Posts made in March, 2016

Carving Unique Features Into Your Granite Countertops: What These Features Are And Why You Would Request Them

Granite countertops are the most prestigious of countertop surfaces because they are very expensive, and most people consider them quite beautiful too. However, it is difficult to care for them in ways that do not cause them the slightest damage, and it only takes one slip of the knife or one scalding pan set directly on the granite to ruin it. To counteract these incidents from occurring, new features have been developed and designed which carve out special and unique features in your granite countertops. Here are some of those features and why you may want them.

The “Hot Pot Spot”

Setting a hot pan down on a granite counter would make any counter installation expert cringe. Even if you have only done this accidentally or to avoid burning a child who is tugging on your pants leg, it is something you want to avoid as much as possible. That is why the “hot pot spot” was created. It is more or less an area carved out of the granite countertop where it is safe to set your hot pan or pot, a sort of carved out and predesignated countertop trivet, if you will. By having your counter expert carve out this one area in the counter, you have someplace to put the pot/pan down in a hurry and not worry about how it will affect the rest of the counters.

The Raised Carving Surface

Even if you have always used a cutting board to cut up meats and vegetables and you have never used your bare countertops, you will still want to rethink this with granite. That is why some homeowners have a butcher block counter installed in the kitchen just for this very reason. This type of counter is made entirely of a very thick slab of hardwood, so it can take the abuse of cutting food and the occasional slip of the knife. Your granite stays safe, beautiful and scratch-free. A smaller cutting surface may also be installed within a frame of granite countertop close to your stove. These surfaces, regardless of which you choose, are always quite thick and/or rise above the surface of the surrounding granite just enough to avoid the point of a slipping knife.

Personalization

Finally, some homeowners request personalization of their granite countertops. This can be done one of two ways; either an all-over lattice-style carving is made into the granite for pure decoration, or you can actually laser your family’s initials, crest, etc. into the countertops. This makes your countertops very distinct, and items that are both valuable and very distinct are often left alone by thieves because nobody can sell it to someone else without it alerting the buyer or police that such items were for sale. 

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The Benefits Of Replacement Windows For Your Home

While purchasing new windows for your home may not feel like a priority, if your windows have been difficult to open, or you have noticed a draft near closed windows, it’s time to think about the benefits of replacing the windows in your home. With new windows it will be easier to keep the temperature consistent in your home, easier to open and close your windows, and your home will be more secure. The energy savings alone make purchasing replacement windows a great idea for any home that has old, inefficient windows.

Maintaining a Consistent Temperature Saves Money

When your wood replacement windows are properly protecting the interior of your home from the elements, your heating and cooling system will be able to maintain a more even temperature. This is essential to energy efficiency, as a system that has to deal with extremes in temperatures has to run more often to keep the temperature even in the home. When you have drafts coming into your home because of windows that no longer fit correctly, or you have rot in your wooden windows, replacing these windows will save you money on heating and cooling costs.

Make Your Life Easier with New Windows

While opening and closing your windows easily may not seem like a big deal, just try to open a window that is stuck on a warm summer day. You need to be able to open your windows easily for cleaning and to create cross ventilation in your home. If your windows get stuck easily, or they slam shut without any provocation, you can solve this problem by investing in replacement windows for your home. 

When Security is a Concern

Windows that are rotting in the sill no longer provide you with much security. All it will take is a few good hits, and your window can completely fall out of the sash. It’s easier to break into homes that have have old windows, because the locks tend to be broken. With replacement windows, you will have new locks on your windows and most replacement windows have safety latches that only allow the window to open a few inches when they are put into place. If you are worried about security, adding new windows to your home will give your extra protection.

If you want to add value to your home and increase the curb appeal, new windows are a great way to accomplish both of these goals.  

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A World Without Ducts: The Mini-Split Heat Piump

Ducts are a good way to direct heat from a centralized furnace or AC unit to all the rooms of your home, but they do have their drawbacks. For example, ducts will develop leaks over time simply because of the pressure created by the air moving through them, and leaky ducts can decrease your AC efficiency by up to 40%. Dirty ducts can also cause health concerns. You can eliminate these problems by using a ductless system to heat and cool your home if such a system will work for you. 

How a Ductless System Works

A heat pump has two sets of coils. One set of coils will act as an evaporator unit to extract heat from the surrounding air, and the second set of coils will act as a condenser unit to push heat into the surrounding air. If you have an AC unit, you have a dedicated set of evaporator coils on the inside of your home and a dedicated set of condenser coils outside. With a heat pump, you have the ability to reverse the function of the coils, so you can use the same piece of equipment to both heat and cool your home. 

What Does the Term Mini Split Mean?

Most homes have a central-air system, which means you have a furnace and an evaporator unit located in a central location in your home and a set of ducts to direct air from this equipment to where it is needed in your home. A mini split system will have one set of coils located outside your home and up to four smaller sets of coils placed in different rooms inside your home. The coils inside your home will directly heat or cool the rooms in your home without the need for ducts.

Is a Mini-Split System Right for You?

If you have a smaller home, then you might only need four sets of coils to provide cooling and heating for your home. If you have a larger home, you might still be able to make a mini-split system work by placing coils in the rooms that most need heating and/or cooling. For example, if you have a basement, it should stay cool on its own, so you might not need vents or coils downstairs. 

There are advantages to using a mini-split heat pump, but they are not right for every home. If you are considering a mini-split unit for your home, you should talk to an AC installer to see if one is right for you. 

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Earthquake and tornadoes were my biggest fear as a child. They still in someways are, but as I'm building more and more homes, I've begun learning about the different safety measures that are incorporated with the architectural designing. I think it's good to know where the best places to stand are in case of the natural disaster, and which places to avoid. As I've done research I've learned how glass can shatter and much further then what I thought –which has helped me mentally prepare myself to stay away from windows. I think the best way to be prepared for anything is to become educated on it, which is why I'm maintaining this site.