Do I Need a Home Warranty?

Do I Need a Home Warranty?

Every year, many American families need to replace one of the appliances or systems in their home. This can cause frustration and add unnecessary stress. Home warranties are a great way for homeowners to have greater peace of mind.

What Is a Home Warranty?

A common misconception is that a home warranty is the same thing as homeowners insurance. A home warranty is not homeowners insurance. Homeowners insurance often covers damage from fire, lightning strikes, wind, hail, and vandalism. Typically, damage caused by floods and earthquakes isn’t covered by most homeowners insurance policies. If a homeowner loses their furnace in a fire, their homeowner’s insurance policy should cover the replacement. If the furnace gets old and wears out, a home warranty can cover it.

Home warranties are a repair contract between the homeowner and a home warranty company. These warranty companies contract repair work for major appliances like refrigerators, washers, dryers, and swimming pools. They also cover furnaces, air conditioning systems, as well as plumbing and electrical work.

If a homeowner wishes to have a home warranty, they would purchase an appliance protection plan through a home warranty company. This plan offers coverage based on a preselected level of protection. Home warranties can range in scope and level of protection. Homeowners can choose a basic protection plan or a more comprehensive plan that covers most inside and outside appliances. When something covered under a home warranty breaks, a contracted service provider comes to inspect the damage. If the damage is minimal, repairs can happen on the first visit. Any major replacement or repairs must be approved by the home warranty company. The home warranty company provides parts for repairs, and if the damage is beyond repair, the warranty company may replace the device.

Home warranties cover many major appliances and systems within a home, as specified in the individual contract. Items covered must be located within the main foundation of the home, with a few exceptions (well, septic tank, etc.).

More information on plans and pricing can be found here.

Do I Need a Home Warranty? 

For most new and first-time homeowners, manufacturer warranties will cover major appliances for about the first year of use. After that, the responsibility of maintenance falls to the homeowner. Homeowners that have older appliances, a home more than five years old, insufficient funds to cover the repair or replacement of a major appliance, lack of time to complete the repair, or first time home buyers buying an older home should consider purchasing a home warranty.

Home warranties not only cover the cost of broken or damaged appliances not covered by homeowner’s insurance, they also help reduce the cost of maintenance and repairs. Instead of waiting until a major appliance breaks, home warranties help provide regular maintenance to appliances and major home systems. Homeowner’s insurance can’t provide that kind of service.

How Much Does a Home Warranty Cost? 

The price of a home warranty is typically a few hundred dollars. If the warranty company offers payment plans, this amount can be paid month to month. If a payment plan is not an option, the cost is paid in full at the beginning the warranty contract. This cost will likely range between $300-$500. The cost also depends on the property type and the comprehensiveness of the plan. In most cases, a home’s age and size will not affect the price, unless the house is new or over 5,000 square feet.

Home warranty companies also charge a service fee, or deductible, per house call. These service fees typically cost between $50-$125. If multiple visits are required, the homeowner is responsible to pay a service fee for each visit.

Having a home warranty does not eliminate all repair costs for the homeowner. Not all problems are covered by a home warranty.  Additionally, a home warranty does not help if the homeowner failed to purchase the warranty in time because warranty maintenance cannot be done retroactively on existing problems. Improper maintenance (on the part of the homeowner) can also lead a warranty company to refuse coverage.

If you are interested in a home warranty, click here to get a quote.

What Are The Benefits of a Home Warranty?

The biggest benefit of a home warranty is the peace of mind it provides. It allows homeowners to relax and not stress over costly home repairs. For homeowners who don’t have the funds for an emergency repair set aside or those who want to protect their savings account, home warranties can provide a buffer between the cost of the repair and the homeowner’s bank account.

Instead of spending time calling different contractors for quotes, homeowners make a single phone call to the warranty company. There is no need to wait for normal business hours since warranty claims can be made over the phone or online anytime. The warranty company will provide trusted and qualified repair technicians, which is another big help to the homeowner.

