Keep your family safe from Fires and Carbon Monoxide by following These Tips

At Cransten Smart Security, we believe that every home should be a haven from the craziness of the world, which is why we do everything we can to add value to you, our beloved customer.

In this article, we’ll be helping you and your family to become confidently prepared in case of Fires or Carbon Monoxide hazards that may arise within your home.

 Carbon Monoxide:

Starting with the latter, carbon monoxide (CO) is a silent but deadly killer, it kills over 400 unsuspecting Americans each year and sends a further 4,000 for an unscheduled visit to the hospital.

What’s most sinister about CO poisoning is its speed: it can kill an otherwise lively and buoyant human being within minutes.

Once this poison has got you by its grips, before its completely taken you over – the symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea and breathlessness.

During this short window of opportunity, you need to let in as much air as possible by opening a window or a door so life can flood back in. However, this is way too late, and there are better ways we’ll discuss below in this article.

Common Signs You May Have a Carbon Monoxide Leak:

  1. Symptoms only occur when you’re in your home and disappear or get better when you leave.
  2. Others in your home are experiencing similar symptoms – including your pets.
  3. You get symptoms when certain appliances are in use. For example, when the boiler is on.
  4. The pilot light in your home frequently blows out.
  5. Black, sooty marks on the front covers of gas fires.

  1. Sooty or yellow/brown stains on or around boilers or stoves.

  1. Yellow instead of blue flames coming from gas appliances or flames are not fully formed – for instance, if the flame isn’t all the way round on a gas hob burner.

  1. Flames are not fully formed – for example, if the flame isn’t all the way round on the gas hob burner.

  1. You notice increased condensation on the windows

To prevent things from getting too far gone, simply install a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home. These should be place at knee level since carbon blends in with the air around it, which is why you’ll want to place it lower.

As always, if you need any help with this, Cransten are always for you – whether you need our expertly engineered equipment, or installation help from our professional and friendly staff, we are here for you.

Cransten Tips for Fire Protection

Firstly, you need to have a plan in place. Large enterprises like Schools and companies all take this seriously and so should you.

is your life not worth the same whether you’re at work or at home/school?

So, have a solid plan in place and make sure everyone within your home knows their role and escape routes should a fire ever arise.

Also be prepared if a fire blocks your designated escape route by having an alternative one. And have an escape ladder to help you get down if a fire should ever start in each second story bedroom.

For example, if the fire rages in the room below, as shown in the picture below, so make sure to have an alternative route prepared.

Since the smoke of a home fire is extremely dense and toxic

it is virtually impossible to see through – so if a downstairs room is on fire, a window will usually be the only way to escape out of a room upstairs.

Be sure to practice your drills a couple of times per year, since being prepared and having a plan of action is the best form of defence should a fire arise.

General Tips for Surviving or Preventing Fires:

  1. Do not plug too many appliances into an electrical outlet.
  2. Make sure that combustibles aren’t too close to fireplaces, stoves or heaters.
  3. Never smoke on soft furniture or fabrics.
  4. Do not use damaged or frayed electrical or extension cords.
  5. Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children and teach them about the dangers of playing with fire.
  6. Never use extension cords with heating or air conditioning equipment.
  7. Have smoke alarms and fire extinguishers for each floor in your home.
  8. Make sure to close your downstairs doors at night before going to bed.
  9. Make sure that screens or storm windows can be easily removed.
  10. Ensure that you have tools available if windows must be broken.
  11. If you live in a two-story home, you should have an escape ladder for each occupied bedroom

What to DO and NOT to Do in The Event of Fire:

  1. Do not linger getting dressed or hang back to hoard your valuables or look for the family pet. In the event of a fire, there is only 1 valuable and that is your life. So, move it! Seconds count!
  2. Stay low by going on your hands and knees when evacuating the building in order to avoid the smoke. The smoke is actually what causes more initial harm to your body. The toxic flames suffocate you way before the fire scorches you. Which is why seconds count!
  3. Before you open any closed door during your exit, make sure to feel the door first. If it’s warm, be sure to open it slowly but close it quickly if heat or smokes rushes in.
  4. Never go back into the house once you’re out, for ANY reason. Call the fire response once you’re out, not before or during your evacuation.

Smoke Alarms:

You need to have a smoke alarm!

You are 400% more likely to die in a fire if you don’t have a smoke alarm that works.

Make sure to have one on every floor in your home and be sure to place it correctly as instructed by the manual.

As a rule of thumb, smoke alarms ought to be placed near bedrooms, either on the ceiling or six to twelve inches below the ceiling on the wall.

For maximum effectiveness, do not place the alarm near air vents or within 6 inches of where the wall and ceiling meet on either surface.

Make sure to regularly test your alarms to ensure they are working as they should, and if you have a battery powered alarm, be sure to change the battery every 6 months.

Also, note; not all alarms are the same. Some are best for the detection of fast flaming fires, others for the slow smouldering type. You want to be able to detect both types which is why it’s best to have both ionisation (best for fast flaming) and photoelectric (best for smouldering) smoke alarms.

Additionally, we recommend that you install linked alarms, particularly if you have a large house. These go off at the same time to avoid the risk of not hearing the alarms in a distant part of the house.

Furthermore, having 1 or more auto-dispatching sensors like we offer at Cransten, helps in case you ever get knocked out because of smoke or carbon monoxide poisoning!

Fire Extinguishers

Every home should be equipped with at least 1 first extinguisher on each floor. Additionally, the kitchen, garage and ground floor should also have their fire extinguishers.

