How Home Service Club Stacks Up: A Comparison of Top Warranty Companies

How Home Service Club Stacks Up: A Comparison of Top Warranty Companies

When it comes to protecting your home, you want to be sure that you’re getting the best of the best from your home warranty company, and not simply going with what your real estate agent suggests. There are several home warranty companies to choose from, but which one really is the best? To help you compare and contrast, we’ve rounded up a few of the best home warranty companies and looked at what each has to offer and, of course, what each warranty company will cover.

Check out what these warranty companies to make sure that they cover everything you want to protect and to see how Home Service Club stacks up to the competition.

American Home Shield

Coverage under American Home Shield goes into effect 30 days after purchase and premiums range from $29.99 to $34.99 per month. Deductible options range from $75 to $125.

There are three different plans available with a range of what they cover:

  • Systems Plan: eleven major home systems are covered including electrical, AC, plumbing, and more.
  • Appliances Plan: ten appliances covered including refrigerators, washers and dryers, cooktops, ovens, and more.
  • Combo Plan: this plan combines both the systems and appliances plans for a more comprehensive package. This plan comes at a discounted price.

You can also build your own plan to cover the appliances and systems that are important to you, rather than covering all of them.

Choice Home Warranty

Established in 2008, Choice Home Warranty is rated among the top choices in home warranty companies. That said, their pricing options can be somewhat confusing. Possibly best way to gauge the cost of their plans is to get a quote online as they take several things into account including the place of residence, dwelling size, type of home, and of course, the desired level of protection.

  • Standard Plan: this plan covers your heating system and ducts, plumbing system, electrical system, garbage disposal, kitchen appliances, water heaters, plumbing stoppage, garage door opener, exhaust fans, and ceiling fans.
  • Total Plan: includes all of the above along with air conditioning, refrigerator, washer, and dryer.
  • Optional items to add to either plan: sump pump, pool and spa, central vac system, septic system and septic tank pumping, well pump, roof leaks, second refrigerator or stand-alone freezer.

TotalProtect

TotalProtect is a line of products by Country Home Services, Inc., and is one of the largest warranty companies in the country. They offer a 24/7365 service line and will use local service providers to make repairs in your home. They have annual premiums startings at $230.

Plans include:

  • Appliances Plan: Homeowners can get coverage of the following under this plan — refrigerator with built-in ice and water dispenser, wall oven, cooktop/range, range exhaust hood, built-in microwave, built-in trash compactor, dishwasher, washer, and dryer. This plan can also have optional coverage added for pools and spas and it will also cover rust and corrosion along with unknown pre-existing conditions.
  • Systems Plan: Homeowners will get coverage of air conditioning and heating systems, water heaters, toilets, plumbing lines and stoppages, sump pump, whirlpool bath, attic/whole house exhaust fan, central vacuum, doorbells and chimes, garage door opener, smoke detectors, fuse panel/main breaker box, interior electrical lines, and  interior gas line. Homeowners can also add optional coverage for pools and spas. This plan will also cover rust and corrosion and unknown pre-existing conditions.
  • Combo Plan: this plan will cover everything in the appliances and systems plans. It also comes with a deductible reimbursement.

America’s 1st Choice Home Club

Another option for home warranties, America’s 1st Choice Home Club (AFC) was established in 2009.. Their monthly premiums range from $39.58 to $78.75.

Their available plan options are:

  • Systems: major systems are covered including electrical, plumbing, water heater, and cooling/heating systems
  • Silver: basic coverage that protects refrigerators, washers, dryers, water heaters, ovens and ranges, stoves and cooktops, dishwashers, garbage disposals, and garage door openers.
  • Gold: same basic coverage but also includes cooling/heating systems or built-in wall units, electrical systems, plumbing systems, and ductwork.
  • Platinum: most extensive contract from AFC Home Club. It covers all of the above along with built-in microwave and plumbing stoppages.

Home Service Club

Topping the list of best home warranty companies, is our very own Home Service Club. Home Service Club makes it extremely easy to get a home warranty plan quote online. We’ve received national recognition along with multiple awards for our home warranty service. You can view sample contracts online and even receive one month free. Our comprehensive plan is one of the most extensive in the industry covering 33 systems and appliances.