Home warranties will also allow homeowners to save money. Appliance repairs and replacements can easily cost several thousand dollars. With a home warranty, homeowners pay the cost of the warranty, plus a service fee for each visit. If repairs or a replacement is needed, the home warranty company will provide those at a discounted rate to the homeowner.

Homeowners are able to purchase protection plans that fit their individual needs. Standard plans cover things like air conditioning, plumbing, heating and electrical systems, and appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, washers, and dryers. More comprehensive plans are available and can be extended to things like gas and water leaks, ductwork, and sump pumps. Additional coverage add-ons for sprinkler systems, pool equipment, and well pumps can also be purchased. Home warranties are also renewable from year to year, and homeowners can choose to purchase additional coverage whenever they want.

For those looking to sell their homes, having a home warranty increases the value of a home because the warranty can be transferred when a home is sold. Many home buyers, will feel more confident about buying a home with a home warranty because it eliminates the worry of surprise repairs.

Conclusion

For many, buying a home warranty is a smart decision. However, before purchasing a home warranty, homeowners should read the terms of service and the contract carefully. Any questions should be directed to their home warranty service company. Home warranties can provide peace of mind and security for anyone worried about having costly repairs for their home, those with older homes, and for anyone who wants to save money and increase the value of their home.

Removing Carpet Stains with Homemade Cleaner

Removing Carpet Stains with Homemade Cleaner

Everyone makes a mess sometimes and it’s usually not a big deal.  But that’s never the case for carpet related messes. Carpet quickly absorbs dirt and color and is not easily cleaned or replaced.

Some go to professional carpet cleaners which can charge a lot in order to clean carpet with industrial chemicals and heavy duty machinery. Others try to save some money by making their own homemade carpet stain removers.

Here are three homemade carpet stain removers you can make in your own home before calling the professionals.

Homemade Carpet Stain Remover 1 – Hydrogen Peroxide

The first cleaner requires hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, and baking soda. The portions are pretty simple. You combine 2 ounces of hydrogen peroxide with 1 ounce of dish soap and 2 tablespoons of baking soda.

With a little math, you can make as much or as little cleaner as you need.

To use this mix, simply put it in a spray bottle, saturate the stained carpet with solution, scrub, dry and vacuum.

Homemade Carpet Stain Remover 2 – Ammonia

The second cleaner requires one part ammonia and one part hot water but you will also need some color safe towels, a spray bottle, and an iron.

Combine both liquids in a spray bottle while heating up the iron near the carpet stain. Spray the diluted ammonia onto the carpet stain. After properly spraying the stain, lay one color safe towel over the stain. Use the hot iron to iron the carpet through the towel. Be careful not to burn the carpet by moving back and forth slowly across the towel.

After a few minutes, you can lift up a towel corner to check if most of the stain has transferred from the carpet to the towel. If it is, you know it’s working.

Repeat these steps until the stain is completely gone.

Homemade Carpet Stain Remover 3 – Baking Soda

The third cleaner requires baking soda and vinegar.

All you do is sprinkle baking soda over the stain. You don’t need a pile of baking soda, but make sure the stain is properly covered. After that, pour vinegar over the baking soda and let it steep in the carpet. Combining baking soda and vinegar creates a chemical reaction and that’s what cleans the carpet’s stain. Wait until you no longer see any signs of a chemical reaction. Use a towel to gently blot up the rest of the liquid and vacuum any excess baking soda out of your carpet.

Conclusion

Hopefully, these three simple homemade carpet stain removers will save you time and money getting rid of those pesky carpet stains. Try them today before you spend a lot of money on professional cleaning services.

Blown Fuse? Here’s The Best Way To Fix It

Blown Fuse? Here’s The Best Way To Fix It

When you move into a home, one of the first things you should learn is where the fuse box or circuit breaker box is located. They’re usually kept in garages and basements but can also be found closets or elsewhere.

