Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Save Money and Keep Your Home Cool In the Summer with These Tips!

Save Money and Keep Your Home Cool In the Summer with These Tips!
With the heat of summer just around the corner, it's important to make sure your home is ready to keep you cool. The last thing we want is for that first heat wave to hit and for you to find out that your air conditioner isn't working or that it's only working in a way that costing you a fortune! 
Of course, the best way to ensure you're getting the best use out of your home cooling system is to have a home that supports air flow. If you your home doesn't circulate air well, it may be in your best interest to talk with one of our professional contractors to see about planning a solution. 
In the meantime, you deserve to be comfortable during the heat season and we are happy to share our tips on making that happen, as affordably as possible! 
The first thing you want to do is check your air filters. So many homeowners don't realize how important of a role air filters play in home cooling efficiency; both in function and for finances. When your air filter is clogged, the costs can increase as much as 15 percent. As well, when the filters are dirty, the system has to work harder, causing the over all system to actually be weaker. It's really smart to check the filter on a monthly basis and replace it quickly once you notice an accumulation of dust and other debris. 
Save Money and Keep Your Home Cool In the Summer with These Tips!Maybe it's time for an upgrade? If you think it's time to for something newer or better, make sure you go with a professional that knows how to size and fit according to industry standards. Ask for a cost analysis. How long it lasts is what really shows the value. You want to make sure that when purchasing an energy efficient system, that the equiptment will last long enough to pay for it's energy savings!
How smart is your thermostat? There are some great new thermostats available on the market that offer very helpful features for saving energy without loosing out on comfort. The beauty of this is that you can program several temperature changes that work with your family's schedules for work and other activities. This way - it's all done and you don't have to think about it. Save time, money and stress! 
Don't forget about ceiling fans - Did you know that the cooling created by ceiling fans can make a room feel up to four degrees cooler during the summer? Make sure to set your ceiling fans to rotate in a counter-clockwise direction during the warm season.( During the winter, change the direction so the fans rotate clockwise in low speed and circulate the rising heat downward.) 
We think it's your right to enjoy rest and relaxation in the summer. If you're home isn't cooling the way you'd like it to, talk to us! The contractors at Unique Home Building are ready and excited to help you live in the home of your dreams!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Tornados? This Home Building Project Could Save Your Life.

Tornados? This Home Building Project Could Save Your Life.if you live in or near Dallas, you know there is a risk of a tornado hitting. But do you have a safe place to take shelter? Is it near or in your home? A safe room or home shelter can provide the life saving kind of protection you need to survive, provided you can get there fast enough. With the ever increasing occurrences of tornados and other severe storms, shelters and safe rooms are getting more and more popular, with contractors in Dallas being booked out for months! 
But what's the big deal? Why are storm shelters and safe rooms so important? 
The truth is, the safest place to be during a treacherous storm or tornado is under the ground. Basements are the most common, and provide protection from the harsh elements, but unfortunately, are still susceptible to the danger of debris landing on or blocking the exit. Naturally, a fully underground shelter or cellar will be the best option for safety from the more violent storms, but don't provide an option in more flood prone, or highly developed cityscapes. 
Tornados? This Home Building Project Could Save Your Life.What to do now? Build a safe room. These are different than the more common shelters, but offer all the same protection and benefit. FEMA says a safe room is a structure that will provide near absolute protection from severe storms. So in order to call it a safe room, it must be built according to federal laws and meet very specific standards of safety. 
Some safe room facts: 
  • Each safe room should be built to handle 250 mph wiinds and more than 3,000 pounds of force. (That's more than an EF-5 level tornado!)
  • Normally, safe rooms are built in basements or garages. 
  • Usually made of steel and fiberglass for the highest level of wind protection. 
  • All safe rooms and shelters use concrete foundations as their primary anchors. 
  • There are two kinds: above and below ground.
If you live in Texas and are considering building a safe room where you live, make sure to weigh out the different options, advantages and costs associated, with a licensed contractor who's work is compliant with all FEMA and NSSA standards. Safe rooms are not inspected by any regulating agency to ensure quality, so it’s always best to go with a trusted local company, like Unique Home Building. 
Lastly, you don't have to wait for your shelter to be built to start being prepared. As you plan, begin collecting the must-have emergency supplies, such as canned goods, water and a weather alert radio, to help meet your needs and keep you informed. 
At Unique Home Building, your home and family are our priority. We know that scary things happen and are happy to help you prepare for the best case scenario! Call to set up a consultation today!


Friday, April 24, 2015

Prepare for Summer with These Helpful Home Maintenance Tips!

