How Much Money Can You Really Make Selling Old Stuff?

Where to Start Making Money Selling Old Stuff

Last Updated on

Selling Old Stuff – You’ve probably heard about the second hand economy.

You might be familiar with how it works - selling, buying, swapping or exchanging used goods.

But you might not know is how much you can actually make using it.

In the United States, the secondhand clothes market has grown 21 times faster than retail sales of new clothing, over the past three years.

As of last year, the entire sub-industry was valued at $34 billion in Australia alone.

Where to Start Making Money Selling Old Stuff
Making Money Selling Old Stuff – Source: Unsplash

Where to Start Making Money Selling Old Stuff?

Let’s face it, not everything we want to buy needs to be brand new.

Purchasing used or second hand goods is good for the environment plus your wallet.

According to research by Gumtree Australia, 90% of Aussies have purchased a second hand item at some stage.

62% of Australians buy something second hand at least once a year, saving almost half the cost of what they would pay for a new item.

But what about getting rid of old stuff?

Donating to charity is a good way to get rid of your old things and help others at the same time.

Do your research before you choose a charity and donate items the charity can actually make use of.

There are certain rules and guidelines on what sort of clothes and items charities accept.

Many people are not aware of this, which leads to charities being flooded with clothes they cannot process.

In this day and age we also can’t ignore the possibilities that the Internet provides!

For most people looking to sell off second-hand items, heading online will be their first point-of-call.

According to Gumtree Australia, 88% of people prefer selling their used things online.

Using various online platforms allows you to sell almost anything to anyone in the world.

second hand economy making money
second hand economy making money

You are not limited to a certain location, it doesn’t take much time and you can make some good money doing so.

Let’s Talk Numbers ~ How big is the Second Hand Economy

Now that you know that the second hand economy is something you should pay more attention to, let’s discuss how much you can actually make selling old stuff.

According to research, in Australia only, the average number of unused items per household is 25.

This could net the average household up to $4,200.

It’s estimated that around 100 million used goods were sold online in the past year.

Think of all the unused things hidden in your garage or attic.

You could hold on to it just in case.

Perhaps it’s time to admit that you will never use it again, and turn it into some extra cash.

You don’t need to be an experienced seller to make some money in the second hand economy.

As the Gumtree report shows, about 1.3 million Aussies made money selling online for the first time via their platform.

According to the research, in 2018 an average seller could make $1,577.

Millenials are the most active group on the second hand market.

61% of them have sold something online in the past year, making on average $1,958.

Generation X is right behind them, as 54% of them sold used goods online with average earnings of $1,637.

Baby boomers are not slacking either, 51% of them participated in the second hand economy in the past 12 months, cashing in $910 on average.

What can you sell

The answer is simple - anything.

The best way to go about it is to start with decluttering your space.

We all have things we don’t use, need or want. Go through your closet, clean out your garage, check your attic.

Spring cleaning or moving house is a great opportunity to find a lot of unused items in your household.

According to the Gumtree report, 65% of unwanted items are clothes, shoes and accessories.

If you’re bored of your old clothes don’t let them sit in your closet for ages.

If you haven’t worn it in the past 12 months, you will probably never wear it again.

Sell it online, make some extra money and free up that space.

The same goes for other items.

The most reported unwanted goods are books (57%), DVDs and CDs (54%), games and toys (48%), and electronic goods (47%).

But don’t be discouraged if your used items don’t fall into these categories - as they say: one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

So if there’s something you don’t need anymore, there’s a good chance there is someone out there looking for it.

Rural Property Investment: The Pros & Cons Of Investing In Rural Locations

Rural Property Investment: The Pros & Cons Of Investing rural property

Last Updated on

Rural Property Investment – There are about 60 million people, or one in five Americans, who live in rural areas in 2017, according to the US Census.

These people opted to enjoy rural living by residing on farmhouses, ranches, lake houses, or in cottages within the forests or on top of the mountains for a variety of reasons.

But is it really better to invest in rural properties instead of choosing to stay in the city?

Rural Property Investment: The Pros & Cons

Here are the advantages and disadvantages that you must consider when thinking about owning or investing in a rural property.

Rural Property Investment: The Pros & Cons Of Investing rural property
Rural Property Investment: The Pros & Cons Of Investing In Rural Locations

Advantages Of Investing In Rural Properties

Those who are thinking of owning a rural property can have a lot of options since there are a lot of properties available in the country.

This is because the US is composed of 97 percent of rural mass land while only 19.3 percent of the country’s population chose to live there.

Because of the lack of competition in rural areas, property prices are lower compared to those sold in the urban areas.

Most of the time, investing in a rural property only requires you to pay less than half of the price of a home in big metropolitan cities.

Also, there are fewer restrictions in rural property development compared to urban properties.

