Frugal Fancy

Home Tips for Frugal Living

Author: Kent Davidson (page 1 of 3)

Want Energy Efficient Windows? Look for These Features

Saving energy is one of the many reasons to consider replacing the windows on your home. But how will you know which window is more efficient than another? Look for replacement windows with these tell-tale features:

ENERGY STAR Certification

You’ve seen the blue logo on energy-efficient appliances, heating and air systems, water heaters, televisions, and other devices you use every day. Look for the logo on your replacement windows, too. Any ENERGY STAR window is certified a to meet high standards of energy efficiency – efficiency that can put money in your pocket. In fact, ENERGY STAR certified windows and doors reduce energy bills by an average of 12 percent over non-certified models.

Low-E Coatings

These thin, transparent coatings reflect away the sun’s infrared rays (or heat). Rather than allowing infrared rays to pass through, windows with low-E glass reflect away these heat-producing rays; This reflection helps to keep home interiors cooler on hot summer days, reducing the reliance on expensive air conditioning. Unlike older models, modern windows with low-E glass also allow in a great deal of visible light; brightness and clear views won’t be compromised.

Low U-Factor

One common measure of window performance is the U-factor, which measures a window’s insulating ability (or resistance to heat flow). Windows with high resistance help maintain a difference in temperature between a home’s interior and the outside. This figure is expressed as a number between 0 and 1; the closer to zero, the less heat is allowed through. In a warm climate, one where we want to keep summer’s heat at bay, a value of 0.25 would be considered excellent. SmartSun™ windows from Renewal by Andersen offer an even better U-factor of 0.24.

Low Solar Heat Gain Coefficient

The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, or SGHC, is another common measure of window performance. SGHC represents the amount of the sun’s heat that is allowed through the window, and is expressed as a number between 0 and 1 – the closer to zero, the less heat is allowed through. In a warm climate – one where we want to reflect away unwanted heat – an SGHC value of 0.25 or less would be considered excellent.

What Can You Power with a Portable Generator?

If you live in an area that’s prone to severe weather, a portable generator can make life easier to endure – if and when the power goes out. But a small portable generator can’t power everything in your home. Before you purchase a generator, you should have a clear understanding of what you will – and won’t – be able to do with it.

That understanding begins with taking inventory of your power needs – specifically how much wattage your devices require. You’ll find many resources online that will tell you roughly how much wattage a device requires. (This is a particularly good one.) Here are the wattage requirements of some devices that would be handy during an outage:

  • Smartphone charger – 10W
  • Tablet charger – 10W
  • Tablet – 10-20W
  • Television – (LCD, small) 50W
  • Household fan – 50-120W
  • Notebook computer – 20-75W
  • 60W light bulb – 60W
  • 100W light bulb – 100W
  • Desktop computer – 200-400W
  • Refrigerator – 500-750W
  • Washing machine – 500-1000W
  • Microwave – 300-1000W
  • Portable air conditioner – 1300W

If you have a small portable generator with a 2000W capacity, you won’t be able to run all of the above devices at once – let alone the many devices that aren’t on this list. And you may have already noticed that there are no household systems on the above list. There are two reasons for this:

  1. Household systems use more power than a small portable can deliver. A central air system, for example, might need a constant 1500W to run, and potentially as much as 5000W on start-up.
  2. You can’t plug household systems directly into your generator, and you can’t plug your generator directly into your household electrical system.

But don’t worry – you’ve got options.

Many generators that have the capacity to power more household devices, and even entire homes – they’re just more expensive. Generally speaking, if you double the wattage of a generator, you’ll almost double its price. Where a 2000W generator costs a $1000, a 4000W version might cost $1800-$1900. Whole-home generators can cost $3500 or more.

While you can’t connect your generator and your household electrical system directly, you can bridge the gap by having an electrician install an interlock or a transfer switch. These two devices allow you to switch your home between generator power and the power line; they disallow you from using both at the same time, which is an unsafe practice. And – most conveniently – they can provide power to the outlets in your home.

If outages are relatively few and far between, you might opt for a smaller portable, and plug select devices directly into it. If severe weather is more common – or being without household power is not an option – you’ll probably need to choose a whole-house generator along with an interlock or transfer switch.

Now that you have a better idea of what you’ll need to do to maintain a suitable amount of power during an outage, you can weigh needs and wants against costs. You’re one step closer to being ready for whatever challenges the next big storm brings.