Fuse boxes are important because they are the main access point to your home’s electrical grid. If there’s an electrical problem the box is where you can fix it.

In this article, we’ll look at why fuses and circuits blow or turn off, how to reset them, and how to fix a blown fuse or circuit.

Why Do Circuit Breaker Problems And Blown Fuses Happen

Electricity enters a home through the main line which is outside of the home. You can spot the mainline by finding the electric meter outside of the house. The electricity travels from the power plant to the main line and then to the fuse box. The fuse box acts like the electrical heart of the home and distributes this electricity to the rest of the house.

Sometimes electrical surges, or large demands for electricity from appliances in a specific part of the house, will create a problem for the rest of the house’s electrical grid. In order to minimize the damage of a sudden surge, fuse boxes and circuit boxes were designed to be the weakest part of the grid.

This protects the home because the circuits or fuses are likely to turn off or blow long before any other part of the house’s electrical grid sees the damage.

Not only does the circuit breaker work as a method to reduce electrical damage to your home, but it’s also a convenient method to centralize most electrical problems to one part of the house. If the electricity goes out in any one part of the house, the circuit breaker box is the place to go to fix it. It doesn’t matter if there is a blown fuse or a circuit that needs to be reset. You can do it all from the box.

How To Fix A Fuse Or Circuit Breaker That’s Off

A fuse or circuit breaker that turned off is probably the easiest electrical problem to fix. You simply have to turn it on. The process for turning on a circuit breaker will change based on the age of the house as circuit boxes and breakers have changed over time.

For Older Homes

What we now call a circuit breaker in a newer home used to be called a fuse box. Old fuse boxes would have round shaped fuses that you could screw in and remove from the fuse box. Old fuses do not turn on and off like new circuit breakers. In order to fix an old fuse, you need to buy a new one from a hardware store or elsewhere, remove the broken fuse and screw in the new one.

Broken fuses may be easily spotted as they’re likely to look partially burnt or melted. However, if there is no damage to the fuse then you’ll have to do some extra work to find the broken fuse.

If there is no damage to the fuse, do the following:

  • Find whichever fuse controls the lights in the room you are in by removing and putting back each fuse in the fuse box until the lights go out.
  • Replace that functioning fuse with one of the other fuses in the fuse box to see if the lights turn back on in the room.
  • Once you confirm that a fuse is working, put it back where you found it.
  • Go through every fuse until you find one that does not turn the lights back on in the room. That’s the broken fuse that needs to be replaced.
  • Instead of putting that fuse back where you found it, replace that fuse with the new one you purchased.
  • Throw out the broken fuse and put the original fuse for that room back in place to turn the lights on in that room.

 

When moving into a house, you can proactively speed up this process by creating labels to the side of each fuse indicating what part of the house that specific fuse controls. A permanent marker and some masking tape are the easiest way to do that. All you have to do is remove the fuses one by one to see what part of the home is affected by that fuse. This way, if there is a blown fuse with no obvious damage to it, you simply look for the label that corresponds to the area of the house experiencing the electrical problem.

For Newer Homes

New homes use circuit breakers, which are switches, Circuit breakers are easy to fix because the circuit that needs to be turned on is flipped to the off position. You just need to flip it to the on position like you would a light switch. Sometimes an electrical problem isn’t strong enough to flip a switch although it does turn the circuit off.

To fix this problem you need to go circuit by circuit and carefully turn each one off and then turn it on again. Go from circuit to circuit until you find the one that fixes the problem.

How To Fix A Blown Fuse

Since old fuses only break, the process to fix a blown fuse is the same as mentioned before. Circuits, however, can blow and when that happens the circuit needs to be replaced.

In order to replace a blown circuit breaker, you need to:

  • Shut down your main power.
  • Pop out the affected circuit and remove the two wires attached to it by removing loosening the screws.
  • Attach the wires to the new circuit breaker and tighten the screws to fasten the wires to it.
  • Put the breaker into place on the circuit board and then turn the breaker on.
  • Turn on your main power again.

