Free Cash Grants to Upgrade Your Home

Home owners who want to upgrade their home with new equipment and appliances can apply for home improvement grants, which can provide you with the cash you need to purchase and install your upgrades. Particularly if you would like to use more energy efficient products and models, there are a number of government and private foundation grants that can help you pay for those changes.

Once you search the grant database, you’ll quickly realize there are many programs that you may qualify for. Review the eligibility requirements, submit your application, and wait to see if you are approved. Once approved, you’ll not only get the cash you need to assist you with your home improvement projects, but you’ll never have to pay the money back.

There are also tax credits that you can receive for using energy efficient products. That’s why it may cost you a little money up-front to install and purchase new equipment and appliances, but there could be a greater savings on the backed. Particularly if you are receiving free grant money to help you finance the entire project.

But just because the grants are available does not mean you automatically are entitled to receive them. There is an application process and approval process, but there is also a way to put the odds in your favor. Learn these ticks to put your grant application in a favorable position, and there is a lot of money that you may be able to qualify to receive. There is no limit on the number of grants you can apply for and receive either.

Water Damage Mold

The first thing created after water damage in a house is the mold. Mold creates a number of problems for the home owner. Fungi are common in nature and serve a central role as breakdown agents for organic matter. They contain fragments, or spores, which are found in virtually every home and building. Major mold that is found in water damaged homes is called Stachybotrys chartarum (atra), more commonly known as SC. It is a greenish black fungus that grows on materials like fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust, and lint. They become chronically moist or water damaged due to excessive humidity, condensation, and flooding.

SC was first noted as a disease when it contaminated cereal grains. When people ate that grain, they started feeling burning sensations in their mouth, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and pain in their abdomen. Then it was found that if its pores are released into air, then there was more probability of developing these symptoms. Few reports of scientific literature stated that there were places where people had to leave the place due to spreading of molds like SC and other molds too. When the spores are released into air, they may be inhaled and can get into lungs causing severe airborne diseases.

To save houses and buildings from mold, some precautions need to be taken. Buildings should be inspected routinely for evidence of water damage and visible mold. Conditions causing mold such as water leaks, condensation, or flooding should be corrected. After water damage, books and papers should be immediately discarded. Water from the carpets and rugs should be immediately removed. Ceiling tiles, if damaged, should be removed and replaced. Remove the water from upholstered furniture with the help of water extraction vacuum. Remove moisture immediately and use dehumidifiers and fans for drying.

For the removal of mold, the simplest and most expedient remediation should be used. After cleaning, try to ensure that there are no such conditions again for these hazardous materials to grow. A professional restoration company should be called to fix or repair any problems.

Reasons Why Using Outdoor LED Signs Is a Good Idea

The use of LED signs outdoors is a great trend in today’s world. What you should know is that it has become a very important part of business today. The signs have actually been proven to increase awareness in the community as well as sales.

The outdoor LED signage can be applied for any kind of business, especially the medium and small sized kind of companies that don’t have a lot allotted to advertising. When a LED sign is in full color, then it promotes the business in a more effective manner regardless of the kind of business is in question. When electronic signs are compared to billboards, radio, newspapers and other traditional mediums, then they appear to be so much cheaper.

When you use the outdoor LED signs, you have in your hands a very powerful and very dynamic medium of advertising for the business. Your target audience and potential customers will definitely see it and take note.

Reasons why you should use the signs

Bright

Many people choose the signs because they are brighter than other kinds of signage. The bright signs attract attention and can be seen from a great distance, making them so attractive even in the sun.

Cost effectiveness

When purchasing the LED, it can be rather high priced. However, you will notice you save a lot in the long run. You will not spend anything when making changes to the display. The signage also consumes very little energy and you will need to do very little to maintain it.

Durable

Durability y is the other thing the outdoor LED signs are able to offer. The materials used to make them are not breakable and they do last a long time. You only need to do very few repairs as well as maintained. The LED modules come with a long lifespan.

Versatile

The LED signs are versatile. You can update them from your own computer just by a simple click. The changes can then appear immediately on the signage. You can also give scheduled messages.