This is because all fires start small at first and having an easy way to contain them while they’re small, can save lives.

Be sure to select the correct fire extinguisher because there are many different ones for different kind of fires. However, a new type of extinguisher: water mist, is now available, this provides cover for most types of fires including electrical fires.

Which is great because the last thing you need while a raging fire is soaring, is trying to figure out where the correct extinguisher is!

More Ways to Prevent Fires:

Anti-Arson Letterboxes

Arson is a serious problem, each year tens of thousands of arson attacks are committed, resulting in hundreds of people being injured and dozens dying.

The letterbox is a vulnerable area in your home, providing an arsonist direct and easy access. Which is why we recommend installation an anti-arson letterbox. These are designed to contain and eliminate the threat by holding onto any flammable liquid poured through the letterbox, which halts the fire is its track. The automatic extinguisher, triggered by a heat sensitive system, then finishes the job.

Fire Doors in Houses

Another extremely important means of protection in the home against fire is the often-overlooked fire door. Fires can easily and rapidly spread to engulf the entire room within minutes, destroying everything in its path.

A fire door is capable of containing this. These come with hardware including door hinges, frames and seals to make them fit for purpose.

And remember, If you need help with any of these projects, Cransten can help you with all of them!  And of course, any others we didn’t mention in this article.

So do not hesitate to contact our friendly staff for a free consultation, we’ll be more than happy to help!

Colour and Home decor trends for 2021

Decorating

For a lot of us, 2020 forced us to go back to basics, many even have green thumbs and dough toughened knuckles to show for it.

We expect these primal habits to continue throughout 2021, particularly the rise of indoor plants.

As we spend more time in our homes, it’s natural that we’ll want to improve the air quality and brighten up the mood – which is exactly what plants will do.

The best part is there are plenty of plants that can achieve this for your home, while also being super easy to look after!

Zen Garden Vibes

As our homes also become our workplace, the need for them to become a sanctuary of serenity and peace rises.

Whether you place it on your balcony, your backyard or indeed your home, little details like this will remind you to let go of the worries and just be present.

A phenomenon which explains why this trend is growing and will continue to grow like wildfire.

Let the Light in

Staying with the zen theme, one of the easiest ways to incorporate more peaceful vibes into your home is to let in more natural light!

So, instead of heavy or overly patterned window treatments, try a more minimalist approach and opt for a semi-opaque cotton curtain finished with a tassel trim for a subtle dimension.

If a sense of comfort, calm and centeredness is what you’re after, more natural light will certainly not harm your cause.

Multi-functional Spaces

2020 brought a lot of changes, one of those was to rethink how we use our living spaces. With a lot of us spending more time than ever at home, it makes less and less sense to dedicate large portions of your space to just one purpose – especially in smaller spaces.

So, with this in mind – expect to see creative design solutions to this problem, both DIY and professional.

We predict designs to make dining rooms, living rooms, and even bathrooms to double up as home offices and workspaces!

Clean Work Slate

Once your home has also become your office, you will need to have a dedicated work space. Preferably one that is pleasant and efficient to work at. An easy way to do this is to have an uncluttered, minimalist setup, one that is clean-lined – but still has the space to tuck away all your work tools.

We predict this type of setup will be on many wish lists throughout 2021 and beyond!

Earthy Tones

You may be starting to pick up on the overarching theme for the décor to come in 2021 – a return to nature and earthy inspiration.

This of course also includes colour trends, such as warm and comforting color palettes. So we expect this  trend to apply to many of your interior design choices.

Sustainable Choices

Sustainability choices come in many forms, but the trend we expect to see an unexpected boom is the sustainability within your bedroom, specifically your bedding!

Rest and rejuvenation are more important than ever, and having bedding that’s comfortable, stylish and sustainable can be a major yet simple upgrade to your home.

We recommend looking for bedding made from materials which are hypoallergenic, such as linen, which is also sustainable making it a great choice.

Colours

 

Brave Ground

Deluxe colour experts have chosen brave ground as the color of the year, so rest assured its popularity is set to rise. And when you look at the picture above, it’s hard to disagree with them!

This bolstering shade connects you back to nature and the simple things. It’s warm, earthy and creates a feeling of stability and growth, while also provides a firm foundation for change and creativity in your home.

What’s not to love?

The great thing about brave ground is that it can easily be combined with other hues to totally transform a room. Look at these pictures below!

 

Nourish

Nourish is another colour palette predicted to make waves in 2021.

This particular palette, consistent with the zen theme of this article, encourages us to unplug and be present in the moment. This palette will also revitalise your home while at the same time, nourishing your soul.

Retreat

The final palette we’ll be discussing is retreat. And like its name suggests, it draws on a nostalgic mix of comfort and security.

Its earth-based hues create a harmonious setting, ideal for whether you’re sleeping or eating, working or working out, making it the ultimate palette for flexible living.

Thank you for reading! We hope you were inspired to kick-start some exciting new projects in 2021!

If you need help with any of these projects, Cransten can help you with all of these!  And of course any others we didn’t mention in this article, so, do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation, we’ll be more than happy to help!

Great Home Projects to Start off 2021

American homeowners are expected to spend a staggering $340 Billion on renovations this year alone.

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In this article we’ll be discussing why you should jump on this bandwagon!

So, why should you? (jump on this bandwagon)

Simple! It can significantly increase the value of your home. Which, should you decide you want to sell your house down the line, is GREAT news for you wallet!

Indeed, when done correctly, you can get some outrageously-no-brainer returns on your investment. (We’ll be discussing some of these later in this article! Also, if you’re looking for something quick and easy and sure to be worth it for your wallet, read till the end!)  