Most importantly, you can consider buying a rural property for your long-term goals.

This is caused by the continuous growth in urban and suburban populations every year.

You may invest in a very cheap rural property then sell it in a much higher value in the future.

If you are thinking of a property in Austin, Texas, you can take advantage of offers from Paradisa Homes and other real estate development teams to help you plan and construct the rural property of your dreams.

Disadvantages Of Investing In Rural Properties

Since the population is scarce in rural areas, you might not enjoy the same quality of public services that one might get in the metropolitan cities.

This means that there will be fewer hospitals, shopping centers, or federal offices near your location.

Also, investing in rural properties can be a risky move due to the small property market in the area.

The economic opportunities could also be very limited because of the fewer demand in these parts of the country.

In fact, you might have to think twice if you are planning to loan a huge amount to buy a property in the rural area.

This is because it is not advisable to have the property rented and depend on its revenue to pay for the loan.

In addition, rural areas have limited tourist attractions compared to bigger urban cities.

This could be a disadvantage for those who are planning to invest in a property in these areas.

These advantages and disadvantages will allow you to have an idea about what it is like to own a rural property.

It will also let you decide if you want to push through with the plan to own a property in the rural areas or not.

But buying a rural property can still be a wise decision.

This will happen if you are willing to accept the fact that not all perks that you will enjoy the city are available in these areas.

But if you want the peace and quiet that comes with living in rural locations, then a property in this place will be the best choice for you.

Desert Wildlife Tucson Homesteading ~ Seeing desert wildlife

desert wildlife Tucson

Last Updated on

One of the benefits to rural living is seeing wildlife. When we set up our homestead in Tucson, Arizona, we didn’t expect to see desert wildlife on our property daily.

Mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians are right outside our window. Once there was a lizard in our kitchen sink.

We’ve seen a mountain lion snatch a rabbit. Another time, we watched a Gila monster amble by.

In addition, we’ve seen a variety of snakes, javelinas, bobcats, coyotes, roadrunners, packrats, kangaroo rats, ground squirrels, raccoons, a variety of toads and lizards, quail families, hawks, roadrunners, rabbits, bats, and owls. 

While Tucson is a thriving city, we live in an area of town very close to the base Mt. Lemmon. It’s northeast of downtown Tucson in an area called Tanque Verde.

There is abundant wildlife in this area of native desert habitat. We see fauna on our property, traveling through dry washes in search of prey, and when we are out driving or walking along the dirt roads and paved streets. 

We will continue to update this is pictures and videos of wildlife.

Desert wildlife Tucson

Many types of wildlife thrive in the desert. Here is some of what we’ve seen.

Tucson desert snakes rattlesnake
Just another snake in the road

snakes in Tucson

Snakes in Tucson

We’ve had our fair share of snakes on our property, including several western diamondback rattlesnakes. There was even a rattlesnake in our pool which we relocated to outside our pool wall with a snake grabber. 

No matter what, we keep a safe distance from all snakes. About half the time they’ve been western diamondback rattlesnakes. The other times they were the very similar-looking, non-venomous snakes. 

A few times we’ve seen (non-venomous) Sonoran Mountain Kingsnakes on the road. They resemble the Sonoran Coralsnake which is venomous. There are many varieties of snakes in the Sonoran Desert. 

Desert dwellers love having non-venomous snakes on their property. (More reptiles below.)

Mammals in the Sonoran Desert

Before moving to Tucson, we didn’t expect to see so many desert mammals. We see coyotes and bobcats regularly. 

Bobcats 

We see bobcats often, but there is one we see regularly taking the same path.

The bobcat comes out and walks under along the front of our shaded house to where we can no longer see it to hunt. We see it on his/her way back with something in its mouth.

We’re not sure if they are packrats, ground squirrels, kangaroo rats or other small mammals.

One time, we scrambled to video the baby bobcats when we saw a bobcat with her babies. They were so cute!

Coyotes

We see coyotes galore outside our front window and in our neighborhood.

Coyotes cross Catalina Highway, Tanque Verde Loop Road, and Soldier Trail at dusk. We see them in the washes and often trotting down the street. 

Once, when I was walking behind a residential neighborhood approximately two miles from my home, eight coyotes crossed the road. They were half a block ahead of me — they just kept coming, one after the other! They didn’t pay me any attention, however, I turned and walked back from where I came from!

desert wildlife deer
We see lots of deer in the spring.

White tailed deer and mule deer

deer eating barrel cactus

While we’ve seen deer within a mile radius of our home, this past spring and into early summer is the first time we saw them on our property. We saw them five different times. 

deer in Tucson

Sometimes they were just passing through and other times, they stayed awhile to eat from the tops of the barrel cactus and from some bushes.

Mountain lions

Twice we’ve seen mountain lions. Each time, there was just one of them.