Stain-Fighting Steps to a Cleaner Carpet

When your carpet looks dirty, your home looks dirty. And nothing makes a carpet look dirty quite as much as a prominent stain or two. Unfortunately, stains occur most frequently where we spend most of our time – and are most likely to see them. So if you want to have a clean-looking house, you’ll need to have a plan for dealing with spills and stains the moment they happen.

If you want to keep carpet stains to a minimum, you need to be ready for them before they happen. You’re going to need a go-to carpet cleaning solution that works effectively on your carpet without damaging it. Before a spill occurs, you’ll want to test your cleaning solution in an out-of-the-way place; this way, if your carpet does discolor, it will be out of your line of vision.

After applying the solution to the carpet as directed, blot with a white cloth or paper towel. Make sure that no carpet dye transfers onto the towel, and that the carpet looks perfect after the solution dries. If you don’t confirm that the cleaner is safe for your carpets, you may end up making a bad situation worse when you apply it on a spill in a high-traffic area.

You’re also going to want to have plain white cloths or paper towels on hand for spills. Some carpet cleaning solutions can liberate the dyes on cloths and paper towels; instead of blotting a stain out with a paper towel, you could find that you’re blotting a stain in.

One of the best things you can do to deal with stains and spills is to address them right away. The longer you wait, the more likely the stain will set and become much harder to remove. Deal with that spill before it can dry, and before it can sink deeper into your carpet and padding.

So how do you deal with spills? With patience. Lightly blot your tested cleaning solution into the stain. Don’t apply too much solution, as this can cause the stain to sink or expand. Resist the urge to scrub; this can harm the carpet fibers as well as drive the stain deeper down. Keep blotting until you can no longer pull up any stain from the carpet.

If you encounter a stain that remains on your carpet, even after careful blotting, you know that it’s time to call a professional carpet cleaner. (My local go-to is Metro Chem-Dry.) Professionals have an arsenal of cleaning solutions as well as powerful extraction equipment that can liberate stains without harming your carpet. That is, if you don’t take too much time to get help.

While professional carpet cleaners are better at removing stains than we are, there are limits to what they can do. Like us, the pros have better results when they’re able to attach stains before they have a chance to set or dry. Once you’ve realized that you’re not able to remove a stain, don’t call it a day. Head to the phone and call a professional.

Let’s recap: Test a carpet cleaner before you need it. Keep that cleaner on hand, along with some plain white towels. Deal with stains right away. If you can’t remove the stain, call a pro right away. Follow these steps, and your carpet should be a source of pride for you – something that makes your whole house look cleaner.

Furry Troubles: Dealing With Pet Urine On The Carpet

Pets are gifts, and their companionship can be as rewarding as any other relationship or experience. It might sound far-fetched, but pets have the power to improve mood, and they even help fortify the body’s ability to fight off allergies. Yes, pets are great, but there a few bumps to worry about when you own a pet, and it often boils down to pet urine.

Why is Pet Urine so Hard to Deal With?

Yes, the first thing to get out of the way is to accept that this problem is a big one. No matter how much you love your pet, the smell of urine is not pleasant at all. Sometimes the smell is so strong that people have to throw away clothes or other items. The problem is that you cannot throw away a carpet easily because carpets can cost a considerable amount of money to replace.

There are a number of reasons why pet urine can be hard to remove. For one, a lot of it depends on the type of pet you have. Dogs, for example, give off a more acidic smell than cats. This is not only smelly, but it also can damage your carpets more than you might imagine. The acids in the urine break down fabric, which could make your carpet seem dingy. These acids can also damage the dyes in the carpet and lead to some discoloration.

Cats leave a distinct ammonia-like smell. This is because cats are actually trying to urinate and mark their territory. Their urine is supposed to be strong and fend off intruders. It should be noted that cats that do not drink enough water usually have stronger smelling urine.

You should also know that carpet fabrics are sometimes absorbent, which can make it a lot easier for the urine to set in and stay put. The scent will fuse into the fabrics if it is not treated quickly enough.

Furthermore, urine also attracts bacteria, and you do not want that to happen. Some bacteria can give off certain smells, which will only aggravate the problem even more. Of course, the scent that bacteria might give off is nothing compared to the fact that your carpet may be harboring them. This could put you and those in your family in danger of getting certain physical ailments.

No one is saying that having a pet is a mistake, but it does come with a few chores. Potty training your pet is probably a great idea, and making sure that he or she is always hydrated is wise, too. Prevention is probably the most important step to take when you have pets, but that does not mean accidents will not happen.