And the best part about all of this?

The National Association of Home Builders say small-scale renovations are the most cost-effective and quickest way to add value to your home! Meaning you don’t have to splurge at all to see healthy returns!

Another angle home renovation bulges your wallet is via money SAVED. Whether you’re upgrading your floor or windows, the net effect is typically that your home will become more energy efficient.

This can save you a healthy chunk of change each month, allowing you to splurge a little more freely around the holidays without any guilt! Knowing you’re well within your limits!

Another reason why you should jump on this bandwagon and join your fellow American homeowners is (and don’t underestimate the importance of this, especially times being what they are!)

it’s fun!

Assuming it’s a DIY project, it’s a great opportunity for the whole family to bond. It will turn your house into a hectic hub of liveliness, laughter and excitement.

While no doubt providing new fun stories to share around the table. This is what happens when the whole family is engaged on a fun DIY project together.

It’s also a great parenting opportunity to teach your kids some of these very valuable life skills they will cherish their entire life. You don’t want to pass on this!

Oh, and there couldn’t be a better time than now to do it, since, for a lot of you us, we have more time at home than ever!

This (to me at least) sounds like a great trade off in exchange for transforming your house into a truly elegant sanctuary that makes you smile every time you walk through it, rather than a place that makes you cringe!

Lastly (definitely not least!) is that renovating your home improves your quality of life!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think anyone opts for a DOWNGRADE when it comes to renovations, so undoubtedly, your life will become easier in some way!

Want to Be an Exquisite Host?

Excellent home décor, thanks to your new renovations, will go a long way in dazzling your special guests, setting the foundation to entertain them even better.

Granted, this option may not be available right now, courtesy of lockdown, however, it will… eventually!

Thus, making it a great opportunity to (eventually) wow your guests, amazing them at your home upgrade(s), showing them that you haven’t been playing around during lockdown!

OK – now that we’ve outlined the benefits, we’ll be sharing with you some ideas and insights on various home projects, so you can choose which one is right for you!

Ready? Good! keep reading!

Bathroom Remodel

    

For this one there are a few key questions to ask, such as which bathroom you’ll be remodelling? Will you be doing a full or a half-bath? What about the powder room?

If the bathroom in question is the master bedroom, will you be incorporating other elements too? Are you looking to completely start anew, or keep some elements of your current set-up?

Answering these questions allows you to know exactly what you want.

And the great part?

You can expect a healthy return of 70% on your investment! Meaning for every $1 you invest, $1.70 will be your return on the project!

Thus, making this one of the best ways to increase the value of your home! (For the purposes of ROI, there are even better ways we’ll discuss later!)

And for the icing on the cake…

A full renovation isn’t even necessary to receive these healthy returns. Even if you only have the time and budget to make small improvements, focusing on bathrooms is a very savvy move.

Kitchen:

     

The key questions outlined above that help you to know exactly what you want will apply here too… and to the rest of the renovations we’ll be discussing below! (of course, they’ll need to be adjusted to apply to kitchen and the corresponding projects…etc.)

So, Why Kitchen?

For a start, the ROI on kitchen upgrades ranges from 53% all the way to 77%! That means, for every $1 you invest in upgrading your kitchen, $1.77 will be your return on the project!

And the best part?

It’s the minor kitchen remodels that have the highest ROI when compared to their more extravagant counter-parts (pun intended)

If you intend to sell your home, for this project we recommend you don’t budget (and definitely don’t spend!) more than 20% of the home’s value. Otherwise your profit margins will vanish into thin air.

The minimum we recommend is around 15% for this purpose. That means if the home is worth $250,000, the budget for the kitchen should be between $37,000 and $50,000. 

New Flooring for the Home

      

For these we recommend installing the same flooring throughout the kitchen, living room and dining room to create cohesion.

We also recommend choosing a colour that will stand the test of time by working with various color schemes and decors.

With this purpose in mind, a neutral, wide plank, hardwood floor with a scraped or brushed surface to anchor the décor and allow for easy maintenance and cleaning is a great choice!

We also recommend floors with zero added formaldehyde (there are great options out there that don’t break the bank), these not only provide cleaner and healthier air quality for your home, they also increase its value!

As for the expected return on investment, this one would be rude NOT to do!

The average ROI starts at 70% and can go up to an impressive 80%. ($1 invested = up to $1.80 returned when complete) With hardwood floors being known to boost the resale value of a home by a not too shabby 2.5%!

So it’s easy to see why this is such a popular choice!

New Garage Door

  

Ahh, another no-brainier!

The near-perfect return on this project (up to an impressive 98%!) is due to the improvement in both the home’s aesthetic appeal as well as it’s functionality. Features faulty doors pointedly lack!

These faulty doors (which are far too common!) not only do they put off potential buyers, but they can also allow floods into your house, effectively wave goodbye to your home’s energy efficiency (pilling up your bills!) AND you may as well advertise “burglars welcome!” for the effect this has on opportunistic stealers!

So, it stands to reason, a new garage door is a very smart choice. If you go for this one, we recommend getting a double-layer door with added insulation and a galvanized steel skin if you live in a region with extreme weather.

Although they cost a little more than average, just like anything of quality, it will be more than worth it down the road!

Landscaping 

   

This is an often-underrated investment, but did you know – grass, dirt, bushes and trees can account for around 10% of the price of your home?

So don’t sleep on this one… good landscape design can even add up to as high as 20% to your home’s value.