While it was in different years, the mountain lion was in our property in June, before the monsoons.

Both times, at first we thought it was a very large bobcat. However, mountain lions stand taller and are larger. When we learned there were mountain lion sightings in the Tanque Verde area, we realized that’s what it was. There were several posts about mountain lions on the neighborhood NextDoor site.

Javelinas 

We see javelinas often around dusk. Homeowners know to keep their garbage cans secure so the javelinas don’t tip them over. 

Like with all wildlife, residents here know not to approach javelinas.

Sonoran Desert mammals: rabbits, badger, bats, raccoons, pack rats

Other desert mammals we’ve seen around are black-tailed jackrabbits, a badger, Harris’ antelope squirrels (we thought they were chipmunks), pack rats, kangaroo rats, ground squirrels, a coati, bats, and raccoons.

We saw raccoons with a toad. My husband shined a light on them to see them better. A few minutes later, the raccoons came back, stood on their hind legs, and peered into our window. They wanted to see what the light was! It was incredible to see how smart they were. 

So far we haven’t smelled or seen any skunks near our property though I did see one while camping at Molino Basin on Mt. Lemmon.

Arachnids in Tucson

Spiders in the Sonoran desert

Most of the spiders we’ve seen have been “good spiders.” These include wolf spiders and tarantulas. We leave these spiders alone — transport them outside — because they help with pest control. 

Tarantula
Tarantula in Tucson desert

We’ve had wolf spiders in our home — including our stove-top!

There are tarantulas as well. You will especially see them active at night. 

So far we haven’t seen brown recluse spiders or black widows. 

Scorpions 

We learned the more residential the area, the greater chance scorpions will be inside your home.

The more rural your property, the less likely you will find them inside. This has been the case with us and our Tucson scorpion experience.

Our first home in Tucson was in a gated community — not very rural — and we had scorpions in our pool, out on our patio, and inside our home frequently. Now that we live in a rural setting, we’ve only had them a few times inside our home.

We’ve seen bark scorpions and whip-tailed scorpions since living here.

Reptiles in Tucson

We’ve already written about desert-dwelling snakes. In addition, we see various types of lizards daily. 

greater short-horned lizard in a nearby wash
greater short-horned lizard in a nearby wash

Lizards

We see them so regularly we don’t think to take a picture. Soon we will add some pics. 

desert wildlife Tucson Gila monster
Gila monster outside our window

Gila monsters

We’ve seen Gila monsters along the side of the road several times, in different locations in our local area.

In addition, we’ve had three sightings on our property in different places in two years.

Turtles and tortoises

When we visit Agua Caliente Park, we are sure to see turtles in the ponds.

In addition, many people are custodians of Sonoran Desert Tortoises outside their homes. The Sonoran-Desert Museum has a Tortoise Adoption Program and offers a lot of information

Birds in the Sonoran Desert

Roadrunners, quail, hummingbirds, and hawks are a few of the birds we often see. We see cardinals, wrens, doves, and woodpeckers. There are other desert-loving birds as well.

We see woodpeckers on the high reaches of saguaro cactus. Hawks soar through the sky. At dusk, there are different bird species that swoop down by our pool.

Depending on the time of year, we see quail families — the adults quail shepherding their little baby quail. It’s common to see them crossing the road.

We see great horned owls also. Twice we’ve had mallard ducks in our pool.

quail eggs desert wildlife Tucson
We had quail eggs in one of our planters.

Nearby Agua Caliente Park has many bird-watching opportunities. They have a board outside which lists all the bird species common to the Tucson area. It lists which birds are present year round, which are present in the winter and summer, and which are migratory. It also lists if the birds are common, uncommon, or rare. 

Visitors and staff can mark off the birds they see in the park that month.

There are many bird species in Tucson. 

Amphibians in the desert

Frogs and toads

We see tadpoles in the washes in the spring. In the summer, we see frogs and toads galore — some big, some small.

Some are outside our patio doors at night and some we find swimming in our pool during the day.

Common Sonoran desert toads include the Colorado river toad. We see them often. They are harmful to dogs. We don’t touch any toads (or any other living thing).

Africanized killer bees
Africanized killer bees on our property

Insects in the desert

There are many types of insects in Tucson. What we see depends on the temperature, season and weather.

wildlife and insects in Tucson

A lot also depends on how much rain we did or didn’t get. We’ve seen so many different insects living here. 

After a rain, our pool will be filled with flying ants. When we turn on an outside light, we attract many different species, including many beetles.

There is always something interesting coming or going!

bee on desert bloom
bee on desert bloom

Desert wildlife in Tucson

There are many places to visit in Tucson to see wildlife.

If you enjoy seeing them in their desert habitats, you may get to see them when you visit Saguaro National Park, Sabino Canyon, or driving out to Redington Pass. 