Prepare for Summer with These Helpful Home Maintenance Tips!Summer is fast approaching and it's important to make sure your home is ready! One thing the contractors at Unique Home Building see a lot of, is a lack of seasonal home preparedness. So if you feel summer coming and don't want to be overwhelmed by the heat, be sure to read these summer home maintenance tips and plan accordingly!

Give Your Air Conditioning System a Tune Up!
Checking on your air conditioning is just as important as tuning your car. Especially when your air conditioner is what takes you from over heating to total relief. Checking your refrigerant levels, coils and fans will keep things working well and also keep your cooling bill lower. Also, to save money and keep it more efficient, change the filters often. 

Check Your Windows
Those hot summer days can be really intense and you really want to make sure the heat stays outside by maintaining your windows. One of the main points you want to check is the sealants. Check to make sure the in and outside both properly sealed. If they aren't, calk any open areas in between. For cleaning, use a small old toothbrush to really clean those hard to reach areas well. 

Pressure Wash
Your exteriors need to be cared for just like the interiors. Wind, rain and dust can cause dirt, mildew and stains can be pressure washed off and is not only good maintenance for your home but is the necessary first step before updating the paint job. 

Clean Out Your Gutters 
Gutters can get a build up of debris very easily after the winds of Winter and even Spring. You want to clean your gutters regularly will help prevent clogging and leaks. The best time to do this is twice a year; once around November and again when Spring transitions to Summer.  

Pool Maintenance 
Lastly, but certainly not least, you want to make sure your pool is properly cleaned and taken care of. The last thing you want to do is end up with a surprise hot day and realize your pool isn't fit for swimming! Level the water, make sure your pumps are working well and the chemicals are balanced. It may also be wise to invest in an energy saving pump to save money during the hot summer months. 

As you can see, there aren't a lot of things you need to do, but each thing on the list is not to be neglected. At Unique Home Building, we want to help you plan well for the fine and greater details, from seasonal preparedness to major home remodels. Please contact us today for any home help you're ready for!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Is Your Home Earthquake Safe? Protect Your Home and Family With these Essential Tips.

Is Your Home Earthquake Safe? Protect Your Home and Family With these Essential Tips.Is your home earthquake safe? With citizens of Texas in a state of confusion and concern over the recent Azle and Reno quakes, we are reminded of how spontaneous a disaster can be.  As a building and design company based in Dallas, Texas, we've taken these events to heart. 
Regarding the quakes, the Dallas News shared the following:
"Oil and gas operations are the most likely cause of dozens of earthquakes that began rattling the North Texas towns of Azle and Reno in November 2013, a group of scientists has concluded.
The study, led by researchers at SMU and published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, presents some of the most conclusive evidence yet that humans are shifting faults below Dallas-Fort Worth that have not budged in hundreds of millions of years.
While experts have not yet determined what’s causing the shaking in Dallas and Irving, the new paper previews aspects of that study and includes suggestions that will help speed research." Source: dallasnews.com
We've found comfort in the idea that these quakes are not a norm for the area, but we can't be careless and assume it or something similar wouldn't happen again. So in the name of safety and preparedness, we want to share a few essential tips, with you on how to protect your home, in the case of a natural or unexpected earthquake. 
You want to make sure your home is safe to be in during the earthquake itself, while also preparing it to be resistant to damage by taking a closer look at it's structure and contents. When and how it was built and designed needs to be taken into careful consideration as well, as the home may have weak spots causing it to be more vulnerable to earthquake force. Some key places to observe for weak structure are foundations and how they are anchored to the home itself, weak walls in the crawl space or unreinforced masonry. They all seem like small details but can take a major hit if not secure or strong enough. 
So your first step, especially as a homeowner, is to find and fix these weak points properly with the help of a professional contractor.  If you are a renter, be sure to talk with the owner of your home to find out what's been done to strengthen and protect the home against earthquakes and other natural disasters. As a renter, it is your right to live in a safe home and both you and the owner should work to create an improvement plan if safety is at risk. If you are about to buy a home, be sure to have it evaluated for seismic risk along with meeting local building code standards. 
Lastly, what's on the inside of the home is as important as it's structure. In the event of an earthquake, any unsecured objects have the potential to move, break or fall, which present both safety issues and loss of property value. Be sure to do a walk through of your home and take note of large or awkwardly placed or constructed items, including those things that are tall, heavy, expensive, or appliances with special connections via outlets or hoses. Once you've taken note of these things, it's time to determine which safety items you're going to invest in, to protect your home and family. The size and location of your furniture will determine your next step, in purchasing the tools to secure your belongings, such as fasteners, straps and hooks, or whether you just need to relocate them to a saver place all together. 
We at Unique Home Building want you to be safe and secure in the home you live in. It's a standard we deliver whether remodeling, building a new home or simply providing you with these helpful tips. Please, if you're ready to bring in the professionals, we have contractors in Dallas ready to work with you. Call us today. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Home Remodeling Secrets: Caring For Your Tile Floors