Attractive

Use of visuals and graphics usually attract the attention of many and they are able to convert lots of information than would be the case if words alone were used. The aesthetic appeal of a place is also improved and this is why the signs are so widely used in airports, train stations and malls.

Less consumption of electricity

One of the main strengths of LED signage is the fact that power consumption is kept at a down low. LED sign boards consume less electricity than other signs that use incandescent bulbs and neon. It is therefore quite environmentally friendly as the carbon footprint is reduced.

Customized advertising

The use of LED signage helps one to keep pace with all the current situations like weather and so on. You can simply change the advertising message so as to customize it for the target audience. You can change the signs, text, messages and graphics at will so as to match the prevailing business goals.

Why Homeowners Prefer Solar Letterboxes

There are numerous letterboxes homeowners can make use of in order to secure their mails and documents. However, homeowners look for unique features to make simple letterboxes into wonderful decorative piece on their homes. That is why, more and more homeowners now make use of solar letterboxes. This type of letterbox has the same length and width of other mailbox. However, it provides more features such as a key lockable system as well as a wide mail slot for all your A4 mail & documents. In addition, this mailbox also has a newspaper holder. Fortunately, solar letterboxes even offer more features for homeowners. Below are some of the following.

Features stainless steel body and lid

One of the main reasons why homeowners are now using solar letterboxes is due to its stainless steel body and lid. Most of the time, homeowners use steel letterboxes to secure received mails and documents properly. However, due to extreme weather conditions, steel mailboxes may rust. As a result, mails and documents will be dirty, which can compromise important information in your mail. Fortunately, solar letterboxes are made from stainless steel which is weather resistant. Not to mention, stainless steel is easier to maintain and to clean.

Reduce the use of lights

The next reason why homeowners prefer solar powered letterboxes is they can reduce the use of lights. This is possible since solar letterboxes are equipped with LED lights that can last from 10 to 18 hours. This gets even better since the LED lights are solar powered, which mean you will not be paying expensive electric bills to light your letterboxes.

Better visibility

Since solar powered letterboxes are equipped with LED lights, homeowners are rest assured that the boxes will be more visible which can help you receive mails and documents that will be delivered during night time. Plus, the mailbox comes with 3 sets of adhesive numbers, plus a letters “A”, “B” & “/” to allow homeowners to customize their address.

Easy installation

Finally, solar powered letterboxes are easy to install. Homeowners only need simply tools such as screwdrivers, power drill and drill bits. Apart from that, solar letterboxes are wall mounted. So, you do not need to create holes on your walls to install it. And, homeowners do not need to install wiring to the LED lights.

Steam Carpet Cleaning Equipment

Carpet steam cleaners use a variety of different carpet cleaning equipment. There are gas powered truck mounted machines, electric truck mounted machines and electric portable machines. This article will provide you with the basic differences between these machines.

The first machine is a gas truck mount carpet cleaner. This is one of the most common machines used in the carpet cleaning industry. This machine uses either the trucks engine or a separate gas engine to drive a vacuum blower and water pump. These machines have the capacity to provide the greatest amount of vacuum and the highest heat. They are the preferred piece of steam cleaning equipment because of their power, speed and efficiency. With this machine, the cleaner only needs to bring 2 hoses into your home. This eliminates the need to bring bulky equipment into your hose and decreases noise in your home.

Electric truck mounted cleaners are another type of carpet cleaning machine. They are similar to gas truck mounts but they use an electric motor to drive a vacuum blower and water pump. They are nice because they are a little more environmentally friendly and they are much quieter to run. They do not provide as much vacuum power as gas powered machines but do an adequate job. With this machine a cleaner also only needs to bring 2 hoses into your home.

The last machine I will discuss is a portable carpet cleaning machine. This machine uses electricity to power a vacuum motor and water pump. All of the equipment is located in a portable assembly that the cleaner will bring into your home. This machine is great for areas not serviceable by truck mounted machines like apartments and high rises. It does not provide as much power as the the truck mount machines but it has enough power to get the job done. The drawback of this machine is that the cleaner must bring it into your home and it can be loud and cumbersome to use.

