Category Archives: Home Maintenance

Smart Options: Basement Flooring

“There are so many different types of Basement designs today.  When it comes to the right flooring, you need to match what you choose, to how you are going to use it.  Take a few minutes to understand the advantages of each of the styles of flooring you can choose from today.”

Denise Buck & Ed Johnson – DC Metro Realty Team

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To-Dos: Your September Home Checklist

“Labor Day has come and gone and now Summer is officially over.  It’s time to start getting your home ready for the Fall.  Here are some great tips on what to do around your home, inside and out.”

Denise Buck & Ed Johnson – DC Metro Realty Team

5 Money-Saving Gadgets That Make Life Easier

“Who doesn’t love gadgets, especially those that can save you money!”

Denise Buck & Ed Johnson – DC Metro Realty Team

5 Money-Saving Gadgets That Make Life Easier

Who doesn’t love products that can save us money and time? Here are five of our favorite money-saving gadgets:

Fruit freshness extender

1. Battery Charger

It seems like battery chargers were big when they first came out but, over time, it seems the energy died down and everyone stopped talking about them. Not us. We think they’re incredibly convenient, and they can potentially save you a lot of cash — especially if you find yourself constantly changing out the batteries in your kids’ favorite toys and devices. In fact, one user wrote about saving more than $75 each year with rechargeable batteries! Besides, who wants to make additional trips to the store for replacements when you can renew the batteries that you already have at home for free?

2. Self-Cleaning Electric Shaver

When it comes to money-saving health gadgets, you can’t go wrong with a self-cleaning electric shaver, especially if you’re a regular groomer. Although the initial investment may end up setting you back a couple hundred dollars, it should only take you about eight months to break even and start seeing the savings. Likewise, the thought of not having to buy disposable razors and shaving cream on a weekly basis anymore — and you still get a fresh shave — should make you a true believer.

3. Motion-Sensing Light Switch

Want to save money but consider yourself too lazy to even turn the lights off when you leave the room? No problem. Just install motion-sensing light switches. They’re some of the greatest energy-saving products because you literally don’t have to lift a finger to use them (after the initial installation, that is). They sense when you come in and go out of the room, turning the lights on and off for you, and typically reducing your energy consumption by 35–45 percent. Never worry about tripping over furniture in a dark room again!


4. Food Freshness Extender

We know how it feels. You’re so proud of yourself for going to the grocery store and picking out all those fresh fruits and vegetables. Then, you “accidentally” let them sit in the fridge a little longer than you intended and they’re suddenly wilted and rotten after only a few days. Cut down on the wasted food and money — up to $600 for a family of four! — by simply tossing a freshness extender ball in your crisper drawer. It works by absorbing the ethylene gases in your fridge, which tell the produce to continue ripening. And it lasts for up to three months, keeping your produce fresher longer.

5. Learning Thermostat

Perhaps one of the top energy-saving devices around, learning thermostats go beyond your typical temperature programming. They learn your habits after only a few days of adjusting the temperature yourself and then take the reins, adjusting the temperature accordingly for you. Don’t worry; you still have full control over the units. It’s just incredibly convenient not having to worry about adjusting the thermostat all the time — and saving between $131 and $145 a year, on average, while you’re at it. In fact, learning thermostats actually go beyond merely keeping your house comfortable. They can sense when no one is home (thus, refraining from heating or cooling the air for no reason) and determine how you can use your heating and air conditioning units more efficiently, as well.

Originally Published by American Home Sheild

Your Guide to Choosing Patio Stones

“It’s amazing all the choices you have today when picking out Patio Stones. A Patio can be a great addition for outdoor living, and may not cost as much as you might think. Especially, if you want to do it yourself. It also, enhances your homes appeal if you’re looking to sell in the future.”

Denise Buck & Ed Johnson – DC Metro Realty Team

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Bathroom Workbook: How Much Does a Bathroom Remodel Cost?

“Tired of your current bathroom, but not sure what you want to do, or how much it will cost?  Here’s an article that will explain what you should expect to pay, and just might inspire you!”

Denise Buck & Ed Johnson – DC Metro Realty Team

4 Things You Need To Know About R-22 (Freon) Refrigerant

“If your A/C Unit was manufactured before 2004, you’re still using Freon.  And if you’ve had a repair where you needed to add Freon, you know how expensive it’s gotten.  Here’s a great article that explains why it’s so expensive now and how to start using the newer cheaper refrigerant.”

Denise Buck & Ed Johnson – DC Metro Realty Team

Charging a residential heat pump system with refrigerant

You may or may not have heard of R22 refrigerant, but the phasing out of this refrigerant may affect you and the way you stay cool this spring and summer. Before the topic heats up, here are some fast facts to answer some common questions about R22 refrigerant:

1. What is R22 refrigerant?

Answer:  Isn’t R22 the robot from the big sci-fi mega movie? No, not R2-D2. Actually, R22 is a refrigerant gas. Refrigerant gas is what an air conditioner uses to produce cool air. R22 refrigerant was most commonly used in air conditioning units up until 2015.