In addition, the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum is 21 acres of desert in which you can see animals in a desert setting. You can also see the pollinator gardens, walk through the aviary, and see other animals such as the Mexican gray wolf, Black bear, Bighorn sheep, javelinas, and more.

Taking a drive up Mount Lemmon will take you to additional eco-systems, depending how far up you go. Starting off, there are opportunities to see wildlife in a desert setting. The higher up you go — it reaches 9,157 feet — you will see different wildlife.

There is also the Reid Park Zoo.

Tucson desert wildlife

Our property feels very rural. Over time, we’ve set up solar, a water harvesting system, gardens, a woodworking area, hydroponics, and more.

Our two-acre homestead affords us privacy. However, everything we are doing to have a more rural experience we could do with much less land. We love seeing the wildlife and try to keep as much of the property native desert so we can encourage wildlife habitats.

It’s important to note, we don’t feed any wildlife. We don’t have bird feeders. Also, our garbage cans are in a secured area so javelinas can’t get to them.

In addition, we don’t have pets. So there isn’t a barking dog to scare away wildlife. Animals come and go — able to pass by undisturbed. 

We had no idea there were so many species of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and insects native to Tucson. On any given day, we can see 10+ different types of animals and other wildlife. It’s really an incredible experience. 

Desert fauna abounds here near the base of Mt. Lemmon. It’s truly the Sonoran desert wildlife experience. 

What No One Tells You About Selling a Home

Last Updated on

What No One Tells You About Selling a Home – If you are about to sell your first home, you’re likely to be in for a surprise with the many unexpected preparations that need to be made.

Something no one seems to tell you it, if you don’t do it right, is that it could linger on the market for quite a while.

What No One Tells You About Selling a Home

For example, houses for sale in Ottawa spend an average of 43 days, but in other places it could be much longer – the ones that seem to sell the fastest usually do so because they’ve followed these important tips. 

Hire a Professional Photographer

Curb appeal is no longer a potential buyer’s first impression, the Internet is.

How your home looks online can make a significant difference in how fast it sells.

In fact, analysis has shown that a home with professional real estate photography sells 32% faster.

If it doesn’t appeal online, those buyers will quickly move on.

Professional photos can show your home in the very best light to get those buyers through your door.

What No One Tells You About Selling a Home

You Will Need Storage Space

Once those buyers start coming to take a look at your home, you don’t want to have any clutter or junk hanging around.

In fact, the fewer personal things in it the better which means you may need to pack quite a bit and find a place to store those items.

Closets will need to be mostly empty and bulky furniture, which may make your home feel smaller than it is, will need to be stored.

You’ll want to take down family photos and other personal mementos down and store those too.

And you shouldn’t just stick it all in the garage so you may need to rent a storage unit. 

Show Ready at All Times

One of the hardest things about having your home up for sale is that your realtor will call you on a moment’s notice to tell you that a potential buyer would like to view your home.

That can mean that you have just an hour to clean up and leave the premises for the viewing so it will need to be in show-ready condition at all times, and ideally, you’ll need to be ready to leave so the buyer can feel comfortable thoroughly checking it out.

The bottom line is, plan on being flexible with your daily schedule and be extra diligent about keeping it clean.

Be Prepared to Negotiate Everything

Negotiations are usually part of the process – you’ll have to be ready to negotiate everything down to which appliances the buyer keeps to the closing costs.

Just because you’ve listed your home for a specific price, doesn’t mean that potential buyer won’t want to try to get it reduced.

They may want the refrigerator and other kitchen appliances, washer and dryer, and perhaps negotiate things like the inspection and other closing costs.

They might even ask you to throw a piece of furniture into the deal.

Anything and everything has a price but if you’re aware beforehand it will allow you to roll with the punches, be less stressed and more open for what might lie ahead.

Factors That Limit The Refinancing or Financing of Rural Properties

Last Updated on

Refinancing or Financing of Rural Properties – Despite 97% of America’s land area being rural, only 19.3% of the population lives there according to Census Bureau.

This can be attributed to several factors including desirable amenities in urban areas.

One major factor that, however, facilitates this phenomenon is the fact that financing or refinancing a rural property is way harder than an urban or suburban one.

Financing of Rural Properties

Even with federal programs such as the USDA loans that are aimed at encouraging home ownership in rural areas, getting money to buy a rural home is still hard.

Truth is, it takes a lot more to buy and develop a rural space or property compared to an urban one. Why?
Refinancing or Financing of Rural Properties

Absence of Standard Utilities

Most rural properties lack utilities that are considered basic such as electricity and safe drinking water.

A factor that might deter mortgage lenders.

One may encounter problems with financial institutions in cases where the rural home’s water supply is from a well, which occurs more often than not.