Conclusion

Electric problems can be difficult to fix and dangerous to attempt if you do not know what you’re doing. That being said a blown fuse or resetting a circuit breaker is easy enough where anyone could do it with no problem. Hopefully, now, you feel better prepared to fix any and all board related problems that may happen in the future.

Stopping Sink Odor: How to Clean Your Garbage Disposal

Stopping Sink Odor: How to Clean Your Garbage Disposal

Have you ever experienced a bad smell coming from your kitchen sink?

Disposals are great for getting rid of unnecessary food waste quickly and easily without having to get your hands dirty. While your hands may stay clean, however, your garbage disposal will eventually get dirty. The waste that collects in and around your disposal will eventually create an unpleasant smell.

The best way to get rid of the smell is to get rid of the waste, and that requires cleaning the disposal.

This article will explain how to clean a garbage disposal using different cleaning methods. It will also give you some proper disposal maintenance tips to keep it clean longer.

Method 1 – Ice And Salt

One great method to remove waste from the disposal is ice and salt. Ice is strong enough where it will stay stuck in the disposal until properly crushed by the blades and salt creates enough grit that, when combined with the ice, it will scrape filth off of the blades, flange, and surrounding area.

All one has to do is turn on the disposal, let cold water run down the sink and toss ice cubes and salt into the disposal.

You can also make ice cubes out of white vinegar or replace the salt with baking soda. Vinegar and baking soda work as natural deodorizers and both have similar qualities to ice and salt.

Method 2 – Citrus

Citrus peels are tough to cut through without being too tough for your garbage disposal. The peel acts in a similar fashion as ice and salt by scraping and cleaning the inside of the disposal.

It has a side benefit of leaving a pleasant citrus smell behind as it the disposal shreds the peel.

You can also pre-cut citrus into tiny pieces and freeze them in a plastic bag in your freezer. This will give the citrus a little extra durability in the disposal allowing it to clean a few seconds more.

Method 3 – Clean The Baffle

The third method for how to clean a garbage disposal requires removing and cleaning the rubber baffle found in most modern disposals. The baffle is this rubber component found inside the pipe near the blades of the disposal.

In order to clean it, one just must reach their hand down the sink and pull it out. It’ll likely look very dirty since baffles are almost never cleaned on a regular basis. Cleaning the baffle is pretty easy and just requires some rinsing and wiping. Once the baffle is clean, place it back into the sink.

This should go without saying, but make sure that the disposal is off at all times when removing the baffle or putting it back into the sink.

Conclusion

After the disposal is clean it’s important to take proper care of your sink to prevent the smell from coming back. Make sure to limit what goes into the disposal to degradable waste. Make sure that waste has been reduced to small pieces before throwing it into the sink. Avoid dumping grease down the sink as it is hard to clean.

These suggestions will keep your garbage disposal cleaner for longer which means you will spend less time cleaning the disposal and more time enjoying it as a modern convenience.

There are many resources out there that explain how to clean a garbage disposal and keep it clean. These are some of the most common methods people use. Find a method that works for you and use it to keep the smell at bay.

Tips and Tricks for Painting Formica Surfaces

Tips and Tricks for Painting Formica Surfaces

Not all home repairs and renovation projects are created equal.

For example, replacing ductwork can be relatively easy or nearly impossible depending on the building’s duct layout and growing a nice, healthy lawn is dependent on the quality of soil, species of grass you’re looking to grow and the overall state of the original lawn.

Painting and repainting are similar in the sense that some surfaces are more difficult to paint than others.

One material which may have a hard time with is Formica.

In this article, we’ll go over what it is, how to paint formica and how to maintain it after painting it.

What is formica

Before we get into how to paint Formica, we should explain what Formica is.

Formica is a brand of laminate.

To make an analogy that’s easy to understand, Formica is to Kleenex what laminate is to tissue paper.