2. Who decided that it needed to go away?

Answer: The decision to ban the use of R22 refrigerant came from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), by phasing out all production of virgin hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-22. Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is required to eliminate different types of R22refrigerant in specific phases, making R22 refrigerant much harder to source. The production of R22 refrigerant was dramatically reduced in 2014 and will continue to reduce each year. Production and consumption of R22 refrigerant will be totally phased out by 2020.

3. What should I do if my A/C was manufactured before 2004?

Answer: Turn it into a decorative lawn ornament? No. you don’t have to go that far. You can still have your A/C unit serviced with R22 refrigerant if available, but the cost per pound is high and will continue to increase. Another option is to replace R22 refrigerant with an alternative EPA approved HFC refrigerant. The cost for alternative refrigerants is much less, but it does require labor to fully evacuate the R22 refrigerant and replace with the alternative refrigerant and may require the replacement of some parts. Or, you could take the plunge and get a new, modern, energy-efficient A/C unit. Most of the components of such systems last on average 10-15 years, even when they are well maintained. A new A/C system can help lower your energy bills, too.

4. Will it cost me more money to get my A/C fixed now?

Answer: The short answer is, “Probably, yes.”

The alternative refrigerant costs much less than R22 refrigerant, but it does require flushing the system of existing refrigerant prior to charging your system with the alternative refrigerant you choose to use in place of R22 refrigerant. R407C is approved by the EPA for use as alternative to R22 refrigerant. Most manufacturers’ warranties on an existing systems will not be affected, depending upon the alternative refrigerant used in place of R22 refrigerant.

Originally Published by American Home Shield

Are You Making One of These 7 Landscaping Mistakes?

“You want to make your yard look nice so you start planting flowers and bushes and then you realize it doesn’t look like the magazines you’ve been reading. Check this article out to see if you doing some of these.”

Denise Buck & Ed Johnson – DC Metro Realty Team

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Crowd-Pleasing Paint Colors for Staging Your Home

“Want to do something ‘different’ with paint, but your really not sure what to try, or why?  Check out these great ideas, especially if you are getting ready to sell!”

Denise Buck & Ed Johnson – DC Metro Realty Team


8 Ways to Save Money on Electricity Bills This Spring

“As the temperatures begin to change it’s a great time to get some reminders on how to save on energy, or maybe even pick up a few new tips.”

Denise Buck & Ed Johnson – DC Metro Realty Team 

Just because temperatures begin to rise drastically, your electricity bill doesn’t. Learn simple ways to lower your bill and use electricity wisely this spring.

dishwasher turned to cold

Looking for ways to save money on your electricity bill? Who isn’t?! Lucky for you, springtime is the perfect excuse to start fresh and change some of your old habits. Here are eight of the easiest ways to save money on electricity that you can start implementing today.

1. Use heat-generating appliances at night.

That goes for ovens, dishwashers, washers, dryers and any other appliances that may heat up the house. Also, check with your utility company to see if there are off-peak times when using appliances can earn you discounts on your electric bill.

2. Think, “Small scale, big impact.”

Speaking of heat-generating appliances, have you ever thought about using a slow cooker or pressure cooker instead of the oven? These small appliances can cook amazing meals, all while cutting down on the amount of electricity used and keeping your kitchen nice and cool.

3. Adjust your washing habits.

Most clothing items do just fine on the cold-water wash setting. Likewise, do you really need to dry everything in the dryer? Take advantage of this fabulous spring weather and let your clothes air dry. The amount of energy it takes to air dry? Zilch.

4. Set the water heater temp to 120 degrees.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a heater that is set to 140 degrees or higher can waste $36 to $61 a year, just by maintaining the temperature. Even worse, it can waste more than $400 to bring fresh water up to that temperature. We bet you won’t even notice the change in temperature.

5. Turn on those ceiling fans.

They’re there for a reason. If you keep the air circulating in your home with your ceiling fans, your A/C won’t have to work as hard. Just make sure the blades are turning in a counterclockwise direction to keep the cool air flowing downward.

6. Unplug.

No, we’re not talking about your cell phone. We’re talking about that alarm clock in the guest bedroom that hasn’t been used in years. And the lamp over the piano that’s never switched on. In fact, it doesn’t hurt to do a nightly sweep through the house to ensure all unused devices and appliances aren’t wasting precious energy.

7. Close up shop.

In the areas of the house that aren’t used, that is. Simply close the vents in those rooms, so the air flow can be redirected to the areas of the house that you’re actually inhabiting.

8. Replace the air filters more often.

 Instead of replacing the filters every three months, consider switching them out every month. That will ensure your air conditioner isn’t slowed down by inefficiency. Want to save even more? Invest in a reusable filter.

It pays to know how to save money on your electricity bill. If you want to save on other household expenses, too, read up on ways to conserve water, as well as how to stretch your grocery budget.

Originally Published by American Home Sheild

7 Smart Strategies for Kitchen Remodeling

“Everyone loves a great kitchen.  Updates, Upgrades and Remodels all can make a difference in how a kitchen feels to you and how it presents itself if your trying to sell.  Be aware of how to make the most of the work you put into your Kitchen.”

Denise Buck & Ed Johnson – DC Metro Realty Team

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