Park It: Turn Your Garage into a Man Cave

Park It: Turn Your Garage into a Man Cave

Why should your car be the one to get a private room? If you’re looking for a space to call your own, a garage is just a man cave waiting to happen. Depending on how comfortable you want this room to be, transforming your garage into a man cave might not be easy or cheap, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Our man cave ideas will help you create the ultimate garage refuge. 

Before You Start

Chances are, your garage isn’t totally empty at the moment. Maybe you’re lucky and the only work you’ll need to do is to back your car out. But if you’re like most men, your garage is filled with anything from tools to camping gear to outdoor equipment. In order to make this space your own, you can’t be sidestepping a lawn mower every time you want to grab a drink. To make room, the first thing you’ll want to do is figure out what stays and what goes. A yard sale is a perfect way to help fund the creation of this man cave and clear space at the same time. Next, try to organize gear elsewhere. Basements, sheds, or even closets could provide great storage. Once you’ve cleared your garage, it’s time to get started!

Insulation

If you’re planning on using this man cave year-round, insulation is a must. Seriously, if your room is freezing cold or scorching hot, you won’t want to spend time there, much less invite guests! To do this on the cheap, check online or in your area for people trying to dispose of drywall, offer to do the work and collect your insulation free of charge. Otherwise, foot the bill yourself. It might hurt now, but when you’re toasty warm in December, it’ll be worth it.

Floor

Speaking of weathering the elements, a concrete floor isn’t the most comfortable thing, especially in the dead of winter. Luckily, there are plenty of options out there to save your feet and fit your budget. For instance, you can make due with a few rugs or leftover carpet squares. There’s also the option of using grass rugs, which are cheaper and easier to clean. If you’re looking to cover the entire floor, however, one affordable solution is rubber flooring tiles, which are both cheap and easy to install. That said, if you want your man cave to retain the comforts of home, it’s worth considering springing for wood flooring or carpet.

Walls

Once your insulation is done, you’ll want to use this time to plan for any electrical outlets before setting up your drywall. Keep in mind everything you’ll want to add later: Will there be a fridge? A place to watch sports? An air hockey table? Whatever activities you plan on using your man cave for, now is the time to prepare for accommodations. Once you’ve set your electrical outlets and finished your drywall, you’ll want to tackle decor. Consider a fresh coat of paint — ideally a light color to avoid making the space feel dark and cramped — to spruce the place up. It might be work now, but a good coat of paint can go a long way.

Lighting

Sure, you could get by with the sole garage light, but why would you want to? Lighting your man cave can be as easy as scouring yard sales and thrift stores for used lamps. On the other hand, if you want to be more elaborate, you can install your own lighting. This can be a tricky project, especially with a detached garage, so plan accordingly. Either way, unless you want to spend your time squinting at the new bestseller you’re trying to read, it’s worth getting a variety of artificial lights to ensure maximum brightness. 

Furniture

Once all the structural changes are out of the way, you can really start making the place your own. Of course, you’ll have to pay attention to your space and budget, but it’s still possible to make your man cave fit your needs. Whether it’s a nice table for playing poker with your buddies or a couch for watching the game, there are plenty of ways to find decent furniture for cheap. There are even things you can build yourself, like shelves for storing your memorabilia. Shelves can also come in handy if you need storage space for stuff that was in the garage, like tools. Make sure you also leave space for a fridge and a television – if you’re trying to stick to a budget, you might be buying something bigger than a flat screen. Whatever it is you want, though, now is not the time for cutting corners. A table made of crates might have worked in college, but it’s about time you have something more stable. 

Decor

With your furniture in place, all that’s left is the final touches. Do you have collectibles collecting dust in a closet somewhere? Time to let them see the light of day again! Always wanted a dartboard? There’s no better place like your man cave to put that on display. Whatever your decorations, this is the best way to express yourself and personalize your space.

If you’re looking for a way to have a room to yourself, know that making a man cave in your garage is both possible and affordable, as long as you’re willing to put in the work. So stop letting your car get more privacy than you, and start on your man cave renovations today!


Drip No More: How To Fix a Leaky Faucet

Drip No More: How To Fix a Leaky Faucet

Haunted by the constant noise coming from your leaky sink? Tired of watching your money drip down the drain? Your faucet leaking is more than just an annoying inconvenience, the water waste can add up. There’s good news, though: Fixing a sink yourself is not only cheap, it’s doable for even the most inexperienced homeowner. So put down that phone and pick up some tools, it’s time to repair that dripping faucet!