They may decide to completely refuse to finance the purchase or hold off a certain percentage of the agreed amount until the water is tested.

Luckily, taking a water potability test early on before approaching these rural property finance lenders should be able to help eliminate this challenge.

Once the test which is done by the municipality or county proves the well water meets the guidelines of drinking water quality, lenders will be more open to the idea of financing or refinancing the property in question.

Lenders Dislike Uncertainty

Purchasing a rural home is harder because the rural property market is not as predictable as the urban property market.

A factor that makes mortgage lenders more hesitant. Lenders dislike uncertainties.

Normally, an individual seeking a mortgage loan has to present the lender with an appraisal report.

Now, appraisal, which is a fancy term for determining the value of something, is usually based on using the values of at least 3 houses sold in the last 6 months within a mile of the subject property.

Rural areas are sparsely populated and there way fewer houses that can be used to draw the value of the property.

The uncertain estimates which may be far from the property’s true value make lenders more unlikely to grant loans since they like working with known quantities.

The Zoning, Size, and Use of Property In Question

Most rural properties are zoned into two categories; country residential and agricultural.

The first features small parcels of land say 1-3 acres.

Most property lenders prefer loaning cash for residential homes.

If the size of a property features a large land, a farm, livestock, a barn, etc., one is advised to seek the loan to finance the purchase from a local bank that finances farms or an agricultural lender.

Alternatively, the extra areas which are not inclusive of the garage, home, and 5-10 acres are not made part of the mortgage loan to value calculations. What No One Tells You About Selling a Home

Strict Loan Requirements When Refinancing or Financing of Rural Properties

Federal government programs that offer loans to support rural development have very strict requirements.

The United States Department of Agriculture, for example, does not issue loans.

Instead, it acts as a guarantor so one still has to find and convince the lending firm alone.

In cases where it does offer direct loans, not many can meet the set standards.

They only offer these direct loans to very low and low-income individuals whose income must be below 80% of the locality’s median salary.

If a property is far from a major city and therefore harder to get to or if the property is inaccessible due to bad roads, property lenders will most likely turn down a loan request.

Location, utilities, size, zoning, and challenges in establishing value are all factors that make it harder to get a lender to finance or refinance a rural home purchase.

This is however not to mean the venture is impossible.

All one has to do is find fair lenders available in the specific type of property they wish to buy and to take necessary precautions to ensure the loan is approved.

10 Reasons to get a Home Generator

Last Updated on

One of the gifts you can give to yourself or your family is a home generator.

We can’t depend on the general power supply 24/7 because it may fail at a crucial moment.

Many areas experience power outages frequently, while some see it once in a while.

But the important thing is your preparations for a backup light during those times.

Don’t forget, without electricity; many things can go wrong in a home.

Apart from the obvious which is providing light, many of the appliances we use need constant power to function.

Even our food, water and sometimes health depends on electricity.

So, if you’re yet to invest in a home generator, think hard about it now.

Types of Home generators

There are many choices when it comes to home generators.

We have the inverter units, portable brands and even the standby ones.

If you prefer a portable home generator, you should prepare for gasoline and suitable housing for it.

As for the standby types, you’ll prepare for natural gas or propane.

These standby home generators are usually ready to provide power to the house immediately the general source defaults.

As for the inverter generators, you can enjoy more peace with them than with the others.

The main thing about using any home generator is to operate it safely by reading and obeying the instructions on the operational manual.

Reasons to get a Home Generator

Why You Must Get A Home Generator

We’ve seen the types out there but why do you need one at home?

Generators For emergency

Okay, so we know that power outages can happen suddenly when you are not expecting it.

If you don’t have a home generator, what will you do?

What if you were using the electric cooker?

If you don’t have a home generator, how will you complete it?

Sometimes, we lose power due to a bad weather condition, will your home remain pitch dark until when?

The best generator for emergencies is to, get a home generator and be ready all the time.

Generator for your home office

Did you know that many professionals are working from home these days?

What if you decide to join them, are you going to depend on the general source of light?

Are you already a work-at-home executive?

We advise you to get a home generator soon.

That way you can protect your business or work from the effects of power failure.

Our food depends on light

How are you going to cope if the power goes off when your freezer is packed with food?

We usually have many perishables at home, and without light, we may lose a lot of money.

So, get a home generator today and avoid the grocery store.

To protect your properties

Did you know that power outages can cause damages to your property?

Miscreants may use such opportunities to enter your home when you’re away.

So, if you need your security system to be active in your absence, get a standby home generator.

Generator For outdoor activities

One of the best times to enjoy your home generator is during camping, outdoor parties, or when working around the house.

If you buy one of the most portable generators out there, you can use it for felling trees or pressure washing.

The point is that your home generator is not only for emergency.