Home Remodeling Secrets: Caring For Your Tile FloorsWhen remodeling your home, if you choose to use tile in your kitchen, it's important to know how to care for it. At Unique Home Building we frequently see people choosing tile for their home, and for good reason! Tile is easy to clean and and makes for an elegant kitchen floor option. 

We all know that messes happen, but instead of banning everyone but yourself from walking on your floor, it's important to make sure dirt and spills do not have a chance to make themselves at home.  Surprisingly, this is easy enough to do with a mop or cloth, hot water, and a mild household detergent. Just spot test it first to make sure it treats your tile well. 

The next key, is regular maintenance. The best and most effective step you can take is to regularly sweep, vacuum, and damp mop your tile floors. Even a quick sweeping or vacuum job will remove the dirt and debris before it can become embedded in the tile or grout. Mopping with warm water and using a cleaning product safe for your tile will also enhance your tile’s gloss, shine, and color.
Another simple and tile safe option you can utilize, is to mix a cup of white vinegar with a gallon of water for a wonderfully effective, odor-eliminating cleanser. This is a great natural alternative for those who are wanting to avoid harsh chemicals. 
Lastly, you want to care for the grout; the substance that holds the ceramic tiles in place. Unfortunately, over time, and with exposure to the elements, this (often white) grout can become discolored and dingy. When this happens, it really detracts from the beauty of your floor. So to preserve the tile and grout, you really want to make sure that the grout is properly sealed after installation; and even update the seal once a year to maintain it's use and beauty. This will keep stains, dirt, and water from being able to penetrate the protective barrier.
Kitchens are one of the most important rooms in home and each detail should be considered wisely during the your home building or remodeling project. The contractors at Unique Home Building are skilled and prepared to work with you on each of these details, whatever the project size. Contact us today and get your plan started!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Eliminate the Frustration of Home Remodeling Planning with This Very Helpful Checklist!

Eliminate the Frustration of Home Remodeling Planning with This Very Helpful Checklist!Ready to improve your home but overwhelmed by the decisions and plans? Don't worry - that's normal and we are here to help. Just because there's a lot to consider, doesn't mean the process has to be chaos for you. 

At Unique Home Building, we specialize in both remodeling and complete home building. We deal with people all the time with large wish lists and the overwhelm to match. 

So we've taken the common denominators and created a helpful to-do list to help alleviate the planning frustration for you. 

Eliminate the Frustration of Home Remodeling Planning with This Very Helpful Checklist!

Make A List of MUST HAVES.
Many people fall head over heels for the latest apps and gadgets.  But I have found that so many people do much better with a simple sticky note or day planner list. It doesn't mean you're lazy or unintelligent.  All these different tools can leave you spending much more time trying to organize or consolidate your list, leaving many of your items undone.
Keep an Idea Pad.   Paper, phone, moleskin, iPad...  whatever. little things you remember, ideas & responsibilities should all go to one place.  You can reference this list at the end of the day an organize them accordingly. 
Group Your Needs and Priorities.
Many times though our list has 10 things on it, it's likely they can be grouped into 3 (or 4) groups.  Home, family & work.  That's the first step. Once your list is organized into categories, you may find that you can narrow it down even further to your top 3 priorities and then another list of 3 secondary things to do.   At the end of the day - you'll likely get 6 things done!  But at the very least, you'll get the most important things done first - leaving you feel accomplished and at peace with your performance. 
Make Life Binders 
It's a VERY good idea to have different binders for each major part of your life. Keep a shelf for them to live on and label their spines with titles like, home, family, work & creative. Those folders can have tab separators within your family folder, you can have a section for your partner and each child. In the home folder, you can have sections for utilities, repairs and even cars.   Get the idea?  Additionally, you can even take it further and keep a plastic pocket in each to hold receipts and invoices for an easier tax season at the end of the year. 

The biggest suggestion we can give is to do one thing at a time. Mult-tasking here can be really overwhelming, so give things proper attention. 

Remember, whatever we at Unique Home can do to make your home more beautiful and relaxing is why we do what we do.  So let us know today how we can make your house into a better home!