Many people think Formica is a special type of laminate because we talk about the two as if they’re different but they aren’t. The process is the exact same no matter if one wants to learn how to paint Formica or if they want to learn how to paint generic laminate.

How To Prep The Surface For Painting

Preparation for painting Formica is not much different from preparing other surfaces. First, one has to gather the correct supplies.

Make sure to have:

  1. A Bucket
  2. Soap or an appropriate cleaner
  3. Two rags that can get wet
  4. One rag that can effectively dry
  5. Sandpaper 120-150 grit
  6. Several brushes
  7. Primer
  8. Paint

Remove any and all materials from the surface intended for painting. If painting a counter, remove anything on top of it. If painting a wall, remove pictures, nails or anything else attached to it. If it’s a piece of furniture, remove any and all hardware.

After removing everything that should not be painted from the laminate object, use warm water and soap to scrub the surface clean. If there is dirt or residue on the object, the paint will not stick well to the surface. Use one rag to apply the soapy water and to scrub the surface and use the other one to dry it.

After cleaning the laminate, it’s time to sand the surface. Painting Formica can be difficult because laminates usually have slippery smooth surfaces. Sand the laminate surface to give it enough texture for the paint to stick.

The last step of preparation is to use the second damp rag to carefully clean all of the laminate dust from the surface. Make sure the surface is clean because Formica dust won’t make painting any easier.

How To Paint Formica

Once the surface is prepared, painting laminate isn’t much different from painting any other surface.

Experts recommend before painting laminate that one applies some sort of primer. Because of the slippery nature of laminate, it’s recommended that one uses a stronger primer like shellac. This will maximize the primer’s effectiveness. It’s also worth mentioning that shellac is harder to clean off of brushes. Some paints are made specifically for laminate but if one’s using a general purpose paint, make sure to use a primer.

At this point, painting should be straightforward. Follow painting best practices and apply as many coats as necessary to get a rich, even color.

How To Care For Painted Formica Surfaces

Look at the paint can to see if the paint requires time to cure. If so, follow those instructions exactly. Also looks to see if the paint should avoid water, direct sunlight or anything else. Following the paint company’s instructions is the best way to properly care for and maintain painted formica.

Conclusion

Whether we’re talking Formica specifically or laminate generally, these surfaces are known to be difficult to paint. It’s important to remember that, although it is difficult to paint Formica, it’s far from impossible to paint it. With a couple extra steps and some good primer, anyone who needs to can paint laminate without help.

Key Signs Your House May Have Toxic Mold

Key Signs Your House May Have Toxic Mold

Mold isn’t always visually seen or easy to find. Here are some of the most common warning signs that may indicate there’s toxic mold growing inside your home.

  • Some of the more commons signs of mold growth are:
  • Dormant allergies or allergic reactions
  • Aggravated asthma or other lung problems
  • Discolored walls
  • Stains
  • Black spots
  • An increase in negative health symptoms such as a fever or feeling itchy usually these problems are associated with an increased consumption of medications such antihistamines

We’ll dive into some of these mold symptoms more to help teach you whether or not you need professional mold testing and mold removal or if you just need to take some precautionary steps to prevent mold spores from settling in your home.

Musty, Moldy Odor

Quite often, constantly smelling a musty odor could be the one of the only mold signs that your home has. If you can smell mold there is likely mold under something or mold in something. Just because you can’t always see mold doesn’t mean mold problems aren’t there. A nasal assault of musty odor is almost always the first sign of mold growing somewhere in the house. Thoroughly inspect your entire home if you suspect you may have mold before it turns into a huge problem that could potentially cost you a great deal of money—and your good health.