There are two home warranty plans to pick from, but you can also expand either of these to cover any other custom home needs.

  • Standard Coverage: This contract covers both appliances and systems including refrigerators, ovens/ranges/cooktops, dishwashers, washer & dryers, icemakers, built-in microwaves, trash compactors, food centers, heating/cooling systems, electrical and plumbing systems, water heaters, garbage disposals, ceiling fans, central vacs, and garage door openers.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: Under this plan, all of the above is covered along with plumbing storage, ductwork, gas leaks, pest control, Whirlpool coverage, alarm warning, telephone wiring, smoke detectors, exhaust/attic fans, sump pump, doorbells, hot water pump and hot/cold water dispenser.

Home Service Club also boasts a 15,000+ list of certified and pre-screened contractors to cover repairs and replacements. Plan deductibles range from $65 to $125. As a bonus, Home Service Club is the only home warranty company that offers a 10-day waiting period for a plan to go into effect, unlike the 30-day waiting period of all other warranty companies. Online assistance is available 24/7.

Click here for a more an in-depth guide to home warranties.

You have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a Home Warranty company. Contact Home Service Club today, and let us show you how we outpace the competition. 

Home Buyers’ Warranty: How a Home Warranty Protects New Homeowners

Home Buyers’ Warranty: How a Home Warranty Protects New Homeowners

Most of us know about the myriad of insurances available: auto, home, renters, etc. The list is vast. But there is another thing that you can invest in to help protect yourself and your home: a home buyers warranty (HBW). Buying a new (or new to you) home is a stressful thing, but real estate agents and warranty companies have found a way to make this stressful time more comfortable for you. They do this by providing a backup plan in case something happens that your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover.

What is a Homebuyers Warranty?

So what is a home buyers warranty exactly? A home buyers warranty is a service agreement between a homeowner and warranty company that protects your home’s appliances and systems from accidental breakdowns due to age or mechanical malfunctions along with everyday wear and tear. This kind of warranty helps protect you from large, out-of-pocket expenses for replacements or repairs.

How Does it Work?

Warranty companies like Home Service Club make arrangements with approved service providers so that if a covered item does break, you as the homeowner can file a claim and the warranty company will take care of the rest—they will dispatch a service provider to evaluate and fix the problem. You will only be responsible to pay the small service fee that will be detailed in your warranty contract.

Your new home warranty will act similarly to an insurance plan where you pay a monthly fee to keep your warranty active. Then when you make a claim, you will pay a set Trade Service Call Fee rather than paying the full retail cost of replacing or repairing that covered item out of pocket. You are also responsible for any costs not covered in your home warranty, but those details can be fleshed out with your agent at the time of signing so that you aren’t surprised or caught off guard by any fees or costs.

What Does it Cover?

Every company’s contracts are different and they may have tiers that start with simple coverage and grow to cover far more items depending on the warranty plan. But in general, most home warranties cover major systems and appliances against breakdowns caused by everyday wear and tear or age.

The most common items you will find covered on a warranty include:

  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Electrical systems
  • Plumbing systems
  • Dryers
  • Water heaters
  • Refrigerator
  • Dishwashers
  • Stoves
  • Washing machines

More extensive warranties may cover swimming pools and septic systems.

Why Get a Home Buyers Warranty

American home buyers warranties protect new homeowners by offering reassurance. Additionally, buyers and sellers alike can rest easy knowing that any covered appliance or home system will be taken care of it they were to break or malfunction, without anyone having to pay an exorbitant amount out of their pockets.

It’s important to note that homeowners insurance generally covers events that can lead to damage, whereas warranties cover events that are expected to happen like the aging of appliances and systems. Although certain appliances may be covered under a manufacturer’s warranty, these kinds of warranties will only last for so long (such as a year or two after the purchase date). Home warranties will provide protection regardless of the buy date or age of the system or appliance.