Calling in the Big Carpet Cleaning Guns

You did the best you could, and you tried to prevent your pet from urinating on your carpet, but it happened. Now, you have a stinky carpet that is preventing your home from becoming the hot go-to spot among your friends. There is no need to fret as long as you hand over the mess to professionals.

Of course, professionals are going to be using a up-to-date equipment and carpet cleaning solutions to take care of the job. You may be thinking that the job sounds easy and that you can take care of it on your own. There is a little problem with that because some of the steam cleaners sold for home use are not strong. This means the heat might initiate a binding action within your carpet between the fibers and urine.

You might be able to get rid of the smell, but that binding action you created is still going to come back to haunt you. It is very likely that the smell will return on days when the humidity in your home is high enough to re-hydrate the particles hidden within your carpet.

Making sure you call professionals ensures that this will not happen to you. It is imperative that the carpet cleaner used to deal with pet urine is a high-force cleaner that is able to eliminate all particles lodged within your carpet. The bonds are going to be destroyed, and any bacteria left lingering should die. The process is tedious, but making sure that the smell is gone for good does take some patience.

Now, you know a little more about pet urine and why it is so hard to deal with. You also know who to call when the problem is causing a stink in your home. Do not worry about this; professionals will make your carpet smell great, and it may look as beautiful as it did when you had it installed. Besides, there probably is a little pet hair and other little things in your carpet that a good cleaning will take care of, too.

Tips on Getting Back Your Full Security Deposit

If you’re new to renting an apartment or condo and have never dealt with getting a security deposit back, you may be apprehensive about navigating this often touchy subject on move-out day. Luckily, there are some easy steps you can take to make sure you get your full deposit back, or at least get an itemized breakdown of why your deposit is being withheld.

Security deposit cartoon from

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Unfortunately, many landlords will do everything in their power to keep your security deposit, which is why you must take the necessary steps to protect yourself from this. This isn’t to say there aren’t plenty of reasonable honest landlords that will happily return your security deposit as long as you leave your apartment in the same condition as when you moved in, but there are plenty of landlords who will do just about anything to keep it for themselves.

The first, and maybe the most important, thing you can do to protect yourself in this situation is to fill out the move-in walkthrough paperwork in detail. Make sure you take pictures of any existing damage before you even move your first box in. Take pictures of every room in its entirety, as well as close ups on damage (if any), that way during the move out walk through the landlord can’t blame any damage that was already there on you. Be sure to turn this paper work in promptly, preferably before you even move in, if that’s an option. Often there is fine print at the bottom of these documents that requires you to turn them in within a certain range of time, or the document becomes void, so make sure to get it in on time. It doesn’t hurt to make a copy of this document for yourself as well, just so you have it on file in the case of any discrepancies.

The second step goes without saying, but take care of your apartment while you’re in it. I don’t mean you have to sweep, mop, and vacuum every other day or anything, but just generally stay on top of maintenance. If there are things that need fixing, make sure to call maintenance right away before a small problem becomes a large expensive problem. If your landlord or rental agency sees you taking the time and energy to make sure your place is kept in good shape, they will be more likely to return your deposit without a fuss.

security deposit

When it comes time to move out, take the time to do an extra round of deep cleaning. You want everything to look pristine when your landlord comes to do their walkthrough, that way there’s nothing that they can claim as a reason for withholding your deposit. It might even be a good idea in places that have carpet to hire a carpet cleaning service to do a deep clean right before you’re about to move out. This will take any ground-in dirt and grime out of your apartment’s carpets, and make the place smell nice for the walkthrough. If possible, ask your landlord to do the walkthrough while you’re present so you can talk through any possible issues with them, or let them know what damage was there when you moved in (this is a good time to have those pictures handy). Some landlords won’t allow you to be there for the walkthrough, opting to do it at their leisure, but it can’t hurt to ask. If you can’t be there for the walkthrough, be sure to take pictures of your apartment when you move out, so you have evidence of what it looked like when you left.

The only thing that’s left at this point is making sure you drop off the keys on time, and leave a forwarding address for your landlord or rental agency. They’ll need to know where to send your deposit once they’ve approved your refund. If you follow these steps, and take care of your apartment, it shouldn’t be any problem to get your security deposit back. The main thing is to make sure there aren’t any glaring issues that they can blame you for, but with proper attention to detail during your move out cleaning, you can take care of most of these issues.