While there are other carpet cleaning machines, these are the 3 most common steam cleaners. Remember, carpet cleaning machines are just tools. Even the best machine will not get the job done with a bad operator. You should choose your carpet cleaning service based on the skill, ethics and motivation of your carpet cleaner.

Home Improvement Grants – What Are They?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to renovate your home and let someone else pay for it? In many circumstances you can do just that! There are dozens of programs available today through local agencies, state governments and the federal housing authority that allow homeowners of every economic status and area of the country to apply for grants and/or financial aid packages to help pay for personal renovations and remodeling on your private home.

Some agencies limit their funding for projects in specific areas of interest such as the revitalization of certain geographic areas; historic preservation; handicapped accessibility; low-income housing renovation; etc. Others offer funding to homeowners who own homes built before a certain year; located in a specific neighborhood or that may require a specific type of renovation such as insulation; roofing; electric; plumbing;’ siding; etc. The key to finding funds for your specific home remodeling project is to locate the agency or organization that offers similar grant programs.

For instance, if you are interested in making your home more energy efficient consider contacting your local utility companies; “green” organizations or state housing authority t inquire about any funding programs they may offer.

Interested in purchasing an historic home, but not sure you’re wallet is ready to handle such an expensive revitalization project? Talk to your local and state historic commissions and revitalization agencies for help. Many offer grants to historic property homeowners to bring these historic homes back to their previous grandeur.

It’s not uncommon today for many homeowners to need to make their existing property accessible to an older family member who has become disabled and no longer capable of caring for themselves alone. Grants are available by many disability and older American organizations and agencies to remodel current bathrooms; add sufficient ramps and so on in existing homes.

Who’s eligible for these types of home remodeling grants? Virtually any American citizen who is 18 years or older and either owns or rents their home and meets a founder’s specific grant requirements. I usually requires filling out a short questionnaire to determine eligibility, followed an official assessment of your needs and request.

Depending on the agency that’s offering the grant, and the amount being requested, you may be required to submit a detailed plan of your project including a substantiated budget and a variety of personal financial information including current pay stubs and federal income tax returns for the last one to three years. The entire process can take anywhere form a few weeks to a year or more.

Everything You Need To Know Before Buying a Mobile Home

Mobile homes have an unfair reputation for being low quality or trashy. That just isn’t true. A mobile home is a great way to get your own property, place it anywhere you choose and for less than many more stationary houses tend to cost. It is becoming an increasingly popular option, with variations such as tiny homes and mini cottages becoming a darling of the real estate world.

If you are reading this you are probably considering making a purchase yourself. Before you go shopping for the perfect little place of your own, here are some things you should know.

There Are Many Kinds of Mobile Homes

Mobile homes are not all the same single level family affair that you may be used to. There are multiple styles and types, as the couple mentioned above prove. Tiny houses are miniature homes that attempt to utilize every inch of space, all in a very small package. Mini cottages are similar, though usually one room wood houses with lofts.

There are also multi-level mobile homes. These are less portable, which makes them a mixed bag. But if you are looking to get a manufactured home and you aren’t concerned with being able to move it quite as easily it is definitely a good option.

If portability is your goal there are models that come on wheels, which can be either kept on at all times or slipped under with some tools.

The Cost of Mobile Homes Can Vary Wildly

With so many mobile home styles it probably won’t surprise you that these dwellings don’t come in a standard price range. According to Forbes, the average cost of a tiny house is around $23,000. But the average cost of a single story mobile home is around $64,000. Multi-level manufactured homes can vary, but you can assume between $50 and $100 per square foot.

The varying prices is one reason that it is important to know what it is you are looking for in a home. You should also consider other costs that are associated with your house. The land that you are building it on, for example, or the hook up costs for electricity, plumbing, gas, etc. These may not be built into the price and so require additional installation and fees.