The best part is that these renovations can be fairly easy to do yourself and are relatively cheap too! For example, six applications of fertilizer and weed control costs roughly $330 while returning a bountiful $1,000 at sale! 

Smart Home

For the trendier approach, opt to upgrade your home to acquire the coveted status to not just be any home, but a smart one!

This is a growing trend amongst homeowners and it’s easy to see why. A smart home will introduce increased safety, style and convenience into your home.

So much so that, once you add some of these features, such as smart security systems (services we’re renowned for here at Cransten!)– you will never go back!

Smart Security increases in home value have been stated by some databases to be as much as 10-15%. We take a much more conservative approach and let customers know they can sell homes faster with a smart home and usually sell a home for $2-5 k more for having one.

For example…

Let’s say you walk into four houses in the same neighbourhood, and one has a smart thermostat and that you’ve been told it will save you 10 to 12 percent in heating and cooling each month, do you think that will stick out in your mind?

No doubt!

If you’re looking for something quick and easy, though – we’ve got you…

Quick and Easy Renovations…

Ever find yourself feeling blue?

Funnily enough, simply painting your interior a light shade of blue can wipe those blue away!

Confused? That’s what we were at first!

But it’s true, painting your interior that color can pocket you an extra $5,440! (If you decide to sell your home, that is)  At least that’s what a study from Zillow found!

Other easy renovations include windows and insulations. New windows freshen your home’s appearance and help save you anywhere from $25 to $450 a year in heating and cooling costs! Insulation can save you a lovely 15% each month too!

Thank you for reading! We hope you received something valuable from this article!

If you need help with any of these projects, Cransten can help you with all of these projects and any others we didn’t mention in this article – so do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation, we’ll be more than happy to help!

Should You Add Solar Power To Your Home?

The solar industry – predicted to becoming the dominant source of energy for Americans during the 2020’s – is growing at an incredible rate. It’s currently a $17 billion industry but is on track to reach $34 Billion by 2025!

This of course screams great news for homeowners (and their wallets!) as well as our lovely planet of course.

In this post we’ll be discussing the many benefits of installing solar panels for your home.

However, for those who have already taken the plunge, and are already experiencing many of these benefits, here are their top reasons for having taken the plunge.

  1. Save money on utility bills
  2. Help the environment
  3. Get solar investment tax credit
  4. Would be better for my own/family’s health

These reasons are all true, and we’ll be discussing some of them below…

Solar Power Reduces Your Energy Bills:

It’s true. For example, in California, new homes are now required to have solar panels, the state estimates this rule will help homeowners save around $19,000 over a 30-year period or just over $600 dollars, year on year. This number can go up to $30,000+ depending on which state you’re in and various other factors.

 

Solar Panels Significantly Boosts The Value Of Your Home

If you ever want to sell your home, having solar panels will be a shrewd investment.

According to a recent solar research by Zillow, after controlling for local market dynamics and the time of year the home was sold – they found solar panels can potentially increase the home’s value by 4.1% more than comparable homes with no solar panels. This translates to about $9,274 of additional income for the median-valued home in the U.S!

The benefits don’t stop there however, according to Zillow’s research, the value added by solar panels can go as high as 9.9% in some states – which can translate up to $32,281 of added value!

However, according to other independent research, the percentage of value added by solar panels can vary widely, ranging anywhere between 4% to as high as 20%

The bottom line is clear though, having solar power significantly increases the value of your home!

AND how about this for an icing on the cake, homes with solar panels have been proven to sell faster than those without!

 

It’s Worth the Cost!

There are plenty of government incentives that make solar panels affordable for homeowners throughout the country. A federal tax credit for solar projects has been in place since 2005 and is available to homeowners in some form in 2021 for residential projects. There are Federal and State Tax Incentives at 26% in 2020 and 22% in 2021.

On top of this, many states offer tax rebates for people with solar panels in their homes which in effect subsidize a large portion of the cost to go solar. Since there is currently a goldrush of opportunity for those early(ish) adopters, many people are trying to take advantage of these programmes before government start reducing the incentives since more people will be signing on!

It’s Better For The Environment:

Carbon emissions are sky rocketing. The earth needs our help to eliminate the carbon footprint we make. Solar panels generate a much cleaner source of energy, which no longer damages the planet compared to fossil fuels. This goes a long way to helping our planet and can be our own little way to give back to the earth that has given us all so much. Having solar in your home allows can allow you to feel great about doing your part to save the environment and to leave a better world for your children!

 

Emergency Preparedness

We have seen many disasters around the world where countries and cities are without power for days and sometimes even months. By going solar, you’ll always have a way to have power for your home even when those around you do not!

 

It Grants You True Freedom:

As a homeowner, the biggest benefit is that you OWN your property, no one can kick you out or charge you anything. But the same cannot be said about the power you use.

You’re dependant energy companies to power everything you do in your home, since after all, what’s a home without power?

Since you can now own your very own power source, you no longer have to be dependent on the grid. So, why would you keep renting power forever? Owning your own power saves you a ton of money as illustrated below.

Over the course of your lifetime, renting your power means you’ll pay astronomically more when compared to the amount you’ll pay if you owned it. Owning your power means you’ll save so much more money over the long-term.

 

I hope by now we’ve convinced you that the future is solar, especially in America. Should you want to learn more about solar or how it can be integrated into your home, do not hesitate to give us a call! We’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

 

Why Cransten?

We Make It Easy For You

For many customers, solar is a new and first-time thing. This can be a daunting process that can be complicated and time consuming. This is why for our customers; it is such a relief to have us take care of everything for them.