In the event that your landlord tries to keep your security deposit, even after taking all of the proper precautions and steps to protect yourself, it can be a good idea to threaten a suit in small claims court. Often the threat of legal action will get a quick reaction from your landlord or agency. Just make sure there isn’t actually any citable reason for why they are keeping your deposit before threatening legal action. You don’t want to get to court just to lose, then you’ll be out of even more money.

Most of the time if you take care of your apartment, have proper documentation of existing damages and the condition that you left it in, and are a good tenant in the time that you are renting, there will be no reason for your landlord or leasing agency to keep your security deposit upon moving out. Most of the time, getting your security deposit back is just a painless request after moving out, but it’s still important to have proper documentation to back yourself up in the case of any shady business from your landlord or leasing agency.

approved security deposit

HVAC Maintenance To Expect From A Heating And Cooling Company


Performing regular maintenance on your heating- ventilation-air conditioning system (HVAC) is the best way of keeping the unit running at top efficiency and the lowest expense. Regular HVAC maintenance also helps you get the longest life possible out of your investment and gives you assurance the unit will be working when you need it.

Some kinds of HVAC maintenance should be left to a qualified and reputable heating and cooling company. There are also some maintenance tasks homeowners can easily do themselves. Whoever does the job, staying on task with HVAC maintenance is the best way of staying comfortable in all seasons and saving on energy costs at the same time.

For systems that do both heating and cooling, maintenance tasks are needed in the spring and fall. Systems that cool only need maintenance annually at the start of the hot season. Stand-alone furnaces need a maintenance check once a year at the start of the heating season. Each type of unit needs somewhat different attention, but these are the main points of HVAC maintenance for most systems.

  • Replace filters regularly, and keep a supply of filters on hand. Newer, pleated filters are made to have an electrostatic charge which attracts dust particles and even bacteria and mold spoors. Replace the filter every three months, but monitor it monthly and replace it sooner if it looks dirty. Homes with pets need more frequent filter replacement.
  • At least monthly, remove debris that has fallen onto the unit. Leaves, branches, dust, and pollen block airflow and reduce the efficiency of HVAC systems. Check that lawn mowers and weed eaters do not throw cut grass onto the sides of the HVAC unit. Make sure there is at least two feet of clear space around the entire unit at all times.
  • Check that the HVAC unit is sitting firmly on level ground. If it has shifted, contact a heating and cooling company for repairs.
  • During the summer, the water to the furnace humidifier can be shut off to prevent leaks.

ac unit 2

In the fall, the wick filter on the humidifier should be replaced and the thermostat adjusted to thirty-five percent humidity before the water is turned back on.

  • Once a year, pour one cup of bleach mixed into a quart of water into the AC condensate drain to kill algae and mold.
  • Inspect the refrigerant levels and lines. Add refrigerant, if needed, and repair any leaks in lines before using the unit.
  • Clean out dust, spider webs, and other debris from inside the unit to prevent electrical problems.
  • Inspect the drain pans and make sure the drains are working properly.
  • Inspect and clean the coil, fan motor, and fan blades, blower housing, and blower motor. Older models often need occasional lubrication.
  • Inspect the control unit wiring and connections.
  • Inspect the compressor and clean or repair as needed.
  • Clean the condensate drain and pan.
  • Check for gas leaks on furnaces.
  • Adjust the burner as needed.
  • Check flues and duct work for damage, dislocation, and corrosion and repair as needed. Check ducts for airflow leaks while the unit is running.
  • Check heat pump and AC refrigerant charge levels annually.
  • Monitor outdoor and indoor dry bulb temperature settings.
  • Check gas pressure to furnace and adjust if necessary.
  • Check that vents are adjusted properly for airflow.
  • Monitor the unit per any other manufacturer recommended specifications.


When the system is being turned on for the first time in the season, listen for abnormal sounds and check for unusual odors. It is a good idea to do a check like this a few weeks before you are likely to need heat or air conditioning. That way, there is time for any needed repairs or HVAC maintenance to be done by a HVAC specialist before the weather changes.

When looking for a reliable company to maintain your HVAC system, ask them for a check list of everything they inspect on each service call and make sure they cover the points listed above.

Why to Install New Replacement Windows in Your Home

If you’re planning to put your home on the market in Greensboro NC in the near future or you are planning to stay, incorporating home improvements for added residential value are always a great choice. There are many options out there but only a few will show high returns. Window replacement and renovations to your bathroom or kitchen will often show the greatest return for every dollar spent on the homestead.


