Category Archives: Topics

Topics discussed on First Protector Insurance.

Garage Organization Tips

Garage organization tips that help you find the things you need.

Garage Organization TipsOrganizing the garage is probably one of the chores most people dread. Depending on how much de-cluttering needs to be done, you might need to set aside a full weekend or two.  Before getting started, research some organizing ideas online or at your favorite hardware store. You will have to budget costs for any cabinetry, shelving, and hanging systems you might need. Enlist your family and friends to help, and use these garage organization tips to make this chore as easy as one, two, three:

  1. Sorting and organizing:
    Sort through everything and separate items by these categories: keep, toss, and donate/sell.

    • Review the items in the keep category. Have you or your family used them in the past two years? Are they broken beyond repair/expired/outgrown?  Enlist the advice of your adult helpers if you need to, and redistribute what makes sense to the “no keep” categories as warranted.
    • Categorize the items in your keep pile. These might include sport and recreational gear, garden equipment, automotive supplies, seasonal décor, tools, and so on.  If you already have storage bins or boxes, use these to separate the categories temporarily.
    • Once you know exactly what you need to find space for, you can then best determine the layout for storing these items.

  2. Removing the items you aren’t keeping:
    Quickly get rid of the items you are not keeping.

    • Many areas have trash pile pickups you can schedule once or twice a year if you cannot take the items to the trash dump yourself.
    • Research local donation places for ones that will pick up your items.
    • Hold a yard sale or consider advertising items for sale online, at work, or in your local paper.

  3. Planning out your storage layout:
    Use grid paper and carefully note your garage’s measurements and the location of doors and windows.  If applicable, calculate how much space your car will take up.  Then use these garage organization tips to plan out what materials you will need to purchase:

    • You will need enough shelving to hold all of your gear, but don’t cover every wall. Consider also installing cabinetry, hanging rails, and pegboards with hooks to allow easy access and visibility.
    • Items you use together, such as lawn chemicals and gardening tools, should be stored close to one another. Lawnmowers and bulky items can be moved to corners to keep them out of the way.
    • Keep items off the floor whenever possible – this will help eliminate the buildup of clutter piles.
    • The garage ceiling is a great spot for hanging ladders and seasonal sports gear. Items you use regularly should be kept at eye level with all bins clearly labeled.

These garage organization tips are designed to help you maximize the utilization of your garage space where everything will be easy to find.  Once or twice a year, start all over from the beginning, and your garage will stay clean and organized.

First Protector Insurance provides tips to make your home life easier.

Reasons to replace home insulation

Is your home insulation doing its job correctly?

Reasons to replace home insulationReplace your home insulation?  You may have thought your home insulation was supposed to last forever – or at least a very long time.  That may be the case, especially if your home was built less than ten years ago, after fiberglass (or other durable quality) insulation was the standard, and if it was installed correctly.  And, you had no roof or HVAC condensation leaks, or destructive vermin in your attic.  But how do you know for sure that your insulation is up to par?  According to several studies, two thirds of U.S. homes are under-insulated.  Because inadequate insulation can cost you hundreds of dollars annually in higher cooling and heating bills, replacing or supplementing your home insulation is listed as one of the highest return on investment home projects you can do.  Below are several reasons to replace home insulation that in the long run will make you a much happier homeowner.

Signs your home insulation may need a professional inspection (and updating):

  • Your home gets hot quickly in the summertime
  • Your energy bill keeps rising and rising
  • Some rooms in your house feel much hotter than the others (especially the 2nd floor on a two-story house)
  • You had roof and/or condensation leaks (mold and water damage compromises the insulation efficiency and can be a health hazard)
  • You inspected the exposed insulation in the attic, and could see the floor joists

Other reasons to replace home insulation include the insulation materials can compress and decay even if they never had water damage.  Over time, wall insulation might even settle down a foot or two from the ceiling and new insulation needs to be blown in.  Besides spending more money on higher energy bills, inadequate insulation can cause a buildup of moisture on the backside of the roof sheathing which can eventually lead to premature rotting and expensive roof repairs.

Actions to take

  • Schedule an energy audit which may qualify you for rebates with your utility company, and tax incentives as well. Today’s audits use both infrared technology and blower tests to determine insulation gaps.   During the audit, your furnace/HVAC and water heater will also be checked to ensure they are operating efficiently.
  • If you decide to move forward with an insulation project, make sure to get several estimates from contractors or handymen. In most cases you do not have to remove your old insulation.

If any of the reasons to replace home insulation listed sound familiar to you, don’t panic.  The energy savings can make up the cost of having to insulate the home over a short amount of time (normally two or three years) and you may even extend the life of your roof and all the while live much more comfortably.

First Protector Insurance provides tips to make your home maintenance a breeze.

Common Home Improvement Mistakes

Before starting any home remodeling project, become acquainted with the most common home improvement mistakes that homeowners face, and how they can be avoided.

Common Home Improvement Mistakes“Mistakes are lessons inside out.” ― Matshona Dhliwayo

Wouldn’t it be great if you could see into the future with your crystal ball, and make all the correct decisions the first time around?  Oftentimes homeowners end up making home renovation decisions but are not entirely happy with the final outcome.  It might be because they overspent their budget, or the project didn’t come out as they initially pictured.  They might later discover that their return on investment was minimal to non-existent.   Learn from other’s lessons by knowing some of the common home improvement mistakes that can happen before you plan your next project, so you can be sure to avoid them.

Choosing the wrong project

  • Carefully evaluate your home’s needs, and how long you plan to reside there. Think of how the renovations will impact the home’s value if that is one of the main reasons behind the project.   If so, consider some much needed repairs to the home such as roof or plumbing rather than a remodel or addition.  Future buyers will not want to mess with expensive repairs.
  • Consider if your project is more about giving in to social pressure. You might like your neighbor’s pool, but owning and maintaining a pool is a whole different story.

Insufficient Planning

  • You can’t expect to jump in head first without considerable planning. To avoid common home improvement mistakes you will need to evaluate your home’s structure, create timelines, pull permits, take careful measurements, and reevaluate many options along the way.  Don’t give in to buying anything before your final plan is in place, or you may be heading back to the stores with returns, or even be out some money as well as slow down the progress.

Unrealistic Budgeting

  • Unanticipated costs are almost guaranteed. Plan about a 10% cushion in your budget and remember items like permits, fees, taxes, and delivery charges will add up.

Hiring the wrong person

  • Hiring the wrong person might even include yourself, because if you don’t have the skills you will ultimately have to hire someone to fix your mistakes. Choosing the right contractor can be key to a successful project.  Get several quotes – at least three or four, and review and contrast the differences in their costs, services, guarantees, timeframes, and experience.  The cheapest is not always the best.

Follow these guidelines to help avoid many of the most common home improvement mistakes, and be completely satisfied with your home renovation projects every time.

First Protector Insurance provides guidance and tips on making your home maintenance a piece of cake.