Shiny New Countertops

Well, 2015 has begun – which leaves many of us asking the question: what home improvement project will tackle this year? If you are in the same boat as me, then don’t worry – I’ve got the perfect suggestion for both of us.

Shiny New Countertops

The one aspect of our home, that continuously bothers me is the state of our current countertops in our kitchen and bathroom. They are very dated, worn, and it’s simply just time to replace them. Now, this may be something we’ve said multiple times in the past – and that’s okay, because this project can definitely get a little pricey. When it comes to making this investment, I will strongly suggest that you find replacements that are made of a material that you won’t regret purchasing in the first place. Obviously this can mean only one thing..

Granite Countertops! That’s right, who doesn’t want fancy, beautiful, easy to maintain, bacteria free countertops made from granite? Well, chances are you (and I) have quite a bit of homework to do, but the good news is that there are plenty of granite fabricators, suppliers, and warehouses out there that are happy to help with the process. Take for example, if you are looking for granite countertops in Richmond VA, Granite Source of Richmond tends to be the choice that many consumers go with. The best suggestion I have for you is to start doing your homework on those companies around you that offer custom granite countertops and get a good idea of their reputation. After all, the true value in granite countertops comes from professional, high quality fabricators and installers – so finding who really is the dominant force near you is the most important objective that you should meet.

How Replacement Windows Can Save You Money

outdated and cracked home windowAn old window with cracks and discoloration may make your home look old and depreciate its price as it makes your house look old and dilapidated. This is a big concern particularly in areas of the country known for having historic homes such as the Northeastern United States. There’s a huge chance that older windows may  easily break and the glass might get shattered by a little pressure. It also takes a lot of time and effort to maintain them, so it’s better to replace your old windows rather than spend a fortune on your windows’ maintenance. We can also tell you how replacement windows can save you money over the life of their use.

What to Consider Before Replacing Home Windows

There are a lot of factors to be considered and guidelines to be followed. You should consider not only the price of new window replacements but also overall value, efficiency for your home and what sort of warranty you get when you purchase them. All these guidelines will help you understand how replacement windows can save you money, time and effort in making your home a better place. Replacement windows are also good investments for a more comfortable home.

Choose High Quality Glass and Window Frame Materials

The first guideline in choosing a replacement window is to select windows with frames and sashes made from premium grade materials. This  ensures a longer lifetime for your windows and vinyl is the best choice because it is cost efficient, durable and very easy to maintain. My recommendation is that you look into Fibrex, a composite material developed by the Andersen window brand. The Andersen replacement window division also uses this window frame material for all of their products. They also use double pane glass with argon glass that increases efficiency as well.

Efficiency is Key

energy star logoChoose replacement windows that could insulate heat efficiently. Select windows that are in the ENERGY STAR program. These windows are designed to efficiently keep the heat out during hot summer days and make your home comfortable warm during cold winter days. Windows in cooler climates must meet more strict requirements to be certified because its based on how much energy is needed to heat and cool your home. Obviously you will not need as much energy to make your home comfortable if you are in a temperate climate.

Consider your Home

Choose the window style that suits your home, windows are supposed to compliment and emphasize the beauty of your home so it is a must that the windows are in sync with the design of your house. You can look at styles online, ask your window dealer or simply check out what types of windows your neighbors have to decide what types you want to have installed in your home.

Choose your Contractor

Lastly, in choosing replacement windows, buy from trusted dealers. The quality of your windows also depends on how trustworthy the seller is. Now you know how replacement windows can save you money and improve your home.

Money Saving Tips for Your Car

save on vehicle costsWith the economy still not what it used to be, people are still trying to save money wherever they can. One often overlooked expense is transportation. If you are like most Americans, you simply see your car as a necessity and not a place where there is any money to save. But even if you don’t have a hybrid or vehicle you are not making payments on, there are still ways to keep your car while saving money on fuel and other costs. Here is my top 5 list.

  1. Properly Inflate your Tires. Did you know that over 25% of cars on the road are driving around with improperly inflated tires? This is not optimal for fuel economy and can lower gas mileage by 3% or more which adds up over time.
  2. Slower, More Constant Driving. When you accelerate quickly in your car you are using far more gas, up to an amazing 33%. Quick stops also reduces fuel economy and will wear out your breaks quicker.
  3. Turn Down the AC. Something most drivers don’t consider, the use of air conditioning while you are driving can lower your mpg by up to 25% when its on full blast depending on your vehicle.
  4. Carpooling and Combining Trips. This is a no-brainer, carpooling to work or other places saves big on travel expenses. And when you go to run errands, its much more efficient to do them either on your way home from work or all at the same time.
  5. Perform regular maintenance. Use a service like Aarrow Transmissions Auto Repair to take care of your car by having the recommended maintenance done in a timely manner you will help save money by avoiding the bigger, much more expensive problems down the road.

Just because you need a vehicle doesn’t mean you should be spending too much on fuel and repairs. Using these tips may not make you rich but they will certainly help you save money each month. You might also be interested in my recent post about increasing your cars value and performance if you are thinking about selling your vehicle.