Since home insurance is limited in its coverage, it’s wise to buy home warranty so that every inch of your home is covered and protected in the case of damage or normal wear and tear. Some warranties will cover nearly 120 different items, imagine the cash you will save yourself in the long should a refrigerator stop working, or a washing machine breaks and floods your home.

Give yourself a bit of confidence as you go into the home buying process knowing that everything is covered with a home warranty. And remember that your home doesn’t need to be under new construction to get a warranty; you can easily add this onto your existing home today!

Turn Up the Heat: How to Use a Convection Oven

Turn Up the Heat: How to Use a Convection Oven

Not too long ago, convection ovens were all the rage for passionate cookers and bakers. They weren’t often seen outside of professional kitchens, but were thought to cook far better than regular ovens. Today, just about every modern kitchen has one, or at least the option to select convection baking, but very few actually know how to use this setting.

Before you get years down the road, only to realize you’ve never utilized this convenient option on your oven, check out our “how to use convection oven” explanation below along with some helpful tips.

How Does a Convection Oven Work?

To start to understand how to use convection ovens, you should know that “convection” is actually a setting on your oven, not the oven itself. You can turn this setting on by pushing the “convection” button or turning the switch on, depending on your model. Once this setting is selected, your oven will begin baking using convection heat. With this off, it will bake as a regular oven.

But what does convection heat mean exactly? Convection ovens will heat just like regular ovens, but a fan and exhaust system will also engage by blowing and pulling hot air throughout the oven around the food. This means that the air around your food will maintain a steady temperature, rather than rising and falling. This allows your food to cook more quickly and more evenly. Plus, with the exhaust system, moisture will be pulled out of the oven making your food crisper and browner.

To understand the difference with how to use convection ovens versus regular ovens — or your oven with the convection button switched off — you should note that regular ovens cook by your oven heating the air around your food. This heat is then conducted throughout the rest of the food. Basically, the outer parts of the food are heated by the hot air of the oven, and the inner parts are heated by the already-heated outer parts of the food. In other words, the food cooks itself. However, since the outer parts are exposed to higher temperatures roasts turn brown on the outside, pie crusts get crispy while the filling stays soft, and so forth.

How to Convert Recipes for a Convection Oven

Every baking or cooking recipe that uses an oven will specify the time for baking along with the temperature. However, because convection ovens cook differently than traditional ovens, you will need to convert the cook time or the temperature from what it says in the recipe.

Thankfully, converting is extremely easy and is a simple matter of either shortening the cooking time or lowering the temperature (sometimes you may need to do both). The simplest approach is to set your convection oven 25 to 50 degrees lower than your recipe calls for. For example, if the recipe says 400 F, you will want to drop it to 350 or 375 F.

Take note though: Some convection ovens are smart enough that they will adjust the heat for you. This means that if you set it to 350 F according to the recipe, your convection oven may reset itself to 325 F to compensate. To know whether or not your oven will do this, check the owner’s manual.

Your adjustments may also depend on what you’re baking. If you’re wondering how to use convection oven for baking cookies and pies, you will want to lower the temperature by 25 degrees. For roasting meats, you’ll want to lower by 50 degrees. If you want to take the guess work out this, most owner’s manuals will also specify the correct adjustments you need to make for that specific model.

As a different approach, you can adjust your cooking time rather than the temperature. To do this, simply shorten the recipe cooking time by 25 percent.

Extra Tips for Using a Convection Oven

Here are a few more helpful tips for how to use convection oven.

  • Because convection ovens push hot air around, the surface of your food will cook faster. This means the convection setting is great for roasting large cuts of meat like prime rib or beef roasts. Note, however, that the outside of your roasts can dry out quickly, so take this into account while adjust temperature and cook time. Your manual should offer guidelines with respect to the positioning of your shelves.
  • Roasts and beef can be consumed with semi-uncooked centers, but meats like turkey and chicken must be cooked thoroughly. You can either lower the temperature or shorten the cooking time to compensate for different meats.
  • Additionally, since convection ovens will use a fan to blow the air forward, you will want to use pans with low sides to maximize this effect. Also, don’t cover your food, unless the recipe specifically calls for it.
  • Not all foods will fare well in convection ovens. These are generally foods that start off as liquid batters such as quick breads and cakes.
  • Since convection ovens produce even heat, it will eliminate hot spots; you won’t need to rotate your pans when baking cookies.

