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Here are 7 of the most common mistakes people make when renovating their home.

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This website shows how to know which appliances conserve the most energy. The graph compares the average amount of energy different appliances use.

Bar chart showing the appliance use of common home appliances in cost per year and kWh per year: electric blanket: <$42,  <500kWh,  TV: <$42,  <500kWh,  microwave oven: <$42,  <500kWh,  dehumidifier: <$42,  <500kWh,  well pump: <$42,  <500kWh,  home computer: $42-$83,  500-1000kWh,  aquarium/terrarium: $42-$83,  500-1000kWh,  dishwasher: $42-$83,  500-1000kWh,  electric cooking: $42-$83,  500-1000kWh,  freezer: $42-$83,  500-1000kWh,  waterbed heater: $42-$83,  500-1000kWh,  clothes dryer: $42-$83,  500-1000kWh,  washing machine: $42-$83,  500-1000kWh,  refrigerator: $83-$125,  1000-1500kWh,  pool pump: $83-$125,  1000-1500kWh,  spa (pump and heater): $166-$208,  2000-2500kWh.

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I’ve found a website that talks about floors. It gives good information on different types of flooring such as hardwood, cork, ceramic tile and vinyl.

Check it out…

http://www.floorfacts.com/

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I want to point out this photo by Richard Perry of the New York Times.  It’s from an article about the renovation on the top floor of a townhouse in Harlem.  Don’t let it scare you that the renovation in the photo cost oodles of money (he renovated the whole flat, plus the outdoor area). 

My point in showing you this photo is how exquisite white cabinets can look.  Yet they can be the least expensive to buy.  You can take ideas like this and use part of them in your renovation projects.  What I like in the design below is the simplicity of it – it’s very elegant! 

Even a person on a budget could pull off a simple, chic look.  Take white…  add one other color for the floor and backsplash (and possibly the countertop) – in the photo the other color is brown…  and you have a timeless look.  No matter how styles change, the kitchen in the photo below won’t look outdated.

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I’ve found a page detailing fire risks in the bedroom. It talks about kids, appliances, and general safety. (Read the PDF on the page for even more information.)

Here’s a good rule of thumb about remembering to change the fire alarm batteries in your house: always make sure you put in new batteries when you change your clock at Daylight Savings Time.

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This website has a lot of information about countertops. It talks, about money, matching with cabinets, cost, etc… (The image is the link.)

Countertop laminated with Deepstar Jade 1816-35

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There are two main issues when buying appliances in a house where young kids live: aesthetics and safety. 

The main aesthetic issue is how well the surface of the appliance will hide or show fingerprints and smudges.  Little kids put their little fingers and hands on everything.  Their marks will show up more on stainless steel and black appliances.  There are some appliance surfaces that hide fingerprints better than others.  Some brands now use a special stainless steel material that hide marks – on the traditional stainless steel marks will show up right away.  You can usually tell when you walk into the appliance department which ones will be a problem.  They’ll be all marked up with prints.  But you can test them out yourself by putting your hands on them (better that you know in advance).  Unless you’re the type of person who doesn’t mind wiping down your appliances every day, keep this in mind when you’re buying.

The other appliance issue with kids is safety.  Some appliances now come with locks built in so that young kids can’t open the doors. If you’re buying a new stove, I’d recommend buying one with the knobs at the back of the stove where young kids can’t reach them.  Also, make sure to anchor your stove into the wall.

Finally, ensure that your kitchen has all GFCI outlets.

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If you’re thinking of installing concrete countertops in your home, here’s a great video that goes through the steps.

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It’s true, it’s a luxury…  But if you can swing it, there’s nothing like a hot tub!

The Spa Depot offers a complete selection of everything you’ll ever need for the care and maintenance of hot tubs.  It includes an informative feature called ‘Ask Dr. Tubbs’ where you can find answers to questions like How To Wire A Hot Tub.

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One feature I’ve decided I’d like in my new dishwasher is a stainless steel interior.  The alternative is plastic.  A plastic interior is more likely to break down harmful chemicals into the water supply, onto your dishes and into the air you breath when the plastic gets hot.

Stainless steel will also aid in the quicker drying of your dishes and it’s more durable.

Once you have your dishwasher, make sure you use a dishwashing detergent that’s free of phosphates.  Phosphates are harmful to aquatic animal life.

You can read more about Green Dishwashing at Planet Green.

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