3 Ways to Improve Your Car and Increase Value

Like many things in life, automobiles are an asset that depreciates and will most likely lose value over time. However, if you are looking to protect your investment as much as possible you may need to invest some time and elbow grease into your car. Below are three tips to improving your car’s appearance that can also help to increase your re-sale price.

Window Tinting DurangoDe-clutter Your Car: After all, presentation is everything! No one wants to ride around in car that is piled high with clothes, fast food wrappers, and junk. Cleaning out your car should be on you to-do list because, best of all, it’s free! You will be surprised the difference a pristine and clean car will make as opposed to a messy one. It is sure to raise your potential selling price and depending on how many things you have in your car, you could potentially improve your gas mileage.

Get Your Information in Order: Everyone can say they properly maintained their vehicle however; having the evidence in black and white can only help to assure your buyer. Keep a folder of any and all repairs and maintenance records. This proves that you have cared for your car and that is priceless to your potential buyer. If you haven’t kept your receipts, don’t worry. Check with your auto repair shop. Depending on their business practices some companies keep receipts on file for up to three years following service. Also do your homework. Have a copy of your CarFax or Experian report so that way you know what your buyer knows as well.

Make Those Fixes You’ve Been Putting Off: That dent in the bumper, scratch in your window tint, or scuffed car door paint, it’s time to finally cough up the money and repair your car. Your potential car buyer is going to potentially over-estimate the repair costs or just not even consider buying your car if they see glaring imperfections. Getting your car repainted or upgrading your window tinting are relatively small costs compared to the potential loss of funds if those problems make your buyer walk.

HVAC Tips That Will Lower Your Energy Costs

Most home owners are concerned with the cost of high energy bills. It is important for you and your family to be comfortable around the house, but does it need to be so expensive?

In addition to contracting a heating and cooling specialist like Arundel Cooling, here are some HVAC tips that can help lower your heating and cooling expenses.

1)      Insulate your Home
Homes that are not properly insulated will leak cold and hot air that will make their heaters and coolers less efficient and increase energy costs. One way to improve insulation is to check your windows and replace broken frames and seals.

2)      Check the Condition of the Filters
Filters should be changed regularly or replaced when needed. This should happen every six months or when you feel that it’s not performing as well as it should.

3)      Regular Tune-Ups
Your unit needs to be checked by a licensed technician to make sure that there’s nothing wrong with it. Have it tuned-up at least twice a year for maximum performance.

4)      Use a Programmable Thermostat
A thermostat can help control the temperature around the house and save electricity. When it’s cold already, it can lower the temperature and increase it when it gets hot.

5)      Protect Units from Direct Heat and Cold
Installing an awning that will keep your unit in the direct heat of the sun can lower your energy bills by 10%. In the winter, you can protect your unit by covering it.

6)      Choose Energy Star

Brands that have earned the Energy Star are more energy efficient.

Keeping your cooling and heating equipment well-maintained and your home well insulated will lower your consumption and therefore, your bills. The initial investment you need to make can be recovered from the savings you will incur. Aside from that, an efficient HVAC system will keep your family more comfortable in your home.

Replacement Window Service

A very important service that any home owner needs immediately is window replacement. All of our homes can take a big beating from weather and our kid’s activities. I can’t tell you home many times my son has damage my windows throwing rocks or sports balls. Weather can take a very large toll on homes by damaging the window frames and wearing out the energy efficiency of the glass. There five very common signs to look for when considering whether or not your windows need replacement.

  1. If you see rotting or cracks in your window trim then you should be thinking about replacing your windows. This is generally a sign of water damage and if not handled immediately you have a good chance of having a mold issue.
  2. Leelayoova_Patarin for bloggerFinding cold spots on your windows mean that the insulation of your window is wearing off and need replacement. During the winter months, do you find your windows feel extremely cold? This will put added pressure on your HVAC system and raising your energy costs.
  3. Feeling cold drafts by your windows is another sign that you will be looking into replacement. This means that there is an issue with your insulation and if moisture enters through then you could end up replacing interior products from mold or water damage.
  4. When the window sticks or constantly closes when trying to keep open then you will need a new window. This is a sign that the frame has warped in some way and preventing the smooth opening and closing motion of your windows.
  5. Cloudiness of your windows is also a sign of replacement. Most windows are double or triple panes and are designed to keep moisture out. If there are signs of cloudiness then that means air is entering in between the window panes.

When you inspect your windows and find any of these issues it is important to find a contractor that will provide quality window replacement. If you are looking for expert window replacement then I suggest visiting Metropolitan Contractors at They provide expert knowledge and quality products for all of Northern Virginia.

The Benefits Of Andersen Windows

energy efficient andersen double hung windowWindows are great. They allow us to see the great outdoors without leaving the comfort of our home. They let you watch the snow fall as enjoy a hot beverage. But with so many window manufacturers out there, it may be hard to see the difference between producers and find the right one to go with. If you’re looking for new windows for your home, you should go with Andersen Windows. Here are some of the benefits of Renewal by Andersen Windows.