Tools You’ll Need

Required

  • Screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Replacement parts: cylinder, cartridge and/or new washer/O-ring

Optional

  • Penetrating oil 
  • Needle nose pliers 

Before You Start

Step One: Not all sinks are created equal, so it will be up to you to figure out what sort of sink you have before you start with the repairs. A ceramic disk faucet will require you to replace the cylinder, while a cartridge faucet requires a replaced cartridge, and a compression or reverse compression faucet requires a washer/O-ring. 

Step Two: Unless you want to get soaked, you’ll need to turn off the water. Typically, this can be done using valves located under the sink. Unfortunately, if you can’t turn off the water to the sink, you need to turn off the water for your home.

Faucet Repair

Step Three: Remove the decorative handle. Depending on the sink, this can either be done by prying it off with a flat screwdriver, or unscrewing a small screw with a wrench. 

Step Four: Remove screw under cap with a Phillips screwdriver.

Step Five: Use a wrench to loosen and remove the packing nut. If it’s not working, consider using penetrating oil like WD-2 to help. 

Step Six: Once the packing nut is removed, you’ll need to take out the stem. Some can be taken out simply by pulling gently, while others twist out and still others require special tools. When removed, examine the stem to figure out what is damaged. If the rubber O-ring seems to be intact, it might be the cartridge or stem that is damaged. 

Step Seven: To replace an O-ring, carefully remove the old ring from the cartridge. When replacing an O-ring, it will be necessary to ensure your replacement is a perfect fit, so either bring your old O-ring to the hardware store to compare, or purchase a variety of sizes. Once you have your replacement, slide the O-ring onto the cartridge. If the O-ring is not the problem, the cartridge/stem itself might be damaged. In that case, you will want to replace that instead.

Step Eight: Make sure all of the parts are returned securely: return cartridge to its position, reattach packing nut with a wrench, screw cap back on and finally, replace the handle.

Step Nine: Turn back on the water and slowly twist the handle to test. You might have to give it time, water does not always immediately leak from the spout.

If your faucet is still leaking, there might be bigger problems at work. While it could be something as simple as loose parts, it might also be a sign that there’s something wrong with your plumbing. In this case, it’s probably worth calling an expert.

Freezer not Freezing? Don’t Have a Meltdown until You Try These DIY Solutions

Freezer not Freezing? Don’t Have a Meltdown until You Try These DIY Solutions

When you get right down to it, your freezer really only has one job to do: freeze your food, and sometimes, that’s just too much to ask. But hey, it makes sense when you think about it. After all, maintaining freezing temperatures is a full-time job — one that demands a lot of power and several specialized components all working in harmony. Every hour of every day, every day of the week, your freezer is fighting the good fight to keep your food from thawing.

And eventually, it’s going to lose that fight.

Sooner or later, the general wear and tear that comes from constant use will take its toll on your freezer. And when that happens, it can also take its toll on your wallet, with the average cost to repair or replace a refrigerator/freezer generally running anywhere from $412 – $1,151. But before you lose your cool, there are some simple, cost effective solutions you might not have thought about.

Freezer not freezing? Here’s how to take care of the issue without dipping into your savings.


First Thing’s First: Check the Owner’s Manual

Before you start taking apart your freezer, take a look through its owner’s manual. Your owner’s manual may be able to provide you with solutions specific to your appliance’s brand, and will also give you details about the manufacturer’s warranty (which can save you a lot of trouble if your freezer is defective and qualifies for coverage). Of course, if you’ve had your freezer for more than just a few years or if it came used when you purchased your home, you might not have any idea where the owner’s manual is. If that’s the case, do a quick internet search — the owner’s manual may be available online.


Make Sure Your Freezer Is Getting Power

If your freezer isn’t working at all, there may be a problem with the power. You can check this by opening the freezer door and checking to see if the interior light turns on. If it doesn’t, your freezer may not be getting any electricity. Check to make sure that the freezer is plugged in securely to the wall outlet. If it is, check the cord itself for fraying (it’s easier and less expensive to replace a cord than to buy a new unit). If the cord looks fine, then check out your circuit breaker/fuse box — an electrical surge may have cut the power.

Freezer not Cold Enough? Check the Temperature Settings

Is the freezer cold but not freezing? The solution may be as simple as checking the temperature settings. Most freezers will have some sort of control (in the form of a dial, slider, or digital panel) that allows you to regulate how cold the freezer gets. So, if your freezer isn’t quite cold enough, adjust the settings and see if that solves the problem.