Here at Cransten, we pride ourselves in helping our customers make this transition super easy and smooth. We’ve helped hundreds of homeowners make a smooth transition to solar panels so we can definitely help you too.

Most companies in our industry will help you save on energy bills, which is great, but here at Cransten we go a step further, not only do we help you save, we also help you get rid of your energy bills all together so you can experience true freedom.

Just like we do for all of our customers, we will create a personalised and easy plan to save you money. Making sure our friendly experts guide you along the complicated path to ensure everything goes easily and smoothly.

 

We Use Premium Quality Only:

Only the highest quality products will do, all this to make sure you will have a great solar power production for years to come.

We know that quality delivers satisfied customers and as such, we only install systems we would be proud to install for our own family members. We are so confident about this, so all of our installations come with a 25-year product and a 10-year craftsmanship warrantee. All this means is, your investment will be secure by working with Cransten.

 

Whole Home Solution

Most companies have cookie cutter solutions for their customers. We customise each proposal to look at the entire home. There are many ways aside from solar that we can really help you to reduce your energy energy bills. We look at all the solutions possible and give recommendations based on what makes the most sense for each customer.

 

Excellent Financing Options Available

We have the best financing partners in the industry to help our customers have the best options at the lowest costs for solar. Our customers can purchase solar panels quickly, cheaply and with $0 out of pocket!

If you have questions, call us so we can set up a consultation to see how solar can work for your home!

Let us know if you have any questions. Feel free to check out our solar page for info too.

 

Thank you,

Cransten’s Best Practices for Maintaining Your Home

Cransten’s Best Practices for Maintaining Your Home

Maintaining your home is critical because not only does it feel great to have a clean, well-functioning home, it can save you thousands of dollars in bills in the long run. Because, as we all know, little problems become big problems if they’re not dealt with.

Additionally, should you decide to sell your home in the future, it will be well worth the effort of maintaining your home when you rack in those checks!

Besides, it’s fun to get the whole family to chip in, especially during these times. It’s a rewarding and bonding experience for the whole family.

An experience which is made easier (& better) if you know exactly what to do, and how to do it.

Our goal within this article, to make everything clear on how to keep your home at its pristine standard throughout the year.

So, get your pens at the ready, this is going to be comprehensive.

 

There is a lot of confusion on how much we ought to spend on our homes to make sure it’s always looking pristine clean.

A useful formula we’ve found is to simply put aside 2-4% of your home value each year. Then spend that on your most pressing projects as they arise.

That means if your home is valued at $300K, 2-4% of 300K is $6,000 to $12,000 – this is how much you should put aside each year. This works out to $500 – $1000 each month.

On the upside, it unlikely you’ll spend all of this each month, so, at the end of the year, you can use it to upgrade your home or just use it as an excellent saving tool!

Monthly Items:

  1. Inspect your fire extinguisher(s). 

We’ll assume at this point that you have one (many don’t!) This inspection is super easy, simply make sure access to it is easy & follow the extinguisher instructions for regular maintenance, which usually simply means checking the pressure gauge.

 

  1. Clean range-hood filters.

Your range-hood has an important job within your kitchen as it’s designed to remove odours, gas and excess steam that come with preparing a meal. Regular cleaning will ensure it continues doing this job at a high standard throughout the years.

 

  1. Unclog all your pipes

Do this every month or so. Grab yourself some sink & drain gel and pour it in all of your drainage pipes – bath tubs, sinks etc. They are all connected so one blockage can cause all the others to slow down. 

 

  1. Inspect smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

This takes less than two minutes and it can save your life! For most smoke detectors, you want to press and hold on the test button. You should hear a piercing sound. Hear a soft or faint sound, this means it is time to replace the batteries.

Seasonal Repairs:

Each season brings with it a whole new set of opportunities and challenges, understanding how these affect your home allows you to plan accordingly and take full advantage. Luckily, we’ve done this for you!

Spring:

Check the exterior drainage. 

Does rain water flow away from your house? If puddles stay around you home for more than 24 hours you have a problem. Don’t fret though, if water stays, or moves toward your foundation, there’s a few things you can do.

First, check your gutters. It could be a loose connection or a bad spout; or they may just be dirty and needing cleaning.

Second, you can create a gradient using some dirt; this has works very well and you can do it yourself.

Third, for pavement, you can have professionals come out and raise it, so it drains away from your home.

 

Clean out your gutters. 

They will have accumulated leaves from the fall and grime/sediment from the winter snows and a lot of rain too. They will be desperate for a cleaning. These can be done quite easily, you can even get an automatic gutter cleaner.

 

Inspect the exterior of your home. 

Make sure there isn’t any paint chipping, any siding damaged from winter or any holes in your bricks. Take a look all around your house and make repairs as necessary. Many forget this one but be sure to check your foundation for any cracks. A good silicone or caulk can fix a lot of these problems.

 

Repair/replace damaged window screens.

The last thing you want is bugs making their way in because you missed a hole in a window screen. And yes, while duct tape is a great fix, don’t leave it for long. It just looks bad. The jury has decided on this one.

 

Air conditioning preparation for summer.

Consider having it serviced. This one really depends on your individual home, and even which part of the country you live in. Some simply use window air units, others a big rooftop swamp cooler. Great thing about these is that they’re fairly easy to maintain if you know what you’re doing. This is also one of the services we provide should you ever prefer to have one of our professionals do it.

Central air is however more complicated, and we highly recommend you hire a professional for this. This will actually save you money and headaches down the road.

 

Clear dead plants/shrubs from the house.

I bet you weren’t expecting a gardening tip too!

