Innovative Ways To Tech-Up Your Home Bath

Rapid advances in technology have radically changed our lives in more ways than we can begin to contemplate. It is no surprise that integrating technology into one of the home’s most functional rooms is one of the hottest trends in interior design. From aromatherapy showers to self-flushing toilets, the most used room in the home is getting an opulent, hi-tech makeover with bathroom upgrades that won’t sacrifice style.

The latest design trends in residential bathroom appliances, gadgets, and gizmos incorporate features once restricted to luxury spas and upmarket gyms. Today, it is easy and affordable to turn a bland and boring home bathroom into a spa-like retreat with high-high tech innovations that add functionality and elegance. Whether you are building or remodeling, consider these ways to tech up your bathroom.

Surround Yourself With Sound
There is no need to blast the television from an adjoining room so you can listen to music, catch-up on the weather report or latest traffic conditions as you shave or apply make-up. With appliances especially designed for a moist environment, you can watch television integrated into a two-way mirrored cabinet. When the television is off, it’s invisible.

Listen to music through moisture proof in-ceiling speakers or magnetic wireless speakers that can be moved to bedroom or patio.

Eco-Friendly Hi-Tech Features Save Water And Electricity
If your bathroom appliances and fixtures are outdated, they may be costing you money. Digital showering systems save water with the push of a button, controlling flow and temperature. The digital interface eliminates bulky manual valves, giving the shower stall a smooth, uncluttered appearance. Conservation features, such as a pause setting or a shower timer, save money without sacrificing performance.

Conserve water by installing a new high-efficiency dual flush combination toilet and bidet that sends less water down the drain, shaving dollars off your utility bill. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises, “Older toilets, manufactured before 1992 when the Energy Policy Act mandated water efficient toilets, use up to 3.5 gallons per flush. Replacing these toilets with WaterSense labeled toilets could save nearly 2 billion gallons per day across the country. Switching to high-efficiency toilets can save a family of four, on average, $2,000 in water bills over the lifetime of the toilets.”

Water heating is reported as the third highest energy expense in the home. Provide a continuous supply of hot water with an energy-efficient, cost-effective, space saving hi-tech tankless water heater, solar water system or heat pump controlled with an app on your I-Pad.

The EPA reports that bath faucets account for more than 15 percent of indoor water use. Reduce consumption by installing high-tech faucets that shut off with just a wave of your hand. Turning off the water while brushing your teeth can save up to 3,000 gallons of water per year, making a water-conserving faucet a prudent investment.

Sanitation
Protect your family from cold and flu germs with a self-sanitizing door handle equipped with an ultra-violet light that kills bacteria on contact.

Lighting
Forget having to remind family members to shut off the bathroom light. Brighten bathrooms with motion activated energy-efficient LED colored mood lighting that turns off when you exit the room.

Pamper Yourself In Privacy
High-tech steam showers, personal saunas, and soaking tubs provide the ultimate upscale personalized spa experience. Look for fixtures that include underwater pressure jets, aromatherapy, in-tub water heaters, massage programs, mood lighting and built in sound speakers.

Tips to Remove Pet Stains and Odors

Your pet is a member of your family and gets plenty of love and attention day after day. However, even your pet can leave stains and odors that will impact your home and may force homebuyers to look elsewhere.

As a home seller, you’ll want to do everything possible to eliminate pet stains and odors before you show your residence to prospective homebuyers. Thankfully, we’re here to help you take the necessary steps to keep your home pet odor- and stain-free.

Here are three tips that you can use to reduce pet stains and odors:

1. Leverage a pet stain neutralizer.

Want to give your carpets a fresh scent? Use a pet stain neutralizer, and you’ll be able to noticeably improve the smell and appearance of your carpets.

Pet stain neutralizers are available at pet stores and can deliver long-lasting benefits. These products will remove pet stains and odors that are deeply entrenched in carpets without delay. Meanwhile, they also ensure that you can eliminate these stains and odors quickly and effortlessly.

Pick up a pet stain neutralizer, and you can minimize pet stains and odors any time you choose.

2. Clean your floors and walls with the right cleaning products.

Before you use any cleaning products on your floors and walls, be sure to read the instructions. By doing so, you’ll be able to ensure that these items will help you eliminate pet stains and odors.

Remember, not all cleaning products are created equal, and you’ll want to find the best items that deliver the desired results. But those who search for products designed for pet stains and odors that impact your home’s floors and walls can work to eliminate such problems instantly.

Don’t forget about your pet’s safety, too. You’ll want to ensure that any cleaning products that you use won’t harm your pet if accidental consumption occurs.

3. Utilize a carpet cleaning machine with furniture attachment.

A carpet cleaning machine is a superior option for those who want to get to the root of pet stains and odors. This device usually can be rented or purchased from a home improvement store and empowers you to take full control of your pet stain and odor removal efforts.

Plus, getting a carpet cleaning machine with a furniture attachment is ideal for pet owners who frequently let their pets rest on furniture. This attachment enables you to quickly and easily remove pet stains and odors from furniture, often in only minutes.

Renting a carpet cleaning machine with furniture attachment usually serves as a cost-effective option for home sellers. Comparatively, those who want a first-rate device that will provide support both now and in the future may consider purchasing this machine and using it at their new residence as well.

For home sellers, pet stains and odors may seem tough to eliminate, at least at first. But with the right supplies and know-how, you’ll be able to remove such problems altogether.

