place, you can simply give it to your neighbor for safekeeping.

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Pests And Vermin

Not all unwanted intruders in your home are going to try and steal your expensive tech and valuables. Some may try and make their own home in your house! Of course, I’m no longer talking about burglars anymore – I mean pests and vermin! These little creatures will try and make their way into your home no matter what. Thankfully, there are plenty of things that you can do to keep them well away from your property. One of the most obvious ways is to keep a very clean and tidy home. Most pests and vermin will make their way into your home to try and find food and water. So any leftovers or fresh ingredients that are left out on worktops in your kitchen are going to attract all these little critters into your home. So make sure that you clean up well after any cooking and baking. You should also regularly check the frames around your windows and doors. Small gaps can develop in these, which can provide entryways for small insects, rats, and mice. If you notice any new gaps, you should repair them as soon as possible.

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Teenagers

Do you have some troubles with your neighbors’ teenage children? Or maybe you live in an area where teenagers regularly congregate and hang out. Even if these children aren’t targeting your house directly, their presence can still be very annoying and, in some cases, even intimidating. If your main issue with these kids is that they are hanging out in your area and demonstrating unsociable behavior, then you should speak to your local police about it. They will be able to disperse any gangs who meet up and move them on. If things get particularly bad and the teenagers get exceptionally rowdy, then the police can always escort them home. Unfortunately, sometimes teenagers can be extremely unruly and target certain properties for no reason. They might cover part of your home in graffiti or, even worse, cause damage to your house or garden. If this happens, you should contact the police who can then work at catching the culprit. If they are caught, they can then be forced to pay for any repairs and cleaning that is required. Depending on the severity of their crimes, they may even be convicted and forced to pay a fine. To make sure that you don’t become the target of any local teenagers, though, you should endeavor to speak to their parents at the first sign of any bad behavior. This should nip things in the bud before things escalate.

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Spam Callers

There are some forms of attention that could even affect you inside your own home. And one of these types of annoying attention comes from spam callers. These days, many sales companies employ telesale employees who call random households to try and sell their products and services. This can be extremely annoying for people on the receiving end, and many homeowners feel that it is a breach of their privacy. Especially since the sales company has somehow got hold of their home phone number without their knowledge! But thankfully, you don’t need to deal with these annoying spam calls for too long. There is plenty that you can do to stop them calling. One of the best ways is to add your phone number to a do not call registry. The companies are not allowed to contact any of the numbers in these registries. Another way for dealing with these calls is to not hand out your phone number so freely. When you are filling out forms, leave the contact number section blank whenever possible.

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Door To Door Salesmen

Back in the fifties and sixties, door to door salesmen were very common. However, over the past few decades, they have started to be seen as a nuisance, and fewer companies send them out. However, there are still ones which do. If you don’t want to be bothered by these salesmen, you can place a sticker in your home saying that they aren’t welcome. Otherwise, see if there is an online registry to which you can add your address to which will blacklist it for sales companies.

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