Now for the Coils

OK, if temperature controls are where they should be and your freezer still isn’t working properly, then you may have a problem with your coils. Freezer coils are an essential factor in maintaining low temperatures in your freezer, and when they have problems, your freezer has problems.

Take a look in your freezer. Is there a lot of frost build up along the sides of the compartment? If so, that froost could be choking the coils, which will keep air from circulating properly in your unit. This is something you can easily fix yourself, by defrosting your freezer. To do this, simply turn off the freezer, remove everything from the compartment, and wait for the ice to melt (you may want to keep a few towles around the base of the unit to catch any runoff).

If there isn’t a lot of frost build up, coils might still be the problem — dirty coils. To facilitate the cooling process, freezers pull in air through intakes. And sometimes, with that air comes dust, grime, and hair. This can choke the coils and keep them from working effectively.

Turn off your freezer and pull it out from the wall. At the back of the unit along the base, you should see the air intake that leads to the coils. Use a vacuum cleaner to clean the coils (the soft brush attachment is especially effective, and less likely to damage the coils).


Air Circulation Problems

As previously mentioned, freezers need to be able to circulate air. And to do that, the freezer’s evaporator fan needs to be clear of obstructions.

The evaporator fan should be located in the compartment towards the back, and if your freezer is too full, or if there is something right up against the fan, then the air might not be able to circulate effectively. Rearrange your freezer items (or get rid of some of those items that have been gathering freezer burn) to free up space around the evaporator fan.

Time to Call an Expert?

There are a number of easy, DIY solutions to freezer problems, but sometimes you actually do need to deal with repairing or replacing components. If that’s the case, and if you feel up to the task, you can handle some of these repairs yourself. The most common components that may need to be replaced are:

  • Refrigerant lines
  • Evaporator fans
  • Freezer door seals
  • Compressors
  • Condenser fans
  • Water inlet valve

Sometimes, the only solution is to call in an expert. The good news is that with a reliable home warranty, you won’t have to pay out of pocket. A home warranty company will cover the cost of repairs or replacement of your freezer unit, along with labor expenses, and will even take care of finding a skilled repair expert in your area. Click here for more information about home warranties.

Keep Up with Freezer Maintenance

Your freezer only has one job, but it’s an important one. You can help ensure the job gets done by taking care of your freezer with regular maintenance. Here are some easy maintenance tips:

  • Clean out your freezer at least twice per year and and wipe down the walls and shelves. Clean out the grooves in the freezer door seals using a credit card wrapped in a clean, thin cloth.
  • Vacuum dust and grime out of your condenser coils at least once per year.
  • Completely defrost the freezer at least once per year.

With the right maintenance schedule, a working knowledge of DIY solutions, and home warranty coverage from Home Service Club, you can rest secure in the knowledge that your freezer has what it needs to get the job done.

How to Shop for Home Insurance

How to Shop for Home Insurance

Finding the right home insurance policy is just as important as finding the right home. And yes, just like you shopped for a home, you should also shop around before you buy homeowners insurance. Not all providers are created equal. And not only that, home insurance might not be completely comprehensive. For instance, the major appliances in your home won’t be covered. You’ll likely want to also look into a home warranty plan. 

In this article, we’ll answer some of your burning questions about how to shop for home insurance. If you know what to look for, finding the right protection plan(s) for your home can be a painless process.

Follow these links for answers to some other questions you might have:

How Much Home Insurance Do I Need?

Is Homeowners Insurance Tax Deductible?

How to Shop for Home Insurance in 6 Steps

There are some simple steps you can follow to buy home insurance that will best fit your needs. While the prospect of sifting through multiple companies to find the one that works for you sounds daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Follow these easy steps and you’ll be fine.

1. Determine the Level of Coverage You Need

Before you buy homeowners insurance, a great baseline for determining how much dwelling coverage you need is to figure out the build price of your home. If you didn’t build your own home, that can be challenging. Do what you can to find at least a ballpark figure. This calculator might help. 

If something happens to your home, you’ll want to be able to rebuild it. Once you know the rebuild cost, you can start searching for plans with the right amount of dwelling coverage for your needs. After uncovering the building cost of your home, you should also think about the cost of the personal property in your home. With these figures in mind, you’ll have a great starting point. But don’t fear, the best insurance companies have agents who can walk you through the whole process.

2. See If You Can Bundle

Sometimes you can get a discount on your home insurance if you bundle with your auto insurance. If you like your current car insurance company, see if you can add a home insurance policy. And if you do find that another company has a better bundle offering, don’t be afraid to switch car insurance providers. Chances are good you could save a pretty decent chunk of change by bundling home and auto.