  • Clarity you can see. Windows are great to look through but when they aren’t clear, they don’t serve their purpose very well. Andersen Windows are the clearest windows you’ll find on the market, made with the highest quality glass around.
  • They are great insulators. Your house loses a lot of energy through its windows. In the wintertime, this can add up to hundreds of dollars on your energy bill. Andersen Windows are made to insulate your home, so that it can maintain temperatures in the winter and summer. Nothing is worse than having a cold house in January and an unbearably hot home in August.
  • Security you can count on. Windows are another way to enter and exit your home. Although you may not be crawling through them everyday, it is in your best interest to make sure no one else can either. Andersen Windows are strong enough to stand up to the greatest pressure, so you can feel safe from danger. These windows will make your home more secure than before.

The benefits of Andersen Windows are very easy to see. You’ll feel safe knowing they’re protecting your home and you’ll enjoy looking through them year after year. They’re a great investment in your home as they both protect your family from the elements and save you money on your energy bill. Don’t let this window of opportunity close! Upgrade your home’s windows today.

Allergy Relief With Home Cleaning

Anyone with spring allergies knows how frustrating it can be to deal with all of the symptoms each and every day. For those of you who think there is nothing to be done about these allergy symptoms, I have some good news for you. There are actually some pretty simple things you can do to help yourself feel better during the season you normally feel your worst.

While making sure to take your allergy relief pills is an obvious first step, there are some things to do to make sure you don’t suffer from allergies all the time. Im talking about ways to allergy proof your home so you don’t have to experience the symptoms while you are indoors. I was trying to figure this out last week and discovered I could reduce my symptoms if I cleaned my home, getting all the dust and allergens out.

The Solution

living room after cleaningI eventually found my solution by first doing a search for carpet cleaning Virginia Beach online to find a home cleaning service near me. You see, over time you and your family will bring inside pollen and dirt which basically created an outdoors environment inside your home. I soon found that Chemdry would be able to help me so I called them for complete carpeting and upholstery cleaning service. Just days later I noticed I was able to breathe easier inside my home and the symptoms of my allergies were not as bad when I woke up in the morning.

Why You Should Buy on Credit

With recent retail security breaches, credit cards have gotten a bad reputation. However, if used properly credit cards can be a great financial tool. As long as you pay off your credit card balance every month you will never pay interest on a credit card. Interest can add up exponentially which is typically what gets people into credit card debt. If you look at using a credit card more as a debit card, meaning you do not spend more money than you have, then you can take advantage of the bonuses credit card companies and providers offer their financially responsible consumers. Listed are the top 3 reasons why using Visa credit cards are better than cash.

Visa Credit CardBetter Your Credit Score and History

Your credit score can affect a wide range of financial decisions such as your mortgage rate or an auto loan. By buying on credit and using it responsibly you can increase your credit score and put yourself on a strong financial path. By paying off your bill every month you are proving to financial lenders that you won’t borrow more than you can pay back.

Protect Your Money

Whether it’s buying in person or online your money will truly be safer with a credit card. Debit cards, checks, and cash are withdrawn instantly. Yet, credit card purchases are paid at a later date. If there is a fraud or theft situation you can file a report with your provider and your money isn’t left in the balance.

Reap the Benefits

Most credit cards offer some form of reward incentives. Whether it’s 1% or 3% cash back on your purchases, for every purchase you make and pay off you are earning interest. Some cards even offer their rewards in the form of frequent flyer miles. Overtime with your responsible spending you can earn a free flight to take that long awaited vacation.

Credit cards are the fastest and most convenient form of spending. Call Federal Credit Union serves the metro Richmond, Virginia area and its surrounding counties including Chesterfield, Hanover, and Henrico. Call Federal offers a number of Visa credit cards with a variety of benefits and rewards. Call or visit your local branch to speak with a financial adviser and find out more information on which credit card best fits your needs.

Auto Insurance

Finding the right Fairfax auto insurance provider for you

Unfortunately, all drivers are at risk of accidents, vehicle damage or theft. It is therefore important that you find the right insurance cover. If you’re looking for affordable car insurance, then you’ll first need to understand how your individual situation effects your insurance opportunities. Provided that you bear this in mind, you should be able to find the right Fairfax auto insurance provider for you.

Car insurance providers: your options

Car insurance is there to support you in the financial repercussions of physical damage to you or your vehicle. There are several considerations to make when looking for the most affordable and appropriate car insurance for you which may be important in saving you time and money, and in insuring you receive the cover you require.

First, you will need to consider what kind of insurance cover your require. While some companies will provide cover primarily for road traffic accidents, other deals may allow you to receive financial cover in the case of vandalism and theft. You should also consider whether a company’s ‘deductibles’ are acceptable for you – this is the amount under which an insurance company will not pay out. Finally, you may also want to take multiple insurance deals into consideration: quite often, insurance companies are able to provide you with substantial discounts when you rely on them for not only car insurance, but also home insurance.

What influences your insurance costs?

Because car insurance costs work around statistics, the simple fact is that some people will receive cheaper insurance costs than others. There are several factors which influence these costs, including your gender, age, driving experience, driving history and location. Overall, young male drivers with little driving experience, poor driving history and who’s car is registered in an area in which accidents are more likely to happen tend to pay higher insurance costs.