Most people intuitively understand that a fully restored kitchen with newly installed appliances, cabinets, and flooring will greatly increase the value and the appeal of a property. The same is true for upgrading your bathroom: The value of functionality and looks in the bathroom is apparent.

Sometimes the value visible from newly installed windows is not always easy to see but the effect of upgrading windows can be just as advantageous as kitchen and bath remodels for improved comfort and home value. With this being said, a bathroom or kitchen remodel is almost not even complete
With older homes, you may find that their original windows are still single pane which means that they are not as energy efficient as double paned windows. No matter how hot or cold climate, replacing single paned windows is always a wise choice. In cold climates you can see savings in heating costs and in hot climates you will see savings in cooling costs. If you have a high quality Renewal by Andersen (RbA) replacement window installed properly, you may find even greater savings. Customers of RbA window replacement installation services in Greensboro, Fayetteville, and Raleigh have all found great savings on their energy bills.

Also make sure not to settle for low quality windows because this will gauge on how much you will ultimately save over their lifetime. If there is an energy star rating on the window, you can rest assured that you will be investing wisely. Don’t settle for the generic mom and pop produced replacement windows out in Southern Pines NC that won’t last you even 5 years. If you choose Renewal by Andersen’s windows you can guarantee that with their Fibrex material, you will have you a window that will last you well into your old age if not past that.

Generating high home energy savings is not the only benefit of installing new replacement windows in your Greensboro home. You are also reducing the carbon emissions that are released into our atmosphere. When you are using less energy you are contributing to less pollution. In Central North Carolina, much of our energy is produced by coal which pumps out millions of carbon monoxide particles into the air we breathe every day. Start saving the environment today and go green by buying new windows for your home or business.

noise in home

Another excellent plus when upgrading your windows is the more refined noise reduction attributes. The noises emitted from the Greensboro and Raleigh city life can sometimes be unbearable. By reducing this noise pollution, you can actually reduce your stress levels. A peaceful home is a happy home and these are things that home buyers may look for when searching for a new home.

Yet another way to make your home more comfortable would be to incorporate glare resistant window films which is very simple, attractive, and easy to install. These window tint coverings not only reduce glare but can reflect harmful ultra-violet rays from damaging your carpets, rugs, furniture, and even your own skin. I highly suggest this option when working with a window replacement company. For added security, they also offer shatterproof windows that can withstand impact during storms, accidents, and breakings.

When sitting down to discuss financing this investment, you will quickly realize how costly this process may be. Depending on how many windows and the quality of windows you could be looking anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars so make sure to do your research and pick the style and brand that best fits your needs and budget. If you want to save the most money make sure to replace all of your windows at the same time. This will lower your labor costs and you may even gain a better discount in quantity.

Make Granite Countertops Pop Throughout Your Luxury Home

granite counter woman cooking food

Granite is a material that signifies prestige, luxury, and fine taste. This igneous rock has been used for building for thousands of years. Ancient civilizations realized early how valuable it truly is given its intrinsic properties. The advent of modern materials has not diminished its luster as it remains one of the most popular choices for both interiors and exteriors around many Northern Virginia homes.

The good news is that it is now more affordable than ever with great companies like Granite Source. In the past, it was only a select few who could pay for the prized material. Its usage was usually limited to lavish buildings. Improvements in mining and processing have resulted in lower prices such that homeowners such as yourself can now use granite for various applications. Below are some ideas for your consideration.


  1. Countertops and Other Kitchen Applications

The most common use of this material today remains firmly in the kitchen. Granite countertops are more appealing than other choices because its properties are well-suited to the environment. Counter surfaces get a lot of abuse including high heat, ubiquitous moisture, random spills, repeated impacts, and sharp edges. Inferior materials will look old fast in the face of this barrage. Meanwhile, granites will simply shrug them off given their impressive strength, impenetrability, and resilience. They are so apt for kitchens that they have found their way to backsplashes, dining tables, islands, and the like.


  1. High Class Bathrooms with Character

Of course, there is no reason to confine granite to one area when others can benefit from it as well. Take bathrooms, for instance. These tiny spaces share lots of similarities with kitchens in terms of features and environmental conditions. They both deal with a massive amount of moisture that demands resistant materials. Sinks made of the polished rock is available in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Tiles made from it can be used as flooring or as wall covering around bathtubs. They not only repel water but also provide a beautiful natural look to the space.