3. Read up on the Companies

The cheapest homeowners insurance isn’t always the best option. There are so many things to consider beyond just price. Perhaps the most critical consideration is the customer service. After all, if something goes wrong and your home needs to be repaired, you’ll want a friendly agent on the line helping you through the headache. Don’t just go with the cheapest option when deciding to purchase homeowners insurance. Read online reviews, talk to neighbors and friends, and don’t rush more than you need to. 

4. Know the Process to File a Claim

Do you know what you’ll do if you do need to use your insurance? Sometimes it can be a really complex process, especially if you choose the wrong company. Consider the claims process even while you’re shopping around, because it’s critical. If your insurance company gives you the runaround and makes it very difficult to file a claim, it can be an absolute nightmare. Do your research so you know how things work beforehand. A bit of time now can save you a lot of headaches down the road. Choose the right provider.

5. Pick the Company and Policy That Best Fit Your Needs

Some people need more coverage than others. And some people value the customer service so much that they’re willing to pay a premium for it. If you just need cheap, basic coverage and aren’t as worried about a few more steps to file a claim, a cheap option might be best. If you’re lucky, you might find affordability and ease of claim filing all in one company. The point is that there are pros and cons to each homeowners insurance policy and company. Take ample time to find the one that best fits your needs.

6. Get a Home Warranty Plan to Cover Other Things

Your home insurance does not cover everything. For example if your fridge or washing machine stops working, homeowners insurance won’t do much for you. That’s where a home warranty plan comes in. It will cover the major appliances and systems in your home and repair or replace them if they break down. Home warranties are critical. Windstorms don’t come around all that often, but broken down appliances are pretty common. Protect yourself from the headache of everyday breakages with a home warranty plan.

Things to Keep in Mind When Shopping for Homeowners Insurance

The steps outlined above are easy enough to follow, but there are some common pitfalls you should be aware of and tips you should follow when you purchase homeowners insurance.

1. Know the Terms 

Policy, deductible, premiums, rates, coverage. These are all terms that you’ll want to know when shopping around. A home insurance policy is essentially an agreement you have with an insurer that outlines what they will cover in the event of damage to your home. Home insurance premiums or rates are how much you pay. Often, you may pay one lump some per year for your home insurance. Coverage defines how much money the insurance company will pay for specific repairs or damages. Types of coverage include dwelling, personal property, and more.

2. Get as Many Discounts as Possible

Just like you might get a discount on your car insurance for being a safe driver, you can usually save money on your home insurance premium if you take measures to keep your home protected. For instance, a new roof might go a long way. Deadbolt locks on all the doors and a home security system might also get you some money off. You’ll not only be more protected, but you’ll be less of a risk for the insurance company. This means you’ll pay less for great coverage.

Final Takeaways About How to Shop For Homeowners Insurance

The best thing you can do to find the right plan is to do your research. Home insurance is a huge decision, so you shouldn’t rush into it. Even after you purchase a plan, you might look into switching at some point down the road if a better offer comes along. It’s not uncommon to change insurance plans every so often. If you take your time, read reviews, talk to friends and family, and follow some of the tips and steps we’ve laid out, you can have a good experience shopping for and selecting homeowners insurance.

And don’t forget to purchase a home warranty plan also. Enter your ZIP code to get a quote today. You’ll be glad you did.

How Much Home Insurance Do I Need?

How Much Home Insurance Do I Need?

If you own a home and have a mortgage, you’ll likely be required to have homeowners insurance. Your home is where your family grows and plays together, so protecting it is a top priority.

Understanding homeowners insurance can be difficult, as there are many elements to it and different types of coverage to be aware of. One of your burning questions might be “how much home insurance do I need?” It’s a common concern. Beyond that, many people wonder if homeowners insurance is enough or if there are other options for added coverage. We’ll try to answer these questions and clear up any confusion you may have.

How Much Homeowners Insurance Do I Need?

This is a complicated question, but it’s important to ask it if you’re shopping for home insurance. It’s critical for a few reasons. First, how much coverage you have will determine how much you pay for your policy. Second, it’ll dictate how big of a financial headache you’ll have if disaster strikes. The time to find out how much homeowners insurance you need is before a major incident, not after.