Inverter Generator To power medical device

Many seniors today rely on one medical device or the other.

I personally have a CPAP.

I have both a small 2000 watt inverter generator and a solar generator I take camping / traveling.

Some of these smart devices depend on constant electricity to function.

If you don’t keep a home generator handy, what will they do when the power goes off suddenly?

What about a family member who may need to live on medical equipment due to accidents or prolonged illness?

You can’t leave them at the mercy of the public source of power or, you may lose them suddenly.

Honda Generator
Honda Generator

Home generator ensures constant water

Many people who use well water can’t afford to stay without a constant source of power.

At least if the power suddenly goes off, you can be sure of clean water for your needs.

Generator To recharge your car

If you’re driving a car that works with electricity, you must get a portable generator to carry with you all the time.

At least, you won’t need to call 911 from a deserted road.

Protection in the high-risk climate area

If you’re living in an area prone to adverse weather conditions, you must buy a home generator.

For instance, some countries experience hot temperature while others endure very cold weather all year round.

If you happen to be in either of these places, you must get a home generator for your air conditioner or heating system.

Sump Pump Generator

One of the places to store spare properties is the basement.

Some people even use it to create a sleeping space.

Many houses also have crawl spaces, and you can only keep these areas dry with a sump pump.

Therefore, if you want to protect your stuff, get a backup generator.

Conclusion for why you need a home generator

As my father would say, “Because I said so!”

There’re many reasons to buy a home generator.

We all know that our daily lives depend so much on electricity.

So, it’s wise to provide an alternative source of power for when the grid goes down or is not available.

At least we can be sure of comfort, protection and productivity even in the darkest nights.

Air Conditioning Maintenance 101

Last Updated on

Air Conditioning Maintenance – By keeping your air conditioner well-maintained, not only will you avoid costly repair bills in the long term, but it can help reduce your energy costs right away.

When an air conditioner is in disrepair or even when there’s just dirt built upon the components, it has to work a lot harder to keep working.

Each year, air conditioners will cost homeowners $29 billion a year– and that’s in energy costs alone.

When you figure in maintenance and replacements, that number can quickly end up being more than half a trillion dollars a year.

Whether you’re looking for air conditioning installation in Aurora, CO, or want to ensure that your current system lasts another decade, these are maintenance steps you should keep in mind.

Air Conditioning Maintenance

The savings you get will probably be worth a small investment, too.

Below are the steps you may want to take to keep your air conditioner well-maintained all year.

Air Conditioning Maintenance
Air Conditioning Maintenance 101

Check, Clean, and Replace AC Filters

Having new, clean filters can reduce the energy consumption of your air conditioner by as much as 15%, according to the US Department of Energy.

Clean filters make it much easier for air to pass through them.

This allows the machine to work more efficiently.

Choosing the right filter may be a bit of a chore if you haven’t replaced your screens in a while.

However, once you know what you need, finding your next replacement will be a breeze.

Depending on the type of filter you purchase and your environment, how often you need to change your filters will vary.

However, most filters for home AC units will need to be replaced once a month or once every four weeks.

Air Conditioning Maintenance Clean Out Vents, Drains, and Coils

Your unit should be kept as clean as possible both inside and out…including portable air conditioners.

Any type of dirt on a coil, fin, and in a vent can block airflow and end up costing you more and more over time.

Pets, plants near an outdoor unit, or living in a rural area may mean you need to spend more time maintaining these types of things.

After cleaning, it’s a good idea to inspect any vents for leaks or damage.

Weather and wildlife can cause problems with any ventilation or air conditioning system.

Check to make sure vents are solid, airflow is steady, and all fins are in their original positions.

The condensation drain should also be maintained once in a while.

Doing so can help prevent the formation of clogs that may lead to necessary, costly repairs.

If a clog does occur, and you don’t catch it quickly, water damage may lead to more than a cosmetic imperfection.

You could end up with a weak or collapsed floor, mold, or worse.

Professional AC Maintenance

Every few years it’s a good idea to bring in a professional to take care of tasks like these as well as some maintenance tasks you may not be able, trained, or comfortable enough to do yourself.

For example, a professional can check refrigerant levels and replace it, if needed.

They can also perform several tests with specialized equipment that can quickly check the efficiency of your unit.

Clever Ways to Extend the Space of Your Rural Home

Last Updated on

Rural Home – Size of America’s homes are shrinking, according to Business Insider, with higher construction costs and higher wages charged by builders affecting both city and rural homeowners alike.

Even if you have a sizeable rural home, new additions to the family, a change on your home business, or even a new hobby can require an extension of space.

Clever Ways to Extend the Space of Your Rural Home

From glass extensions to a dedicated cabin for guests or your home business, there are many ways to create contrasting yet complementary spaces that fit into the natural surrounds.