Allergy Symptoms

Do you feel better when you’re away from home, but notice your allergies tend to flare up whenever you’re at home? Mold is a very common allergen that can exacerbate chronic problems in those affected by mold. It does not usually take much mold to trigger these allergies. If you are suffering from allergies while you’re at home, there’s a strong probability that there’s hidden mold somewhere inside your home. It can be behind walls, in the basement, under the carpet, in damp areas of the house, surrounding roof leaks or in an area that experiences high humidity. It can even grow in your home’s mattresses.Typical allergic reactions to harmful mold include a runny nose, inflamed eyes, nasal congestion and sneezing.

Visual Indicators of Mold Growth

Seeing mold is obviously a sign that you indeed have mold. Greenish black areas, slimy textures residue left by stachybotrys chartarum and even simple mildew are all signs that a mold inspection needs to be scheduled. However, what most people don’t realize is that smaller mold spores may look like ordinary dirt or soot, but it could actually be mold in disguise. And so, people ignore it.

If you visibly see mold growing, no matter how small, immediately take action. If common molds can grow somewhere so can black mold and toxic molds like that are slowly poisoning many across the country who don’t realize how important it is to remove mold. Whenever you find mold make sure either you, the homeowner, or your landlord, if you rent, remove it immediately because all mold species can present a major problem if there’s no remediation. Even seemingly insignificant mold patches can quickly spread.

The fact that you have mold means you have the right conditions for it to grow and proliferate to several other areas of your home.

Sometimes mold is unusual looking and doesn’t look like classic mold. In fact, some mold can appear whitish and thread-like, while other kinds of mold look like tiny clusters of black spots. Mold can appear in various colors including black, white, gray-green, or grayish-brown. Sometimes the mold that grows behind vinyl wallpaper can look pinkish-purple or even orange.

Indications of Water Issues

If your home has ever had any issues with moisture, condensation or some other water problems, you can almost be certain that somewhere, mold has started to grow. Therefore, if you know you presently have water issues, or had them in the past, you probably have mold and should probably hire professional mold inspectors to make sure your home is safe.. 

Strong indications that you have mold due to water issues include discolored walls, ceilings, or floors along with any water stains. Visually seeing any of these signs means there are colonies of mold growing either behind or within these materials.

Other indicators of moisture issues are bubbling, cracking, or peeling wallpaper or paint. If you notice that your walls are warped, bulging, or bowed, it likely means that moisture has penetrated the surface. When hiring professional mold inspectors look for those who will give you realistic advice on how to prevent mold in trouble areas. Sometimes it’s as easy as buying a dehumidifier to get rid of extra moisture. A good inspector can give further advice.

Past Floods

If you’ve ever had flooding in your home, the chances that mold took root and started to grow are virtually 100%. Most likely whichever area the water stayed the longest, such as the basement, is where it probably exists. Floods frequently cause mold to grow in unforeseen or unexpected places where it’s visually undetected such as underneath flooring or behind walls. Anyone with past flooding should check their home warranty for damage coverage information.

Signs of Condensation

If you notice any condensation within your home, it means you have a great deal of moisture and therefore a strong sign you could certainly have mold growing somewhere. Condensation typically occurs on metal pipes or glass window surfaces.

Water Leakage

Water issues in a home are most often produced by a water leak. If you are presently aware that you have, or had, a water leak issue (think ceiling or pipe leaks) then you should realize that even if you can’t detect any visible signs of water damage, there’s still a very strong indication that your home has mold growing – most likely where the leak originated.

How Toxic Mold Symptoms Affect Your Health

Mold could cause serious problems and should be taken equally seriously. If you suffer from any neurological symptoms like a short attention span, dizziness, headaches, memory loss, or have trouble concentrating, it could be a huge red flag that harmful, toxic mold is growing and continuing to spread throughout your home – and it’s literally poisoning you.

 It doesn’t matter if it’s visible mold or not. Enough mold to cause health problems is a problem no matter what. Just like allergies, if you or your family’s toxic symptoms increase when you’re at home, you can almost be sure your home is carrying mold. Don’t wait; take action immediately before risking both the health of your home and family gets too far out of control, especially if you have children.