Here it is anyway! If you didn’t trim trees or shrubs in the fall, do so now. Plants can weasel their way into cracks and holes on the exterior of your home, causing damage and shortened longevity. Nip that in the bud (pun intended) before it’s an issue. If you have decorative vines on the exterior, pay close attention.

Check trees for interference with electric lines. Have them professionally trimmed if necessary.

 

Inspect roofing

This is critical to notice the early signs for damage, leaks, etc. So they can get repaired as needed before it’s too late and you have to fork out 5 figures to get it fixed! We can help you deal with these issues, sooner or later, that one is up to you.

Summer

The sun is out to be enjoyed; this makes it a great time to take care of the exterior of your home.

Check grout

Mainly in bathrooms, kitchen, etc and repair as needed. This will prolong the life of your tiled surfaces and just looks better. Again, the jury has decided.

 

Clean and repair deck/patio as needed.

Generally, all that is needed is a good washing. A deck may also need re-staining. Be sure to check for any loose boards or posts and any of our professionals will be more than happy to repair as needed.

 

 Inspect plumbing for leaks

Clean out the aerators on faucets. Check for any small leaks around your faucets and toilets. If your water pressure out of your faucet is poor, the aerator is the likely culprit and it’s a quick fix for any of our professionals.

 

Get rid of the insect problem

Summer is when they come out, your home is their playground. You probably won’t have to look too hard to find this problem. Ants, spiders, moths, etc. are all common, and are fairly easy to take care of. Keep cobwebs clear, make sure all doors are tightly closed, etc.

 

Clean out your window wells of debris. 

Having a basement is synonymous with having window wells. All kinds of things can get down in there from leaves, to trash, to animals. Clean them out!

 

Clean dryer vent, and other exhaust vents to exterior of home.

Check that the exhaust is coming out while the dryer is running. It should smell of fresh laundry. If there isn’t much exhaust, there are likely to be blockages, check for these as well as you can. You may need the help of a professional with this one.

 

Clean the garage. 

Make this your summer ritual. Keeping it clean and tidy will extend its life.

Fall

Fall is the in-between season. You’re finishing up your summer home maintenance tasks as well as getting your home ready for winter. I don’t need to tell you what cold, snow, and rain can do a home, so you don’t want to your winter preparation lightly.

 

Flush hot water heater and remove sediment

This prolongs both the life of your heater and helps with efficiency as well, thus saving you some money.

 

Winterize air conditioning systems. 

Remove and store your window units. If you have central air, cover the outside unit with a tarp or plastic sheeting and secure with some cords.

Prepare heating system for winter. 

Check for any leaks in windows or doors; these can cost an arm and a leg. Not sure about you, but I’d like to keep mine! Make sure the heating vents are open and unblocked from furniture. Get your furnaces serviced/inspected at least every other year, preferably annually. Don’t forget about fireplaces if you have them.

Turn off and flush outdoor water faucets. 

Also, flush hoses and store them. Be sure to winterize your sprinkler systems as well.

Get chimney cleaned.

The jury is still out on whether this should be done in the spring or fall. Either way, just make sure it’s done once per year.

Test sump pump.

The last thing you want is to need your sump pump and only to find out it’s not working.

Check driveway/pavement for cracks.

Make sure to have re-sealed all of these before winter. Why? When water freezes, it expands in the cracks, causing more damage and costing you more money.

Purchase winter gear. 

It’s always good to have your sidewalk salt, good shovels, etc. ready for winter.

Winter

At last, it’s here! Winter is the time to go around the interior of your home and check for any little things you may have overlooked, or perhaps noticed and said, “I’ll get to that later.” Winter is that later.

If you have any interior honey-do projects, whether it be painting, building shelves, etc., now is a great time to tackle those as well. After all, who wants to be outside during this time?

 

Check and clear ice dams and icicles

De-icing cables that sit at the front of the roof is a great idea. Don’t let those icicles grow, ignore what the kids may want you to. They’re not only a danger to people standing beneath them, but they’re surprisingly heavy and can cause damage to your home. They also can cause water damage to your foundation when they melt!

 

Test your electricity to the extent that you can.

Always, always be extra careful when working with electricity. You can do a couple of things on your own, though. Check that all outlets work; if they don’t, you can get the help of any of our professionals.

 

Tighten everything

Make sure handles, knobs, racks, etc. are as tight as necessary to keep all that lovely warmth inside! Go through the house and inspect anything that could have a loose screw. If anything doesn’t work, replace!

 

Check for caulking

Mainly around showers and bathtubs; and repair as needed. Also be sure to remove showerheads and clean the sediment. This prolongs its life and helps with water pressure as well.

 

Deep clean and inspect the basement. 

Basements are notoriously overlooked, especially if they’re primarily just storage areas. Give them some much needed love. Make sure all the mould is cleared and ideally, it should be to a standard that you’d be happy to have your very special guest sleep there for the night.

 

 

 

 

Every 6 months

Or each time there is a time change, be sure to swap out smoke detector batteries as well as any carbon monoxide alarms.  Also check your water heater’s pressure relief valve and make sure its functioning as it should. This will prevent mineral and corrosion build-up, improve heater efficiency and will safeguards against leaks. All making sure you get to keep your arm and leg!

 

We hope you enjoyed this one, if you need any help implementing any of these strategies, don’t hesitate to contact us! We will be more than happy to help!

Counter-Intuitive Hack to Reduce Overhead Maintenance Cost

reduce overhead maintenance building cost

Residential contractors are better at property maintenance than property maintenance and in-house specialists are. Sound counterintuitive? That’s because it’s not. Let me explain.