Let in the Light

Glass has been touted a ‘modern’ material since the 1970s, yet if this material has one appealing quality, it is its ability to complement any style – from art deco to traditional brick, and of course, simple minimalistic constructions.

If you have enough space on either side of your home, adding a sunroom with glazed glass and an insulated roof and wall will enable you to enjoy floods of natural light while staying warm.

For inspiration on how glass can be used to increase space, check out work by Koichi Takada Architects, who recently topped traditional brick archways in Sydney with a stunning round glass tower.

Extending Outdoor Space

Building an al fresco terrace with the help of a remote control pergola or constructing a permanent flat roof to cover your terraced space will enable you to create various additional spaces in your home.

One terrace can house three or more spaces, including a resting area, dining room, and TV area.

Ideally, this space should have glass sliding doors or moveable crystal walls, to keep you safe from the elements in cold or hot weather.

Terraces can be pushed further forward through the use of decking.

Cedar, pine, and wood are some of the most popular choices for wooden decks.
Extend the Space of Your Rural Home

Investing in an Independent Log Cabin

Ample plots of lands can definitely benefit from a log cabin construction.

Depending on how you wish to use the space, your cabin can contain specific pictures that will enhance your working or living experience.

Understanding what goes into log cabin plans is key, as it will stop you from making mistakes that can be expensive to fix.

Important considerations to consider include the number of stories you need, how much light your cabin will need, and whether or not you will need a basement.

If your cabin will be used for anything other than storage, make natural light a priority.

Large windows, sliding doors, and atrium rooftop are just a few ways to up the appeal factor of your cabin.

Adding Height

High ceilings add major style to living areas, increasing volume considerably and relaxing the mind by opening up available space.

If you have an attic, you can probably raise the ceiling in the space beneath it.

If you have a stick roof, you may have to remove the existing roof and build a completely new one.

You should also inquire about any building regulations, since a permit may be necessary before you create more vertical space.

Most people who own rural homes have one luxury that urban dwellers crave: space.

By either extending your home or building an entirely new space on your land, you can create your own home office or guests house without breaking the bank.

To whiz your home into the future, vertical height is definitely the way to go, since it will significantly increase volume and create the airy, elegant look that is gracing luxury homes featured in home style magazines across the globe.

Generator Extended Warranty Considerations: Is an Extended Warranty Worth Your Money?

Extended Generator Warranty

Last Updated on

Generator Extended Warranty Considerations – Generators are vital for ensuring your home is safe and warm even during an emergency.

Portable generators help you take the comforts of home with you while camping or RV’ing.

They’re also an investment, and you want to make sure that investment stands the test of time.

Generator Extended Warranty Considerations

Making a smart buying decision is vital here.

You need to buy a generator designed by a well-known manufacturer from a reputable retailer.

However, what about once you get that generator installed and operating?

What happens when things go wrong?

Generator Extended Warranty
Generator Extended Warranty

Your Generator Manufacturer’s Warranty – How Long Will It Last?

In most situations, your generator will come with a warranty from the manufacturer.

The length of that warranty will vary depending on the type of generator.

Portable generators usually have a shorter warranty than larger, stationary generators designed to power an entire home.

You could be looking at three to five years of protection or you could be looking at a warranty that lasts about a year.

Some manufacturers only offer a couple of months.

Does it make sense to buy an extended warranty?

The first tip here is to know how long you’re covered by the manufacturer.

You also need to consider how long you expect the generator to last.

Is this something that you’ll depend on year in and year out, or is it something that you’ll be happy getting a year or two of use out of?

Most of us are going to want to get as much use as possible out of a generator.

Now you have another option – do you buy a generator with an extended warranty included or do you purchase a warranty separately?

Buying an Extended Warranty at the Time of Purchase

Your generator is a significant investment, but buying an extended warranty at the time of purchase is going to dramatically increase your costs.

Is it worth the extra?

Not really.

Why is that?

Again, your generator is going to be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty already.

So, you’re essentially paying for protection that you’re not going to need for what may be several years down the road.

For instance, Honda covers their larger generators for five years, while Generac offers protection for three years after your purchase.

Buying an extended warranty now makes little sense.

Why pay for coverage when you won’t need it?

Buying a Generator Extended Warranty Later

So, we’ve established that it doesn’t make much financial sense to buy an extended warranty on a brand-new generator.

But what about an older one?

One that might be nearing the end of its manufacturer coverage?

Absolutely.

Extended appliance warranties are smart investments when your existing protection is about to expire.

They ensure that if something does occur with your appliance, you’ll have a way to get it repaired or replaced without having to foot the bill for a brand new model.

Are All Generator Extended Warranty Companies the Same?

Let’s make this as clear as possible – no.

