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Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 1/8/2016

Take a drive down any residential road in your town or city, and you're bound to notice a neglected porch or two. Is your porch giving your home the best face it can have? Could your porch use a little spice? Here's how to get the most out of your porch, whether it is only a few feet, or a covered area spanning the length of your home. 1. - Replace things when needed. New welcome mats, address numbers, doorknobs and deadbolts can breathe new life into your porch space. All of these experience significant wear-and-tear in only a short time, and replacing them when needed shows passers-by and potential home buyers that you live in a house that is well taken care of...Even down to the last detail. 2. - Don't be afraid to paint. Often times, painted areas on a porch can be overlooked. If you are in the middle of a deck painting, then don't hesitate to touch up your porch as a part of your project. 3. - Bring a little life onto your porch. Consider buying a few weather-hardy plants that could complement the color scheme of your home. Tasteful plant window boxes installed on the windows closest to your porch can make your porch appear much bigger than it is, and is an optical effect that will definitely work in your favor. Just be sure to pick plants that don't run afoul of your home's outdoor color scheme, and you'll find that bringing a little plant life onto and around your porch is a very enjoyable investment. 4. - Lighting is not only important for looks, but for safety as well. Make sure that your porch light is always in working order, and be sure to choose quality bulbs that match the wattage of the outlet. Some homes have faulty porch wiring, and sometimes lack proper lighting. If you are in one of these homes, consider making a project out of it. Proper lighting will show off your porch at night in all the right places, and will be a welcome safety addition for your family and visitors.





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 11/27/2015

At your home inspection you notice the windows look dirty and hazy, they even have water droplets inside the panes. The seals are broken. You immediately think you will need new windows or do you? What you see is a failed or broken window seal. Window seals usually fail due to age, the typical window seal will last around 10 - 15 years. Other reasons a window seal may fail are:

  • Pressure changes caused from hot and cold weather
  • Building settlement
  • Movement from opening and closing
  • Objects hitting the window
  • Pressure washing
  • Deteriorating frameworks
If you can't stand the look of the hazy windows and decide to replace them make sure to find a company that offers a good warranty plan, look for a 10-20 year warranty.  





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 11/13/2015

With the temperature outside dropping it's time to start worrying about chimney safety. Dangerous chimney fires tend to happen in early fall and winter when colder weather has homeowners firing up their fireplace or wood stove. Chimney fires are easy to avoid with proper care and attention. Here are some helpful hints to keep your home safe from a chimney fire: Get your chimney inspected annually by a certified, professional chimney sweep. The sweep will check for safety problems like blockages in the pipe or flue, problems with the spark arrestor, and holes or other damage to the lining. Your chimney sweep will also be able to determine if your chimney needs to be cleaned. Get a stove thermometer that will allow you to monitor the temperature of the stove. Consistent high temperatures could lead to a fire and damage your chimney. Keep the area clear and make sure you have tile or a fire resistant floor covering at least one foot around your stove or fireplace. This will prevent errant sparks from causing a fire. Make sure to keep this area clear of furniture and other objects as well. Even if sparks don't hit them, high heat can still be a problem and cause a fire. Have the proper safety equipment such as working fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire alarms nearby. Make sure they are all in working order. If they use batteries, make sure to change the batteries twice a year. For more information about chimney safety your can visit the Chimney Safety Institute of America's website.





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 11/6/2015

Choosing between satelllite television or a local provider in today's world is a lot more complicated than it was a decade ago. Cable TV has made a concentrated effort in the last decade to offer the channel variety of a satellite television service, while satellite television has tried to offer the same kind of bundle deals to their customers that make cable subscriptions so appealing to people who like the idea of an all-inclusive bill for their at-home entertainment. While both services can be very rewarding in terms of quality of service and variety, your family's entertainment needs will have to be ultimately considered if you want to make the best decision possible. In this guide, I will attempt to highlight the best features of each service, how they stack up to each other in terms of quality, and illuminate the potential drawbacks for each. Cable TV Cable television offers you an easy opportunity to condense all of your digital services into one package (Phone, tv, and internet.) While some satellite television companies offer similar packages, they usually have to hire a third-party company in order to be able to do so. And with cable television moving into the digital realm a little more every year, they are now finally providing picture quality that you could only previously get with satellite television. Additionally, you never have to worry about bad weather affecting your reception like you would if you were to chose a dish network. Also, many cable companies now offer DVR as part of their digital packages, which allows you to pause, record, and rewind any program you'd like, a service only previously available to satellite customers. If your family's home entertainment needs center around fast, high-quality internet service, and your television requirements can be satisfied without needing hundreds of channels, a cable television package will definitely suit your needs. Satellite TV While it may sound like Cable TV is the more appealing option at this point, you must consider a few things; namely, Satellite TV absolutely trumps cable in terms of the sheer variety of programs and content. Dish TV boasts a roster of 250+ channels, and the number is always growing. That includes over 80 PPV channels, whereas cable can only manage about 40. In addition, satellite television offers you a slew of international programming that a cable service simply cannot compete with. Dish TV also consistently outperforms Cable in terms of customer service ratings. But while Dish TV currently has the edge in terms of variety, your access to local programming is pretty limited. And, as mentioned previously, reception can be an issue during inclement weather. Your property will also need to have an unobstructed view of the sky in order to receive optimal reception, which can be a problem for some homeowners. As far as pricing is concerned, your television needs may be the determining factor. If having television in every room is a must for you, then opting for a cable package may suit your needs better. Satellite companies tend to offer per room fees, which can be expensive in the event that you would like the service to extend beyond one or two televisions. There is also the equipment cost to consider. While opting for a satellite package may cost you more money up front, your monthy bill will more often than not be lower than a cable package, as maintainance costs tend to be lower. For additional information on cable television, please visit www.comcast.com or www.verizon.com/fios For additional information on satellite television, please visit www.directstartv.com or www.dish.com    





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 10/23/2015

After numerous years of living in your home, you will soon become bored of the same decorations and furnishings, or at least stop appreciating them. This in turn can create a dull environment to live in, which is the last thing you want in your home. By following these tips in how to spruce up your house, you can ensure that your home always looks vibrant and welcoming. Sprucing up your home does not have to cost a lot of money, as you will find that there are many bargains available when it comes to finding decorative items. In fact, one way to get these bargains is by shopping online, as many reputable home decoration stores have great offers available. The first thing to keep in mind as you begin creating that new look in your home is that you should always work towards a theme. In fact, this is one of the most important tips in how to spruce up your house, because without the right type of theme, you will find that your decorations can look very noisy to the eye. The best way to begin sprucing up your home is by focusing on one room at a time, and as you finish that room, you can then gradually move onto the next room. By taking this approach, you will be able to focus on that theme, and you will also not feel overwhelmed in the process. Lastly, keep in mind that it is necessary to get the input of your family, because this will ensure that everyone is happy with the overall new look of your home.







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