 

Perhaps a couple analogies will demonstrate my point. Many sprinters practice with a parachute attached to their back; the reason they do this is because it makes running much more difficult and challenging. In turn, what happens when they remove the parachute is that running without one becomes very easy. They can now run much faster and with better results.

 

Let’s take another quick analogy. It’s been found that high school students who perform homework under supervision are much more likely to complete their work with more attention, care and accuracy. This is in opposition to students who are given freedom to work on homework as they please, who find it easy to slack and underperform. Hopefully my point is becoming clear at this point, but if not, allow me to explain in plain words.

handyman remodeling

Residential contractors typically perform their work with a homeowner attached to their back supervising their every move because the owners are naturally invested in their home and want to ensure the best results. Therefore, much like the sprinter and the student, the residential contractor is under pressure to over perform and deliver the best results. Property and in-house maintenance workers usually work unsupervised and with little verification of their work, since this is how they’re used to working, there’s naturally a larger percentage of property maintenance workers that slack and underperform on their work, putting no real care or attention into it. Rushed work, putting bandaids on a pig and taking short cuts quickly becomes their norm because they have no real motivation to do more than ‘just enough’.

 

This careless work ethic creates a less than ideal work culture that no one wants in their facility. Now back to our analogy, if we compare this to a residential contractor who gets their ‘parachute’ or ‘teacher’ (the homeowner) removed from their shoulders, they are in a position to perform at a very high level due to their pre-established work ethic. Just because their parachute or teacher or in this case the homeowner is taken away, this doesn’t mean that years of attentive work & and the pride that goes into it are taken away as well. The work ethic hammered into the workers (no pun intended) over the years reflects in their property maintenance work just as it does in residential. They are more likely than a property maintenance worker to perform careful, attentive high quality work due to the basic human nature principle called habit. That is why you should hire a residential contractor to do your property maintenance work.

 

Another argument for hiring residential contractors for property maintenance is a purely financial one. If at your facility you have ever hired property maintenance workers or an in house maintenance crew, you already know that they usually come with a high overhead fixed cost. This means that you pay them for when they are working and when they are watching TV at home in their long johns.The truth is, your facility won’t always need maintenance. So why pay for all the times that it doesn’t? Would it not make more sense to pay for every time you required service and eliminate the extra money being wasted all the other time? Of course it would. However, this would only make sense if the total cost of all services by the residential contractor in any given month would significantly fall under that of their property maintenance or in-house counterpart. This won’t always be the case. With Cransten Handyman and Remodeling, however, it will.

 

In conclusion, residential contractors are more detail oriented than property maintenance and in-house workers because they are more subject to scrutiny and a facility can typically save money and enhance maintenance quality if they hire residential contractors on a need basis. And the best residential contractor with fairest prices and highest quality work is Cransten handyman and remodeling. So because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, hire us to maintain your facility, & save yourself some money and a headache.

Cransten Handyman and Remodeling

(800) 618 7015

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How to estimate the yearly maintenance cost of your home

What is the most expensive recurring cost of buying a home? Maintaining it. You may think that your home buying expenses are finalized at close, but the cost of maintenance is one that many homeowners plan & budget for (or fail to do so) well in advance. Maintenance can include anything from repairing drywall and caulking to repairing gutters and roofs. Because you can never really predict what will go wrong during the year, it is best to set aside a certain amount of money each year dedicated for emergency repairs and regular maintenance. Naturally, the question you might find yourself wondering is: how much? This article will give you a few methods to determine how much money you need for maintenance each year based on your specific home.

Before getting into the specific methods, let’s make some disclaimers. While these methods or rules are good general measures, they do not take into account the specific nature of your home and the climate it resides in. Some things to keep in mind are the age, weather & location of your home.

The age of your home is a big determiner in how much maintenance it will require. If your home was built within 5-10 years, chances are it won’t need very much maintenance. However, for homes that are 10-30 years old they will exponentially need more repairs until eventually major ones like roof replacement will need to take place.

Weather is another big factor that can influence the amount of maintenance a home requires. Homes in areas with more extreme weather conditions such as freezing temperatures, heavy snow & rainfall, high winds, termites or ice storms will generally require more care and upkeep than those in mild conditions due to increased wear and tear.

Lastly, the location of your home can have a major impact on the maintenance level necessary. Homes located on the bottom of a hill that can be exposed to rainfall collecting or homes in floodplains for example can require higher than average amounts of maintenance.

Now that those disclaimers are out of the way, the first rule I’d like to present to you is called the 1% rule. This rule states that one way to estimate the yearly maintenance cost of your home is to set aside one percent of your total home value. For example, if your home is worth

$200,000 you ought to set aside $2,000 for maintenance.

Another handy rule to estimate maintenance costs is the square foot rule. The square foot rule states that you should set aside a dollar for each square foot of your home. So if you have a 2000 square foot home, then you need $2000 for maintenance. This rule makes a little more sense as it is directly correlated with the size of your home so may be a little more accurate.

So which rule should you use to estimate your home maintenance costs? A clever way to do so would be to use both rules then take the average cost from both of them. This would ensure that you’re somewhere in the middle and take both rules into consideration. So if your home is worth $300,000 and it is 2,000 square feet big then you take the average of both maintenance cost estimates which is $2500 (3000+2000/2). Next, add 10% just to account for the external factors mentioned in the beginning of the article (weather, location, etc) 2500+250 = $2750.

For high quality home maintenance at fair prices contact Cransten Handyman and Remodeling & we’ll be happy to be your go to home/life saver.