There’s plenty that could go wrong if you choose a poor warranty provider.

Some warranty companies have prohibitive exclusions that might mean even though you’ve paid for the protection, they won’t cover your generator.

Yet others may require that you use a specific repair center that’s located far from you, or they might be difficult to get a hold of when you need to file a claim.

Other companies may not be around when you need them.

It’s sad to say, but warranty companies can lack stability and if they’ve closed their doors after you buy, there is really no way to get your money back or to have your generator repaired or replaced.

That begs the question – how do you ensure you’re working with a reputable warranty provider?

What sets one generator warranty insurer apart from another?

  • There When You Need Them: Make sure that any insurers you’re considering have a reputation for outstanding customer support and service. They must be there when you need them.
  • Exclusions: Take a long, hard look at any exclusions before signing on the dotted line.
  • Cost: The cost should not be exorbitant, and the fee structure should not be set up to charge you multiple times for the same repair.

With a little research and some time spent comparing your options, it’s entirely possible to find a reputable warranty company that will protect your investment and give you peace of mind.

Natural Lawn Care Tips and Hacks to Save Time and Money

Last Updated on

Natural Lawn Care tips – Last weekend, we mowed our lawn for the first time this year.

From the sound of it (and the smell of freshly cut grass), the neighbors are in the full swing of lawn care as well.

We have dogs, children, and a desire to be good stewards of our immediate environment, so this year, we’re looking for ways to practice natural spring lawn care.

Turns out, there are surprisingly easy and cheap ways to have a natural lawn.

Natural Lawn Care Tips and Hacks

Natural Weed Control: Let it Grow

Instead of spraying pesticides on the weeds in your lawn, simply set your lawnmower on the highest cut setting (3-4 inches).

Why?

Because whether it be your grass or the weeds in your grass, whichever plant gets the most sunlight is going to thrive.

Want to choke out the weeds?

Simply help the grass ‘win.’

It’s really as simple as that, and you’ll enjoy thicker, more plush grass in your yard as well.

Mowing high has other benefits: you’ll offer more shade to the soil, which means it will need less watering, and have thicker turf, which in turn will leave less room for weeds.

Note: According to The Daily Green, clover is not a weed, and should be welcome in your lawn.
Natural Lawn Care Tips and Hacks

Water Savings: Deprive the Weeds

Many people — myself included for some time — believe having a lawn necessitates using a lot of water.

This is not so.

In fact, experts recommend watering less frequently to have a well-cared for lawn.

The reason: if you water less frequently with Gilmour garden sprinklers, it forces grass roots to dig down deeper (deeper than the weed roots.)

Then when the top soil becomes dry, the weeds die while the grass continues to thrive.

Water only when you start to see signs of need in your lawn, and then water thoroughly.

Tip: Place a measuring cup in your watering zone, and make sure it fills with one cup of water during your watering session.

Organic Fertilizing: Less is More

You want to use natural organic fertilizer, but which kind?

First, don’t over think it.

For starters, leave grass clippings on your lawn.

When you bag them and take them away, you leave the top soil exposed.

Eventually, it will be dirt, not soil.

When you do fertilize with a natural organic fertilizer, use 1/3 of the amount recommended on the package. Combine this with compost in spring and fall.

As for what fertilizer you need, this depends on the problem in your yard.

Get the pH balance of your lawn professionally tested, and then use a fertilizer guide to find the correct natural fertilizer for the job.

The key to using less fertilizer is to use the exact type you need, and to use it moderately.

Lawn Alternatives: Who Needs Grass?

Do you really need a lawn of green grass?

How about a Greenhouse?

If you live in an area of water shortages or intense summer heat, you may have already switched to a lawn alternative.

If not, consider the following:

Rock or cactus garden:

Done well, a rock garden can be beautiful, and very peaceful to overlook while sitting on an outdoor deck or sun porch.

Plus you’re saving even more than a natural lawn care gardener on water usage and upkeep.

Natural meadow:

I’ve been hearing more and more about converting lawns to meadows lately.

Should you create a backyard meadow?

Your cost will include wildflower and wild grass seed (one-time only), then light watering and only once-annual mowing.

The result is a tranquil space that attracts butterflies, honey bees and birds, is lovely to see, and easy to maintain.

It’s important to consider how you use and enjoy your lawn.

Think about what yard care do you actually enjoy doing?

Green natural lawn

Easy ways to have a natural lawn

The good news: whether you practice organic gardening, organic lawn care or opt for a lawn alternative, you’ll save time, money, and effort over those struggling to maintain a lawn in synthetic or un-eco-friendly ways.

There are many time-saving and money-saving ways to have a natural lawn.

At my house, we’ll be putting more emphasis on making our yard more environmentally friendly and on enjoying our yard space than on maintaining how it looks!