Quality Is a Factor

Not all mobile homes are created equal. In fact, going to the wrong provider can end in some serious headaches. A major storm can topple it over or damage can be done to the exterior, pieces can fall off, etc. It is critical that you find a reputable dealer or construction crew to help you find the right mobile home.

You are looking for quality materials, designs and reputable reviews for who you work with. If you find all three you will wind up with a beautiful, sturdy home.

Manufactured or Prefabricated Homes Are Awesome

These style of houses are fantastic. Not only are they lower cost than from scratch models, but they are easier and faster to put up. A crew as small as two people can construct a manufactured or prefabricated mobile home, using pretty basic tools. Sometimes it can be done in as little as an afternoon.

That is because the pieces are already put together and ready to combine. They have been shipped from the factory with everything needed, to the location you specify. So the people putting it up just have to go through and hook all the parts, from the walls and foundation to the different compartmentalized rooms and features.

Getting a Loan Can Be Tricky

When you are getting a mortgage you go to a bank, right? Most mobile homes won’t qualify under mortgage programs. Instead you have to either go through an official mobile home company that specializes in financing, or you have to go through a credit union that has a loan specifically for this style of house.

The idea is that mobile homes are portable and many people mistake that to mean temporary. They are also lower cost, so there is less profit gained through interest rates. Many banks don’t see the point of funding them.

Thankfully, it isn’t hard to get a loan from one of these specified places. If you have an account with a credit union it is all the better, as that improves your odds of approval and they often have competitive rates.

Location Is Everything

You could have a gorgeous, well crafted, amazing mobile home. But if it is sitting on an ugly lot in the middle of a crowded area, what good it is? You want a location that is central to what you need, but still pretty, functional and offers you whatever you are looking for. Some people choose mobile parks in order to have a neighborhood feel. Others choose more isolated locations where they can enjoy a plot of land.

Whatever works for you, location is a pretty important part of buying your mobile home. It is also a good chunk of what you will be paying for. Renting land is possible, such as in mobile parks. But buying your own ensures you have greater equity in your property. It is a sound investment, even if you plan on uprooting and moving somewhere else. Land is also cheaper than you might expect, depending on the area.

Retail Cost Versus Invoice Cost

Once you know what you are looking for and where you are going, it is time to go to a reputable dealer. When dealing with closing costs make sure you ask to see the invoice cost of the property. If they resist, insist on it or possible go to someone else. This is a better representation of cost without inflation that can come from retail markups.

Don’t let them corner you into telling your budget or what you can pay monthly. Just have them give you flat invoice prices for a described model and then negotiate based off of that price.

New Home Improvement Products Can Create Big Problems For Homeowners

I rarely buy new products that guarantee instant success for home repairs anymore. To be honest with you, I probably purchased over 50 of these items, before finally getting disgusted with myself for wasting so much money on these miserable products.

I’m not about to tell you what types of products these were, I’m just here to get you in the right mind, before you purchase any more of them yourself. If you’re looking at a product that guarantees some sort of plumbing pipe repair, find out if it has any type of guarantee. Can this item be returned if it doesn’t work?

Even if this item works temporarily, will the company who guaranteed it, cover and additional home repair expenses if this product fails in the future? For example, you fix a bathroom water supply pipe and everything looks great, but you leave for work one day, and when you come home half of your house is flooded.

I think you’re starting to get the point here, you purchase these products and they either work or they don’t. It’s like gambling at your local casino. They are painting you an illusion of winning large fortunes, but rarely deliver the product.

Whenever I walk into my local lumber yard, hardware store, home improvement center or large retail department stores, I see these products all over the place. I make jokes to myself and anyone around, but at the same time, I realize that these products wouldn’t be here if they didn’t sell.

I’m just trying to get you to think, before making some of these purchases. There are some products that give you a false illusion and you need to be aware of them.

Things to Consider While Building a Custom Home

What though crosses your mind when you hear the word ‘home’? To many, the word ‘home’ signifies dream or rather a dream come true. Home is a safe haven; a place of shelter where you would like to come back after a day out working and toiling hard. So, definitely, the home is something that you would like to be custom- made. Your home would be the ideal expression of your personality, your aspirations, and your life. Construction of a home is something that you would like to be flawless. The essential point is that you should have a proper architectural plan and you should supervise the process with full sincerity and time.

