Zahra Zoglauer's Blog
Chimney maintenance and repair is incredibly important. You need to complete certain tasks to ensure that your fireplace is working safely and effectively. There’s no better time than the off season to get these tasks in order.
Remember that you should only burn dry wood in your fireplace. Although fireplaces aren’t high on the technology spectrum, they do require some effort to keep in working order. Failure to do so can result in smoke and even a chimney fire. Soot build up can put a damper on the proper ventilation of the chimney. The soot is partly a result of creosote- a combustible, tar-like substance. It’s a natural by-product of wood that has been burned. With reduced ventilation, the creosote will cause potentially dangerous build up.
While creosote itself is not flammable, it can cause the chimney to clog and structural damage could result. It’s important to properly maintain your chimney in order to prevent dangerous oil build-up that can cause a chimney fire.
A professional can come and inspect your fireplace and chimney. They can check for damage, obstructions, build-up, or soot. The inspector will be able to determine if you need a sweep of your chimney. The inspector will be able to do the sweep on the spot in most cases. An inspection of your chimney should take place every year.
There are different levels of chimney inspections that occur. Basic inspections are a visual look at anything that could be in your chimney from soot to a bird’s nest. More complex inspections could involve taking the chimney apart and physically reconstructing the structure. This would occur after some kind of a natural disaster like a hurricane or a tornado. The cost of these inspections depends on how extensive they become.
You can improve your fireplace’s functioning with a few basic steps. Fist, you should only burn dry wood. Logs should be split and dried for 8-12 months. You should also burn certain types of wood especially hardwoods like hickory, oak, beech, maple and ash. These woods burn the longest. The most important thing about wood to be burned in the fireplace is that it is dry.
Burn Only Wood
It can be tempting to throw things into your fireplace to burn, but you should keep away from burning construction wood, plastics, or other things that could let off odors. Even burning paper can be dangerous because of the embers that result as the fire burns.
If you keep on top of your scheduled chimney maintenance and replace parts as needed, you’ll be able to have lovely fires all winter long with peace of mind.
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Dollar for dollar, you might determine that in this year, at this time, buying might be more to your advantage than renting. Alternatively, the numbers may show the opposite: that renting will save you money this year over buying. Given the conventional wisdom that buying is better on the one hand with your bottom line on the other, how do you decide?
The tangibles or the intangibles
Take the example of two identical homes in the same neighborhood. One is for rent, and the other is for sale. Do you choose to rent or to buy?
If tangibly (things you can accurately calculate) the dollars show that renting is less financial outgo (bottom line) than buying, you may choose to rent. However, buying might offset these tangibles with intangibles such as pride of ownership, the ability to make changes and upgrades, or the stability that comes with a fixed mortgage payment.
On the other hand, it might be that dollar for dollar, it would be less expensive for you to buy the home. In that case, is buying always the right decision? That depends. If you are new to an area, you may not be sure that this is the neighborhood for you. Renting for six months or a year gives you an out should you decide that you do not like it there. Perhaps the school does not have the right programs for your child, or you find the commute is too long to your place of work. Until you experience them, you may not be able to determine how these intangibles might affect you.
Another intangible is flexibility. If you are nearing starting a family, or conversely of becoming empty-nesters, locking down a home via purchase might not be the best choice, because you will have more options in just a year or two. Moreover, if you need to move, repeatedly buying and selling homes produces extra costs in addition to the down payment that you would not have as a renter that needs to move. These include broker and agent fees and closing costs.
Of course, as a renter, you always should prepare for the possibility of your rent increasing with each rental contract or lease. Also, your property owner could decide not to renew your lease for any number of reasons, so you may need to calculate the cost of moving every year or two as well.
Before taking the leap into home ownership or determining to stay in the rental market, talk with a financial professional to determine which scenario best meets your current and future needs.
You need a self-storage facility if you want to be more organized or you are moving to your new apartment. Now, how can you choose the right self-storage facility considering the numerous options available? These are the tips that will help you decide on the storage facility that is perfect for you:
Decide what you want to store
Before you start looking for the right facility to use, you need to know how much space you need. Knowing your space requirement is essential because you will see the type of unit to rent. If you have furniture, paperwork, antiques, boat or vehicle that requires storage, you will need more expansive space. In short, the type of facility you need depends on what you intend to store. For instance, your artwork and antiques require climate control while outdoor storage is perfect for your RV.
Check insurance requirements
Look at the renter's policy or your homeowner's insurance to check if it covers the items that you intend to store. Checking the insurance requirement is essential because the company might stipulate the storage that your insurance policy includes.
Check the facility features
Storage facilities that give you unrestricted access to your unit whenever you need it are the ones you should consider. Some facilities are only accessible during business hours while some have 24-hours access. The security of the facility is also an important consideration. Apart from having a fence and a gate, it should have a functioning surveillance camera.
Consider the distance
Driving across the town every time to get to your unit can be frustrating; therefore you should consider the distance when choosing a self-storage facility. It might just be worth paying a bit extra for your convenience.
Know the facility policies
All the facilities have their rules. It is vital that you check the facility policies before making your decision. Some do monthly rentals while others rent for a contracted period only. You should also note that most facilities have rules guiding the kind of items you can store in their facility. Therefore, beware of their policies and follow them.
Read online reviews
Check online to read reviews from previous users before you make your choice. Consider the facility that provides excellent service and is also convenient for you.
Regardless of the storage facility you intend to go for, be sure that their charges are within your budget, and it is convenient for you. Also find out their fines for late fees, long-term discounts and other offers you may be able to utilize.
A lot of people no longer cook with open fires in the world of today with natural gas, electricity, temperature controls, and other kitchen appliances. When you get a new oven for your kitchen with all the latest features and upgrades, there's not a lot you can't use it to do. Are you getting the best out of it though? Here are some tips to make sure that your new oven delivers the most utility to you:
Get rid of that new-oven smell.
New appliances come with that lovely smell that tells you that they are straight out of the production line. After removing all the packaging materials, wash the interior and racks to remove any substances that may remain from the factory like oils or manufacturing liquids. Open up your windows, turn up the oven to the highest temperature and let it run for about an hour. Let it cool down, clean it again. Repeat these steps once or twice more so that your food will not come out with a funny smell when you use your new oven.
Use the bottom drawer to warm food.
Most ovens come with a nice little drawer at the bottom. The drawer isn't a place to keep food while you are waiting to eat it. You should only use this drawer to warm food, not store your racks and baking pans. This warming drawer helps you to keep your food warm until it is ready for serving.
Rotate your cooking pans
After turning on your oven, the way the heat moves may be unpredictable sometimes. After preheating your oven and the heat starts to move around evenly, put your pans in for some time. Halfway through your cooking time, open the oven and turn the cooking pans around. And then swap the top pan with the bottom one if you are cooking with two pans at the same time. Rotating the pans helps to ensure that your food cooks evenly without getting overcooked on the bottom and under-cooked at the top.
Clean your oven regularly.
One way to know that your oven is due for cleaning is when you are unable to see the interior clearly through the glass. Not only does this mean that your oven is dirty, but it also prevents you from seeing how your food is cooking.
If you notice any irregular signs with your oven, contact an electrician for maintenance to get it back to optimal conditions.