  1. Stunning Fireplaces and Living Room Décor

Fireplaces have a tendency to dominate the interiors wherever they may be. Most of the time, they are placed in the living room to give people a communal place to huddle around a fire during the winter. Using granite tiles around the fireplace provides just the right accent to make it come alive. A solid slab may also be carved into a mantle or hearth. Watch the fire dance and crackle against the gorgeous stone. While it is possible to use different materials for this purpose, nothing comes close to the effect made possible by the stone. Match it with select granite décor for the room.


  1. Exterior Finishes that Keep the Elements at Bay

The superb water and heat resistance of granite make it an excellent match for many outdoor applications. For example, the ground surrounding an outdoor hot tub may be covered with stone tiles. It would be better to utilize the unpolished version for greater traction and prevent slippage. Another strategy is to install small tiles as the grooves between them will provide the necessary friction to avoid accidents. If designed and executed well, then the result is bound to make a lasting impression on visitors.


lovely luxury bathroom with granite counters

Installing Custom Granite Countertops

If you have your heart set on a granite countertop, then pick a good installer to do the job. It is an arduous process but experienced professionals are able to complete it quickly with remarkable results. Here is how the whole thing works from start to finish.

First, you choose the exact type of stone you want from the available options at your fabricator’s showroom. Consider the color, quality, appearance, and price before making a definite selection. The estimates will be calculated based on the dimensions required and presented for your approval. Next, find a sink to match so that the cutout portion can be planned ahead. The layout of the faucet must be set in advance as well because the fabricator may have to drill holes for the fixtures.

The edge profile of the solid slab also needs to be determined. If you want the countertop to come with a corresponding backsplash, then specify your preference. Once all of the information has been gathered, then the fabricator will create a mockup with wood to see how it all fits on the actual kitchen. Adjustments will be made as required. The final template will be used in the actual granite fabrication. The fabricator will carefully install this countertop in your kitchen. You’ll have a magnificent piece that will last for as long as the house is standing.

3 Tips to Building the Ultimate Man Cave on a Budget

Every guy needs a man cave to call his own.  I just recently built my own in the basement of our home.  My wife may have control over the upstairs, but downstairs is my domain.

There are a lot of things you can do with a room devoted to guy stuff, and the more features you add, the pricier it gets.  But you don’t need to shell out an arm and a leg in order to have a stellar man cave.  Below I’ll show you a few ways you can build one on a budget.

Entertainment Center

An entertainment center is likely going to be the biggest expense in your project – but it’s a must have.  No man cave would be complete without an entertainment center, but there’s no need to blow your entire budget on creating one.

The television is going to be the most expensive item on your list for the entertainment center – as it should be.  A TV will serve as the centerpiece of the room.  If you do some good bargain shopping, you’ll be able to find a decent TV at a great price.  Black Friday and the week of the Super Bowl are two of the best times to find a great deal on a TV.

Window Shadeswindow-shades

Whether you’re watching a moving or playing video games, the experience can be ruined if there’s an obnoxious glare hitting the TV.  That’s why it’s important to have quality window shades in your room.  Quality window shades come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and prices.  If you’re looking for exceptional quality shades at a reasonable price, MannKidwell in Richmond, VA is a great option.  However, if you’re on a shoestring budget then you can find inexpensive shades that will get the job done at places like Ikea.

A Bar

Having a stocked bar is critical when it comes to building a man cave.  A man cave needs to be prepared to serve up whiskey or beer whenever the moment calls.  Fortunately, you don’t need a large selection or drinks or an elaborate display.  I’ve found that a mini fridge with a shelf of liquor above is more than enough to  get the job done.  If you prefer working with your hands, go pick up some wood from your local hardware store and get to work building your own.  They’re incredibly easy to make and are low cost.

Tinting Your Window Can Save You Money

Windows are a vital component of your home’s construction, bringing in light, warmth, and fresh air – you knew that. But did you know that window tinting is a simple and cost-effective way of making home windows more energy-efficient? Or that tinting can protect valuable items in your home from fading? Let’s take a closer look at how tinting can save you some money:

Window tinting can be a great energy saver. In cold climates like the one here in Indiana, the surface area of home windows accounts for as much as 30 percent of heat loss. Double- and triple-pane windows can reduce this loss considerably, but they are expensive to install. Window tinting can reduce heat loss by five percent – for a lot smaller investment. And tinted windows have many other advantages beyond energy savings.