How to use Convection Oven Microwave

Similar to convection ovens, there are many wonderful convection oven microwaves on the market today. Although they tend to be more expensive than other microwaves, they are more affordable than ovens and take up less space and power. This means that if you are renting or have a small kitchenette for an AirBnB or trailer, a convection oven microwave may be the better option over a bulky oven.

Knowing how to use convection oven microwave is very similar to a standard convection oven, they use the same technology to evenly heat and cook whatever you place in there. However, some will give you the option to cook with microwave radiation only, convection only, or both at the same time.

Note that when you are microwaving something you would use a traditional microwave — such as when popping popcorn or reheating leftovers — you simply need to use the traditional microwave setting and follow all other microwave rules: no metal pans, utensils or racks, and cover the food.

You would then select the convection setting for baked goods, or other things you want to have a crispy exterior like vegetables or roast meat. Be sure to elevate the food with a rack so the hot air can also circulate under the pan.

Knowing how to use convection oven microwave is really as simple as following the above steps. It can also pay off to study the manual once you first get your microwave oven to ensure that aren’t any other helpful tips or tricks for your specific model.

How to Save Water at Home

How to Save Water at Home

Knowing how to save water at home is not only important for our ecosystem, but it’s also a big help on your monthly bill. With droughts becoming more common it’s important for us to not take our clean water for granted, but instead start practicing better ways to save water.

Repurpose Water

Start learning how to capture and repurpose waste water from every day chores or activities. For instance, one of the best ways to save water is to put a bowl or bucket under the colander when rinsing vegetables or fruits to capture the runoff water. Take this water and save it to either water house plants, flush a toilet, or water a flower bed outside.

You can also place a bucket under a bathtub faucet to help capture water as you’re waiting for it to heat up for your bath or shower.

Choose Low-Flow

Saving water at home can be as easy as upgrading your showerheads and toilets to run on lower flows. Toilets account for nearly 30 percent of a home’s indoor water use. Older models use about 6 gallons of water with each flush, but newer, better efficient models use about 1.28 to 1.6b gallons. Even better, get a dual flush toilet that can switch between what kind of waste needs to be flushed. These types of toilets use even less water.

More efficient showerheads, such as those with the WaterSense label use 2 gallons or less of water a minute are a great investment.

Capture Rainwater

Invest in a large water tank or 55-gallon drum that you can put under your gutter spout or to leave in the yard during large rainstorms. You’ll be shocked at how much water can be collected and reused. Some models of the 55-gallon drum come built with a water spout that you can hook a garden hose up to, which will allow you to use that water for watering your lawn or garden. You could even use it to wash a car or rinse of the side of the house. Be sure to keep your barrel or drums covered when it isn’t raining to keep mosquitoes at bay.

Turn off Faucets

Get in the habit of turning off your faucet. This can be when you’re brushing your teeth, washing your face, shaving, cleaning your hands, and even while washing dishes. It can actually save you a ton of water to have a dual sink installed. This way, when hand-washing dishes you can fill one side up with hot soapy water, and the other side with cool water for rinsing. This awesome tip for ways to conserve water at home can help you use only half of what you normally use to hand-wash dishes.

Bathroom faucets run at 2 gallons of water per minute according to the EPA, by turning off the faucet while you brush your teeth and shave you could save hundreds of gallons of water a month. This is also a good time to check for drips or leaks in your sinks.

Get a Float Booster

Whether you buy one or make your own, a float booster can be placed in the back tank of your toilet as one of our ways to save water. A float booster is put in the bottom of the tank to help raise the level of the water in the tank, faking out your toilet into thinking there’s enough water in the tank but allowing you to have the toilet run on a lower flow. To make your own float booster, fill the bottom of a bottle with sand or pebbles and then fill the rest with water. Place the bottle in your toilet water tank, like in one of the corners. If your tank is large enough, try putting two bottles in. Using a float booster can save up to 10 gallons of water a day. Be sure that at least 3 gallons of water remains in the tank, this is all you will need for the toilet to still flush properly. If there isn’t at least three gallons in the tank, users will have to either flush twice or hold the flapper down longer which will result in more water being used.