Salient features that you need to keep in mind

In order to make sure that the construction of your home goes on smoothly and you get your desired house built, there are certain points that you need to keep in mind. They are as follows:

  • Choosing the right and apt construction partner is the first point that you should ensure. The construction agent should be able to understand your ideas and demands.
  • It is your duty to choose the right kind of materials for the construction of your house. Depending on the geographical and climatic factors of the region, you should choose the right kind of paints that you would like to use for your house.
  • You should ensure that there exists a proper agreement between you and the construction agency which has all the terms and conditions mentioned clearly.
  • You should have a clear idea of the monetary budget that you have for the construction of your house. It is generally observed and seen that the expenditure exceed the budget estimate. So, you should have sufficient finance in store so that you may use the money in case of any kind of emergency.
  • Use of earthquake resistant iron rods is very significant as this would serve as a protection guard in case of the occurrence of earthquake.
  • Any kind of construction process requires large amount of water. So, you need to ensure that there is a continuous and sufficient supply of water so that the builders do not suffer from any kind of water deficiency.

The ins and outs of the home construction process

The process of home construction has undergone several pioneering and mind- boggling changes since the last few years. This is because the concept of building a home has changed:

  • The promoters and architects are now applying the latest ideas in shaping your dream home. This has changed the outlook altogether.
  • The construction of home now involves the use of finer technologies; earthquake resistant iron rods and exclusive fine finish paints.
  • The interior designs have also undergone revolutionary changes. The new home builders are now capable of actually reading your mind and thus, they are able to make much better constructions. This became possible with the advent of technology and the rampant use of the internet.

With this technological advancement, the home builders of the new generation are able to get access to ideas from all across the globe that helps them to convert your dream construction into a marvelous reality.

Home Improvement Contract Tips

Many a soul has hired a contractor to do repairs or improvements on a home only to find something is fishy. Here are some tips to avoid problems.

Home Improvement Contract Tips

Hiring a contractor to do work on your home is not always as easy as it sounds. Many people call themselves contractors, but really are not. The first step to avoiding problems is to make sure you hire someone with who is actually licensed as a contractor. If you subsequently have problems, you can contact the licensing board to raise a dispute.

Most contractors are ethical, honest people and businesses. There are, however, others who are not. These individuals assume you do not really know what is involved in the construction process. This provides them with an opening to make substantially more profit. While you might think this means they will overbid the project, it does not. Most contractors believe you will pick the lowest price, so they rarely run up their estimate. There are, however, two other ways to boost profit.

The first thing unethical contractors will do is use low quality supplies. As with anything you buy, there is a high quality and lower quality version. While you may want the high quality version, you may have a hard time determining if you received it. The difference between high and low quality is often how long something lasts, not how it appears. The way to beat this problem is to specify the exact brand, size and part number [if possible] in your contract. Doing so accomplishes two things. First, it puts the contractor on notice that you know how the process works. Second, you can always resort to legal action if you later find the correct materials were not used. Since you have everything in writing, the contractor has little defense.

A second unethical tactic is the bait and switch. In this process, the contractor gives you a bid price that can’t possibly cover the project. You think you are getting a deal, but the contractor starts coming to you after the project has started requesting more money. The contractor refuses to continue work if you do not pony up. In this situation, the best defense is again to have everything in writing in the project contract. Make sure to include an attorney’s fee clause in it. If the contractor tries this tactic, you should contact an attorney. The attorney will set the contractor straight. If the contract refuses to finish the job, you will probably be told by the attorney to hire a new contractor while he sues the unethical one. Since an attorney’s fee clause is included in the agreement, you should end up paying no legal fees. This is not the best situation, but it beats getting scammed.

In general, the best way to find a contractor is to ask for referrals from trusted friends. Next, get everything in writing. With these two steps, you should avoid any major problems.