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Helpful Hints and Tips
Check back monthly for new insights and savings
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How to save on new construction cost
 
Cost estimating for your house plan is an inexact science and actually 
more of a “liberal art.”It involves balancing quality with affordability 
and there will be inevitable trade-offs depending on the level of
 finish and detailing you require.
 
1House Shape Is Key: 
Complex geometries such as angles, bump-outs, irregular shapes, and curves are more expensive to build. Simpler shapes, rectilinear forms, and shapes with fewer angles. 

2. Size Building 
A smaller house generally saves money. BUT, there is an economy of scale in building a larger house: typically the kitchen and bathrooms are the most expensive rooms so an extra bedroom can be inexpensive square footage. Building up as aposed to out,  in some cases can also save money!

3. Plumbing Placement Affects Cost.
It can be “stacked” to save money — example, bathrooms that sit over one another  .Plumbing for the kitchen and bathrooms can also be placed back-to-back or adjacent to one another for additional savings.

4Roofs Rule.
Simpler roof forms save money and trouble. Roofs with lots of hips, valleys, and ridges require more flashing and water-proofing, and more material and labor. More complex roofs have a greater chance of leaking because of the transitions at ridges, hips, and valleys.
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 TIPS FOR SPRING
  • Check for loose or leaky gutters. Improper drainage can lead to water in the basement or crawl space. Make sure downspouts drain away from the foundation and are clear and free of debris.
  • Low areas in the yard or next to the foundation should be filled with compacted soil. Spring rains can cause yard flooding, which can lead to foundation flooding and damage. Also, when water pools in these low areas in summer, it creates a breeding ground for insects.
  • Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings and decks. Make repairs now before the spring rains do more damage to the exposed wood.
  • From the ground, examine roof shingles to see if any were lost or damaged during winter. If your home has an older roof covering, you may want to start a budget for replacement. The summer sun can really damage roof shingles. Shingles that are cracked, buckled or loose or are missing granules need to be replaced. Flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys need to be checked and repaired by a qualified roofer.
  • Examine the exterior of the chimney for signs of damage. Have the flue cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweep.
  • Inspect concrete slabs for signs of cracks or movement. All exterior slabs except pool decks should drain away from the home's foundation. Fill cracks with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk. When weather permits, power-wash and then seal the concrete.
  • Remove firewood stored near the home. Firewood should be stored at least 18 inches off the ground at least 2 feet from the structure.
  • Check outside hose faucets for freeze damage. Turn the water on and place your thumb or finger over the opening. If you can stop the flow of water, it is likely the pipe inside the home is damaged and will need to be replaced. While you're at it, check the garden hose for dry rot.
  • Have a qualified heating and cooling contractor clean and service the outside unit of the air conditioning system. Clean coils operate more efficiently, and an annual service call will keep the system working at peak performance levels. Change interior filters on a regular basis.
  • Check your gas- and battery-powered lawn equipment to make sure it is ready for summer use. Clean equipment and sharp cutting blades will make yard work easier.
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    How to Protect Your Home During Extreme Cold Weather
    Extreme cold weather can be hard on both you and your home. Here are some tips to put into practice when freezing weather, snow, 
    and ice hit your area.
    How to Deal with Frozen Pipes
    Disconnect and drain garden hoses.
    Cover outside faucets with insulating foam covers.
    Turn off water to outside faucets, if available, and open valves on           faucets to allow them to drain.
    Turn off sprinkler system and blow compressed air through the lines to drain them.
    Close or cover foundation vents under house and windows to basements.
    Close garage doors.
    Insulate exposed pipes (both hot and cold) under house with foam pipe insulation.
    Open cabinet doors under sinks.
    Drip hot and cold faucets in kitchen and bath. Drip single control faucets with lever set in middle.
    Set icemaker to make ice if the water line to it runs under the house.
    Don’t forget to check on pipes to your washing machine in the laundry room
    Locate water main cut-off valve, and have a cut-off key handy.
    Use a hair dryer, heat lamp, electric heat tape, or a portable space heater to thaw frozen pipes that have not burst.
    Keep the faucet open when thawing frozen pipes to allow water to begin flowing through it.
    After the weather has warmed above freezing and any frozen pipes have thawed, turn off dripping faucets and monitor your water meter to check for unseen leaks.

    How to Keep Warm in Your Home
    Have your furnace inspected before cold weather arrives. Inspect the heat exchanger for cracks, install a clean air filter, and check the thermostat to see if it’s working properly.
    Inspect fireplaces, and chimneys before using, and have them cleaned if needed.
    Keep drapes and blinds closed, except when windows are in direct sunlight.
    Put up storm windows, or install sheet plastic window insulation kits on the inside of windows.
    Cover or remove any window air conditioners.
    Insulate electrical outlets and switches on exterior walls with foam seals available at home centers.
    Caulk any cracks or holes on the outside of your house.
    Repair or replace weather stripping and thresholds around doors and windows.
    Run paddle ceiling fans on low in reverse (clockwise when looking up) to circulate warm air.
    Put draft snakes on window sills, between window frames, and against doors.
    If you heat with propane or fuel oil, make sure the tank is full.
    If you heat with wood or coal, have plenty of fuel on hand.

    How to Protect the Outside of Your Home
    Clean your gutters and downspouts before cold weather arrives to prevent ice from forming in them.
    Spray an ice repellent solution on steps and walks before freezing weather arrives
    Check antifreeze levels in cars. Add if needed, then run the engine to circulate the new antifreeze through the radiator and engine block.
    Add freeze resistant windshield wiper fluid, and spay to circulate it in lines.
    Check air pressure in tires, since cold weather causes the pressure to lower.
    Bring in container plants, add mulch around plants, and cover plants that are prone to frost damage. Remove covering when temperatures warm above freezing.
    Drain birdbaths and fountains
    Gently sweep snow off plants and shrubs in an upward motion with a broom.
    Use rock salt, sand, or clay based kitty litter on walks and drives (NOTE: Salt can damage grass and other plants).
    Don’t overdo it when using a snow shovel.
    Stay off your roof during freezing weather, but once the ice and snow have melted, inspect your roof for any damage.

    How to Stay Safe in an Ice or Snow Storm
    Stockpile nonperishable food and water.
    Refill prescription medications in advance of storm.
    Fill car with gas.
    Charge cell phones.
    Have flashlights, batteries, a weather radio, and a manual can opener on hand.
    A portable generator can come in handy when the lights go out, but take precautions to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning when using.
    Make sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and the batteries powering them are fresh.
    Have a working fire extinguisher on hand for emergencies.
    A chain saw can come in handy for removing broken limbs after an ice storm.
     By: Danny Lipford
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