Just how much homeowners insurance coverage do you need? The answer is, it depends. When you’re thinking about how much dwelling coverage you’ll need, start by figuring out how much it will cost to rebuild your home. This will help you determine the coverage and limits you need. Keep in mind that this number will likely be different from the original purchase price, or even the current market value. A lot of factors go into determining how much coverage you’ll need. Here are a few of them:

  • The style of your home. Is it ranch or colonial, for example?
  • Your home’s exterior. Is it brick, stucco, stone, or veneer?
  • The number of rooms. More rooms likely equals a higher premium.
  • The roof type. Do you have wooden shingles?
  • Additional structures including garages, sheds, and decks. You’ll want to insure more than just your actual home.
  • Improvements and renovations. These could add to the amount of coverage you may need.
  • Belongings and personal property. Start thinking about more than just the roof over your head.

What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?

Homeowners insurance coverage covers about five different areas, with more nuanced coverages also available. Dwelling, personal property, and liability are usually the most standard coverages included in a policy. The others can be added if you want the most comprehensive coverage. The typical coverages you’ll see are the following:

  • Dwelling Coverage (or Hazard Coverage)
  • Other Structures Coverage
  • Personal Property Coverage
  • Liability Coverage
  • Additional Living Expense Coverage (or Loss of Use Coverage)

Could You Explain Each Type of Coverage?

There are a lot of different elements to a comprehensive homeowners insurance policy. Let’s break the different coverages down so they’re easier to understand.

Dwelling Coverage (or Hazard Coverage)

Dwelling coverage is used to rebuild your house should it be damaged by things like a fire, windstorm, or vandalism. Generally, dwelling coverage covers your home and also anything attached to it (like a garage or deck). You may be wondering “how much dwelling coverage do I need?” It depends on the price of rebuilding your home.

Other Structures Coverage

Other structures coverage is for other structures that are on your property but separated from your home. A shed or a detached garage might fall into this category.

Personal Property Coverage

This type of coverage helps you if your personal belongings are damaged or destroyed by a covered loss. In order to make filing a claim easier, it’s important to take a look at what you own and keep track of how much you paid for it. Take an inventory using pictures, and be sure to note how much each item costs.

Personal property coverage could be handled in one of two ways. You can either have an actual cash value policy where the insurance company pays the cost to repair the item minus depreciation. Or, you could have a replacement cost policy. This type covers the dollar amount it would take to replace the item at the time of the claim. Keep in mind that there are limits to the coverage, so if you have expensive items like jewelry or collectibles, you might need to look into a plan with higher limits.

Liability Coverage

This coverage can help pay for repairs if you damage someone else’s property. It can help pay medical bills for someone who is injured in your home. Even if you are responsible for another’s injuries at a different location, it can sometimes help. For instance, if your dog runs into the neighbor’s yard and bites or injures them, your liability coverage might pay for your neighbor’s medical bills.

Additional Living Expense Coverage (or Loss of Use Coverage)

This helps pay for the cost of rent, hotel, food or other living expenses. It’s a type of coverage that’s helpful if your home is so damaged that you cannot live in it for a time.

What Does Homeowners Insurance Not Cover?

Homeowners insurance does not cover damage from things like floods and earthquakes. Generally, it’s also not helpful in the event of sewer backups or broken down appliances within your home. You’ll need separate insurance for earthquakes or floods, and you might need a home warranty if you want coverage on your appliances.

How Much Does Home Insurance Cost?

The cost of home insurance varies by insurance company, state, and even city. Zillow says that a ballpark number is around $35 a month for every $100,000 of your home’s value. While that’s a rough estimate, keep in mind that it can fluctuate dramatically from there. It’s best to talk to an insurance agent to get the most accurate information for your specific home.

What Should I Consider When Buying Home Insurance?

There are a number of considerations when buying a home insurance policy. The main things you’ll want to think about are your coverage limits, deductibles, and premium.

  • Your coverage limit is the maximum amount your homeowners insurance will pay toward a covered loss. Be sure you have sufficient coverage to cover the cost to rebuild your home.
  • Your deductible is how much you’ll pay out of pocket before the insurance kicks in and pays the rest. Make sure you can afford your deductible.
  • The premium is the amount you pay for an insurance policy. The higher your premium, the lower your deductible, and vice versa.

Above all, remember that no two policies are exactly alike. As such, you should work closely with an insurance to craft the best policy for your specific home and needs.

How Can I Get More Protection Beyond a Home Insurance Policy?

Not everything is covered with a homeowners insurance. For instance, if your dishwasher or water heater breaks down, you can’t rely on your typical home insurance policy to help there. This is where a home warranty comes in. A home warranty covers many of the systems and appliances in your home and acts as additional coverage.

We recommend adding a home warranty plan to your homeowners insurance policy to get the most comprehensive coverage. There’s no dollar sign on peace of mind, so a little extra investment is a great idea. Request a home warranty quote today!