Lastly, don’t forget to clean pet stains and odors regularly, as you’ll be better equipped to keep your home looking and smelling great. And ultimately, you’ll improve your residence’s chances of making a positive impression on homebuyers.

15 Things You Can Do Right Now To Lower Your Electric Bill

The square footage of your home is only one factor that comes into play when a utility company determines the amount of your monthly electric bill. The layout of your home also impacts how much energy it takes to cool or heat your home. For example, having more rooms with closed doors at your home could force your central heat or your central air conditioner to work harder to get these rooms to comfortable temperatures.

Fortunately,even if you have lots of closed rooms at your home, there are ways to lower your electric bill. Keep reading to discover easy steps that you can take to save money on your electric bill. Some of the steps take less than five seconds to implement.

  1. Keep doors to rooms that you don’t use closed.Open the doors an hour before you plan on spending time in them to allow heat to flow through the rooms.
  2. Install floorboard heaters if you have lots of rooms at your house. This way, you can adjust temperature levels room by room.
  3. Switch to natural gas. Contact your utility provider and ask to see price comparisons on the cost to heat your home using natural gas, electricity, propane or heating oil. The savings may easily cover the cost of purchasing a natural gas furnace.
  4. Turn air conditioners on at night. Keep the thermostat at 70 degrees. Use fans during the day.
  5. Perform regular maintenance on appliances like refrigerators, freezers, washing machines and dryers. Damaged appliances can be great energy drains.
  6. Hang clothes on the line during warm months instead of running the clothes dryer.
  7. Change air filters and ensure that wiring on heating and cooling appliances are in good condition.
  8. Limit the use of lights to when you actually need to use light. You don’t have to turn a light on simply because you walked inside a room. Turn lights off when you are not in rooms.
  9. Opt for window treatments and windows that are energy efficient.
  10. Seal cracks in doors and windows.
  11. Place sealants like metal and rubber strips beneath exterior doors. Don’t forget the door leading out to your patio.
  12. Wash dishes by hand instead of running the dishwasher.
  13. Cook one large meal a week and eat salads and leftovers throughout the week. For example, you could prepare a large meal on Saturday and take the remainder of the meal to work for lunch.
  14. Turn off devices that rely on electricity before you head to bed. Examples of these devices are laptops, iPods and televisions.
  15. Contact your utility provider and schedule time for them to test your home. At the end of the inspection, ask the service provider representative what you can do to make your home more energy efficient. Depending on your salary, you may qualify for a government subsidy.Check with your utility provider about the subsidy guidelines.

Also, ask your electric company how they calculate monthly residential electric bills. Some utility companies set a monthly baseline usage level for customers. If your electric company raises rates during winter or summer, adjust your temperature settings to keep your bill from going up.

Increase Your Credit Score to Decrease Your Mortgage Rate

Everyone knows that their credit score will affect the mortgage they qualify for and the interest rate they receive. The details of how exactly those numbers are arrived at, however, are a bit hazy for the average prospective homeowner.

This confusion is due to a number of reasons. Chief among them is the fact that your average person isn’t well-versed in credit terminology or the variables that go into determining their credit scores.

In this article, I’m going to break down credit scores and credit bureaus, then discuss how each of them affects the mortgage rate you could receive. Then, we’ll talk about some ways you can boost your score to qualify for a better rate.

Anatomy of a credit score

Credit scores are determined by five main variables. In order of importance, they are:

  • 35%: your payment history on loans, bills, credit cards, etc.

  • 30%: your total debt amount for all of your accounts

  • 15%: length of your credit history (how long you’ve had open accounts for loans, credit cards, etc.)

  • 10%: types of credit you have used (auto loan, student loan, credit card… diversity of loans matters)

  • 10%: recent credit inquiries (such as taking out new loans or opening new credit cards)

To have a “good” (over 700) or “excellent” (over 750) credit score, you’ll need to focus on each of these factors. For most people, paying their bills on time over a long enough timeline is enough to get them into the excellent range.

But things happen in life. People forget to pay an important bill, they have financial emergencies, or they have to take out a loan for an unforeseeable expense.

The credit bureaus

So, who are the people that determine your credit score?

There are three main credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Lenders will look at reports from all three bureaus to determine your rate. Due to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, consumers are able to receive a free copy of their credit report from each bureau once per year.

Since then, companies like Credit Karma have made credit reports even more accessible. Users are able to check in on their credit as often as they want free of charge.

Since much of your credit score is out of your hands, at least in the short-term, what can you do to help boost your score over the next few months to increase your chances of getting a good interest rate on your loan? Two things.

Credit and mortgages

So, just how much of an impact does your credit score have on your mortgage rate? Having an excellent score can give you a full percentage point lower on your monthly interest rate.

One percent doesn’t seem like much, but over the period of a 30-year loan that can amount to tens of thousands of dollars that you could have saved if you had a better credit score. As you can imagine, having an extra $2,000 per year can be quite helpful to a new homeowner.

So, what can you do to boost your score?

Make corrections

Since you have access to free credit reports be sure to go through your detailed report a few months before you plan to apply for a mortgage. Report any harmful errors to help you increase your score.

Don’t apply for new credit

The period from now until you apply for a mortgage is an important one. If you make new credit inquiries (i.e., open up new credit cards, take out new loans, etc.), your score will temporarily decrease. Wait until after you sign on your mortgage to take out other loans.