Cransten Handyman and Remodeling

(800) 618 7015

hello@cransten.com

https://cransten.com

www.facebook.com/mycransten

www.instagram.com/mycransten

10 Home Projects for the New Year

A new year has passed and a new one is about to begin. Many of us are planning to make changes in our home in accordance with the latest trends. The new year provides a fresh start and a great activity for this time of year is home remodeling. Here are some of the best home projects that can be added to your list:

  1. Develop your Bedroom

Your bedroom is your sanctuary. This is where you relax after a long day’s activities. It is important to develop it and keep your bedroom up to date given the big role it plays in your daily life.

  1. Renovate the Living Room

This is where the family gathers and spends the most time. Renovating the living room is a good idea for the New Year as a way of celebrating it and welcoming new changes.

  1.  Improve the Bathroom

One of the most commonly used and a needed section in one’s home is the bathroom. It is important to keep it clean at all times. Improving some parts in the bathroom like the mirror, flooring, ceiling, and even the tubs would help to make your bathroom look neat and refreshing.

  1. Refresh your Balcony

Making changes on your balcony like adding more flowers & customized designs would give it a fresh new look. Having new decor in your balcony could help you relax & alleviate your stress levels.


bathroom remodel, kitchen remodel, construction, tiling, flooring, handyman, remodeling, contractor, painting, maintenance

  1.  Update Lightning

Lighting is one of the most essential elements in the decoration of a home. As time progresses, available lighting styles are growing. Today’s lighting has been optimized to its best features, with smart lights being introduced worldwide. Your ability to control your home’s lighting from your smartphone is certainly beneficial and updating your lighting can bring a new energy to your home.

  1. Flooring –

We can’t talk about renovation without mentioning flooring. New flooring can totally change your home & must be considered if you’re looking for that new updated feel. Having new floors for the New Year would entirely change your home atmosphere and give you that updated vibe you’ve been longing for.

  1. Redesign walls and ceilings

If you want a different ambiance at your home, whether a more fancy or cozy one, redesigning the walls and ceilings can help you achieve your desired effect.

  1. Repaint the Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets help organize your space and repainting them would give your kitchen a fresh new look. This is one of the best changes you could make this New Year.


bathroom remodel, kitchen remodel, construction, tiling, flooring, handyman, remodeling, contractor, painting, maintenance

9. Make a Coat Rack

It’s time to do a new thing for the New Year. It is inevitable that your old coat rack is damaged due to overuse and has reached its limit. Having a new coat rack this New Year is one more way to symbolize a new beginning

        10. DIY Furniture Project

Do you want new furniture? Are you on a tight budget? Then making your own furniture is the perfect solution for you. Not only is designing your own furniture fun, it is also a surefire way to give your home a more personal, cozy feel. Impressing friends & family is a bonus!

When it comes to New Year home projects, these are our top 10 recommendations. Making changes and improvements has become a tradition every new year and what better place to improve than your home base? Be sure to try these amazing home projects and fulfill the old adage: new year, renovated home!

 

bathroom remodel, kitchen remodel, construction, tiling, flooring, handyman, remodeling, contractor, painting, maintenance

Popular Flooring Options

The right flooring can have a direct impact on a room. Below, you will find a list of different flooring options including their benefits and maintenance requirements in order to help make your choice

1. Glass tiles

This renewable source is quickly becoming a wonderful option for floors as well as bathroom and kitchen walls.  Glass has similar benefits of other eco-friendly materials. It is non-absorptive and won’t allow mildew or mold to grow in damp environments.  Glass is easy to maintain and won’t stain. It comes in a limitless array of colors, patterns and finishes suitable for most design schemes. Unlike ceramic tiles, glass will reflect light rather than absorb it, adding that additional layer of light some rooms need.

2. Linoleum

In the past, vinyl was the top choice for flooring in many homes. It is cheap and long lasting. The next trend was ceramic tile because of its ability to deal with wear and tear at a relatively cheap cost. However, the choices available in the market today are varied and can suit families with different budgets. Linoleum is a great eco-friendly, long lasting choice that is easy to maintain and holds color very well


3. Hardwood

Hardwood floors combine beauty and durability. Hardwood flooring might be on the expensive side but is very long lasting and appealing. Many types of hardwoods are available and come at different price tags. If properly cared for, a hardwood floor could last up to 50 years or more.

4. Carpet

This has long been a favorite go-to material for most homes. It is soft to walk on, comfortable to sit on and comes in a range of colors and patterns.  Unfortunately, carpet has typically been made using volatile organic compounds or toxins that are harmful to the environment and to our health.  However, there are eco-friendly options.  Consider carpets made of wool.  Wool is a natural resource spun into a thread that can be dyed any color imaginable, and then be woven to create a carpet.  It is one of the first materials to be used as a floor covering, is very durable and can last centuries. In some families, wool rugs have been passed down from generation to generation, making them family heirlooms. Other natural materials used to make carpets or rugs are sisal, jute and cotton.

5. Cork

is relatively new to the flooring world. It is usually seen on walls or in your favorite bottle of wine, but it is a great material for floors.  Cork is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree commonly found in the forests of the Mediterranean. The trees are not cut down to harvest the bark, which will grow back every three years, making it an ideal renewable source.  It has anti-microbial properties that reduce allergens in the home, is fire retardant, easy to maintain and acts as a natural insect repellent as well. Cork, like wood can be finished in a variety of paints and stains to suit any color scheme or design style. Its durability allows for use in any part of the house. Cork floors, depending on the quality, can last between 10-30 years.