You can’t see ultraviolet rays, but you can see the damage they leave behind. Left unchecked, ultraviolet rays can fade the color of furniture, drapes, carpets, and artwork in your home. They’re also harmful to your skin, even when you’re inside. Window tint films reduce UV rays by as much as 99 percent. And by virtually eliminating damage from this source of radiation; you’ll be extending the projected lifespans of everything from couches to carpet.

Window tint usually consists of an extremely strong film of polyester sheeting. And these films have a high tensile strength, leading to another advantage: While a tinted film can’t stop a window from breaking, it can hold the damaged pieces in place and reduce the chances of someone getting hurt. This feature also makes it harder for someone trying to break-in to the house.

In the past, window films were often dark or reflective. Now this doesn’t have to be the case. Window tinting films can be clear or shaded in a wide range of colors. Color-tinted windows can create a dramatic and beautifying effect on the look of a home. Window films can also shield the home’s interior from view, without requiring you to draw the shades.

Maybe by now you’re convinced that window film has its merits, but you have no idea how easy it is to install. In the hands of a professional tinting company, such as Solar Concepts in NW Indiana, window film installation is easy and trouble-free. While the exact process of tint installation differs slightly, depending on the manufacturer and the installer, most involve the following steps:

Furnishings, curtains, and carpeting are moved away from the window. The window is carefully cleaned, then wet with a soapy solution to reduce static electricity while the film is being applied. The tinting film is then carefully stretched out against the window surface, and a squeegee is used to work out all air bubbles.

After application, the new film needs to dry in place. During this time, there is can be some clouding or appearance of water under the film. This is a normal part of the drying process, and if the film has been correctly installed, it will clear up in about a day. If you think the tint installation process sounds fast and easy, that’s because it is.

Whether you want to upgrade your home’s energy efficiency or protect your valuables from fading, window film can be a great investment. Why not follow up with one of Indiana’s window tinting pros today?

Top 10 Tips on Starting a Home Daycare

daycare fun

Starting a daycare, preschool, or other child care facility in Crosscreek FL involves a lot more than gathering toys and planning fun activities for the children. Before you can actually hang a sign out stating that a daycare center is open for business, you will also need to address some very important logistical and administrative tasks.

If your Crosscreek child care facility is to be successful from the start, a solid foundation must be created through training and documentation according to legal guidelines and regulations. Doing so will reduce the risk of problems getting the doors open or keeping them open in the future.


Here are some important considerations that will help ensure that everything is in order before the first child arrives.


  1. Create a business plan to help direct all the decisions made for the daycare or preschool. If you have no experience creating a business plan, your local college or university, small business administration, or even another daycare center can help understand what goes into the planning.


  1. Decide how large or small the facility should be. Some individuals use their own home as the base of operations, but others rent commercial spaces. The maximum number of kids for which you wish to care can help with determining this.


  1. Research your state’s regulations for daycare accreditation and licensure concerning the size of your preschool and address the requirements as you go about preparing your daycare center.


  1. Determine from where the children cared for in your child care facility will come. What ages will you accept? Decide whether you want to target the employees of a particular employer or special needs children. By specializing in this way without excluding children from other area, you will ensure service to your community.


  1. Find out what the going rates are in your area and set yours competitively. Also, set your own payment policies.


  1. Cover every aspect of your preschool or daycare center as you create your policies and procedures manual and use it to guide how you run the facility.


  1. While commercially run centers require trained teachers, assistants and a director, you may not need any of these if you intend to run yours out of your home. Decide if you need to hire help or can do it yourself.


  1. Create an appealing space for the kids by bringing in furnishings their size and bring bright colors in by painting walls or supplying brightly colored toys or craft materials. Make sure that your center adheres to your state’s building codes.


  1. If you hire staff, get together with them to develop a daily schedule and curriculum. All activities should be age-appropriate.


  1. Create a marketing campaign for advertising your daycare services. Things like flyers you can hand out at local schools and churches or at the businesses you will be targeting is a good way to advertise. Online ads, work of mouth and other networks work well too.

kid playing with toys

It can be a lot of hard work creating a new child care facility, but it can be very rewarding as well. Helping children develop and mature is a great way to spend your time.

It may take a little while to build your child care to the numbers you want, but after that it will be easy to maintain if you remain true to your standards.

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