5 More Tips to Help You Save on Your Electric Bill

5 More Tips to Help You Save on Your Electric Bill

There are countless ways to learn how to reduce electric bill. We shared a few on here already but for some of us, we get so excited about saving that we can’t stop with just a few suggestions.

So we’ve rounded up a few more tips to help you save on your electric bill. Before you know it, you’ll be making a huge dent in that monthly bill and you’ll start to see the savings really rack up. Check out these new tips on how to save on electric bills.

1. Go by Motion

We’ve mentioned turning off lights in rooms that are unoccupied before, but sometimes, you may have a roommate or family member, or even a tenant that may really struggle to remember to do this. Whether it’s forgetfulness or not, one great solution that can help lower your energy bill is to switch some of your lights to motion-sensing sockets or using motion detectors. Motion detectors lie the E-Age Adjustable Motion Sensing Socket or GE Indoor 120-degree Motion-sensing Light Control are both great solutions. They turn on when they sense a person in the room and turn off once they no longer detect any movement.

These nifty products simply get screwed into your empty light socket and then you screw your light bulb into the motion detector—remember to use energy-efficient bulbs! Motion sensors like these can cut wasted light electricity by 30 percent! That could turn into a good chunk of change on your energy bill.

2. Replace Showerheads

Of course, no list on how to save on electric bill would be complete with a “take shorter showers” suggestion, but we’ve already covered that! So what else can you do the bathroom to make a dent in that energy bill? Replace your showerheads! All of them, too. By replacing your showerheads, you can help save a little more energy, even on the days you really do just need a long hot shower to relax. Energy-efficient showerheads can help reduce your water use by 2,700 gallons per year.

Check for showerheads that have a WaterSense label. This label means the showerhead is certified by the Environmental Protection Agency and meets its efficiency criteria.

3. Ask About Discounts

It may not be common knowledge, but some utility providers offer cheaper rates during certain times of the day. These discounted rates can equal a 5 to 25 percent dip in your utility charges on your bill. Generally, these kinds of rates mean that you can and/or should do energy-intensive chores like laundry or washing dishes during set off-peak times.

This window of off-peak times will be set by your utility company and is generally a time of the day when most other households aren’t doing these kinds of chores. You may never know if your utility provider offers discounts like this unless you ask. There’s really nothing to lose, but lots to save!

4. Use Wool Dryer Balls

A recent trend with eco-conscious groups is using wool dryer balls rather than dryer sheets when doing laundry. A set of three wool dryer balls can cost a mere $10 but they can help decrease your drying time for your clothes. Additionally, they can help you by allowing you to skip fabric softener as well, a small saving on your household budget.

By replacing two products with one—dryer sheets and fabric softener—you can save a little bit while also better protecting your clothes. Fabric softeners leave a conditioner-like film on your clothing, which is what gives them this “soft” feel, but it can also deteriorate your clothing faster. Ditch the softener and grab some inexpensive wool balls today. If you are still dealing with static electricity with the wool balls, simply hook a large safety pin through one or two of the balls to prevent this. You can also toss a small scrunched-up ball of aluminum foil in with your dryer load.

5. Upgrade Your Appliances

We’re not suggesting you toss all of your appliances away today, but keep this in mind as your current appliances age and suffer normal wear and tear. Replacing appliances like refrigerators with better energy-saving options can help you save a fair amount on your energy bill. This is a great tip for learning how to lower electric bill. Not only can you shave off a little bit on your expenses, but you can sometimes receive tax exemptions for these types of purchases as well.

By following these simple changes, you can easily lower your utility costs each month. Sometimes all it takes to know how to save on electric bill is fixing a few small things around the home to make a larger change happen. Although some of these tips for how to lower electric bill may cost you a bit now, it will pay off in the long run.